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Author Topic: In-game manufacturing profitability view  (Read 56009 times)

Offline Arthanor

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Re: In-game manufacturing profitability view
« Reply #75 on: December 22, 2015, 06:58:08 pm »
This gives you monthly profit only for infinite duration projects. If you don't click on infinite production, the profit given will be the total profit of the project given the number of items you selected. And the project length is already given once you have started the project.

Offline Leprechaun

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Re: In-game manufacturing profitability view
« Reply #76 on: December 23, 2015, 02:58:19 pm »
Manufacturing items for sale is not what vanilla xcom about. Literally, it's just side effect of the "selling" feature of the game. AFAIK xcom2012 doen't have that at all. Hell, it's the game about fighting alien invasion, not getting billionaire.
With respect, and recognizing that I'm putting in my two cents several months later, I disagree. One of the things that attracted me to this game 20 years ago was the economic model. If money isn't an obstacle, you buy every scientist, soldier, and weapon you can and wade in to the melee. But because of limited funding, it pays to consider how you can make your research pay off in more ways than just better weapons and armor for your soldiers. Is there anyone who has ever played this game and not wound up in a dead end where they built more than they could support?

On the other hand, in the original game (by my calculations) the Laser Cannon was easily the most profitable item in the game, so once you had researched it, winning was assured. All you had to do was not expand faster than you could produce and sell Laser Cannons.

One of Sun Tsu's maxims was, "Make war support war." May I suggest that an interesting possible extension would be adjusted sale prices based on previous sales? Once you have flooded the market with Laser Cannons, the sell price drops (but recovers over time without any sales) which allows the economic player a chance to manipulate supply and demand, as well as having to think about another profitable item to sell and support his forces.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2015, 03:14:50 pm by Leprechaun »

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: In-game manufacturing profitability view
« Reply #77 on: December 23, 2015, 03:38:10 pm »
With respect, and recognizing that I'm putting in my two cents several months later, I disagree. One of the things that attracted me to this game 20 years ago was the economic model. If money isn't an obstacle, you buy every scientist, soldier, and weapon you can and wade in to the melee. But because of limited funding, it pays to consider how you can make your research pay off in more ways than just better weapons and armor for your soldiers. Is there anyone who has ever played this game and not wound up in a dead end where they built more than they could support?

Yes, it never happened to me.

No, really, I'm not trying to oppose you on principle, but I can't remember a situation (in vanilla) where I would have financial problems later than the first two months or so. Even when I play pretty badly, I always have way more money than I can spend, no matter what I'm doing. So I agree that manufacturing for cash is pointless (well I do it anyway, but still).

One of Sun Tsu's maxims was, "Make war support war." May I suggest that an interesting possible extension would be adjusted sale prices based on previous sales? Once you have flooded the market with Laser Cannons, the sell price drops (but recovers over time without any sales) which allows the economic player a chance to manipulate supply and demand, as well as having to think about another profitable item to sell and support his forces.

That's how X-Com: Apocalypse works.
That would be nice, but then again, who is buying this stuff? I have my doubts if it'd even be subject to normal laws of economy. Dead aliens or Elerium engines would be extremely attractive to universities and corporations, but we can be pretty sure they don't get any or the secret would be out pretty soon. Hobbes has addressed this issue in his Unknown Menace novel, suggesting that the alien stuff is not as much sold as used as an insurance in dealings with a certain global group of interest that has pretty much unlimited money to throw at X-Com, or something along these lines. So I'm a bit torn on the market saturation idea.

Offline Leprechaun

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Re: In-game manufacturing profitability view
« Reply #78 on: December 23, 2015, 04:36:45 pm »
... but I can't remember a situation (in vanilla) where I would have financial problems later than the first two months or so.
Lucky you, but since you remember financial problems in the first two month, you at least understand the point.

That would be nice, but then again, who is buying this stuff?
I realize personal possession of military arms is almost unheard of outside of the United States (excepting places where only an idiot doesn't have an AK, like Afghanistan) but I think that if Laser Rifles and Laser Pistols were available for purchase, they'd be flying off the shelves.

The power supply for a UFO that can travel a bare minimum of 47 million miles from Mars to Earth (and that's only if the trip were made at the speed of light, and started at the exact moment the two planets were closest) and apparently without refueling or waste product, should easily be able to power a small city. Cruise and container ship lines would also be in competition.

Pharmaceutical companies would probably buy all the dead aliens you can sell, in hopes of finding a cure for death, or at least the common cold.

Alien Alloys might make cars which survive accidents better and preserve lives. They might make lighter aircraft, faster ships, and so on.

Need I go on?

On the other hand, OPEC would probably pay a lot to keep the engines off the market so they can sell their product. So this could be applied to your contention that some faceless corporation or government entity would keep them off the market. But there is still a saturation point. At the actual value of an Elerium engine, just how many can OPEC afford to buy? Is there no one associated with Xcom who is more interested in the good of the planet than in how much money OPEC offers him that he won't leak the news?

But I think this is beyond the topic of what makes the game fun to play. There is selling of items as a way to fund Xcom, and the model is so simplistic that a few minutes with a spreadsheet and you can be convinced that you sell all the Laser Cannons you can manufacture and forget about it. But that doesn't mean that a playable at least somewhat realistic economic model wouldn't add to the game.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2015, 04:44:32 pm by Leprechaun »

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: In-game manufacturing profitability view
« Reply #79 on: December 23, 2015, 04:54:23 pm »
Lucky you, but since you remember financial problems in the first two month, you at least understand the point.

Well... Yes and no, because in the beginning you don't have much to produce anyway, so the point is kinda moot.

I realize personal possession of military arms is almost unheard of outside of the United States (excepting places where only an idiot doesn't have an AK, like Afghanistan) but I think that if Laser Rifles and Laser Pistols were available for purchase, they'd be flying off the shelves.

The power supply for a UFO that can travel a bare minimum of 47 million miles (...)

*sigh* Have you read my post? I've already explained why exactly all of this is impossible if you want to maintain the alien war a secret.

Besides, even if the US was the only country with personal arms allowed, there are armies in almost every single country in the world, and they would profit much more from the clean, ammo-less, powerful hand weapons. So yes, there would be unimaginable demand for all alien and also X-Com tech, if it was on the market. But I assume it is not, because it's 1999 and everything is secret.

Offline Leprechaun

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Re: In-game manufacturing profitability view
« Reply #80 on: December 23, 2015, 05:17:08 pm »
Well... Yes and no, because in the beginning you don't have much to produce anyway, so the point is kinda moot.

*sigh* Have you read my post? I've already explained why exactly all of this is impossible if you want to maintain the alien war a secret.
Solarius, I don't appreciate the *sigh*. I don't think you would appreciate it if I did it to you.

I don't see where anything from the original Xcom suggests that the war is a PERMANENT secret. Yes, some governments will make secret pacts. Yes, the government would LIKE it kept secret as long as possible, so they don't have to answer impertinent questions. Even so, after the first alien terror mission, it would no longer be a secret. So I think you are quibbling.

We had cell phones and digital cameras in 1999. And even if we didn't, when a UFO lands and aliens start killing people, SOMEONE is going to take a shot with their ancient Brownie camera. That photo will go viral in about 2 seconds.

I've visited Roswell New Mexico. There are people who still believe that there was an alien landing there in 1951, 64 years ago. And that's with no evidence at all. Are you seriously suggesting that an alien landing in a major city and people killed by the dozens can be kept secret?

And I can't make anyone do anything about it, so I don't understand why you are being so defensive. I recognize that this will not be a mod, but will involve changing the basic code. So the question of if it will get done can only be answered by who will do it. OK, let's take it as a given that you want nothing to do with it. Does that mean it cannot be discussed? Does that mean no one else can take it on?

If you have complete veto over anything that is discussed on this board then I am wasting my time. I was hoping for the minimum response of, "That's interesting. I won't do it, but you are welcome to get after it." Because then at least I can discuss with people who are interested and perhaps come up with something that is playable, economically not unrealistic, and adds to the game.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2015, 05:22:35 pm by Leprechaun »

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: In-game manufacturing profitability view
« Reply #81 on: December 23, 2015, 06:04:19 pm »
Solarius, I don't appreciate the *sigh*. I don't think you would appreciate it if I did it to you.

Right, I wouldn't. Still, I feel justified seeing as I've explained beforehand that the alien war is being kept secret, yet it was ignored.

I don't see where anything from the original Xcom suggests that the war is a PERMANENT secret.

Well... It's not in the actual game, but to my knowledge it's been canon since forever that the war is secret, no matter how pointless it is. Every single X-Com continuity I know confirms this. Sure, you can have a personal version where the war is openly known about, with everything that entails (maybe up to nuclear war), but that would be atypical. (I'm not saying it's a bad idea, it's actually pretty awesome, but it's just different.)

We had cell phones and digital cameras in 1999. And even if we didn't, when a UFO lands and aliens start killing people, SOMEONE is going to take a shot with their ancient Brownie camera. That photo will go viral in about 2 seconds.

I've visited Roswell New Mexico. There are people who still believe that there was an alien landing there in 1951, 64 years ago. And that's with no evidence at all. Are you seriously suggesting that an alien landing in a major city and people killed by the dozens can be kept secret?

These are fair points. I guess it's not my role to explain it, but the people's who came up with it (but they probably didn't care so much, it's just a tactical game after all, not a novel). It's just kind of accepted that these things can be hushed somehow, using whatever nasty methods the Majestic 12 et consortes can use.

And I can't make anyone do anything about it, so I don't understand why you are being so defensive.

I am not being defensive. This is a conversation, maybe even a debate. We do it as entertainment and social interaction, at least I do, so why would I be defensive? And what would I be defensive about? It's not like I have some ideas and you criticize them, it's more the other way around.

I recognize that this will not be a mod, but will involve changing the basic code. So the question of if it will get done can only be answered by who will do it. OK, let's take it as a given that you want nothing to do with it. Does that mean it cannot be discussed? Does that mean no one else can take it on?

No, I forbid anyone to even think about it! Doing this will be punished in the name of the Moon! :P

Seriously, man. What?

If you have complete veto over anything that is discussed on this board then I am wasting my time. I was hoping for the minimum response of, "That's interesting. I won't do it, but you are welcome to get after it."

Now you're just insulting me, because it's obviously not what happened. Moreover, you did this while claiming that I insulted you, which is also untrue but whatever, I don't care. Not cool, man.

Because then at least I can discuss with people who are interested and perhaps come up with something that is playable, economically not unrealistic, and adds to the game.

*shrug* All I did was to point out that it was inconsistent with canon. And if you want to make a non-canon version of X-Com history, then sure, go ahead, that probably will be interesting, but maybe you should say clearly that you're making a non-canon game, so that it would be clear. Because it wasn't, so I assumed I should point out inconsistent stuff. I admit I should have thought that maybe you want an alternative history mod, but it just didn't occur to me.

Offline Leprechaun

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Re: In-game manufacturing profitability view
« Reply #82 on: December 23, 2015, 06:53:42 pm »
Right, I wouldn't. Still, I feel justified seeing as I've explained beforehand that the alien war is being kept secret, yet it was ignored.

Well... It's not in the actual game, but to my knowledge it's been canon since forever that the war is secret, no matter how pointless it is.

Now you're just insulting me, because it's obviously not what happened. Moreover, you did this while claiming that I insulted you, which is also untrue but whatever, I don't care. Not cool, man.
OK, we've managed to trade insults. You agreed you wouldn't like the *sigh* coming your way and I responded as I did because I took it the way you agreed you would take it. Can we stop now?

I had no idea there was any such thing as a "canon." Frankly, I had no idea there were other moding groups or bases. I don't really care about canon, especially when even you agree it's pointless. I'm interested in a fun game, and anything that makes it more fun is fair game. If there's anyone who thinks they have a copyright on it, they are welcome to slap me down. Doesn't seem likely since this "canon" wasn't part of the original game. But what do I know?

I bought the game in 1994 and have enjoyed it ever since. When I learned that OpenXcom existed, I just had to find out if it had gotten better. And it has gotten better, which doesn't mean it can't be improved further.

I don't have the slightest interest in creating an alternate canon. But if something can be added to the game to make the economic aspects more interesting than, "make and sell all the Laser Cannons you can", then maybe someone else will edit the canon. That's how OpenXcom came about, isn't it?


Offline mrxian

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Re: In-game manufacturing profitability view
« Reply #83 on: December 23, 2015, 07:52:49 pm »
Well... Yes and no, because in the beginning you don't have much to produce anyway, so the point is kinda moot.

I usually try to invest in quite a bit of extra production capabilities, because why not?

I must admit, though, that by the time they paid off their initial costs, I don't need the money anymore. Setting up a proper manufacturing section in a radar base takes several months, after all.

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: In-game manufacturing profitability view
« Reply #84 on: December 24, 2015, 12:05:38 am »
OK, we've managed to trade insults. You agreed you wouldn't like the *sigh* coming your way and I responded as I did because I took it the way you agreed you would take it. Can we stop now?

Yeah, just let it drop, please. I didn't want to engage in any sort of argument and still don't.

I had no idea there was any such thing as a "canon." Frankly, I had no idea there were other moding groups or bases. I don't really care about canon, especially when even you agree it's pointless. I'm interested in a fun game, and anything that makes it more fun is fair game. If there's anyone who thinks they have a copyright on it, they are welcome to slap me down. Doesn't seem likely since this "canon" wasn't part of the original game. But what do I know?

Please stop defending yourself from non-existent attacks, nobody says you can't or shouldn't or whatever. I've just stated how things are, not how they "should be", I'm not the fun police here. I'm just trying to clear things up, okay?

I bought the game in 1994 and have enjoyed it ever since. When I learned that OpenXcom existed, I just had to find out if it had gotten better. And it has gotten better, which doesn't mean it can't be improved further.

Sure, the OpenXCom Extended is the best example.

I don't have the slightest interest in creating an alternate canon. But if something can be added to the game to make the economic aspects more interesting than, "make and sell all the Laser Cannons you can", then maybe someone else will edit the canon. That's how OpenXcom came about, isn't it?

Yes, and practically every bigger mod has to tackle this somehow. I guess it started with Robin's Men in Black mod, which was later expanded by myself as part of the Final Mod Pack, and then Hobbes released his Redux which is mostly about this. And then there's the Piratez which has many references to the war in shadows, though they're mostly well-hidden.

I guess real "Alien War" would be a great alternative approach, I'd play that. It would probably require a lot of new mechanics though, like actions undertaken by governments, regular battles and so on. Well maybe not necessarily "require", but they would be cool, no? Because if it's a real war, let's have a real war! (Though not total war, the aliens don't want to destroy us - that much is said in the losing outro.)

Offline Leprechaun

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Re: In-game manufacturing profitability view
« Reply #85 on: December 24, 2015, 02:22:11 am »
I guess real "Alien War" would be a great alternative approach, I'd play that. It would probably require a lot of new mechanics though, like actions undertaken by governments, regular battles and so on. Well maybe not necessarily "require", but they would be cool, no? Because if it's a real war, let's have a real war! (Though not total war, the aliens don't want to destroy us - that much is said in the losing outro.)
I'm not up to that much of a mod. I was a C programmer through most of the late 70's to early 90's, but Carpal Tunnel Syndrome did me in. Since 1994, the only programming I have done has been in scripting languages, with the exception of teaching myself Python a few years ago. I know nothing at all about GIT, YAML, SDL, or even the "canon."

On the other hand, I've been thinking about "canon" since it is apparently important. Hang on while I write some fiction and see if we have something worth working on:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Faceless Government Bureaucrat: Now that you have your bases, we'd like you to build some equipment for the government, strictly on the QT. We'll pay you for them at the posted rate. Here's the list.

Xcom Commander: [scans the list] Great, we can make a lot of profit off Laser Cannons. You'll be getting about 1000 per month from now on.

FGB: What about the other items on the list?

CDR: Oh, that's on you. The Laser Cannon makes the most profit, so that's what we will make the most of. I need to run the bases.

FGB: We are paying you a stipend every month to run bases. You should build us what we want.

CDR: No, you are paying me to fight off the aliens and keep it quiet. Anything we need that exceeds the amount you give us we have to figure out how to get on our own.

FGB: But we don't need 12,000 Laser Cannons next year. We need maybe 1000 for the Presidential Guard. We need other items too, like the Mind Scanners so we can find out who learns about the alien invasion and wipe their memories.

CDR: Hey, I appreciate your problem, but the price list is yours. As long as you are paying the most for Laser Cannons, that's what you are going to get.

FGB: [Gawdammit! I thought the government had a monopoly on money-grubbing, rulebook quoting, feather-bedding, self-interested people!]
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ok, so how should this be designed? What makes prices high? Newness and Scarcity. What makes prices low? Old technology and Oversupply. So how could this be implemented?

First, we need a base price level for each item that can be manufactured. Suggestion: Calculate how many engineers could work on something using a single workshop, producing as many of those something as possible for a month. Total up all the costs of production. Divide by the number of items produced in a month. Multiply by 1.2. That's your Base Sale Price for the item. It's fixed and never changed.

Second, the month research gives a new item to be produced and sold:
Current Sale Price = Base Sale Price * (3 + .2 * random number) 

Next each month the actual sale price of an item is recalculated as follows:
Current Sale Price = Current Sale Price * .95 * .95 for each time the item was sold during that month.

So what happens? A newly discovered item is worth a lot of money, but that price degrades by 5% each month, and by 5% more each time the item is sold. It will eventually drop below the value of other items which can be manufactured and sold.

Now, if you don't use economics, you can ignore it and nothing changes.
If you do use economics, you have to pay more attention, because you can't just make Laser Cannons and never worry about it. And because of the randomness, you can't depend on a spreadsheet to give you the quick answer.

Of course, it would be nice if there was an indicator on the production screen, perhaps writing the item in yellow when it's sale price is less than 130% of production cost, and red when it drops below production cost.

Well, it's an idea. And I don't think it would be difficult to code. I'll do it myself, although I'd appreciate it if someone could point me at the file(s) that need changes, so I don't have to go hunting.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2015, 04:27:44 am by Leprechaun »

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: In-game manufacturing profitability view
« Reply #86 on: December 24, 2015, 10:51:16 am »
Sure, it'd be interesting. I can't really say much at this point, because I didn't have the time to think about it at all yet, but I'm sure this sort of mechanics would be good to have - not only for X-Com, but also other mods like the Piratez.

Offline yrizoud

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Re: In-game manufacturing profitability view
« Reply #87 on: December 24, 2015, 03:07:40 pm »
My opinion on variable prices :
- The random variation (The one which doesn't reflect player's sales) could be applied once every month : This should be frequent enough to have an effect, without the player having to re-check prices every 3 days in case what he's building has suddenly dropped price without warning.
- The effect of player's sales should probably be applied on each unit (sell 1: 100$, sell 3: 100$+98$+97$), otherwise the player would be encouraged to hoard items and sell large amounts at a time.
- The items which can be bought could also have prices affected by player's demand. If the price of large rockets rises every time you buy one, you are rewarded if you adapt, rather than stick to all-rocket equipment.
- This could also apply to recruitment costs : This would create a situation of diminishing returns, where the more scientists you recruit, the more expensive it is to recruit more.

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: In-game manufacturing profitability view
« Reply #88 on: December 24, 2015, 03:19:16 pm »
I usually try to invest in quite a bit of extra production capabilities, because why not?

I must admit, though, that by the time they paid off their initial costs, I don't need the money anymore. Setting up a proper manufacturing section in a radar base takes several months, after all.

Yeah, that's exactly my thought. Which is a bit of a shame, since the game could be a bit deeper with more financial management. But it's really hard to do; Piratez are built to present such a challenge, but it's completely different from the vanilla game.

- The random variation (The one which doesn't reflect player's sales) could be applied once every month: This should be frequent enough to have an effect, without the player having to re-check prices every 3 days in case what he's building has suddenly dropped price without warning.
- The effect of player's sales should probably be applied on each unit (sell 1: 100$, sell 3: 100$+98$+97$), otherwise the player would be encouraged to hoard items and sell large amounts at a time.
- The items which can be bought could also have prices affected by player's demand. If the price of large rockets rises every time you buy one, you are rewarded if you adapt, rather than stick to all-rocket equipment.
- This could also apply to recruitment costs: This would create a situation of diminishing returns, where the more scientists you recruit, the more expensive it is to recruit more.


Yeah, seems convincing to me. Not sure about the salaries though; I think it would make things overcomplicated. Salaries usually don't fluctuate like that, as opposed to material goods, and I have a strong feel it would be a headache. But I agree with your other points.

Offline yrizoud

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Re: In-game manufacturing profitability view
« Reply #89 on: December 24, 2015, 03:38:36 pm »
About salaries, I mean only the initial hiring cost. It keeps things simple for the monthly costs, and still reflects the increasing difficulty of hiring rookie soldiers if you have a high "turnover".