[MUD-Dev] Economic Growth (Was: [STORY] Story and population size)

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Thu Dec 13 13:03:33 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

In <URL:/archives/meow?group+local.muddev> on Wed 12 Dec, Travis Nixon wrote:
> From: "Koster, Raph" <rkoster at soe.sony.com>

I am trying not to get involved into the actual argument here,
seeing that my expertise is hardly economy :) Now if we were talking
about constructing buildings I might be able to con- tribute
something meaningfull.

> Of course, then comes the argument used in the simulated ecosystem
> threads, because obviously that many NPCs cannot (at this time,
> anyway) be placed in the world, so the masses would have to be
> simulated.  And the argument goes: "Why bother with a simulation
> when you can just come up with something much similar that looks
> the same on the outside?"

The question of course remains how, and how much, you simulate
things. Do it entirely artificially with spawn points, area re- sets
and so on. Or do you want to do it a bit more gradual, and perhaps
more natural looking?

>  And of course, there's really no reason not > to do just that.
>  Fluctuate prices.  Make some things "go out of > style".  Create
>  fads.  Of course, doing it that way creates problems > of its
>  own.  For example, you can't just fluctuate randomly, or > you've
>  created a neverending money fountain,

I am not sure if I see why the one would lead to the second?

> unless the fluctuations are smaller than the transaction cost
> (which is another term I'm probably just making up to mean the
> difference between buying and selling).

I think that is called the profit margin, but I might be mistaken

>  Of course, a little bit of that is interesting to players > who
>  want to be traders and merchants.  The biggest problem in my >
>  eyes though, is that players never see the reason for things.
>  They > never see (or hear about) all the kids playing with the
>  hula hoops > they found.  They may see the price go sky high and
>  then drop, but > they don't know why.  Of course, you could do
>  that sort of thing in > your "simpler than simulation" but then
>  you're really approaching > what I'm talking about by simulation
>  anyway. :)

There is a fairly simple solution to this dilemma, and one that
would tie in nicely with both the simulation and with making the
game "feel" more natural to the players.  Rather than having either
the entire population simulated or none, why not place a few token
'people' in the game.  They represent the masses that should be
there, but are actually simulated by the game.  Then prior to
raising the price of hula hoops you could just equip a few more
children in the city with them, and see if the smart player picks up
the new fad -before- it hits so she can stock in advance, and make
the best use of the increase in price.  Other, less perceptive,
players can still go out and find, or manufacture, a few hoops and
sell those for the inflated price to make a quick profit but have
less time to take advantage of it.  At the same time the attentive
tailor could realise that the colour red seems to be increasingly
popular with the city's housewifes and think it a good idea to get a
larger stock of the dye.

Stretching the simulation a bit, but why not have these token people
actually go out to shops and buy things there?  It would make sense
if they would go out to the baker and the butcher to buy their
evening meals every few days.  And go to the tailor to fetch
themselves a new dress and clean shirt for the annual fes tival of
the city.  Certainly no huge sales, but they both could give flavour
to the game, to the impression that the city is in fact active (and
not a passive stage for the players) and give the game staff a
subtle means to influence the game and players.

I do not think this is overly difficult to program, even with the
current, apparently lacking, state of affairs (not that I am capable
to make even a remotely informed guess about that).

Yes - at last - You. I Choose you. Out of all the world,
out of all the seeking, I have found you, young sister of
my heart! You are mine and I am yours - and never again
will there be loneliness ...

Rolan Choosing Talia,
Arrows of the Queen, by Mercedes Lackey

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