Category Archives: Economy

The Guild 2, what went wrong?

The Guild 2 was a game unlike any other that I played. It has a blend of Roleplay and Economics, combined with intrigue and politics, all tied up into a top-down almost RTS like view. You could become anybody you wanted, in theory. As a rogue you could had started your own Thieves Guild, Pirate band, Mercenary group or invest in Pubs. As a Scholar you could had become a man of a Church, Doctor or… magician. Even the seemingly two “generic” choices of Craftsman and Patron were spiced up with what you could do on the side. Sure, you might had a perfectly legitimate Pub, or Blacksmith business, but secretly you could have an army of goons, ready to demolish the competition. That was the charm of The Guild 2. Not just the legitimate “You are better than me” economy style gameplay, but also “I killed off your family, ruined your reputation and ended you.” intrigue, crime and politics gameplay.

What went wrong with this title that it obtained average marks, and was often received poorly by critics? Let’s find out.

The Guild 2: Renaissance

“Where is everybody?”

JIT (Just in Time) production – Keep resources low, revenues high!

JIT – what it is and what does it mean for your resource management?

Just in time

Just in time – the theme of the day

Remember, that storing means losses? And those couple of lessons carried out from process optimization? Today, I will discuss matters that put these two issues in more practical sense – JIT (“Just-In-Time”) production.

The whole idea originated from Japan – this nation is quite efficient, as you probably know… More precisely from Toyota – a company you hear of a lot, when taking management classes. And even more, if you do automotive engineering as well.

On spending, googols and inflation in games

So what the heck is that gaming inflation about?

Googol - a number (10^{100}). According to current knowledge, the number of particles in the universe is much less than that. The trademark “google” was derived from this number to reflect the amount of data google was supposed to index.

Inflation in germany - burning money

This picture, taken in Germany after WW I, is quite similar to what happens in most of games. At some point, you simply do not care for something you would consider a fortune at the beginning

This article is a part of our series “Gamers, get your suits on!” on application of management skills and common sense in computer games. You can find the rest of the articles here.

RPG games

You start a new game, say: Skyrim. You have something like 100 gold pieces, a rusty dagger, and a rugged pair of pants. Your gear is worth much less, than what you can gather in a typical garden. You see all those mediocre armors and weapons, costing 100 times more than everything you have, wondering how much the really good stuff costs. And you start losing hope.

The clock is ticking! – On the importance of player’s time.

"Whatever" wall clock

You might think like that. But you are wrong. Time is much more, than simple numbers on your watch – it is the resource required for your actions.

Time… It is the most important resource in your life. Ok, so let’s get straight to the point instead of wasting it for my phylosophical discoveries and …’ing you to death, emo style, thinking it makes my writing more poetic.

This article is a part of our series “Gamers, get your suits on!” on application of management skills and common sense in computer games. You can find the rest of the articles here.

So… Ok, I have to admit it is the most important resource and it rules them all. You need time to build up your economy and to produce anything. But what the most important factor is the player’s time. It is a non-storable resource, with extremely high demand. In a complex game (economical or not), everything screams to get some of your attention. Your cities in Civilization V, beautiful views in Skyrim, or your empty clip in Call of Duty: MW3.

Hey, I am the energy magnate! – On non-storable resources

Wind turbine

Energy grid manager’s nightmare. Not only demand is unpredictable, but you haven’t got any idea if it’s going to be windy today.

Non-storable resources are bad. You can’t store them. You can’t get independent from them. If you lose them suddenly, you don’t even have any reserve to depend on. Therefore your approach to these has to be slightly different.

A good example of non-storable resource is the energy (although there are some exceptions like storable energy cells in X3: TC). You either use it all, or waste what is remaining. This means excess production is really bad. You are not only freezing resources you have used up to build your facilities, but sometimes also resources you use to run them, like coal for example.

But don’t worry! This article is not only about energy. There are other non-storable resources out there, and another great example is work. Read on to learn a bit more.

This article is a part of our series “Gamers, get your suits on!” on application of management skills and common sense in computer games. You can find the rest of articles here.

Hey, look at my wealth! – Why being Scrooge McDuck is not such a great idea. – Part 2

Reserves federal bank

If it’s all fake, why pay the storage costs? But sure feds know they SHOULD have some reserves

In part 1 I have explained, why it is generally a bad idea to store a lot of resources. I have also touched the subject of why do we have to store some of the resources. Today, I will go into a bit more detail into that – how big my reserves should be?

This article is a part of our series “Gamers, get your suits on!” on application of management skills and common sense in computer games. You can find the rest of articles here (including part 1 of this article)

Let’s start with a bit of science. Deciding how much we should store and why we do it is called “Inventory Management” in the business world. There are 3 basic reasons for keeping reserves: 

It’s christmas! – On being a great teammate (and kicking asses by doing so)

Christmas gun

Shiny!

It’s christmas. So, this time let’s do something different from my usual ramblings on money and resources. One of the big things about christmas is giving and sharing. So, let’s think about giving and sharing in computer games.

Again, let’s start from one of the major thoughts of this series: money/resources are worthless as such, it only represents the stuff you can buy for it (or goods and services, if we want to be a bit more “professional”). One of the things you can get are gifts for other players. Thinking about all these expensive “gifts” in MMO’s like Mafia Wars? Think again.

This article is a part of our series “Gamers, get your suits on!” on application of management skills and common sense in computer games. You can find the rest of articles here.

Hey, look at my wealth! – Why being Scrooge McDuck is not such a great idea – Part 1

Scrooge Mcduck

Remember Scrooge McDuck? This was his first appearance in Donald Duck cartoon – loved that one when I was a child

Part 1 focuses on the issues related to storing resources – and why generally it is not such a great idea – unless you have a good reason for it. Part 2 will focus on the actual amount of your reserves, and what you should take into account when determining these. Part 2 – available soon!

This article is a part of our series “Gamers, get your suits on!” on application of management skills and common sense in computer games. You can find the rest of articles here (including part 2 of this article)

In previous article, “On the universality of resources” I have introduced the thought, that keeping resources (or money – which is just another resource) means a loss. Not necessarily a loss as such (since most games neglect the cost of storage), but rather loss of opportunities, alternatives that could bring you some kind of profit.

Christmas Buyer’s Guide: Action and Economics

Christmas time is almost here. Time to dig up all those savings you have been keeping for emergencies and buy the most essential and necessary Christmas gifts. But, if you are not after some insanely expensive gifts read this guide on buying some exceptional Economic and Action based computer games. Only because they are old does not mean they suffer any drop in quality. On the contrary, most of the time you won’t find anything like them, ever again. All the while, you save a lot of money on much more affordable purchases.This is the third part of our Christmas Buyer’s Guide series.

Hitman - Agent 47

Agent 47 was never cut out to be Santa Claus.

On the universality of resources

Canadian ore

Ore straight from Canada – question is what it will become and where will it be? (©Mike Beauregard)

Almost every game has some kind of resources. These might be money, ore, copper, energy, bullets or even arrows. Most games may be divided either into “production economy” type – where all (or most) goods must be produced, and “magic economy” type – where you only need money to buy anything you want.

There are a couple of differences here. In the production economy, there is typically a whole “food chain” – where one resource is required to produce another one at some intermediate stages. This introduces a lot of micromanagement issues, and can be lot of fun. It also usually (but not always) imply some kind of delay – products don’t just appear from nowhere, it takes time to make them. Examples include The Settlers, X3: Terran Conflict, Civilization and a range of other strategy and economy games.In the magic economy the only thing you need is money. Pay, and you always instantly get, what you want. This model is great for FPS games, and a good example is Counter Strike Source, or most RPG games, like Skyrim, Mount&Blade and Zelda. It does not require planning, there is no delay. Since these games typically relay on only one resource – that is money. There are a couple thoughts for you in this article as well – and much more focused articles coming soon (including next week’s article: “Why being Scrooge McDuck is not a good idea”, also covering aspects of sharing in teamplaying).