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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 9:30 pm 
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A few pictures that maybe show why I think the economic model for the cargo and parcels system has a few problems.

First, the route I'm currently flying - started off at the galactic east and headed west, looks like I still have plenty of time to reach all of the destinations shown before I run into time problems, even if I have to stop for maintenance a couple of times:

Image

Next, my current cargo and missions - remember that this is a Planet Express, a small lightly armed ship, with a lot of cargo space taken up by passenger accommodation:

Image
Image
Image

I can't actually remember how much I've put down in deposits for the cargo, but I stand to make a stonking profit by the end, especially on parcels, which cost me nothing to carry. And this isn't an unusual flight; I'm being offered gems, platinum, and gold as cargo at most of the stations I stop at, also high-fee packages and passengers, but at this point mostly they're too far off the route I'm flying to be worth taking the risk.

Bottom line, I really think there should be some mechanism to ensure that you can't go on taking aboard high-value cargo and mail indefinitely. Maybe insurance premiums that pile up the more you carry, or taxes of some sort.


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 Post subject: Re: Screenshots
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 10:01 pm 
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Quite Grand Sub-Admiral
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Next, my current cargo and missions - remember that this is a Planet Express, a small lightly armed ship, with a lot of cargo space taken up by passenger accommodation:
Small, lightly armed, but ridiculously fast compared with the core game ships.

The balancing is supposed to be "you drop into a dangerous bottleneck en route, and with that many high-risk parcels on board about fifteen separate groups of assassins try to claim the kill", to either make you pay a significant repair bill, take a detour which reduces the profit/jump or the number of simultaneous contracts, or give up and do something safer. If you can go at 0.55LM while the fastest assassin in an Asp goes at 0.4, then they stop being the threat they're supposed to be. (Gal 8 is also a bit short on really dangerous bottlenecks - try taking contracts into or out of the top left corner of Gal 2 if you want more of a challenge...)


The precious metals contracts are indeed excessively profitable - note that the Rain, Tioned and Orbira contracts individually each pay more than the entire parcels+passenger set you have combined (of course that's the gross rather than net payout, but still...). There's a bit of balancing in that you have 6 TC of precious metal canisters in your hold, so if you do get hit through your shields you can end up losing 40/80,000 credits in a single shot - but again, with that speed, why would you ever lose your shields?

Switeck did put together a mod for the cargo contracts to rebalance them, which might be worth a try. Unlike passenger and parcel I haven't changed the cargo contracts significantly from the 1.76 version, because I can't work out what's needed there. (The forums have successfully talked me out of a few possible ideas, but not into any)

All that said ... by the time you have the rep and in the case of cargo contracts deposit money to take on that many profitable contracts, you also almost certainly have no real use for money other than the accumulation of further money anyway. As an early-game activity they're generally much less effective ways to earn money than conventional trading or the bounty hunting/scavenging approach.

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 Post subject: Re: Screenshots
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 10:15 pm 
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How fast? 0.55LM? Crikey, even running the Beritere/Tierus gauntlet would be a doddle at that speed!

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 Post subject: Re: Screenshots
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 10:23 pm 
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Mostly I laugh in the face of danger then run away. Seems to work pretty well with this ship...

Having said that, I seem to run into pirates with injectors fairly often, and if I'm low on fuel things get fairly hairy.


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 Post subject: Re: Screenshots
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:55 am 
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I haven't changed the cargo contracts significantly from the 1.76 version, because I can't work out what's needed there.
I assume you've considered, and rejected, the idea of just capping the quantity of gold/platinum/gems available on any one single contract? 255kg/g max, maybe?

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 Post subject: Re: Screenshots
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 5:35 pm 
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Quite Grand Sub-Admiral
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I assume you've considered, and rejected, the idea of just capping the quantity of gold/platinum/gems available on any one single contract? 255kg/g max, maybe?
It's mainly not the high-end contracts that I think are a problem - moving the rep scale for cargo contracts to a 0-70 one like the parcel/passenger contracts would make them require quite a bit more work to obtain, and the risk level on them could be increased fairly easily.

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 Post subject: Re: Screenshots
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 5:40 pm 
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The forums have successfully talked me out of a few possible ideas, but not into any...
Missed this, and my old frazzled brain cannot recall those ideas - got a link, cim?

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 Post subject: Re: Screenshots
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 5:47 pm 
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Quite Grand Sub-Admiral
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No, I can't find them anywhere on the search... basically looking at locking the cargo into the ship so you couldn't sell it or not giving you the cargo, not charging a deposit, and making you have to find it on the way.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:30 pm 
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I don't think this has anything to do with screenshots. It is a discussion apart, hence split to own thread.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:49 pm 
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Good point.

One important thing about this - whatever is done shouldn't make it harder for people to start getting valuable contracts, it's the sheer number available that's the problem. The way I get so many is mostly that I take the shortest time routes, which means I visit a lot more systems, and usually stop off at the station to refuel if it looks like the next jump will leave me even slightly low.

If you make a lot of stops at the start of a cross-galaxy run the chances are pretty good that you'll be offered a lot of contracts for the far side - you just have to be a bit selective to ensure everything is more or less on the same route once you've decided where you're going to end up. And the fact that there are so many valuable contracts on a single route that you can afford to ignore anything slightly out of the way is maybe symptomatic of the problem.

Maybe the likelihood of being offered the really high value stuff needs to drop steeply with the amount you're already carrying - if your ship is already stuffed to the gills with valuables punters might justifiably be worried that you're going to do a runner, or prefer a ship that isn't going to attract hordes of pirates etc.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:29 pm 
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Off the top of my not-very-lofty head, would some sort of loose system of factions make a difference? Various parcel/passenger/cargo runs become mutually exclusive if you agree to others? 'Oh, you've accepted a contract with Amalgamated Woobies? Well, I'm afraid while you're working for them, we can't allow you to freelance for Tip-Top-Trumbles! Come back when you're a free agent!' I'm not suggesting anything complicated with reputations and alliances, just a scarecrow framework of, 'if you work for A, B will not hire you at that time'.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 8:59 am 
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Quote:
One important thing about this - whatever is done shouldn't make it harder for people to start getting valuable contracts, it's the sheer number available that's the problem.
This is where an upper limit on the total quantity you can carry might help. Perhaps once the player's in-cabin safe is full, they can't take any more contracts ("You're going to put my precious cargo in the hold? Are you mad?"). There could even be "secure cargo compartments" available as upgrades, at the cost of regular cargo space, perhaps x2 - so for an extra tonne of secure hold space, you lose 2 tonnes of cargo space.

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 Post subject: Re: Screenshots
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 9:20 am 
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Quote:
I assume you've considered, and rejected, the idea of just capping the quantity of gold/platinum/gems available on any one single contract? 255kg/g max, maybe?
It's mainly not the high-end contracts that I think are a problem - moving the rep scale for cargo contracts to a 0-70 one like the parcel/passenger contracts would make them require quite a bit more work to obtain, and the risk level on them could be increased fairly easily.
Perhaps - if precious metals/gems contracts are tied to the volume of the ship's safe, especially - a pm/g delivery could be treated as a type of very valuable parcel and not as a cargo contract at all? That would remove the slightly odd mechanic (for those who like piloting Cobra III-sized ships and smaller) of having to buy a big cargo hauler, so you can haul big cargo contracts, to build up enough of a reputation so you can get the pm/g contracts, so you can trade down to a small, nimble ship again.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 4:55 pm 
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Quote:
Quote:
One important thing about this - whatever is done shouldn't make it harder for people to start getting valuable contracts, it's the sheer number available that's the problem.
This is where an upper limit on the total quantity you can carry might help. Perhaps once the player's in-cabin safe is full, they can't take any more contracts ("You're going to put my precious cargo in the hold? Are you mad?"). There could even be "secure cargo compartments" available as upgrades, at the cost of regular cargo space, perhaps x2 - so for an extra tonne of secure hold space, you lose 2 tonnes of cargo space.
Something like that - or maybe you have to commit at least a ton of space for each high-valuable consignment regardless of how much it is, because that's how much space a secure cargo pod needs? Doesn't cause problems for big ships, of course, so maybe the permanent space loss would be better. And buy a secure mail storage locker before you're allowed to carry parcels over a threshold value, say 500 credits?


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:03 pm 
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I like the secure cargo pod idea, the 2 TC seems a bit low though.

Making starting doing contracts easier :

How about introducing some special low volume flavors of existing goods (possibly for contracts only ) .
examples :
food - delicacies
clothes - haute couture (bridal gowns, evening dresses, Tuxedos etc)
liquor/wine - special stuff, like a case of 1000 years old brandy
Machinery - custom build things like a gold plated hyperdrive

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