A Cursory Analysis Of Trade

Fiction by Sylvester Wrzesinski

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Re: A Cursory Analysis Of Trade

Postby Cralis on Sun 28 Aug 2016 03:43

Xveers wrote:Cralis, so that never sent you running away and screaming? I'm losing my touch XD


I was immediately distracted by the realization that you weren't fully accounting for the full economy :)

Keep in mind that the GPV of smaller populations has been boosted in order to make them worth colonizing. Marvin and other contributors as far back as GSF really tweaked the numbers to get the ROR they felt was appropriate. In reality those small, frontier populations would probably have very little economic value and most shipping will be infrastructure support, nit actual trade.


Ah, definitely. I think I'm gonna do a little more playing around with the numbers. I agree with his decision (otherwise colonies would be few, far between, and massive early to mid-game income sinks), I'm just pondering how I can possibly negatively impact a planet's economic "gravity" based on its population. Any suggestions where to put a modifier and what logic to base it on, Cralis? Kinda thinking anything under Medium or Large should have a negative impact.


You know, you can change your gravity constant :) Maybe it's just 2 AM, but I don't see where you say why you chose 0.01 for the gravity constant...

Actually, it's interesting that you have every population trading with every other population. I would think that smaller populations would primarily trade to the largest population. The trade model that we use to calculate the transfer of H and Qv in V2 presumes this type of node-based trading. Of course, we are only modeling the actual income and presume that rest is invisible.

Side note: I once proposed to Marvin that piracy should be of the whole economy and that income losses were 1/5th of the piracy, thus making piracy more profitable to the pirate. He didn't want to complicate th calculations...

The only thing I can think of this late at night would be to use a different gravity value based on the size of the population. Mining populations with a smaller gravity would then have less trade then a larger population with a larger gravity. But then it wouldn't be a constant :)

Whitecold wrote:I don't mean surplus capacity as in naturally having grown too large, or superfluous, or not state owned, but rather the surplus capacity an empire doesn't directly need to sustain itself, and thus is available for defense and expansion


Huh? If that is your criteria, then you are talking about more than half of any economy. Consumerism is not "necessary to sustain", neither is almost every function of the government. However, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who would agree that economic expansion (aka colonization and investment), defense, exploration (in this case), research, or any other direct priority of a society would be "unnecessary", just as much as you'd be hard pressed to find any consumers that think that what they buy is excess :)

I think part of our communications issue stems from you and I having both completely different definitions and completely different terminology. It's sometimes hard to understand what you mean, and I'm sure you're thinking the same thing...

As far as trade vs PU go, if you want to give more value to large pops, I'd suggest you start with a very simple model like, 2xPU for small pops, 3xPU for medium and so forth.


This is similar to my comment above about variable gravities based upon the size of the trading partners, but I'm not sure what values you would use. If you make them too arbitrary you'll get odd results. Since he's using really small constant (I'm guessing based on models from his own experience), they won't be whole numbers.

However I think an argument can be made for tiny colonies having proportionally more trade than large colonies, as they are not self sustaining.

A mining colony on an inhospitable body will have to import almost all necessities, and will export their entire output, while a larger colony will use resources locally, and satisfy most of their consumption with local production.


I have considered this, but that would be inbound trade above that generated by income. Since we don't model costs to generate income (aka maintenance or upkeep costs) for populations, this is basically written out of the equation. This would be especially problematic since much of this maintenance trade would be subsidized or outright paid for by the government, which could not be counted as any part of the income value of the population (and in fact should come from the government's income, or at least be counted as part of another, larger population's income!)

I think we could model it by determining that there is more "incoming" TEU then "outgoing" TEU, but with the gravity model, the direction of trade doesn't matter, and it doesn't matter to the rules, so I'm not sure I'd put any effort into modeling it.
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Re: A Cursory Analysis Of Trade

Postby SCC on Mon 29 Aug 2016 23:28

Xveers wrote: 1) Government income = GDP. This should send all the economists screaming, as it's nowhere correct, but it's the best and most consistent number I have. Since we are dealing with fantasy however, we can get away with some more questionable assumptions.

The finance industry seems to like it but, after all they measure goverment debt against GDP

Xveers wrote:Rather, I mean freight that originates and departs from Stettin. It's on the edge of colonised space and not a pass-through location like other star systems. The spreadsheet doesn't compute the carrying trade of freight that passes through a port en route elsewhere. For that I'd need to start overlaying a nodal map to go with the distances and then see how much is going down every connection.

I really need an updated map of your game, it's not on the one I've got and I spent too much time looking for it

Xveers wrote:One other thing I do wonder is the presence of sub-strategic speed 4 freighters. Not all freight -needs- that speed, and a CL-size FT that's built to only go 2 as opposed to 4 is going to have a substantially better profit margin, provided the goods can wait that much longer (and long-tail stuff like raw materials can certainly wait.) This is doubly true since in RL (and I can't imagine Starfire would be different) that the vast majority of the cost of shipping is the cost of the ship itself.

Don't know about CL sized ones, but I broke out my FT designs spread sheet and did the math for this on a DD size one, and I don't think it works out. Removing two Ica and replacing them with 4 H only reduced the cost by 4 MC and the cost per H went from 7.875 to ~6.396, once once you double that last number to account for the reduced number of trips it jacks up to more then 12
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Re: A Cursory Analysis Of Trade

Postby Whitecold on Tue 30 Aug 2016 13:49

I did some calculations as well, as I liked the idea of very large trade ships, but currently Ic engines are too cheap to bother to mount less than the maximum possible amount if you maximize H*Speed, which gives your total carrying capacity.
The maximum would lie above 6 with Ia engine prices.
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Re: A Cursory Analysis Of Trade

Postby Xveers on Tue 30 Aug 2016 20:06

SCC wrote:I really need an updated map of your game, it's not on the one I've got and I spent too much time looking for it


It exists as one of the many things I need to do, but it's a bit of a non-zero project to make something that complex and still make it both visually appealing (to some base degree) and have it convey information.

SCC wrote:
Xveers wrote:One other thing I do wonder is the presence of sub-strategic speed 4 freighters. Not all freight -needs- that speed, and a CL-size FT that's built to only go 2 as opposed to 4 is going to have a substantially better profit margin, provided the goods can wait that much longer (and long-tail stuff like raw materials can certainly wait.) This is doubly true since in RL (and I can't imagine Starfire would be different) that the vast majority of the cost of shipping is the cost of the ship itself.

Don't know about CL sized ones, but I broke out my FT designs spread sheet and did the math for this on a DD size one, and I don't think it works out. Removing two Ica and replacing them with 4 H only reduced the cost by 4 MC and the cost per H went from 7.875 to ~6.396, once once you double that last number to account for the reduced number of trips it jacks up to more then 12


This is one of those things where Reality™ and Starfire diverge. In real life, there's a substantial cost savings on a per TEU basis for going to a bigger ship, as a lot of your variable costs scale a lot more gently than the the fixed costs of building bigger (crews don't get much larger when you go from a 12,000 TEU container ship to a 18,000 TEU container ship, and your engineering plant consumes fractionally more fuel, but again it scales nicely compared to having an additional 6,000 TEU ship). That's something that Starfire explicitly does NOT do, as larger ships have a per HS cost premium over smaller ones, and the engine breakpoints are a bit harsher and make that kind of minmaxing more challenging to engineer.

A better example might be a CAe(FT) instead designed to run at strategic speed 2. Back of the notepad should say it'll have a somewhat better cost-per H ratio than the CL, definitely lower engine costs and the like.

The other thing however that Starfire doesn't do is recognize the value of slower cargo IE not everything in the universe needs to be moved at strategic speed 4. Now, full disclosure: I understand why the decision is made to not care about it so much. It makes a lot of sense gameplay wise. Realistically however, cargo that's not time sensitive moves on slower freight. Your average ore or oil carrier moves at about 18 knots, and somehow Krupp's steel mills don't seem to run out of iron, and the world's crude oil market doesn't have regular unplanned outages. Other freight, the kind that Starfire seems most concerned with, can move MUCH faster. The average container ship is designed to move at a brisk 26-28 knots (though most right now are moving at much lower speeds due to the market "enjoying" a severe overcapacity issue).

At a core, the economic engine rewards you for building higher speed "courier" freighters, but doesn't really offer anything as a niche for the large, slow lumbering freighters.
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Re: A Cursory Analysis Of Trade

Postby SCC on Wed 31 Aug 2016 03:47

I think you're big stumbling block will be fuel usage, in Starfire it's strictly linear, but IRL it's not.

As for crew costs, those saving will only appear if you can reduce the size and/or generation of the Q you need to mount.
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Re: A Cursory Analysis Of Trade

Postby procyon on Wed 31 Aug 2016 15:52

Lord knows I am not an economics type. But I do like some of this.
One of our bigger issues that we finally discarded most of the game rules and created our own is based around trade.
Specifically the commerce raiding of trade. Currently you could park on the WPs of a system and have no better chance of seeing a ship than sitting in a random sH.
Knowing the volume of trade, and the origin/destination would be the cornerstone that raiding would be based on. There is a bit of it in the rules that we use, but we have our own rules governing the 'trade routes' as such. But this looks like it may become a nice resource to make our rules a bit more 'realistic'.
So if you get around to plotting those through points and trade lanes - please share !
...and I will show you fear in a handful of dust....

Cralis wrote:I would point out that the "what was" which is different from "here and now" can easily change in the "future then."
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Re: A Cursory Analysis Of Trade

Postby Xveers on Wed 31 Aug 2016 19:13

SCC wrote:I think you're big stumbling block will be fuel usage, in Starfire it's strictly linear, but IRL it's not.

As for crew costs, those saving will only appear if you can reduce the size and/or generation of the Q you need to mount.


I assume fuel is one of those costs that's buried inside the maintenance cost.

As for crew, there's no fundamental difference between a 12,000 TEU freighter or an 18,000 TEU freighter in real life (some of them sail with as few as 16-18 crew, with anything more than ultra light maintenance being done by trained teams at nodal locations). For Starfire, that'd best be represented by not requiring life support for H spaces at all. But yes, improving Q tech also does this (at the cost of a marginally higher maintenance fraction as well).
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Re: A Cursory Analysis Of Trade

Postby Xveers on Wed 31 Aug 2016 23:46

SCC wrote:I really need an updated map of your game, it's not on the one I've got and I spent too much time looking for it


I found the setup I used to build the nodal map for internal use for the Terran Dominion, and I'm slowly plugging data into it. It won't be pretty, but it WILL link star system to star system.

And if I do it right, I'll just have to update the links as it goes.

Of course, even deWulf "core" systems are some 70+ star systems :twisted:
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Re: A Cursory Analysis Of Trade

Postby Cralis on Thu 01 Sep 2016 11:17

procyon wrote:Lord knows I am not an economics type. But I do like some of this.
One of our bigger issues that we finally discarded most of the game rules and created our own is based around trade.
Specifically the commerce raiding of trade. Currently you could park on the WPs of a system and have no better chance of seeing a ship than sitting in a random sH.


Do you not use the V2 rules for calculating the movement of intra-system trade through star systems?
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