Our Approach to Building an Open World Economy

Oct 18 · 6 min read

Hello everyone, we’re not just creating a new video game — we’re trying to do something that stands out from other games — especially other open world and online games. Gameplay, art style and even, gulp, how we ask you to spend money in Project C is something we’re trying to do from a new perspective.

We’ve gotten a lot of questions since we released the Visionary Founder’s Pack. So we wanted to explain what we’re trying to accomplish with our in-game economy and why we’ve taken a different approach from some other games.

So to start, we’re sharing our philosophy and set of principles for how we are building a truly dynamic open world in-game economy.

We have three priorities and these are very important to us. We want Project C to offer an accessible, fair and player-driven economy. We’ll talk about each of these as an independent principle but together, that’s why we are developing a free-to-play game. It’s also why we’re opting for a single currency economy, which should make things clear and fully accessible.

Our first priority is to make sure a wide audience including age, platform, location, and playstyle, can access Project C. The world we design and build is intended to support a big community of active and passionate players: whether you have a lot of time in your hands or not, your actions will contribute to the virtual society. We want everyone who is interested in Project C to be able to play the game; that’s why Project C is embracing a free-to-play model.

Our second priority is to ensure the game is fair for our players. Supporting us by investing in our game will help you kickstart your career and gameplay, customize your character, but the game we’re building goes way beyond item collection. We’ll be balancing the impact items have against the experience to allow everyone — paying or non-paying players — to have fun and being able to collaborate and compete without missing out on gameplay and activities.

Our third priority is creating a player-driven economy. The nature of our virtual world and our development philosophy revolves around creating tools for players to create their own path and career inside the game. Our in-game economy relies on the same set of principles: open ended, transparent, and driven by the community. This is why we think a single currency system makes the most sense for our game: simple, transparent, and controlled by the community of players. We’ll explain why in this next section.

On the project’s vision and emergent objectives:
You are a settler in a sci-fi world and you’ll be collaborating with other players to build a new civilization. In this gigantic virtual world, you’ll be a part of a complex society of players who want the thrill of adventure in a new and rich universe.

The systems we design and develop are built for emergent player stories. We’re simulating the life of a settler helping build a new civilization, with choices entirely driven by the community; Project C is, at its core, a collaboration-driven game. In a persistent universe where the social experience is the focal point, how you approach competition and cooperation is up to you; the sheer notion of “winning” is relative, just as success means different things for different people. Your experience will be based on how you set up your own objectives and how they interact with the objectives of your in-game friends. So if you’re hyper-competitive and want to build the best settlement in the game, you’re going to go find like-minded players to work together and achieve it. If you’re more of an explorer, who wants to see all Corvus has to offer and have little interest in city life, you’ll want to find fellow explorers to swap stories (or equipment) with to live your best adventurer life.

On progression systems:
How we approach our progression systems is a major part of the huge challenge that represents the economy design for Project C.

We feel it’s important to share with you how it’s going to work, and how the game economy will impact the main components of progression: items, specialization, organization.

  1. Items
  • Items and gadgets will be a big part of the game experience and yes, these will be either craftable or purchasable from another player.
  • However, the most powerful items won’t grow exponentially in power; just like real life, the most expensive, valuable items reveal themselves only to a community of experts and masters.
  • To take a real life example, you can start learning to play guitar on a $3000 piece, but it’s not necessarily worth the price when you’re just starting out.
    Items will be a major part of the in-game economy.

2. Specialization

  • How good can you become at something relies on a few factors: time investment, discipline, talent, and mentorship.
  • There are many specializations available on Corvus, and one player cannot possibly master all of them.
    Mastering the right specialties will be greatly rewarded in the game’s Contracts system.
  • Specialization will be a major part of the player-to-player dynamics.

3. Organization

  • “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” This rings particularly true in our world where collaboration plays a huge part of the experience: you might be rich and be particularly good at something, but to achieve the biggest accomplishments in the game, you will need help from friends and allies. The group you choose to build or be a part of is going to be one of the major components for your progression and success in the virtual world.
  • Organization will be a major factor of the player-to-player dynamics.

What is Project C’s business model?
Project C is a free-to-play game with a single currency system based on real-life money.

How is Project C being funded?
A mix of public and private investments.

How much control do you exercise over the in-game currency?
The in-game currency will be tied to real life economy and we will make sure to keep it under control. How currency flows between players, however, is up to the community — as long as our terms of service are respected.

What will you do if there’s massive inflation or deflation of the economy?
We design our economy systems to prevent against massive inflation or deflation of the in-game currency. The rest of the economy related to resources, goods and services will be subject to the free in-game market dynamics: offer, demand and local economies will dictate rates of all game content.

Why a single currency system?
We feel it makes things transparent for players: with one single currency, you can purchase all the content in the game. This currency can be converted from real money or earned in game. There is no hard wall between any content you will see in the game.

Why not only monetizing cosmetic elements of the game?
We’re building a virtual world, and for us, valuables need to go beyond cosmetic components. We want to create a world where items have a real value beyond the game; emotional and factual.

Can I convert in-game currency to real world money?
Yes, as you can sell you in-game currency to other players in exchange of real money.

How much of an advantage do paying players get over “free” players?
Access to in-game currency will kickstart your progression and enable you to be more efficient rapidly, but ultimately, your place in Project C’s society will be determined by your group of friends, allies, and your competence within one or several specializations. And for these, the economy will have a minor impact over the game experience.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade