Friday, April 08, 2016

Resource Potentials and Transports

In this game, each mineral resource has unlimited resources.  This of course isn't realistic with respect to real life or even other games.  However, in this game the intent is for a player to not play the same scenario indefinitely.

When I worked for railroad company (in my professional career), they had a concept called "rolling stock" ... this where a company would manufacture something and put it on a train car, and get it moving to a city, hoping to have it sold by the time a buyer had been identified; a warehouse on wheels.  I imagine the company doing this would stop when they ran out of train cars until buyers were found.  It's not really any different than the entire wholesale retail chain, where companies make things only based on the potential that a buyer is out there.

The Lost Tribes implements a potential model where the manufacturing stops when there is no demand.  Anything that is extracted from the ground, their units are measured in terms of time.  20 units/hour.  This allows the game to calculate the potential maximum that is available based on any time factor.  20 units/hour or 480 units/day.  The entire industrial complex can then be summarized based on time, rather than on availability of resources.

So let's consider an example.  The Processor Factory makes CPU units, 10 at a time with these inputs:

If the potential for all the other inbound material is greater than or equal to the amount specified, then the maximum potential is 10 units. However, if the input potential of copper is 5, then the maximum potential is 5 CPUs; should make sense.

But now, suppose Copper is 5 and Silcon is 8, what is the maximum?

The smallest ratio of availability is what drives the potential of the plant.  In this case, the plant can produce a maximum of 4 CPUs.  

Now, consider the last scenario of 3 Plastic:

You might think the potential is 0.75CPU, but it's actually 0.  All potential is calculated in whole numbers.  

Therefore, players will need to keep a watchful eye on this potential, because it is possible to reduce the potential by having a two Transport Out buildings split the potential that building provides, they can inadvertently cease production on all complexes because the potential falls below one.


Now to make it even more interesting, there is the entire concept of a transport.  Since the planet is organized around small complexes (like small towns), players will want as few industrial complexes as they can manage.  The problem is, industrial complexes aren't that big.  Currently 128 points, but I am considering making them 64 or 96 large; just add game difficulty.

Transports can only move one material type and each surface transport can move a maximum of 250 units at a time.  Each launch transport (surface to orbit or orbit to surface) can move 100 units at a time.  A unit is roughly analogous to a kilogram, but not really.  Each material's unit is a unit in size ... how about that for being non-specific!

The player will start with some limited number of surface transports, and will need to build more as the game progresses.  How many they get, I haven't figured out; but probably 15-20.  Probably 1 for each game material needed in the production of additional transports.