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Add a "quality" stat


Samedi
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Honestly, I think that the design ship has long-since sailed, so I'm posting this more in the spirit of floating an idea of how it could have been, rather than any expectation that it might happen. That said...

 

I've been thinking about what is broken about the economy/industry, and the main thing that occurs to me is that unlike real life, there is no real niche for "artisan" builders.

 

In the real world, mega factories and mega corporations do exist, and they do largely dominate the market for cheap consumer goods (whether we want the game to mirror real life is maybe a question for another day, but at least we can probably say that in this detail, the game isn't massively inaccurate).

 

However, in the real world, there are also people and smaller companies who make high-quality, low-volume stuff. You can either buy a mass-produced Ford, or you can buy a custom-made McClaren super car. The super car is ridiculously expensive, but to some lucky people it is worth it, because it is very rare, and very high quality. Likewise you can buy some chairs from IKEA, or you can find someone who makes amazing chairs by hand. You'll get something extra from the artisan furniture maker, but it will cost you, because it takes a long time to make them and each one is unique or at least very rare.

 

This is where I think the Dual Universe simulation falls down: there is no way to express the quality of something, other than the very crude tier system. Furthermore, there is no sense in which an "artisan" builder can get themselves to a position where they can make better stuff than a mass-production builder. Even worse, really the only barrier to building high tier stuff is having the ridiculous amount of money required to buy the schematics - which I suspect makes it virtually impossible for someone to do it without first becoming so rich that they can effectively make a mega factory if they want.

 

What I think would help with this would be if every item in the game - from ore through pures through parts all the way up to elements - had a quality stat. Probably expressed as a percentage, so that it has a large, continuous range, rather than just the crude "low, medium, high" kind of thing that tiers represent right now.

 

Being able to make high quality stuff would require high quality input materials, high quality industry equipment, and high skills for the particular item(s) being built. If you want to specialise in making something to a really high quality, it should be possible to do it without being insanely rich, but it should take a lot of time; enough time that no single user could ever make everything at the highest quality. Megafactories could still exist, but they'd have to compromise on quality. This would carve out a niche for individuals to become artisans, and they wouldn't even necessarily need to be making actual elements. Maybe all you ever do is make top quality screws! If someone is making top quality military engines, they will need those screws, and they may not have enough time / skill points to make the screws themselves, so they have an incentive to buy yours. Orgs will still exist, and still have power, but that power will derive more explicitly from the combination of the skills of their members.

 

What I like about this idea is that I think it might create more of an incentive for people to work together, and it might make the trading economy healthier and more diverse.

 

Of course, the quality stat would also have other uses. Equipment could reduce in quality over time if it was used, so that eventually it "wore out" and you'd want to replace it. Weather effects could slowly erode the quality of anything exposed to the elements, which again would give a reason for things to be replaced. This should be slow (taking months or years) but gradual. Repairing an item would bring it back to full functionality, but reduce its quality - which would serve the same purpose that the "repair three times then you have to replace it", but in a much subtler and more lore-friendly way.

 

As I said at the start, I doubt very much whether design changes of this scope will ever happen now. It's nice to dream though...

 

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I'd think the tier system does quality rather well. For elements builders need raw materials of higher quality if they wish to produce higher quality elements. It is expressed as hard tiers that people can easily grasp instead of having to learn the values of a potentially more obscure system, but in the end it does the same thing. On top of that, people don't typically buy just an engine from McLaren, they buy a whole car.

 

Voxel-mancy and scripting are  the "artisan skills" in DU. If you can design a beautiful ship with some solid and beautiful scripts, then you can sell the ship for a lot more than some average joe trying to sell flying bricks that run the default auto-config.

 

As far as schematics go... well, we really could do with a research system that lets us get our hands on them with some work rather than by going to a market and buying them...

 

 

The bigger issues that separate DU from real life-esq McLaren vs Ford are that this is a game, and certain allowances must be made:

-Do It Yourself-

In real life most people can't spend an afternoon picking up rocks that their backpack transmutes in to a bunch of motorcycle-parts while they work so that they can slap a motorcycle together by hand when they are done... most people irl can't build a toaster from a box of prefabricated parts... but the ability to assemble things yourself makes it a combination of pride and cost for the average player. Why pay a lot of money to someone else when you can do it yourself and show off that you are good enough to play without the help of others. Obviously some people will still buy stuff, but we've got a universe full of vehicle-mechanics, things wont sell like they do irl.

 

-Simple Mechanics-
MMO economics can certainly mimic the real world in miniature, but there are limits. A car has an enormous number of parts to it, and I am not aware of any single real facility on this planet where a dump-truck rolls up to one end and dumps loads of ore in, and whole new vehicles of any quality come out the other side. People specialize and innovate and build factories that can do well enough to make them money off of incredibly small margins of improvement, but DU can't be that complex. This is a a game about building stuff, but if it was as complex as real life almost nobody would play, and by making it less complex to get more players we reduce the number of intricacies that can be capitalized on and/or specialized in to. 

 

-Small Population-

Even if people couldn't do most of the building themselves, and the mechanics were complex enough to allow for the previously mentioned small increments of improvement and specialization, the game's population is tiny relative to the real world. In 2018 Ford sold a bit over 500 cars for every one McLaren sold. At that same proportion in game with DU's population and the extra requirement of every player buying a new ship every year, and the McLaren vendor would have sold around 10 ships to this year's population. In a game like DU were everyone can build their own stuff and they don't need to buy a new ship every year... well, I'm sure you can see where this is going. In short, the average player is building Fords, and anything that actually sells at all is McLaren.

 

 

As for upkeep, people are good with paying for fuel or repairing things when they crash or get shot, but having to repair elements from plain old wear and tear quickly turns in to a grind, especially on larger constructs with hundreds or thousands of elements. People play to have fun, not to spend hours changing the fluids and filters on their stadium-sized starship every 50,000 km.

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On 5/23/2022 at 7:05 PM, Taelessael said:

As for upkeep, people are good with paying for fuel or repairing things when they crash or get shot, but having to repair elements from plain old wear and tear quickly turns in to a grind, especially on larger constructs with hundreds or thousands of elements. People play to have fun, not to spend hours changing the fluids and filters on their stadium-sized starship every 50,000 km.

 

I hear what you're saying, but I think it could be made to work in a way that added depth to the simulation without being too onerous.

 

For example:

  • it should take literally years to decay completely
  • we should have much better tools for bulk replacing/repairing things
  • maybe you could buy a repair unit which did it automatically whilst the core was still powered (we need power to be modelled), or by slowly burning fuel
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On 5/23/2022 at 7:05 PM, Taelessael said:

I'd think the tier system does quality rather well. For elements builders need raw materials of higher quality if they wish to produce higher quality elements. It is expressed as hard tiers that people can easily grasp instead of having to learn the values of a potentially more obscure system, but in the end it does the same thing.

The problem with the tier system is that a factory, making tier 5 items by the thousand, produces identical quality stuff to one making just a few; which really means that the economic competition is a brutal race to the bottom. The simulated economy has to be an approximation of real life, of course, but it also has to be designed to make the game enjoyable and allow a range of play styles.

 

The gist of a lot of what you're saying seems to be "it's a game, it shouldn't mirror the bad bits of real life" and I agree wholeheartedly. However, right now it feels like it mirrors one of the most pernicious aspects of real life - that you just have to work for a big company!

 

Quote

On top of that, people don't typically buy just an engine from McLaren, they buy a whole car.

Well, yes, it's an imperfect analogy of course. I think you may have taken it a bit too literally ;)

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Voxel-mancy and scripting are  the "artisan skills" in DU. 

 

Erm, no, they are artisan skills in real life! You literally can't do them in DU unless you have specific real-world talents.

 

That's fine, but I think the game needs to find more ways to support solo and small-group-of-friends play styles. Just my opinion of course.

 

 

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19 hours ago, Samedi said:
  • it should take literally years to decay completely

Wouldn't that time-scale negate the point of having a decay feature? If it takes months or years then all it will really by doing is annoying people who forgot to do the upkeep before dismantling it (or whatever else requires it to be topped up).
 

19 hours ago, Samedi said:
  • we should have much better tools for bulk replacing/repairing things

Agreed.

 

19 hours ago, Samedi said:

The problem with the tier system is that a factory, making tier 5 items by the thousand, produces identical quality stuff to one making just a few; which really means that the economic competition is a brutal race to the bottom. The simulated economy has to be an approximation of real life, of course, but it also has to be designed to make the game enjoyable and allow a range of play styles.

 

The gist of a lot of what you're saying seems to be "it's a game, it shouldn't mirror the bad bits of real life" and I agree wholeheartedly. However, right now it feels like it mirrors one of the most pernicious aspects of real life - that you just have to work for a big company!

Unfortunately it is not just a game, but specifically an mmo, the "law of conservation of ninjutsu" very explicitly can't apply. If one person or a small group is capable of producing something, then a proportionately larger group must be proportionately capable of producing even more of that something. It would take an unrealistic amount of complexity to make it possible for a small group to have any area of production where they could out-perform a large one. NQ could add a thousand different skills today that each take a month to cap, and by this time next year several of the major orgs would have at least one member that had level 5 for any given one.

 

19 hours ago, Samedi said:

Well, yes, it's an imperfect analogy of course. I think you may have taken it a bit too literally ;)

Where'd be the fun if I didn't? X)

 

19 hours ago, Samedi said:

Erm, no, they are artisan skills in real life! You literally can't do them in DU unless you have specific real-world talents.

Scripting perhaps, but anyone with patience and an understanding of physical shapes is a voxelmancy-wizard now thanks to the voxel precision tool. Either way though, if just anyone could make a McLaren by letting a couple of timers run for a month or so, then it wouldn't really special, it would be just like Ford, but with a different decoration on the front.

 

19 hours ago, Samedi said:

Just my opinion of course.

Until NQ weighs in with a bunch of hard numbers, opinion is all any of us have. :) 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Bumping this thread a little but a quality system, tied to a few other systems could be seriously engaging, AND difficult for megafactories to monopolize. Here's an outline of my thoughts. I'm using T3 Atmospheric Engines as an example. It's a "what could have been" outline, because I believe the game in it's current state is too far gone to implement this. All of these systems would have to be implemented at the same time, in addition to 2-4 other large content drops in order to not saturate one facet of the gameplay offered.

1.) [Streamlining] Element tiers can remain, but the "military, freight, maneuver, etc" designations wouldn't. Higher tiers would still require higher tier ores and parts to create.
2.) [Quality] Introduce "Quality" stat. Creating a T3 L Atmo Engine from the standard recipe yields a 1* quality. Creating a T3 L Atmo Engine from the standard recipe, and including additional parts yields a 2*-5* quality, offering stat bonuses and aesthetic differences.
3.) [Stats] Introduce stat bonuses from aesthetic/accessory modules. For example, the standard flight seat offers no bonuses. A flight seat of 2* quality that includes tanned and dyed leather (4a), or custom woven textiles (4c) that improves comfort/morale and offering the pilot "sharpness" that manifests as a 10% bonus to maneuverability.
4.) [Special Resources] Introduce resources that cannot be mass-farmed cheaply and must be actively acquired. For instance, isotopes of certain ores that only exist under specific circumstances. Ores with short half-lives that must be immediately processed into an alloy, or will degrade. Materials obtained from new features.
4a.) Introduction of animals could be a way of adding materials tied to them. A form of silicon that only exists on the shells of certain creatures or exists as a biological by-product. Leather from harvesting animals.
4b.) Material formed under intense heat and pressure from an asteroid impact.
4c.) Organic fibers or other material acquired through farming specific plants.
5) [Specialization] Through the existing talents system (should be redone from the ground up as a system that rewards active use of skills, not just passive investment) you could specialize in mass production, or artisanal production. Solo players and small orgs of artisans could get bonuses to efficiency/production time etc. Would rank up and progress through actively producing high quality parts.

Application
A megafactory as it currently exists does so because of a near limitless inflow of minable ores and deep coffers of quanta. They are able to mine through a network of passive miners and players, and purchase materials through the market. Under my system they would still be able to do so, but by following only the standard recipe, their T3 L Atmo Engines are 1* quality, offering only base stats for Tier 3. So while a 1* T3 L Atmo Engine requires only base ingredients, wouldn't they be able to create a 2* with the same process? No.
A 2* T3 L Atmo Engine would require a specific alloy made from an unstable isotope of iron not able to be acquired from passive miners. Individual players would need to acquire it by prospecting for asteroid impact sites (4b) that yield enough of the isotope for 2-7 complete 2* engines. (This is a potential vector for on the ground combat based PvP).
A 3* would require this alloy in addition to a silicon isotope gathered from a predatory chitinous animal that only spawns during specific weather, and so on.

Economics
What's to stop the rich DU oligarchs from buying all of these special materials off of the market and having 5* quality megafactories? Here are some potential solutions.
1.) Character bind special materials. A heavy handed approach that I do not prefer, but would force megafactory owners to do their own legwork.
2.) Gathering special materials solo, the effort required to get enough to run 5 lines producing more than 1* T3 Atmo Engines would far surpass the factory's ability to output product. Ergo, a megafactory with 50 production lines, would not be able to exceed the production of a solo player or small org with on 3 production lines based solely on material acquisition time.
3.) If these materials are sufficiently challenging to acquire, players will either hold on to them for their own artisan production, or sell them for a large profit. A megafactory owner COULD purchase the iron isotope alloy from the market, but the price would likely be far in excess of the cost of a single 1* engine. With realistic production constraints from requiring a scarce component, megafactories output of 2*+ elements would be low, and they would have to charge very high prices to make the effort worth it. The inconvenience of doing the legwork is a deterrent for players used to their factories doing the work for them.
4.) On the other hand, a solo player or small org going out to acquire the iron isotope gets to price their labor as they see fit. They did not spent any quanta acquiring it, only time. This makes it much more possible to undercut the megafactories without taking a loss. Megafactories MAY take a loss in the beginning, but the high prices for higher quality elements would chew through their coffers. This is the financial deterrent. Making artisanal elements is easier to do as a solo player or small org where ACTIVELY engaging in gameplay elements is what rewards you with the needed material. NOT simply having a massive factory infrastructure and deep pockets.

Parting Thoughts

I don't believe the system I've outlined above could be implemented now. It would need to have been included upon launch of the Beta, alongside every system in-game now and more. As I said in the intro, the problem is oversaturation of gameplay elements. In the early days of the DU Beta, almost every single person had their own factory pumping out all the elements and parts they needed, which made the market unnecessary. Industry was the single most fleshed out gameplay element (arguably the only one) there was, so everyone flocked to it immediately. Upon the release of 0.23 players were left with nothing to do, and left. Fast forward a year and a half and aside from a couple of additions like missions, the content situation still looks a bit bleak. Were my ideas alone implemented now I believe 90% of current, returning, and new players would flock to it immediately, and when everyone is an artisan, nobody is an artisan. Completed, quality parts would flood the market in weeks, and the people who wanted to make artisan products (not the people who did it because there was nothing else to do) would be left in a situation akin to the markets right now. Where raw materials cost just as much (or more) than finished products, and the time investment of playing the new content didn't make the effort worth it.
The only way I could see this being implemented now is if it also pertained to other newly introduced gameplay systems I haven't mentioned here.

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On 6/19/2022 at 1:42 PM, BonemanJones said:

It's a "what could have been" outline, because I believe the game in it's current state is too far gone to implement this. All of these systems would have to be implemented at the same time, in addition to 2-4 other large content drops in order to not saturate one facet of the gameplay offered.

...

I don't believe the system I've outlined above could be implemented now. It would need to have been included upon launch of the Beta, alongside every system in-game now and more. 

Why bump a thread in a section of the forum for stuff that people want NQ to consider adding with something you don't believe can be added? Should not such a post instead go somewhere in here: https://board.dualthegame.com/index.php?/forum/10-general-discussions/  ? 

 

On 6/19/2022 at 1:42 PM, BonemanJones said:

4.) [Special Resources] Introduce resources that cannot be mass-farmed cheaply and must be actively acquired. For instance, isotopes of certain ores that only exist under specific circumstances. Ores with short half-lives that must be immediately processed into an alloy, or will degrade. Materials obtained from new features...

I can appreciate the addition of a new game-play loop, but as NQ only sets the market-price of T1 ore, players themselves would determine how "cheap" something is to obtain. In the case of an item that degrades quickly with time there would be significant pressure to use/sell it quickly, and so players are likely to undercut each other often in the hope of getting rid of their item before it decays, resulting in an relatively low price unless the item is exceedingly rare (in either scenario, large groups more likely to both find it and actually have the infrastructure in place to use it).

 

On 6/19/2022 at 1:42 PM, BonemanJones said:

5) [Specialization] Through the existing talents system (should be redone from the ground up as a system that rewards active use of skills, not just passive investment) you could specialize in mass production, or artisanal production. Solo players and small orgs of artisans could get bonuses to efficiency/production time etc. Would rank up and progress through actively producing high quality parts.

You seem to miss-understand how large groups work in simplified game-environments. What stops 500 people that decide to play cooperatively with each other from still being 50 groups of 10 guys that then collectively outperform the actual small group of 10 players? This is a persistent-world MMO where players have the capacity to play cooperatively and move items between characters, there is no even vaguely reasonable way to force "conservation of ninjutsu" on to players. What 1 guy can do, so must 100 guys be able to do 100 times as much of.

 

The idea that a solo or small group can specialize in to something a large group can't mass produce in a game-simple environment is much like negative numbers irl, it exists on paper and as an idea in people's heads, but you can't make an empty box weigh less than the weight of the box by taking more objects out of it.

 

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Hello everyone!

Thank you for your ideas and suggestions. I will now be locking this thread due to this being an old thread, which discussions are largely already implemented within Dual Universe.

I encourage anyone to start a new thread on any system they feel we can improve on, or if they have new ideas.

Many thanks!

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