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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 12:52 pm 
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A further thought on the above: this could also make piracy more profitable. A lot of the time, pirates would pick up salt fish (so to speak); but every now and then, they might get a jackpot and stumble on a ship carrying a really high-value cargo, nearing the end of its run. This would allow for e.g. a network of information: such-and-such a ship, laden with [juicy cargo x] is outward bound from System A and probably heading for System Y. If you can intercept the ship and steal its cargo, you can make serious money.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 2:48 pm 
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Here's one possible way of going onward within the current game framework.

_Main_stations_

* Expand cargo contracts to include more smaller shipments.
* Contracted cargo is somehow differentiated from salvaged cargo.
* If cargo is lost in transit, the fee is cut down by percentage. Lost cargo cannot be replaced.
* Prevent buying from commodities market. Only salvaged cargo can be sold at very low price. I would assume that each crate has been sealed, marked and insured by the sender. A contract can only be filled with those specific crates. Insurance companies pay a small reward for salvaged crates.

_Rock_hermits_

* Keep them as before, the commodities market and everything. Kind of a black market thing.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 3:29 pm 
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Here's one possible way of going onward within the current game framework.

_Main_stations_

* Expand cargo contracts to include more smaller shipments.
* Contracted cargo is somehow differentiated from salvaged cargo.
* If cargo is lost in transit, the fee is cut down by percentage. Lost cargo cannot be replaced.
* Prevent buying from commodities market. Only salvaged cargo can be sold at very low price. I would assume that each crate has been sealed, marked and insured by the sender. A contract can only be filled with those specific crates. Insurance companies pay a small reward for salvaged crates.

_Rock_hermits_

* Keep them as before, the commodities market and everything. Kind of a black market thing.
Interesting - and I like the idea of Rock Hermits as black markets, no questions asked!

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 4:14 pm 
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Rock hermits as black markets? There's a surprise!

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 4:44 pm 
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That removes the critical genre defining feature from the game: the open sandbox nature of trading that allows the player to discover the system themselves.
I agree.
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A test version could probably be OXP'd, if players testing the concept were prepared to just forego the commodities market. There would need to be lots more transport contracts on offer, with lots of small, local jobs.
I would support an OXP like this and I do think it would be interesting to test. It just doesn't fit in with my preferred style of play.
Quote:
it's all about buying a commodity from planet A, taking it one jump over to planet B, and selling it. Even if you then buy a different commodity and take it one jump over to planet C, it's all still ridiculously close-range and short-term.
Salt-fish trading.
Quote:
spice merchants could hope for tremendous profits
80,000 cr parcel contracts.
Quote:
If there could be classes of items (e.g. [exotic spices]) that certain planets produced, and certain other planets paid big money for
The way I see it it already does this, Wine, Beer, Spirits, Ale, Gin, and Evil Juice are all in the liquor/wines 'class' Statues, Modern Art, Perfumes, Spices, Coffee, and Scratching Posts are all in the luxury 'class'. You are going to do away with liquor/wines and luxuries as commodities anyway right?
Quote:
A further thought on the above: this could also make piracy more profitable.
Will the player have time to go wandering about looking for ships to pirate or constrictors? Seems to me like the player will always be on a route and schedule.
Quote:
Lost cargo cannot be replaced.
I think this will make players tend to avoid battle.
Quote:
_Rock_hermits_

* Keep them as before, the commodities market and everything. Kind of a black market thing.
I do like this idea although if salvage value is too low it might be pointless.

How do you address the system of paying off pirates with a few pods of cargo if you get penalized for lost contracted cargo and have to find a rock hermit to even purchase salvage cargo to pay them with. Such a system would make me question if the pirates were getting the information about my such and such ship from the company hiring me to transport the goods.
Perhaps I read too much Andrea Norton when I was a kid.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 5:17 pm 
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*starts another new run*
"Right. Time to take this seriously."
*sells missiles and pulse laser at Lave. Fills hold with L/W*
*jumps to Zaonce - corporate state*
...
*gets jumped by a THARGOID WARSHIP while 2/3 the way to the planet*

O-okay.

I am starting to think my install is witchspace-haunted. :lol:


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 5:33 pm 
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it's all about buying a commodity from planet A, taking it one jump over to planet B, and selling it. Even if you then buy a different commodity and take it one jump over to planet C, it's all still ridiculously close-range and short-term.
Salt-fish trading.
This got me thinking. Is there actually any real problem in the game? Is it just the way people look at it and should something be done about that instead. What Stormrider says, could the commodity market system be seen as just salt-fish trading. It's there only to help the player get enough credits to get the essential equipment. After that the game would change and it's all about contracting, passengeering and parceling. The current game with it's legacy layout of things emphasizes commodity markets. It's got a function button of it's own where as contracting is just one item in interfaces. Maybe something should be done to that instead of radical changes to the as a whole.
Quote:
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Lost cargo cannot be replaced.
I think this will make players tend to avoid battle... and other good points.
Again it's a mindset thing. I was thinking about the spice fleets that sailed those dangerous waters and no-one expected that the whole shipment would arrive the destination. The fee would have to take that into consideration. In practice it would need to be higher than now.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 5:44 pm 
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spice merchants could hope for tremendous profits
80,000 cr parcel contracts.
But parcel contracts leave your hold available for trading as you go: I'd want to see something where you fill your hold with [exotic cargo A], and ship it, long distance, to somewhere far away. The cargo would get progressively more valuable (with qualifiers, based on planet economy, wealth, population, etc.) the further the player took it. There would be an element of judgement involved: do you cash in your cargo now, or risk taking it on to a further system where it might be worth more still?
Quote:
Quote:
If there could be classes of items (e.g. [exotic spices]) that certain planets produced, and certain other planets paid big money for
The way I see it it already does this, Wine, Beer, Spirits, Ale, Gin, and Evil Juice are all in the liquor/wines 'class' Statues, Modern Art, Perfumes, Spices, Coffee, and Scratching Posts are all in the luxury 'class'. You are going to do away with liquor/wines and luxuries as commodities anyway right?
That's part-way there, but I'd have the game generate commodity names randomly (with, perhaps, some built-in "core" ones drawn from F7 descriptions), e.g. Usanat Blue Marigold Wine ([origin:Usanat] [description1:Blue] [description2:Marigold] [subclass:Wine], all part of the "Liquor & Wines" class). The price offered to the player would be cooked up on the fly, based on the planet's economy and wealth, and the commodity's class, modified by subclass, descriptor(s) (you might just have Usanat Wine, or Usanat Blue Wine, etc.), and distance to origin. So some planets might be keen on Blue Wine, and even more keen on Blue Marigold Wine - or possibly less keen, if "Marigold" is a negative. But distance from point of origin would also make a big difference.

I wouldn't get rid of Liquor & Wines as a class, or Luxuries either (although a lot of food, wine, etc. would be "luxuries", it's a good catch-all class for "miscellaneous").

This is a lot of work, of course!
Quote:
Quote:
A further thought on the above: this could also make piracy more profitable.
Will the player have time to go wandering about looking for ships to pirate or constrictors? Seems to me like the player will always be on a route and schedule.
If the player is a trader, they'd be on a schedule. If they're a pirate, they won't be (or, rather, they might be buying information, and actively hunting down merchantmen with lucrative cargoes). Piracy would be more of a career and less of a hobby. :)
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How do you address the system of paying off pirates with a few pods of cargo if you get penalized for lost contracted cargo and have to find a rock hermit to even purchase salvage cargo to pay them with. Such a system would make me question if the pirates were getting the information about my such and such ship from the company hiring me to transport the goods.
Perhaps I read too much Andrea Norton when I was a kid.
I wouldn't say "penalised", I'd say, "receive reduced earnings" - like you do at the moment, if you have to drop cargo. The people paying you to ship the goods know it's a dangerous galaxy, and while they won't be happy, they are prepared to accept a certain amount of wastage (within limits, and too much wastage will impact negatively on the player's reputation). (Ninja'd, to an extent, by Spara!)

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Oofiction: Calliope: a Captain Hesperus adventure | Stranglehold: a Captain Hesperus adventure | Local Midnight in the Vacuum Bar | A Farewell to Arms, Legs, etc.: the Blaze O'Glory Story


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 5:47 pm 
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Salt-fish trading.
This got me thinking. Is there actually any real problem in the game? Is it just the way people look at it and should something be done about that instead. What Stormrider says, could the commodity market system be seen as just salt-fish trading. It's there only to help the player get enough credits to get the essential equipment. After that the game would change and it's all about contracting, passengeering and parceling. The current game with it's legacy layout of things emphasizes commodity markets. It's got a function button of it's own where as contracting is just one item in interfaces. Maybe something should be done to that instead of radical changes to the as a whole.
A good point … although there would need to be some good reason to push people away from the one-hop shuttle trade and towards the contracts. A more logarithmic scale of upgrade costs and maintenance charges, maybe?

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Oofiction: Calliope: a Captain Hesperus adventure | Stranglehold: a Captain Hesperus adventure | Local Midnight in the Vacuum Bar | A Farewell to Arms, Legs, etc.: the Blaze O'Glory Story


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 5:50 pm 
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*gets jumped by a THARGOID WARSHIP while 2/3 the way to the planet*
<chortles> That'll be the cosmic dice - you gotta roll 'em right. Like the Rollright Stones, perhaps - time for a musical interlude!

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 7:37 pm 
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Quote:
Quote:
Salt-fish trading.
This got me thinking. Is there actually any real problem in the game? Is it just the way people look at it and should something be done about that instead. What Stormrider says, could the commodity market system be seen as just salt-fish trading. It's there only to help the player get enough credits to get the essential equipment. After that the game would change and it's all about contracting, passengeering and parceling. The current game with it's legacy layout of things emphasizes commodity markets. It's got a function button of it's own where as contracting is just one item in interfaces. Maybe something should be done to that instead of radical changes to the as a whole.
A good point … although there would need to be some good reason to push people away from the one-hop shuttle trade and towards the contracts. A more logarithmic scale of upgrade costs and maintenance charges, maybe?
Or the capacities of all commodity markets could be halved. This would need to be balanced with a better selection of cargo contracts. Especially small quantity contracts.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 10:48 pm 
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The trail thus far appears to be leading somewhere more logical, somewhere more complex but I'm not convinced it is becoming more fun.

(Long post but with several simple suggestions)

What would be fun elements in trading?
  • Difficulty?
  • Realism?
  • Complexity?
How about these:
  • Risk?
  • Relevance?
  • Variety?
The two lists could almost be twins and yet I'd suggest that the second one is much more fun.

Looking at them in turn.

Risk

Risk is only fun with reward and of course therin lies a balancing act.

Where was the risk in elite? Well it was mostly in the journey to get the goods to a trading station in the first place (at least until a pilot had learned how to dock easily), beyond that there was the option of trading in illegal goods.

What options might we have here? Of the three illegal goods, I don't ever recall trading in firearms - is it particularly profitable? I've toyed with making radioactives (for example) illegal to import into some systems (but with greater rewards for those who do). Something that the core game doesn't really accommodate here is smuggling.

Suggestion:
Imagine a bribe system where for a small fee or percentage the authorities turn a blind eye; the more lawless the system, the more likely the bribe will be successful (risk balancing reward). If you're found out then insted of offender status you become fugitive, but if not found out you can remain clean.

What about the legal trader? Well, having computers destroyed in combat might make them a riskier cargo than say machinery, but that's pretty minor when you're shipping several cannisters.

Suggestion:
Simpler still is to have rich cargoes attract more pirates. If they know you stocked up with food on your first trip out of Lave then they might likely decide not to bother (Leave him alone. I'll bet he hasn't even got an escape pod we can ransom... And why shouldn't pirates be able to ransom escape pods? - it ought to be more lucrative than selling them as slaves...

Relevance

It's nice if you care about your cargo or feel that it is something that might be important to someone. Such things are pretty clear with contracts, otherwise your first few shipments will be important because of the financial investment they represent. "Don't trade expensive trivia to a hungry world", so says the elite manual but it's not really something that's reflected in game.

Suggestion:
If a planets needs tied in more to its descriptive text rather than its tech level or its economy then we have story elements already. Those banana plantations make food cheaper than expected (and if I buy some food then I don't need the game to tell me that it's likely bananas), whilst a love of food blenders might make luxuries or machinery more expensive and civil war make firearms more valuable. These are potential story elements already present in the game.

I think there's a lot of room for improvement here but I'm not convinced that it would be provided by a more realistic economic model.

Variety

This, I consider, is where the current trading experience (note that I'm differentiating from trading model here) is most lacking. You can pick up very predictable goods from one planet and sell them at a very predictable profit to another and then do a similar reverse journey back to the exact same planet, ad infinitum. Contracts are great in that they encourage the player to explore but they might be little restrictive/tough for the new pilot. Contracts also add strategy in that you can choose your route: quickest, shortest or safest.

Suggestion:
Here's a very simple idea. What if the market screen didn't refresh every time you returned to the system?
By the time you've shipped those 64 cannisters of computers from zaonce to isinoreus there just aren't any left for a lone-wolf trader like yourself - you've already purchased your maximun allocation. You will be eligable for another allocation but not for some time. As a beginner, by the time you've shipped that lot, you've likely already made quite a profit as a trader, certainly enough to upgrade your ship significantly. And now you're encoraged to move on, perhaps one day to return to that familiar trade route you know so well?

Too player centric? Depends how you think of it - if it's a personal allocation of goods available to you as a visitor then the low numbers available make sense and the fact it might look like no other traders have visited is due to their receiveing independant allocations.

Well at least the player is now moving (and after only a few runs in a fully stocked MkIII) but what about the variety of goods chosen?

The randomisation element I suggested up thread might be useful here - where you know which goods will make a profit but not necessarily which one will make the most. Two of the other suggestions in this post (richer cargoes attracting more pirates and a planet's descriptive text affecting prices) would also increase variety without introducing much in the way of complexity.

I consider these suggestions to be quite simple (some especially so) and that that is likely a virtue. There's so much stuff that sounds great until you have to do it for the hundreth time...

I hope that's some food for thought.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 3:18 am 
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I hesitate to mention one of my own OXP's for fear of having my post labelled as a shameless plug ( :D ), but here goes...
Quote:
What options might we have here? Of the three illegal goods, I don't ever recall trading in firearms - is it particularly profitable? I've toyed with making radioactives (for example) illegal to import into some systems (but with greater rewards for those who do). Something that the core game doesn't really accommodate here is smuggling.
Quote:
Imagine a bribe system where for a small fee or percentage the authorities turn a blind eye;
Both of these items are addressed to a certain degree in [EliteWiki] Smugglers. The success of the implementation is obviously open to question, but it does make trading a bit more interesting by having any of the trade goods become illegal to import. There is also the possibility of bribing the docking officials to escape a bounty, smuggling compartments for getting illegal cargo into systems undetected, black markets and smuggling cargo contracts.

If you like, this could be considered my take on some of the issues being addressed here.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 2:08 pm 
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Quote:
What would be fun elements in trading?
  • Difficulty?
  • Realism?
  • Complexity?
How about these:
  • Risk?
  • Relevance?
  • Variety?
The two lists could almost be twins and yet I'd suggest that the second one is much more fun.
Definitely!
Quote:
What options might we have here? Of the three illegal goods, I don't ever recall trading in firearms - is it particularly profitable? I've toyed with making radioactives (for example) illegal to import into some systems (but with greater rewards for those who do). Something that the core game doesn't really accommodate here is smuggling.

Suggestion:
Imagine a bribe system where for a small fee or percentage the authorities turn a blind eye; the more lawless the system, the more likely the bribe will be successful (risk balancing reward). If you're found out then insted of offender status you become fugitive, but if not found out you can remain clean.
Good idea. It would also require making the illegal goods the most profitable items, because of the greater risks involved. The current profits on Slaves and Firearms are so small that they're not worth trading in.
Quote:
What about the legal trader? Well, having computers destroyed in combat might make them a riskier cargo than say machinery, but that's pretty minor when you're shipping several cannisters.

Suggestion:
Simpler still is to have rich cargoes attract more pirates. If they know you stocked up with food on your first trip out of Lave then they might likely decide not to bother (Leave him alone. I'll bet he hasn't even got an escape pod we can ransom... And why shouldn't pirates be able to ransom escape pods? - it ought to be more lucrative than selling them as slaves...
Again, a good idea. This would work well with taking commodities further = higher profits: each jump you make adds value to your cargo, but increases the chances of meeting pirates who are specifically hunting for you. Perhaps this could be modified: each time the player docks, the chance of attracting pirate attention goes up by 10%; if they jump without docking, it only goes up by 5% (or some similar set of numbers). There could even be an increase based on the amount of time the player stays in a station, for e.g. repairs - the longer you hang about, the more likely it is that someone will find out about your lucrative cargo and probable next system.
Quote:
I think there's a lot of room for improvement here but I'm not convinced that it would be provided by a more realistic economic model.
Absolutely: I'm in favour of ditching any attempt to make a "realistic economic model" (personally, I think the words "realistic" and "economic" don't really ever belong in the same sentence ;)).
Quote:
Variety

This, I consider, is where the current trading experience (note that I'm differentiating from trading model here) is most lacking. You can pick up very predictable goods from one planet and sell them at a very predictable profit to another and then do a similar reverse journey back to the exact same planet, ad infinitum. Contracts are great in that they encourage the player to explore but they might be little restrictive/tough for the new pilot. Contracts also add strategy in that you can choose your route: quickest, shortest or safest.
Long contracts would be tough for new pilots - there would need to be plenty of low-profit, short-run, one-jump contracts on offer, too. Starting at Lave, beginning players would find contracts offering 40Cr to haul 15TCs of Laveian Gripwood Leaves to Zaonce, or 45 Cr to take 12TCs of Laveian Moon Mushrooms to Leesti, or 150Cr to haul 4 TCs of Laveian Pignut Oil to Riedquat … etc. etc. Small amounts of cargo would be riskier to take than large amounts: if the player has to drop something to feed pirates, and accept a lower payment for partial delivery, then it's better to take a larger cargo to ensure that at least you're delivering something!

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Oofiction: Calliope: a Captain Hesperus adventure | Stranglehold: a Captain Hesperus adventure | Local Midnight in the Vacuum Bar | A Farewell to Arms, Legs, etc.: the Blaze O'Glory Story


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 4:57 pm 
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Cargo contract could definitely co-exist with "free form trade". I don't think it's possible to remove the F8 screen. And I want, too, to be able to do normal trade without time limits and without having to make difficult choices. I don't mind if it barely covers the fuel costs (and the docking fee). Generic cargo, low risk, low benefit. Furthermore, it can still serve as "pocket money" when doing contracts.

So nerf the free trade market and buff the cargo contract market. Famous Planets sometimes talk about the speciality of the planet. I propose that most planets have their own speciality, for which there's demand throughout the galaxy (sector). Hence the cargo contract market.


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