As mentioned in the previous article, where I published my considerations about the game I want to build, the player will have to solve multiple problems on the way to victory. One of them is discovering the potential demand in the market. This article will be devoted to modelling the market.
People depend on different things to exist, in another words to say, all people have demands and to satisfy them they need to consume some resources, be it food, building materials, money, any services, etc. To find resources to consume people look out for other people who are in possession of something valuable and try to acquire it. I don’t need too much violence involved in my game, so we only consider bargaining, trading, exchange, like. Also, I assume that the game world is similar to ours where it is highly unlikely to find anything that has not been unclaimed before, so I assume every resource has its owner.
The first thing that comes to mind is the necessity to describe the cumulative demand that the market has. I could go to classics of the subject and go into endless discussions about how to make it right, but for the sake of simplicity I won’t and I will assume that all the demands have a number associated with them which denotes how basic the demand is. The less the number – the more important.
On the opposite side of the market supply lies. Supply is all the solutions that have been introduced into the market by the market participants. Each solution satisfies certain demands (solves problems) to some extent and has features that affect the choice of the consumers. A feature can be implemented by a solution to some degree. It is possible for a solution to implement only a little subset of all features available in the game world.
The consumers in the market cannot be homogeneous, it would be same as one big consumer and it would be too boring to even bother thinking to play a game like that. Each consumer has priorities and preferences. Priorities define which needs come first to satisfy, and preferences define which features of the solution are important for the consumer to choose a solution from a range of available solutions that satisfy the needs in a close to similar way.
The consumers that have the same attributes form market segments. Market segments can be of different size, depending on the amount of consumers involved. Segments aggregate the consumers making them act like a single consumer with a specific behavior. The market as a whole will consist of many-many segments (which might change over time), but no player will know the exact layout of market segments because knowing the market is a key to victory, and investigating the market will be one of the first steps in game in order to identify the unsatisfied demands of the market and the features player’s solutions will have to possess to attract consumers and make them want to trade.
I imagine when a player starts the game the first thing to do will be to probe the market. To do so player will establish his/her first company, who’s first duty would be to acquire critical market data, either by probing the market, or buying it from other players who had already done it before.
When probing the market, the player will get data which will contain the following:
- Total number of consumers examined vs estimated amount of consumers
- Known consumers’ priorities and preferences
- The trade statistics for solutions already present
- The sales volume
- The price levels
- The properties of the solutions
Getting different types of data would require different costs and would have different reliability. For example, the more useful data the more expensive it might be, and in some cases paying the price does not guarantee that the data will be available to the player. Risky.
For now the problem on actually modelling of the market segmentation remains open, but I have a couple ideas to investigate and I will unveil it later, may be. But at least now I have a general direction I want to take.
Next time I will focus on picking the right solution to enter the game market.