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 Post subject: Revamped trading
PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 8:08 pm 
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It's been suggested that players could have a more dynamic interaction with ports, and I agree with Tarnus and PJ there. They've suggested players being able to build and demolish ports, and that seems good. Also, it'd be interesting if players could set up blockades around certain ports. That'd be like sector defenses, but without the planets. Basically, it wouldn't require planets, but maybe dropping energy on some satellite. Other players could still enter the sector, but they couldn't trade at the port without taking out the fighters. If you increase port prices (increasing profits) and decrease how quickly prices go down with more trades, trading will become a bigger part of the game. In the past, "lurkers" have worked with attackers to take out builders and other attackers, and traders have kept with themselves. This would allow traders to interact with attackers. If you had good enough weapons, you could take better trade routes that have been defended by other players, and also guard your own, so other people don't come and lower the prices by trading there. As it is, a few hundred trades with even a small hull, and the route will go from very profitable to mediocre or worse. That will obviously need to be changed. Also, if port prices took longer to go back up after trading lowers them, it would provide more incentive for players to defend their trade routes from other players.



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 Post subject: Re: Revamped trading
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:23 pm 
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I think that will be intersting but i dont think i will stick myself all ganes i hav played myself there where no traders only builders and attackers so it might go well it might convice people to trade more.



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 Post subject: Re: Revamped trading
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:13 pm 
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I must admit that the people who say that SD serves the same purpose have a point, but this really would be different, and also, trade routes currently aren't worth protecting with planets and SD. I propose changing that. I mean really, just take a hint from history. The actual Trojan war was a trade war. The greeks wanted control of the trade route that the Trojans had a monopoly on, and so they went to war. In fact, they went to war three times.



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 Post subject: Re: Revamped trading
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 2:30 am 
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The trading system in this game seems very basic. So long as a port will accept a given commodity, it will accept it at a set price that never changes. Only the buy price changes. At least that's what I've read thusfar. I can't notice any discernable pattern to what a dock will buy, either, other than in Fed Space it's more likely it'll buy just about anything.

It makes sense that organics=food. Therefore most ports would buy organics, but food can never be too pricey and thus is generally a low profit margin. Ore is mined and thus requires no specific commodities, but generally you're mining an asteroid or somesuch, and have little food production. Goods are produced using raw materials, thus goods producing ports would demand more ore. You could complete the cycle suggesting that colonist ports demand goods (people like luxuries, after all). Naturally you can't purchase colonists and sell them at an organics port, but having a perfect profit cycle like that might just stagnate routes.

I'd love to see a more robust supply/demand system and see the game support multi port trade routes. I think it's a bit tricky at the moment because the universe is so large comparative to the players in it when you think of trading. Some ports are probably very rarely traded at, or at the very least don't get sold the goods they'll buy.

But the game IS called Alien Assault TRADERS, and trading seems to have given way to build/attacking in terms of getting up into the top ranks.


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 Post subject: Re: Revamped trading
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 6:53 am 
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The plan is to have more commodities in the future. Also commodities will have a level of good and evil which will make them skew your alignment if you do not trade carefully. Anything in fed space is trading works very straight forward. Once you leave fed space, trading becomes a little more erratic as to who buys and sells what (as it should be). There are some ports that have locked prices, but the majority of ports will raise and lower their prices based on how often they are traded. If you have a huge hull and over trade a port you will see the pricing drop.

I'd love to see trading a larger portion of the game, however we have to set limits on things. Once a player gets to a point where they have a huge hull they could trade their way into fortunes were it not for the port limits. We've had players exploit this like mad in the past.



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 Post subject: Re: Revamped trading
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 10:13 am 
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More commodities sounds good. I also like Sage's idea, but it sounds like a nightmare for you guys to program, though I could never be sure.

As it is now, the selling price is set all over the galaxy. Organics always cost the same. That needs to be in place for taking inventory of a player's net worth. Like, say, the player has 1T organics in total. If organics aren't worth 9 everywhere, what are they worth? There are lots of functions in the game that rely on a player's total worth, and this would really destabilize that if those prices fluctuated.

Of course, that'd also be more realistic. You could take the mean of all organics prices everywhere, and a real game economy would get going. Players with lots of ore would lose score when average ore prices dropped due to increased ore trading. That would be really cool, but again, probably a night mare to program. Whatever.

As far as trading, I'm just a bit opposed to it playing a bigger role in the game. It's because it'd hurt attackers. Attackers mostly have to hit builders. That dissapears when people are making their living trading. They don't have to build planets to become rich, so what are attackers going to attack? Trade ships? That would be ok, but they're hard to find, and most can sleep in fed space. A builder may have hundreds of planets I can attack, but a trader may only have one trade ship.

Here's a solution. If you did this, I would love this game. It would add so much. Make it so we could have multiple ships in action at a given time. The idea is already there with auto trade routes. Make these run more, make them way more profitable, and make the ships actually show up in sectors for us to attack. If they were profitable enough, players could put trillions into them, and then an attacker could attack them. That would be sweet, and it would be a lot more like the idea of this game, with pirates and all. We'd be like privateers attacking trade galleons! That would be cool. AND if you made commodities signicantly more expensive, a load of organics could be worth hundreds of billions itself. I mean, if this load is going to help feed a planet, it's got to be worth a lot. We could plunder ships! The cargo could be transfered into the attacker's hold, and then the attacker could go sell it for pure profit! That would be so cool. It would justify having traders in the game name :P



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 Post subject: Re: Revamped trading
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 10:46 am 
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InstinctSage wrote:
The trading system in this game seems very basic. So long as a port will accept a given commodity, it will accept it at a set price that never changes. Only the buy price changes. At least that's what I've read thusfar. I can't notice any discernable pattern to what a dock will buy, either, other than in Fed Space it's more likely it'll buy just about anything.


Actually, both buy and sell price will change on most ports when you trade. Ports that are traded you will see prices go down and if they are regularly traded they will rarely go back up but continue to go down. If a port isn't traded with for a while the prices will start to go back up. There are some ports in the game people have never traded with that have some outlandish prices for buying some items.

There ARE some Fixed Price ports. These ports have prices fixed by the Federation so they will NEVER go above a certain amount but most ports are free to raise their prices to any level they want.

Commodity prices are pretty dynamic in the game. If you want the highest prices for trading you should be searching for ports on the fringes of the galaxy and no in the dense center. Some players tend to avoid the fringes because it is easier to get noticed and tagged. :)

Heck there are like 1,000 Goods ports that are buying Goods at 800-900 Credits per unit.



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 Post subject: Re: Revamped trading
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 10:55 am 
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Well, PJ, if you don't ignore, it'll probably mean you flying into a rage, but, unless I'm really mistaken, it seems like all selling prices are the same. The prices that ports buy a commodity change a lot, yes, but it seems that all ports that sell a given commodity all sell it at the same fixed price. This may be what you mean by the fixed price ports, and I'm just not understanding you.



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 Post subject: Re: Revamped trading
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 7:29 pm 
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Ah, I also read somewhere that sell prices were fixed and took is as fact.

I like the idea of more commodities, particularly contraband. My mind starts flying with possibilities for a smuggler class (e.g. taking contraband from outer ports and selling in Fed space for large profits as you can't BUY contraband in Fed space, however Fed space is patrolled and carries a chance of being busted). But if it stands just as a means of somewhat benevolently adjusting your alignment that'll help too.

I figured it'd be hard to prevent players exploiting supply/demand rules in a galaxy so large and sparsely populated. Particularly if the price calculation is made on sale/purchase of goods, you're going to run into trouble when a player can take a fair chunk of a port's total supply of a commodity in one trade. But to preserve profit margins a port would naturally set minimum stock levels/sale prices and maximum stock levels/buy prices. Stops over exploitation by forcing traders to keep cycling across different routes.

I'd love a "trade probe". A probe whose sole purpose is to warp around and report the best buy/sell prices on commodities. Then I might be able to find these awesome 800 price ports.

@ Valience

I don't think if trading were more lucrative it would stop players building and consolidating. Once you set up credit producing planets, they make money for you without you having to spend turns to do so. Sure, builders will likely start trading more to suppliment their income, but I'd imagine they'd just invest the extra profits in more planets. It just makes trading lucrative all through the game, rather than being somewhat phased out once you really get going.

I don't imagine it'd be too hard to program an economic model. Create a Base price of given commodities (Org 30, Ore 60, Goods 100 for e.g.), each port needs a max/min stock, and a little random to tweak how big a difference high/low stock levels affect the base price. So long as the formula makes sense for the max/min stock levels so you don't wind up with 800% of base price for low stock or 0.2% of base price for high stock, it'd be workable. Then you'd just decay the commodities in port so it floated back. It'd require some testing to make sure it was balanced, but then, as you say, you could take the mean price and have a whole commodities market going, giving way to a sort of broker/investor strategy.

Then again, there's nothing wrong with the way commodities are worked now. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Revamped trading
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 10:25 am 
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I don't know, maybe. Building can be a lot of work though. And there probably would be some people that just move to trading simply because it means they can't lose what they gain. Lucky was really good at that. Though it may be difficult, I think my idea for multiple trading ships active at once could be cool.



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 Post subject: Re: Revamped trading
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 6:58 pm 
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I'd like that too, but I'm not sure how it'd work in this game. If trade ships took your turns to move/trade like probes, you might wind up with players sleeping near constantly. If not, then everyone and their dog would be spamming any available routes. Building is a lot of work, but that's why it pays so well. Trading isn't as difficult for a quick buck, but it has its limits.

I found one of those 'rarely traded at' ports. I'm paying a lot closer attention to the prices now. It's very easy to just look for goods/ore within RS vicinity or using warp editors, but there are actually a lot of really lucrative lines about when you run the numbers between various ports. I'm starting to like the sparse universe. I'm sort of determined to work out easy ways of making big sacks of cash from trading. It takes a few turns to set everything up, but then its there for life. Well, unless some bastard uses a warp editor to delete the link. :razz:


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 Post subject: Re: Revamped trading
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 9:39 am 
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But what I'm suggesting is a modification to trading so that, in some forms, it's still a limited way to get an easy couple bucks, but, if you invest a lot more time into it, you get a much better return. And it really wouldn't be that common. Anyone with multiple ships isn't allowed in Fed space but for a short period. That means the trading is going on outside of protected space, so attackers would be having a field day left and right. Instead, people are going to have to be quiet, even secretive about their trade routes. Then, if they are found, they'll have to have invested defenses in their ships so that they can't just be busted off.

And that also adds a lot to the game for attackers, with new targets, new uses for spies (ie so so has a trade route between sector x and sector y), and new strategies for hunting these traders.



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 Post subject: Re: Revamped trading
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:52 am 
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The way to revamp trading is to throw out the way hold space is calculated and come up with something more logical. The amount of hold space shouldn't be logrithmic. It makes for some insane hold numbers. This ruins any easy changes to the trading system.

The amount of hold space should increase a SET amount per tech level. This way you don't see things like billions of hold space at higher tech levels. Then we can make some better modifications to commodity prices and amounts stored on ports. You won't have a large cargo ship wipe out a port with one pass as you can do now.



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 Post subject: Re: Revamped trading
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 9:37 pm 
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As it stands you're not really getting a good return on investment in hulls at any point beyond 250 or so. The logarithmic scale benefits traders earlier because of the focused investment in hulls, but hurts later as that investment becomes prohibitively expensive. At 350 Hulls you can make billions each turn, but it costs 6.5 trillion to go to the next level. That's more than a day's worth of turns trading at level 350. A builder can make 6t no sweat.

Changing to a linear scale you'll still have to make it scale exponentially to balance against everything else, though.
If you're gaining a flat 1000 hull per tech level, for example, the cost will have to change to keep things balanced. However, setting costs too low will just put a ceiling on trading as players jump up to 600 hull excelsiors and can't do any better. Increasing the profit margins on ports won't help either, as it imbalances the early game. Trading would become even more profitable early on and eventually taper off at some point where building takes over.

Not to mention it would radically change colonising planets.

You're running so many aspects of the game on a logarithmic scale that you can't really switch to a linear and expect it to stay relevant throughout the game. The cost and capacity need to be properly balanced against the profits earned from building and trading. You need hold space to colonise planets quickly as well as trade, but once a planet is colonised, it makes so much more than just trading does. Profit margins at ports are really your only modifier beyond that, but they're going to be global unless you create different commodities that only trade to certain levels, or something like that.


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 Post subject: Re: Revamped trading
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:50 pm 
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Actually, the big imbalance with trading vs. planet building is coming from the planetary credit production multiplier. That's what causes planets to outstrip trading by such a huge margin as time goes on.

Fair enough if you want to minimise port wiping, but you've already set the scene by having giant maximums for colonists on planets. Builders now rely on throwing down millions of colonists to a planet. It already requires a trade route between colonist ports to planet or planet to planet to do efficiently, since doing it by hand with a 250-300 hull vessel takes ages. Reducing hull capacity would make that worse.

You can increase port commodity maximums again to prevent port wiping, or reduce hold space AND cut back on the colonist maximum, whilst increasing the productivity of each colonist in line with the change. Again, though, you'd also need to increase the profit margin on port trading to compensate for the reduction in hull size, which would make trading too profitable early on.


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