X4 needs more economic challenge

This forum is the ideal place for all discussion relating to X4. You will also find additional information from developers here.

Moderator: Moderators for English X Forum

Falcrack
Posts: 2022
Joined: Wed, 29. Jul 09, 00:46
x4

X4 needs more economic challenge

Post by Falcrack » Wed, 26. Jun 19, 00:59

Right now, there is a general feeling that everything in X4 is too easy. It is too easy to earn money. I think the basic problem is that there are no real running costs associated with owning property in X4. This is one thing I would really love to have changed for X4, higher fixed running costs for factories. I do not like that workforce is so cheap, nor do I like that it is so optional to running the factory. True we have to supply them with food and medicine to get a very modest increase in production efficiency, but it is not enough for me to feel that we truly need workforce, or that the expense for keeping them employed is high at all. I would want regular workforce and crew wages to be part of the game, not these onetime hiring fees, and for the bonus to production for having workforce to be much higher (or rather, production penalties for having no workforce to be much higher). I want my factories to have a chance to lose money for me if they are poorly thought out, and are producing items that are not needed. I want to compete to attract workforce by setting competitive wages, with higher wages perhaps drawing away workforce from other factories in a sector, but making it less profitable perhaps for me to run the factory.

I want to have to pay more for station plots, and/or for the faction owner where I build to be charging me, the player, taxes for the privilege of building in their safe and busy sectors. Maybe taking a cut of the revenue with each sale in their sectors with sales taxes.

This applies to ships as well. There is no cost associated with owning a large number of ships, such as crew wages or ship maintenance, or fuel. The challenge which could potentially make the game great is missing. I want to worry about whether my traders are making a profit in order to cover their expenses, or whether the operating costs of my mining ships are being covered by the profit they bring in from mining. If I want to maintain a large fleet, I would need a continuous source of income to just keep it running, and if I wanted a larger fleet, I would need to expand my income rate. Or fire all the crews.

As it is, with no fixed costs, no taxes, no workforce wages, the economic challenge is gone, my ships and stations are just money printing machines.
Last edited by Falcrack on Wed, 26. Jun 19, 04:11, edited 1 time in total.

Warnoise
Posts: 307
Joined: Tue, 8. Mar 16, 00:47

Re: X4 needs more economic challenge

Post by Warnoise » Wed, 26. Jun 19, 03:17

Add taxes (or rental fees) when building in pre-owned sectors. bam fixed.

Falcrack
Posts: 2022
Joined: Wed, 29. Jul 09, 00:46
x4

Re: X4 needs more economic challenge

Post by Falcrack » Wed, 26. Jun 19, 04:08

Warnoise wrote:
Wed, 26. Jun 19, 03:17
Add taxes (or rental fees) when building in pre-owned sectors. bam fixed.
Then you would still have the issue of no running costs for ships, or stations in unowned sectors. So not quite fixed to my satisfaction, but better than what we have currently!

I may be wrong, but I don't think any of what I have suggested would be impossible or even all that difficult to implement. Might require some balancing to find a sweet spot to make it fun and challenging, but not impossible.

User avatar
Red-Spot
Posts: 102
Joined: Wed, 9. Jan 19, 11:22
x3ap

Re: X4 needs more economic challenge

Post by Red-Spot » Wed, 26. Jun 19, 05:57

Why not add maintenance? Ever had a building stand for decades without repairs, new paint, fixing a broken window, etc etc.
Having, RNG based, decay of property and some way to have to add engineering power to stuff to keep it going in the long run but can not really just bulk up as you do not know in advance what maintenance is needed where you will be forced to spend money and some effort maintaining your empire/fleets.
Adds reason to actually come back to self-sustaining factories and demands you keep reserves in your fleet.
'Ignoramus et ignorabimus'

Falcrack
Posts: 2022
Joined: Wed, 29. Jul 09, 00:46
x4

Re: X4 needs more economic challenge

Post by Falcrack » Wed, 26. Jun 19, 06:51

Red-Spot wrote:
Wed, 26. Jun 19, 05:57
Why not add maintenance? Ever had a building stand for decades without repairs, new paint, fixing a broken window, etc etc.
Having, RNG based, decay of property and some way to have to add engineering power to stuff to keep it going in the long run but can not really just bulk up as you do not know in advance what maintenance is needed where you will be forced to spend money and some effort maintaining your empire/fleets.
Adds reason to actually come back to self-sustaining factories and demands you keep reserves in your fleet.
Maintenance would be part of the same general idea. My only worry is that it would become a tedious chore if we had to manually do this. Perhaps ships and stations below a certain threshold level of service crew/workforce would start to get hull degradation? Having enough crew would automatically prevent this hull degradation, but would cost extra credits in terms of paying their wages. That would make having sufficient service crew/workforce be essential for ships and stations, rather than optional like it feels now. Ships might degrade faster when executing tasks such as mining, or flying through asteroid fields. Stations would get degraded just as a normal consequence of producing goods over time.

Imperial Good
Posts: 611
Joined: Fri, 21. Dec 18, 19:23
x4

Re: X4 needs more economic challenge

Post by Imperial Good » Wed, 26. Jun 19, 07:17

I personally would like to see worker economic depth and more meaningful crew.

For example more advanced modules require a minimum worker amount to operate and workers have to be paid. However one can earn back this payment by selling them food and consumer products in shops. One could extend the economic model to even include services such as holidays and dedicated L and XL cruise ships.

All ships should have a minimum crew amount required to be flown at full efficiency. With insufficient crew the ship would be incapable of combat and suffer a massive speed penalty. Crew is then paid like workforce at stations meaning each ship has an associated fixed cost. Extra crew above that amount should have no benefit and the most skilled up to the limit should be taken for skill bonuses.

Of course this raises an issue as to what should happen if the player runs out of money. This is likely why such model is not in use currently. Especially if they own only 1 ship and that ship needs crew which the player cannot afford to fly. Obviously one could sell off assets to get money, and this could be extended to include trading of stations, or at least contract deconstruction of stations. There could also be leeway for the player that they do not need to pay crew when they own under 50 crew in their property, logically being that the crew are willing to work for free on the promise of a profitable future once the company grows big enough.

However I am a fan of economic simulation games. Hence some people who prefer space combat might not like this idea.
Falcrack wrote:
Wed, 26. Jun 19, 06:51
That would make having sufficient service crew/workforce be essential for ships and stations, rather than optional like it feels now. Ships might degrade faster when executing tasks such as mining, or flying through asteroid fields. Stations would get degraded just as a normal consequence of producing goods over time.
Would be better that ships without sufficient crew have degraded maximum hulls and shields. This means that they could only take 33% or 50% of the damage of a well crewed ship. Adding crew changes the hull relatively, so if it has taken no damage but was understaffed and is no longer understaffed it still will have full hull and not need to be repaired.

Falcrack
Posts: 2022
Joined: Wed, 29. Jul 09, 00:46
x4

Re: X4 needs more economic challenge

Post by Falcrack » Wed, 26. Jun 19, 07:32

Imperial Good wrote:
Wed, 26. Jun 19, 07:17
I personally would like to see worker economic depth and more meaningful crew.

For example more advanced modules require a minimum worker amount to operate and workers have to be paid. However one can earn back this payment by selling them food and consumer products in shops. One could extend the economic model to even include services such as holidays and dedicated L and XL cruise ships.

All ships should have a minimum crew amount required to be flown at full efficiency. With insufficient crew the ship would be incapable of combat and suffer a massive speed penalty. Crew is then paid like workforce at stations meaning each ship has an associated fixed cost. Extra crew above that amount should have no benefit and the most skilled up to the limit should be taken for skill bonuses.

Of course this raises an issue as to what should happen if the player runs out of money. This is likely why such model is not in use currently. Especially if they own only 1 ship and that ship needs crew which the player cannot afford to fly. Obviously one could sell off assets to get money, and this could be extended to include trading of stations, or at least contract deconstruction of stations. There could also be leeway for the player that they do not need to pay crew when they own under 50 crew in their property, logically being that the crew are willing to work for free on the promise of a profitable future once the company grows big enough.

However I am a fan of economic simulation games. Hence some people who prefer space combat might not like this idea.
Falcrack wrote:
Wed, 26. Jun 19, 06:51
That would make having sufficient service crew/workforce be essential for ships and stations, rather than optional like it feels now. Ships might degrade faster when executing tasks such as mining, or flying through asteroid fields. Stations would get degraded just as a normal consequence of producing goods over time.
Would be better that ships without sufficient crew have degraded maximum hulls and shields. This means that they could only take 33% or 50% of the damage of a well crewed ship. Adding crew changes the hull relatively, so if it has taken no damage but was understaffed and is no longer understaffed it still will have full hull and not need to be repaired.
Maybe whatever ship you are on personally does not suffer from hull degradation while you are on it, or is slowly repaired while you are on it, crew or not. Or you just have to suck it up and periodically repair the hull with your repair laser, for free. That way, when you are at the beginning of the game with only 1 ship and no crew, you do not suffer such things as a need for costly maintenance, or taxes, or any of the previous mentioned recurring costs. You only get these recurring costs as you grow and expand your empire.

EmperorDragon
Posts: 307
Joined: Sat, 13. Apr 13, 14:45

Re: X4 needs more economic challenge

Post by EmperorDragon » Wed, 26. Jun 19, 11:13

Running costs can work if it's in the form of material costs, like using hull parts, claytronics and energy cells to do maintenance on degraded/dilapidated stations and ships. If you keep some of these materials onboard, maintenance is automatic (provided there's enough workforce/crew to carry out the maintenance work). An option for station managers and captains to keep maintenance materials stocked up would also help.

Making running costs credit-based will cause issues with independent player factions. Once you become fully independent and self-sufficient, you don't really work with credits anymore since you don't buy and sell stuff from/to other factions that often. You no longer have a fixed income rate.

This way, player corporations still have to spend credits to obtain maintenance materials whilst independent player factions will have to set aside some materials to keep for maintenance work.

Another idea is to make food types and medical supplies a requirement for attracting workforce instead of being an optional extra to boost output.

And this is also a good idea:
Falcrack wrote:
Wed, 26. Jun 19, 00:59
production penalties for having no workforce to be much higher
I'd say no workforce=no production at all, or very, very slow production. AGI still require sentient oversight.
“To be the first to enter the cosmos, to engage, single-handed, in an unprecedented duel with nature - could one dream of anything more?” - Yuri Gagarin

Falcrack
Posts: 2022
Joined: Wed, 29. Jul 09, 00:46
x4

Re: X4 needs more economic challenge

Post by Falcrack » Wed, 26. Jun 19, 14:53

EmperorDragon wrote:
Wed, 26. Jun 19, 11:13
Making running costs credit-based will cause issues with independent player factions. Once you become fully independent and self-sufficient, you don't really work with credits anymore since you don't buy and sell stuff from/to other factions that often. You no longer have a fixed income rate.
This is where collecting taxes if you are a sector owner comes in. You could be totally independent from other factions, but if you own sectors that have a population that can be taxed, you could still pay workforce/crew wages. This would also encourage you to own multiple sectors, because if your self-sufficient, independent empire grows too large, even taxes from a single sector may not be enough to pay all your workers/crew. So you would need to conquer additional sectors in order to expand your tax base and not run out of money to pay workers/crew. If you run out of money to pay crew/workforce, then they begin to leave at random, or maybe hijack and steal your ships they are on.
Falcrack wrote:
Wed, 26. Jun 19, 00:59
production penalties for having no workforce to be much higher
If this were the case, I would say that the blueprint cost for getting habitation modules should be much lower. That, or give the player access to at least maybe an Argon small habitation module from the beginning of the game (or Teladi or Paranid, depending on your race), since having a workforce would no longer be optional for production purposes. The AI already seems to prioritize putting habitation modules on their stations, so I don't think this change would be a problem for the existing game.

EmperorDragon
Posts: 307
Joined: Sat, 13. Apr 13, 14:45

Re: X4 needs more economic challenge

Post by EmperorDragon » Wed, 26. Jun 19, 16:43

Falcrack wrote:
Wed, 26. Jun 19, 14:53
This is where collecting taxes if you are a sector owner comes in. You could be totally independent from other factions, but if you own sectors that have a population that can be taxed, you could still pay workforce/crew wages. This would also encourage you to own multiple sectors, because if your self-sufficient, independent empire grows too large, even taxes from a single sector may not be enough to pay all your workers/crew. So you would need to conquer additional sectors in order to expand your tax base and not run out of money to pay workers/crew. If you run out of money to pay crew/workforce, then they begin to leave at random, or maybe hijack and steal your ships they are on.
Yes, taxation would also work. I think I also floated the idea before.

It could even open up some more empire management where you need to strike a balance between wages and taxation. If taxes don't bring in enough income to pay your workforce and crew, they start leaving or go on strike, stalling/limiting production and maintenance in the process (or run off with your ships as you've mentioned). But if you tax your population too heavily instead of expanding to new sectors, your assets may rebel against you completely and you have an internal civil war to deal with.

Maybe I'm trying to go into too much detail but, it does have the potential to open up more gameplay avenues. "Empire happiness" could become an important factor.
“To be the first to enter the cosmos, to engage, single-handed, in an unprecedented duel with nature - could one dream of anything more?” - Yuri Gagarin

User avatar
MakerLinux
Posts: 168
Joined: Tue, 14. Nov 17, 14:10
x4

Re: X4 needs more economic challenge

Post by MakerLinux » Wed, 26. Jun 19, 17:01

I don't agree with this idea, at least right now. I think X4 first needs to make the economics data clearer. It's too broad and at the same time too pulverized, it's quite hard to get a good economic outlook, and even see if you're having profit or not. Add to that the traders/station configuration which sometimes leads to unforeseen results. For greater economic challenges the consolidation of data, consistency of orders given and streamlining of interface is a need that should be addressed first, otherwise it will make the mess even greater.
Brazilian Linux-only user, https://steamcommunity.com/id/patolinux on Steam. PC I use for playing: Ryzen 7 2700 with 16 Gig RAM, NVIDIA GTX 1070 with driver 418.56, Ubuntu 18.04
Controllers: steam controller via sc-controller or HOTAS set: Thrustmaster Warthog + Saitek X52 Pro + MFD F-16 + brandless chinese 3-pedal USB set.

Imperial Good
Posts: 611
Joined: Fri, 21. Dec 18, 19:23
x4

Re: X4 needs more economic challenge

Post by Imperial Good » Wed, 26. Jun 19, 19:32

One must consider that no workforce meaning no production would make the universal economy prone to collapse or becoming degenerate should food deliveries fail. Hence it is a bad idea.

If one wants such a mechanic one would need to completely overhaul how workforce operates. Such as not requiring food and medicine (see my previous post) and also a vastly improved workforce growth mechanic (instead of 0.1-1 per race per minute).

Also having ships degenerate over time is also a bad idea. S ships do not need service crew as most are intended to be flow by individuals alone, hence why they cannot self repair. Secondly due to ships practically never being at full hull it would spam your map with damaged life bars. And lastly it makes absolutely no sense from a lore perspective seeing how ship hulls are protected from space by shield generators. Maybe as a penalty for not having a shield generator installed on a ship it could lose 1 point every minute or so.

Lack of service crew should degrade the potential performance of a ship. For example with an L destroyer if it does not have enough service crew and marines it might only have 50% or less maximum shield than it could potentially have if run with sufficient crew. Similar could apply to speed, maximum hull and fire rate. The loss of maximum hull would not be permanent, and as soon as sufficient crew is available the current hull would increase to retain the same percentage damage.

The amount of crew a ship needs could be defined by "crew power". Each crew person produces crew power of their respective type based on their current skill. A 0 star crew member might only produce 3 crew power while a 5 star crew member might produce 30 crew power. The idea being that the more skilled the crew are, the less crew is required to run the ship and hence the less one pays in wages. Of course more skilled crew should be paid more for balance reasons, but the cost power crew power decreases as their skill level increases. Some ships, such as carriers or destroyers, might be impossible to run at full performance with 0 star crew as there is not enough crew capacity to reach the required crew power.

zarrazee
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri, 29. Nov 13, 23:41

Re: X4 needs more economic challenge

Post by zarrazee » Wed, 26. Jun 19, 21:04

OP.
I agree, X4 needs more economic challenge. More money/time sinks would delay the inevitable economic/military domination, but could be simply offset by building more stations/traders etc

Perhaps ES need to look at increasing the competition element from NPC traders, which currently is non existent. In X3, I always got a thrill when I got that trade just b4 the NPC, and gutted when I missed the deal of a lifetime by a few seconds.

Also station building missions are so easy to make extra cash; they can be picked up and completed weeks later. Perhaps the reward should reduce the longer it takes to complete.

For me, X4 would be significantly more interesting/challenging if there was competition from the AI. Competing only against yourself and becoming more efficient gets old fast.
ZZ

adeine
Posts: 357
Joined: Thu, 31. Aug 17, 17:34
x4

Re: X4 needs more economic challenge

Post by adeine » Wed, 26. Jun 19, 21:08

Imperial Good wrote:
Wed, 26. Jun 19, 19:32
One must consider that no workforce meaning no production would make the universal economy prone to collapse or becoming degenerate should food deliveries fail. Hence it is a bad idea.
It's a good idea if it only applies to the player, and workforce for AI factions is handwaved away or artificially provided.

Imperial Good
Posts: 611
Joined: Fri, 21. Dec 18, 19:23
x4

Re: X4 needs more economic challenge

Post by Imperial Good » Wed, 26. Jun 19, 22:10

adeine wrote:
Wed, 26. Jun 19, 21:08
It's a good idea if it only applies to the player, and workforce for AI factions is handwaved away or artificially provided.
This causes problems because then it feels like the NPC is cheating, like X3 NPC Solar Power Plants.

Post Reply

Return to “X4: Foundations”