Thoughts on designing the bank loans system

I know that right now the game hits a very frustrating and sudden BANG when you run out of money :smiley: Obviously this is neither fun nor realistic :smiley:

I’ve done some work on a basic bank-loans system for the game, which you can see the current GUI for below. The numbers are no way final, nor is the design, but I wanted to ask people their opinions on how loans should work, and be presented.

My thinking was to have loans always available, and periodically loans that were not taken by the player would be removed and new ones with different terms would appear. The interest rates, terms and amounts would be pretty variable.
I guess that ideally, and realistically, interest rates should rise if you already have existing loans. I’ve already coded it so rates are higher on larger amounts.

Something that obviously looks weird is the idea of loans only being for short periods (maybe 20 days), which sounds crazy in real life, but obviously the game is running in a sort of accelerated time-frame anyway.

GUI-wise, loans that are accepted should probably also have a pay-back progress bar? I’ve already added the repayments as a new category undert the finance expenses pie chart.

What are your thoughts?

I like the idea that you buy a loan and you pay interest + extra, so that after a certain time your loan will be payed off automatically. This also means you can’t buy out the loan sooner, so it’s a careful choice you need to make when you take a loan as you will be stuck with it for a while.
And perhaps have the bank determine the value of your factory. The more machines etc you have, the more valuable the factory is and the higher the loan you can get.
Maybe add in an option to select how long you want to run the loan for. Like choose to have the loan run longer, so your monthly loans costs will be lower, but you end up paying more for the loan in total.

Ah I was going to ask about loans. Glad to see your already on it.

The idea of loans in game is definitely a good idea. At this point I think most of us have been at that point of panic when our cash runs low that it would be nice to use as a saving grace or alternatively to finish that huge factory you had been building but forgot to budget it out.

The progress bar is a good idea. Maybe as the loan due date draws near you can have a pop up warning the player to pay up.

Having loans unlocked from the start would allow players to use them right away which could be nice, but you could (depending on how much financial features you put in) have an Accounting department room that unlocks those features.

Yup, it did occur to me that it should be locked behind research ‘administration’ or somesuch, but then you probably want loan access at the start more than later, so that may be self defeating?

Maybe access to larger or better interest rate loans can be research while a basic (potentially high interest rate) loan is always available.

Yeah, good to see that this featur will be implemented now.

I agree, the amount of money you can get should be limited to the value of your business. E.g. the amount of money you can get when demolishing all slots + the amount of cash you still have - outstanding loans.
To make it a bit more transparent I prefer to have a summary (actual value of the business, total outstanding amount, next payment rate) and available offers below.

I also would like to see how much money a bank would give me so I can decide how much I want to take. It means having two sliders per offer: one for the term and a second one for the amount. Regarding the both selections the interest rate may vary: long term will make it cheaper and a higher amount will make it more expensive.
This would result in a basic interest rate and bonus or malus regarding % of the amount taken and if term as per offer.

Hmm, at this point I’m a bit undecided. On one hand a graphic indicator per loan would be nice but on the other hand I’ld like to have a summarized chart of the payments by day to see when the payback gets less or ends.

Yep, this would allow very challenging missions or even speed up the expansion even with a tight budget on start.

This is a great idea even it is vice versa to the idea having this feature unlocked at start. Both are suitable for me :slight_smile:
And: It’s one of the things I’m thinking about: Having slots to build a single time to gain either features (like loans) or boosts (like better energy handling at a facility management).

So, waiting for the next update :slight_smile:

Edit: Maybe a compromise could be unlock it via research but make it available at the financial crash splash screen. This would require research but would give players once a second chance …

I think the game handles quite well with the rebalancing changes you made. I think if you’re going to with loans, the interest rates should be rather high until you do some research to get better rates on loans. I would also like some slider bar to control how quickly each loan is paid back. The slower it is paid, the more interest you end up paying on top of the loan though.

I like the idea of loans. Maybe your corporation could have a credit score. At the start, you have a terrible score because you have no credit history. You’d have to sign up for what equates to one of those terrible credit cards college students in the US are offered to “help” them. As you successfully build and deliver more cars, your credit worthiness would improve, and banks might be more willing to offer you more favorable loans. At some point you’ll stop wanting stuff from the banks, you’ll be able to bankroll whatever you want on your own with cash. Maybe to keep them relevant, the banks can start investing in your company via stocks or something? Maybe that’s overkill and will take it from a game to boring economics…

What you have laid out seems quite agreeable to me

I think that available loans should actually depend on the net worth of your entire factory/company.

So at start banks will give you only a small risk loan to help your startup, they wouldn’t risk handing out 5M in cash to a startup that might fail.

With other words your factory worth (all the assets + cash) is something like a guarantee… and greater factory worth makes banks more eager to give you a larger loan. So the size of the loans will scale proportionally with the size of your factory… which is only realistic.

But I also agree that there should be some sort of research… like your lawyers and marketing and economy freaks trying to pursuade banks to better deals… with lower interests and such.

Hello all,

Have you considered a grant system, where you get a money incentive for improving part of your production line ? Maybe this could be tied in with some sort of progression system later down the line with cars needing more parts to be fit for the road (like ABS brakes).

I find this sort of system to be more fun and rewarding than straight loan mechanics, although maybe there could be both.

I like this idea! It means that while in the beginning, you can get a loan (but it’ll be quite expensive.)

I would also think that if there was a way to pay it early (or you were just able to pay more than the “suggested amount”), your next loan percent could be lowered a little bit.

Maybe this will bring a difficulty starting setting for a new game. The starting capital would include 20% of loans for easy, 60% for medium and 100% for hard.

Somehow I disfavor grants in logistic games like Production Line.

Grants may work well for games like Prison Architect, where the Prison is subsidized by the state/government… but in private market industry business there is no one giving you money just for reaching a certain goal.

So Loans are definitely the more realistic approach to business economies and have been in such games ever since I can remember.

Grants could work in certain ways.
Like having a self sustaining factory with little to no influence on the environment. Making green cars, using renewable resources etc.

Ah, yeah… haven’t thought that far… but it’s true… some countries give companies a tax relief or are otherwise subsidized for meeting certain clean/safety standards…

… but it would also go the other way around. Some countries are trying to ban certain things and are heavily penalizing the continued usage of outdated standards. Those companies have to pay fines or even more tax than what’s standard to encourage them to move to newer standards.

Well, well… you convinced me… I think that could be an additional part of the game that drives the player to move away from dirty/dangerous, early products to clean/safe, high end products.

My idea is actually mostly inspired from Prison Architect yes, where the grants both encouraged you to explore the game and complete aspects of your prison you may not have done yet.

At first I was actually with you (grants make less sense for private than government stuff) but then I thought of things like carbon emission reduction programs, and also the fact that maybe you’re not playing as Ford but actually as a brand new car company that does benefit from local or state programs to start up a new business.

I’m still not convinced I prefer either loans, grants, or both, but I figured it was worth adding ideas to the pool. :slight_smile:

Ok I’ve written some more code as I experiment with this. here is the new algorithm:

When a new loan becomes available, the bank estimates the value of your company based on:

The refund value of all your production slots (ignoring conveyors)
The refund value of all of your facilities (like research etc)
50% off the fair value of every car, assuming its a complete car. (some will be nearly finished, some less so, so this is an approximation).

The banks will lend you between 25% and 75% of the value of your assets on this basis, with an interest rate that ranges between currently 2 and 6% and a term between 7 and 21 days.
I haven’t tested those numbers at all yet!

But I agree that scaling the loan amount by factory value was a good idea.

I think it would be good to have an option for a revolving line of credit as is common in many businesses to fund inventory. This would tke care of the “short term” loans you mentioned as this money would only be used as needed and paid back as quickly as possible.

Also, the interest rates you mentioned seem quite loq for business loans, especially for a startup.

If you take out a loan, repaying it should automatically become a prerequisite for finishing the level - within a reasonably quick timeframe. Possibly it should also stop you being able to do some things - though what those things are would need to be worked out. A bank isn’t going to give you a lot of money in the real world unless you have a solid business plan - I’m not sure that that could be accurately represented though.