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Economy Part ONE

Have no fear, speed is here! Hello everyone, I'm speed2 and Sanctuary's gameplay is my domain (still a team effort). I'll be slowly introducing you into the less technical aspects of the game.

So for the first topic, let's talk about our lord and savior the economy. For Sanctuary we've picked the flow economy/streaming economy or however you want to call it. The principle is: you are getting a portion of the resources and spending the resources each tick (for our game there are 10 ticks per second), so the resources are flowing in and out continuously.

Some examples:

  • Plasma generator that generates 10 plasma / second will add 1 plasma to your storage each tick.

  • Radar that requires 20 plasma / second to operate will take away 2 plasma from your storage each tick.

  • Unit that costs 10 alloys and takes 2 seconds to build will take away 0.5 alloys each tick.

That is in contrast to the other models, where you get the resource in chunks (unit goes to the resource spot, picks up some stuff, goes back and when it's offloaded you receive some set amount) and spends the resource in the same way. You buy some units and the whole cost is paid right away. Usually there is some build time for those units, but it doesn't do anything with the economy anymore. One more thing to note is that if you don't have the resources to cover the cost of the unit, usually you can't buy it and you have to wait until you have enough. Then there are some hybrid solutions. Some examples off the top of my head:

  • C&C3 had Harvesters that were gathering Tiberium in the field and then returned to the Refinery, where they unloaded it and you got money for that. The unloading took some time and the money was streaming in. The same way units were produced. Units got some build time and they were using the money continuously. So in this game you could queue up more units that you had money for and they would get built slower, if you ran out of money. The problem was you never really know how much income you really have. Since the Harvesters needed some time to get the Tiberium, they could also unload at the Refinery only one at the time. So if suddenly 3 of them returned at the same time, 2 had to wait.

Why did we pick this approach?

The flow economy better represents how the stuff is built in real life. You start the construction and you are adding resources in as you build it. If you lack one major material, you usually can't continue (in our case, needing both alloys and plasma). At the same time, the more builders you have the faster you can build. If you need to, you can pause the construction and reallocate all your resources and builders to a different project.

Good control over unit production. Another thing that is possible in the flow economy is the option to queue up basically an infinite amount of units. You can plan big portions of your base and unit construction ahead. Assign orders for your builders for the next five minutes and focus more on the combat or other tasks. Set a factory to produce tanks and cycle it. You don't need to click on every single tank you want to build, just assign a factory to build tanks and you will get them.

All this stuff adds up to the goal we want to achieve, that is focusing on the strategy to win the game, rather than babysitting everything in your base and the need to click fast to get things done the most efficient way.

2 resources (but 3 really...)

So what are the resources that you'll need in Sanctuary?

1. Alloys

  • Alloys is the rarer resource in the game. Rarer means that there are certain spots all around the map, where you can place a structure that will produce alloys for you. Also it's production is less than the plasma, +- 10x less.

2. Plasma

  • Plasma is created in the plasma generators. The difference to alloys is that you can place your plasma generators anywhere on the map.

(3. Buildpower)

  • Build power is not exactly a resource you would gather like the other two, but you will need it in order to build anything. All units that can build something, have some build power. The more power they have, the faster they can build.

Majority of units require both resources in order to be built. Some things might require only one resource to operate, like radars, shields.

Each resource has its own storage. The commanding unit provides some initial storage, if you want to increase it, you need to build storage structures.

The storages help with controlling the income and spending, because it's not possible to spend exactly the same amount of resources that you produce. Also the storages allow you to dump all the resources quickly into a single project. So if you have resources stored and a lot of build power. They can produce the desired unit really fast.

This is all for this part, in the next one I’m going to be writing about the build process and gameplay with our economy.

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