Simulating Supply and Demand in a Nation

9 May , 2017 Particle Nations

On the last post I introduced Particle Nation and talked about what makes it’s simulation unique, from the technical aspect with Elastic Simulation, as well from the simulation aspect with Generational Simulation.

One thing that remained untouched is actually a core mechanic for both gameplay and simulation: the Supply & Demand system.

Supply & Demand basics

For the sake of simplification, everything in Particle Nation is a Demand that can be filled with Supply. To cite a few examples:

  • Power:
    • Buildings & Population require power, generating demand.
    • Power Plants produce power, generating supply.
    • If demand is not met by supply, Buildings desirability for growth will drop, and Citizen Happiness will decay.
  • Healthcare:
    • Population require Healthcare Coverage, generating demand.
    • Clinics & Hospitals produce Healthcare Coverage, generating supply.
    • If demand is not met by supply, Population Health will decay. If met, Population Health will increase.
  • Pollution or “Clean Air”:
    • Buildings & Population require Clean Air, generating demand.
    • Parks (and other specific buildings) produce Clean Air, generating supply.
    • If demand is not met by supply, Population Health will decay. If met, Population Health will increase.

If Pollution got you thinking, don’t worry, it is a bit mind-bending because productions & capacities in this simulation always have to be “good” things (the more, the better). It means that in order to put Pollution in the game (which is a “bad” thing), we need to name it the opposite.

That way, the more People or Buildings “polluting” the environment, the higher the demand will be for air cleansing in order for pollution to not impact Health negatively.

Constructing

Now, a player as a president can invest in new Power Plants, Water Pumps, Hospitals and other infrastructure or governmental facilities. Do remember that there is no actual “city view” since we are working on a national scope.

Different buildings have their pros and cons, from cheap polluting power plants to clean yet expensive energy. Some may cost more to build but the cost per unit generated is less than other options. And some will take more time to construct than others.

An in-game week goes by between 1 and 3 real-life minutes (I am still fiddling to find the most suitable time scale). And a construction may take from 1 to 5 years, which means it can be as little as one hour or so to almost half day. Not only these are the only “timers” in the game, they also cannot be sped up with real money. We are keeping the integrity of the game intact.

Given the various tools to solve each Supply issue (i.e: Power), presidents can either patch problems as they go, or invest more resources to create long term solutions. They can do it at the expense of some side-effects, or others. It’s up to you to decide the fate of the Nation.

Private buildings & desirability

Private buildings are not controlled by the government, those include farms, industries, retail, services and so on. These are essential to the economy, as they generate Jobs as well as Food, Goods and other required elements for a happy population. But also generate revenue via taxes for each building type.

Whether more buildings open or get shut down is decided by the desirability factor for each building type, affected by various components, to name a few:

  • Current supply/demand ratio for their main production.  I.e: if population demands more food than is produced, desirability for Farms goes up since they produce food.
  • Tax rate.  Low taxes makes it more profitable for buildings to function even on bad conditions.
  • Employment rate.  In a country where there are more jobs than people, it’s harder to set up new buildings.
  • Stability.  Bigger buildings require that the economy stays stable for longer periods of time to risk setting up, say, a megastore or a massive production facility.
  • Workforce average Education.  Some buildings require a more skilled workforce than others. Poor education makes it difficult for high tech industries to set up, but high education makes it harder to fill in spots in low-skill activities such as farming. Note that only the education of the workforce age group matters, not the whole population.

And there is more

Supply & demand are also affected by the Regional simulation, which escapes the scope of this post; but not next week’s, where we will dig into the Regional simulation exclusively and the way supply & demand participate in it.

Thank you for reading.

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