Secondary markets

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spara
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Secondary markets

Post by spara »

New version of Oolite requires every single secondary market to be redefined and I've been spending a lot of time in thinking how the markets should be in OXPs I'm currently maintaining. Since this is a trunk thing, I have received a very little feedback.

So I would like to hear some opinions about the secondary markets, their pricing and especially their capacity. The basis of my reasoning has been that in trunk the main stations now have a capacity of 127 per commodity and hermits have a capacity of 31 for mining products, 15 for edibles, 7 for mining equipment and clothing and 3 for others. From that I have gathered that the capacity for a big marketplace should be 127 and for a small 15 - 31.

Things to ponder are flavour and economical balance. For example, how big should the market of a space bar be? It's positioning makes trading at Anarchies quite a bit easier and safer and it's physically smaller than the main stations are. So the market should in my opinion be smaller than the main station's. Then there's the flavour. Why is there a market? The main function of the station is to gather bounty hunters and give them work to do. Market is a secondary function. It's probably fysically quite small and mainly for selling loot from assassinations. There's a lot of assumptions there naturally. So in the end I settled for the capacity of 15 and keeping the pricing original. Bounty hunters can still sell at least some of their booty when taking another job and maybe even do some profit. On the other hand the Space Bar is hopefully more balanced now.

So what do people think, is this a good thing or not? Should the hermits be the only drastically limited stations? Is it a good thing to try to balance the economical impact by limiting the capacity of the secondary stations in-game or is it just more "fun" to multiply the markets in-system? Multiplying is dead simple, trying to make some balancing/flavouring adjustments is hard.

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Alex
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Re: Secondary markets

Post by Alex »

On thinking about it. I would recon that the space bars being a conduit to the black market would have a larger capacity and much more varied pricing.
What was stolen yesterday has to be moved today type thing.
Rock hermits and mining facilities should have an abundance of what they are mining, more than the official station. Maybe even a min quantity for purchase?
Where else do you buy in bulk but at the source.
Just a thought.
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Re: Secondary markets

Post by Imaginos »

Alex wrote: Rock hermits and mining facilities should have an abundance of what they are mining, more than the official station. Maybe even a min quantity for purchase?
Where else do you buy in bulk but at the source.
Just a thought.
That's a very good point Alex.

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Re: Secondary markets

Post by Smivs »

The state of secondary markets has been a complete disaster up to now, and it's really good to see a sensible approach to resolving these issues (despite what others have said elsewhere!).
I personally favour minimalism generally, and feel that most secondary markets need reducing or even removing, as these can really skew the game. I also strongly believe that extra stations should respect the TL of a system.
Some places (bars, casinos etc) really shouldn't have a market as such - In real life I don't expect to buy a load of furs at my local pub, or sell a consignment of radioactives to the local gambling den.
Trade is what main stations (and any equivalent secondary station) are for, so this is where the markets should be concentrated, and as has been pointed out places like Hermits would be expected to have lots of minerals/ores etc for sale, but I wouldn't expect to find computers for sale there, or expect to sell them many Alien Items.
No system is perfect, but this approach is sensible and thought-through and could be the best solution to a long-standing flaw in the game.
Good work! :)
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Re: Secondary markets

Post by Cody »

The commodity markets (1.82) at rock hermits are my only complaint about the core game!

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Day
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Re: Secondary markets

Post by Day »

Thinking aloud (well, awrite at least)...

About flavour and size of markets, generally the size of a market is directly inversely linked to the overcost there is in that market.

<long introduction>
For example, with tax as an overcost: a market without tax will grow at the expense of a market with taxes.
Another example, with lack of security as an overcost: implementing its own security costs money, so a market with a good security will grow at the expense of a market with bad security.

When you have a market with low overcost, it will continuously grow at the expense of others, even if there is nothing else at this location; no producer, no final customer. For examples irl, the united arab emirates are a hub, and shadow banking is constantly increasing too.
</long introduction>

So...
In fact, oolite market size is totally unbalanced compared to the ooniverse size. Markets should be immensely bigger.

What's the handwavium to explain this?

The only one I can see is strong protectionism between the planets and their stations, which would explain the rarity of goods in space.

Lack of space is not a good reason: structures in space may be built from a station, with a cost proportional to their surface and a profitability proportional to their volume; so there should be lots and lots of space warehouses.

If a strong protectionism was happening, then a space mafia king mining asteroids would become very quickly immensely rich, and the black market would be the main market, which isn't currently officially the case.

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Re: Secondary markets

Post by Disembodied »

Day wrote:What's the handwavium to explain this?
Well, given that economics and handwavium are more or less synonymous anyway ;) ... it should be remembered that what you see on offer in any market doesn't represent the totality of goods being traded: it's the totality of goods that are available at that moment, to you. I make the assumption that the very large bulk of interstellar trade is carried by major shipping lines, contracted ahead of time and plying regular routes. The player is an independent small trader (even if they're flying an Anaconda, it's still just one ship). We're feeding on the scraps that fall from the big boys' table.

There are also perhaps different types of protectionism at play - environmental as well as economic. Nobody is prepared to freely expose their ecosystem to uncontrolled exoplanet imports (and undoubtedly the big boys will be exercising economic protectionism as well).

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Re: Secondary markets

Post by Day »

it should be remembered that what you see on offer in any market doesn't represent the totality of goods being traded: it's the totality of goods that are available at that moment, to you. I make the assumption that the very large bulk of interstellar trade is carried by major shipping lines, contracted ahead of time and plying regular routes. The player is an independent small trader (even if they're flying an Anaconda, it's still just one ship). We're feeding on the scraps that fall from the big boys' table.
I like this explanation! I'd like to see it in-game :)

Hmm... this could mean the size of market could grow along your reputation/size as a trader...

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Re: Secondary markets

Post by Wildeblood »

Day wrote:In fact, oolite market size is totally unbalanced compared to the ooniverse size. Markets should be immensely bigger.
This is the first sensible remark I've seen about the markets.

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Re: Secondary markets

Post by Switeck »

Day wrote:In fact, oolite market size is totally unbalanced compared to the ooniverse size. Markets should be immensely bigger.
Disembodied wrote:I make the assumption that the very large bulk of interstellar trade is carried by major shipping lines, contracted ahead of time and plying regular routes. The player is an independent small trader (even if they're flying an Anaconda, it's still just one ship). We're feeding on the scraps that fall from the big boys' table.
Trade is obviously restricted because despite appearances ships are rare.
While stations could become bigger and more numerous, they are extremely costly and their standard docking port sets a pretty hard limit on ship size.
The rate at which ships can dock and launch from stations sets up a reasonable limit on how much trade a system can have -- although it's far higher than seen normally.
Ship convoys are tiny -- the biggest normally seen is only 7 ships -- a single Anaconda freighter and 6 Cobra 1 fighter escorts.
Escorts are presumably in short supply where they're needed most...and viewed as unwanted expenses if maintained elsewhere.
But even that 7 ship limit could be 3 freighters and 4 escorts.

If convoys grew significantly larger, piracy would cease to exist in almost all systems. Most places, would-be pirates wouldn't even TRY to attack convoys. The few (anarchy?) systems pirates remained active in might have pirates organizing at a scale that could take on even huge convoys. This would resort in an arms race of sorts...until whole systems and/or nation-states intervened as direct acts of war to fight piracy. Pirate concentrations would end up being reduced, quite a few ships would be destroyed, and systems where that happened have more unstable governments even a few years later. System conquest might just be an added bonus for some such forces, so there might be rules discouraging this. "You do this, we won't trade with you for a year."

Status quo would be whatever equilibrium forms after a few centuries of feast-and-famine.

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Re: Secondary markets

Post by ClymAngus »

The needs of secondary markets are fairly specific. It requires someone stepping back and thinking what do these people have a lot of that needs shifting and what do they need a lot of that they don't currently have? I like the idea of secondary markets, the restricted tech issue is a bit of a problem through logically. You can simply fly high tech parts into a low tech world. That said it's all down to which secondary market we're talking about here.

so who would have a lot of what? Casinos lots of cash and valuables (I'm surprised pirates don't rob them) short on liquor and food.

military: Would need replacement parts, radioactives . Would be collecting a sh*t ton of scrap.

so yeah it's a bit of a process but the buy what you don't have and sell that which you have in abundance would lead to a more "real" feel to this.

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Re: Secondary markets

Post by Day »

I'd like to see proof of existence in-game of the main big players :p
Trade is obviously restricted because despite appearances ships are rare.
Well, I don't see how the handwavium would explain this one.
While stations could become bigger and more numerous, they are extremely costly and their standard docking port sets a pretty hard limit on ship size.
Nope, station makers would develop standard ways to load cargo independently from ship size; like we do irl to load trucks, independently from trucks size.
Escorts are presumably in short supply where they're needed most...and viewed as unwanted expenses if maintained elsewhere.
Interesting. The cost of security is a good reason to have a small flow of transit.

I take it the 7 ships convoy limit you speak of is an in-game limitation?
If convoys grew significantly larger, piracy would cease to exist in almost all systems. Most places, would-be pirates wouldn't even TRY to attack convoys. The few (anarchy?) systems pirates remained active in might have pirates organizing at a scale that could take on even huge convoys. This would resort in an arms race of sorts...until whole systems and/or nation-states intervened as direct acts of war to fight piracy. Pirate concentrations would end up being reduced, quite a few ships would be destroyed, and systems where that happened have more unstable governments even a few years later. System conquest might just be an added bonus for some such forces, so there might be rules discouraging this. "You do this, we won't trade with you for a year."
Totally.

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Re: Secondary markets

Post by Disembodied »

The main function of the in-game economy is to maximise the amount of player enjoyment. To that end, too many opportunities for the player to make a quick buck would, I think, remove a part of the challenge of the game and diminish the fun (also, you have to wonder what sort of business, let alone what sort of military, depends on independent traders turning up with stuff they need on the offchance).

What I think might be interesting would be if certain types of passenger or parcel contracts could be obtained from certain types of secondary stations. The main station would handle the more mundane stuff - e.g. a rep from Edible Moths, Inc. needs to get to a sales conference on X - but contracts along the lines of Shady Type Seeks Fast Ship, Ask No Questions And I'll Tell You No Lies would be much more likely to be found in rock hermits and the like.

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Re: Secondary markets

Post by Cody »

Disembodied wrote: contracts along the lines of Ask No Questions And I'll Tell You No Lies would be much more likely to be found in rock hermits and the like.
That's something I'd dearly like to see - dubious/dangerous parcel contracts occasionally available from rock hermits.

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Re: Secondary markets

Post by Norby »

Cody wrote:dangerous parcel contracts occasionally available from rock hermits.
Like a timed q-bomb what you must deliver in time, else... ;)

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