Author Topic: Wealth Generation  (Read 2859 times)

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Offline Steve Walmsley

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Wealth Generation
« on: January 27, 2019, 01:09:08 PM »
I've been looking at a new campaign with a multi-race Earth start. As with many Earth start games I run into the issue that wealth is based on population and for some real nations that doesn't match their industrial potential so they end up with huge wealth reserves. In the past I have tried to solve that by having lower starting wealth per capita but that penalises the race throughout the whole game. I have also recently added a wealth reserve limit, although I am not completely happy with that either. Therefore I have been considering other options for wealth generation.

Currently, I am wondering whether to link wealth to actual workers. In effect, that means if someone is employed in a shipyard or factory or mine, etc., they generate taxes. If there are no installations in which to work, they don't generate taxes or they generate a small amount (maybe 10% normal). Agricultural and Services would not generate taxes.

The standard wealth per million workers would be much higher than the current wealth per million population (maybe 100 instead of 20). Within that overall concept, certain types of worker might generate more or less than the standard. Conventional factories perhaps generate 50% normal while financial centres generate 200% of normal (or maybe 33% and 300%). New colonies would still have an advantage as they have higher manufacturing centres. In fact, if inactive manufacturing sector workers still generate a small amount on the assumption they are working in a non-visible industry, then moving population to a new colony with a larger manufacturing will generate additional tax as well as additional growth.

This concept has a few advantages over the current method:
1) High population, low industry nations are now easy to handle as most of the population would generate nothing or minimal wealth, so there is no need to penalise wealth generation
2) As a nation industrialises, its wealth generation capability grows, which reflects historical trends.
3) The wealth reserve cap could be removed.
4) Financial centres become much more useful as they are relative to a much smaller base and would become an important element in terms of managing the economy.
5) Different industries have different tax vs build ratios. For example, factories are base 10 BP (10 wealth cost) per year while their workers only generate 5 tax. Mines and refineries also generate 5 tax but don't cost anything to run. Ground Force Construction Centres generate 200 BP but only 25 tax, so they are expensive to run.
6) As more factories, shipyards, scientists, refinery workers, etc, means more base money, wealth generation tech becomes more of a direct balance to production tech. For example, If you build a research facility and there are available workers, you gain 100 (exact number TBD) wealth points. The research facility generates 200 RP per year, which is 200 wealth cost, so you need to find the extra 100 wealth somewhere else. This could be mines/refineries, financial centres, civilian trade/mining, wealth technology. If you increase research tech without increasing wealth tech, you start to widen the gap. In fact, I would probably increase wealth generation from civs to make it more important to protect them from commerce raiding. BTW in C# Aurora, I haven't added the Subsidise option for civilians and I will probably leave it that way.

On the other hand, am I making wealth generation too easy? Effectively, building industry also builds a portion of wealth, even if that industry isn't actively being used.

Anyway - thinking out loud so comments welcome.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 01:22:04 PM by Steve Walmsley »
 

Offline misanthropope

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Re: Wealth Generation
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2019, 01:27:34 PM »
america hasn't transitioned from an industrial economy to a services-based one because someone felt bad about making too much money.  just sayin'
 

Offline Father Tim

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Re: Wealth Generation
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2019, 01:41:00 PM »
I vastly prefer this version to what you were proposing before.  As someone who almost exclusively plays Conventional starts in a random star system (thus neatly avoiding the civilian Earth-Luna money run), my usual experience is a build-up of a massive wealth stockpile while I am converting Conventional Industry to TNE tech, followed by a huge crash deep into debt as my new industry vastly overwhelms the tax base, followed by a slow climb out of the hole as I build financial centres and research increased wealth generation.

I always build imperial freighters and colony ships, and use them to build my empire.  More than half my games do not feature a second colony within the home system.  As a result, civilians are slow to get started and produce little wealth.
 

Offline Scandinavian

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Re: Wealth Generation
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2019, 02:22:45 PM »
It'd work.

But I think a more fundamental question is what wealth is supposed to represent. It can't be money, because government budgets do not work in any way even close to what Aurora is modeling. It is also a poor fit for a simulation of private industry, because private industrial capacity can't really be "saved up" - having a factory be idle and a laborer unemployed today does not enable it to produce double tomorrow. It could sort of work as a foreign currency reserve, but who would be the foreign entity (at least pre-NPR contact), and why would your own population necessarily generate FX inflows?

If we want to simulate the fact that the civilian sector objects to having its production directed toward the war effort, a more sensible simulation would be to have the current generation system, but simply set the "savings" cap to zero, with the "debt" (and resulting efficiency penalty) representing a push to have your civilian industrial base provide output beyond what it can sustainably support, and building up a maintenance/downtime backlog that must eventually be resolved. More sophistication could be added to this, including adding a "demand shortfall" cost that increases every production cycle you underutilize your civilian industry, and decreases every production cycle you are in "debt," to represent the fact that your cannot simply go from a 100 % civilian economy to a total war footing overnight.
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Wealth Generation
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2019, 02:24:14 PM »
I have been digging deeper into this idea and found a few interesting things as a result. This is on the assumption that 1m workers = 100 tax wealth (which is probably low but useful for comparison).
  • Mines and refineries produce both resources and wealth with no 'cost' and are therefore a key foundation for the economy
  • Financial Centres produce only wealth (and probably should be 300% tax for financial centre workers), giving them the role of boosting wealth if needed.
  • Spaceports produce 'usefulness' and wealth, although they are will likely be limited in number
  • Factories (construction, ordnance, fighter) and research facilities all produce wealth equal to half their production, so they need to be complemented by the above facilities
  • Maintenance Facilities provide 'usefulness' in terms of maintaining ships but they also produce maintenance supply points. Wealth generation is only 14% of their production, which makes them more efficient at production than factories or research facilities in terms of workers vs output.
  • Ground Force Construction Complexes (GFCC) generate wealth at only 12.5% of their production, which makes them very efficient in terms of workers vs output.
  • Shipyard complexes are more complex :) as their worker requirement is 1m per shipyard plus 100 workers per ton of capacity for naval and 10 workers per ton of capacity for commercial. They also vary in output depending on what you are building, plus they can be upgraded. In my current game they have 8000 in potential upgrade BP, are currently building 11,800 BP and have a number of empty slipways. They are also building at 560 instead of 400 so if we ignore the empty slipways and assume the extra 140 covers it - which is in the shipyards favour - they are at 14% tax vs build.
So in summary, I think Maintenance Facilities (MF), GFCC and Shipyards are probably unbalanced in terms of workers vs production, regardless of what I do with wealth. With regard to MF, I am building more than I expected anyway for the maintenance capacity and I would like to keep the size the same as factories, so I think reducing the MSP production is the way to go.

For GFCC and shipyards, I need to go the other way and increase the number of workers. GFCC are the same size and cost as research facilities and ground units are now a key part of the game, so I am going to change the worker requirement to 1m, the same as research facilities.

The shipyards in my game have a capacity of 130k naval and 523K commercial and have been expanded a lot since the game began. They require 28m workers. Construction factories, mines and research facilities each require 40m and no more of them have been built since game start. Given the importance of shipyards, the manning requirements are too low and they are too efficient. I will increase the population requirement and make it linear, based on capacity, rather than 1m + capacity.
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Wealth Generation
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2019, 02:34:05 PM »
It'd work.
But I think a more fundamental question is what wealth is supposed to represent.

It is supposed to represent the ability of a population to sustain high industrial output beyond the requirements of sufficient raw materials. Many countries suffer financial crisis post-war (even the winners) because they produced beyond their ability to pay for it. In Aurora, consideration of wealth is intended to give players a meaningful decision on where to focus their efforts. Otherwise, you would just produce at 100% with everything while minerals lasted with no potential downside. It definitely has a lot of limitations but I am trying to find a balance between providing meaningful decisions and having complex economics models. While it could be more realistic, there is a point where realism isn't adding to game play.

The economic model has several straightforward elements, including production capacity, population capacity, mining capacity, transport capacity, availability of raw materials, fuel production, maintenance, and wealth. Balancing those effectively is the economic model for the game. In this instance, I am trying to correct some of the current issues with balancing the wealth element.

EDIT: I should also have mentioned that wealth is also part of the effort to make a civilian shipping sector relevant. The original idea was that an Empire should have to protect its civilian shipping from hostile forces or face a penalty to its economy. The intention was that the loss of wealth and transport capacity from civilian shipping would be that penalty. For that to be true, the wealth from the civilian shipping has to be meaningful. I am not sure that is true at the moment though so I may need to up the income from that source.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 02:40:26 PM by Steve Walmsley »
 

Offline Scandinavian

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Re: Wealth Generation
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2019, 02:56:52 PM »
I'm not convinced that there exists economic constraints on sustained high industrial output beyond the provision of raw materials, capital, and labor.

The kind of crisis you refer to is very rare, and on those occasions where it does happen it is usually is either a crisis of a country that believes it won the war that in fact by any objective measure it lost (e.g. UK after WWI), or a political crisis in which traditional elites attempt to reimpose a pre-war status quo ante on their domestic political system that the war has rendered fundamentally untenable (the UK after WWI again provides the classic example with Churchill's attempts to re-fix bullion prices at pre-war levels). In either case less an economic crisis sensu strictu than a political crisis.
 

Offline Zincat

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Re: Wealth Generation
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2019, 03:01:02 PM »
I rather like the concept because it seems to me that it smoothes out the income/expenses balance. Since most buildings give back at least some of their own operation costs in wealth generation, this would reduce the problem of having too many buildings/ ships in construction for the wealth you can produce, as it often happens now.

And if you see that your wealth balance is starting to go in the red, you can simply increase the production of wealth generation buildings, be they mines, refineries or financial centers (which should really have 300% tax income, as that is their only output).

I think this new system will make wealth generation more a long term and meaningful choice, rather than the too little-too much we have now. And it would avoid a wealth reserve cap, which in my opinion makes zero sense. At the same time it makes perfect sense to me that idle population does not generate wealth for the "nation".

Of course the numbers probably need to be fine-tuned and such, but that's normal. I approve very much of this proposal in general :)
« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 03:04:31 PM by Zincat »
 

Offline Desdinova

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Re: Wealth Generation
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2019, 03:17:04 PM »
Factories and mines in Aurora seem to represent 100% of a race's industrial output, but it all goes to the state, which seems like it represents an extreme command economy that doesn't exist in real life. Maybe not even in Aurora, as a civilian economy certainly does exist in-game.

My suggestion is to separate industrial capacity into civilian and government sectors. My idea is that each colony has an 'industrial capacity' rating that grows as a function of population and technology. The player sets an 'industrial utilization' percentage that sets what percentage of that industrial output is used for government construction (which doesn't generate wealth at all), and which percentage goes to wealth generation.

Replace construction factories with "nano-fabricators" or other super-science buildings that are locked behind technology, output 100% of their capacity to state projects, but cost wealth to operate.

My other suggestion is making supplies a constructable quantity and make them more expensive. This would allow you to simulate wartime industrial mobilization: during peacetime, the 'industrial utilization' fraction could be set low enough to cover normal building construction, whereas, during wartime, you increase it to meet the increased demand for supplies. Maybe increasing utilization contributes to industrial growth, as well, due to government subsidies, simulating the rapid war-time industrial build up. Maybe this bonus falls off during periods of extended low utilization.

This also solves the problem of having idling factories during resource shortages. Decreasing the 'industrial utilization' would represent them being converted to producing consumer goods.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 03:20:00 PM by Desdinova »
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Wealth Generation
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2019, 04:01:14 PM »
Factories and mines in Aurora seem to represent 100% of a race's industrial output, but it all goes to the state, which seems like it represents an extreme command economy that doesn't exist in real life. Maybe not even in Aurora, as a civilian economy certainly does exist in-game.

My suggestion is to separate industrial capacity into civilian and government sectors. My idea is that each colony has an 'industrial capacity' rating that grows as a function of population and technology. The player sets an 'industrial utilization' percentage that sets what percentage of that industrial output is used for government construction (which doesn't generate wealth at all), and which percentage goes to wealth generation.

Replace construction factories with "nano-fabricators" or other super-science buildings that are locked behind technology, output 100% of their capacity to state projects, but cost wealth to operate.

My other suggestion is making supplies a constructable quantity and make them more expensive. This would allow you to simulate wartime industrial mobilization: during peacetime, the 'industrial utilization' fraction could be set low enough to cover normal building construction, whereas, during wartime, you increase it to meet the increased demand for supplies. Maybe increasing utilization contributes to industrial growth, as well, due to government subsidies, simulating the rapid war-time industrial build up. Maybe this bonus falls off during periods of extended low utilization.

This also solves the problem of having idling factories during resource shortages. Decreasing the 'industrial utilization' would represent them being converted to producing consumer goods.

The economic model isn't intended to simulate a real-world economy, but rather to give players meaningful decisions in how they prioritise available capacity, production and resources to achieve their objectives. Besides, having studied economics myself at sixth-form (in England, this is between high school and university) my experience is that ten economists will give you eleven different models for how the economy actually functions :)  Most of the Aurora 'economic model' functions well in terms of creating those meaningful player decisions, but the current implementation of wealth doesn't work well in certain situations. I want to try to fix that without any major impact on the rest of the 'economy'.

The civilian economy is mainly abstracted away because including a more detailed model would hinder performance and would not add to game play (in terms of adding meaningful player decisions).
 

Offline Hazard

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Re: Wealth Generation
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2019, 04:08:06 PM »
Well, my thoughts are this.

Wealth is not money, currency, debt or even economical activity. Rather, it's the cumulative non-TN materials available to the empire's government through taxation of its population. There are limits to how much a government can extract from its population before the population starts to suffer the consequences of such. There are indications for example that excessive taxation in the later medieval era impacted sanitation and health care infrastructure and worsened various epidemics.

The reason why TN structures produce wealth/taxation is due to taxation of the economical activity, and in the case of refineries and mines, 'spillover' of standard baryonic matter from mining and extraction being sold, not too unlike how Terraforming Facilities can dump literal megatons of materials into a planetary gravity well through an aetheric portal. Financial Centers then are not so much areas of great banking activity and stock exchanges, but areas that extract and process the body's material wealth, quite possibly through a tap like TFs.


This can result in a different calculation of the wealth production: Between 0% and 100% of the GDP of the empire stored in the coffers, the empire is building wealth at the maximum sustainable rate. Above 100% the wealth building decreases, at a rate of (2-(%of GDP stored/100)), effectively storing no more net wealth at 200% of wealth stored. Should the empire go into debt it faces a production speed malus same as in VB6 but receives the same wealth production. It could also press the 'Wartime Rationing' button on the wealth screen, which instantly sets its wealth based production malus to 0 but causes unrest to rise on its colonies depending on how deep it's in debt. Should it produce enough wealth to end up with positive wealth, the measure fades without consequences, the rationing now having passed. Should it end up with 100% of GDP in debt however, the economy collapses, it's hit immediately with the full wealth penalty to production and it suffers a 20% wealth production malus until its wealth is positive again. Yes, that's pretty devastating.


Given the issues with civilian shipping being very exploitable for wealth generation, I would offer that instead of a flat per system fee payment for civilian shipping it's a calculation of ((weight of cargo in tons or passenger count) * (Engine Power/Fuel Efficiency technology modifier of the engine) * Distance in kilometers + (number of systems traveled))*(modifier to prevent silly numbers) for payment, done at time of arrival for calculations. Differences due to shifting orbital positions should average out over time. This fee is then taxed, generating wealth for the empire.

Yes, I'm aware that dividing by the Fuel Efficiency technology effectively turns it into a multiplier.


I will note that if you link facility wealth production to its primary resource production rate you can largely do away with the Expand the Civilian Economy technology line, or translate it into a tech line affecting Financial Centers only. I'd also consider allowing the Agriculture and Environment Sector as well as the Service Sector to produce wealth, if not at the same rate as the Manufacturing Sector jobs. One of the reasons wealth production tends to escalate massively for Conventional starts in VB6 is that there is no population cap in VB6, even though population growth eventually slows down it never stops. This is especially early on an issue, when your production rates are not so large you can out build your growing population even if you were to produce nothing but construction factories and the mines to fuel those factories. C# however does have a maximum planetary population. This makes large planetary populations doing nothing much less exploitable as a source of wealth.
 

Offline King-Salomon

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Re: Wealth Generation
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2019, 04:09:18 PM »
What has me thinking is, that while your ideas are logical for the installation : wealth relation I am a little bit concerned about the high wealth costs with the new ground-unit system...

Ground units are rather expensive in the new system.. or rather.. you are needing a lot of them to work so they will be expensive in summ... hmm...

you have the data from your testgames how big the expenses are for you and the NPR's ... will your new idea still work with the numbers?

---

I am with you that the civilian sector should have a big impact on wealth creation but.. hmm...

it would change the game drastical as only colonys with industrial base would be useful - no more pure population/wealth planets.. hmm... as there are now a lot more boyds which can (and would be) coloniced I think it would be a waste to reduce their usefulness for the player (or the AI) as "wealth-creation" /why colonice a 50.000 max body if it does not bring wealth) .. hmm...
« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 04:10:55 PM by King-Salomon »
 

Offline Desdinova

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Re: Wealth Generation
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2019, 04:33:06 PM »
Factories and mines in Aurora seem to represent 100% of a race's industrial output, but it all goes to the state, which seems like it represents an extreme command economy that doesn't exist in real life. Maybe not even in Aurora, as a civilian economy certainly does exist in-game.

My suggestion is to separate industrial capacity into civilian and government sectors. My idea is that each colony has an 'industrial capacity' rating that grows as a function of population and technology. The player sets an 'industrial utilization' percentage that sets what percentage of that industrial output is used for government construction (which doesn't generate wealth at all), and which percentage goes to wealth generation.

Replace construction factories with "nano-fabricators" or other super-science buildings that are locked behind technology, output 100% of their capacity to state projects, but cost wealth to operate.

My other suggestion is making supplies a constructable quantity and make them more expensive. This would allow you to simulate wartime industrial mobilization: during peacetime, the 'industrial utilization' fraction could be set low enough to cover normal building construction, whereas, during wartime, you increase it to meet the increased demand for supplies. Maybe increasing utilization contributes to industrial growth, as well, due to government subsidies, simulating the rapid war-time industrial build up. Maybe this bonus falls off during periods of extended low utilization.

This also solves the problem of having idling factories during resource shortages. Decreasing the 'industrial utilization' would represent them being converted to producing consumer goods.

The economic model isn't intended to simulate a real-world economy, but rather to give players meaningful decisions in how they prioritise available capacity, production and resources to achieve their objectives. Besides, having studied economics myself at sixth-form (in England, this is between high school and university) my experience is that ten economists will give you eleven different models for how the economy actually functions :)  Most of the Aurora 'economic model' functions well in terms of creating those meaningful player decisions, but the current implementation of wealth doesn't work well in certain situations. I want to try to fix that without any major impact on the rest of the 'economy'.

The civilian economy is mainly abstracted away because including a more detailed model would hinder performance and would not add to game play (in terms of adding meaningful player decisions).

Maybe an easy compromise would be to make wealth constructable? Have a "consumer goods" construction task that directly generates wealth.
 

Offline the obelisk

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Re: Wealth Generation
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2019, 04:37:04 PM »
The civilian economy is mainly abstracted away because including a more detailed model would hinder performance and would not add to game play (in terms of adding meaningful player decisions).
I feel like a more developed civilian economy could help give trade a better role in wealth generation, and could be used to provide interesting decisions regarding TN minerals and civilian mining operations.  If TN minerals are treated as a trade good generated by civilian mining complexes, and are necessary for the construction of civilian TN facilities and ships, I believe that this could make the decision of whether or not to buy TN minerals from civilian mines more interesting, as allowing the TN minerals to enter the civilian economy would no longer simply generate X wealth per time increment, but rather support the development of a more robust civilian economy which is in turn more capable of generating wealth further down the line.

A more robust civilian economy could also offer the player options in regards to state involvement in the economy.  As it is now, the economy of all empires are primarily controlled by the state, as essentially all productive facilities are state owned.  A developed model for a civilian economy could allow the player the ability to use privately owned facilities instead, which could offer their own advantages and disadvantages.

Additionally this could remove the need for financial centers, which in my opinion are counterproductive to the desire for player choice, as they are very often the obvious answer to the problem of needing more wealth.
 

Offline Bremen

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Re: Wealth Generation
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2019, 05:48:11 PM »
I think linking it to employees is going to be weird, and not accomplish the intended purpose of making populous but poorly industrialized countries poor.

Consider, a nation with few factories will produce less money, but they'll also use less money, in a rate directly proportional to how much less they generate. The only real effect from the change would be that you need a certain ratio of wealth producing buildings (financial centers, and to a lesser extend mines/maintenance facilities or factories/shipyards/research labs not being used at the time) to wealth consuming ones, and that ratio stays the same whether you have a thousand or a million buildings.

You'd get the same effect from just starting poorer nations with less conventional industry/TNE factories, and they'll grow out of it at the same rate.

Edit: I guess the concern here is more about a nation with lots of unemployed populations sitting around rapidly reaching the wealth cap. If that's the concern to be addressed, though, I'd suggest making financial centers (and maybe conventional industry) the only thing that produces wealth - having shipyards produce 1/5th the wealth they consume or similar will just make things confusing.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 05:56:14 PM by Bremen »
 

 

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