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Old June 10, 2009, 10:23   #41
etaomyx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Mack View Post
IMO elegance and simplicity go hand in hand. For store pricing, buyout has a lot of the features that belong in real-life store restocking:
* High variance in price to simulate supply and demand.
* Unlimited basic supplies available at a high premium.
Allowing players unlimited supplies by buying every item might penalise the player for excess demand, but beyond that it makes no economic sense whatever. Why should you buy unrelated goods in order to get at what you need? It confuses people. Disallowing the player from selling makes the situation worse. Randomness does not in any way "simulate supply and demand" when it's just randomness. If you want to simulate elastic supply, then simulate elastic supply: it is simple, makes sense, and allows for unlimited supplies available at a premium in the most natural way.
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Old June 10, 2009, 10:40   #42
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The buyout button doesn't simulate elastic supply; it simulates inelastic supply.

The variance on such things is much, much bigger than you might ordinarily expect--and it's why RL people buy gold.

Imagine there's a hurricane coming in, and there's only one Home Depot (and no Lowes) in a 2-hour radius that's selling plywood. Assuming the store manager doesn't care about repeat sales, what do you think the price of plywood will be? (An order of magnitude isn't unexpected. That's why you should buy plywood in the hurricane off-season. The same holds for canned food.)


In a specific example: say you desperately need some !rStr. While you are buying out the store, desperately trying to return your blows from 1 to 4, you also manage to score 20 scrolls of +damage. This unexpectedly gets your bow up to +9 and your arrows to +5, and suddenly you don't need four blows anymore. That's the kind of thing that happens in RL economics; there's no way to simulate such a 'market' with the cost based on a single type of item.
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Old June 10, 2009, 11:13   #43
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Originally Posted by Pete Mack View Post
The buyout button doesn't simulate elastic supply; it simulates inelastic supply.
No. The buyout button allows the player infinite quantity with a price drawn from a fixed distribution. Inelastic supply occurs where supply is actually inelastic i.e. quantity is invariant under demand changes. So the buyout button does more or less the opposite, but certainly doesn't simulate anything economically meaningful.

Geometric pricing would make sense of the "plywood" scenario: continue to buy, and the supply price would eventually become intolerable. Buyouts do not: the cost to the player is distributed with a constant mean, since each buyout offers the same probability of getting what you want.

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The variance on such things is much, much bigger than you might ordinarily expect--and it's why RL people buy gold.
Geometric pricing can still incorporate volatility, to any desired degree. So I'm not sure what your point is.
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Old June 10, 2009, 12:19   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etaomyx View Post
Geometric pricing can still incorporate volatility, to any desired degree. So I'm not sure what your point is.
I think Pete's basic point is that a buyout button achieves a vaguely similar effect with a tiny fraction of the code and gameplay changes associated with fixed inventories. He's right - but that doesn't mean that a buyout button is the right answer.

I started this thread because I am fairly certain that Takkaria has already said he doesn't want to make buying out stores easier or more attractive. If I'm wrong about that, then a buyout button is probably the easiest and most sensible way forward, at least in the short term. If I'm right, I think it is worth thinking through the additional complexity of fixed inventories to get a better solution than buyouts. I think buyouts are a very poor approximation to the supply-demand model that we want - so yes, in Pete's view, I am "over-thinking" it.
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Old June 12, 2009, 08:14   #45
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Originally Posted by etaomyx View Post
No. The buyout button allows the player infinite quantity with a price drawn from a fixed distribution. Inelastic supply occurs where supply is actually inelastic i.e. quantity is invariant under demand changes. So the buyout button does more or less the opposite, but certainly doesn't simulate anything economically meaningful.

My bad.

I meant to say "inelastic demand". The buyout button assumes an effectively infinte supply with high variance in availability. If you are willing buy out the store multiple times (until you run out of cash or find some sub-optimal solution like enchanting your bow and ammo), then you have proven that the demand is inelastic.

There are very few cases of genuinely inelastic demand, at least in the short term. Once "peak oil" is definitively reached, we will see an example. The geometric model is a good model for that.
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Old June 13, 2009, 03:22   #46
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The buyout button assumes an effectively infinte supply with high variance in availability.
Indeed. I can see that there are good points about both strategies; it really just comes down to which produces the best gameplay. My main problem with the "buyout" mechanism at the moment is that it does not make intuitive sense. Consider the following compromise. Each shopkeeper maintains a revenue counter that is incremented whenever their wares are sold (either to the player or to other invisible customers that are triggered at certain intervals). When the revenue reaches a certain level, the shopkeeper uses that revenue to buy up new stock of equal value. A buyout-like mechanism is still possible, but there's a good explanation for it, and it does not preclude the possibility of also allowing for variation in price with demand, as in the geometric model.

EDIT: I should probably clarify this further. One could at the same time increment the price on items the player buys repeatedly. Then when the shopkeeper has accumulated enough revenue and re-stocks, they could be made to be more likely the re-stock the price-inflated items, thus adapting to player demand. So it could contain the good points from both systems, without needing to fix the inventories in any way.

EDIT 2: An indirect benefit of such a system would be that the size/diversity level of the store's inventory would be kept roughly constant.

Last edited by etaomyx; June 13, 2009 at 03:37.
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Old June 15, 2009, 10:52   #47
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If you want an economic simulation, you could always go play WoW. Angband is more about making do with what you get. The whole random element is what makes the game unique, as well as viable, which is why so many games duplicate it. Angband's uniqueness lies in the fact that drops have a huge variance in utility, from any critter. Once I sold an unIDed potion dropped in town: Experience. This is what makes the game fun, at least for me.

Although I wish I'd stop losing characters at stat-gain depth all the time. My personal hurdle.
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