Monday, August 15, 2011

Games 08/15/2011

Amg, I'm sleepy. I was up way too late last night and then had to get up early for work today. >.<

The weekend was really busy, gaming and otherwise.

First of all, I tried out a new game, The Bastion. I bought this game solely because Yahtzee reviewed it and didn't say it was horrible. I haven't gotten too much into it yet, but it's interesting and fun. The actual gameplay isn't too inspired. Run around on platforms, diablo 2 style, killing enemies and collecting power-ups. The interesting part is that the entire game is narrated. As you do stuff, the narrator says what you're doing. Like I was walking into an area and saw a monster. The narrator says 'Something appears in front of the kid. Is it a survivor? No, it's a gas fiend'. I kill it. 'Kid took it down easy'. If I had gotten hurt it would have added 'It got a piece of him, though'. I go around the platform smashing boxes looking for fragments. 'Kid just rages out a bit'. And so on. It's a very interesting take and it's surprising just how effective it is in making it feel that I'm creating the story instead of just watching it. I'm sure that under the hood it's not nearly as impressive as it seems, and the game is actually fairly linear, but it's definitely a new take on things, a direction I would like to see more games move in.

Didn't touch warcraft again till Sunday's raid. We didn't have a good group composition for Sindragosa, so we went back through blackwing descent and got peeps achievements. Killed magmaw without getting anyone parasited. Tried to do arcanotron without anyone getting hit with an ability, but somehow failed at it. Damn addon didn't show us we'd failed. :o Chimaeron with fewer than 3 deaths. Atramaedes with no one above 50 sound. Maloriak killing lots of adds all at once. Getting Nefarian below 50% by the time he lands. I had most of it already, but hey, it was fun to see the old content again. Overpower it all in our nifty, new firelands gear.

I've been thinking about starting a new character, perhaps a hunter. I know I just started a rogue last month and got bored immediately and didn't even break level 20, but hey that was a goblin. The goblin area might be visually interesting but it's so on rails and scripted that it gets terribly boring. I'll go with an orc. Sigh, why do horde races have to be so ugly? :(

In Oblivion I've started actually questing instead of just running around clearing dungeons. I still think the quests aren't well implemented. Too much 'go talk to this guy, now talk to that guy, then go talk to that guy, then go kill the first guy, then come back to me.' 15 minutes of looking for and chatting with npc's and 10 seconds of combat. I'm slowly pushing my way through fighter's guild quests. One of the addons I use gives me a nifty home, a castle that tracks your quest progress, gives room to leave collectibles, etc. So that's nifty.

Spent a lot of time playing Eve. There was some eve scandal that I didn't care about, didn't affect me, and I don't want to talk about. I wrote a nifty little program to take prices about planetary commodities and show how much isk each option can get you. It's a little complicated and there are two very distinct parts of PI and my program only covers one. The two parts are extracting resources from a planet and using those resources to build goods. My program only covers the latter part.

The basic idea is that there are 4 tiers of produced commodities, C1-C4. A factory can turn 3000 raw into 20 C1's, 40 C1's of two types into 5 C2's, 10 C2's of two types into 3 C3's, and 6 C3's of two types into 1 C4. So it's like a big production tree for each C4 with C1's as leaves. Also, each item in each tier goes into two or three items of the higher tier. So the prices for everything are all tied together. The limits for a player are the number of planets you can have production on, and the total amount of power and cpu on each planet. For me, I can run four planets with the fourth upgraded command center. What my program does is to try to find the isk profit per power. It's a bit complicated, the C4 commodities sell for far more than the earlier commodities, but if you want to make them from scratch, you need to devote lots of factories to make a single item per cycle. So sure, you have one factory making an item with 300k profit, but to get that you have to have 12 other factories that just feed into it, without any profit. Or you can buy half of the inputs and make the other half, reducing the profit per item generated, but also reducing the power required.

So here's what I ended up with. A c4 commodity, across all the factories feeding into it, starting from purchased c1's, substituting for directly purchased items higher tier items when appropriate, gives you a profit of about 7k per factory per hour. A c3 commodity gives you a profit of about 4.5k per factory per hour. A c2 commodity gives you a profit of about 5-6k per factory per hour. So never build to c3 and sell, always stop at c2 or go on to c4.

Comparing c2's to c4's. The profit of each is the benefit, the cost is the time required to keep each producing each hour. Both require a lot of transport time, buying the low tier items off the market and hauling them out to your planet. The c4's also require more time hauling goods in between planets, making your c2's at 2-3 planets, combining them all at one final planet to put into your c4 factories. But the output of c4's is smaller than c2's, and so requires fewer trips to market just to sell. Also, c4's are low volume, high volatility, while c2's have higher volume. Either way, prices are crazy volatile in eve. Right now I'm sticking with c2's. I don't have much of a build up of c1's, I have market orders, but I'm still having to spend time going out and buying c1's. Once I get more established, I hope to reduce hauling/trading time to perhaps an hour every two days. Also, you can't simply spam factories on your planets, you'll run out of cpu. It's always worth putting some extraction stuff down, and that'll generate some free isk also.

I currently have 4 planets. One of them isn't set up well, it was the one I used while learning about how this stuff all works in practice. I need to tear it all down, find a better planet, restart. The other three are set up with an extractor, 2-3 factories converting raw to c1, two spaceports, one for each bank of advanced factories, 8-9 advanced factories, producing two types of goods per planet. Don't have the list in front of me, but I'm producing something like 4 factories worth of polyaramids, biocells, supertensile plastics, microfibre shielding, and oxides. Of those, the biocells generate the best isk per power, but I'm making more than just them in order to limit my exposure. So call it 25 factories, each generating 6k isk per hour, 144k per day per factory, 3.6 million isk per day total. That's decent, but not great. People call PI passive isk, but that's ignoring all the hauling time. Imagining if I could scale up, 6 planets instead of 3, 12 factories instead of 8-9. That would be over 10 million isk a day, or almost enough isk per month to buy a plex. Hey, it's a good goal. :P

The other half of PI is the resource extraction, and I have no idea how to model it. The amount you can extract per hour varies so much on what type of item you're extracting, the quality of the planet, and the concentration of that item on the planet. Bacteria is abundant everywhere and sells for almost nothing. Precious metals are harder to find in good quantities, and cost a lot. But the extractor head itself is a very small part of the total power required to extract. Most of the power use is in the control unit. So there isn't that big of difference between using 5 or 6 extractor heads. So should you use 6 heads to feed 2 c1 factories for an expensive but rare item, 6 heads to feed 3 c1 factories of a moderately rare/priced item, or 3 heads to feed 2 c1 factories of a really cheap item. I really don't know. And it'll vary so much based on what planet you're on.

I figured this, that materials become more abundant on planets as those planets are located in more dangerous places. The best planets are in worm holes or nullsec. As a carebear who pretty much just stays in empire, I'll never run into real high quality planets, so it's best for me just to go for lots of factories, rather than lots of extraction. Someday I'll experiment more and find out. :P

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