Return to “Dev Logs”

Post

Re: [Josh] Monday, June 11, 2018

#16
kaeroku wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:00 pm
QUOTE: " (a net flow of 0 is the ultimate goal)"

At some point the system may be 100% efficient in using and supplying all of its resources, but that doesn't mean that a flow of zero is ideal. Shouldn't systems be considering when to invest in new infrastructure which will pull flow *away* from zero, but provide new opportunities for growth?

An economic simulation in a game is tricky. Not only do you want your sim to capture some of the most typical behaviors of economic activity, it also has to be fun to poke as the player of a game. Doing either of those well is hard; doing both well together is so perilous that most eventually give up (or are advised never to start) the idea of a closed system and just implement a magical faucet/drain system.

Deciding to support growth in such a game/sim system makes it even trickier: if growth (without the player) is permitted, how do you tell the sim when to stop growing? If you don't, for how long will the economic part be fun for the player as a game?

What growth rate is best? Should the growth rate be mostly evenly distributed, or should there be pockets of failure that are outweighed somewhat by pockets of success?

And if you introduce the idea of money, all this gets even trickier still. Where does that money come from? If you allow money as a representation of value, and you permit economic growth (increase the amount of value), then doesn't money have to be created somewhere, by someone, in order to avoid deflation? Can all money come from a single source if there are multiple "civilization" factions who don't connect with each other, and who thus have very different amounts of total civilizational value? Josh has said he prefers a single galactic currency even if that isn't plausible, because it's necessary for fun... but how does the creation of money from a single source provide an appropriate amount of money to Factional Domestic Products that may vary extremely widely in different places?

I'm not suggesting these are impossible questions, or trying to squelch the idea of growth or a closed economic system in a game by peppering those ideas with objections. If anything, this stuff is so much fun that I can't resist trying to think of some of the design questions. :D
Post

Re: [Josh] Monday, June 11, 2018

#18
Lemar wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 5:01 am
Once there was a cat around here somewhere playing with capital&carrier ships, guess as we hadn't heard anything new she got kidnapped....
I guess you're talking about Lindsey? She's left the team; there's something in the latest Kickstarter update and I think Tal posted the relevant excerpt in one of the recent devlog threads as well.
Post

Re: [Josh] Monday, June 11, 2018

#19
[/quote]
Regular, yes, but I'd advise against expecting them like clockwork.
[/quote]

Well, the updates to the RSS are in keeping with the promises made. The updates made *where* the promises were made are not in keeping with those promises. I get anxious when the promises do not appear to be kept, because we've been down that road a few times. A person keeping to their word gives me faith in them and their endeavors. It becomes more important when that faith has been lost before.

In any case, I know now. I just was trying to show appreciation for being made aware of the RSS.
Post

Re: [Josh] Monday, June 11, 2018

#20
I much appreciate that appreciation. :D Makes me happy that it's proving useful to you, Kaeroku.
Lemar wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 5:01 am
Hyperion wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:44 am
Lemar wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:41 am
Has the cat been kidnapped by one of her carriers?
Um, what?
Once there was a cat around here somewhere playing with capital&carrier ships, guess as we hadn't heard anything new she got kidnapped....
Josh meant to post about it here, but he forgotafter posting it on the Kickstarter.
Kickstarter Josh wrote:Before we get to the excitement, though, I would like to announce an unfortunate bit of news: Lindsey has left the team. Rest assured that there are no hard feelings nor burnt bridges; she left of her own volition due to changes in her work availability. During her time here, Lindsey built up an impressive procedural geometry library that I'll be able to leverage in finishing up the remaining algorithms. And, of course, we still have the ridiculously-good fighter algorithms that she devised! Despite her time with us being too short, I am nevertheless grateful for all that she accomplished while here. Thanks, Lindsey! o7
Have a question? Send me a PM! || People talking in IRC over the past two hours: Image
Image
Image
Post

Re: [Josh] Monday, June 11, 2018

#21
Flatfingers wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:00 am
<snip>
I'm not suggesting these are impossible questions, or trying to squelch the idea of growth or a closed economic system in a game by peppering those ideas with objections. If anything, this stuff is so much fun that I can't resist trying to think of some of the design questions. :D
I fully agree. I recognize it's a difficult balance to strike, which is why I posed the question in the first place. I figured that this kind of thing would be one of the more important considerations when designing economic structure, and since that appears to be what Josh is in the process of doing now, it seemed a good time to bring it up.

It would make sense to me if the player was the only source of growth in a system after the initial values are generated from a *design* perspective, but less so from a simulation perspective. Obviously untapped resources are a valuable place for the player to step in and find profit, but if other elements aren't trying to do this *at all* then you won't have system variety. Ie, poorer systems will presumably either have less opportunity to get flow to zero (maximum efficiency consuming all available resources in system) internally, and/or be less valuable from other economic perspectives. But a *rich* system is likely to be able to balance flow to utilize all of it's resources, and potentially export goods as well, and/or be important in interstellar trade for other reasons. Whether it's a stop in a profitable route, or a capitol driving a lot of traffic through the area, or simply has more evolved infrastructure than similar systems.

I would expect systems to start out utilizing only a certain percent of what is available when they're generated. Say as an example: a system with a couple asteroid belts has an ice mining operation and a single type of ore it produces. It has a single consumer of ore, and ice is primarily used in space travel. Maybe this system has to import fuel because they lack a good source of hydrogen, so to fund this they invest in a refinery and/or factory to turn the ore into useful materials. We have a basic economy there. But, this system may have, say, 5 other valuable ores in their asteroid belt they haven't yet invested in. Maybe even lacks the tech to know their value or put them to use. At that point, the player finds the system. The player might a) have access to tech and money to invest in the system to help it evolve economically, b) know of a lucrative trade route using those resources and set up a mining operation of their own, purely to fuel their own empire or c) anything else, really.

But, whatever the player does, hopefully that system evolves over time on its own to some extent. If the player *completely ignores the system,* I'm hoping that "flow" will consider the untapped resources (maybe as the lowest priority, but still consider them) when determining what to build next. So, maybe the next major investment the system makes is increasing its freigh fleet, to be able to mine more of the current ore and also export more of their goods. The increased capacity of freight increases the system's profitability, which creates a higher value of a surplus resource (currency) over time, and that higher value results in a flow *need* to invest the capital somewhere.

I guess the simple TL;DR of my entire concept here is that *unused resources should be a value in flow.* In this way, as a system works towards flow=0 for maximum efficiency, it will naturally develop along the same lines of thinking we're talking about.

Of course, that could be with player involvement, as if the player is utilizing a resource in a system that becomes a part of the flow map. The speed at which it develops probably would also be determined by the wealth of traffic through the system. If it's remote and the player is the only one to visit in ages, development is probably slow. If it's at a major crossroads or trade hub when it's discovered, I'd imagine *someone* is going to want to capitalize on those resources more quickly. Foreign third-party AI --> generates jobs to tap resources from a new source in a junction system --> resources start moving. At this point, the player still may see value in investing. Competition doesn't drive profitability to zero. The margins might be tighter, but depending on the value of the resource(s) and the quantity of merchant marine the player (and viable competitors) can bring to bear, it may be possible to edge them out and control the good, or simply share in the profits.
Post

Re: [Josh] Monday, June 11, 2018

#23
Ah, so many inspiring ideas there.

What features may cause a system to become "high-traffic?" What features characterize a system as "rich," or "poor?" It seems pretty reasonable to me that the answers to those questions should (if maybe only lightly) have some impact on local growth rates.

But this brings back a question I think I've asked before. (After five and a half years, things are getting a little fuzzy. :D ) That is: how fast does time go in this game?

If change = rate of growth * time then while the rate of growth (which might be positive or negative) is obviously important, so is the amount of time that elapses. If the game clock ticks at something close to our real-world rate (relative to the speed at which characters can take economic actions), then we might have to keep playing LT for a cumulative year or two before we start to see serious macro-level changes in factional wealth! OTOH, if the game clock ticks much faster than our reality, then even a small growth rate could result in significant changes to a faction's wealth within a couple of (real-time) hours of play. (In fact, the clock rate probably needs to be much faster even than this during universe generation.)

But let's say the clock rate is something in between those two extremes, such that meaningful macro level economic effects can become visible after a couple of real-time days of playing LT. After all, if you've got a game that simulates micro and macro level economics, you'd be crazy not to include features that show off this feature.

That brings me to my next suggestion, which IMO is a valuable component of an interesting economic simulation and is maybe most succinctly summed up this way: success carries the seeds of its own failure.

This is the tendency of organizations, once they've become successful, to try to preserve their organization in its current state so as to maintain the benefits it provides to the people currently at the top of that organization. There's nothing inherently evil in this; it's a normal function of human nature expressed in groups. Carroll Quigley's word for this with respect to civilizations (a really big human organization) is "institutionalization," but it's pretty easy to see this effect in action in smaller organizations as well.

Where this tendency toward institutionalization gets interesting is in its connection to power -- specifically, does an organization have enough power to prevent any any external force from changing it? If it does -- say, if the organization is a large national government that is the sole possessor of large-scale lethal force to defend its organizational structure and behaviors -- then that organization can stick around for a long time, doing terrible human damage, before it falls apart.

If the organization doesn't have that kind of power, then it to stay alive it must respond intelligently to market forces. In a functional marketplace, a company that sits on some once-profitable product will eventually be overtaken by competitors who see how the economic environment has changed and do a better job of satisfying those changes than the old winner. (This is what leads to Schumpeter's "creative destruction.")

So to loop this back to Limit Theory, will factions be able to express this institutionalizing behavior? Where when factions achieve success, they have a tendency to stop changing, which eventually leads to them being replaced by some other organization that better satisfies local needs?
Post

Re: [Josh] Monday, June 11, 2018

#24
Flatfingers wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:00 am
An economic simulation in a game is tricky. Not only do you want your sim to capture some of the most typical behaviors of economic activity, it also has to be fun to poke as the player of a game. Doing either of those well is hard; doing both well together is so perilous that most eventually give up (or are advised never to start) the idea of a closed system and just implement a magical faucet/drain system.
And perhaps that's the right answer for LT right now. I think that model that other teams have demonstrated (release a good foundation and continue to iterate through incremental releases) is generally accepted at this point. There is a reason, as Flat says, that what Josh is attempting essentially doesn't exit elsewhere. And really, how much fun will a super-advanced economic simulation actually bring? /runs
Post

Re: [Josh] Monday, June 11, 2018

#26
Josh,

Thank you for allowing us to go through this process with you. It’s another Saturday after a hectic two weeks, and one of my favorite things to do is pull up the LT forum to see if there’s another dev log. It’s a privilege to go through this journey with you and watch the creation of your masterpiece. I’ve been reading your dev logs from very close to the beginning, and you have inspired me like few others I know. Watching your videos years ago inspired me to take the plunge and become a programmer. The creativity and skill you exhibit in your code, art, and music was incredibly energizing. I watched your videos memorized. I know you put a ton of effort and sacrifice into them. I prayed for you during the dark days and checked the forums regularly. I breathed a huge sigh of relief and gratitude when you came back and continued to pray for you. Your recovery and renewal of effort into the project blew me away, frankly. I’ve never seen anyone go through so much suffering with a project and still hold course. And then you OVERCAME THE FPLT. Whoa. I was blown away when you hit that milestone with Adam. Still am.

I love reading your dev logs. I feel I'm walking onto the construction site of a cathedral as I look around amazed at the scale and masterful craftsmanship. I pull up an old wooden stool and sit awhile with melodic electronica playing in the background as I drink coffee and watch you work. Sometimes I don’t want the process to end. It will be wonderful to explore the vast universe that this game will be. I hope you will continue to write about your new projects when this one is done. I would like to follow your work for the rest of my life. You have a lot of people cheering for you!

Bren

Online Now

Users browsing this forum: TheoryOfLimitations and 2 guests

cron