Author Topic: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit  (Read 6123 times)

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Offline jamespetts

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Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« on: January 11, 2009, 01:20:47 AM »
After having considered the financing of the public service player in network mode here, it has occurred to me that a similar approach might work well for handling the players' budget deficits, both in network and non-network games.

As most people will know, the current system works by allowing the player to go into unlimited deficit for a period of three months, then suddenly bankrupting the player at the end of the three months if there is still any deficit outstanding. However, the player can easily escape bankruptcy by closing the "new map" window, and carry on indefinitely despite being in deficit. That, I understand, is deliberate, as it was thought too harsh a penalty for a player to lose all of her or his work through financial mistakes, and that players ought be free to choose whether to "cheat" or not.

I suggest a subtler, but equally simple, approach to handling a deficit. Firstly, I suggest abolishing the notion of player bankruptcy entirely: no more "you are bankrupt!" dialogue boxes and the "new map" window suddenly popping up. Secondly, I suggest ending the ability for players to get themselves into unlimited debt for three months, by preventing them from making any new capital purchases if they are in debt by more than a certain amount (which figure could be defined in simuconf.tab). Thirdly, I suggest charging monthly interest on the debt, calculated at 10% per annum (a rounded figure for simplicity, but again, perhaps the figure could be set in simuconf.tab).

That approach would lose the all-or-nothing harshness of the current bankruptcy system (so harsh that it was thought preferable to allow players, in effect, to ignore it), but also provide players with a real and serious incentive (beyond the mere feeling of satisfaction at having done so) to operate within their means. It would be simple to code, simple to understand, and also realistic.

Thoughts, anyone?
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Offline colonyan

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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2009, 02:59:59 AM »
About 2nd point.
In some game I've played, I needed to go deeper in red to finish the major line to see
if I survive or die from that new line. And for some times, it worked marverously and my
company thrived.  (or I should have waited until I have enough fund with me)(but in other hand
my earning was too slow and it was agains my play policy to fastforward the game...)

In some situations, we need to be able to go deeper in red to save the company.
Also, there could be a situation where player's company is in deficit which his fund is only decreasing.
From what I read I felt that you were supposing all company is earning some profit.

Then, may be we could allow players to issue some kind of bond if one needs extra fund right away.
Eithere if one is in sub zero or positive, let him go bankrupt if one fail to reimburse the money one
have borrowed.

In general I'm with your view of budget deficit.

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2009, 11:28:18 AM »
Colonyman,

interesting thoughts. One system that might work well is a sort of credit rating, where the amount that a company is allowed to borrow (i.e., the level of borrowing beyond which it cannot purchase any new capital items) depends on the company's history of cash flow, profit and borrowing. That might be a simpler and more seamless alternative to having bonds (for which a credit rating concept would have to be invented in any event: it would be pointless if one could issue an infinite number of bonds, or else one might as well be playing in freeplay mode).

As to circumstances where a company goes into the red and is losing money - that is where the player must take drastic action and sell vehicles and close unprofitable lines. One issue might be that it costs money to remove buildings, track, etc., yet also costs money to maintain them. A possible solution might be to have a tool that will enable buildings/track, etc., to be switched to a derelict state (maintenance on them stops, they become useless after a fixed period, but they remain in place and cost the same to remove as if they were live assets - dereliction could be handled graphically simply by uniformly reducing the brightness of the pixels in the object). That would then enable players potentially to recover from a deficit situation.

However, if there is to be any incentive at all to keep the budget balanced, there must come a point beyond which things get so bad that the player cannot recover (just as there would be in real life). The player's work to date would not be lost, but the player could not progress any further.
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Offline colonyan

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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2009, 03:44:50 PM »
I like that dereliction idea a lot. (+1 english vocabulary for me! :D)
Maybe it should cost alot to make it usable again in case it turned derelict.

[We could apply this dereliction idea to other building like remote city not served at all and as time goes, its city buildings go derelict as to
 represent emigration. That derelicted building does neither produce or accept passeger/mail.
 This is out of topic here but just for noting purpose.]

Certainly if ST can have credit rating, it will give more playing style.

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2009, 03:51:28 PM »
Colonyman,

I am glad that you like the idea :-) The cost of returning something derelict to use should not be more than the cost of removing the derelict structure and putting a new one in place, since, otherwise, players would be incentivised to leave the derelict structures in place and put new ones by their side. In any event, in reality, demolishing a derelict building costs no more than demolishing a habitable one. A simple way of doing this is to make derelict structures irredeemable: once they become derelict, they cannot be used, and must be removed and replaced.

Edit: One other aspect of dereliction that ought be considered: when an asset has been unmaintained long enough to become derelict, it ought be possible for other players, the public service player, and cities (when building new roads/structures) to remove the derelict structures (albeit at cost), as players ought not be able to block up the map with things on which no maintenance is paid.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2009, 08:11:03 PM by jamespetts »
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Offline prissi

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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2009, 09:01:06 PM »
You go bankrupt when your assets are below zero, your bank account does not matter (since 100.0 I think).

For network play, bankrupsy would probably cause something like for AI (i.e. transfer all roads to public property and remove all rails.) No ability for closing an continue too.

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2009, 09:04:22 PM »
Prissi,

interesting information about the new bankruptcy system. However, I still consider the system that I propose preferable (for both single and multiplayer games) for the reasons given above. Indeed, if in network mode there could be no escaping bankruptcy, there is even more reason to adopt a less harsh approach, as above advocated. Further, if players did get seriously into the red in multiplayer, it would be useful if, in at least some configurations, the public service player could, at her/his discretion, bail out the troubled player in order to achieve the public service player's goals.
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Offline LeifInge

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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2009, 11:24:21 PM »
You go bankrupt when your assets are below zero, your bank account does not matter (since 100.0 I think).

Would it not be more realistic to let a player go bankrupt when networth is below zero? Since you've got more "loan" (red numbers) than what your company is worth?

What I would like to see is that instead of allowing a player to go into red, the player should be forced to take up a loan. The game Capitalism have this function an it works really well. Loans of course should have some interest (the % could vary or be the same at all time). The maximum amount a player could loan could be equal to his net worth, it he still is going into red, then bankrupcy should be a reallity.

IMHO this would make the financial part of the game even more realistic, without complexing it to much.

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2009, 09:55:04 AM »
The current behaviour in Simutrans-Experimental is to charge players interest on their overdraft, and give players a fluctuating credit rating based on their assets and profits.
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Offline prissi

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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2009, 07:16:23 PM »
Banks do not give out loans to company that are not worth anything. You get a loan automatically as soon as your account goes below zero. You get even the "You are on load since xyz month" message.

I german law you are bankrupt, when all your values are less than your debts i.e. this includes your starting capital. That is counted under assets, and imho this is the net wealt. Not sure, if this a translation issue, since I am sound with those terms only on an english basis.

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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2009, 07:36:40 PM »
Ahh, that's interesting. In English law, one is not automatically bankrupt because one is insolvent: either a debtor or creditor can petition the court for a bankruptcy order, which is made, not on the basis of a mathematical formula, but whether one is realistically likely to be able to repay all of one's debts within a reasonable time.
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Offline prissi

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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2009, 07:52:00 PM »
Ok, of course I was too short. In germany it is also more complex: YOu must file "insolvence" at a court (doing this not is actually a crime which can get you into jail for max. five years, although this rarely happend at all). Then there will be appointed a "bankrupsy administrator", which will access the company and will start negotiations with the banks or with whoever the company is in debt. From there on my knowledge is shady, but I think there are certain timeframes (like six month) or a certain amount of leverage to get to a solution. If he/she is not successful, then the company will be sold and the biggest amount will handed out first with certain percentages. (Probably a german economic lawyer just died laughing now, this is just my understanding.)

Offline LeifInge

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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2009, 08:01:34 PM »
Anyway, IMO just going into red doesnt give you the feelign of having a loan. It would be better not to make it possible to go into red, and giving the player the choice between taking a loan or going bankrupt when he doesn't have more cash left. There must be more than me wh has seen how great this works in capitalism?!

Offline prissi

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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2009, 08:04:54 PM »
You usually get into red by running costs, not by purchasing. Any a bank will give you a load if it gets some securities. Im simutrans those are the moving stuff, as everything elso cost only for demolision.

But stopping building just because getting in the red will make simutrans nearl unplayable at the begin, imho (pak-set dependent of course)

Offline LeifInge

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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2009, 08:07:17 PM »
The point is that when geting into red you could take up a loan, f.ex up to the sum of your assets.. but then you have to manage your finances, not just building and get a profit an wait til it goes white again...


Offline jamespetts

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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2009, 08:14:30 PM »
Think of going into the red as an overdraft :-)
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Offline LeifInge

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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2009, 01:19:37 PM »
After trying experimental for a while I just want to say that I like the way debt is working there. Its a much more realistic way of doing it, and prevent you from getting into large debt and then wait for 10 years to get a positive number again.

Is it possible to have a patch or something which makes this useable in the normal simutrans?

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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2009, 07:54:25 PM »
LeifInge,

I am glad that you like the debt handling of Simutrans-Experimental! Thank you for the feedback. As to importing the behaviour into Simutrans-Standard, you would have to ask Prissi, as he decides what goes into Simutrans-Standard. Is there any reason why you would prefer to use Simutrans-Standard with Simutrans-Experimental's debt handling rather than just use Simutrans-Experimental?
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Offline prissi

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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2009, 08:10:58 AM »
We had this for one or two versions and it was not desired. Must have been three years ago or so.

(I think you refer to the building stop. Otherwise I need a more special comment what feature you like and what not.)

Offline LeifInge

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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2009, 11:35:42 AM »
Well the building stop is one thing, but I like the concept of Credit Limit, and also that going into debt makes you pay interest. To day there is no actually consequenses if go -1000000, as long as you got a positive net worth and is making profit. You'll find a good example in "the rogaland challenge" thread in the simutrans discussion.

A consequense of going into debt would make the game more realistic, without making larges changes. There is still freeplay for those whom like that.

Offline ariarinen

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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #20 on: June 25, 2009, 06:39:41 PM »
I like the current dept system, I usually have good CF's ang great margins over 3, so the first 20 so years I have 100m on loan and the next 20 100m on hand. I spend so much on growth in the beginning and the equity I start out with dose not last long.   

I say add a exchange where the player can get new capital, or lend capital to other players in the game or the option to merge or buy assets of an other player (Lines/grid, planes, ships, trains 2nd hand).       

Offline Severous

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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #21 on: June 25, 2009, 09:59:50 PM »
Hi

The monthly message which says you are now x months in overdraft seems unnecessary.  It worried the hell out of me when I first saw it. I took it to be a count down to the game declaring me bankrupt after three months in the red.
Regards
Sev.

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #22 on: June 25, 2009, 10:07:34 PM »
That's how it used to work.
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Offline Colin

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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #23 on: June 26, 2009, 09:05:28 AM »
I've given up trying to make a profit in Simutrans_Experimental. I'm currently approx 270 million simucredits in the red, yet virtually every mode of transport is making a profit. It's just being crippled by exorbitant monthly maintenance/operating costs.

I would give up playing this version, but I like a lot of the features.
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Offline jamespetts

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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #24 on: June 26, 2009, 09:51:50 AM »
Colin,

what pakset are you using? Also, what are your simuconf.tab settings? If you set the speed bonus multiplier too high before (as discussed in another thread), changing it in simuconf.tab will not have any effect on games already saved in Simutrans-Experimental, because that value is saved with the game: it will only affect new games. The maintenance and operating costs are not changed in Simutrans-Experimental from Simutrans-Standard, except in that obsolete vehicles have higher maintenance costs.
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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #25 on: June 26, 2009, 10:28:36 AM »
Colin,

what palest are you using? Also, what are your Smirnoff.tab settings? If you set the speed bonus multiplier too high before (as discussed in another thread), changing it in Smirnoff.tab will not have any effect on games already saved in , because that value is saved with the game: it will only affect new games. The maintenance and operating costs are not changed in  from , except in that obsolete vehicles have higher maintenance costs.

Hi James, I'm using PAK64-163. I started a new game just after our discussion on the Speed Bonus and reduced them to a lower level. It seems strange that in Sumatrans Standard with a game as large and complex as the one I'm currently playing I would have somewhere in the region of 25-30 Billion Microdots, in this Experimental version I'm, as I said, some 270 million Microdots in the red. I'm playing in 'Free Play' because I just wanted to keep playing without going bankrupt. I didn't really care too much about the cash, but it is nice to see a "In the Black" figure rather than the current "In the Red" one. When I've finished this current game I will start another and see if I can somehow improve the finances.

I can't see me going back to Standard unless a lot of the features of Experimental are incorporated into the game.

Anyway James, keep up the good work, I may not log on to the forum as much as I was, I'm very busy restoring a caravan, as in, completely gutted and in the process of rebuilding the inside. But I am still finding an hour or to in the evening to play Sumatrans. Maybe more so tomorrow as it's bucketing down with rain here and looks like it's set in for the weekend.
Incidentally, I was born in Sneyd Green. Do you know where that is?

Best Regards

Colin
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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #26 on: June 26, 2009, 11:33:11 AM »
Colin,

thank you for your reply :-) What value did you use for the speed bonus setting? I should be very grateful if you could upload your saved game: it is very helpful for me to get an idea about how best to balance the settings.

And I'm afraid that I don't know where Sneyd Green is, but the name is very pretty, at least. Best wishes with your caravan, and I'm glad that you're enjoying Simutrans-Experimental,

James
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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #27 on: June 27, 2009, 09:00:29 PM »
Colin,

thank you for your reply :-) What value did you use for the speed bonus setting? I should be very grateful if you could upload your saved game: it is very helpful for me to get an idea about how best to balance the settings.

And I'm afraid that I don't know where Sneyd Green is, but the name is very pretty, at least. Best wishes with your caravan, and I'm glad that you're enjoying Simutrans-Experimental,

James

Hi James

I fear this may not be the one that I changed due to my downloading and installing the new config files with v4.3.

road=1911,21,1928,50,2001,82,2032,85
track=1835,10,1870,60,1900,65,1920,80,1970,100,2007,140,2020,180,2028,231
water=1862,26,1940,38,1980,40
air=1912,80,1950,300,1975,930
monorail_track=1964,80,2050,413
tram_track=1910,25,1930,44,1960,50,1975,80

 I will upload my SVE direct to you.

Sneyd Green is a suberb of Hanley, one of the Five Towns of Stoke-on-Trent.

Best Regards

Colin
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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #28 on: June 28, 2009, 12:39:48 PM »
Colin,

thank you very much for sending me your saved game. I have had a brief look at it. One or two things that might contribute to your unprofitability are: (1) a number of your mainline passenger stations have many more unhappy than happy people: this directly affects the revenue for all trips made from those stations; and (2) your speed bonus multiplier percent (set in simuconf.tab) is still 100 - for playing a pakset designed for Simutrans-Standard, it should be somewhere between 50 and 70. The speed bonus figures that you have quoted seem to be the standard speed bonus values designed to work with maximum, rather than average speeds.

I hope that this is helpful :-)
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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #29 on: June 28, 2009, 01:10:07 PM »
Colin,

thank you very much for sending me your saved game. I have had a brief look at it. One or two things that might contribute to your unprofitability are: (1) a number of your mainline passenger stations have many more unhappy than happy people: this directly affects the revenue for all trips made from those stations; and (2) your speed bonus multiplier percent (set in simuconf.tab) is still 100 - for playing a pakset designed for Simutrans-Standard, it should be somewhere between 50 and 70. The speed bonus figures that you have quoted seem to be the standard speed bonus values designed to work with maximum, rather than average speeds.

I hope that this is helpful :-)

Thanks James, I thought that might be the case with the speed bonus figures, I couldn't remember changing them when I installed the new Config files. I'll change them now and see if things improve. As for the 'unhappy passengers' is this pertaining to train or tram passengers?

Best Regards

Colin
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Offline jamespetts

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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #30 on: June 28, 2009, 01:17:47 PM »
Colin,

I was referring to train passengers, since it appears to be the railways that are most unprofitable in your game: the trams make a profit mostly. There's no need to twiddle with the speedbonus.tab file if you just set the speed bonus multiplier percent in simuconf.tab to something like, say, 65. (This will only affect new games).
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Re: Alternative ways of handling player budget deficit
« Reply #31 on: June 29, 2009, 06:15:53 AM »
OK thanks James
I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it

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