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Old 06-18-2005, 05:33 PM   #1
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Pretty simple question:  how many different denominations of currency is too many?

*Edit* Got distracted and posted before I finished typing.

Now, obviously a MUD should have enough denominations to make transactions easy. But how many is too many? For example, if you have coins that represent 1, 5, 10, and 50 do you really need 20 since it's just two 10s?

Comments? Thoughts? Suggestions?

Take care,

Jason
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Old 06-19-2005, 09:16 AM   #2
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No reason why you can't have just one denomination. It's easier to type

give 2067 coins (to) susie

and let the code just do that..
than make the code have to decide which denominations to give Susie, or even worse - make the player have to give 6 of these types of coins, and 40 of those types of coins, etc. etc. etc.

Make'em all coins, make each coin extremely lightweight (or even virtual so they don't take up any weight/space at all in a pocket), and you're good to go.

You can even make the coins coded so that each -pile- of coins has a maximum weight, no matter how many coins are in the pile. So, if someone put 1 coin in their pack, it will weigh as much as 27 coins, or 2800 coins. And they can get all the coins from their pack, which automatically bundles it into a single pile..

But to their detriment, a thief would be able to take coins only by the pile..which would make it to the character's benefit to split the coins up into several piles - thus reducing the loss if they got robbed.
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Old 06-19-2005, 11:17 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Jazuela @ June 19 2005,10:16)
No reason why you can't have just one denomination. It's easier to type

give 2067 coins (to) susie

and let the code just do that..
than make the code have to decide which denominations to give Susie, or even worse - make the player have to give 6 of these types of coins, and 40 of those types of coins, etc. etc. etc.

Make'em all coins, make each coin extremely lightweight (or even virtual so they don't take up any weight/space at all in a pocket), and you're good to go.

You can even make the coins coded so that each -pile- of coins has a maximum weight, no matter how many coins are in the pile. So, if someone put 1 coin in their pack, it will weigh as much as 27 coins, or 2800 coins. And they can get all the coins from their pack, which automatically bundles it into a single pile..

But to their detriment, a thief would be able to take coins only by the pile..which would make it to the character's benefit to split the coins up into several piles - thus reducing the loss if they got robbed.
Ever try handing 2067 individual objects to another person? Messy, very messy. And who wants to carry 2067 different objects?

I'm not looking at this from the code perspective, but from an element of realism. After all, if you go to buy yourself a new VCR, you don't carry 10,000 pennies do you? Nope, you find yourself a bigger denomination of currency, be it bills or (if bills didn't exist) at least quarters. *grin*

Take care,

Jason
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Old 06-19-2005, 11:26 AM   #4
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Depends on the dynamic range of your economy. If no player will ever amass more than 1000 currency units, you don't need a coin worth 10,000.

We do fine with 3, valued 1:20:1000. Most players have less than 20,000 currency units, and it's somewhat rare that someone has more than 200,000, so we don't yet feel a need to 'mint' larger coins. Shopkeepers make change intelligently, and the commerce commands are set up so you don't need to any math in your head. You want maximum player convenience on issues like this.
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Old 06-19-2005, 12:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
I'm not looking at this from the code perspective, but from an element of realism.
If you're going for realism rather than convenience then you could think about using a non-decimal currency. 1, 12, 240 could work well (Pennies, shillings, pounds). You could also have different cities using different currency. Probably best to stick to 3 or 4 major denominations for sake of convienience, but there's no reason why you couldn't have other rare coins worth different amounts to add interest and realism.
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Old 06-19-2005, 12:32 PM   #6
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It could always go something like this:

Give 155 coins to sherriff

You give 1 hundred dollar bill, 1 fifty dollar bill and 5 one-dollar bills to Sherriff.
The Sherriff accepts your bribe and lets you take the weed from the evidence room.

Of course, the Dollar bills are replaced with whatever currency you want, and you can only give those bills if you actually carry them. It's only a simple method of finding the largest bill the player carries at the moment, and handing it out, then finding the next largest bill, and handing it out, and so on until you owe 0 money.
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Old 06-19-2005, 12:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Maraz @ June 19 2005,13:14)
Quote:
Originally Posted by
I'm not looking at this from the code perspective, but from an element of realism.
If you're going for realism rather than convenience then you could think about using a non-decimal currency. 1, 12, 240 could work well (Pennies, shillings, pounds). You could also have different cities using different currency. Probably best to stick to 3 or 4 major denominations for sake of convienience, but there's no reason why you couldn't have other rare coins worth different amounts to add interest and realism.
Actually, I am using the old British monetary system, which as you might well guess is quite complex what with groats, half-groats, sixpence, etc. to say nothing of guineas (heh, I still get a kick out of that one, purely devised for the sake of class snobbishness..."let's just take a pound and toss on an extra shilling," you can almost imagine someone saying).

So, with so many denominations to use (or not), I posed the question here.

Take care,

Jason
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Old 06-19-2005, 12:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Valg @ June 19 2005,12:26)
Depends on the dynamic range of your economy.  If no player will ever amass more than 1000 currency units, you don't need a coin worth 10,000.
The problem arises when you deal with different classes. The wealthier classes would deal with larger amounts and hence there should be denominations that suit them. Likewise, the lower classes would have smaller denominations, essentially requiring two nearly separate yet compatible currency systems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Shopkeepers make change intelligently, and the commerce commands are set up so you don't need to any math in your head. You want maximum player convenience on issues like this.
Ah, but what if the point of the monetary system is to confuse? I cite for you a real-life example: the British guinea (1/1/0, ie, one pound and one shilling in value) was used since such amounts were unlikely to ever be handled by the lower classes. As a result, shops that catered to the wealthy often posted their prices in guineas as a means of saying "You're not supposed to shop here."

Use of such a device seems a bit confusing, but that was the point (foreigners always had difficulty and I suspect the British liked it that way...gave them a home-field advantage).

Take care,

Jason
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Old 06-19-2005, 01:28 PM   #9
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How many currency types is too many? I'd say it depends on your theme and how much effort you're willing to force players to go through to learn your system.

If you're working in a world where currency can take electronic form, there's not much point in making your system confusing in an IC sense.

If you're working in a world like that of 200 years ago, yeah, you can have a lot of different kinds of currencies and even have moneychangers that take a bit off the top of the exchange rates.

Before that... you could use chunks of gold and silver bars that can be weighed and cut off as a medium of exchange. In other words, a pseudo-barter system where gold and/or some other items serve the functions of money*. Perhaps have a couple skills (if you're a code-heavy game) where haggling or a couple other skills can be used to 'manipulate' the metal or the perception of its value. Like with some gold, put a bit of silver inside so the gold seems more valuable than it is.

If you go even further back, you can have a barter system. Or if you aren't quite comfortable with a barter system have something that is considered valuable enough to be used in trade so that coded shopkeeping can be done.

In the end it depends what your objectives are, but if you're going to be heavy on the roleplaying and have a lot of other theme, a hard to understand money system serves as another barrier if you ask me. If you want that barrier it's great, if not maybe it's best to go with something more 'metric.'

* When I talk about the functions of money I'm talking about the economic definition, namely: Store of value, unit of account, and medium of exchange. - If you want, you could consider rocks a currency in your game.
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Old 06-19-2005, 03:23 PM   #10
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Hard to go for realism in a fantasy game, heh...

If you wanna go "realistic" then I hope you have a fully working and implemented encumbrance system, with absolutely -zero- "objects" allowed to be placed in a character's general inventory. Realism = no virtual pockets, afterall. If they can't fit their objects into the pockets of their coded clothes, then they can't carry the objects. Well except in their hands - but if they have a weapon in one hand, and a shield in the other hand, which hand are they gonna put the treasure chest they just found off some critter, or the pants they stole off the noble?

Personally when it comes to things like money, I'd rather have playability than realism.
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Old 06-19-2005, 08:08 PM   #11
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Agreed, Jazuela.

It's real easy to go overboard with this, and here's a small personal experience to back this up:

Our game worldmap is divided into 108 regions.  Those 108 regions are covered by 12 native races ranging from human to ogre.

A few years ago, a new and enthusiastic member of our team proposed that each of the 108 regions be assigned its own currency. At the same time he wanted a different currency for each race to be unique and exchangeable only in a native race region by going to the single exchange center for the race's set of regions to actually do a currency transfer.

To make matters worse, each region's currency valuation was to base off its economic condition and fluctuate with the tidal waves of trades and in-region resources.

I can barely get my brain around this as the game owner. How the heck can I explain it to our existing players, let alone someone who's never been in a MUD before:   "that pocket change you just picked up for slaying a dwarven traveler in the region of Polson can't be used to buy a mug of ale in Murphy until you go to Dwerry West, finds the tradepost and convert your Polsonian Gorfle coinage to Murphy shinligs..."

When he trades redwood from Murphy, which he must buy with Murphy shinligs, and sells the wagonload in Pymm, and he's paid in Pymmonian pence, then what?  

I'll take a bit of fantasy over that type of reality any day!
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Old 06-20-2005, 02:05 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Fern @ June 19 2005,21:08)
Our game worldmap is divided into 108 regions.  Those 108 regions are covered by 12 native races ranging from human to ogre.

A few years ago, a new and enthusiastic member of our team proposed that each of the 108 regions be assigned its own currency. At the same time he wanted a different currency for each race to be unique and exchangeable only in a native race region by going to the single exchange center for the race's set of regions to actually do a currency transfer.
I have actually debated whether or not to have several (was thinking anywhere from 2-5) currencies in the game. However, what I'm really asking about is denominations, that is the same currency in different amounts (like the U.S. system of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, etc.) rather than different national currencies (like dollars, pounds, Euros, etc).

Quote:
Originally Posted by
To make matters worse, each region's currency valuation was to base off its economic condition and fluctuate with the tidal waves of trades and in-region resources
The question of inflation also has risen since it's a very prominent economic theme in the period I'm looking at. However, that's a topic for a different discussion (incidently, one that I was planning for next week...no sense in flooding the forums with too many different topics all at once).

Quote:
Originally Posted by
How the heck can I explain it to our existing players, let alone someone who's never been in a MUD before: "that pocket change you just picked up for slaying a dwarven traveler in the region of Polson can't be used to buy a mug of ale in Murphy until you go to Dwerry West, finds the tradepost and convert your Polsonian Gorfle coinage to Murphy shinligs..."

When he trades redwood from Murphy, which he must buy with Murphy shinligs, and sells the wagonload in Pymm, and he's paid in Pymmonian pence, then what?
Simply point out that most nations print and mint their own currency. Don't underestimate player intelligence that much to assume they don't know a bit about the world and can grasp the concept of national currencies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
I'll take a bit of fantasy over that type of reality any day!
All depends on what type of game you're creating and the degree of design that you put into your world. Different currencies make sense if you're dealing with different cultures. After all, how much sense does it make that a world with 108 different regions and 12 different races all sat down and decided, "we're all using the same coin" yet can't find common ground (assuming inter-cultural/racial conflict is present in your game, which is a fairly safe assumption in most MUDs) on anything else?

I'm trying to find a good middle ground between playability and realism, not an extreme. The example you provided is extreme in one direction (you mentioned regions, but didn't elaborate as to whether they're political entities or simply regions so I'm working off the premise that you meant the latter) while Jazuela's is extreme to the opposite.

I mean, look how long it took Europe to adopt a common currency (and the continuing debate that it generates). Or in the case of denominations, look at Britain, which didn't decimalize their currency until 1971 (interestingly, I always laugh when some Americans say they hate metric yet fail to realize that our currency system is metric and they don't have a problem with that).

Take care,

Jason
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Old 06-20-2005, 02:47 AM   #13
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Sorry - my bad.  By the time I made it to the last message, I'd forgotten the focus.  That's what I get for speed-skimming.

I would have no problem justifying different currencies for the twelve cultural blocs; they are close enough in proximity that that would actually make a lot of sense.

The regions are geopolitical; each has the potential to be incorporated into a kingdom, with the exception of the few which are under deity protection.

As far as the depth of the game design goes, we prefer to focus on design modules which support the player's strategy when appropriate or lurk in the background until needed.  A currency system, charming as it may be in theory, has the potential of arising to the problematic in application.

We have to date kept with the two-coin (gold and silver) system. It's one of the few aspects of Karinthian life that a newcomer will find familiar if he's played a stock environment before.
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Old 06-20-2005, 02:46 PM   #14
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Accursed Lands uses a system based on fives. For the purposes of this discussion, we'll say that the basic monetary unit, a farthing, is equal to 1. The next level of currency, a penny, is equal to five farthings, so its value is 5. From there it goes to shillings, which are equal to five farthings (25), moons (125), ignobles (625), suns (3,125) and crowns (15,625).

Each level up is simply equal to five times the previous level.

The upper tiers of currency are rarely, if ever, seen, though. For one thing, money isn't very nessecary in the gameworld due to certain things I'm not at liberty to talk about due to the strict IC/OOC separation, but it suffices to say that money is a luxery that most characters can only aspire to. In that respect, having the higher levels of currency can act to reinforce theme if you want to utilize it that way, like in the example of pricing with guineas described above. Since nobody will probably ever use a sun to casually buy something, getting and/or using one would just feel that much more amazing, and rightfully so, since they're so rare.

EDIT: Gah, I completely lost focus regarding the purpose of the thread.

The best number of currency denominations for your MUD depends on a lot of things. How good your NPC shops are at making change, the availability of places to exchange money, how abundant casual non-automated transactions are, and the theme of your MUD.

If there isn't a strong RP environment (as a choice, not a circumstance) I'd say just let money be a virtual item and keep it to a single denomination. It's much simpler that way.

If you're going for something more realistic, though, try to think about the types of transactions most people make. Is it selling or buying in shops that automate making change, or is it personally trading from one character to another? If the vast majority of the trades being made are to automated money systems, you can deal with less denominations. Someone suggested a 1, 20, 1000 system that would probably work for that sort of thing.

However, if most trades happen in environments where change would have to be given by the seller character in a two-person deal, you'll want a more elaborate system. Start with a base unit of currency and go anywhere from 2x to 5x to come up with the value of the next unit, and keep doing that until your highest unit is worth somewhere between a tenth and a fifth of the most expensive item you think will be sold anywhere in your game.

That should probably work for most MUDs.
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