Page 1 of 5 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 74

Click here to go to the first staff post in this thread.
Thread: "What we do in life echoes in eternity." Revised Background Sim in Elite: Dangerous

  1. Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread. #1

    "What we do in life echoes in eternity." Revised Background Sim in Elite: Dangerous

    Hello!

    Below you'll find a revised version of the Background Simulation proposal for you to look over.

    Cheers,
    -Mike

    Goals
    The goals of the background simulation are as follows:

    • Politics
      • Create a dynamic, evolving galaxy
      • Generate interesting events
      • These can then be used to create missions
      • Respond to player activities
      • Player activities should have greater impact
      • Respond to injected events
      • Respond to generated events (chain effect)
    • Economy
      • Create a dynamic economy
      • Populate markets (quantities and prices)
      • Be relatively predictable (to aid player understanding)
      • Generate interesting events
      • These events can be used to create missions
      • Respond to player activities
      • Player activities should have greater impact
      • Respond to injected events
      • Respond to generated effects (chain effects)

    The requirements for both the political and economic simulations are similar, potentially similar enough that they can be driven by the same system, which is something we will explore with this design.

    The simulation also provides data for NPC traffic generation, modified by local conditions.

    From a technical perspective the following goals are also required:
    • Low overhead for processing
    • Low overhead for data storage
    • Low data access requirements

    What the simulation is not
    • It does not provide faction command, this will be done by designers by injecting events
      • Although the system should provide aggregated data to help guide these events
    • It does not provide a fine detailed simulation of human space in the galaxy
      • Note that it does provide the framework for a living galaxy as required in the goals

    What defines a simulation entity
    A simulation entity is the lowest unit to which the simulation applies, this will typically mean a system or a world within a system. Note that an entity can support multiple markets

    A system can include multiple entities.

    New entities can be added or destroyed at any time via events.

    An entity has a number of variables. Each of those variables defines what events the simulation creates.
    • Government type
      • The government type is one of a list of predetermined types. The types apply a range of modifiers to the base values for system. For example communism, or democracy
      • Government types provide inherent modifiers for issues like corruption and distribution of wealth
      • The list of government types is listed below:
        • None (There is not a significant population to require gobernance)
        • Anarchy
        • Commune
        • Communism
        • Corporate
        • Cult
        • Democracy
        • Dictatorship
        • Feudal
        • Republic
        • Theocracy
        • Federation Democracy Imperial Republic
    • State
      • The entity’s state applies special modifiers, depending on the state
      • Changes in state are created via events – usually injected events
      • An entity’s state will sometimes modify events and associated missions that are generated
      • A list of states and their effects are shown below:
        • Peace – this is the default state, there are no modifiers
        • Unrest – this state indicates internal conflict with no other named entity involvement
          • Has a negative effect on Standard of Living, Security and Wealth
        • Civil war – this state indicates internal civil war without an external named entity (note that civil war with named entities is simply a war
          • Has a negative effect on Standard of Living, Security and Wealth
          • Development level is frozen while in civil war
        • War – the entity is at war with another entity
          • Has a negative effect on Standard of Living, Security and Wealth
          • Markets require weapons even if not normally stocked
        • War (Losing) – Entity is losing a war against another entity
          • Has a negative effect on Standard of Living, Security, Population, Development Level and Wealth
          • Markets require weapons even if not normally stocked
        • War (Winning) – The entity is winning a war against another entity
          • Has a negative effect on Security and Wealth
          • Markets require weapons even if not normally stocked
        • Famine – The entity is not able to support it’s own population through normal means – typically only affects agricultural worlds, although other worlds that are not importing enough food can slip into this state
          • All food production is removed
          • Market requirements for food increased
          • Has a negative effect on Standard of Living, Wealth and Population
        • Outbreak (Minor) – A minor pandemic has broken out in the entity’s environment
          • Markets cannot export food or medical items (except machinery if applicable)
          • Has a negative influence on Standard of Living and Wealth
        • Outbreak (Major) – major and lethal pandemic breaks out in the entity’s location
          • Markets cannot export food or medical items (except machinery if applicable)
          • Has a negative influence on Standard of Living, Population and Wealth
          • Development level is frozen
          • Entity will be quarantined
        • Outbreak (Apocalyptic) – extremely lethal and contagious disease widespread in entity’s location
          • Markets cannot export anything
          • Has a negative influence on Standard of Living, Population, Development Level and Wealth
          • Development level is frozen
        • Weather (Severe) – Severe weather (includes earthquakes and other natural disasters)
          • Has a negative influence on Standard of Living and Wealth
        • Elections – The entity is in the process of elections
        • Special events – these are determined on a case by case basis, for example space weather)
    • Economy type
      • The economy type is a broad indication of the primary income generation for the system. This usually reflects what the main exports are. They also determine what items are generally available in the markets.Agricultural
      • Industrial (Civilian)
      • Industrial (Military)
      • Government
      • Mineral
      • Service
      • Tourist
    • Population
      • The population size of a planet is used to measure the effects of changes or player activities. It is also used to modify the availability of items in associated markets
      • Population size can be affected by events
    • Development Level
      • This a broad indicator for how advanced the colony is. It provides modifiers for the various variables of the entity. In a broad sense it is an indicator of how well the entity can absorb change, shortfalls and so forth. It also represents the entities ability to support itself through contact via other entities
    • Standard of Living (SOL)
      • The standard of living variable indicates how good life is for the average member of the entity’s population. A high standard of living requires adequate essentials (such as food) as well as luxury items. This will also affect the availability (and demand) for such items in the markets
      • A low SOL indicates a poor standard of living for the population, in situations with low stocks of essentials like food this indicates an event like a famine
      • Manipulation of the markets either directly through trade or indirectly by blockade will change the SOL appropriately
    • Security
      • The security value represents the security situation for the entity. The higher the value, the more secure the population feels and vice versa
      • The security value can be modified by direct player action, acts of piracy will lower the security while bounty hunting will increase it
    • Wealth
      • The wealth variable indicates the accumulated wealth of the entity. The entity can use its wealth to generate events to boost its other values and as such acts as a cushion for negative changes. It also indicates the strength of the economy and feeds into prices
      • Note the while SOL and wealth are connected, they are not the same thing
      • Players can influence wealth in a number of ways, generous trading will increase wealth, while reducing profit margins for the locals will reduce wealth. Destroying entity assets will impact on wealth, and influencing security and SOL will also have a knock on effect

    Bi-Modal Simulation Tick
    The simulation runs in two distinct modes (although the evaluation of each mode generates the same events). The first is based on player activities, once an activity type reaches a threshold for the entity, the impact is applied and any events generated.

    As well as player effects we also want periodic change driven by the simulation itself.

    Player Activity Thresholds
    Player activities within the associated volume for the entity are tallied into various influences. These influences have a direct effect on the entity’s stats. The tracked activities are as follows:
    • Development level
      • Negative impact
        • Failed development missions
      • Positive impact
        • Completed development missions
    • Standard of Living
      • Negative impact
        • Failed standard of living missions
      • Positive impact
        • Completed standard of living missions
        • Completed trades that add to the entity’s essential goods
    • Security
      • Negative impact
        • Piracy
        • Murder
        • Failed security missions
      • Positive impact
        • Bounties collected
        • Completed security missions
    • Wealth
      • Negative impact
        • Issuing missions
        • Losses made on trade by entity
      • Positive impact
        • Profits made by entity

    Thresholds for the activities are set depending on the entity’s population, development level and modifiers from government types as applicable. A count for each activity is maintained; note that it is the net between positive and negative actions that is used to determine any change. Missions are weighted more heavily in the count than general actions. Once the net effect reaches the threshold value then an event is generated. The activity counts are reset and the threshold value recalculated based on the new statistics if needed.

    Note that wealth is not a triggered threshold, but is included as it does change depending on circumstances and is required for generating remedial missions.

  2. Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread. #2
    Generated Events
    When a threshold has been triggered then the entity creates an event, this is typically a mission designed to address the problem, although this will cost the entity some of its wealth. If the entity has no wealth then an event cannot be created, however a message will be generated for the monitoring developers (see intervention triggers).

    Periodic change can also create events.

    The government type determines whether an event should be generated for the triggered threshold.

    If the government type allows it then an event (and associated mission) is generated. These will follow the same pattern as the activity thresholds list, so for example a bounty hunter mission will be generated if the security variable is reduced.

    Periodic Change
    The periodic development of entities is handled by a periodic scan of each entity. The entity’s variables are analysed and adjustments made. If any changes change a value across a given minimum then an event is created in the same way as if an activity threshold was crossed.

    Currently the frequency will be set at a daily (real time) tick. However this may require altering once in place.

    Faction Support
    For entities that belong to a faction (the Alliance, Federation and Empire) there is a safety net provided by those factions. When an entity attempts to generate an event and lacks the wealth to do so it uses its faction’s lookup table to generate a faction event for the event type.

    For example an Imperial system has been plagued with pirates; it has issued missions which no player has completed. This cycle continues, with more player pirates pushing the entity into a downward spiral. Eventually it is no longer able to generate missions and so receives a faction support event. This is an Imperial task force of a cruiser with several squadrons of fighters. These suppress the pirates and order is restored.

    Government Collapse
    When an entity attempts to issue an event and cannot (and it doesn’t have faction support) then the entity’s government collapses and is set to none.

    Injected Events and Intervention
    Events that affect entities can be injected into the game that can directly change an entity’s statistics. This mechanism can be used to add specific events to the game, like civil wars, economic collapse and major story items.

    Intervention messages are a failsafe in the system. When an entity’s stats reach set levels (a minimum and a maximum) a message is sent to whoever is monitoring the galaxy highlighting possible collapse or expansion opportunities. They can then be used to manually add events as desired.

    Markets and Trading
    Each entity can have one or more markets. A market is defined as a place where the player trades with NPC’s. Typically this will be at space stations, ship yards, pirate and smuggler bases. The entity defines what commodities are available and their prices, although the markets will also modify these.

    As with the political events, economic events occur in a bi-modal tick. The periodic method is a check of the entity’s markets and any adjustments made. The other method is the threshold system of players trades that works in a similar fashion to the player activity thresholds.

    Events can change what entity owns a particular market. They can also destroy and create markets.

    Calculating base prices
    Base prices are initially calculated as a function of economy type, government type, development level and population.

    For example a largely populated agricultural world with a high development level would have cheaper food prices than an equivalent industrial world.

    Prices have a universal minimum and maximum price cap to prevent catastrophic price failures and exploits.

    Rare Goods
    Entities which have a sufficiently high development level may start creating rare goods based on their primary economic output, e.g. an agri-world could generate a rare foodstuff.

    Rare goods can be anything that the market produces, so this can include ships and ship modules.

    Periodic Market Analysis
    On a periodic basis (daily) the market for each entity is analysed and updated depending upon the analysis. This analysis is performed before the political simulation so that any economic changes are taken into account.

    The major components of that analysis are as follows:
    • Restock markets
      • The markets for the entity are restocked according to the type of market, the commodities that the entity produces (these are also affected by the development level, government, entity state and economy types)
      • There are caps to the maximum capacity for each commodity determined by the market type. Larger stations can hold more goods for sale. These caps also limit player sales, so if a market is already full of food, no more food can sold to that market
      • Note that the restock quantities are representative (scaled by population size and development level). We do not have an agricultural world producing a million tons of food per day
    • Calculate wealth adjustment
      • The current trade for the system is calculated and the net effect is applied to the entity’s wealth
    • Standard of Living (SOL)
      • The entities standard of living is processed, quantities of essential goods are removed from the markets. The removed quantities are representative values scaled by population and development level, we are not modelling planetary scale use of commodities
      • Commodities are grouped for essentials and luxuries. If there is a shortfall then the SOL is reduced appropriately. Surpluses of essentials will increase SOL, but only to a maximum of 50%. Shortfalls of luxury items reduce SOL, but to a minimum of 50%. Surpluses of luxury items increase the SOL, but only if the SOL is at 50% or higher
    • Recalculate prices
      • For the remaining quantities of each commodity a new price is calculated, based on a ratio determined by a lookup table from the price at the beginning of the analysis process. For example if the commodity now has a stock level of 50% higher, the price per unit will drop by 25%
      • Prices are also changed according to any variance for component commodities. For example if a market sells food and the price of fertilizer increases then so will the unit price of food
    • Reset trace counters
      • The accumulated counters for the trade thresholds are all reset
    • Reset thresholds
      • The thresholds for each commodity are reset depending on the updated stock levels

    Market Thresholds
    In the same way the political events are triggered by player activity thresholds, price and stock changes are triggered by player trades.

    For stock availability this correlation is direct to the trade, so purchasing 100 units reduces the stock level by 100 units and vice versa.

    Prices are not quite as volatile as stock levels, they require accumulated trades to trigger price changes.

    For each commodity the entity creates a threshold level for price increases and drops. The threshold is determined using the entity’s economy type, government type and development level. The unit quantity for each trade is applied to the relevant counter for each commodity, when the counter reaches the threshold for a change the change is triggered.

    Inflation
    The economy is not a balanced system of checks and balances, but a system of causes being used to generate effects. As such there is a danger of inflation (where players accumulate so much money that it is effectively devalued).

    This issue can only be completely eradicated if money is destroyed in the same quantity that is being created. As the game is focused on positive effects (from the player’s perspective), with only some negative effects, this is not an achievable goals.

    To combat inflation there needs to be suitable money sinks that the player spends money on reducing the cash in the player economy.

    It should be noted that players getting richer is not the same as inflation and is desirable. However we should ensure that at all times there are interesting spend choices.

  3. #3
    Feudal is back! Yay!

    Now I'm going to have to read them side by side to see what you have changed . . .

    (and the pedant in me wants to inform you that there are a few typo's and formatting issues, sorry).

  4. Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread. #4
    Originally Posted by withnail View Post (Source)
    Feudal is back! Yay!

    Now I'm going to have to read them side by side to see what you have changed . . .

    (and the pedant in me wants to inform you that there are a few typo's and formatting issues, sorry).
    I just converted this to a format the forum understands so typos are not my fault However I would like to know what formatting errors are present.

  5. #5
    The government type list. Anarchy and Commune are on the same line and so is Federation Democracy and Imperial Republic. Told you it was pedantic!

  6. #6
    Absolutely excellent.

    The only thing that crossed my mind, that you can probably justify, is that why do wars and famines not require medical items? Perhaps a war, losing for an event will require more medical items than an entity winning a war. Might not be as important as weapons but could still have trade value?

    Probably just nit-picking but otherwise the rules sound great.

  7. #7
    Originally Posted by Mike Evans View Post (Source)
    I just converted this to a format the forum understands so typos are not my fault However I would like to know what formatting errors are present.
    None (There is not a significant population to require gobernance)

  8. #8

    Standard of living vs. illegally imported weapons/medical items

    Could security also be driven down by illegally importing weapons or medical items (for non-medical use)? Again just some thoughts while reading...

  9. #9
    Originally Posted by Mike Evans View Post (Source)
    Market Thresholds
    In the same way the political events are triggered by player activity thresholds, price and stock changes are triggered by player trades.

    For stock availability this correlation is direct to the trade, so purchasing 100 units reduces the stock level by 100 units and vice versa.

    Prices are not quite as volatile as stock levels, they require accumulated trades to trigger price changes.

    For each commodity the entity creates a threshold level for price increases and drops. The threshold is determined using the entity’s economy type, government type and development level. The unit quantity for each trade is applied to the relevant counter for each commodity, when the counter reaches the threshold for a change the change is triggered.
    I read this as being simply that the inventory of the market reduces by 100 units (or whatever was bought).

    I hope this means that the change in price is non linear and will increase as thresholds in stock levels are breached. (So as many people do a milk run the price in the source planet will increase gradually, and the price in the sink planet will decrease)

    So when I do the milk run I could in theory make money without flying (Yes same drum being banged) between Source and Sink. I am particularly talking about in systems where many new players start their games.

    The OT(?) part of this is whether the Source market would accept the commodity for sale from me? I think it should and I believe this would be a legitimate way to make easy risk free money.... Once I get my 200T Anaconda I will just load up with food, then sit in the source planet for a day or two and wait for price fluctuations....

  10. #10
    What does this mean, exactly?...
    "It does not provide a fine detailed simulation of human space in the galaxy
    Note that it does provide the framework for a living galaxy as required in the goals"
    Just curious, we're talking background not flight mechanics, right?

  11. #11
    Yup Trueman its the model for the civiliasiton and player effect on the policitcal, economic back drop to the universe..

    Flight mechanics etc not part of this, unless you burn up a station diplomat as you take off from the station..

  12. #12
    From a first read, I'm impressed. Even though much of this happens "under the hood", it appears a really well thought out proposal.

  13. #13
    This is all looking good.

    I wonder whether you could use a transitional 'Threat of war' state, to deal with things like blockades, and non-combative military incursions. Your basic political manoeuvring.

    Also, as this is going to be an injected thing, perhaps it could occasionally be set up so that war does or does not happen depending on the outcome of a single mission. So somebody takes an innocuous seeming reconnaissance job, but depending on whether they're detected or not actually decides whether war will go ahead. You'd learn about this from the newsfeeds. Or in other cases, the success players have in running a blockade could be the deciding factor, with the mods injecting stories in the newsfeeds ramping this up.

  14. #14
    This looks Great - in the Frosties sense. :smilie: However, I'm curious about this:

    Originally Posted by Mike Evans View Post (Source)
    Government Collapse
    When an entity attempts to issue an event and cannot (and it doesn’t have faction support) then the entity’s government collapses and is set to none.
    What circumstances would cause an entity trying to create an event and couldn't? Also, wouldn't it change to "Anarchy" rather than "None" as "None" implies there's nobody to govern?

  15. #15
    Entity states make things a lot clearer. A couple of general points though...

    Apart from "peace" and arguably "elections", all the listed states are negative. That means people trying to help an entity can only hope to make things OK, whereas those harming an entity get all sorts of interesting effects. Some nice events (like truth and reconciliation after a war, or excellent weather on a tourist planet) would even things up for the good guys and round out an entity's story.

    "Recession" is an extremely common real-world state, notable by its absence. I assume the various states will firm up during playtesting, but one should perhaps be in the starting line-up - along with "boom" of course

Page 1 of 5 123 ... LastLast