(5 replies, posted in Feature discussion and requests)

The analogy, as I understand it, is a "government" (or bank or other institution) buys a big expensive stamping machine  / die (Rolafen's 50m expenditure) and subsequently can create finely-engraved tokens (coins, bills, tokens) very cheaply.

Then the government can do something like pay their soldiers in tokens, and require all their citizens to pay taxes in tokens; the nonsoldier citizens would have to trade with soldiers to obtain tokens to pay their taxes.

I agree this would be a great addition to the game. If the alternative currencies could be "lightweight" enough to be mailed, rather than freighted, that would be even better.

The underlying technology of cheques would also be interesting - paper that can be written on repeatedly and unforgeable signatures. Something like: "I agree to pay RAD 200k epriton before 2015" -- Signed, Untz "As Rents-Collector for RAD, I promise RAD will not initiate hostilities with Untz before 2015" -- Signed, Rolafen Azec

As you point out, the infinite supply and relatively low nic price of even the 50k charges means that scanning well or badly doesn't much matter. Also, the short gap between starting and cashing out makes the player's experience of artifacting fairly monotonous.

Why do you believe "the solution isn't improving anything"?

For example, if you have one depth 3, range 30k charge, and one depth 3, range 10k charge, and two clues towards the next level artifact and three clues towards a cash-out artifact, and it isn't easy to go back and get more depth 3 charges without wasting your clues so far, then you (the player) have substantial choices. Try for a next level artifact or cash out? Using which range and location?

It's not obvious how to make artifacting substantially more difficult for the player without also requiring substantial additional programming. For example, suppose there were echoes or mirages so that you got several ranges for each artifact instead of just one. Then the player would have to figure out which one was real. This makes artifacting slightly more difficult, which is good. However, programming and tuning that mechanic so that it makes sense and can't be gamed and doesn't disrupt the new-player experience would be significant effort for the devs, which is bad.

The point is that (depending on how many levels there are) this makes artifacting to the last level almost arbitrarily difficult, for a near-constant amount of effort.

Currently, you spend artifact scan charges to obtain clues in your artifact scan window. When you have sufficient clues, then you can combine them to find an artifact loot container.

It might take you three to six scans to pin down a container, but you certainly don't have an epic twenty or a hundred scans going all around the island to find a container. Also, you choose which artifact to pursue, but it's a choice without much consequence - the other possible choices are still there, and if you took decent notes, your clues regarding other artifacts are still valid.

Suppose that there were a new kind of artifact loot container, that contained a new kind of artifact scan charges. Then scans with these charges could reveal different artifacts than the original syntec charges. By repeating this technique, artifact scanning could achieve a treasure hunt feel. Players would need to spend their higher-level artifact scan charges carefully, because they're expensive (in player time and effort, the real foundational currency).

The point is - there is currently limited amount of player effort that can go into finding an artifact container. Consequently, the devs have a cap on how sweet the prize can be without disrupting the economy. Consequently, few people go out artifacting for long durations. Consequently, there are relatively few targets of opportunity roaming pvp islands.

Alternatively, don't put level N+1 artifact scan charges directly in level N artifact loot containers; put materials that are necessary to craft into level N+1 artifact scan charges in level N artifact loot containers. Then players need to do artifact scanning AND manufacturing in order to get to the end of the treasure hunt. Adding another material (noralgis, epriton, something dropped by npc bots) to the materials required to manufacture level N+1 artifact scans would add another activity to the list of activities required to get to the end of the treasure hunt.

1. Add a dimension (perhaps named "depth"), orthogonal to existing "range", to artifact scan charges.
2. Make the means to obtain higher-depth artifact scan charges require lower-depth artifact scanning.
3. Randomize (completely or partially)  higher-depth artifact loot container locations when one is opened.

I agree that this matches some of the use cases of contracts - but I was trying to pick out these particular features as potentially easier to implement than the general case.

Maybe it's exactly equivalent effort.

Currently there is mail. Currently there is direct-trade.

If a mail message had an attached direct-trade offer (a button at the bottom that when the receiver clicks it opens a direct-trade window with the sender, exactly as if the sender were online and sending a direct-trade offer), then two people could conduct a direct-trade transaction without simultaneously being online.

Note that I'm not suggesting mail that freights items from one terminal to another; obviously that would destroy the locality of markets.

Possibly this change needs a fee associated with it (same as if the transaction were conducted on the market? 1000 nic, same as a private assignment? 5000 nic?) - in order to provide a tuning knobto control how much this additional trading opportunity changes the economy; but perhaps not.

And when a communist corp engages on the market with capitalist corps it can be devastating to the market.

What do you mean by devastating the market? There's almost nothing there currently to devastate. The volumes are pitiful. I want to get people out of the (boring) business of stocking corp storages and into the public market.

Devastating a market doesn't mean lowering prices; I do actually understand that charging more nic for storage would put more things on the market, at least initially, which would definitely lower prices, at least initially. That's improving the health of the economy, not harming it.

However, low carry costs for storage (and irrational fears about 'trading with the enemy') are one of the reasons there isn't much trading via the (public) market now. There's no reason to sell titan ore on the market if your corp at least sometimes uses titan ore, and I'm told there isn't much use for nic at the highest levels of physical wealth. However, if the carry costs in between when you acquire the titan and when you use the titan exceed the transaction costs to sell the titan now and buy titan later, then you would prefer to sell it rather than stock it.

If the markets were lively, then your head-start in wealth could be kept entirely in nic. I imagine the primary reason you're fearful to keep your wealth in nic now is because prices would swing if you tried to buy a new fleet. That is evidence that the market is thin and dead. If the market was lively, then you could buy a whole new fleet without changing the price much.

In humans, the fastest long-term sustained running pace is lower than the fastest short-term sprint. This means that a stationary ambusher can generally catch someone who is moving through an area, without necessarily tangling them in a net.

A sprint-module that increases movement speed and drains accumulator would create a similar effect. I suspect, because of velocity nexus modules, such a module could be created by changing data, without having to change code.

Adding turn radius would change physics, which is probably deeply difficult, requiring lots of changes to code.

I'm similarly dubious about the development costs of the other suggestions.

All you would have to do to avoid getting hit by increased carry costs, Ville, is to transform the accumulated, but stagnant, physical wealth into something that actually goes out regularly and gets used to make profit, either physical wealth or nic.

For example, if you turn your stacks of robots and ore into nic by selling them on the market, then you would cut your carry costs. (I am not proposing a wealth tax on pure nic). Alternatively, if you loan your robots to corp-mates (noobs), and they return the robots plus pay you back for the use of the robots, then the robots would be paying their own carry costs.

Think of it this way - nonlinear carry costs would decrease your head start beyond other players, but it would also get more potential PVP targets out of other corp storages, trying to earn their continued existence, actually doing stuff.

Consider increased storage fees - for both corp storage and private storage - for example 10k per robot per month or 100 nic per kg per month.

If you're concerned about the newbie experience, say everyone gets the first 1000 kg/month free.

If you really want to see a lively market, add a nonlinear component - e.g. the monthly fee is proportional to kg^1.2 rather than strictly proportional to kg stored. Alternately, the 10% heaviest storages must pay an 'excessive storage' fee doubling their storage costs.

The point is it's a nic sink that is proportional to real (physical) wealth, making nic still relevant and valuable even at the highest physical wealth.


(2 replies, posted in Services and Discussion)


Can I suggest that the issue isn't "conglom yes or no?" but "which specific features would enhance the game by supporting conglom-like structures?"

Currently you can see friend as a color, but (afaik) you don't see friends-of-friends or friends-of-friends-of-friends (or f* meaning full transitivity?). Would fofcoloring, as a specific conglom feature, enhance the game? What if there were a dilution so that long chains look different than short chains, possibly using a different lightness or alpha to convey the length?

Alternately, you effectively delegate your relation colorcoding to your corp. Suppose instead that you could delegate your colorcoding to a specific player, and if that player also delegates their colorcoding, then you see both (with your captain's colors overriding your captain's captain's colors, and so on up the chain). Would recursively-delegateable-coloring, as a specific conglom feature, enhance the game?

What about shared storages - a container in your or your corp's private storage that is shared between multiple players or corps? Is that important or unimportant for conglom operations - or rather, is it valuable or an improvement to the game?

Ideally (and it might not work in practice), if a small, poor, not-yet-established group concentrates on one area (roaming repeatedly out from alpha or around one owned station) then they don't particularly incur costs related to spark teleports. Indeed, they can gain profits from them - by looting or crafting and selling them.

However, in order to use "power projection" against that group, then the rich, powerful, established group would need  not only to obtain receptors somehow (at least funding someone to go to pvp land and do something) AND they would need to freight the receptors (repeatedly) to a nearby station.

Why is untradability important to you?

Why do you prefer a small chance (stochastic) rather than a crafted item (deterministic)?

People are currently suggesting a cooldown to limit the frequency of spark teleports.

I am a noob, and I don't understand the power projection technique. However, I do think that players routinely ask for things that make the game less fun. One of the things that makes the game more fun is mechanics that emphasize the substance and reality of the world.

If there were a large, crafted item - maybe call it spark teleport receptors - which were used up by spark teleports, then you could control spark teleports by controlling this resource. Then you can only spark teleport to a station where you have a spark teleport receptor in your private storage, and the spark teleport uses up the receptor. Then people cannot teleport repeatedly, indefinitely, to the same station.

If the teleport item was made out of precursors including:
1. an item found by scanning down artifacts in pvp areas
2. noralgis
3. epriton
4. nic

Then the thing that people apparently want to use but (apparently?) are overusing - spark teleports - would still be in the game, but it would be balanced by more actual playing, in various styles - scanning down artifacts, farming, mining, pve combat, crafting the receptor, and finally freighting the receptor from the factory to the station or stations that people want to spark teleport to.

Does that sound like fun? Might it get people out of the stations, doing stuff?

The cost isn't really something we can estimate. There's an xkcd about the difficulty non-developers have seeing which features are difficult: http://xkcd.com/1425/

The benefit is analogous to the terrain - yes, you can give people a flat plane and tell them to make their own fun, but it helps to have a developer create at least some islands with tactically interesting terrain.

Given: I can't read DEV Alf's mind.

An across-the-board increase to all sorts of capabilities (masking, detection, locking time, damage, critical chance) attached to immobility or near-immobility for a period of time would be reasonable, if Alf wanted Perpetuum's combat to work a bit more like real-world combat.

As it is, there's a lot more motion in Perpetuum's battles (which is cool), and a lot less prepared positions (which is perhaps not cool).

Would it be fun if we had an 'entrenching module', that decreased speed greatly when active, increased a wide array of capabilities slightly (including masking) when active, and took a fairly long time (maybe on the order of 45s) to spin up?

People have hoarding instincts, and they're given free expression in games - for example: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/M … esomeToUse

I don't know, but corps might act like they have hoarding instincts even stronger than players. Maybe people feel good about dumping their stuff into corp coffers ("helping the group") and/or are a little slow to pull from the corp coffers ("that's group property").

If everyone in an economy is a saver, then you get recessions. Maybe we could have carry costs to curb hoarding and get the economy going faster?

"Due to a Syndicate accounting oversight, the Syndicate has been providing many millions of kilogram / months of lossless storage to Agents for free. From now on, it will cost X NIC per kilogram per month to store items in Syndicate terminals. Unpaid accounts will still retain access to their items, but they will be lossy-compressed.

With modern checksums, often 75% of lossy-compressed commodities are recoverable, and equipment damaged by lossy compression can of course be repaired in the usual Syndicate repair facility."

@Gwyndor: You don't have to be a supercomputer to figure out, if the urn has 20 balls in it, then the average number of black balls is 10. If a similar mean-reverting random walk has upper and lower bounds 40 nic and 50 nic, then on average the price would be 45 nic. It doesn't need to change particularly fast to add texture to the market - roughly hourly or daily would be fine - but transaction fees would make high-frequency trading unprofitable anyway (that's what regulators in the real world recommend to curb HFT).

@Jita: is there a major source of nic other than plasma? Don't you need nic to pay prototyping and manufacturing fees?

Could we get more texture to the game by randomizing the NPC orders a bit?

A mean-reverting random walk is something like: An urn is filled with some mix of white and black balls. Repeatedly pick a ball at random and change it to the opposite color. The number of black balls at any given time wanders around, but if it is high then it is likely to go lower, and if it is low, then it is likely to go higher.

Changing the flat infinite orders to randomly moving ones (particularly mean-reverting random walks) would add some nice texture to the economy of the game.

If the limit of the range of the randomized syndicate orders are equal to the current flat infinite orders, then it's not a buff - previously players always got the best price, now on only on very good days they get that price.

You might even allow the randomized syndicate order to go beyond the current price (40 nic per charge instead of 45? madness!). By moving the order back towards the current flat price, based on the volume that people transact with it, then the rate of the 'market timing spigot' is bounded. The devs would be able to say "The players can get at most N unusually-cheap charges (or whatever) per week out of us by timing the market, but we're okay with that".


Searching, I found this old changelog: http://www.perpetuum-online.com/Changelog:2011-08-25 that suggests that the devs have some intended income rate - plasma per minute of pve combat or something.

Do you have any speculation what that rate might be? Is 100 plasma per minute low? is 1000 plasma per minute high?

I'm told mining and harvesting are the primary sources of raw commodities such as titan ore.

Are assignment rewards the primary source of nic, or is it syndicate buy orders, or robot insurance?

If it is buy orders, are plasma buy orders the dominant source of nic, or is it something else that I haven't heard of?