[SUGGESTION] - Manager for premium calculation

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gábor.bartal
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[SUGGESTION] - Manager for premium calculation

Postby gábor.bartal » Wed May 04, 2016 12:05 am

The DLC gives perhaps too much micromanagement chores in the Company window - we constantly have to go back and forth to check if everything's all right, whether we want it or not.

It could be optional, with the introduction of a finance manager (or name it something better) who you could
- Unlock first, as a separate tree under Research -> Globalization,
- Hire, to retrain from one available Executive, who you would assign to take over the micromanagement part (per drug or as total?),
- Upgrade, to be more precise (able to handle high level drugs efficiently) for a higher fee.

Tasks:
- Find the optimum price and production (with premium/discount slider) to maximize throughput (per-hour-profit). Basically no overproduction, no underproduction, and no lost possible sales with too low premium (stock always jumping between 0 and 1 - you are probably losing out on possible extra sales).
- Manage stock levels to allow this overhead to never run out, but dynamically change the premium/discount to achieve the optimum.
- If upgraded, they could
- If upgraded, he could possibly even set to find the best combinations on the Executive Dashboard (Sales bonus window) (what to set Executives to), either for one product or all, to maximize single drug profit or overall profit. I'm thinking about the cross product stacking bonus, which should be considered.
- Give you hints or alerts, e.g:
+ when a product has to have a high discount (no premium) - he could hint that you might want to discard that product, but leave you to decide. Or, analyze why it's high discount, e.g. demand fulfilled by AI and hint at a patent. (This could act as some tutorial to the game as I saw in your vlog talking about in what circumstances it is worth applying for a patent)
+ the opposite, when a product has a high premium possible, he could hint that you might want to start a new production line of the same drug.
+ he could even "analyze" available Ingredients and the Cures tree to hint at what drugs are viable next (you have the necessary equipment unlocked, etc)
- You would have a finance forecast that shows a week in advance or something based on trends (not sure if that's possible or needed). Basically you'd have a statistics button/window with advanced graphs that you wouldn't have otherwise without the manager.

Fee:
- It should be dependent on user "level" somehow, e.g. number of drugs produced, as a multiplier, to avoid mid/late game ease (a fixed cost would disappear with thousands of dollars profit).
- The fee should be such that it is not an obvious choice for the player to have one.
+If without him you often overproduce and find a drug stocked to like 30, it should be worth having a manager in theory.
+If without him you manage levels quite okay, say Daily production and Daily sales are similar (1.0, 1.1), it is not a high enough difference to pay a manager.
Though, coupled with the above extras in efficiency (at "hints"), which would use unused potential, such advanced hints and features could be a higher upgrade that does cost a lot in total
+ It should not be easy to fire him - what if he shows you all the optimizations and you just choose to do it manually and fire him...

Still, it would be advantageous if all we get is it disables the micromanagement part with regards to Premium/Discount for those who don't enjoy it.

That task is always the same for every player: to raise it to a high enough number that is just balanced. No skill required, just comparing two numbers. But do it for all products, check back every minute, adjust according to AI activities, and it gets really tedious, only to balance two other numbers in the sheet constantly.

Does anyone agree?
I just had a storm of thoughts and wrote them down, perhaps some are odd.
TwiceCircled
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Re: [SUGGESTION] - Manager for premium calculation

Postby TwiceCircled » Mon May 23, 2016 10:35 am

Hi Gábor, I considered including something like this a lot during the development.

The issue I identified is it might encourage players to play sub-optimally, I can see players thinking "Oh it's OK, my manager will tweak the price for me, I'll just make another 2 x production lines for xxxx cure". Of course you know what will happen, the stock gets flooded, the manager reduces prices and the player will end up making less money than they were before!

I wanted to keep a very strong relationship between the player and the prices they are setting (IE done manually) to really reinforce the cause-and-effect relationship here. Choosing a premium is a big decision for a player as it basically means you are sacrificing higher volume for higher margin, I didn't want it to be something that players did by default due to some kind of auto-pricing system.

One thing you may not be aware of is that charging premiums can be an inefficient use of surplus demand. The reduction in equivalent sales rating that you get when you charge a premium follows a square rule. Charging a premium of 20% actually reduces potential sales around 31%*.

Let's look at an example for typical level one cure for illustrative purposes:
Option A, price $120, profit $90, 3.0 sales / day = $270
Option B, price $144 (20% premium), profit $114, 2.0 sales / day (reduced 31%) = $228

Option A generates around 18% more profit per day.

This is not to say charging a premium is bad, it can be very, very good, especially for high end cures which have a lot of process costs so the profit increase you get from a premium is much more than the premium itself.

However, it's not always the best option, especially for low value cures. I wanted to player to think "Hmm, I'm selling all my cold medicine, should I put up the price or should I increase production?". A manager might encourage players to charge a premium in the wrong circumstances.

In conclusion, I totally understand your desire for a manager. Used correctly it would certainly ease some of the micromanagement burden. But game design is complicated and there are a lot of different considerations to balance, one of which is how you incentivise the player to play optimally and teach them how the game works. I hope this is a relatively satisfactory answer and you aren't too disappointed. :)

* Here's the calculation for those interested. 1.2 x 1.2 = 1.44 => reciprical => 0.69 = 69% of original, a reduction of 31%.
enzymus
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Re: [SUGGESTION] - Manager for premium calculation

Postby enzymus » Sun Jul 17, 2016 5:00 pm

Hi Tim,
I've now got the DLC, but because of the "you have to keep tweaking the percentages", I simply can't enjoy it. I've had two hour long sittings and in both cases quit because I realised I just wasn't enjoying the game. I spend about half of my game-time now trying to keep the numbers balanced between inputs and outputs. The game has gone from "build cool factories" to "tweak this one little number up and down repeatedly to try and make sure you have income".

I honestly cannot play the game with the DLC as it stands. That's no an exageration, I simply cannot play and enjoy it. I imagine it'd be even worse were the misson I was trying to complete being a money/revenue/income/savings one (it was "cure x patients").

At the very least, please include an option somewhere in the options to enable "auto price adjustment". That would make the game playable again.
The playing having to monitor not having too many/few stock lines is fine, we already had to do this in the original and that was fine as it would only be occasional.
As it stands I feel like I've wasted the money I spent on this DLC. :-(
TwiceCircled
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Re: [SUGGESTION] - Manager for premium calculation

Postby TwiceCircled » Fri Jul 22, 2016 9:14 pm

Hi Enzymes, I'm sorry you feel that way. I will consider this issue again, but I have to restate in-line with my earlier post on this topic, things are not as simple as you might think. I have to think about the game as a whole and the effect of adding such a feature. I think it will lead to a lot of people getting confused e.g. "Why is my drug suddenly not making any money!?" -> Because the auto-pricing algorithm got stuck in a price war with a competitor and tanked your profits. I don't want this.

My advice to you personally is to try to resist the urge to spend all your time tweaking prices. It doesn't make a huge impact to you profits if you have the percentage 1-2% away from the "optimum". It's much more important to be making the right drugs at the right quantities.

I'm sorry that this impacts your enjoyment of the DLC so heavily. I don't want you to feel as if you have wasted your money and would happily support your request for a refund from Humble if required.

As I say, I will consider the issue again, see if I can see a way of working it in without the previously mentioned downsides, but I can't make any promises.

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