Elemental: Internal debates made external

By on May 23, 2009 2:59:28 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
+1107

So how complicated (as internal critics put it) or sophisticated (as internal advocates put it) should the Elemental economic system be?

We have the code in for handling a pretty sophisticated/complicated economic engine.  But the debate is, is the system sophisticated? Or just complicated.

Let me give you the arguments of each camp.

 

Camp #1: “Sophisticated”

1. Everything in Elemental is a resource. Food, metal, swords, armor, horses, you  name it. 

2. Resources can be processed into other resources.  Iron Ore into a Sword.

3. Part of the fun of the game would be running a proper empire (or letting AI governors take care of it). 

Example:

A mine is built on an iron resource. The mine produces 10 units of iron ore per turn. That iron ore is then directed to go to the city of Torgeto where a blacksmith is able to produce 5 swords per turn. The unused iron ore is stored in a warehouse that can store up to 100 units of iron ore.

Those swords can be directed to be shipped to various other places (with sliders or other UI  means to determine what ratio goes where). 

In some of those places, the swords are issued to soldiers. In other places, the swords are sent to an alchemist workshop who, taking potions that have been shippped in from Wellford which in turn had taken Aeoronic crystal mined in another town to turn into those potions.  The resulting magical swords are then shipped out to various places with the player (or governor) able to control the ratio in which they are shipped.

Caravans appear on the map to show the items being shipped. If those caravans are attacked, the items are lost.

image

 

Camp #2: “Simple and Fun”

image

1. There are only natural resources (food, iron, crystal, horses, etc.).

2. When a natural resource is controlled, the player assigns that resource to a specific town.

3. Only that town can make use of it. Towns that don’t have a resource assigned it cannot build units that require those resources.

Example:

Unlike camp 1, there are no ratio sliders to mess with. A resource is assigned to a particular town. That makes certain towns more strategic than others and a lot less micro management.  On the other hand, it means that there will be many towns that can only build weaker units.   Players can research technologies that increase the base (weaker) unit that cities can build over time but some cities will simply be more important than others.

Caravans would still flow from the natural resource to the target town and if those caravans are attacked, the enemy player gains a bonus and the victim player would get a penalty to their production until the next caravan arrives.

The Argument

Camp 1 argues that a lot of fun can be had in putting together ever more sophisticated and specialized items. If natural resources can be processed into new resources that can in turn be processed again and again and again, you can reward players who might be able to equip elite crack soldiers with very rare but very powerful weapons and armor.

Camp 2 argues that while some people would enjoy that, it would result in a lot of people who would find that system burdensome and turn them off to the game entirely. It also says that those who do like the camp 1 system would still be satisfied with camp 2 where those who like camp 2 would probably be totally turned off if the camp 1 system were used.  In addition, they argue that Elemental has so much other “stuff” to it (sophisticated diplomacy, tactical battles, quests, etc.) that many players might find they have to rely on AI governors which would put a heavy burden on having really “smart” AI.

Now personally, I could go either way.  I do like the idea of players having to choose certain towns that are absolutely strategic.  But I also like the idea of being able to have “processed” manufacturing that can keep specializing things until you get some rare but very valuable things.

On the other hand, I’m also worried that a complex system could turn out to fall apart in actual practice (the user interface for it would have to be incredibly good) and then we’d be stuck having to go to camp 2 late in development.

What do you think?

 

UPDATE: 5/21/2009

Camp #3: The Merchant

image

 

Today we looked at the feedback from here and Quarter to Three and came up with a way that may satisfy both camps and increases the fun overall. 

1. Everything is a resource.

2. Resources can be processed into other resources (iron to swords, crops to food, crystal to potions).

3. Resources are sent automatically to other towns based on the resource needs of that town. No micromanagement, no AI.

4. The fun of this portion of the game would be in watching your empire grow organically.

Example:

There are no ratios to set. If I build a town with a blacksmith, then one presumes I did that because I want to produce stuff that requires a blacksmith. If I build (or upgrade) more blacksmiths, then one presumes this town is a place where I want to crank out a lot of stuff.

Similarly, if I build a town with multiples barracks it presumes I am trying to train soldiers which means that stuff should be shipped there, particularly if I’m in the process of building a particularly type of soldier.

Caravans (which aren’t player controlled) send out regular shipments of resources to the various towns.  When these shipments arrive, they’re available for use on demand or, if the town has a warehouse, they are stored.

When players design a unit, they choose a category of weapon and that category of weapon (whether in the field or in a warehouse) will automatically upgrade as my tech gets better.  A short sword doesn’t become a long sword or anything like that. But A short sword would automatically become a better short sword if I research tech that improves is in order to remove the complexity of having to “upgrade” units.  However, the cost of keeping a soldier in the field will be fairly high and since soldiers come from population, there’s a real down side to keeping throngs of soldiers idle.

In addition, by building roads, my caravans will arrive a lot quicker (3X faster).  Similarly, I have to keep my supply lines secure.

This also opens the door for a lot more trading. Rather than just having “food” you can have “crops”.  Crops are processed into food and can be traded with other civilizations or used by special buildings (Inns, restaurants, etc.) to increase prestige (which adds to influence).

It also allows players to have the game be very simple (just keep everything local) or highly sophisticated (have weaponry go through multiple processes – a magic sword processed by a Aereon Forge doubles its damage. The town with the Aereon forge is the one that would get on the priority list of magic swords and the Aereon blades produced would be sent to the town with the barracks that is producing your “Night Guard” or whatever you call your designed unit.

But in this way, there’s no real UI other than providing players the ability to close down shops in a city or expedite their priority to get more stuff sent to them. The player remains the king/emperor and not a logistics manager but at the same time is the architect for success of their kingdom’s economy if they so choose.

UPDATE: 5/23/2009

Camp #4: Quarter To Three concept

Having read a lot of posts both here and QuarterToThree we’ve thought of another way to do it that might be interesting.

1. Everything is a resource.

2. Resources can be processed into other resources.

3. Controlling a resource automatically makes it available throughout your empire at a basic level. The more resources you control, the more that basic level is provided.

4. If there is a road to a city that connects you to where the resource is provided, that city gets a bonus amount of that resource.

5. Cities can build improvements that have caravans deliver bonus amounts of that resource to that city from the source.

6. Cities can optionally build warehouses whose only affect is that they can store caravan deliveries for later use. I.e. if I’m not currently building death knights, I can store caravans of “stuff” so that when I do build them, I instantly get the bonus at that point.

Example:

I want my army to be filled with trained knights who have plate mail, steel swords, plate helmets, etc.  Those things are expensive. If I control an iron deposit, I can build them though any town with a barracks. Let’s say it will take 30 turns to create that unit.  10 of those turns is the training of the soldier and the other 20 is the production of the equipment.  If I control 2 iron deposits, that production is knocked down to 18. If I have a road that connects this town to the the iron resource (directly or indirectly) then I can knock it down another turn for each resource.

I can also build a blacksmith shop. By doing this, caravans will be sent from the iron resource production area to the town with the armory. When that caravan arrives, it will reduce the time even further.

Similarly, if I want to make a magic sword that requires Aegeon crystal to be turned into a magic potion then as soon as I build 1 Alchemist lab in any town, then any town can build magic swords at a base level.  If I build 2 alchemist labs, I won’t get any further bonus unless I control more than 1 Aegeon crystal.

So basically, it’s a much simpler system that provides fairly straight forward bonuses for players who want to create a more sophisticated economy.

565 Replies +2
Search this post
Subscription Options


Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2009 6:14:27 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

first!

anyway, I'd prefer

Camp #1: “Sophisticated”   

especially since it is single player focused, I like the meat and potatoes of a game !!!!!!! make me think how stuff works and then let me optimize the process and make it efficient as possible!

In the end we all should realize Elemental is not going to be a casual game, there are too many casual games as it is.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2009 6:17:13 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

3. Part of the fun of the game would be running a proper empire (or letting AI governors take care of it).
I kinda like the sound of Camp 1. Especially when running a smaller game.

If there were sophisticated AI able to take care of this though, it could work much better. Say you train several soldiers that are to be equipped with said magic swords. You could manage the production yourself, or you could let the AI decide.You have to find and set up the mines, and get the shops and such set up still. I mean in that things automatically get mined and shipped around to the correct areas. The game just tells you how long it will take.

This leaves a lot caravans and such vulnerable to attack and a need to expand and control your empire, and less micro than doing everything yourself. Especially in those big games. Might give an extra incentive to take the diplomatic route. Or spy and see what they're up to.

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2009 6:19:36 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I am also in favor of the "Sophisticated" (Camp 1) approach.

It seems to me that something like the simple economy could be accomplished with a game option that when toggled on would simply force players to choose one destination.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2009 6:26:22 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I say develop Camp 1's plan, and simplify as result of feedback from the Testers.  Perhaps there's a mid-ground the 2 camps can meet at that Beta Tester's feedback will tell you.

It's better to simplify the gameplay then make it more in depth through the testing process.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2009 6:30:48 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I'm in for camp 1 as well. It seems to me that the picture you put up is needlessly overcomplicated, though.

Why couldn't you forge the ore into swords, and have the alchemist and the crystals he needs shipped to the same town? It doesn't need to be an intricate web, but what it allows is for the player to create production hubs that could then ship the whatever finished good (normal sword, or magic sword) to any other town the player owns and then that town can equip its units with it?

The main thing I don't like about camp 2 is that with that system, as you expand your empire your border towns are the ones that are going to suffer the most, because you naturally assign resources to your good-at-the-time towns. But whereas a goods shipping system allows you to easily direct the flow of goods, a straight resource asignment system instead has you marching armies long distances. And, having played Empire: Total War, let me tell you how much of a pain that is.

Honestly, I think one of the best thing for your internal discussions would be to play a Grand Campaign game in E:TW, and observe the yuckiness of having to wait so many turns for your reinforcements to get to the main army.

With camp 1's system, you could have a steady flow of goods to the town you need, and can quickly and efficiently train units out of it.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2009 6:33:24 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I like the camp 1 approach but if transport requires substantial time I'd like to see a sort of "Xpress" mail caravan, maybe with ponies (space ponies?) and a light escort so more essential items (swords EG) could move quickly and safely when needed at a charge.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2009 6:35:38 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

To add to my previous statement (I just said it in IRC):

I'd rather have the depth and tell them "this needs to be easier" then have it too easy and get bored of the game quickly.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2009 6:36:58 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting CaesarsGhost,
To add to my previous statement (I just said it in IRC):

I'd rather have the depth and tell them "this needs to be easier" then have it too easy and get bored of the game quickly.

I concur.

It's much easier going from complex > simpler than simpler > complex.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2009 6:39:00 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Make it optional. People start with the easy way. Later they can put everything = resource on and create enhanced things.

Otherwise, use the beta to find out what is most fun. A a and b part of a beta. In part a, the simple way. in part b the enhanced way. Run both after each other for a month. Then evaluate. what sounds fun on paper can turn out to be a burdon.

Maybe even without advanced ai to start with, just all by hand. It would start as an advanced spreadsheet to start with.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2009 6:47:39 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

why not a hybrid:  Only natural resources can be shipped to varying cities (based on a slider).  So you still have to have the ability to process aid resource, but you can have it going to multiple sites.  Say have 90% going to a front line base for standard units, and 10% going to your alchemical base for your +5 sword of doom.

 

Barring that, I prefer method 1.  I'd like suggest a "push" method where the town that makes the swords in this example chooses the cities it wants to send it's swords to, keeping the UI tidy.  When you go to select a city to receive resources, among other options, I'd like the option of going to the mini map and choosing a city (browse option).

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2009 6:49:36 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I like camp 1. I'm also a fan of simplified but I don't think it should go as simple as camp 2, so I am saying Camp 1 - which I assume will be scaleable in how we choose how many resources we want active in our games. 

For example, my mod I am not thinking of silly magics so I can remove resources like mana crystals or whatever have you.

 

Best option would be to provide both with the scaleability thing I mentioned

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2009 6:50:02 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

My vote is for "Sophisticated" as well, it reminds me of the system in Colonization, except with an actual point to processing the items.

Though I would suggest setting it up such that you can automate the creation of caravans whilst training units. meaning, if i decide to train a unit in city A then (if the goods are not available) a pop-up appears telling me what goods are required and offering to set up the required caravans.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2009 6:53:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 

Because of the way the two options were described I am leaning towards “Simple but Fun”. 

If only a few towns can make more powerful units these units would be special and have feel like more of an accomplishment (and more important) to me. I would also place more important on one of these towns because as mentioned in FB's post, these towns would be more strategic. 

I prefer strategy instead of micro management, and I'm not seeing precisely what turns this micro-management into a more sophisticated strategy than the 'simple' system. The Sophisticated system itself might be more complex, but that alone doesn't make it strategic. Which brings me to my next point. If the resource system is as complex as described for the “Sophisticated” game then I will probably end up governing everything anyway, which seems ironic to me, given how much more development effort it sounds like it would take to implement -- only to have the entire system delegated to the computer to manage.

I sort of have a personal rule when it comes to TBS games, if you need a governor for something, the feature wasn't implemented right.

I'm not sure how much of this game is going to center around resource management, but when it comes to such things sometimes I prefer a “Less is More” approach, so I can go off and do other things without feeling like I need to delegate everything to keep the game moving along.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2009 7:00:29 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

^  The problem with the simple method is that it's all or nothing.  You're going to have all your good resources (iron and crystals in this case) routed to your 1 city, while all # (10? 100? 1000?) get nothing.  This will of course depend on the number of deposits, but it could quickly turn into a game making 1 knight and 1000 disposable infanty a turn.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2009 7:03:43 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

  System 1 is Colonization.  That system worked well in Colonization because that was the heart of the game.  There wasn't an elaborate military game (battles were typically shorter and against fixed enemies), and most importantly it didn't have the scale of time and change to deal with.

  A turn based strategy game needs to have deep mechanics to work with.  But it needs to decide where its core is.  In Colonization it was in the economy, so resource management, resource transport and such made sense.  If that is goign to be the core of Elemental then go for it.  But I suspect that Elemental is going to be focusing on units and combat.  That is where you want your complexity, and other systems should be as elegant as possible.  Give me lots of unit promotions, upgrades, equipment and spells to play with.  Leave a realistic economy to other games.

  I also think that in general public responce to an issue like this is going to be one sided.  In general when only considering a specific system people will prefer as much depth and complexity as possible (as long as its not crazy).  We aren't able to judge the cost of that complexity against the rest of the system.

  Lastly I'll say that I think there is probably a better system out there than either of the 2 systems you offered.  If the theme of Elemental is in your ability to change the world it may be worth considering allowing your resources to gradually change over time as well.  In the begining they could start by producing a thin trickle of resources just to the local city, but over time they could grow to massive mines/farms/etc that have much higher production rates and support multiple cities.  These improved resources would be jealously guarded by the empires that control them and make one civilizations gold mine right next to his capital so much more valuable than a new mine that has just been opened up at the edge of an empire.

  The difference is this idea feeds into the wargaming aspect of the mod.  If you want it about armies and wars then adopt a resource system that rewards that plays into that system, not one that has its own system.  It isnt any more management than the simple system as you described it, but you have a lot of strategic depth (without complexity).

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2009 7:04:54 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Make it optional.

I'd like to see that just for breadth of audience, but it seems like a notion that would have a Camp 3 behind it if it were viable. Then again, I'm not a coder.

Vote-wise, I'm already long on board with Camp 1, and I'd like to crit one of the objections to it from Camp 2. Why would you necessarily have less 'strategic' towns just because you have more options for distributing and using resources? There's still the matter of keeping caravan routes safe and building the improvements necessary to refine different resources. I can easily imagine having some semi-specialized communities under either scenario.

It also seems like doing something to maintain wild spaces and/or limit the number of pop centers would help make the Camp 1 scenario less micro-intensive and more 'strategic.' That map in the OP looks about as crowded as I'd like to see at the end of a long game (maybe too crowded), but there's no turn counter in view so we can tell if that's early, mid-, or late-game.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2009 7:05:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Hmm, all these camp 1 people have me worried because, just as you mentioned, I think I'd be put off enough by micromanging my empire that I wouldn't be interested. I want to play a 4x game, not a fantasy version of Railroad Tycoon II where I get coal, then iron, then create metal, which I ship to some location to refine, etc. Not that Railroad Tycoon II isn't a great game, it's just not the game I want in Elemental.

That said, I think there's room for some hybrid. Rather than the simple model only having location Y being able to build something, make it a sliding scale of closeness. You can build a magical sword anywhere, but the time and cost would vary based on how distant the materials are. Maybe some little graphical minimap with arrows showing how far the components would have to come to make it. That feedback would give you the information to decide if you wanted to do that or instead build something else where supplies are closer in.

I also think, if you can see a consistent need for magical swords far from where they're made, it might be useful to have a game mechanics to compensate. For example, perhaps you have to take a citizen and put them to work in a "logistic building" where the number of logistics upgrades determines how many different supplies that citizen can make easily available. If you want more complexity, maybe the system creates caravans automatically to model a more complex system such that caravans can be interrupted and mess with that logistic building. Maybe not, maybe that's not adding value, but the point is that you could have a complex model with a fairly simple mechanism for the user (the logistics building) that drives that model.

 

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2009 7:14:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I vote for "Sophisticated."

The sophisticated model allows for a great deal of adaptability and flexibility.  Some cities will become production centers that distribute their resources throughout the empire as needed, and the cities that receive those resources will likely change over time with the current strategic needs of the empire.  This is a very realistic and (to me) exciting economic model.  It will then be important to protect your resource production centers as well as your current unit-building cities.  It seems to me that nearly all of your cities will be important in this model.  I also salivate at the ability to progressively refine resources into better and better products.

I believe that one of the critical weaknesses of the simple model is that there will be a strong bias towards sending all of your resources to a few central towns.  These towns will be the heart of your empire, and the frontier towns will be virtually useless.  In other words, contrary to the sophisticated model, I believe that most of your cities will NOT be important in the simple model, and the few that are will likely be concentrated near the capital.  There doesn't seem to be as much thought required to manage the economy, and what could be a vital and exciting part of the game becomes rather bland.

I also fully believe that a sophisticated economic model can be designed so that it will be relatively straightforward and transparent to the player who doesn't want to deal with the details (through AI automation), but that it will be rich and rewarding for the players who do.  I know that it's a challenge to code up great AI and UIs to achieve this, but I have the utmost confidence in Stardock!

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2009 7:25:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like #1 but I have to agree with Kael that it's probably a bit too involved.  What I'm thinking is that resources are handled collectively across the kingdom.  So that the iron mine in city A contributes +10 iron/turn to the national stock.  Then the blacksmith in city B takes -5 iron/turn and produces +5 swords/turn from and to the national stock.  Cities A and B both have warehouses increasing the total capacity of the national stockpile.  Say there are a few more blacksmiths in the kingdom, one producing axes and another producing helms each drawing 5 iron from the stock and producing 5 of their respective product.  Since the production of iron is only 10/turn and the draw is 15/turn the stockpile will be depleted 5/turn until it is empty, and then everything requiring iron will operate at a reduced production (2/3 in this case).  However, there could also be a set of weights for each resource in how they are allocated.  So that the player could give swords and axes each a weight of 1 and shield a weight of 2 (so that every sword and axe has a respective shield).  Default all the weights to equal values for players who don't want to deal with it and the system should still operate fine, if not optimally.

The advantage here is in having the ability to specialize and prioritize resources and production without needing to do the micromanagement of handling each city individually.  From here you could throw in some automated caravans that transport the goods without your need to tell them where to go so that the ability to raid resources isn't lost.  I think this is a good balance between complicated and dumbed down.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2009 7:28:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Changed my mind. Keep it simple and easy to understand but hard to master IF it's fun.

If it's not fun, then adopt a system that is.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2009 7:34:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Campaigner,

It looks like "simple but fun" is like Civilization Revolution while the Sophisticated version is the REAL Civilization.

 

Civilization actually uses a very simplistic resource model and I hope we see something more sophisticated from elemental.  Civilization has little strategic value in acquiring more of resource, becuase one is enough to fuel all production demands, any extras are only useful for trading to other civs.  At the very least I hope Elemental will have some linkage between the amount of a resource controlled and the production capacity of things requiring that resource.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2009 7:50:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Fetus4188,
Civilization actually uses a very simplistic resource model and I hope we see something more sophisticated from elemental.  Civilization has little strategic value in acquiring more of resource, becuase one is enough to fuel all production demands, any extras are only useful for trading to other civs.  At the very least I hope Elemental will have some linkage between the amount of a resource controlled and the production capacity of things requiring that resource.
This is one of the things I like best about CivIV. I wouldn't mind a model similar to this. I don't want to deal with quanitites. I wouldn't mind managing production/extraction speed (where more production means larger & more spohisticated items/units can be produced and supported, but I really don't want to be stuck looking at individual resource costs (like 500 steel and 300 cotton and 3 oil) and waiting for specific amounts of accumulation before I can build something.

I would prefer to research tech that would allow for better utilization of a resource without having to deal with the specific extraction amounts.

Think of it like: If the steel mill 4 heads/workers/whatever I can create enough armor to equip and support 20 soldiers. It wouldn't matter how long I've been mining the resource, once I get the workers in there I only have to wait a designated amount of time before the armor is availible. Once I lower the number of workers I will be forced to downgrade some of my units to leather as an example, because maintenance on the equipment is no longer feasible.

I wouldn't mind GOLD being a resource where we're counting specific quantities, but for most everything else I think it would be best if we simply had it or not, and tech's could allow for better utilization if needed.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2009 7:51:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm not into heavy micro but I'd vote for 1. At least if it comes with good Governor system that can take the burden from me when I feel the need.

In any case, it's difficult to choose becuase we are only offered one part of the picture. How will war work? And diplomacy? And magic? And spies? Complex systems for all of them and also with good Governor systems would seem promising as everybody could focus in the part of the game that they enjoy more and let the AI handle the rest (some focus on economy, others prefer war...). But Camp 2 has a point. Which is your target audience? Any idea of sales you consider a must according to what you are ready to spend in development? Choices, choices...

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2009 8:01:02 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I've liked the sound of the "Camp #1" model since it was first announced, since it means you're not restricted as to where you can build your preferred units, so long as you have the resources being shipped around in a sensible manner.

I think the issue with it is not so much the level of complexity involved and more how well that level of complexity will scale into the later stages of a game.

A completely made up and uninformed example:

Late game my men capture a remote location on the map where the only other source of Chemical X is located. Chemical X is a vital component when creating my Powerpuff troops and previously I'd only had the one source which was being shipped to a variety of locations, none of whom was ever getting a full storehouse.

So now I set up the many complicated routes to let that second source begin topping up the warehouses in the various locations.

But now that I actually have much more Chemical X to make Powerpuffs with, I don't need to make as many Iron Golems at those places so I can send the Iron to other places for other projects. Who then might not be working on still other projects requiring more redelegation of resources...

I can see the appeal in such a system but in the late stages of really large games I can see it being a nightmare to effectively govern your empire. Which might then tempt me into using the AI governors instead, who may end up doing things with the resources that are completely useless for my particular strategy and I'd spend more time undoing the mistakes!

And I can see many people just using the AI right from the start so they don't even have to worry about it. And then complaining that there's "not enough to do" or some other silly complaint.

My suggestion, and I'm not sure if it's even remotely feasible - would it be possible to have the build/recruit screen be aware of everything you can possibly build in your empire, from brass tacks to Ultimate Swords of Power and thus any build/recruit screen would simply present you a list of *everything* you can build? If you try and build something that that particular outpost doesn't have the materials for the nearest outpost that has the missing material would form a caravan to send to that location.

This would, I think, provide the best of both worlds in that the players who prefer the "simpler" approach can mostly focus elsewhere and not worry too much about directing the flow of resources while the players who're happy to deal with the minutiae can fine tune their economy, but don't need to redirect mountains of resources each time they want to shift the production of something from one location to another temporarily.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2009 8:01:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

As someone who has spent hundreds (if not thousands) of hours playing the Civilization and Galactic Civilization games I can say that Camp 1: "Sophisticated" sounds far more enjoyable. For people who don't want that level of micro-management you can always put in an option to let the AI handle it (much like how you can have the AI handle virtually everything in the game for you in Civilization if you so choose).

 

Camp 2 is pretty much what every other TBS/4X game goes with so I hope Stardock would be willing to try something different and go with Camp 1, which sounds like it would create incredible gameplay.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
Stardock Forums v1.0.0.0    #108432  walnut2   Server Load Time: 00:00:00.0000640   Page Render Time: