Change: Always apply inflation from 1920 to 2090, no matter the game start year. #7589
Motivation / Problem
With inflation dependent on the game start year, the cost of a new vehicle in the year X can be £100, £10000, or £1000000. This makes balancing costs for NewGRF sets mostly impossible.
Authors deal with mostly in two ways: Either completely ignore inflation and only balance for inflation off. Or balance against inflation starting at a specific year.
As NewGRF sets are not balanced for a variable inflation start anyway, this PR fixes the inflation period to a known value so there is a consistent target to balance against.
As income is also affected by inflation, the starting difficulty increases with the starting year. With well balanced sets, this should be managable.
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While i generally think this is a step in the right direction, i think it falls short on so many levels.
Inflation is meant as a factor that drives the difficulty forward as the game goes on, so that the player is forced to adapt to new technologies and optimize the network to stay profitable.
But forcing this divergence of income vs costs onto a newly started game makes it unnecessarily difficult.
A better approach IMHO would be to always apply the same inflation to costs, but make the difficulty setting about the income divergence. the divergence then would start being applied after game start only, while the price inflation would be consistently applied at the base game year, perhaps even further back, if we introduce fractional currency?
Also, i think applying the divergence should stop at the moment no new vehicles get introduced (the point where the reliability curve gets frozen), not at the "original" end year. maybe even a more dynamic inflation divergence based on the vehicle progression
Would it be possible to separate the inflation rate setting into as much as 7 different settings? If so, here are my proposed settings:
This would separate loan interest from inflation and provide customization about the income divergence and initial inflation, on top of the existing inflation rate customizability. This would allow you to make the game easier or harder at the start with finer cost adjustments then what even the Basecosts NewGRF can provide, as well as allow you to simulate deflation (such as during recessions), high inflation (like in the USA during the 1970's), or even mild hyperinflation by changing the inflation rates and therefore financial difficulty curve.
Note that splitting the settings like this would make the inflation toggle obsolete, as instead the inflation rate could be set to 0 to disable inflation (or loan interest to 0 to disable that, if you will).
When converting old savegames, the settings should be set as follows.
Note that you could still increase the maximum value for the initial/maximum inflation factor another 32 times, up to 32767. This "inflation cap" value is defined in
Modest proposal: remove inflation.
If we want increasing vehicle run costs over time, newgrf authors can take care of that themselves.
To avoid derailing this PR further general inflation discussion is moved to #8429 (thanks)
If inflation as a whole is removed completely, then would it be possible to extend the precision of each of the BaseCosts values so as to allow greater precision in changing the base costs (via BaseCosts NewGRF or a similar setup)? For example: