Trading goods other than by hauling them

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Wildeblood
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Trading goods other than by hauling them

Post by Wildeblood »

Let's assume you've been ignoring Limit Theory. This week might be a time to make an exception and have a read. This week Josh Parnell asked himself whether players should be able to trade goods without docking and loading them aboard their ships, and quickly concluded the answer was obviously yes. This strikes me as interesting, since in Oolite the answer has always been obviously not.

So, rent a warehouse, buy some wares but don't load them aboard ship, and the next day check in to see if the price has risen and maybe sell them by remote control? Why does it seem so obviously wrong?

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Re: Trading goods other than by hauling them

Post by Disembodied »

Wildeblood wrote:So, rent a warehouse, buy some wares but don't load them aboard ship, and the next day check in to see if the price has risen and maybe sell them by remote control? Why does it seem so obviously wrong?
There's a great danger in assuming that because something is "realistic", or because it "makes sense" that the player could do something, it should therefore be added to the game. This is a perennial problem, especially with homebrew games, where the instinct is to put absolutely everything in because more is better, right? Unfortunately, what tends to happen is that you get a game where the player can poke around and do all sorts of things, in all sorts of ways, but none of them are actually much fun (the X series, I'm looking at you). In theory, player could buy up goods, and hoard them, hoping for a price increase; they could play the planetary stock exchange; they could bet on the outcome of mud tennis tournaments, or become angel investors to startup tech companies, or put money in a savings account or buy Green Shield stamps, but you'd have to question how much fun would be generated for all the effort required to make all this possible.

I think it seems wrong because Oolite is a game where the player is a lone-wolf, hard-bitten space trader, roaming the stars, living on the edge ... does Han Solo have a bonded warehouse? Does Mal Reynolds follow the futures markets? It seems wrong because fundamentally it's out of character. If players can make a decent living sitting behind a desk and flying a spreadsheet, why would they risk their lives out there among the laser beams?

If you want some handwavium: if this was a valid way of making money, other people would be doing it already, and on a vastly larger scale - very likely wiping out any little corner of an ecosystem where the player could exist. Sure, prices fluctuate - but (with the exception of Narcotics, a special case) they don't fluctuate that much. Any profit the player might make between today's Fur prices and yesterday's Fur prices could very easily be wiped out by the daily storage charges levied by the station, or the offworlder tax applied to delayed trades made by non-planetary residents, or by daily orbital fees, or docking fees ... Easy money - money made by just sitting there, being rich - would indeed be realistic, but it wouldn't be fun.

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Re: Trading goods other than by hauling them

Post by Diziet Sma »

Disembodied wrote:There's a great danger in assuming that because something is "realistic", or because it "makes sense" that the player could do something, it should therefore be added to the game. This is a perennial problem, especially with homebrew games, where the instinct is to put absolutely everything in because more is better, right? Unfortunately, what tends to happen is that you get a game where the player can poke around and do all sorts of things, in all sorts of ways, but none of them are actually much fun (the X series, I'm looking at you). In theory, player could buy up goods, and hoard them, hoping for a price increase; they could play the planetary stock exchange; they could bet on the outcome of mud tennis tournaments, or become angel investors to startup tech companies, or put money in a savings account or buy Green Shield stamps, but you'd have to question how much fun would be generated for all the effort required to make all this possible.

I think it seems wrong because Oolite is a game where the player is a lone-wolf, hard-bitten space trader, roaming the stars, living on the edge ... does Han Solo have a bonded warehouse? Does Mal Reynolds follow the futures markets? It seems wrong because fundamentally it's out of character. If players can make a decent living sitting behind a desk and flying a spreadsheet, why would they risk their lives out there among the laser beams?
Bingo.

And yet, there are some rather strange people, who actually seem to find such number-crunching, management type activities to be fun.. there have even been a few requests from them over the years to incorporate such features into Oolite.. personally speaking, I couldn't imagine anything more mind-numbingly boring than being a glorified Station Manager, building a financial empire amongst the stars, when there's a whole Ooniverse out there just waiting to get up-close-and-personal with..

In any case, if that's what floats their boat, thankfully, there are any number of such games already out there they could be playing.. so there's no need to go turning Oolite into yet another management "game".
Most games have some sort of paddling-pool-and-water-wings beginning to ease you in: Oolite takes the rather more Darwinian approach of heaving you straight into the ocean, often with a brick or two in your pockets for luck. ~ Disembodied

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Re: Trading goods other than by hauling them

Post by Cody »

Wildeblood wrote:Let's assume you've been ignoring Limit Theory.
Why would you assume that?

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Re: Trading goods other than by hauling them

Post by ffutures »

Assuming I have a warehouse several systems away, who's looking after it while I'm gone? Who's making sure that it isn't being looted by intruders, that the contents aren't going rotten or rusting, being eaten by trumbles, etc. etc.? And why would I want to do this when transport is so cheap, and there may be better prices in another system?

About the only reason I can think of is if I'm trying to accumulate some sort of unique item and get together a cargo. and don't want to lug it around all the time. And I would expect storage to cost money - say ten credits per ton for initial setup of the warehouse space, and the equivalent of rental / security guard fees / insurance thereafter. And then possibly find out that the insurance doesn't cover asteroid collisions, Thargoids, supernovas and other disasters...

later - one reason to do this that didn't initially occur to me is to stockpile cargo over time. For example, if your warehouse is in a system where narcotics are cheap but only on the market in small quantities, you could buy everything available and shove it into the warehouse over several trips, then take all of it out in one dash to avoid Galcop etc.

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Re: Trading goods other than by hauling them

Post by metatheurgist »

Forcing the player to leave the planet literally propels the gameplay forward. It makes the player take risks, explore his surroundings and learn how to fly and fight.

Long ago my friend got a pirated copy of Federation of Free Traders, but without the instructions he couldn't even leave the starting world. There was a stock market in the game and I immediately noticed it could be gamed. Even the transactions of a starting player influenced the market making it very easy to game. I taught my friend what to do and left.

A week later I was back and he had 1M credits, the best ship in the shipyard, the best weapons he could buy for that ship in the shipyard and a cargo hold full of the most expensive commodity (wine)...but he still couldn't leave the planet without blowing up. So he'd basically beat the game without needing to play it.

Not much of a space simulation.

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Re: Trading goods other than by hauling them

Post by Switeck »

Partially covered before at:
Storage space rentals
http://aegidian.org/bb/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=13373

...More game-balanced than Hypercargo OXP, not that that's saying much.

This might be something for a place like Free Trade Zone or a Rock Hermit to handle, because at the main stations you're supposed to be trading between systems not playing and gaming the local market to the possible detriment of the local system economy! And there should be no remote buying and selling, you'd have to dock there and handle the cargo yourself. Remote access could be hacked/faked/stolen.

In short, it would be gray market or black market trading and likely frowned on.

It might be how pirates work...but they're probably at risk of having their loot stolen from their storage location/s by other pirates. So most just sell their loot off immediately for whatever few credits they can get.

To even be offered exclusive storage space at a station would probably mean you've made a huge donation/payment to the station to make it worth their while. This amount has to be renewed periodically or the cargo is lost. It could be offered as a black market for offenders/fugitives/pirates at "questionable" stations like Free Trade Zone and the Anarchy OXP stations or at only 1 Rock Hermit you've chosen to "sponsor".

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Re: Trading goods other than by hauling them

Post by Wildeblood »

Switeck wrote:To even be offered exclusive storage space at a station would probably mean you've made a huge donation/payment to the station to make it worth their while. This amount has to be renewed periodically or the cargo is lost. It could be offered as a black market for offenders/fugitives/pirates at "questionable" stations like Free Trade Zone and the Anarchy OXP stations or at only 1 Rock Hermit you've chosen to "sponsor".
That last paragraph strays perilously close to the hoary old chestnut of, "Why can't I buy my own station?"

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Re: Trading goods other than by hauling them

Post by Switeck »

Wildeblood wrote:That last paragraph strays perilously close to the hoary old chestnut of, "Why can't I buy my own station?"
Of course, since the act of "renting a warehouse" in Oolite implies at least in some sense that you are renting/buying a piece of a station. Even a warehouse on a planet or moon probably has to get interstellar goods to/from there through a station.

It's a huge game balance issue. If some OXP maker wants to jump to that task, I'd at least beta-test the results. But I don't need or want it in the core game.

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