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Author Topic: Tech creep and unit price  (Read 814 times)

Col Toda

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Tech creep and unit price
« on: 25 February 2020, 09:30:37 »
Looking at unit prices over the ERAs . 3025 ICE , standard fusion and the super rare fuel cell for a support vehicle , with the least expensive  weapons  .
                                       VS
3145 units with XXL fusion engines and the most expensive  weapons and armor imaginable  . Even with years of peace  and bond issues as soon as you start taking hardware loses over a shot period  of time you will  be going  bankrupt  or starting to buy 80-100 + year surplus to fill out your order of battle  . Militia  would be hardest hit followed very slowly national  units . The Dark Age should see major backsliding when you want to field real large numbers  or just replacing losses in a hurry . Units like the Manticore II just losing 1 is losing 7+ combat fuel cell engine  units  or about a company  of ICE combat vehicles  .

Cost Effective  cheap attrition  combat vehicles ought I want to see more of them .  Do you think like me alot of things are missing in Battletech
« Last Edit: 25 February 2020, 09:34:24 by Col Toda »

dgorsman

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Re: Tech creep and unit price
« Reply #1 on: 25 February 2020, 11:07:47 »
Economics is hard to handle for an easy to use game mechanic e.g. investments, interest, depreciation, taxes, and so on.  In theory there could be tables for costs based on era, item tech level, etc. which provide a cost multiplier.  But then you have questions of granularity, such as applying it to a whole combat vehicle or Mech, or just certain parts (but that requires recalculating the unit cost).  And questions about eras being to broad (early Jihad still had large stockpiles and functioning factories compared to late Jihad) also have an effect.

All that is a lot of development work to put into a relatively unused part of the game.
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Retry

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Re: Tech creep and unit price
« Reply #2 on: 25 February 2020, 16:59:08 »
I've always felt that the C-Bill cost of units were more guidelines than gospels.  Good enough to get a cursory idea of how advanced and expensive hardware is, not good enough to get into all the intricacies of economies of scale, competition, supply lines, the logistics of interstellar empires, and inter-political effects on the economies of said empires.  Ultimately the game's about the big stompy robots and not faceless corporate industries making the big stompy robots.

As such, a brand new prototype Giggins APC fresh from the factory probably doesn't "actually" cost the exact same 1.2 million C-Bills as a Giggins APC that's still being produced in 3145.  The C-Bill system is just too rough to catch any nuances such as improved tooling and manufacturing techniques since the Giggins first entered production, since the game's not about that.

Presumably, the economies of the Houses and other political entities tends to improve over time when said entities are not being blown to bits, so the governments could also simply have significantly larger defense budgets in 3145 than they would have had in 3025, which could also explain the introduction of a lot more expensive units.

Also, the cheap-o vehicles already exist.

Scorpions, Warriors, Vedettes, Partisans and other cheap platforms have fulfilled the role of cost-effective attrition combat vehicles since the game's inception.  Nothing really goes obsolete in the so Scorpions and such would still be the hardware of choice for backwater militias.  Even in later eras, you can't really replace them with much, since adding anything that is better (engines, armor, weapons) also means adding things that are expensive, defeating the purpose of making a budget tank in the first place.

There's also a significant out-of-universe explanation for it.

Most, if not all, of the new equipment has been "high tech" goodies.  Think things like the obscenely expensive XXL engine, the RISC experimental equipment, the Society's Nova CEWS, fancy-pants laser beams, what have you.

Well, say we introduced XXLs recently in MaxTech or Tac Ops or wherever it originated from.  That's great, but unless you put it on a vehicle somewhere, the thing's just going to be rusting in some scientist's lab for all of eternity.

Now let's say we have a new TRO for a new era, Jihad or Dark Age or whatever's going on in the RoTS.  There's only so much you can cram into the book since you're making a Technical Readout and not the entire order-of-battle of the Battletech Universe circa 3100, so you're limited to a finite number of entries.  With that in mind, would you add:
  • A low-tech, low-cost ICE tank whose roles are already mostly or entirely fulfilled by other existing low-tech, low-cost ICE tanks that were first introduced around the 1980s and 90s.
  • A higher-tech, higher-cost tank or Mech that utilizes technology that was recently introduced in-universe, like that XXL engine, fulfilling an advanced role or niche that didn't exist before said technology was introduced.
IMO, the latter choice would be the more interesting choice 9 times out of 10.

Hence, you start seeing a lot more fancy things in the TROs like the Mad Cat Mk.IV and the Skinwalker/Ryoken III, often mounting more than one high-tech technology at a time.  Part of it is it's a lot easier to differentiate the new ride from the pack if it's using a recent, rarely-used technology like XXL engines than it is to do the same with an ICE ride.  Part of it is that if you don't add stuff with the fancy toys, then you have to justify devoting entire pages of a rulebook for the fancy toys when nothing canonically uses them in the first place.

That's all I have to say about that.

Daryk

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Re: Tech creep and unit price
« Reply #3 on: 25 February 2020, 20:17:08 »
BattleTech's "life is cheap" aesthetic notwithstanding, people are expensive.  "Cheap" tanks stop being quite so cheap once you get over 15 tons and have to add another crewman.  Not to mention a second at 30 tons, a third at 45, etc.  'Mechs and Aerospace Fighters are better because they can cram so much more firepower into the hands of a single pilot.

Col Toda

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Re: Tech creep and unit price
« Reply #4 on: 26 February 2020, 09:07:08 »
Yes a tank crew pay is about as much as a mech pilot .  A mech pilot is E5- E8 or O1+ . Tankers are E1-E3 with maybe the rare O1 . Tank crews are killed more in battle but are very easy to train and replace . Pay scales largely remain the same regardless of ERA so it is not the point of the post .

Take a 3025 Karnov : 6 tons cargo about  800,000 C Bill's for the original ICE model . 3072+ you can get you a Fuel Cell  model with 8 tons of cargo space  and maybe a small laser or better yet vehicle grenade  launcher with more armor ,about 1,2 million  .   3048 XL fusion Engine about 6-8 million or 3065 light Fusion  engine about 4 million . Heavy Ferro fibrous armor , Stealth or Laser Reflective  as alternate choices . It can get very expensive  indeed for a rapid infantry or battle armor transport . I omitted  standard  fusion  as fuel cell gives about as much power as a light fusion engine and in most cases would be skipped . It seems the 33 percent  rise in price for just better is clearly  worth it .  500-1000 percent  rise far less so unless you are making a stealth infiltration/exfiltration  unit where no substitute  is acceptable. 

Yes I can see an advanced role or niche  purpose for high end tech . But the XXL engine of a Manticore 2 3145 does no such thing . Many canon designs  use better tech for general combat roles and fail to be the best bang for the C Bill  .
« Last Edit: 26 February 2020, 11:10:18 by Col Toda »

Kovax

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Re: Tech creep and unit price
« Reply #5 on: 26 February 2020, 12:04:53 »
The TROs tend to be detailed descriptions about the fancy icing on the cake served with the meal, rather than about the cheap hamburger and instant mashed potatoes that was offered as the main course.

It all fits with the use of Battlemechs and a few high-end vehicles as elite specialized units for critical moments and "must win" situations, rather than the cheap disposable forces that make up the vast majority of armies in the BT universe, but are rarely even mentioned because they're individually all-but incapable of hurting the elite units.  If individual countries on 20th Century Earth could field more than a hundred divisions of troops and equipment, but the lists of forces on various BattleTech worlds only amount to about a division at most, obviously something very significant is NOT being mentioned.

In my opinion, that's got to be the vast majority of routine conventional troops and light vehicles that don't have the capability of facing a Battlemech in combat, no matter the numerical odds.  1000 basic infantry rifles won't stop even a conventional 20th Century light tank, and tanks like the Scorpion are already an order of magnitude more effective than those, by utilizing the same rare, exotic, and expensive armor and weaponry used on Battlemechs.  A few highly specialized infantry with weapons capable of doing trivial damage to a Battlemech do exist, but 99% of the infantry out there isn't capable of it, and is simply not included in the lists.  We play out the engagements of those extremely few elite units, while 99% of the war is fought with stuff that doesn't impact those units except through the loss or capture of ground.

Any interpretation of the army sizes being only what's listed has to be seriously mistaken or requires a complete change in human nature.  You can't be everywhere at once to control tens of millions of people with only a couple hundred troops, no matter how fancy your equipment, and the stated levels of interstellar transport are woefully insufficient to move enough Battlemechs to do so.  Any invasion has to rely on some support from dissident factions already on the planet for basic manpower, even if you bring in several dropships full of light weapons and small conventional armored vehicles (5-20 tons each - that's 500-2000 such vehicles on a 10,000 ton capacity cargo dropper) to equip them, rather than a few dozen Battlemechs.

The huge cargo capacities on the old SL warships were sufficient to provide at least a modest invasion force, which would have been conducted using multiple warships, followed up by military cargo dropships and jumpships.  The loss of the warships' carrying capacities reduced the successor states to mere raiding and the occasional capture of a single planet at extreme cost to the civilian economy by diverting enough civilian jumpships to the effort for short periods.  Without the ability to move all of the conventional forces needed to actually take and control an entire planet, short of using extreme measures, transporting a relative handful of elite Battlemechs and advanced combat vehicles for raids on critical facilities was about the only avenue for war remaining.  The opposing side had no choice but to field its own contingent of elite forces capable of engaging those units, but still had a conventional army for suppressing revolts, dealing with routine piracy (not the much rarer forces of military deserters with elite equipment, turned to piracy), and facing other problems that required at least minimal levels of firepower.

marcussmythe

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Re: Tech creep and unit price
« Reply #6 on: 26 February 2020, 12:23:59 »
I always take prices with a grain of salt.  Of course, its also possible that post-helm core, and the post wars, the Inner Sphere started spending an appreciable percentage of its budget on procurement.  As expensive as XXL mechs are, if military budgets have gone up, you may be better off putting the best pilots in the best machines rather than having more pilots of lower average quality in more machines.  Also, procurement cost may not be directly tied to life cycle costs... tech time and pilot training and transport and yadda yadda for a Savage Wolf may be not much more than a Timber Wolf.  And maybe buying better mechs less often is cheaper than constantly replacing swarms of dead mechs.

Otoh, maybe prices do come down.  Maybe XXLs get cheaper.  Maybe CSpec ERPPCs cost more than their inner sphere cousins. 

Maybe superpricey things are a good investment for offensive ops, because the most expensive things ever are Battlemech Bays, Dropships, and Jumpers.

I do respect costs in the Warship side of things.  I know people scream about collar and dropship costs, but without that, we lose all the ineresting questions and everything is a Potemkin.

Daryk

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Re: Tech creep and unit price
« Reply #7 on: 26 February 2020, 18:47:12 »
Salaries are only a small part of the cost of people.  You also have to feed, house, transport and manage them, and pay a pension if they live long enough, or a death benefit if they don't.  Even in BattleTech, they're NOT cheap.

As others have pointed out, there are technologies that cost far more than they're worth.  But I think they're relatively easy to avoid when building forces.  For 'mechs, the single most cost efficient piece of tech is probably the humble jump jet.   They provide a unique benefit for a relatively low price.

Natasha Kerensky

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Re: Tech creep and unit price
« Reply #8 on: 27 February 2020, 04:41:43 »
Looking at unit prices over the ERAs . 3025 ICE , standard fusion and the super rare fuel cell for a support vehicle , with the least expensive  weapons  .
                                       VS
3145 units with XXL fusion engines and the most expensive  weapons and armor imaginable  . Even with years of peace  and bond issues as soon as you start taking hardware loses over a shot period  of time you will  be going  bankrupt

Probably not given the vast resources of the interstellar empires in BT.  Hundreds of worlds.  Populations measured in the trillions.  Just bump up the economic output or taxes a smidgen and your military is awash in new funds.

The WoBblies, for example, funded nearly all of 40-division regular army from scratch and topped it off with another dozen divisions of ridiculously expensive Manei Domini just by _skimming_ the Free Worlds League budget.

Industrial capability, technology, and technical learning are what have limited the size and advancement military power in BT, not economic resources.  Even in the depths of the Succession Wars, the Houses probably could have afforded their old Star League-era armies and more without breaking a sweat.  The problem was they no longer had the production capability or the know-how to reproduce it.

Quote
Cost Effective  cheap attrition  combat vehicles ought I want to see more of them .

We have them.  The problem is that there are only so many ways to stat out a Scorpion or Vedette.  But there are many more possible variants on, say, an Atlas, even though the Atlas is so much more rare than the Scorpion or Vedette.
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Col Toda

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Re: Tech creep and unit price
« Reply #9 on: 27 February 2020, 06:51:52 »
The Diamond Sharks / Sea Foxes have been  selling Clan tech for after market use at 2 - 2.8 X list price for 80 years by the Dark Age proving that is what the legal market will bare . When inner Sphere  manufacturers  start making Clan spec weapons they will charge no less . The quality control tolerances for it is so tight that the Clans in the Inner Sphere  have to use easily mass produced  Inner Sphere  tech to handle the defense  more than a handful of worlds . So I expect Offensive Clusters  should be 90 -100 percent Clan tech while defensive ones should be 60 -80 percent  Inner Sphere tech  . Dark Age units with Mixed Clan Tech seems limited to One or more weapons . With the most elite rarified having the most .
The tight tolerance quality  control  issue  does not exist for the Homeworld  Clans as each Clan is defending  a handful of worlds or so not dozens or hundreds of the Inner  Sphere  .

As for the XXL engine the availability  goes up as the time to get the resources  and cash become available  generally  due a long period of relative peace . The resource logistical trains had time to happen with redundancy  . 

The fluff text of the Dimorgan tank with 3 ER PPCs has risky special  financing  terms put out by the manufacturer just to sell any at all.  I envision  50 years after it's paid for a militia  has the opportunity  put in Clan spec ER PPCs and more armor and /or equipment  . And perhaps different Armor . Depending  on assignment location long , short or anti air fire control .

The XXL engine should be available to national  militaries not militias . High end stuff like an XL engine unit is limited availability due to cost to planetary militia  .  What the market will bear is if you paid that much for it in the past it proves you are willing  that much for it now . Remember  a military industrial complex  will sell almost exclusively to the nation's military forces at the price they expect or quietly  space lift it to somewhere  that Will. 
« Last Edit: 27 February 2020, 06:59:39 by Col Toda »

StoneRhino

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Re: Tech creep and unit price
« Reply #10 on: 27 February 2020, 07:38:46 »
First off, we can dismiss the costs because BT is a game. However, getting into the details can be part of the fun of the game, which means that dismissing costs is to dismiss some of the fun and that is against the rule of fun. :P

We play one off slugging matches where each side gets x BV2 points within a certain tech era. With my new group there really isn't a reason to stick to a particular era as they either have past experience with MaxTech, or are capable of getting into TacOps even though they are still under 1 year of BT experience. This leads to games where there are forces from very different points in time are slugging it out. Ancient units fighting it out with DA/level3/Experimental units is normal. Honestly, some of these units shouldn't even have a chance to meet on any field. They do simply because of their BV and the openness of the games that we are playing.

What we don't see is what would be a progression of technology that modernizes some of the equipment. We don't see companies folding, and their designs going extinct. We also don't see the equivalent of World War II era Mustang fighters being modernized and flown in the real world. They would be far better then the originals and dirt cheap compared to a Raptor. There could be a swarms of Mustang Xs flying around for the cost of a single Raptor wing. They could be armed with some rather modern weapons as well. The question is how effective would they be? Against some forces they would dominate, but it would have to be a force that is even further behind in tech. Against a modern force they would be shot down 100 different ways till next sunday. Sure, there would be ways for them to cause trouble, but most likely the outdated technology would meet a modernized opponent that would have far superior qualities.

This may be a lot of "blah blah blah" but I was kicking around an idea for a vehicle. Basically, I wanted to see how many AC2s, or LAC2s, that I could pack onto a 100 ton tank. Why? Because I recently used a Kraken that was able to burn through most of it's ammo in a game. It was firing from turn 1, double rate, and landed most of the shots and at least half of the second shots landed. Years ago I used to field ac2 carriers 80% of the time and they would cripple much more BV expensive Alacorns. Someone in the group has decided that they love using Alacorns after I used them against him a few times. They are also using more BA and lights. Having a unit that has reach, is relatively BV cheap, is capable of serving as AA, a screen against light mechs such as the Dasher H, is something worth having.

I decided to start with the most likely version to be used, but the cost of that engine made it seem a bit nuts for what it was packing. 8 AC2s on a 100 ton tank with an XL engine that is at least 10mil cbills seemed odd. How much would that matter in our games? Not one bit, but I have been starting to track more information and trying to find ways to shape my forces, though some may suggest it is a means of restricting it. BV, faction, regimental orientation, are some methods. I was spending time looking at dropships for another means.

The Cbill cost is one means of influencing your choices, but as others have suggested, its not really going to be 100% accurate. Those ancient lrm carriers are unlikely to be the same cost in 3150 as they were in 3025. Many that carry on will be old and well used, which would reduce their resale value. Many designs would only be resold units instead of new units fresh off the factory lines. In some ways those old designs would cost more to build then newer models with newer weapons. This could be seen in the real world computer parts market where old pieces that are not just inferior to an average pc off the shelf at the local Best Buy, but extremely inferior to that of a dated phone could cost far more then a newer part.

I think that there would, or could be a means of creating a cbill modifier to reflect the reduced value of older tech. A design that you could produce in 3025 for 10mil cbills would likely be worth 5mil cbills in 3150, assuming that it and all of its components were still in production. At the same time we could see something like IWM's increased pricing for ancient mini designs. As old as many of the minis are, we have not seen a reduction in costs, but an increase. This is partially due to an increase in the price of materials, but also inflation that increases their own operational costs. However, I doubt that the devs want to get into the slow modernization of units and fluctuations in costs of in game materials and so on.

In the end its unlikely to matter in the vast majority of games. I would like to play a game where it does, even where selecting which units to purchase or produce matters. Did you decide to keep producing older tech units 5 years ago in game? If so then guess what, that's what you're pulling from. I'm sure at one point the Atlas 7D was the cost of a Direwolf S, but just giving the Direwolf the bigger price tag bypasses the issues and gives you an effective value that is easy to use if you so wish to use it as a means of setting up a game.


dgorsman

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Re: Tech creep and unit price
« Reply #11 on: 27 February 2020, 13:07:07 »

The WoBblies, for example, funded nearly all of 40-division regular army from scratch and topped it off with another dozen divisions of ridiculously expensive Manei Domini just by _skimming_ the Free Worlds League budget.


Not quite.  They had income frome all the HPGs in League and Capellan space, pus a few others.  And Terra, of course.  And multiple shipments of various Vicore designs were being stolen through privateering.

Not sure I'd put the entirety of the MD budget under that as well, as the hidden worlds have been around for some time.  So they could very well have been slowly building up those stockpiles through other means.
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Natasha Kerensky

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Re: Tech creep and unit price
« Reply #12 on: 28 February 2020, 12:43:39 »
Not quite.  They had income frome all the HPGs in League and Capellan space, pus a few others.  And Terra, of course.  And multiple shipments of various Vicore designs were being stolen through privateering.

All true. 

But ComStar/Blakist income from an HPG network in a particular House is going to be a fraction of that House’s budget or GDP — otherwise the House or its economy could not afford to use it.  And unlike the skimmed FWL budget, not all of the HPG income could drop to the WoBM buildup.  The HPG network must have its own, not inconsiderable, personnel, maintenance, and overhead expenses.

Terra is certainly a significant world, but alone is dwarfed by a House like the FWL.

And while the Vicore designs constituted a significant fraction of Blakist designs, they were still just a fraction.

Maybe HPG profit, Terran taxes, and Vicore theft doubled or tripled what the Blakists were skimming from the FWL.  But that total is still only a small fraction of a House budget.

And from that, the WoBM was able to grow ten-fold in a decade or so, from 4 divisions at the end of the Schism to nearly 40 Militia divisions in the Jihad.  Add to that some fraction of the costs of raising the dozen or so MD divisions and some fraction of the 150 or so known Protectorate Militia divisions (really regiments).

The point being that the Blakists basically raised the equivalent of House army or two on a small fraction of a House budget.  And if the Blakists could do that, then any House should have been able to afford as reasonably large or advanced a military as it wanted at nearly any point in BT history.  So what constrained the House militaries during the depths of the Succession Wars was not economies, budgets, or cash, but available production capabilities, technology, and know-how.

Quote
Not sure I'd put the entirety of the MD budget under that as well, as the hidden worlds have been around for some time.  So they could very well have been slowly building up those stockpiles through other means.

In the Jihad, the Hidden provided cybernetic augmentation technology, an unused SLDF warship dock, and biological WMDs (I think on that last one).  And maybe some MD troops.

The Hidden did not develop or manufacture the Celestial-series omnimechs or other Blakist military vehicles and hardware.  I’m not even sure that the Hidden provided or implanted the hideously expensive cybernetic augmentations on most MD troops — I think it was just the technology.  And those two items — thousands of items of advanced multi-ton military hardware and thousands of boutique cybernetic implants — were where the big costs of raising the MD divisions came in.

The Hidden certainly did not have large populations or economies to tax or draw resources from to afford the MD’s hardware and implants.  Those resources must have come from skimming the FWL budget, HPG network profit, and Terra.
"Ah, yes.  The belle dame sans merci.  The sweet young thing who will blast your nuts off.  The kitten with a whip.  That mystique?"
"Slavish adherence to formal ritual is a sign that one has nothing better to think about."
"Variety is the spice of battle."
"I've fought in... what... a hundred battles, a thousand battles?  It could be a million as far as I know.  I've fought for anybody who offered a decent contract and a couple who didn't.  And the universe is not much different after all that.  I could go on fighting for another hundred years and it would still look the same."
"I'm in mourning for my life."
"Those who break faith with the Unity shall go down into darkness."

idea weenie

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Re: Tech creep and unit price
« Reply #13 on: 01 March 2020, 15:15:48 »
The only way I can think of is dedicated factories produce Mechs/equipment at lower costs than individual assembly.

So a PPC might cost 100,000 for a Merc unit to acquire, a factory might only pay ~25,000 to produce that PPC.

Extend that up, and your 20M C-Bill OmniMech might only cost ~5M C-Bills to produce.

Essentially, custom units (used by Merc units) cost more, while standardized units produced on an assembly line are much cheaper

It is also why factories were such a target during the Succession Wars

Col Toda

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Re: Tech creep and unit price
« Reply #14 on: 04 March 2020, 11:11:32 »
The problem is a company will sell stuff for as much as possible  .  Most military  industrial complexes  may make a price break on volume sales to governments  but not even in an open free market  they would sell to mercenary units at less than full price from the closest manufacturer  . Worth a bidding war on a government contract but not on after market sales to mercenary units . Remember  clients want mercenary  companies  to go into receivership so they buy the mercenary's hardware  on the cheap . Selling stuff cheaper than usual is counter to normal practice  and does not help company store strategies. 

BATTLEMASTER

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Re: Tech creep and unit price
« Reply #15 on: 04 March 2020, 13:34:15 »
I ignore C-bill values and just use BV as a currency.  I think C-bill values in the rulebooks have been irrelevant for a very long time with little attention paid to updating them.  My thought is that folks pay for performance, not for the actual equipment.  BV is all about performance, so I think that works perfectly for my game table instead of C-bills.
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dgorsman

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Re: Tech creep and unit price
« Reply #16 on: 04 March 2020, 15:32:30 »
BV is still constant though.  More related to your point about paying for performance, an older model Shadowhawk should be selling for "less than the sum of its parts" when newly constructed at a later date.  In part because there are more desirable models available, and in part because the parts themselves would be cheaper than they were.
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SCC

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Re: Tech creep and unit price
« Reply #18 on: 06 March 2020, 06:09:34 »
OK, you're making a very big and very wrong assumption: Mainly that C-Bills, or rather figures quoted in C-Bills, are actually worth something. The original C-Bill costs formulas where created for the Succession Wars era, specifically the 3020's and onward. Then the Clans came and those formulas got an expansion for all the new wargear and so now their good for the end of the Clan Invasion up to the start of the FCCW and probably good for the SL era. But there's two problems you see, the first is that for this new advanced equipment these prices are based on a time when they are still hard to produce (XL Fusion Engines) or still experimental prototypes (XXL Fusion Engines), as production of them improves their cost should go down, but accounting for this would mean providing a different cost for every piece of equipment across every era, and that simply not workable, so we start ignoring the C-Bill cost as it's meaningless. There's also the second problem in that C-Bill costs have a balance component to them, when Light Fusion engines where introduced in the FCCW they where priced between SFE and XL, and given that XL have been in production for 10 years now and LFE are only just entering production and never catch on that makes no sense.

Post Jihad there's other problems, there was some sort of agreement to not increase the number of 'Mech Regiments a realm had by too much, coupled with the lack lack of any major wars this mean that it was possible to spend more per 'Mech or vehicle, in fact the way the system is set up your encouraged to.

As for spammable units, well you're only looking at the list or sticker price, if you buy twice as many tanks you now have to build twice as many hangers/garages, barracks, etc. And if you're straggly is attrition based, well there are other, nastier costs, now these are just guidelines but if you're crippled in the line of duty and the army can't/won't fix it you get half-pay for life, that is you get half what you where being paid at the time for the rest of your life, and no you don't have to serve any more. If you by chance die, your widow get your pfull pay for the rest of her life. Please keep in mind that these are just guidelines, one women was still drawing checks for being the widow of the US Civil war veteran in the year 2000, more then 100 years later and the government still had to pay out.

BATTLEMASTER

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Re: Tech creep and unit price
« Reply #19 on: 06 March 2020, 06:30:15 »
Has anyone tried to adjust C-bill costs by era?  Sounds like it could be an interesting project.  And if they have the know how to compile MegaMek, unit cost calcs could be automated.
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Col Toda

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Re: Tech creep and unit price
« Reply #20 on: 06 March 2020, 07:31:48 »
SCC position  is correct  in part .

 1 During the Republic Age some reduction in absolute  numbers  of standing  militaries  caused more expensive  and effective  units to be fielded  . My contention of this come the Dark Age  when  hostilities recomence the budget to replace  lost units quickly is not there.

2 Yes XL engines  been around since 3049 but the demand  seems to only increase  in combat vehicles  while mechs increases Light Fusion Engine  use . ICE getting sidelined for Fuel Cell  and various Fusion Engines.  The XXL engine  is still very rare in mechs but only rare  in combat vehicles  as though it takes up more space it does not make the unit more vulnerable than it already is . Demand  has kept pace or falls short of supply  so price should not change .

The advent of non experimental  internal structure  permits a great reduction  of Inner Sphere  XL engines  .  And / or upgrades to CASE II and Angel ECM.  For instance  the Mauler 3S has an XL engine  put in Composite  Internal Structure  and you have the tonnage for a light fusion  engine  and thus the Normal CASE that it has is enough  to prevent an  ammo explosion from killing the mech swap locations for C3 slave and ER small laser and you are done with the tech upgrade . With the fielding  of light MG /4 Arrays in hover tanks that zoom to the ammo filled right or left side torso you can get an average  of 2 to 3 hits in a 2 or 12 roll of scoring big on KO or other situation . CASE 2 makes pilot killed by 3 ammo explosions  possible  . The gear is less hard to produce but the demand is higher so it costs the same .  Budgets may increase some still a manufacturer  discontinues  making stuff all the time if the unit price is not high enough . That is why the Toyota Echo  is not made anymore.

As for the Clans showing up most of the aftermarket stuff goes for 2 -2.8 X price in after market  sales to approved customers . With Black Market  still being 30-50 X price  . That is what the Diamond Sharks / Sea Foxes proved the market  will bear . When inner sphere starts making very limited amounts of it themselves the know what they can get for it to maximize  profits the need not compete as the demand is always higher . Yes the energy weapons are nice but a single Clan Spec Ballistic  one tends to save 3 tons for Dark Age refits .

C Bill's is a resource based abstraction and is largely fixed . While National  Currencies  fluctuate with the strength  of the Economy and Fortunes of war . That is where price  by era variables  tend to happen at the rate of exchange .
« Last Edit: 06 March 2020, 07:36:56 by Col Toda »

Daryk

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Re: Tech creep and unit price
« Reply #21 on: 06 March 2020, 17:11:19 »
Has anyone tried to adjust C-bill costs by era?  Sounds like it could be an interesting project.  And if they have the know how to compile MegaMek, unit cost calcs could be automated.
The Era Budget Modification Table on page 12 of Campaign Operations should provide a rough guideline if nothing else.

Sartris

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Re: Tech creep and unit price
« Reply #22 on: 06 March 2020, 19:23:00 »
i knew there was something like that

i'm still convinced that C-bills were really only the concern of mercs, especially with the proliferation of really expensive engines the second they were reintroduced

Brakiel

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Re: Tech creep and unit price
« Reply #23 on: 08 March 2020, 07:35:51 »
2 Yes XL engines  been around since 3049 but the demand  seems to only increase  in combat vehicles  while mechs increases Light Fusion Engine  use . ICE getting sidelined for Fuel Cell  and various Fusion Engines.  The XXL engine  is still very rare in mechs but only rare  in combat vehicles  as though it takes up more space it does not make the unit more vulnerable than it already is . Demand  has kept pace or falls short of supply  so price should not change .

There was something about this that bothered me when I first read it, and it took me all weekend to finally parse out why. This statement implies price is some immutable constant. Lets look at computers as a counterexample. The first commercially available computers like the UNIVAC I and Ferranti Mark 1 cost between 3-6 million in 2020 dollars. I think we can all agree that both supply and demand for computers have gone up astronomically since the 1950s, yet prices are obviously orders of magnitude less than what they were.

One thing I found while googling around making this post is that the definition of the Law of Supply and Demand has a very important clause somewhere that states something to the effect of "...if all other factors remain equal...". If there are shifts that affect the fundamental supply/price or demand/price curve, then there are subsequent shifts in the equilibrium price. The supply and demand curves for computers in 2020 looks radically different from the curves from 1951 because of fundamental shifts in both supply and demand. Similarly, the fact that XXL Engines start as experimental but drop to advanced by the Dark Age implies to me that genuine mass production has at least begun to happen, instead of effectively producing them by hand in the lab.

Daryk

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Re: Tech creep and unit price
« Reply #24 on: 08 March 2020, 08:39:58 »
Moore's Law makes computers a particularly bad example.

 

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