Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Next, an explanation of what I'm doing.

I seem to be able to explain this to other people far better than I can just say it to myself. This seems so backwards.

However that is, I say it to you, Ingrid, Judith & Lil' Beth. I remember and appreciate the drive that was behind a game you were trying to develop, distill, and construct into a web game. Almost too much. I've gone over the conference submission and the Excel distillations and the e-mails more times than I can count. I think I've memorized the ErgHen formula, and I don't even know what ErgHen means or stands for. But I've written it in three programming languages, now, going on four, because I want to look at it with every flaw and mistake painfully obvious to me.

I've made this thing a goal, and I don't even have a project name for it; I don't feel right using your name for it until it is closer to your incarnations and designs. However, in this modern age of web games, I've made my own extensions to the game; not changes, but implementations of the formula and parts I have extracted from the formulas that have meaning I can't yet explain to create modules of everything, including my ideas.

I suppose I should start from the beginning. This game is an economic distillation algorithm that describes demand from market variables and retail influences -- primarily, retail price and advertising expenses. The basic idea of the game is a six-stage educational process -- in the first stage your advertising expenses are fixed and you only change the retail price of your product, once a week, for an economic quarter (13 weeks, or rounds). The second stage, you have a fixed retail price, and are only manipulating the advertising expenses for this quarter. In the third stage, you are in control of both price and advertising expense. The fourth, fifth and sixth rounds are the same as the first, second and third rounds, except with three competing AIs in the market as well.

This is a powerfully brilliant and simple idea when you get down to it. And like all brilliant and simple ideas, you can do so much more with them than the original artist intended. In my case, breaking down the formulas involved, I was able to decipher a means to show (very simply, possibly oversimply as I am not finished studying the economics) the relationship between advertising of one product and the sale of a different product, and from this came an idea.

I want to create a multiplayer online boardgame of sorts, but one that completely includes the original economic game idea. In the game, after completing the first 6 training stages, or quarters, you are entered into an open market of many online players and some AI, in which many products are being sold and advertised by the same retail outlet. Each player is a retail outlet, and they have the choice of introducing existing products in the market, introducing foreign products to the market, or introducing new products to the market based on unmet demand.

The when the game gets to its online stage, it goes like this; independently and without order, each of the players in the market are provided all the market information in different views and from that are asked to provide retail price and advertising expenses for the week. When all the players have entered their choices, the game performs the analysis on the data provided for each product, and the game advances. If a player doesn't respond for 24hrs (or another pre-decided length of time), the game will advance by playing that store's last prices, with impact on correlation. Every 13 rounds, or fiscal quarter, the game produces reports with graphs of your profits over time.

The idea is to create virtual city markets, and let them evolve with the simplest of influences. Despite its simplicity the game has an allure. A powerful allure.

Thank you. For everything.

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