I don't know if this is an acceptable question (it's not even a question), but I like the site artwork and I built a world.

Playing with Javascript, I came up with a sea world. Buggy test here http://mjp.co/js/pirates/game.html (use cursor keys to sail around and dock at ports).

In the 'game' there are NPC cargo ships that travel to random ports to buy and sell resources (wood, gunpowder etc).

I want the entire marketplace of the game to be running in the background, and it's this market that sets the price for the resources.

I can define how long a port will hold on to a resource, limiting the world supply, increasing the price.

Not sure, or maybe just have a fake market that looks like it's real.

Any ideas of a trading world appreciated, and any other ideas about the game in general.


closed as off-topic by JBH, Dubukay, AlexP, Cyn, Vincent Jan 27 at 1:02

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question does not appear to be about worldbuilding, within the scope defined in the help center." – JBH, Dubukay, AlexP, Vincent
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding.SE! We're glad you could join us! When you have a moment, please click here to learn more about our culture and take our tour. OK! A+ for the Javascript, but.. SE is not a discussion forum, so we're not in a position to evaluate the software (not our deal, really) and we need specific questions, not general idea fishing. Gotta vote to close, but... dang.... $\endgroup$ – JBH Jan 27 at 0:17
  • $\begingroup$ Hi Matthew, welcome to Worldbuilding! I’ve got to sadly agree with JBH - this aite isn’t a great fit for the kind of question you’ve asked because it’s so open-ended. If there’s a more specific one that you think you can narrow this question down to, I’d encourage you to use our Sandbox to get some feedback before posting $\endgroup$ – Dubukay Jan 27 at 0:27
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @jbh Got what I needed I think, I'll try and keep things specific but I doubt I will ever understand SE rules. Thanks for the A+ $\endgroup$ – Matthew Page Jan 27 at 0:27

The most complex trading simulation I've ever seen was EVE Online. Did you know they even have a Chief Economist on their payroll to keep it all running? You won't need to do that, but there are some basics to economics that make your world believable if you factor them in...

1) Every port needs an industry
People, as a rule, only go out to the middle of nowhere for one of two reasons; either they REALLY want to be alone, or there's money to be made through the production of something. They might be farmers, miners, wood millers, tour guides; you name it. The point being that every port needs a reason to exist and that means the production of either goods or services.

Break your ports into broad categories like farming, hunting, mining, tourism, whatever. Then, you 'produce a set amount of the item your industry is focused around, which other ports need. This allows ships to set up trade routes; travel from a farming port with grain to a mining port, which takes the grain and gives you iron, which you take to another farming port which need it for shoeing horses and making ploughs, but they give you moonshine which you can take to a holiday port, etc...

2) Markets work on supply and demand
If you want a 'balanced' game, make sure that whatever goods are manufactured and fed into the game at a trading centre at the ports, there is an equal need for it across the entire game world. That means that prices won't completely tank or go through the roof, but how you get goods thither and yon is driven by price. A port that really needs grain but doesn't get a lot of trading ships will offer more because the demand is still there (your pirates could be making it difficult for some traders to get through, for instance). That said, your pirates are also a drain on the system when they attack traders so you need to account for a certain percentage of overproduction to cater for the pirates and the overall risk they represent.

3) People consume
The reason why we want goods is in essence to use them. We don't just store grain in a silo forever after buying as much of it as we can; we slowly use it through winters or times of scarcity. So too with your game world. Just as your ports should introduce new goods at a specific rate, the places that use it should slowly take it out of the system at a given rate instead. This reflects most accurately what is really happening in the world, and also allows you to set a reasonable pricing model where the price goes up as the stock on hand goes down, and vice versa. That would also encourage you to beat other ships to empty ports so that you sell your goods at the highest possible price, before they get a chance to unload.

Of course, there's a lot more to economics but these basics, if implemented correctly, will give a sense of a true open world economy and introduce quite a bit of trading realism that automatically covers off things like risk v. reward, supply & demand, time being of the essence, etc.

  • $\begingroup$ That's great Tim, lots of ideas to work on in there, just what I needed. I've saved this locally they're trying to shut it down... off to digest it all. $\endgroup$ – Matthew Page Jan 27 at 0:24

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.