Negative gold

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revolting_peasant
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Negative gold

Post by revolting_peasant » May 29th, 2012, 6:14 pm

I'm a newbie player, working through the South Guard campaign.

I've recently started the 'Into the Depths' level, and it looked like I was going to max out my gold. Since then,
Spoiler:
The "Income and Upkeep" section of the Help dialog says it's all very simple, but it's not that simple...

- Can you have a negative amount of gold?
- What happens when hit 0 gold, w.r.t. unit upkeep?
- What's the rule carry-over if you finish with a negative amount of gold?

I suppose I could try and figure this out for myself but I thought some indication belongs in the help... plus I was hoping for a rationale for the answers as well.

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Re: Negative gold

Post by Ceres » May 29th, 2012, 6:22 pm

revolting_peasant wrote:- Can you have a negative amount of gold?
Yes.
- What happens when hit 0 gold, w.r.t. unit upkeep?
Nothing special happens, except your gold amount dropping further.
- What's the rule carry-over if you finish with a negative amount of gold?
If your gold reserves after carryover percentage calculation are lower than the next scenario's default starting gold, you start with the scenario's default starting gold.

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revolting_peasant
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Re: Negative gold

Post by revolting_peasant » May 29th, 2012, 6:41 pm

Ceres: Thanks for the speedy reply. I was sort of wondering whether you shouldn't be losing units.

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Re: Negative gold

Post by Efinari » May 29th, 2012, 7:34 pm

revolting_peasant wrote:I was sort of wondering whether you shouldn't be losing units.
That's a fascinating idea, and more 'realistic' in the scheme of things. It would be kind of neat to implement in an add-on or something. I don't think it works for mainline simply because Wesnoth has come this far without such a penalty and to put it in now would drastically change the way it operates (besides the fact that I'm a terrible player and can't finish anything without save-playing it :D --That's why I stick to coding :D ). I shall have to investigate the possibilities here. :wink:
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revolting_peasant
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Re: Negative gold

Post by revolting_peasant » May 30th, 2012, 8:21 pm

Far be it from me to argue for this much of a change in mainline, I'm just rolling this thing around in my head...

If there are no immediate negative effects, then:
  • If you expect to reach 0 gold due to upkeep, you might as well spend all your money recalling/recruiting since the debt won't matter.
  • If you're at the last scenario of a campaign in which you're short on gold, you can/should spend all of your gold just recalling/recruiting as much as possible, regardless of upkeep.
Right?

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Re: Negative gold

Post by Insinuator » May 30th, 2012, 8:33 pm

Very true on both points. There is really almost no point to saving gold. The one and only reason to save gold is if you CAN. That means, if you are certain you can win with less units, stop recruiting. Otherwise, don't. Most scenarios are balanced so that available villages should balance your upkeep anyways.

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Re: Negative gold

Post by HomerJ » May 31st, 2012, 4:13 am

I can think of multiple occasions where I had to stop a playthrough on TRoW because I was broke pretty late in the campaign, and the remaining scenarios became unbeatable with minimum amount (on hardest difficulty that is). If someone would come up with a completely different approach regarding gold management it would be interesting to see the effects.
But I think most of that stuff is hardcoded (might be wrong though) and changes this drastic are not likely to happen.

But no harm to think about it I guess.

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Re: Negative gold

Post by Iris » May 31st, 2012, 4:23 am

HomerJ wrote:I can think of multiple occasions where I had to stop a playthrough on TRoW because I was broke pretty late in the campaign, and the remaining scenarios became unbeatable with minimum amount (on hardest difficulty that is).
I thought the gold carryover changes in 1.6 were precisely meant to avoid that kind of situation. I remember TRoW was pretty punishing in that regard before that happened, but I’ve not played much since then.
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Re: Negative gold

Post by HomerJ » May 31st, 2012, 4:58 am

shadowmaster wrote:
HomerJ wrote:I can think of multiple occasions where I had to stop a playthrough on TRoW because I was broke pretty late in the campaign, and the remaining scenarios became unbeatable with minimum amount (on hardest difficulty that is).
I thought the gold carryover changes in 1.6 were precisely meant to avoid that kind of situation. I remember TRoW was pretty punishing in that regard before that happened, but I’ve not played much since then.
Not sure, it has been a while since my last TRoW though. Anyway, maybe it wasn't that good of an example. My point was, to think about if there could be a completely different approach, which would still work for campaigns, not multiplayer, obviously.

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Re: Negative gold

Post by Insinuator » May 31st, 2012, 5:09 am

HomerJ wrote:My point was, to think about if there could be a completely different approach, which would still work for campaigns, not multiplayer, obviously.
What sort of approach?

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Re: Negative gold

Post by ancestral » May 31st, 2012, 7:25 am

How about…
  • Tax Collection: Instead of automatically getting income per village, you have to visit the villages yourself (and possibly any tax collector units you recruit as well). Each turn the villages set money aside, so when you finally reach the village to collect income you’ll get several turns’ worth. This makes things a little more challenging and mimics how tax collection worked. It places more emphasis on managing and protecting villages, as this opens up the intriguing possibility of the enemy coming in and taking a village’s money instead of you!
  • Patrol: When there’s a lull in the fighting choose to station some troops in your villages, maintaining order and eliminating corruption. You get additional income from staffed villages.
  • Market Investments: There are always lucrative investment opportunities! Before the scenario you can choose to invest some of your money for an expected modest gain. You cannot withdraw the amount until the next few scenarios… and you can again choose what amount you wish to put away.
  • Fluctuating Economics: A random number is generated and either increases or decreases the turn’s income. Some turns will do great, others, perhaps not so well. But… the Law of Averages says it all balances out in the end, right? (Not for the RNG-spiteful!)
  • Loans: Need money? How’s your credit score? You can take out a loan from a moneylender, with the understanding that you’ll need to start paying it back, with interest, every turn. Each loan you take out has a higher interest, and after so many loans they’ll shut you out.
  • Conscription: Sometimes the knights and soldiers are already fighting battles, and you just need some bodies to fill in the ranks. Never fear, for you have a peasant population to pull from! A certain number of peasants can be conscripted from each town for free or nearly free (maybe you’ll pay them later, that is, if they’re still alive).
  • Scavenge the Bodies: Even foot soldiers have some kind of coin on them, or weapons and armor that could be salvageable. Instantly sell the items and add the amount to your coffers.
  • Budget Cuts: When a unit “levels up” he still undergoes some training before he is promoted through the ranks. But… during crises there’s no money to hire that master swordsman to train your Spearman. Instead of choosing the unit to advance to, he doesn’t, and the money that would have gone towards his development goes into your piggy bank.
  • Plunder the Village: Look, sometimes it just makes sense to take everything you can find and move on. Maybe people had been living here, but hey, they can find a new home — it’s the spoils of war after all! Choose to plunder and burn an enemy village for a quick one-time cash infusion.
  • Bailout: There’s no reason your allies can’t bail you out when you’re on the verge of default. If they’re truly with you, they’ll help fund your creditors. You can make a request, and sides can send you gold in dire times. (Alternatively, you can sell them your units, or buy theirs at a discount.) If they’re unwilling to assist you, then your economy falls through and so does your alliance!
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Re: Negative gold

Post by Insinuator » May 31st, 2012, 7:55 pm

Wow. You have great ideas. My compliments just for being able to think of these. Now for some meritisticial(not a real word) analyis.
ancestral wrote:
  • Tax Collection: Instead of automatically getting income per village, you have to visit the villages yourself (and possibly any tax collector units you recruit as well). Each turn the villages set money aside, so when you finally reach the village to collect income you’ll get several turns’ worth. This makes things a little more challenging and mimics how tax collection worked. It places more emphasis on managing and protecting villages, as this opens up the intriguing possibility of the enemy coming in and taking a village’s money instead of you!
I like the realism of this one. However, I think it is too complicated for the AI to use appropriately. I can see them suddenly & inexplicably withdrawing a critical unit from the front line to run back and collect taxes. In MP this would be more feasible, but, similar to a few of your other ideas, a fast scout unit would probably serve as the "tax collector", zipping from village to village and grabbing the gold. Would probably still work though, as most units would still be in the front, slogging it out over the frontier villages.
ancestral wrote:[*]Patrol: When there’s a lull in the fighting choose to station some troops in your villages, maintaining order and eliminating corruption. You get additional income from staffed villages.
This would be a subtle change that could make for some fascinating new strategies. However, I fear it could be exploited by just placing cheap level 0 units on all villages behind the lines and thus significantly boosting your income with little cost.
ancestral wrote:[*]Market Investments: There are always lucrative investment opportunities! Before the scenario you can choose to invest some of your money for an expected modest gain. You cannot withdraw the amount until the next few scenarios… and you can again choose what amount you wish to put away.
This is interesting, but sounds too complicated for Wesnoth. This wouldn't change MP at all. In SP, seems like it would have to be implemented differently for each campaign because the length of campaigns vary drastically. While one investment scheme might work well in one campaign, it could be worthless in another. Particularly is this true when first playing a campaign; you don't know how many scenarios there are so you can't really plan well for the future. Plus it'd have to be tweaked by the developer of the campaign. Might discourage more content. Although... Might not be a bad thing... :)
ancestral wrote:[*]Fluctuating Economics: A random number is generated and either increases or decreases the turn’s income. Some turns will do great, others, perhaps not so well. But… the Law of Averages says it all balances out in the end, right? (Not for the RNG-spiteful!)
Horrible, horrible, HORRIBLE! Having your chokepoint Fencer get hit on every attack is bad enough, but then the next turn your income suddenly drops 25 pieces?! I'd be burning through monitors like candy. Seriously, though, income is the one asset you can control. Taking that out of the hand of the player makes BfW a real crap shoot. In every sense of the phrase.
ancestral wrote:[*]Loans: Need money? How’s your credit score? You can take out a loan from a moneylender, with the understanding that you’ll need to start paying it back, with interest, every turn. Each loan you take out has a higher interest, and after so many loans they’ll shut you out.
This would be super easy to exploit. Just take out a massive 10,000 coin loan at the beginning and swamp the field with units. This could be curbed in Singleplayer, but it would mess up MP a lot.
ancestral wrote:[*]Conscription: Sometimes the knights and soldiers are already fighting battles, and you just need some bodies to fill in the ranks. Never fear, for you have a peasant population to pull from! A certain number of peasants can be conscripted from each town for free or nearly free (maybe you’ll pay them later, that is, if they’re still alive).
This is an interesting way to get units, but doesn't really address money flow. Just a different way to recruit.
ancestral wrote:[*]Scavenge the Bodies: Even foot soldiers have some kind of coin on them, or weapons and armor that could be salvageable. Instantly sell the items and add the amount to your coffers.
This sounds really cool, actually. To clarify, though, are you suggesting replacing village income with this method, or augmenting it? If augmenting, it would have to be small amounts of gold scavenged. If replacing, the amounts could be more sizeable. However, if replacing, you could face a situation of diminishing returns. Obviously you won't get more money from salvage than you spent recruiting, so you'll have to kill more to recruit less. On the other hand, if the money you get increases when killing higher level units, this might be feasible. Or, it could just make units more rare and hence more valuable to the player. This bears further thought. In fact, it could be implemented fairly easily in WML. For the more than curious.
ancestral wrote:[*]Budget Cuts: When a unit “levels up” he still undergoes some training before he is promoted through the ranks. But… during crises there’s no money to hire that master swordsman to train your Spearman. Instead of choosing the unit to advance to, he doesn’t, and the money that would have gone towards his development goes into your piggy bank.
This is similar in effect to the above one except it doesn't make as much logical sense. Do we all just have an untouchable Promotion Trust Fund? :) Why couldn't we just use that money before he levels? That aside, I think it would have similar ramifications to Scavenging. Augmenting, it would just be a nice bonus. Replacing, it would make money even more tight and possibly hold people back from leveling.
ancestral wrote:[*]Plunder the Village: Look, sometimes it just makes sense to take everything you can find and move on. Maybe people had been living here, but hey, they can find a new home — it’s the spoils of war after all! Choose to plunder and burn an enemy village for a quick one-time cash infusion.
Ah, like Civ or Total War games. Obviously this is augmental, so not really a "completely different approach", but would be a good choice. However you'd have to have a dynamic balancing system for how much gold you get from the village. For example, on a 10 village 1v1 map, getting 50 gold from a village would be much more of an impact than the same amount in a 60 village 3v3 brawl. Plus, I could see rush tactics being a LOT more effective. Imagine 10 Vampire Bats running through and burning every village before your slow Loyalists could even grab half of them.
ancestral wrote:[*]Bailout: There’s no reason your allies can’t bail you out when you’re on the verge of default. If they’re truly with you, they’ll help fund your creditors. You can make a request, and sides can send you gold in dire times. (Alternatively, you can sell them your units, or buy theirs at a discount.) If they’re unwilling to assist you, then your economy falls through and so does your alliance![/list]
I'm not sure why this idea wasn't implemented long ago. Probably because the AI couldn't handle it well. But it doesn't really change the system, just gives another option.

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Re: Negative gold

Post by Temuchin Khan » May 31st, 2012, 10:20 pm

Insinuator wrote:
ancestral wrote:[*]Plunder the Village: Look, sometimes it just makes sense to take everything you can find and move on. Maybe people had been living here, but hey, they can find a new home — it’s the spoils of war after all! Choose to plunder and burn an enemy village for a quick one-time cash infusion.
Ah, like Civ or Total War games. Obviously this is augmental, so not really a "completely different approach", but would be a good choice. However you'd have to have a dynamic balancing system for how much gold you get from the village. For example, on a 10 village 1v1 map, getting 50 gold from a village would be much more of an impact than the same amount in a 60 village 3v3 brawl. Plus, I could see rush tactics being a LOT more effective. Imagine 10 Vampire Bats running through and burning every village before your slow Loyalists could even grab half of them.
ancestral wrote:[*]Bailout: There’s no reason your allies can’t bail you out when you’re on the verge of default. If they’re truly with you, they’ll help fund your creditors. You can make a request, and sides can send you gold in dire times. (Alternatively, you can sell them your units, or buy theirs at a discount.) If they’re unwilling to assist you, then your economy falls through and so does your alliance![/list]
I'm not sure why this idea wasn't implemented long ago. Probably because the AI couldn't handle it well. But it doesn't really change the system, just gives another option.
These seem like ancestral's two best ideas. But I have some observations of my own:

1) If you plunder and destroy an enemy village, could your enemy rebuild it? At what cost? Would this change make Wesnoth more of a resource management game?

2) If your enemy got the upper hand and plundered and destroyed some of your villages, how would you ever recover? Would this change make it harder to achieve a comeback?

3) Would a computer-controlled ally be able to handle the bailouts?

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Re: Negative gold

Post by Insinuator » May 31st, 2012, 10:58 pm

Temuchin Khan wrote:1) If you plunder and destroy an enemy village, could your enemy rebuild it? At what cost? Would this change make Wesnoth more of a resource management game?
This is all hypothetical, of course, but I'd submit no rebuilding. That implies a much longer time scale than a single battle would allow for. Plus, as you mention, it would really shift the focus away from the purity of combat towards resource management. In my opinion, that's not what BfW is about.
Temuchin Khan wrote:2) If your enemy got the upper hand and plundered and destroyed some of your villages, how would you ever recover? Would this change make it harder to achieve a comeback?
You might be able to come back by retaliatory strikes against their villages. However, I think this change would make for more decisive victories and defeats. I'm not sure if that is good or bad. One thing to consider, though, is that it would also give more motivation to attack. In an equally matched, well played, MP game, there is a slight favor for the defenders for a variety of reasons I don't think need to be enumerated here. One of the most obvious is the choosing of terrain, however. At times, it may be advantageous to fall back from a village to a more overall defensible location. Maybe the enemy gets the village and another one or two gold, but it usually also leaves them overextended and exposed to a change of day. In Ancestral's proposed system, if the defenders fall back from a village, the attackers can quickly swoop in with an expendable unit and collect a good chunk of gold while at the same time permanently shifting the balance of villages to their favor.

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Re: Negative gold

Post by revolting_peasant » June 2nd, 2012, 8:29 am

Insinuator:
Insinuator wrote:There is really almost no point to saving gold. The one and only reason to save gold is if you CAN. That means, if you are certain you can win with less units, stop recruiting. Otherwise, don't. Most scenarios are balanced so that available villages should balance your upkeep anyways.
I think you may be ignoring a significant aspect of recruiting, which is the need to have the leader in the scenario stay in a fort (the home fort? any fort?) to recruit more. If you stop recruiting, e.g. for fear of going into debt, you free him/her up, and that's usually a very effective unit to have in play.

ancestral: These are all interesting ideas but I feel they belong on a different thread, because they're about how to get gold (or how gold is gained and lost), and not the effect being in debt on recruitment, upkeep and carry-over.

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