Simulated stock market games.
March 28, 2004 7:34 PM   Subscribe

I've been fascinated for a while with stiff like and the ill-fated DARPA terrorism futures market, and got to thinking about building a fake, toy futures market. There are systems out there that simulate markets, but they're either simple portfolio charters or they have randomly wobbling shares. I'm much more interested in valuations created by groups of users gaming on the outcome of real events.

Ideally, as I'm very lazy, someone will have written one of these already, but I've googled away and had no joy. It could be me not knowing the lingo used to describe these things.

Failing this can anybody recommend a framework to work within? I'm thinking of something (probably the usual php/mysql) with e-mail/users/password recovery etc. built in for me to start from. Maybe the toy market would be best developed as a plug in to something?

I've been thinking about a pen and paper version, but I'm not sure how to merge the fact that pen and paper lets you have cool tokens with the liquidity you need for a market.

As for a code version I'm happy drawing charts etc. but if there was a way to have more work done for me, that would definitely be good. Also if it gets to a give-awayable state, people could be referred to the help for the existing system when fighting mysql / php issues.

Thanks in advance mighty meta brain.
posted by Flat Feet Pete to Grab Bag (5 answers total)
This one has been around forever in internet time.
posted by anathema at 8:08 PM on March 28, 2004

Response by poster: I'd forgotten that one. I remember seeing their ticker in hollywood and being intrigued. They seem to be running in a closed system tho.
posted by Flat Feet Pete at 8:54 PM on March 28, 2004

You could contact the people at the Iowa Electronic Markets. Their software *might* be open-source, but probably isn't, but they might be willing to put you on the right track if nothing else.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:25 PM on March 28, 2004

If you can take advantage of existing community software and develop this as a plugin, you're ahead on user-management, so that would be a good idea.

I don't know that much about this subject, but I have a counter-question: if you've got people trading fantasy shares in real companies, at some point there's going to be a significant reality-gap. If speculation in your virtual market would have caused the company to act differently in the real world than it actually is acting, won't that undermine the value of your project?
posted by adamrice at 6:04 AM on March 29, 2004

Response by poster: thanks xeno, I've fired off a mail.

The aim's mainly to have a system where people are motivated (via the game) to produce a probability for future discrete events. I think this was partially the aim of the DARPA futures market. Phone interviews and the written word can be awkward when it comes to prioritizing things as a result. If you make a market people are subtly forced to quantify their opinions. A market also rewards people who get stuff right, so the fake currency flows towards the most useful people, hopefully creating a kind of positive feedback. if you look at tradesports you'll see they trade on who's going to win american idol and the like.
posted by Flat Feet Pete at 9:35 AM on March 29, 2004

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