Hardwar – Beta 5 Fixes Readme

Version: 0.6.1/16 March 2003

The current file has been tested for over 500 days of game time, and prices have remained stable. The main outstanding issue appears to relate to AI pilots getting trapped, resulting in nothing much being made, transported, or used after a while. On this page:

Usage

This series of scripts is designed to stabilise the beta 5 economy. It does not make the economy instantly playable, indeed initial changes are draconian and greatly restrict gameplay. It does not fix problems with the AI logic, merely accommodates them.

For general instructions on running scripts see the main script page. Specific scripts need to be run at different times:

  • Day 1: beta5_start.txt – This script MUST be run during Day 1, ideally as soon as possible after starting the game. This script closes non-critical businesses and trades, sets trading posts to buy everything for $1, and applies various tweaks described below.
  • Day 30 (approximately): beta5_reopen.txt – Reopens previously closed businesses, and sets more rational prices at trading posts. May be run a few days earlier, and any time later, but check PRICEINFO first (see below). If in doubt run later, rather than earlier.

I suggest that before running the second script, you take a quick snapshot of the economy by running Admin command PRICEINFO. Prices for everything except certain moths should be at moderate levels (nothing above 1 million), with no negative prices remaining.

If you want to assist in-game: As Admin, in the first 10 days use god hangar to deliver equipment to weapons resellers, notably Fireburst, Underkill, Groundbase, Hologram and Pulse Laser. As a player, in the first 30 days deliver Sheet Metal (in particularly) to weapons producers. These will tend to stabilise the economy quicker, with a smaller chance of it collapsing in the meantime.

Do not hinder the economy during the period the scripts are being run: As Admin, do not modify software settings, damage buildings, or deposit cash. As a player, do not kill large numbers of AI traders, and days 1-30 avoid excessive combat with Lazarus, Klamp-G or Police, and do not exploit negative prices that may appear momentarily.

Business Closures

What: Between approximately days 1 and 30, the following businesses will no longer purchase or sell goods. Where they previously offered other services, those services will be retained:

  • Components makers: Riverside Parts closes.
  • Pod/Engine makers: Shears Yard closes. Imagine it never opened 😉 .
  • Moth factories: Highrise Motors, Bargain Moths, Lazarus Moths and Klamp-G Moth Factory close. Downtown Moths remains open.
  • Luxuries: All luxuries trading is suspended. General Industrial, Waterfront Booze, Bill Moritz, Skinners Outpost, Scrubber Outpost, The Slum, The Waterfront, Flyers Retreat, The After Dark, Traders Rest, The Shanty Inn and Jupiter Four close to purchases and sales.
  • Food: All food (and furs) trading is suspended: Lazarus Macros 1-7, Klamp Macros 1-3 and Charlie’s Pizza close.

Why: Without trade and production prices will hyper-inflate. Prices are dynamic (seemingly mostly in response to local and global stock levels), but stocks start almost empty. So, initially businesses raise prices for what they don’t have, but think they need. If needs are not met, eventually prices reach a billion, turn negative, the incentive to supply disappears, and the economy starts to stall. Where no stock and no supply exists anywhere, prices remain stable.

The initial aim is to get the essential parts of the economy moving before prices become sustained negatives. For small periods of time prices may be negative, but prices cannot be sustained negatives. To do this we re-focus the activities of AI traders onto those parts of the economy which are most likely to hyper-inflate – mostly weapons production. We remove non-essential parts of the economy from play: Nothing happens if food or luxuries aren’t transported, but they occupy a lot of AI traders’ time, and we need that time to be spent moving other things. We also balance demands for key items such as Sheet Metal, so that only essential requirements are met.

Once the initial economy has stabilised, closed businesses can be added back in.

Weapon Maker Fitting

What: The ability to fit equipment at weapon makers has been removed. This affects Smart Weapons Corp, Downtown Munitions, Klamp-G Arms, Dr Jobes Weapons and Lazarus Munitions.

Why: If weapons makers allow fitting, their initial production never reaches weapons sellers. This means that weapons sellers will further hyper-inflate their prices (see above).

Trading Posts Buy for $1

What: Initially, all trading posts will buy all items for $1 each. They resell commodities at about $10-20 below the prices offered by businesses demanding the item. Equipment is priced more approximately, typically in between producers and demanders. Trading posts will initially buy up to 1000 of each item. This affects Alpha, Gamma, Highrise and Mines Trading Post, Reservoir Trading, and Trade Central.

After Day 30, trading posts will buy for just under half an item’s low price, and sell for just under an item’s lowest price.

Why: AI pilots become stuck with cargo in their hold they cannot sell. This is because they either try to meet a demand which is met by another pilot before they arrive, or they pirate or scavenge cargo and only realise it isn’t wanted after they have picked it up. This causes AI pilots to waste a lot of time waiting for the (wrong) cargo to be demanded again. Time wasted removes transport capability, slows production, and encourages hyper-inflation (see above).

If prices at trading posts are made attractive, pilots will waste time and money over-stocking them. If only one trading post is treated in this way, time is wasted flying to remote locations, where pilots may end up queuing to sell. Consequently all trading posts are treated in this way.

Sell prices for commodities must be close to demander prices initially, otherwise high profit margin items will be transported in preference to low margin, but badly needed items, such as Sheet Metal.

Later in the game, trading post stocks need to be redistributed, and there is less need to stock resellers with equipment. Consequently, while it will never be profitable to sell to a trading post, stock that ends up there out of convenience should be delivered elsewhere in preference to newly produced items.

Zero Price Stocks

What: At startup, certain businesses start with stock they have no price for. This is known to affect Psycho Bobs 1 and 2, Breaker Maker 2-5, The Knocking Ship and Traders Rest. Prices and limited (1 unit) demands have been added, although changes at Traders Rest will not take affect until after the business is reopened (see above).

Minor Issues and Features

Downtown Moths does not sell moths: Does now.

Shears Yard does not fit equipment: Potentially of concern because it sells essential items like pods, which you might need in order to first transport your purchase. So fitting has been added, but will only make a difference once Shears Yard reopens (in the meantime there are plenty of pods available elsewhere).

Key businesses run out of cash: Additional startup cash has been given to weapons makers, component shops, and weapon resellers, who must be able to buy without restriction early on, and tend to run short on cash. After Day 30, additional cash is given to Central Industrial and Shears Yard, who make essential equipment, but tend to sell for less than the cost of the raw materials. Other cash shortages may occur, but these seem not to damage the game in a way which could lead to there neither being products for sale, or having cash to buy raw materials.

Hangars cannot be purchased in Mines and Reservoir: Longstanding issue. I have attempted to add estate agent functions to Mines Trading Post and Reservoir Trading, although I have not been able to buy hangars there yet.

Mines Trading Post does not use the Monorail icon: Does now, at least internally.

To Do

Currently these fixes stabilise the economy when there aren’t any players about. This is still a first step on the road to making it playable.

The impact of player based production is still unknown.

The ability of the economy to cope with events such as mass-combat is still unknown.

Other Beta 5 Issues

On reloading a saved game, the game may become unstable. This seems to be linked to “[pilot] had invalid GoCrater target”, which is possibly caused by pilot plans not reloading correctly. No known fix, except to run dedicated server game from fresh, and not stop them…

As the game progresses, AI traders will try to find increasingly ridiculous volumes of cargo. For example, trying to buy 20,000 of something when only 20 can be found. This leads to a lot of time wasted sitting in hangars whilst the requirement is reduced to a realistic level, vis “[pilot] didn’t find enough goods. Reducing requirement.”

There are many production related oddities, that don’t seem to cause any problems. For example, “ProcessGoodsReady out of storage space” and “[hangar] couldn’t post sales notification.”

Avoid logging a game for long periods of time. Logs can become very long (for example, more than a Gigabyte over a real day).

Index: Hardwar