Aftermath is a mod for the 2003 game Freelancer that draws inspiration from Freelancer’s vanilla gameplay and themes as well as its long lineage of mods. Development so far has focused on a series of innovative features that focus on overhauling and improving Freelancer’s core gameplay systems, including unique takes on trading, smuggling, mining, exploration and a completely new approach to player progression.

RSS Automating Economy Development

Introducing the new engine that will future-proof Aftermath's economy.

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A long standing question that has been at the back of every economy developer’s mind is “How can we automate this process?”. Because automation is the key to making economy development accessible to the point that you don’t need to take a degree in calculus to understand it. As it turns out, it’s always been entirely possible. But it’s actually a lot harder than you’d think to find two people who are genuinely interested in economy development. Then of course you’d need at least one of them to be rehearsed in code…

The idea was to take what I as an economy developer do in a series of excel spreadsheets and build that into a purpose-built program that can generate the data we need en-masse. Somehow, Laz and Impy rolled a double six when they managed to motivate Nepo to build such a program. It’s been a bumpy ride which has carried with it some frustration. Not least of which was building the program only to find that it needed to be rebuilt from scratch in a different coding language.

But the finished article: EcoUtility, will allow us to open up economy development like never before. In a previous post I mentioned the disparity between manual and formula-based methods. EcoUtility brings these two approaches together by giving the user the ability to choose the commodity, source, destinations and formula settings in under a minute. Then it generates a series of code lines that we can copy and paste directly into the game files. This ultimately allows us to generate the economy code for every single base for a single commodity in under five minutes. Alternatively we can generate the data for every lawful base with a formula setting that is profitable. Then immediately generate the data for every unlawful base with a formula setting that is less profitable. This bypasses a lot of the ‘messiness’ of manually adjusting the economy by individual base. Because when a major update hits, it’s no biggie to repeat this process to cover all bases (pardon the pun).

This means that instead of spending the majority of my time crunching numbers, I can commit more time to the creative side of economy development. With any luck, we’ll be able to deliver commodities that add flavor to trading and smuggling and routes that will take you on a tour of the mod’s new features.
To see how the app works in practice you can take a look at the clip below.

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