View Full Version : Space Setting: Economy

08-08-2011, 04:38 PM
This is the second part of my blog on the cool, dynamic setting in our upcoming space action RPG. In this blog I'm going to talk about the economy in the game.

In our previous games there really wasn't much of an economy other than finding lots of loot and selling to the vendors who have infinite gold (DoP was slightly different). This is fairly typical of RPGs in general. In our space game though this going to be different by necessity since all of the races are competing against one another. They can't just have an infinite amount of credits and items to provide to the player. It just wouldn't make any sense.

So what kind of resources are we talking about? Well in this game I believe we are going keep it relatively simple and have just food, minerals, technology, and credits. Most of the time the player will only care about the credits part though.

Each planet that a race controls generates food, minerals, technology, and credits for that race. Planets can vary quite a bit. They have different types from inferno up to paradise, sizes from tiny to huge, and can even have bonuses like fertile, mineral rich, and gold deposits. In other words you can have great planets, worthless planets, and anything in between. Food and minerals are a local resource, meaning that only the planet that gathered the resource can use them unless a freighter takes them somewhere else. Technology and credits goes to the races' accounts.

Food greatly effects the planet's population growth. Too little food and the population starts dying off. Any extra food helps the population grows, the more the better. If a planet has so much food that they can't get any more population growth or they have maxed their population, they can use freighters to bring the extra to a more food starved colony.

Minerals are used to construct buildings and space ships.

Technology controls what components and buildings the various races know how to build. It will also likely add bonuses here and there once researched.

Credits are used for pretty much everything else. The player might be able to haul food and minerals around and some times find or trade technology, but credits usually are what they will deal with directly. Quest rewards will be in credits and buying and selling will be in credits.

So how does this effect the player? Well you can't sell an infinite amount of goods to any specific race, they will eventually run out of credits. Although they might very well turn around and use the items that you just sold them. The different races also might have resource problems here and there and ask their nearby friendly mercenary for help. You can even handicap an enemy race by destroying an important colony of theirs. Think of how much damage you can do when a race has a main food planet.

With an actual economy this leaves a lot of room for quests that are real requests filling a specific need that actually matters if you accomplish it or not. It also allows the player a lot of room to effect the outcome of the galactic space race on what they do from little things like selling items to an ally or from big things like destroying colonies of enemies.

08-09-2011, 10:37 AM
Sounds great. I think the main thing to watch out for is players manipulating the AI too easily. It sounds like taking out a food-producing planet can devastate an AI. You could take out any AIs that give you trouble, making the game too open for manipulation.

In general, I don't think any player actions should be able to make huge changes like that. All changes should be incremental so they can't be abused.

Some ideas for balancing this out:
- If you destroy a food producing planet, the particular AI can still buy food (at a loss) from the other races.
- Weakening a particular race could be a double-edged sword. That civilization will be weaker, but other civs will fill in the vacuum. Once civs get stronger, they feel like they need shady mercenaries less, so they'll be less friendly towards you.

In fact, this last idea might be a good mechanism in general, and an incentive for the player to 'fight the power'. Large civs have stronger weapons and armies, so they don't really need the service of mercenaries. But they do have a lot more resources, and messing with them is risky. Small civs need mercenaries to help them fight the bigger fish in the pond. So you'll always have a reason to help the little guys, but if you help one particular little guy too much, there's a good chance they'll grow big and stab you in the back. This is also a really good incentive for the player to *want* to make only small, incremental changes in the galactic balance. You could then offer the players some very difficult quests that would essentially mix up the balance in the galaxy, but the player will soon realize that such crap shoots, albeit fun, are more dangerous to their own health than they're worth.

08-09-2011, 11:19 AM
It could give them a lot of trouble if they really are relying a lot on that particular planet. However if you are wrong you might have just made a powerful enemy. They control an empire, you control just one ship. How many systems did you just make much more dangerous for yourself?

I do like the idea that the smaller races will want your help more than the bigger races. It makes sense and is a force that tries to auto balance the power a little.

08-13-2011, 05:19 PM
...You know, one thought that keeps hitting me is the idea of "pirate mini-civilizations": Independent planets that don't actually produce any food, but make for staging points against freighter routes. These pirate civilizations survive primarily by exploiting trade routes: Raiding freighters, stealing the resources, and bringing them back to their planet to encourage more production and more freighter raids, making them stronger and more dangerous as they get more time.

Is this going to be a possibility? I realize it's too early in production to tell, but I felt I should ask.

08-15-2011, 08:11 AM
Pirates that actually hold planets and use captured ships as money to further their pirating would be interesting. I'm not sure how feasible it will be, but definitely interesting.

08-15-2011, 11:14 AM
Trying to wipe them out would also be interesting....

08-15-2011, 12:14 PM
sounds like this is gonna be an interesting game...definitely interested to see it!