Dev Log -30: Trading
When trying to decide how to implement trading on one side I thought of what would make the most sense in the given social settings, while on the other hand I didn't want to make it too complicated or tedious to manage.
Underrail is basically a loose network of station-states (there are plenty of them, more than the player will be able to visit in this game). Though they share some common infrastructure of the metro system, most of these stations are self-governed and independent from one another.
In this environment simple exchange of items is the most natural form of trading. But also there is a place for commodity money here – such as pure water and quality food, which are no longer abundant. Growing food underground is hard work and contaminants are plentiful.
However, a number of stations have made a security/economic alliance which allows for more advanced forms of trading, such as the use of fiat money. The value of this money is guaranteed by the abovementioned alliance, but not all merchants are willing to accept it yet.
So the economy in Underrail is mixed of all three methods of trading mentioned above.
Because then there are number of ways to measure item value, each item (or stack of items) will have its value listed in the tooltip in a form of fiat money it is objectively worth. This will allow the player to know which items relative worth to one another, for example.
On the trading interfaces, however, I decided not to put the sum of these values for offered and requested items, but instead use a slider (the break-even point that separates the acceptable and unacceptable trade can shift to one or the other side to indicate the merchant's reaction, the middle is the default reaction). The main reasons for this are that I don't want to clog up the interface and (back to what I said at the start of this post) I don't want to make it look complicated. It's not set in stone, though, so I might change my mind later.