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Giuseppe Lorenzo
 Wednesday, September 30 2009 @ 01:46 AM UTC  
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In other words, as supply approaches zero, price levels approach infinity? I believe it can be modeled by a simple limit. I'm a little rusty on my algebra and calculus, so I could be wrong.

To CMJ:

Would it be possible (or for that matter, feasible) to write a "manufacturing" module? Players could be employed there and receive x amount of Requisition per day of work, and the goods produced would be sold at eBoy's. Is that a viable way to reduce prices?


 
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Anonymous: Escemfer
 Wednesday, September 30 2009 @ 01:58 AM UTC  


Because it's entirely likely that we can build factories on the island, produce items that won't be fucked up by the rampant improbability, and that players would want to spend their game time working at a factory and being paid less for each item produced than it will be sold for. I speak for everyone that is me when I say, "What?"

EDIT: And this isn't even considering the price of building said manufacturing facilities and stocking the supplies needed to build the mentioned items. If you're going to do realism by getting everyone factory jobs, then why not go all the way? I think it would be considered simpler and more cost-efficient by the Network and whatever government is paying for the war to just continue dropping crates instead of spending all that money to make us slightly more self-sufficient, particularly when they aren't getting anything other than amusing television out of it.


 
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Giuseppe Lorenzo
 Wednesday, September 30 2009 @ 02:06 AM UTC  
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Never said it was a good idea, just an idea.

We still need some way to increase supply without price readjustment. Possibly one of the jets that drops the crates off dropped more than it should have. Or one of them could crash, leaving behind a truly massive amount of supplies, more than one player could possibly carry.

On a side note, I don't even use the damn energy drinks or go crate-hunting. Just doesn't seem worth the time and effort.


 
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XaNe
 Wednesday, September 30 2009 @ 02:34 AM UTC  
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I don't know, I agree with Escemfer. It is getting far too hard to buy Necessary items. I've had to go without any repellant for the past few DKs, simply because it was out of my price range. However, I do have to say I'm glad the crate finding option is gone, it makes it impossible for idle travelers like me to have those "oh, look what I found!" moments. However, here is my suggestion. Give Eboy back a small amount of restocking power, just to keep prices from skyrocketing. This is most certainly possible, and would solve the entire problem, really. That way, the finding/selling of crates would still be profitable, while people like me could reasonably afford basic commodities.

In regards to economic systems, not gonna get involved, I agree too much with everyone's opinion...


Some people see the glass as half full, some people see it as half empty, I just spit in the cup until it isn't a problem anymore.
 
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K.K. Victoria
 Wednesday, September 30 2009 @ 02:49 AM UTC  
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Hm.

Well, I was considering this,

Instead of cigarettes being spent to Misery Guts, why not DP spent to the Hunter's Lodge?

I'd be fine with this being an exact coordinate then,
spend 25dp, get the exact location of a crate someplace.

2,000reck = 100DP, meaning 25dp = 500 reck.

Supposing you still have the random variable of the fact that the crate may or may not be worth anything to you, it'd give you the added dimension of maybe gambling some DP on whether or not you get a good crate. Hell, it may have three one-shots for you, or maybe just be full of small medical kits.

I like the idea of the donations adding some crates, but lets consider pushing everyone's thoughts together a bit.

First point: Very minor restocking for eBoy so prices don't go to Heaven and never come home. Nothing to really keep up a supply, there'd still have to be traders coming in regularly, but just to keep things in a good way.

Point #2: Random crate drops, dispersed throughout the four hour days. Suppose there are twenty crates dropped, then they appear at random intervals throughout the day. Makes it more interesting, and keeps it much more random because the people who do search patterns will have their 'Already checked there' portions of the map re-seeded with crates again at some random points in time.

Point #3: I like the idea of donations = more crates. We give you gifts, you return the favor, right? Well, how about we keep this? Say 1$ = 1 crate. That way, there is still the random drop of crates so people who don't donate and don't conspire to go on a massive crate hunt after throwing a fifty at you, can still have a chance at collecting crates, but you are still supported by donations and the donators are still given a sort of gift. And if the donator isn't a crate-hunter, then they still have the added benefit of knowing that sometime, somewhere, some random crate-hunter will stumble upon their crate and will stimulate the economy in some manner.

Point #4: I think that if we have it in this way, then it's fine to have someone maybe spend 100dp on getting an instant 'It's right here.'
Reason being, 1$ = 2,000 reck. Or a crate with three one shots, which'll do you well.

This doesn't unbalance, because every 100dp spent to reveal a crate, drops another one someplace out there. No one is cheated out of a crate due to your using your DP to find them. An excess in crates keeps prices low like this, and there is the loop of 1$, find crate, drop crate, 1$ find crate, drop crate...

So in conclusion:

People who do donate are rewarded,
People who are late aren't punished for not being on time, because crates are randomly dropped around.
People who don't donate aren't at a disadvantage because they aren't left out of the loop, as donating to find crates drops more crates
People who worry about the economy can either find the crates themselves, or wait until people sell them. A lot of people donate, there will be a lot of crates.

CMJ is also kept happy, cos' it might spur more donations.

--Did my best to include everyone's input in one gathering.


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Max Dougwell
 Wednesday, September 30 2009 @ 02:59 AM UTC  
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K.K., I think that's an excellent idea.


 
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XaNe
 Wednesday, September 30 2009 @ 03:07 AM UTC  
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You know what KK? I have to say, I can find nothing wrong with that idea. I say we go for it. I would be slightly miffed at my expensive products at Eboys, but I'd live with it. It might finally motivate me to go crate hunting, who knows?


Some people see the glass as half full, some people see it as half empty, I just spit in the cup until it isn't a problem anymore.
 
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Zolotisty
 Wednesday, September 30 2009 @ 03:12 AM UTC  
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Digging KK's suggestion.

What about this, if eBoy isn't going to get more shipments:

For every crate that's found, another is dropped automatically, thereby keeping a constant number of crates on the map for everyone to find? We want a surplus for everyone to drive down the skyrocketing prices, right? Constant player-driven supply will reduce demand.


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Giuseppe Lorenzo
 Wednesday, September 30 2009 @ 03:25 AM UTC  
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I also like KK's idea.

It's either that or set a permanent price on items regardless of how many are in stock. Needless to say, that wouldn't work.


 
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XaNe
 Wednesday, September 30 2009 @ 04:02 AM UTC  
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I think either Zolotisty, or KK's idea could work, they're pretty much interchangeable. Either way, the important thing is a more or less stable island economy.


Some people see the glass as half full, some people see it as half empty, I just spit in the cup until it isn't a problem anymore.
 
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Ebenezer
 Wednesday, September 30 2009 @ 04:17 AM UTC  
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I'll jump on this bandwagon!

I like both KK's idea and Zolotisty's idea. Either one would work...or some combination of the two.

Either solution would satisfy me.


 
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Pinche Cabron
 Wednesday, September 30 2009 @ 06:15 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Giuseppe+Lorenzo

Never said it was a good idea, just an idea.

We still need some way to increase supply without price readjustment. Possibly one of the jets that drops the crates off dropped more than it should have. Or one of them could crash, leaving behind a truly massive amount of supplies, more than one player could possibly carry.

On a side note, I don't even use the damn energy drinks or go crate-hunting. Just doesn't seem worth the time and effort.



If you know it's not a good idea, why did you even post it? We're trying to have a constructive discussion here over an issue that is important to us. Obviously it has no bearing on you. You admitted that much yourself. I do not understand why you feel it necessary to offer your opinion about something you don't care about nor to which you have given much, if any, thought.

OK, that out of the way, I think something needs to be clarified. The island economy is nowhere near being anything like a model of Classical Capitalism. The closest model to it might be a pre-classical Mercantile system, insofar as 1) CMJ controls the supply via crate drops or restocking eboy directly, 2) CMJ controls the distribution via eboy (there are no competing distribution points, nor can players exchange goods), and 3) the whole currency system limits player exchange of req and prevents players from starting after a DK with accumulated req.

So pushing for an island economy based on a true capitalist model is absurd, not just because of the complete non-joy of a game where you have to go work in a factory, but because it would also be asking CMJ to rewrite the entire game at a fundamental level. So how about it, Joe? Care to throw away everything you've done, and start from scratch making a new game few would want to play?

The problem is not something that is going to need a fundamental rewrite. The game has just gotten a little out of balance due to new character races and the waves of new players we occasionally get. What is required is creative tweaking, and I think I like KK's ideas the best. I say give 'em a try and see if they work. Let's keep the game interesting and not a drudgery.

Another idea might be to go back to the list of crate locations, but only for the first 10 or 20 crates, which are dropped first thing at start of New Day. Then have another 10 or 20 crates dropped throughout the game day without a list. I seriously had a blast chasing those crates with the list, hoping I'd get there before others. And I didn't get there first, every time. And it was fun trying to guess where my competitors might be going, so I could go after crates in another direction.

I think this would satisfy both the traditional crate hunters and people like me, that love the competiveness. It's sort of like orienteering. (And if we really wanted to make it interesting, the location list could be based on bearings rather than grid numbers). It would also satisfy the problem of the constricted supply, if enough goods were being found and pumped into the economy.


 
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Zekiel
 Wednesday, September 30 2009 @ 11:09 AM UTC  
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We could make clever riddles/hints that give away the coordinates of a crate - First to solve 'm gets the goods. Cool Would make crate hunting an intellectual affair. ^^


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Zolotisty
 Wednesday, September 30 2009 @ 03:24 PM UTC  
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(psst, the forums should be a safe place for anyone to voice their ideas and opinions, especially in open discussion threads. well. basically anyone. people who post the site's link to 4chan don't have a voice, obviously, and cmj gets to decide who does -- but the principle stands!)


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CavemanJoe
 Wednesday, September 30 2009 @ 03:46 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Zekiel

We could make clever riddles/hints that give away the coordinates of a crate - First to solve 'm gets the goods. Cool Would make crate hunting an intellectual affair. ^^



This would be tricky. Given enough time - and people do spend vast amounts of time on this game - any human can outwit a computer and figure out what to do in any potential scenario described by said computer.

We could do something where the Comms Tent guy says something along the lines of "There are x crates within y squares of NewHome," perhaps.

The prices at eBoy's have been increasing over the past couple of days because we've had more Rookies. eBoy's prices are calculated by ($players/$stock)*$demandmultiplier (that's a bit simplified, but you get the idea). Anything we do to the economy will take at least a week for us to see the changes properly, given the $demandmultiplier.

Supply has actually increased vastly. The number of Crates on the World Map is just silly. We went from twelve Crate Drops per day (and between 2 and 5 automatic restocks per Outpost) to ten crates per dollar donated. Once players start selling the equipment back to eBoy's, we may have to adjust the number of crates per dollar downwards. It's up so high right now as a... well, a kind of "stimulus" to counter the effects of the Rookie Swarm. Wink

Energy Drinks - it was a mistake on my part to make their use unlimited. This removes the limit of things you can do in a day, which is what is supposed to keep the game at least somewhat balanced for players with lots of time versus players with little time. Energy Drinks are far too cheap.

@Pinche - most of what you said is correct, but I'm not the Federal Reserve. In fact, I've tried my hardest not to be, opting instead to leave it to the players wherever possible. Let's look at the development evolution of the Island's economy as it applies to Iitems, eBoy's and Crates.

iitems_eboy.php originally had two values which it looked at in the master iitems array. eboy_min and eboy_max. I set these values myself, and eBoy would randomly decide a price in each outpost for that iitem that was between eboy_min and eboy_max. This made for a system that was more interesting than the previous Season One Trading module, but it meant I still had to set the prices myself.

iitems_eboy_intelligent.php, which is the version we're using now (and, bar minor tweaking, the version that has always been live on the Island), took matters out of my hands by making every single item the same price to begin with and then automatically and independently adjusting the prices, giving eBoy enough AI to sell his products for the highest amount that most players were willing to pay. This wouldn't have worked too well in Season One, where the payout difference between a Lv1 monster and a Lv15 monster was so hilariously unbalanced that a lv15 player wouldn't have thought twice about blowing ten grand on a teleporter - but with the new, more flattened payout scale that will be addressed more comprehensively when I rewrite the combat system for S3, it works well enough. So, the players now collectively decide the prices at eBoy's.

iitems_crates.php originally spawned [$crates=get_module_setting("cratesperday")] crates onto the map at each new game day. It was a setting that I had to adjust manually - I knew that at some point I was going to have to tie this into player numbers or do something similar in order to have it self-adjusting, or I was going to have a lot of work to do. Each Crate contains between 4 and 12 iitems, and the chances of each iitem category showing up are calculated like this (pseudocode follows):

PHP Formatted Code

Pick a number between four and twelve.
Get all the IItems in the game, and look at their "cratefind" variable.
For each iitem, put a number of marbles into a bag equal to their "cratefind" number, after deciding what colour marble corresponds to which iitem.  For example, to represent Bang Grenades we would put a hundred red marbles into the bag, for One-Shot Teleporters we put in forty purple marbles, and so on.
Shake up the bag.
Draw out one marble.
Put that iitem in the crate.
Repeat until we reach the number we decided earlier.
 


iitems_crates.php v.20090927 added the "bonus" setting, which fires whenever a donation is made, multiplying the donation amount by the "bonus" setting and instantly adding that number of Crates to the map. I ran with this for a day before removing the base value altogether in favour of increasing the donation bonus value. So, the number of crates added to the World Map each day is now left up to the players.

The only things that remain in my control are the maximum and minimum number of iitems in each Crate, the number of Crates spawned per donation dollar, and the odds of any given iitem type showing up. I'm still thinking of ways to relinquish that control to the players too.

So, if you want eBoy's prices to drop, toss a couple of bucks in the slot, go Crate hunting and sell your items to eBoy. There are far, far more Crates on the World Map these days, to counter the automatic cutoff. Once I get the EDK system sorted out, players will have even more incentive to sell items back to eBoy, and prices will likely plummet until I reduce the number of crates per donation dollar.

The economy will settle back down again. Smile


 
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CavemanJoe
 Wednesday, September 30 2009 @ 03:52 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Zekiel


I've figured the prices at eBoy's work roughly as follows:

Every settlement has a 11 constants defined, 1 for every commodity. The way prices are defined is by a hyperbolic equation, with the current stock of the commodity as independant variable. A hyperbole's formula is: y = k / x, where k is a constant. (In this case, 88 constants, one for each commodity in each settlement.) The k for 'buying at' is the k for 'selling at' * 0.70 rounded off. At very low numbers of stock, it's multiplied with 0.50 instead, to prevent infinite money loops from buying and selling a single item over and over. The graph below shows a hyperbole with k = 1. Imagine stock to be on the x axis, and prices to be on the y axis.



While changing the mechanics of how stock is filled and emptied determines the prices, and changing these mechanics 'the wrong way' will inevitably lead to them skyrocketing, the prices can be changed by editting the formula as well.

You could try y = k / (x+a), effectively shifting the graph left 'a' steps.

You could try y^2 = k / x, or y = sqrt( k / x ), effectively flattening the entire graph and making absolute differences between 'x = low' and 'x = high' smaller without losing your hyperbolic properties. You'd have to adjust k to keep the horizontal asymptote roughly the same, but that's the same simple conversion for all 88 constants.

You could try combining the two or doing whatever else your mathletic brain inspires you to. I'm no expert at balancing games (or at math for that matter), just spewing thoughts and suggestions. If we all keep cracking skulls on this, we'll come up with something most people will like. Unfortunately, as is always the problem with making decisions, not everyone will like the new better than the old, but sometimes change for the sake of change isn't per definition a bad thing. It's what makes evolution work, and we all know what came of that.



Oh yeah - I forgot to mention. This isn't how eBoy's works at all. eBoy's algo is actually about a billion times simpler, but the values it relies on are in the hands of large numbers of human beings, which makes it seem far more complex and unpredictable than it actually is, and causes clever people to come up with suitably complex explanations. Mr. Green

(as a complete aside, have I mentioned lately how much I appreciate the fact that my game is filled with intelligent people? Have you seen the players in those mafia-type PBBG's?)


 
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K.K. Victoria
 Wednesday, September 30 2009 @ 04:50 PM UTC  
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I think the majority of that went over my head.

However, I do have this to ask,

"Ten crates per dollar?"


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K.K. Victoria
 Wednesday, September 30 2009 @ 04:56 PM UTC  
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That seems a rather large amount of crates put into the system when put up to the amount of reck one dollar will afford you.

Hell, one dollar equals 2,000 reck, but the amount of money put into this economy,

Supposing ten crates added, 20% of them will have one one-shot, (Or whatever the percentage is,) That means that two crates will have a one-shot (Probability speaking.) Which is worth roughly 4k. This adds double the amount of reck into the system than is set by donator points alone.

I'm not sure exactly why I'm pointing this out, I have no conclusion to it, (I'm not an Economist,) but somehow that feels strange to me. Influx of massive amounts of reck in the previous season was a problem. Somehow I worry about it again, and I'm unsure why.


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CavemanJoe
 Wednesday, September 30 2009 @ 05:05 PM UTC  
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Stimulus! It's a temporary stimulus until eBoy's recovers from the effects of the Rookie Storm! Temporary! Mr. Green


 
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K.K. Victoria
 Wednesday, September 30 2009 @ 05:06 PM UTC  
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Ah. That makes more sense.

Incidentally, are there any other things being done to reduce the server load? I don't even play the first half-hour that the day begins simply because it's dirt slow.


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