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Trade System (v4.x)

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Trade System (V4.x)

Important Basic points

Every civilian vessel in v4.x will be owned by a Shipping Line.
Each Empire will have one or more Shipping Lines that carry out colonization and trade.
Each Shipping Line will be generated and controlled by the program and new Shipping Lines may appear as the game progresses

Trade Goods

There are seventeen different Civilian Trade Goods. Each planet of more than one million pop will both supply and demand eight basic goods. When it reaches reach ten million pop, six luxury goods will be added as well as three illegal goods.


Basic Goods

Consumer Electronics
Civilian Transport
Civilian Infrastructure
Construction Materials

Luxury Goods

Precious Metals,
Luxury Foods
Entertainment Products
Alien Items - The demand for these is handled like any normal trade good but they are only produced by colonies with ancient ruins. The amount produced is equal to the level of the ruins (1-10) multiplied by the pop in millions.

Illegal Goods

Recreational Drugs

Supply and Demand

The basic demand for each good will be the size of the population. Some populations will produce more than they need of each good and some will produce less. Pops will tend to specialise so they will produce anything from 0-100% of about three-quarters of the goods and produce anything up to 400% of the others. This will vary from pop to pop and some will be net importers overall, as well as for individual goods, and some will be net exporters. This has nothing to do with trans-newtonian minerals, which are mainly for military applications, so some pops with little TN mineral resources could actually be major exporters of civilian goods. Given an equal spread of probability there will be about the same amount of supply and demand across the galaxy, although within a sample of a few pops there may be considerable excesses and shortages.

Civilian freighters will look for opportunities to move different types of goods from planets with a surplus of a particular trade good to those with a shortage. When the freighter arrives, it will generate wealth for the shipping line and wealth for the parent government in the form of tax on both the shipping company and on the original (invisible) company that produced the goods. With a trade treaty in place, goods can be shipped between pops of different races, which will create more opportunities for trade. A trade treaty will also allow foreign shipping lines to move goods within your own Empire or between your Empire and another. In this case the foreign government will get the tax revenue from the shipping company.

Final Considerations

All of the above will take place automatically. You will see the shipping traffic but you won't have to get involved apart from possibly building jump gates to facilitate the trade and protecting the common trade routes from pirates and raiders. Trade routes in this context are not planned in the v4.x sense. They will naturally be formed by civilian traffic as it identifies trading opportunities.

The existing Trade Point Creation tech line will be replaced with some type of Increased Civilian Trade tech line. This will boost both the demand and production of trade goods. So with a twenty percent increase, pops will demand goods equal to 120% of the population and all trade good production will increase by 20%. This will increase the amount of trading opportunities and generate more revenue for the shipping companies and the government.

As Shipping Lines make money, they will keep some for their owners and shareholders and spend the rest on building new civilian ships. Therefore all new civilian shipping will be paid for by the wealth generated by the existing civilian shipping (plus one or two by the Shipping Lines' startup capital). I will add a window where you can monitor the holdings and profit of shipping lines within your Empire if you wish to. This is not something you need to monitor but some players will be interested to have that information.

Civilian Infrastructure

The infrastructure produced by civilians is now a trade good, like Machinery or Spices. Every colony produces infrastructure equal to double the population in millions every year. So a 500 million pop will produce 1000 infrastructure per year. Note that until deployed on a planet, when it becomes normal infrastructure as if produced by construction factories, this is tracked as a trade good. The demand for infrastructure is based on the infrastructure required for the existing population multiplied by 1.25, with a minimum of 100. This should give sufficient room for growth and, as the population grows, the demand figure will increase. A new demand figure is calculated after pop growth during the 5-day increment and also after colonists arrive on the planet. Colonies with zero colony cost, or which are unsuitable, have no demand for infrastructure.

A colony will update its stock of the infrastructure trade good during the 5-day increment based on its production rate. If that colony has a demand for infrastructure then the newly produced trade good will be immediately converted into regular infrastructure without any need for transport. This means that new populations will have a limited ability to expand their living space, although bear in a mind a pop of ten million will only produce 20 infrastructure per year. If no infrastructure is needed on the planet, or there is already a sufficient amount, the new infrastructure trade good will be available to be exported for planets with a demand for infrastructure. This will work just as any other trade good, except that on arrival it will be added to the infrastructure for that population, which will in turn reduce the demand for the infrastructure trade good.

Detailed Mechanics

The existing convoy system and the concept of Trade Routes have been removed. The spaceports that were used to generate the trade points for the convoys have been replaced with a Commercial Spaceport, which is 1200 BP instead of 4800. The only function of this facility is to speed up loading and unloading. Additional levels speed it up further. The actual modifier is the normal loading time divided by (spaceport level +1). So a planet with a level 2 Commercial Spaceport will be able to load cargo three times as fast as a colony with no spaceport.

The cargo sizes and the actual income rates for the trades have been setup. Each Trade Good requires 2500 cargo points, or half a cargo hold. Thus a regular freighter with five cargo holds can carry ten trade goods. This matches the size of infrastructure, which makes things easier. Every time a freighter picks up trade goods, the parent government receives 0.5 wealth per Trade Good in tax from the planet-based manufacturer, or 5 wealth for an average consignment. When the freighter arrives, the parent government receives 0.5 wealth per Trade Good in tax on the profit of the Shipping Line. The reason this is split is because while a trade conducted entirely within an Empire will yield 1 wealth per trade good, the goods might be carried by a foreign-flagged vessel, in which case you only get the export taxes, or it might be a consignment carried by one of your shipping lines from one foreign pop to another, in which case you only get the shipping taxes. Shipping from your Empire to another will provide export taxes but imports from a foreign power will yield nothing, unless they are carried in a freighter owned by a Shipping Line of your race, in which case you get the shipping taxes. This is worked out automatically and you see the different tax types in the Empire income breakdown. This is all up and working already.

The Shipping Line itself receives 2 wealth for each successfully delivered trade good (20 for a normal run), regardless of the nationality of the start and destination pops. The shipping line will use this income to eventually buy additional ships. A new shipping Line window has been added that allows you to see the Shipping Lines, along with the number of ships they own, their total tonnage, their income over the last twelve months, their current wealth and their total assets. A list of their ships is provided, along with tonnage, current location, destination and cargo. Also, a list of recent deliveries is shown to demonstrate where they are operating.

The Wealth Rate and Trading Rate tech lines have both been replaced with a tech named "Expand Civilian Economy by 20%". Researching this tech will increase the income of all populations by twenty percent and will increase the production and demand of all trade goods within your Empire by twenty percent. This is also the first example of what I am calling Replicating Techs. When you research this for the first time (at a cost of 2500 RP), the program creates a race-specific version of the tech. Every time you research it, the tech remains the same but the research cost doubles. This means only one line per race on the tech system tables for this tech and it also means that a situation can be created where different races pay different amounts for the same level of per capita income, which should finally solve what I have come to think of as the "China Problem" The "China Problem" is that China has a population five times greater than the United States but a much lower per-capita income. This is hard to simulate in Aurora because income is based directly on population so, all things being equal, two equal size pops will generate the same income. I have tried to fudge this by adding lower and expensive tech levels for wealth to give a China-type power some hurdles to overcome before catching up. However, once it gets on the bottom rung of the 'normal' wealth tech line, it can catch up fairly quickly. Besides, this is obviously a fudge and the realism aspect is hard to accept, especially when it suddenly becomes cheaper to increase wealth at 20 per million pop.

The new Replicating Tech allows a much neater approach. When a race is manually generated you are informed that a regular TN race will receive 100% of normal income and you are asked if you want to modify this percentage. Lets assume you do and you decided to give China 15% of normal income. Normal Income is 20 wealth per million pop so China will start with 3 wealth per million pop. However, as the tech system is now entirely percentage based and specific to each race, it doesn't matter what the starting point is. It will cost the US 2500 RP to move from 20 wealth to 24 wealth and 5000 RP to move to 28.8 wealth. It will cost China 2500 RP to move from 3 wealth to 3.6 wealth and 5000 RP to move to 4.32 wealth, etc. Now it could be argued that China will improve its economy to be more efficient and this low start will penalise them. However, the US could also improve its economy and stay ahead. All this is doing is reflecting the start point for both nations. When I finally get around to sorting out real government modifiers, this will also be very useful in simulating the econmic starting point for different government types.

The per capita income figure shown on the Trade tab of the Pop window will now have real relevance and will be the wealth per million figure.

Both demand and trade production are boosted by the Wealth bonus of the planetary governor - although now it's called the Economics Bonus. Given the potential wealth generating capability of colonies without any minerals, this bonus will be more useful than in the past. The per capita income is shown for the race as a whole (which is the original wealth rate modified any Economics Expansion tech) and a per capita income is shown for the population, which show the same figure boosted by any governor bonuses (including sector governors).