Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The Spice (Beans) Must Flow

The other day I did a detailed analysis of Chicken Eggs vs. Fruit Beans, but there is another competitor on the field that is worth mentioning: Spice Beans.

Using the same kind of analysis we can determine the cost of making a spice bean is:
28.8 currants (36 energy)
58.5 currants (9 plain bubbles)
28 currants (4 general vapour)
28 currants (4 carrots from the vendor)
6 currants (1 bean)

For a total of 149.3 currants.  The return you get is only 172 imagination or 184 currants of value.  So your profit is only 34.7 currants.  This takes less time than the spice beans at only 3.75 seconds but that's still a very low return of 9.25 currants per second.

If you gather the materials yourself then you only have to pick up 14 tree ingredients but you still have to pay for the carrots, so that drops the cost to 56.8, increasing your profit to 115.2 and your time to 8.6 seconds.  So still only 12.4 currants per second.

There was a time I made spice beans because my intuition told me that using things with vendor purchased ingredients was going to be better than things without them.  Unfortunately that intuition did not carry from chicken eggs to spice beans, and fruit beans are better if you like beats.

Now you could reasonably ask why I'm not doing this analysis for every bean and egg, but there are pretty good intuitive reasons why we know it won't come out in their favor, and I'll talk about those after the break.

When the developers made the game they assigned different values to different tree ingredients: 1 for beans and cherries, 2 for bubbles, 3 for allspice, 5 for eggs and general vapour.  But there is no real difference in generating these resources.  Until home streets it was harder to get spice, eggs and gas than beans, cherries and bubbles because there were far fewer patches in the world that could grow them.  With resource routes as far as I can tell I think gas might be the easiest of all the resources to collect, or at least it is effectively tied for easiest.

That means that all resources have the same cost to generate (same energy and time to harvest from a tree) and they have the same availability (not quite, but the difference is not very important and doesn't favor the cheaper ones).  That means that they are all worth about the same amount right now.

But when a recipe called for cherries, beans or bubbles it calls for far more of them than when a recipe calls for gas or allspice.  After all, if they put in a cooking dish that takes 12 cherries to make then that's only 12 currants worth of ingredients.  If it took 12 allspice to make then that's 36 currants worth of ingredients.

This is why bean tree beans take 9 allspice and 2 gas (4 gas less than a fruit tree bean) but also take 12 cherries (which at this point have essentially the same value as gas).  So there is no way it's going to compete.  A gas plant bean takes 10 bubbles and 8 allspice (list value 44) plus a beer compared to the 8 gas and 10 allspice for a chicken egg (list value 70) but in reality you get to buy that allspice in garlic form and that gas isn't harder to gather than the bubbles so the egg takes *less* ingredients.

I did try butterfly eggs but it turns out that if you buy the ingredients they cost more to make than you get out of them, and if you gather the ingredients you make less than 10 currants per second.  Bubble tree beans were also a flop.  I can't see any of the others even having a chance.


  1. That title made my night. Thanks ;)

  2. I'm a bit late to this blog post but you have assumed you buy the carrots.

    What if you grow them?

  3. I'm a bit late getting to this comment. I did assume that you buy the carrots at the vendor, but it turns out that spice beans don't really compete even if the carrots are free. Since growing them definitely costs something it's not going to change the outcome.

    In general, though, I do assume that things are purchased when that is an option. I've never done an analysis of crops, and maybe I should.