| Wednesday, October 20, 2004 - 11:28 am |
I read that conversation you told me about in IRC. I had a few thoughts/comments.
You spoke of languages. Irl, there are families of languages, and languages are influenced by other languages that are prominant in an area. You might be able to model the languages by vectors in n-space. If there are three characteristic traits of language, (2.53, -1.49, 4.88) could represent one language and (-3.62, -1.33, 3.71) could represent another. The distance of their relation would be the magnitude of the difference of the vectors. In this case about 6.26. If an empire is dominated by the first language and it captures a country dominated by the second language, there should be an effect on the languages, with the conquered country slightly leaning toward the empire language. There would also be linguistic training programs.
To differentiate between the current language use and the language preference, perhaps vectors with imaginary quantities could be used. Naturally the vectors would have identical real and imaginary parts. The preferred language would be the real part, while the imposed language would be the imaginary part. After a long time with the imposed language, the real part would drift toward the imaginary part. Both parts would drift initially, but the imaginary part would have to drift somewhat quickly.
Religions could behave similarly--vectors. Extremely close religious relatives would be sympathetic. Extremely distant religious relatives would be apathetic. Close distant relatives would have the most jealousies. If the jealousies are strong enough, holy war might erupt with only moderate player prodding.
There are some media of communication that would be difficult to control if it originated outside the borders. Spreading propaganda thru those means could be more effective, especially when the borders are closed. For instance, shortwave radio broadcasts can be heard many thousands of miles away. With SW radio, I've tested listening to a source I knew to be 3-5 thousand miles away, and the signal was still clear. There's also satellite. Of course, SW and Sat transmissions can be blocked, but it takes very powerful antennae to block SW.
If you allow revolts due to language, religious, and ethnic barriers, why not deal with inactive players the same way? Have their empire revolt due to lack of leadership.
Now that I'm done with the prelude, here's an expansion of the transportation co. idea I presented.
To expand on my IRC idea, have transportation hubs in countries. The problem of transporting goods would boil down to finding the optimum path in a network of vertices connected by edges. Embargoes between nations and other barriers would remove edges (or equivalently make those edges weigh infinity). Hubs that collect higher fees would have higher cost-weight than hubs that have smaller fees. Tariffs between countries would increase the cost-weight of edges. Higher development of the path taken would decrease the time-weight of an edge. If someone wants a product NOW regardless of cost, the time-weight would be considered, not the cost-weight. Or if someone is being frugal, paths that take several months to traverse rather than several days would be preferable if the cost-weight of the longer path was lower. Transportation companies could charge more for more difficult or costly transportation requests. (Charge by distance covered + inverse of time required).
Each country should be able to trace where the goods that go thru its hubs came from, and approximately where the goods are going. If Country A dislikes Country B, Country A may refuse to receive or move products that go thru Country B, effectively making the hubs in Country A appear to have infinite weight to Country B. It would be interesting if something like that happened partway thru the transporting of some goods.
(So much for brevity) Here's what I thought about that tougher parts:
I think the AI for pricing goods should have three layers superimposed. The first layer would simply depend on the demand of a product. If the demand was constant, the curve produced by this layer would be a straight line sloping upward or downward depending on how strong the demand is. Even very high demand would be a very small slope. The second layer would depend on surplus. This layer would react very strongly, relative to the first layer. The third layer would be a fractal (or other device that behaves chaotically, in the mathematical sense) that has an average contribution of zero (or maybe has a slight average slope due to other concerns). This would add an unpredictability to a market even when the supply and demand are well determined.
If the product suddenly has no more utility, the price should undergo exponential decay. The product is still there taking up space, so it will never reach zero value, as there will always be slight value in stripping the product for parts.
You said your simulations had come across problems with capitalistic corps making too much, while the workers didn't make enough to compensate. That's what you get for making the money market a zero sum game! Irl there is inflation, multiple currencies, and national debt.
Inflation, if it is miniscule, can possible slow the problem down without going runaway. If it is controlled by players, it could be interesting, though. Individual currency providers would not be able to directly control inflation, but could control a factor that guides inflation. Currency providers would be individual empires or groups of empires that agree to use the same currency. I'm not sure how controlling inflation for a currency would work if multiple players are affecting it.
With multiple currencies, various dimensions can be opened up. Currency exchangers (if player controlled) could offer free money by having exchange rates that prefer one currency over another. If A is worth 2B, the provider could offer the following exchange rate: 1A for 1.9B. In that way, more of Currency A will be on the market, while less of Currency B will be on the market. Manipulation in this manner would be very expensive for the currency exchanger, but could start hyper-inflation/deflation of a currency, stongly affecting the empires using those currencies as their primary currencies.
National Debt irl usually takes the form of bonds offered by the government over long periods. If corporations offered the bonds instead, that could help alleviate the money suction problem. Other ways to get the money out would be via lawsuits, scholarships/grants, corporate sponsored think-tanks, etc.
Well, that's all I have right now. It only took 2 and a half hours to type up I promise my next post will be shorter.