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Inflation and corporations

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Bug Reports' started by Roland Johansen, Jul 23, 2007.

  1. Roland Johansen

    Roland Johansen Deity

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    I took a look in the file CIV4GameSpeedInfo.xml and noticed how inflation had been seriously increased in BTS. Since inflation seriously increases all types of costs, this will seriously influence all kinds of game balance elements and will especially influence the costs of the expensive corporations.

    Corporations are very expensive to maintain in this game, but their cost is balanced by their bonuses. However, would these buildings still be balanced when their costs were multiplied by a factor 2.5? Because that is exactly what inflation does at the end of the game.

    Inflation in civilization 1.61 and warlords 2.08 in 2050AD:
    Marathon speed: 100%
    Epic speed: 100%
    Normal speed: 102%
    Quick speed: 100%

    Inflation in Beyond the Sword 3.02 in 2050AD:
    Marathon speed: 195%
    Epic speed: 177%
    Normal speed: 171%
    Quick speed: 169%

    So a corporation in a city with a basic upkeep of 20 gold would cost only 10 gold in a city with a courthouse according to the city screen. However in 2050AD at Marathon speed, the corporation will also increase the inflation by 19.5 gold (195% of 10) and so the corporation would effectively cost 29.5 gold. Maybe when you built the corporation, inflation was only at 60% and so the corporation was effectively costing you only 16 gold. But the cost slowly increase as the year pass while the benefits remain the same.

    The corporation can never be a truly balanced game element when it can cost between 10 gold and 10 gold + 19.5 gold while still offering the same benefits.

    Oh, inflation doesn't stop at 195%, it keeps increasing if you don't play with the time victory option and play beyond 2050AD. I've already seen a screenshot of a player who had a gold percentage of 80% just to break even because the inflation maintenance was something like 2000 gold per turn.

    Personally, I've never really understood why inflation was implemented in the game as it was. I guess the game element was there to make buildings like banks meaningful in the late game because the costs would increase along with the increase in commerce due to technological advancement. However, it seems a very artificial game element because the percentage is purely based on the turns played in a game and certain elements of the game start costing more while the benefits don't increase. It was never really a problem because all kinds of maintenance costs were never significant at the end of the game compared to the total commerce output. Therefore, there has never been a real protest against the game element. Most people on this site don't even know how the percentage is derived. However, now that corporations do have a serious maintenance cost and inflation percentages have been increased, people will wonder why inflation was implemented in the game the way it has been done in the original vanilla civ4.

    My solution would be to just get rid of inflation. Now that there is a serious cost element in the late game in the form of corporations, it won't be missed. There will be ample reasons to build banks and such to pay for the maintenance of these corporations and an artificial increase in gold upkeep like inflation is really not needed anymore (if it ever was).

    (Short explanation of inflation on normal speed for the readers who don't know how this game element works. This explanation is for how it works on normal speed in Beyond the Sword 2.02.
    Inflation starts at 0% in 4000BC and stays at that level for 120 turns (that's 125AD). From that moment on it starts to increase with 0.45% each turn until you quit the game. So at turn number 140, it will be at 20*0.45% = 9%. At turn number 500, it will be at 380*0.45%=171%. Inflation increases all kinds of costs, unit cost, civic cost, city maintenance and corporation upkeep. There are no other factors that influence the inflation percentage then the number of turns that you have played in the game.)

    EDIT

    Apparently not only the values in the xml-files which determined inflation were changed, but also the formula. This has been discussed in later posts in this thread and it is the reason for this edit. The formula is now quadratic in relation to the number of turns played in the game, which means that the inflation rate increases faster and faster throughout the game. It's not something that I like but the inflation formula is not the subject of the bug report. If someone thinks it is a bug, then they should write their own bug report. This report is about the effect that inflation has on the profitability of corporations.
    I do want to add that in the late game, the profitability of cities barely increases and is usually stabilized while inflation increases ever faster.

    Here is the new formula for inflation: (I copied it from another thread. It was extracted from the game code.)

    Inflation only starts after several turns. This is the so called inflation offset. It was always used in civ4.

    Modified Turn = (Turn – Inflation Offset)

    Inflation increases each turn dependent on the inflation percent in the xml files. There is a reduction for difficulty levels below monarch defined in the handicap xml file. This was also working in this way in vanilla and warlords civ4.

    Rate = Inflation Percent * Handicap Percent

    The inflation percentage at a certain turn is calculated as follows. The second quadratic term is the new one.

    Inflation percentage = (Modified Turn * Rate / 100) + [Modified Turn * (Modified Turn - 1)* Rate * Rate / 2000000]

    This means in 2050AD that (at levels of monarch and higher) the inflation percentage is:
    Marathon: 1300* 0.15 + 1300 * 1299 * 15*15 /2000000 = 384%
    Epic: 590 * 0.3 + 590 * 589 * 30*30 /2000000 = 333%
    Normal: 380 * 0.45 + 380 * 379 * 45*45/2000000 = 316%
    Quick: 260 * 0.65 + 260 * 259 * 65*65/2000000 = 311%

    Just for fun: Firaxis things we're moving to an Armageddon
    Marathon inflation in 2500AD: 12700 * 0.15 + 12700 * 12699 * 225/2000000 = 20048% ;)

    End Edit
     
  2. mrt144

    mrt144 Deity

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    good god that is ridiculous. the worst part is how inflation is additive to total costs.
     
  3. Zoolooman

    Zoolooman Space, Time, Travel

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    Even with corporations costing an arm and a leg, I don't see how there could be any difficulty paying for them with a modern economy. I remember running 20% taxation with a CE economy and earning 80+ gold per a turn in vanilla. Going to 30% taxation at that point would generally net me hundreds of gold per turn. Inflation seems like an artificial but ultimately effective way to suck down some of those excessive gains.

    However, I would support a system that caused inflation's growth to peter off or stop growing at a balanced level. It's stupid that it continues to grow forever.
     
  4. mrt144

    mrt144 Deity

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    remember that there are new ways that you have to spend your money. espionage points...etc etc.

    the other problem is you're touting vanilla where inflation didn't exist.
     
  5. Zoolooman

    Zoolooman Space, Time, Travel

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    But it does exist, just not to the severe degree that we have in BTS. My point is that I don't need 80+ spare gold per turn at the end of the game. A higher inflation rate could eat into those earnings and potentially slow down the absurd research pace that a developed CE empire could maintain.

    The problem is that after the population stabilizes, construction ends, and the cities have more or less maximized their income costs, the game still ramps up the inflation rate. At that point, for game balance purposes, inflation should have halted--but it hasn't.

    Therefore, to fix the problem of inflation without undoing its balancing effects, I think we should set a halt date for inflation. Similar to the start date for inflation, this date should stop inflation from growing at about the same time that the player runs out of options to expand or improve his economy. In my mind, this should happen shortly after the Modern Era begins.
     
  6. mrt144

    mrt144 Deity

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    as if inflation stops in real life. the simple solution is to make inflation a simple multiplier to costs, rather than multiplier to costs +costs

    as it is now

    costs*i+costs=total maintenance

    how it should be

    costs*inflation= total mainenance

    so...

    instead of 1000*1.75+1000 =2750
    it would be 1000*1.75 = 1750

    if for corporations (say 200) 1200*1.75+1200= 3300
    it should be 1200*1.75 = 2100

    this not only is better than the current system it also prevents a free lunch for corporations.
     
  7. Zoolooman

    Zoolooman Space, Time, Travel

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    You're going to have to explain this with a little more clarity. What is i? What costs are you talking about?

    Also, why is your method simpler? Remember, inflation is not really inflation. It's simply a game mechanic. It creates maintenance costs roughly appropriate to the game's expanding economies. When those economies stop expanding, it's time to stop expanding those maintenance costs, and that means halting the growth of the inflation mechanic--realism be damned.
     
  8. mrt144

    mrt144 Deity

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    i is the inflation multiplier for the year. so for marathon games thats 13/7200s per year.

    costs are city maintenance, civic upkeep, colonies, troops, etc etc. with foreign costs added at the end.

    its in the F2 screen.

    think about what i just showed you now.

    as it is now lets say your costs are 500, the inflation multiplier is 1.70, and foreign costs are 100

    as it is now

    500*1.70+500+100= 1450

    as it should be

    500*1.70+100= 950

    imagine that corps are adding 300 of that 500. for someone without corps (i.e. state property) you could argue that the only cost is civic upkeep. say thats like 250 under SP with other civics. even then

    now 775
    new 525

    and 950 with corps vs 525 without seems a bit more fair...
     
  9. mrt144

    mrt144 Deity

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    also you would have to rework the game mechanic of inflation to determine when you've stopped growing.
     
  10. Zoolooman

    Zoolooman Space, Time, Travel

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    If that were true, you'd pay nothing but foreign costs until 125 AD, after which you'd begin to pay another measly maintenance*.0045 for each turn that has passed. I mean, most of the game is spent below 100% inflation.

    No need for anything like that. Once we find a fair final value for "inflation," we simply pin the halt date roughly around the average time to discover the last economic technology--probably around medicine, in the late 1800s or the early 1900s.
     
  11. mrt144

    mrt144 Deity

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    obviously you would adjust the inflation scale to compensate. perhaps a compound interest formula where c(1+.0025)^t? c=costs, t = turn number

    where c =100

    at turn 433 ( a good 53 turns after the end of the game) they would be almost equal in terms of inflationary costs of 100. at the end of the timed game (turn 380) 100 in costs would be 271 for the current system and 258.26 for the compound interest formula)

    at turn 160 (halfway through inflationary game) the costs for 100 would be 172 under the current system and 149.11 for the new system.

    screw that even 100*(1+i)^380=271
    so that the i = .002626 and at the final turn of the game both systems would be almost equal.

    in this example http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=232333&highlight=inflation where the pre inflation is 712 and the foreign costs are 189, he is paying 2147.

    current calculation 712*577*.0030329+712+189 = 2147
    new calculation (712*1.0015^577)+189 = 1879

    a savings of 267 gold!
    the lower you make i for the compound interest the more powerful you make it in the late game, until it peaks.

    any idea of whether they will fix this?
     
  12. paragonae

    paragonae Chieftain

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    I liked the inflation in Knights of Honor, it was based on how much gold you have in your coffers. So more gold == higher inflation. And I think the decreasing factor was population; more peope == lower inflation.
     
  13. Hyronymus

    Hyronymus Troop leader

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    Since when do new features that are unliked by players end up under the category Bug Reports?

    In total I don't really understand the complaints to date. Nice that you looked in the savegame and discovered but shouldn't you just play a game (or a few) and then make up your mind?
     
  14. CTH

    CTH Prince

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    just stop the inflation in 2050 AD. Then just those who wants to play beyond that date would be affected and the inflation wouldn't be silly high for those players.
     
  15. Zoolooman

    Zoolooman Space, Time, Travel

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    If the current inflation value is balanced, then this is the best solution.
     
  16. mrt144

    mrt144 Deity

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    Perhaps it isn't a bug but it is a balance issue. the double charge on corporations maintenance makes it a feature that isn't as exciting or useful as it should be.
     
  17. Hyronymus

    Hyronymus Troop leader

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    But how can anyone possibly tell already if the game has only been out since yesterday?
     
  18. mrt144

    mrt144 Deity

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    :lol: aussies never lie!

    just looking at numbers there is no possible way that the benefits ever outweigh the costs because of the way inflation and total maintenance works. you're better off not even using corporations in your own territory, which seems like something counter to what they were designed for.
     
  19. Tatran

    Tatran Deity

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    On the bright side, there's an event which will reduce inflation by 25%.

    Once you're forced by the U.N. to switch to Environmentalism,
    those corporations will be huge pain and you can't get rid of it.
     
  20. homan1983

    homan1983 King

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    Its worst. Im playing normal speed and in the year 203AD I have 220% inflation, according to your chars even by 2050 i should have only 171%.

    Here is a post I made in another thread regarding corporations. As it stands the effect inflation has is a major gamestopping bug and needs to be Firaxis' top priority:

    Corporation was supposed to be similar to religion in general.

    Corporation should provide benefits to cities which host them [as religions do] and also give a big bonus to the civ that holds the shrine[HQ].
    As it stands, by the lategame corporation is devastated by the "inflation" which more than triples the true cost.
    I guess when people read this, they won't understand how bad it REALLY is, they may assume by me saying that "inflation destroys the concept of corporation" I am exaggerating and that its simply a minor annoyance.

    I have a screenshot of a game I played as dutch:



    Notice 3 things:

    - inflation ALONE is costing me 2136:gold: per turn.

    - Whilst units cost me 44 :gold: a turn and civic 180:gold: a turn, city maintenance is 700:gold: per turn.

    - after one of my major corporation-franchise civs switched to state property, I'm running at 10% science and 10% espionage [luckily he did so towards the end of the game]

    ps. the "10 turns to victory" doesn't mean I'm near the end, its from the spaceship; the actual date shown is 2003AD


    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I assumed that the 10%:hammers: boost of state property, and the 1:hammers: boost in caste system was there to counter the great effects that one would have with corporations.

    As it stands, a workshop under SP/CS will give +4:hammers: and their "total expenses" will be incredibly lower than mine letting them research at upto 90%. As a counter, civs running other civics could get corporations letting them get +:food: or +:hammers: but the damn inflation has screwed the whole system up to the point where the only viable civic now is SP+CS or Mercantilism+x.

    Cottage economies were always supposed to be somewhat better once they had been maxed out because they have to build up, whereas workshops and farms are built almost instantly. This meant that peaceful civs would tend to have more cottages whilst areas devastated by war would be best to quickly rebuild the farms+workshops.
    With workshops giving equivalent +12:commerce: and a fully completed cottage giving +10:commerce: It is definately broken, the only saving grace was that corporations were supposed to be a HUGE part of the game.

    Also imagine that if I have the HQs in my country and its this bad, how bad would it be for civs who don't have the HQ.

    Right now corporation is so broken that its best for me to found the corporation HQ and not spread it to a single city of mine but instead devastate the enemy by forcing them to run 90-100% tax.

    This is more broken than the espionage foment unhappiness one and needs to urgently be fixed. They MUST make the corporation maintenance come into effect AFTER inflation and/or they MUST cap inflation at a certain point.

    Its worst than a flaw in domestic corporation spread. Its just that you don't get to directly see the effect it has in foreign branches - its actually even worst for them.


    Here are the other 2 threads regarding this issue:

    http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=232674
    http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=232333
     

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