Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Raw Materials

This week I have started to tackle one of the core features of the Untitled Game project, the economy.  Last week we saw that the player and the AI can mine asteroids, so this is a good place to start.  What happens with the stuff that is mined?

The product of mining is Ore.  In the video we see Iron Asteroids, which will most often result in Iron Ore.  I am adopting the traditional MMO rarity system where Iron Ore would be common, Nickel would be rare, and Cobalt would be very rare. 

After picking up the Ore, it is taken to a Mining Station and sold.  The station will automatically processes it into it's usable version (Iron for example) and put it up for sale.  1 unit of ore does not necessarily mean 1 unit of its processed version.    It will actually result in a large number of units for sale.  The amount lessens as rarity goes higher.

To help simulate a living universe, and prevent large stockpiles, the quantity for sale will decay as time goes on.  The more rare, the slower the decay.  I don't really expect a player to spend a lot of time mining, although some people playing EvE seem to enjoy it. 

This system results in 'finds.'  If a player or AI unit comes across some Cobalt Ore (very rare), when sold it will be big news.  The player and AI players/factions/pirates will be notified of the Cobalt Ore find.  My hope is that this will help make things feel a bit more dynamic since there will be competition to get the materials and it could happen anywhere.

I have a good chunk of this already coded, just need to work on some of the GUI elements.  The next piece of the puzzle will be demand, but more on that later.