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AI Challenge Forums • View topic - New Contest: Trading (Shipping)

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New Contest: Trading (Shipping)

Ideas for the Future

New Contest: Trading (Shipping)

Postby cowtippervirus » Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:53 pm

EDIT: This comment has been updated with more detail. Read a few posts down.

Just curious, do you (organizers) even want to hear contest suggestions from the peanut gallery?

If so, or anybody else is listening, I think having a contest based on something like international shipping would be really cool. Of course, it could be over land or space or whatever. The nitty-gritty though is that you have a finite number of vessels with a finite amount of cargo room and a finite amount of money to buy goods with. Different destinations supply goods and demand goods, with the price influenced by the supply/demand curve (with a little market uncertainty thrown in). You'd have to make decisions about which goods to buy and where to buy them, where to bring them, whether or not to wait. Definitely a departure from the ants, but creative and fun as well.
Last edited by cowtippervirus on Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New Contest: Trading (Shipping)

Postby Scryer » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:34 am

This seems promising, but I think it would be more interesting if the economics were more under player control than server-generated buy and sell orders -- perhaps a bit like the market parts of http://www.eve-online.com or Peter Langston's Empire (now mutated to http://wolfpackempire.com). That is, a player can mine or buy resources (e.g. metal or wood), refine them into products, then sell or use the products. This way there'd be a bit more room for the shipping bot to make decisions about where to enter into the production chain, as well as giving some intrinsic meaning to the prices being set (by the players!) for the goods offered for sale.

I'm not sure about the end-game, though -- do you end up buying more ships and taking over the shipping lanes by out-competing the other players? What are the final products and why does a player want to buy and transport them? Do you use the resources to build weapons and blow the other freighters out of space or board and loot them? Is the winner the person with the most money?

I think there could be good possibilities here.
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Re: New Contest: Trading (Shipping)

Postby cowtippervirus » Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:46 am

Yeah, it could be pretty open-ended.

I'd assume you could use the money to buy more ships and/or upgrades. I.e. make your ship faster, bigger, etc. Prices for upgrades should be dynamic and possibly dependent on player demand within the game (so that there's no 'best' strategy). Better yet... make it more like the patent system. The first player to get an upgrade pays much more for it than the other players, but gets a guaranteed monopoly on the upgrade for a while.

I'd assume a single game could encompass dozens of players at once, rather than the small handful that ants necessitates.

The economics wouldn't be entirely server-driven as the supply-demand curve would be influenced by the players trading.

Yes, I assume the end-game would be money (or total net worth).
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Re: New Contest: Trading (Shipping)

Postby cowtippervirus » Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:57 am

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Re: New Contest: Trading (Shipping)

Postby grc » Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:13 pm

I love this idea, and it sounds like you've really thought it over.

I'm going to look at it in more detail tomorrow (and hopefully come up with a few suggestions/questions).
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Re: New Contest: Trading (Shipping)

Postby Migi32 » Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:49 pm

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Re: New Contest: Trading (Shipping)

Postby cowtippervirus » Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:27 pm

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Re: New Contest: Trading (Shipping)

Postby Migi32 » Tue Dec 27, 2011 10:01 pm

Last edited by Migi32 on Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New Contest: Trading (Shipping)

Postby grc » Wed Dec 28, 2011 8:06 am

As much as I would like this idea to work, at the moment I'm thinking that it falls too far short of the first two . It seems too complex to be inviting for most people, especially beginners. For example, moving from port to port, which is essential for even the most basic bots, could be quite hard and overwhelming for new people.

Another issue would be the large amount of input needed for each bot to run (land, water, ports, wind/current/hazard at each marker, prices, and so on).
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Re: New Contest: Trading (Shipping)

Postby ChrisH » Wed Dec 28, 2011 8:25 pm

I like some of the ideas in this thread, but I agree that the initial suggestion is/was too complex. In addition to the concerns already mentioned, I think it would take a long time to balance all the game factors properly.

A long list of upgrades that haven't been properly balanced with regard to the game play can easily create a situation where a small number of the upgrades are much more desirable than the others. In that situation the other upgrades might as well be removed from the game.

The more "moving parts" a game has, the more difficult it will be to get the game properly balanced before we start the next competition.
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