I think I might have a simple solution for NPC hauling

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AgentFoxtrot

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I think I might have a simple solution for NPC hauling

Postby AgentFoxtrot » Tue Dec 08, 2015 4:40 am

Right now, NPC's are insanely frustrating when trying to get them to simply haul stuff from, say, your colony to its linked OSB. Your colony's sell price has to be lower than your OSB's buy price, effectively forcing you to trade with yourself and giving other players an opportunity to take advantage if you're not careful. It's also very difficult to set prices so that the linked OSB can function as both the colony's storage facility and a place other players can buy from you.

A simple solution? Let us set buy and sell prices to 0. They wouldn't show up on the SM or an SM search, and if you set your NPC to "trade between My_Colony and My_Linked_OSB", it will see that both buy and sell prices are 0 and take that as an indication to haul only.

Thoughts? Doable?

AF
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Bolter

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Re: I think I might have a simple solution for NPC hauling

Postby Bolter » Tue Dec 08, 2015 7:22 pm

Agreed. It is annoying to cart stuff from the surface to OSBs. And as you said, reasonable rates to induce NPC hauling can be exploited by other players for profit.

While allowing prices to be set to zero would be one solution to the problem, I'd rather the "transfer" command was introduced (in addition to "trade")

After all, colonists get paid already through the colony's minimum wage/tertiary wage settings. If the profit motive for NPCs transferring goods is intended to be a money sink, then it is not very effective at the current 10c profit mark. Jam could easily set a "transport" rate that has to be higher than the tertiary wage under laws, or make the tertiary wage the transport wage so the laws interface doesn't have to change.

If Jam is to work on the market listing mechanics, I'd rather he start by removing invalid listing entries. It is exasperating when you find a bad listing, see it disappear from the market when you try to buy/sell, but to still see it come up on searches. How hard is to have the bogus listing removed from the stock market at the same time it is removed from the player's market. Also, a scroll bar on the Galactic Market search results would go a long way in alleviating the current game of "change the minimum price" until the results you're looking for show up.
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Re: I think I might have a simple solution for NPC hauling

Postby Mooncrest » Tue Dec 08, 2015 8:22 pm

I agree with Bolter. There should be a separate 'move' or 'transfer' command. I have suggested one in this thread:
http://forum.thespacegame.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=2530

Making the command stackable will allow the NPC pilots to move different specified materials rather than trading what is profitable. As Bolter says the NPC pilots are already paid under the colonist salary scheme you have set up at your colonies. Trading profit was just a mechanic to actually get them to decide which material to move. Also this makes the movement of materials completely independent of the Stock Market. The NPC Pilts will move stuff until either they have moved the stated quantity or have moved all but the stated quantity to be left behind.

I know that some players have had some success with fleets of NPC Pilots moving millions of tons of goods, but I have only a few thousand tons to move each day and "trading" between my colony and the linked OSB does not seem to work for me at all and I end up doing it myself every other day or so. Also as Foxtrot has stated, the way you have to price material in order to give the NPCs any chance of moving the material is very problematic.

A 'move' or 'transfer' command just seems to make more sense.
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Re: I think I might have a simple solution for NPC hauling

Postby BoshingTong » Wed Dec 09, 2015 1:39 am

It is my understanding that Jam will not give us that ability because he want the players to move and haul mats. It is part of the early game play that new player can make money by hauling. I have made the point that the profit margin is to low for a PC to be willing to spend the time doing it, also when they lowered the prices on carbon and titanium it put an ever bigger damper on player hauling, but maybe he will reconsider.
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Re: I think I might have a simple solution for NPC hauling

Postby Mooncrest » Wed Dec 09, 2015 10:31 am

Perhaps he can be persuaded that this is a different issue to players trading between colonies. All we want to do is assist that process by transferring our saleable goods from the planet's surface to the much more convenient pick up location of the Orbiting Starbase. This should increase the player incentive to trade in goods because there is not all that tedious transit to the planet's surface to go through. Also it would take most of the tedium out of the supply of food and other items to our gate-linked colonies, thus allowing more time to do the fun stuff in the game.
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Re: I think I might have a simple solution for NPC hauling

Postby Bolter » Wed Dec 09, 2015 7:09 pm

If Jam wanted players to move materials and haul, he wouldn't have introduced NPC trading at all.

NPC pilots already do haul from surface to linked OSBs if you can set the prices so the NPC pilot decides to trade the good you want moved. To do that, though, you sometimes have to buy your own materials at a premium. Besides, any change in surrounding markets may affect the NPC behavior. It is sometimes troublesome to get hauling automation going, but it is doable. It always costs credits, though, so the mechanic's net effect on gameplay is a way to retire credits from the economy. This is a good thing, as NPC local markets are an endless source of credits, so there must also be a way to retire currency from the economy.

So, if money must be spent to get NPCs to haul, then simply charge MORE money for them to move precisely what you want.

Now, there's merit to short hauling as a ways for new players to make money. If that's the objective, then by all that's holy, allow colony owners to set-up contracts for surface-space cargo transfers, food-medicine resupplies, sewage removal and colonist transport. That would be the elegant solution as it both gives new players more profitable contracts, as they won't do it for 10c/ton like NPCs, and retire even more money from contract posting fees, if they're made more expensive than the current 1000c sell order.
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Re: I think I might have a simple solution for NPC hauling

Postby Dorglath » Thu Dec 10, 2015 10:39 pm

This is how I actually thought goods would be transferred from a colony to your OSB before I built mine when I saw the "line" from other colonies connecting to their OSB's.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_elevator

It could be a research project. You would need rare materials for the cabling and climbers etc and some sort of consumable fuel etc. I believe the main issue as JAM has stated in related questions to do with cargo is in the transfer from "warehouse to warehouse". I think perhaps if the "climbers" were treated as npc ships/pilots a workable answer may present itself.

Just a thought,
"You can run me, you can starve me and you can beat me and you can kill me. Just don't bore me." Gunny Highway-Heartbreak Ridge
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Re: I think I might have a simple solution for NPC hauling

Postby Bolter » Fri Dec 11, 2015 6:32 pm

This is how I actually thought goods would be transferred from a colony to your OSB before I built mine when I saw the "line" from other colonies connecting to their OSB's. It could be a research project. You would need rare materials for the cabling and climbers etc and some sort of consumable fuel etc.


You're describing a space elevator, and it is a brilliant idea to solve the surface-space transfer issue.

If you study Jam's design decisions, after you puzzle about them for a bit, it becomes clearer that while he's willing to automate some things, he still wants players to do some things themselves (i.e. you can automate trading, but not colony management.) He wants people to have reasons to play the game. With that said, he's also willing to let you solve some colony management issues via the tech tree. One needs to look no further than the sewage to fertilizer structures and mechanics that he introduced.

Building a space elevator may just be the kind of tech tree solution that Jam has favored in the past. It solves the problem, but you got to work for it.

It does not solve the challenges of managing multiple colonies on different systems, though. Problems like getting all 4 food types to every settlement. There's only two known planets that have all four foods, so most settlements need a lettuce run or a medicine run every now and then. All inhabited settlements produce sewage, but not all of them have enough farms to use the fertilizer...it needs to go.

How could technology solve these problems? Single use low-cargo drones built at the player's shipyard?
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Re: I think I might have a simple solution for NPC hauling

Postby Dorglath » Sat Dec 12, 2015 4:30 am

Bolter wrote:

If you study Jam's design decisions, after you puzzle about them for a bit, it becomes clearer that while he's willing to automate some things, he still wants players to do some things themselves (i.e. you can automate trading, but not colony management.) He wants people to have reasons to play the game. With that said, he's also willing to let you solve some colony management issues via the tech tree. One needs to look no further than the sewage to fertilizer structures and mechanics that he introduced.

Building a space elevator may just be the kind of tech tree solution that Jam has favored in the past. It solves the problem, but you got to work for it.

It does not solve the challenges of managing multiple colonies on different systems, though. Problems like getting all 4 food types to every settlement. There's only two known planets that have all four foods, so most settlements need a lettuce run or a medicine run every now and then. All inhabited settlements produce sewage, but not all of them have enough farms to use the fertilizer...it needs to go.

How could technology solve these problems? Single use low-cargo drones built at the player's shipyard?


I think your idea as well would open up a potentially large tech tree to chase as well. Single use cargo drones that followed a similar CL rating as our current ships do would be a great start. For instance, Research - "Autonomous Ship Research Lab". This could lead to something like "Autonomous Construction Research", followed by Autonomous Colony based launch pads then OSB based launch. Your first Cargo-Drone you open could be a CL 1 with xxx cargo capacity then you would have to up-class from there. Perhaps you would have to Research and build "beacons" at your other colonies you wished to transfer to in order to "land" the "Drones" and recover the shipment.

I think a lot of these ideas could go along way to "feed the geek" in us all.....
"You can run me, you can starve me and you can beat me and you can kill me. Just don't bore me." Gunny Highway-Heartbreak Ridge
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Re: I think I might have a simple solution for NPC hauling

Postby BoshingTong » Sat Dec 12, 2015 7:09 am

I love the idea. Not sure Jam will with the amount of coding needed. He has plans for his time out till like next May for the game, so it would likely be a year or more out for this. Would love to see something like it.

I still have have hope he will make the NPCs smarter. That would be the fastest solution.
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Governor of Poosh, Tigland, Prime Sun, Babel

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