Draft: factories and commodities (new crafting/trading mechanic)


  • Dev Team

    Last update: April 3 3:51 PM (UTC)

    Here is the request for comments proposal of the upcoming crafting/trading mechanics and related stuff.

    The first thing to mention would be new resources: Metal, Silicon, Biomass, Mist. These resources will be distributed unevenly across the world map: one resource type per map quadrant (NW, NE, SW, SE). Each shard gets its own distribution of resources. Deposits will appear in neutral empty "highway" rooms that divide living sectors on the map together with extractors for them. Unlike regular minerals, they exhaust as you harvest them: the more you harvest, the longer extractor cooldown becomes. They vanish when you stop harvesting it to reappear elsewhere nearby. We believe this mechanics introduces various harvesting scenarios with interesting tradeoffs without a single best solution.

    Then, we're introducing a new structure type: Factory. Factories are supposed to produce commodities out of traditional minerals, the aforementioned new resources, and other commodities. The sole purpose of produced stuff is to be sold to NPC traders, there is no use of them in the game mechanics.

    This is important: commodities will become the only resource types NPC traders are interested in, they will stop buying raw minerals once factories go live (NPC sell orders will remain). Now, if you want an NPC trader to buy your, say, Lemergium, you need to process it into Lemergium Bar first. NPC traders will buy all types of commodities constantly adjusting their prices based on the supply, there is no fixed price for anything. Players will continue to place buy orders for anything they want, of course.

    Once a room reaches control level 7, you can build a factory in the room. A newly built factory has no level which means it can produce a few commodities out of all kinds of existing minerals. These goods supposed to be a cheap reward for basic usage of the new mechanic, they also can be used to store resources in a 'compressed' form (they can be uncompressed later).

    ProductFactoryComponents
    Utrium barAny level5 Utrium
    Lemergium barAny level5 Lemergium
    Zynthium barAny level5 Zynthium
    Keanium barAny level5 Keanium
    Ghodium meltAny level5 Ghodium
    OxidantAny level5 Oxygen
    ReductantAny level5 Hydrogen
    PurifierAny level5 Catalyst
    BatteryAny level10 energy

    Players having access to the new resources will be able to produce additional commodities.

    ProductFactoryComponents
    WireAny level1 Utrium bar + 5 Silicon
    CellAny level1 Lemergium bar + 5 Biomass
    AlloyAny level1 Zynthium bar + 5 Metal
    CondensateAny level1 Keanium bar + 5 Mist

    The full use of the new mechanic is possible with Operators only, and their OPERATE_FACTORY power (effect duration 1000 ticks, power cooldown 800 ticks, but we're still considering other timings too). When an Operator uses power on a factory without a level, the level of the factory is permanently set to the level of the power, and the same effect is applied on the factory providing the ability to produce commodities of the corresponding level. The factory can only produce commodities of exactly the same level, or 'any level' commodities. Once set, the factory level cannot be changed. When the effect duration ends, the factory simply becomes inactive, but its level remains the same. You need an Operator with the same power level to reactivate it again. The power of another level will not be applied, the only way to change the factory level is to rebuild it (and the construction cost will be quite high).

    Each of high-level commodities requires lower level commodities to be produced which forms production chains. We developed four production chains, one for each of new resource types: Mechanical (consumes Metal), Electronic (consumes Silicon), Biological (consumes Biomass), and Mysterious (consumes Mist), as well as common components:

    ProductFactoryComponents
    Common
    CompositeLvl 11 Utrium bar + 1 Zynthium bar
    CrystalLvl 21 Lemergium bar + 1 Keanium bar + 1 Purifier
    LiquidLvl 31 Oxidant + 1 Reductant + 1 Ghodium melt
    Electronic
    SwitchLvl 18 Wire + 19 Oxidant + 7 Utrium bar
    TransistorLvl 24 Switch + 15 Wire + 85 Reductant
    MicrochipLvl 32 Transistor + 50 Composite + 117 Wire + 25 Purifier
    CircuitLvl 41 Microchip + 5 Transistor + 4 Switch + 115 Oxidant
    DeviceLvl 51 Circuit + 3 Microchip + 110 Crystal + 150 Ghodium melt
    Biological
    PhlegmLvl 110 Cell + 18 Oxidant + 8 Lemergium bar
    TissueLvl 25 Phlegm + 5 Cell + 55 Reductant
    MuscleLvl 33 Tissue + 3 Phlegm + 50 Zynthium bar + 50 Reductant
    OrganoidLvl 41 Muscle + 5 Tissue + 208 Purifier + 256 Oxidant
    OrganismLvl 51 Organoid + 150 Liquid + 6 Tissue + 310 Cell
    Mechanical
    TubeLvl 120 Alloy + 8 Zynthium bar
    FixturesLvl 220 Composite + 41 Alloy + 161 Oxidant
    FrameLvl 32 Fixtures + 4 Tube + 330 Reductant + 31 Zynthium bar
    HydraulicsLvl 4150 Liquid + 3 Fixtures + 15 Tube + 208 Purifier
    MachineLvl 51 Hydraulics + 2 Frame + 3 Fixtures + 12 Tube
    Mysterious
    ConcentrateLvl 110 Condensate+ 5 Keanium bar + 18 Reductant
    ExtractLvl 25 Concentrate + 15 Condensate + 30 Oxidant
    SpiritLvl 32 Extract + 6 Concentrate + 90 Reductant + 20 Purifier
    EmanationLvl 42 Spirit + 2 Extract + 3 Concentrate + 112 Keanium bar
    EssenceLvl 51 Emanation + 3 Spirit + 110 Crystal + 150 Ghodium melt

    0_1554372785578_factory-market.png

    Thus, in order to implement the full chain by yourself, you'll need 6 factories and 5 operators. If you want to produce all chains in parallel, multiply it by 4. Sometimes it will be more reasonable not to implement a "vertically integrated business", but buy intermediate commodities from other players to produce higher level commodities. NPC traders will be adapting their prices all the time to make such schemes profitable.

    Some other changes. We have plans to load commodities into upcoming NPC Strongholds which makes it much easier to take your reward because high-level commodities supposed to be far more expensive per one resource unit than raw minerals and even Tier 3 boosts. Also, it just fits better in the game lore, NPC will possess something that is interesting for NPC. The same with "caravans" and other PvE events, we will mostly use commodities as a reward.

    Also, we're going to increase market orders limit up to 300 so that everyone can participate in full in this new trading shenanigans. It will require to add some new order expiration rule to do that, but we're still working on the details, follow the PTR news.

    🏭


  • Awesome! I think this is great.

    Thoughts:

    1. Regional resources are interesting. Makes different areas of the map different. Doesn't really matter, except you want to have a monopoly in your region and it's flavour.
    2. The power creep interaction I was luke-warm on at first, but actually I think potentially addresses a lot of issues with Operators right now. Today it seems the best strategy is to have a few high level power creeps. With this change I do not think that is neccessarily true any more: the production chains are triangular meaning you need a multiple level 1 factories to feed one level 2 (and so on). This means many power creeps are better than fewer for factories. But... they're worse for everything else. That's a great tradeoff IMO. One issue I have right now is that the triangle extends down to level 0. If I need 36 inputs for 1 Phlegm, surely that means I want a 36:1 ratio of level 0 to level 1? I guess it depends how much operate factory boosts production, if at all, but today that seems like I'd have one of each level 1+ factory, then loads of level 0. I'd prefer the triangle to actually be triangular.
    3. The mining system looks interesting. Going to have to wait-and-see. The exact mechanics of how the cooldown works will matter a lot.

    I've not read enough on the production trees to understand them yet really, other than to recognise how


  • Dev Team

    @tigga

    If I need 36 inputs for 1 Phlegm, surely that means I want a 36:1 ratio of level 0 to level 1?

    No, different products will have different factory cooldowns, they are not equal to each other.

    ☝👍


  • Will those commodities have any use except for trading?

    I expect it will cause great price inflation with much more income from the NPC traders and nowhere to spend those extra credits.



  • @tgdgnu do you think it will create more price inflation than the existing NPC credit-creation?



  • @wtfrank I think it probably will. It's a mechanic designed to make credits and presumably the higher tier products will be worth more credits per mineral unit than current NPC orders.

    Whether price inflation is actually a problem I am less sure. I imagine it'll reach some new equilibrium. It's bad news for people with a lot of credits stockpiled, but long term not a big deal, I would have thought.

    Peacetime credit sinks right now are buying minerals from NPCs and buying energy from players. I don't see why "buying minerals from NPCs" can't change to "buying minerals from players" as I imagine the mineral price you can get from players will end up roughly in balance with the NPC level 0 prudct prices.


  • Dev Team

    @tgdgnu From the post above: The sole purpose of produced stuff is to be sold to NPC traders, there is no use of them in the game mechanics.

    There won't be any additional credits influx from NPC traders, it will be just redistributed in a different way between different resources. Inflation will be exactly the same.

    There are NPC sell orders for minerals, power, and we're considering adding some "compressed" energy as well that you can buy from NPC and decompress in factories:

    1 Accumulator Lvl 0 X Energy
    X Energy Lvl 0 1 Accumulator


  • @artch Compress at a factory and decompress in your carry using a work part or some new body part, now that would be awesome!



  • Just throwing it out there, I see a lot of work just for 'credits' which aren't that interesting.. Or the market doesn't offer that much currently. Producing and coding complex logistics just for some 'sell it to the shops' is not very rewarding.

    Perhaps it's an idea to have some side aspect/benefit, perhaps coupled with a 'commerce level' ranking similar to GPL and GCL.

    In a game like Anno you also have region trade goods, there it helps you increase your sophistication level of the citizens you host. This level in turn enables new forms of buildings/units etc.


  • Dev Team

    @tun9an0 You can spend credits on pretty much anything that is valued in this game:

    • Save real money on subscription tokens
    • GCL (compressed energy)
    • GPL (power + compressed energy)
    • Economy and military efficiency (raw minerals for boosts)

    Isn't it enough incentive to have more credits?

    👍☝


  • So, given that the production chains do not appear to have any overlap, there seems to be no need to trade for other types of resources, as you can get a full production chain with just the resource class in your quadrant.

    Also, it would be interesting if Bars were made out of 10 of each mineral, but could be de-compressed with another factory. This, along with compressed energy, would allow factories to compress resources for ease of transport, as long as another factory was at the destination to decompress the resources.



  • Also, we're going to increase market orders limit up to 300 so that everyone can partipicate in full in this new trading shenanigans.

    That would be a good time to replace that hard-coded "50" in your engine code with an actual game constant. Please and thank you.

    👆


  • I feel like if terminals are level 6 and extractors are level 6 and NPCs won't buy minerals then the factory should be level 6 as well otherwise smaller markets won't function correctly (There can be jamup of minerals with no outlet).

    And the cooldown or processing rate of the level 0 commodities needs to such that they beat out mineral regen time if ran consistently, otherwise it effectively nerfs harvesting minerals.



  • Oh boy, while this really addresses most of my complaints I worry about its complexity.
    That said I'm actually looking forward to it. You definitely took our complaints into account while designing those mechanics 👍

    But please before you jump right ahead into its realization I urge you to look carefully at the current mechanics and do some rebalancing/refinement/reconsidering.
    Low level players still are up against really unfair mechanics when they engage against high level opponents. There should be at least the possibility of a ROI.
    (i.e. the hit back mechanic that should be removed or at least nerved big times)
    (Power activation of rooms also needs a revisit)

    I feel like these mechanics will diversify the Gameplay big time and make Credits really essential to the game.
    That was really missing IMO.



  • Overall I do like the idea of where this is going but I do have some questions/concerns.

    1. Gaining credits before factories. If I understand correctly NPCs will stop buying base minerals. This means that someone who either cannot access factories for some reason, or who chooses not to is really cut out of the market. There is also the possibility that the player base ruins the new commodity market and no one uses it. Then we will have no place to really dump materials. I think we should keep the NPC buy orders for minerals but also have it fluctuate just like the commodity market.

    2. Robustness of the market. Currently the market is extremely basic in its functionality. I think it could use some updating and should probably take some cues from Eve Online's market. Below are things I think it needs.

    • Broker's Fee - This fee would be charged when interacting with your market order. Creating an order and modifying an order price would invoke a Broker's Fee. The fee would be a certain percentage of the cost of the order and also have some minimum. This fee could be scaled positively or negatively based on the amount of active orders out there. The main purpose of this fee is to help control inflation and deflation.
    • Sales Tax - This tax/fee should always be paid by the Buyer. The main purpose of this fee is to remove credits from the game
    • Better Market Tools - Currently from what I understand there is no way to see past trends in the market without manually inquiring the market orders and processing them yourself. Yet the market page shows a daily history of units sold, average prices, and the standard deviation. Would it be possible to have that accessible by our code? Better market tools can mean more people actually use the market.
    1. Market Arbitrage - Will NPC prices be based per shard or will they be globally the same? There could be a large ability for market arbitrage if they are set per shard.

    2. Power Creep Interaction - Will the Operator power regen_mineral affect these new mining nodes? I hope it does because right now it feels pretty lackluster.

    3. How do we use a level 0 factory? Can any power creep use operate_factory without putting levels in it? If not then I am not sure how we maintain a level 0 factory with a level 1+ operate_factory power.

    4. How many factories are we looking at in a single room? Is it just 1 factory per room or will there be multiples? Would it also be possible to have multiple factories built but only a certain amount of them active?

    Overall I really like this idea and can't wait to see it go forward. I am also intrigued by having compressed materials like energy or basic minerals. That would make transporting things cross shard much easier. Can't wait to see what everyone comes up with.


  • Dev Team

    Honestly, we might leave some amount of raw minerals NPC buy orders though, it's not set in stone yet. Their prices would be just low enough to encourage you to process them into something more lucrative for NPCs.



  • Okay, here're my thoughts on this (they may change with time though, but for now it's what I've got):

    • I ~kinda~ like the idea of decoupling NPC market from player market in terms of stuff on sale. Hopefully NPCs will be also more active in buying stuff we produce, w/o the need to fulfill orders 50-60 rooms away from you, which was a big barrier for entry as I remember back from my starting days, due to energy cost.
    • I'm hoping this will liven up the markets even more so than new shard trades have, as this will have lower entry barrier. I also hope it would make shard3 market liven up even more.
    • All of this and new InterShardSegment should make inter-shard trade even more viable and easier to enter to. Also as a good goal for people starting off on shard3 to subscribe and try to expand onto other shards.
    • I like the spreading of levels across factory levels and tying them to power creep levels. Agree with Tigga's assessment of it.
    • Personally, would like to see some cross-discipline materials (could be tiered too: T3 takes two different discipline materials, T4 takes three, and T5 takes all four) as well, I think that would foster inter-player trade as well as buying intermediates from NPCs to make them locally. Maybe something to look into for later update to factories?
    • I like the compressed energy idea a lot.
    • I'll definitely second KyraLee's sentiment on need for better market tools. Having trends accessible via API would be a great boon alongside the increased order count.
    👍

  • Dev Team

    @kyralee

    Robustness of the market. Currently the market is extremely basic in its functionality. I think it could use some updating and should probably take some cues from Eve Online's market. Below are things I think it needs.

    Broker's fee is already present in the game. Sales tax - I don't think it fits well here, since there is energy transfer cost. Market stats access from the API sounds reasonable, we might consider that.

    Market Arbitrage - Will NPC prices be based per shard or will they be globally the same? There could be a large ability for market arbitrage if they are set per shard.

    NPC prices adjusting behavior will be the same as it currently works, i.e. per shard.

    Power Creep Interaction - Will the Operator power regen_mineral affect these new mining nodes? I hope it does because right now it feels pretty lackluster.

    It will be most probably reworked somehow.

    How do we use a level 0 factory? Can any power creep use operate_factory without putting levels in it? If not then I am not sure how we maintain a level 0 factory with a level 1+ operate_factory power.

    You don't operate level 0 factories, they are always operational.

    How many factories are we looking at in a single room? Is it just 1 factory per room or will there be multiples? Would it also be possible to have multiple factories built but only a certain amount of them active?

    1 factory per room, like a storage or a terminal.



  • Is there any potential plan to add a use for the materials other than selling to NPCs? It seems like a waste to make 20+ new resource types that are only good for selling.


  • Dev Team

    @crusher48 No, there is not. If "good for selling" is "only" for you, then this mechanic is clearly not for your play style 🙂 It's for people who like crafting and trading.