The Trading Game - Development Log #346

This week Michi shares the team's stance on certain trading techniques and Fabian talks about leaderboards.

Avatar Michi

Michi (molp)

Recently, a discussion about the trading techniques on the commodity exchanges emerged in our behind-the-scenes channel on Discord. The participants discussed the various ways of trading there and especially the methods that are controversial. They asked us devs if we could make a statement about these and what we think about them.

There were at least three methods being discussed:

Scalping usually happens on low-volume brokers, where a player sells a certain commodity at a reasonable price and another player comes along and buys everything. They then take the commodities and sell them again at a higher price, profiting from the margin. Some players condemn this, because they feel the scalper does not add any value and only profits from the producer's work.

When a player is penny under-bidding they usually create a sell order just one cent cheaper than the existing lowest offer. That way they can sell their goods quicker, since the broker matches their order first and the difference between the existing offer and the new offer is marginal. Penny under-bidding makes it possible for a player with lots of time on their hand to make sure to sell before the competition. Sometimes multiple penny under-bidders will start a penny war. APEX only allows five order deletions a day, so the penny wars are somewhat limited, but players with more time still have an advantage.

Some brokers have automatic market makers to provide liquidity to the market. Some players mimic them by adding both, sell and buy orders.

Generally speaking we don't have a problem with any of these trading methods. They are all within the limits we find acceptable. We do see though, that some players might not agree with us. Here are some thoughts about the methods:

We think that someone who is using scalping is actually taking a risk. Ofen they have to invest a lot of money to buy all the sell orders and if someone else comes along with a cheaper offer they might sit on a lot of stock, that does not sell. Sure, they don't add "value" per se, but it is a form of speculation which we are fine with. After all the producer did sell everything at the price they set!

Penny underbidding can be a nuisance! There is a concept that might help with it: tick sizes! A broker which limits the tick size will only allow price deltas in certain increments. The increments can be fixed, or dynamic. In the dynamic case the tick size depends on the commodity price. If a commodity is traded for 10.000 the tick size could be 10. A price of 1.000 would have a tick size of 1 and so on. That way a competitor will have to make a meaningful counteroffer to beat the current price. We really like the concept and could imagine implementing it in the future!

We really don't know what arguments could be made against players acting as market makers, and we think that acting as one is perfectly fine. If you think otherwise about this, or any other of our arguments, don't hesitate to start a discussion! We want to hear about it!

Avatar Fabian

Fabian (Counterpoint)

With the Convergence release incoming, I got back to preparing future concepts last week. The first one being yet another improvement to the early-game experience. Currently, we're introducing APEX to new players with a little "UI tour" that explains how tiles and buffers work and how you can create your own screens. We want to expand upon that a bit by creating another tour when the player founds their first base. We recently already introduced an automatically created base screen, so we can rely on all players having that default screen layout set up at that point and guide them through their workforce overview, how to construct buildings and how to manage their production. This will likely replace a couple of the more hands-off hints currently in the game, but at this very early point in the game, a bit of hand-holding goes a long way.

Another topic I looked into were leaderboards, i.e. which ones we could have in the game and how to present them. While we won't turn Prosperous Universe into a competitive game where taking the top spot is "the goal", we quite frequently get the feedback that players would be very interested in having leaderboards in the game, depending on the type of player they are this might either be just out of curiosity or to help them find their own goals with a few starting points. Feel free to pitch your ideas about which leaderboards to show (or not show) in the forums or on the Discord!

As always: we'd love to hear what you think: join us on Discord or the forums!

Happy trading!

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