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Real economy addon

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Post Wed Jan 18, 2006 10:30 am

Real economy addon

Hello everyone!

I wanted to give an update on the real economy addon for Freelancer and wanted to gather ideas and stuff you'd like to see in this addon. I've seen these threads and have already implemented or am implementing some of the things discussed there:

- Dynamic Commodities Market Programming
- Changing the Unchangeable (EXE and DLL Mods)
- and a couple of others I can't find right now.

The current state of the addon is this:

- We have a new global pricing scheme to vary prices
- We have a news ticker, which shows the price changes like a stock ticker
- I have integrated market "events", which are displayed in the news room
- Prices vary as you trade - not once a day
- A concept for real demand and supply (finishing this until next week)
- Your interaction with the game will really influence markets
- This is integrated into the game - its live - its not a tool changing save game states or INI files between games
- Bases will have real stock of items which can run out. Bases will produce items etc.

What else would you like to see in such an addon?

BTW, here are some screenshots of the current state:

- News Screenshot 1
- News Screenshot 2
- News Screenshot 3
- News Screenshot 4

I also took a video ( 44MB ) showing random prices in the game.

We also need more INI scripters and testers (currently SP only, MP later) - if you are willing to contribute feel free to contact me.

Edited by - grover on 1/18/2006 10:33:35 AM

Post Thu Jan 19, 2006 7:36 am

Wow... really, wow.

You saying that you can change the price and stock in realtime?

I bet you could change other things too, think of the possibilities. Actual real-time news of in-game events. Faction standings... between factions. Really, one could make a very, very dynamic world with this.

Post Thu Jan 19, 2006 9:27 pm

i can do a little INI scripting and i am very good at testing if you need anyone

Post Thu Jan 19, 2006 9:50 pm

Thanks for the nice responses.

Yes, I am changing the prices of goods in real time. Even in response to what you do, e.g. if you're a pirate and shooting down transport trains, this will cause the carried goods to raise in price.

The price updates are performed every human 18 seconds, which is approx. 15 minutes in the game - so not really realtime but almost. If we'd update more often the game could/would slow to a crawl.

To talk a little bit more about the pricing of goods:

- We have a universe wide pricing system (specifying global trends in prices)
- The universe wide pricing system is enhanced by a base local pricing scheme, which specifies local demand, supply, production and sale of goods.
- Your reputation with the owners of the base will affect prices, e.g. if you have a good standing, you'll get commodities, equipment and ships cheaper than with a less good standing. On the other hand: If you sell something with a bad standing, you'll also make less money. E.g. reputation starts to make sense for traders too.
- We have events, which influence the market. For example an event could be that a certain mining field runs out of ore. In this case the result of the event would be rising prices for the ore in certain or all bases. You would see this event in the News room along with the news ticker.

There's much more in planning, this is just the initial stuff I am working on/have implemented.

Supporters with scripting experience, testers and story writers are always welcome to join us. Mail me if you want to support this addon.

Edited by - grover on 1/19/2006 10:04:34 PM

Post Fri Jan 20, 2006 1:24 am

I've just started a tutorial series on the use of this addon over in the Tutorials section.

*** Tutorial *** Freelancer Real Economy

Post Fri Jan 20, 2006 6:04 pm

Great work! If you can get this to work in multiplayer, maybe even serverside only, it would be awsome.

One thing that bothers me however: watching the video I noticed that when buying stuff, the price on the dealer's side decreases. Shouldn't it increase?

Post Fri Jan 20, 2006 8:06 pm

The video was taken as a proof of concept. There was only a random price calculation available then. I am currently implementing the real supply&demand economy, when it'll be done I'll make a new video. So yes, generally speaking the price should go up - but the answer ain't as easy as that

Post Sat Jan 21, 2006 3:22 am


Post Sat Jan 21, 2006 6:35 am

I am planning to provide a version of this mod for MP, mostly server side only. The problem is I need to run on both, the server and the client to update the screen on the client. But all price calculations and stock management will happen on the server in this case.

But don't expect this to come very soon. I want to have SP running first, MP isn't much more work afterwards (at least that's what I'm thinking now, may be that'll change.)

In any case this mod is a lot more fun in MP, where more people benefit and pirates can control competition and have a real influence of real game prices.

Post Sat Jan 21, 2006 12:53 pm

I just want to say: AWESOME!

Post Sun Jan 22, 2006 3:27 am

Oh yeah, remember theres more to pricing than supply and demand. Consumers general liking, competition, alot of random stuff.

Post Sun Jan 22, 2006 3:48 am

The problem of any economy solution is to provide these random effects - if you don't do it you could just as well leave it as it becomes very predictable and thus doesn't make sense.

I am currently working on the math behind the supply and demand trying to incorporate these random effects. To a certain point this does become predictable, but introducing random events in the market generally should change the market behaviour to become at least partially unpredictable.

The current state is that supply will generally lag a little behind the demand and certain overshooting will happen in the sense that supply will surpass demand at certain points to still give traders the opportunity to buy low and sell high - just not at *every* point in time. This stuff is all in the INIs and not hard coded.

I am also thinking about making a lot of the variables in the formulas depend on the trade volume - this would make trade routes loose value if used regularly.

Edited by - grover on 1/22/2006 4:07:45 AM

Post Sun Jan 22, 2006 5:36 am

Whole new code can go into the game, just by adding it as dll's? If for nothing else grover, you should be in the FL hall of fame for this Very, very good work.

Wanders off wondering about other possibilities....

Edit :
Returns quite quickly So... the what is the likely lag factor for SP? I don't know if it would be practical for MP gaming but trade convoys that REALLY travel across multiple systems spring to mind; the real-time alteration of systems that Accushot had in mind, lanes shot down, repaired, reopened over days or weeks; bases damaged and made top be undockable; jumpholes that REALLY go out of phase and cant be accessed; a true hyperspace system that adds a jumphole to desired destination (pre-located exits per system) close to the player; dare i consider SP or server controlled use of the c**** word for those that want it; orbiting stations (just a tiny fraction every update); cosmic events that disturb scanner range or irradiate systems/areas; coordinated npc campaigns...

Hell, I could go on for quite some time with this sorta thinking. Did I mention that I really like this? Cos I do

+++ out of cheese error - redo from start +++

Edited by - anton on 1/22/2006 5:48:30 AM

Post Sun Jan 22, 2006 6:55 am


thanks for the nice response.

Yes a lot is possible using this approach, there is even no lag as I'm part of the game engine - I've included myself into the simulation and get notified of everything happening. (Including callbacks less than every 100ms)

The current status quo is that once the player undocks I deactivate everything. The only time I do something is while being docked. I believe that once you are in space you basically don't have contact to any market news and thus "believe" in the last prices known. Once you dock again the whole thing may have changed and you can go to the news room to find out why.

As to your ideas: I'm sure a lot of this is possible. My current adventures in the memory structures have given me ideas like the following:

- Different trade lane speeds for some trade lanes (higher or slower...) (Already have experimented with this and it should work. Similar to what Alcandar has done - just dependent on the lane used.)

- Base ownership with real profits to the player (depending on trade and production.) This definitively work and is planned at a later stage!

But for a lot of this stuff to work I need support. I need people for scripting and testing most. As far as I'm concerned I can't spend as much time on this as I'd love to, so the only thing I can do is enable things

Post Sun Jan 22, 2006 9:58 am

I don't think you'll have a hard time finding testers and scripters for such a huge breakthrough!

Simply ask and people will crowd...

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