8/30/2021 in devlog
It may come as a shock to you, and also to us, that Prosperous Universe has been around in some form since summer 2015, when Martin and Michi began cooking up their first ideas for the project. While a bit inconsistent at the start, the purpose of the devlog was not only to inform the player community of what we were working on, but also as a means for us to document our development journey from beginning to end. Now we are at issue 300 and we couldn't be more thrilled! We know that we wouldn't be here without the love and dedication that our players have shown throughout the years. As a way of showing our thanks and appreciation, we have dedicated this blog entry to you. Today this is your devlog.
The Bulletin Board is a new Planetary Project available to be built. It functions similarly to the Local Market, except it is used to share persistent messages and notifications.
While the chat is fine for communication, anything written there will soon be gone. Channel your inner capitalist and pay a little extra dough to have your important message persist for a longer time. As a plus, you can ""tip"" the bulletin board to have your message appear at the top above all the others, at least until somebody else tips a higher amount than you.
Another advantage is that the Bulletin Board can be read and utilized by everybody, not just those with a base on the planet. This allows you to announce potential economic and trading opportunities to people visiting who would normally not have access to the planet's chat.
Bigger, faster, richer – The competition info screen
For prosperious universe we dont set goals for the players, despite players request goals from time to time or moan about the lack of midgame incentives. While we still not want to set goal for individual players we, after discussing in team and knowing that our playerbase is into data and statistics, decided to give exactly that to the players: Statistics and numbers!
With the help of the expertise gained while doing the rings and bars this week we implemented a first working example of the competion info screen. The screen will be found in the sidebar using the apprevation INFO. Currently it only shows the cooperations with the biggest workforce and the individual companies that produce the most units in categories like manufactoring, or agriculture on a universe-wide base.
While it is not hard from a technical perspective to implement statistics and bars we are not yet sure if the new competition info screen should include infos like numbers of companies involved in producing grain or if it should be more detailled like naming the companies producing a specific item. If you have followed our roadmap you see, that we are planing on a kind of selling information. The new competition info screen therefore may or may not cost a small fee, if you require a specific information. With the new info screen implemented we also would have a great opportunity to detail and list companies and products prodced or based on a planet – a info that is impossible to gain right now.
We also have not yet deceided if a competition info screen on a planet should be linked to a building (using workstation and other products) and fees collected by the operating entity or if it will be a general available feature. But be sure there will be a competition info screen with the next maintainance release.
The MMO is a genre that I hold dear to my heart. Prosperous Universe is surely an MMO no questions asked, but sometimes it does not feel like it. What do I mean by this? When it comes to a traditionally MMO like an MMO RPG the world is usually built-in 3D allowing 3D interactions with players you can actively see and interact in a way that is immediately apparent. Am I saying the Prosperous universe needs to be 3D? Not at all. I think Prosperous Universe in a mostly 2D conceptual/data-driven landscape may need to implement a more obvious player presence as it lacks the ""in your face"" presence 3D interaction brings. In doing this I believe the universe can become more lively and drive home the MMO feeling.
How can this be done though? I think simple additions such as allowing mayors to actionaly send out announcements to all players where a non-intrusive banner could drop down top and center of the page. Another Idea could be a similar ""Dropdown notification"" that announces whenever a new player enters a planet/system where you own a base. These ideas could surely be done via the notifications buffer but it would not help drive home the Multiplayer feeling I believe. I'm sure other people could come up with better ideas than I have. All I really hope for is that the multiplayer aspects and player action become more ""In your face"" so every time I log in I get that feeling of liveliness and Massively Mutiplayer that I seek from MMOs.
With most starter planets out of room and people running out of space on ground, I believe space factories and space elevators would be a good start to adding megastructures/player built stations into the game. These factories would be stations built in orbit of a planet that any person with a ship with the supplies in orbit can build one (maybe there could be a limit as to stop the planet screen from becoming laggy), as demand for more space grows eventually orbital rings could be introduced.
Of course there are differences between the normal base and a space station, an obvious one would be that all resource collectors would not be able to be placed. Another is that like in real life, electronics would be easier to produce. This would increase traffic around planets, increasing the ever growing fuel demands, and this is where space elevators come into play with the traffic around solar systems increasing and with player-built and manufactured ships are on the horizon, fuel demands will skyrocket. A space elevator could be a simple yet effective way for players to reduce the amount of fuel they use. They will reduce/remove fuel costs for launching into orbit, and of course governing bodies and the people that built the space elevator will be able to create a fee for the use of the space elevator.
In addition to the upcoming energy update, AzCorp asks the devs to implement the construction and operation of a robotic workforce. Mankind can only be so efficient at repetitive tasks, whereas robots, if built well can outperform humans at them. Construction of the robotic workforce will require many industries from metal fabrication, plastics, electronics, to software systems.
Currently most of the high-tech industries is for production of ships however, with the introduction of a robotic workforce, this can help to increase the desire of companies to tech up. These high-tech companies can sell their newly minted robots on the LM / CX to the low-tech companies looking to benefit from the increased efficiency over a traditional human workforce. In addition, there are advantages of settling distant planets with a robotic workforce, such as removing the wait for the population report to fill out your base and no need to bring workforce upkeep consumables.
But this comes at a cost, special recharging stations are required to supply the robotic workforce enough electricity for the day. Regular maintenance of the robotic workforce required by certified technicians (replacing the robots if the planet doesn’t have technicians for repairs / shipping them off planet for repairs), government allowing / banning of a non-human workforce, and most important is that the robotic workforce can’t do every job that a human can (restricted to pioneer / settler jobs).
Electricity or power is a new resource that has to be managed by players. It is always produced and consumed on planets. It cannot be directly shipped or stored without being refined into antimatter, any excess is wasted. Power availability and consumption is calculated whenever production is completed and is represented as a 'power per hour' value. Base area is increased by 100 to account for the need for power production infrastructure. Different kinds of generators require different types and tiers of goods to construct, creating incentives to tech up. And higher tier generators always produce more power per unit of area.
There are four main ways that power is produced:
- Core Module: The core module produces a base amount of power for free every day, covering starter bases and a little expansion.
- Antimatter: Antimatter is a new resource that can be consumed by any base in any amount to produce power. Thematically the CM contains the infrastructure for using antimatter. Antimatter can be purchased from market makers at the CX or produced in fuel refineries at a 50% conversion of power.
- Natural generators: Buildings which generate power based on the planet. These always produce fixed amounts of power each day. Which can be built and how effective they are depends on the planet.
- Hydroelectric generator: Produces power based on the planet's liquid water concentration. (2 BSE, 8 BBH, 1 BDE, 10 FLP, 1 FC, 14 area, 20 POI.)
- Solar array: Produces power based on star type and distance to star. (2 LSE, 1 BBH, 3 SP, 5 area, 5 SET.)
- Consumption generators: Buildings which consume resources to produce power, different resources produce different amounts of power. These are consumed like workforce consumables and the player is able to toggle what fuels they want used and in what order. Each generator has an upper limit on how much fuel it can consume per day.
- Combustion plant: Consumes oxygen alongside burnable resources such as HCP or petroleum. Can also consume fluorine for a +25% boost to power generation. (4 BSE, 4 BBH, 1 BDE, 1 BTA, 2 GV, 1 Boiler -built in WEL-, 2 FP, 15 area, 30 POI.)
- Fission plant: Consumes enriched radioactive materials. (2 RSE, 2 RBH, 1 RDE, 1 FIR, 10 area, 10 TEC.)
There are two ways that power is consumed:
- Population: Workforce now consumes power as part of their daily consumables. The higher the tier of population, the more power they consume.
- Production: Each recipe now has a total power consumption value (this can be zero - farmsteads or negative - incinerators). This power is consumed over the course of the production cycle.
Say smelting iron requires 24 total power to produce. Producing it in 12 hours (100% efficiency) will cost 2 power per hour. Producing it in 6 hours (200% efficiency) will cost 4 power per hour. Producing it in 24 hours (50% efficiency) will cost 1 power per hour. Production is capped to available power.
New feature: Machinery
For too long have the players' factories been just shells where the workers have labored with their bare hands. But it is over now, for at least some of the luckiest workers. The new feature, factory machinery, will be used to solve two weaknesses the game currently has. First, it will give a way for players to increase the efficiency and speed of their buildings without building new ones, and second, it will create a general way to use high-tier products to increase the efficiency of lower tier production.
The machinery is a new feature of the production lines. For every building in a production line, the production lines gets one slot for machinery. The machinery are items in the game like the familiar rations or construction prefabs, and they are produced in higher tier factories, often requiring electronics and other advanced components as inputs. In production line menu you can apply the machinery to the building, increasing its efficiency by the predetermined amount. The machinery used in factories has many moving parts, so they will wear out in use, similarly to the buildings themselves. The wearing out is also independent of the building itself. This wear out speed is faster than the buildings, but slower than the daily consumption of consumables, landing the optimal repair window between 3 and 6 weeks.
The machinery comes in different tiers by the level of specialization. The more specialized the machinery, the higher tier materials it requires to produce and the more limited are its usage area, but the more efficiency bonus it gives. There are three tiers of specialization: by expertise, by building and by recipe. The expertise machinery can be used by any building of specific expertise in specific worker tier. It is easiest to produce, requiring around 2 worker tier higher production capacity to make. The second tier is building-specific machinery, which is tied to specific building, and requires on average 3 worker tiers higher materials to produce. The most specialized and the most effective machinery is tied to only one (or few) recipes in one building, and it requires on average 4 worker tiers higher materials. Examples of these buildings are ""automated production line"" for T1 Manufacturing, ""thermal control unit"" for Incinerator, and ""AI-controlled Smart glass smelter"" for GL recipe in GF. Specialization tier 1 machinery is available for all worker tiers, tier 2 is available for up to engineers and tier 3 for up to technicians.
The machinery system has a lot of pros going for it. It allows players to increase the efficiency of their buildings, and even specialize their bases past the building-tier with recipe-related machinery. It also creates a constant and universal demand for high-tier products to increase the efficiency of their production lines past what lower tiers offer. And finally, it doesn't put new players to disadvantage compared to older players, as even a 1-day old player can buy their factories machinery from the CX.
As a trial user, I can purchase/lease fully assembled ships from the market at any station. As a Pro user, I can buy/sell new ships or secondhand ships from the market or local market. The purpose I hope to archive is to increase demands for ship building. Today a ship costs upward of 100k~150k so not everyone can own more than 2 starter ships. So having the ability to lease ships is ideal for players that reach mid games with more than 1 base but don't have enough money to build new ships yet. To prevent market saturation, only Pro users can sell ships to prevent players from creating free accounts and sell 2 starter ships. Further restrictions could be helpful to prevent abuse of this system.
On the next maintenance update we will be implementing dynamic MMs. While it will be similar to the proposal on the forums (thanks @Gravy), we will of course make the calculation a bit more obscure. The idea will be to allow different areas to differentiate and to help foster trader across the different areas. We have also seen how opening up the MM range for consumables hurt the new players coming in causing major jump in costs. With this in mind, we will be restoring the previous MM bands for RAT and DW and allowing the new mechanism to adjust the bands. It is very important to note that the change in MM prices per day will be very slow, but over time should allow each region to find a neutral point. This should also prevent our whack a mole MM changes while still controlling currency flow in game.
I recently made a new friend who asked me to join their corporation which is stationed on a planet somewhere in the universe. As I went to research where exactly the planet was and whether it was in a good location for me to expand my company, I quickly found out just how cumbersome it was to find the location of specific planets. To help make this process easier, we're going to be adding a new feature to the universe map that will help you to pinpoint where a specific planet is on the map, and the path your ship will take to get there from a specific start point.
The universe map will have two fields added along with a submit button, all within a box that can be minimized/expanded so it doesn't impact the view of the map when it's not needed. The first field will be where you enter the starting location, and the second field is where you will enter the destination. Once the two locations are entered, then you will hit the submit button and the map will be updated to highlight the start and end points as well as the path between the two points.
Gone will be the days of having to enter the planet into your ship's flight plan and manually following all the hops listed, or worse, not having enough fuel to get to the destination and still not know where the planet is located. Now you will be able to easily determine if a planet is in a viable location for your company to expand.
I briefly touched upon the idea in my Turnip article; basically a planet which has a government might end up with strikes for a particular population tier. Given some function based on happiness, security and unemployment (insert Counterpoint simulation here), a tier might go into strike. Productivity is lowered by 10% for that tier, and any Educational Event for the tier has no effect. This basically introduces negative effects and adds an additional layer of complexity for governors to make sure they do their job.
A corporate bond market, as I would imagine would have a similar interface to the LM markets.
Each ad that goes up should require the bond issuer to list:
- The number of ‘lots’ of 1000 credits each, which is the face value of the bond
- The number of days till maturity, where the issuer (borrower) of the bond pays the investor the face value
- The interest rate the issuer is willing to pay, denoted in % or in credits to pay per period (coupons)
- The how regularly the issuer is going to pay the interest. (how often coupons are paid)
For example, someone who wants to borrow money would post: ISSUING 5000 CIS @150 CIS for collection every 1 day(s), maturity in 10 days
If an ad is accepted, a contract is signed where the first line would be for the investor to fulfill the issuer’s bond, and then deadlines would be set for each interest payment.
For example, imagine the contract screen for a bond:
Index | Condition | Deadline | Party | Status | Depends on | Cmds
- 1 | Payment of 5000 CIS | 1 day? | investor corp
- 2 | Interest payment of 150 CIS | 1 day | issuer corp
- 3 | Interest payment of 150 CIS | 2 days | issuer corp
- 11 | Interest payment of 150 CIS | 10 days | issuer corp
- 12 | Maturity payment of 5000 CIS | 11 days | issuer corp
Collateral and defaulting?
It’s fine for the lack of collateral to be manifest in higher interest rate payments for now until there is a different COLIQ system where things can be repoed.
The game already has a ratings system, but reliability =/= creditworthiness necessarily. A separate creditworthiness score could be implemented.
Furthermore, we could allow for the issuer to post a short description about what they will use the money for on the market, if it would make it easier for creditors to evaluate for themselves which debts to finance. They can also always message each other about it in game.
Why implement this?
The reasons why I think a corporate bond market is important is:
Firstly, players can take on debt to expand faster. Besides that, a player can sell multiple bonds at once to many different people, without having to spend time searching for someone with all of the capital.
Having a bond market in the first place would signal to players that it’s a thing that can be done at all, and making it an actual system would help players coordinate better.
Next, is to prevent people from being forced to fire sale during a recession (which spreads economic instability to other players in the market, as they too are forced to fire sale). A player who is able to take on debt to meet their obligations could weather the short-term economic shock better, and wait for conditions to get better to repay their debt.
I think that there should be an compelling incentive for players to remove their starter base and move away from the hub worlds. Maybe like a worker efficiency penalty if your company faction does not match the planet faction with an ability to pick the bonus if you are outside faction space in a similar way you allocate experts.
I would like to have ship upgrades. But if it is upgraded then it receives problems. Like bigger cargo upgrades and unable to land on a planet. Or not able to load gasses with a shielding type change.
With this there would be be a need to be able to transfer cargo between ships and/or some planet infrastructure to alleviate some of the drawbacks.
The problems won't occur when a ship is built as new.
Thank you to everyone that participated in the devlog this week and we loved reading all of your submissions! Please don't be discouraged if your entry was not chosen, we had so many entries and had to draw a line somewhere. We hope to do something like this again in the future, so there will be a next time! Please check out more entries from players on the Prosperous Universe Forum!