The concept of rubbish/waste/garbage/trash/refuse/detritus/junk

A reminder to universal connectivity in real life

By on October 12, 2009 7:24:24 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

jungwirsch

Join Date 03/2005
+1

The game will have farming, mining, production of all sorts of gadgets, and the generation and use of massive amounts of magical power. What's missing from almost all games of this sort is the concept that any such activity is almost invariably wasteful, and that discharge of waste to the proverbial "environment" usually leads to the eventual resurfacing of the waste at unforeseen places.

I'm presently working as a chemistry teacher, and this thought was spurred by one of the kid's answer to the question where an up to that point unaccounted electron in a chemical reaction would end up afterwards: "Well, it would go to the environment!" It is a common misconception that there is an environment that can swallow things without limit. I'd find it intriguing if the game could be set up such as to present a reminder to the fact that all things are connected.

For example, have mining, farming, and other manufacturing activities produce waste at a low level, even undetectable, at first. As the complexity of the activities, and the consumption of settlers, rises, it could become perceptible, and start to turn into a small problem. The small problem may be solved by building a landfill at first. That will eventually fill, and a larger landfill is needed some further away from a settlement so as not to reduce growth in the city. After a while, that's full too, or it's leachate kills a forest inhabited by elves who go on the warpath, or the toxic stuff starts generating industrial strength monsters, or whatever, but alternative solutions need to be found. These could be technological or magical. However, no such solution other than full recycling can overcome all restrictions, because, no matter what you do, costs either rise to forbidding levels, or the waste just returns in another form (e.g. incinerated waste returns as athmospherically active CO2, or as fire-breathing dragons).

Same or similar could (should?) go for the generation and use of magical powers. Thinking of a way how magic could create junk, and how to get rid of it, is of course much less limited by real life experiences. E.g. casting a spell could leave behind sort of a charge in the area where the spell was cast, and this charge would repel any magic of like orientation, while attracting opposites. Hence, a former battlefield where massive amounts of one type of magic was used, would henceforth (for some time; effect dissipating/diffusing) be a bad place to attempt to cast a spell of the same orientation, but it would be easier to cast opposite spells. Shards could aid in making the charge dissipate more quickly in their surroundings, or actually add to the charge. 

Some people may be turned off by such real world problems impinging on their fantasy world (I'm a god-like hero at least here, Mom makes me take out the trash in real life anyway, leave me alone). Still, I'd like it. 

Locked Post 15 Replies
Search this post
Subscription Options


Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 12, 2009 12:37:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Actually the Civ games and others do have "pollution" or after nuclear weapons/power plants there is even radiation that needs to be cleaned up.

While I would not mind if pollution was included in this game, keep in mind we are dealing with pretty small populations - starting out with villages of under a hundred people and growing to a point where we have armies in the few thousands (and I would guess cities of a few thousand population will be pretty large). So really it would take quite some time for such small populations to "ruin" surrounding map squares due to pollution. It could certainly be worked in and I am pretty neutral one way or the other. I wouldn't feel that it wrecked my immersion or suspension of disbelief if it wasn't in. Dealing with raw sewage would likely be the biggest biohazard in a medeival setting like this, dealing with that in the tech tree may be doable, but would be a bit too Civ-ish for my taste. Maybe a poop-begone spell city wide enchantment?

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 12, 2009 2:52:02 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm not convinced pollution in the modern or industrial sense would add anything to a setting like Elemental, but poop in the streets? I'll second that!

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 12, 2009 3:38:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well, I'm equally apathetic about chemical/industrial pollutants, but magical pollution..... think about this: What if mana, essance, and all that good stuff don't just vanish after a spell is cast, but are actually released into the environment, and can, for example, cause low-level wierd stuff (floating stones, foxfire, cold spots, and the like) in areas where there's been a lot of magic used.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 12, 2009 3:50:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Magical malificient miasma making mutants? Make it so!

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 12, 2009 4:11:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yuck! Corruption/pollution is one of the most annoying mechanics in Master of Magic/Civilization. If traditional pollution is modeled, then it should either be removed from tiles automatically, or be modeled as a production penalty as in Master of Orion or a growth penalty.

As for magical pollution, perhaps as a special event, but not as a mechanic.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 12, 2009 5:31:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

How about trash heaps at the edge of cities (the older the bigger), abandoned roads and buildings that slowly are taken back by nature, mine tailings that may be recycled one day, and growing monster pack-rat middens (the older the more loot)? I would love a game mechanism to mark the passage of time other than just through growth and conquest.

Just imagine your sovereign living long enough to one day send a scout (archeologist?) to that old mine, city ruin, monster den, etc. that was abandoned, destroyed, or cleaned out by you about 200 years ago and discover something surprising (old stats, that long lost ring, new resources).

So many fantasy games and conventions deal with decay and ruins. I would like to experience decay over time instead of having the ruins and monster dens just generated at game start and at random intervals.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 12, 2009 5:32:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Perhaps it should not be an issue unless the towns grow to cities of something like 10,000 population or so.  If they are in a river valley, make it 15,000.  Once the city gets huge, like 100,000, then the population growth rate could suffer and we might see plagues.  (Are plagues in the game?  Ought to be!)

If we have a 10k+ city, though, let heros of other civilizations sort through the garbage dump, perhaps fighting a few rats, and find rubbish that transfers some research points....learning from other's trash.

If there is a 15k+ city upstream from another city, let the downstream city suffer some health problems from drinking the effluent from the upstream city.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 12, 2009 10:22:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

you don´t take your water out of the river but from wells near the river. ihmo enviroment pollution is not a big factor in an medieval setting, but i can lead to drastic deseases in cities.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 12, 2009 11:55:46 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Question, how does this make the game more fun?

I am not shooting it down, just asking if any of us would actually like having to deal with waste, and if so what form would it take... (No poop jokes with that last comment )

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 14, 2009 12:04:16 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

@ magicwillNZ: You sure do have a way with words!

@ porternielsen: How does this make the game more fun? Hey, you know, us teachers ...

But seriously, if it doesn't add to the enjoyment of the game (sic!) it's not worth thinking about it. But I believe it would add to the challenge, in adding to the strategic depth (especially in its growing effect the larger you race becomes), while also yielding a credible mechanism for the world being altered by players' activities. Furthermore, it can add a source for monster spawning, as outlined above. Human trash has a habit of representing a great source of nourishment for critters.

Furthermore, it adds to the custimisation options. For example, the effect could remain negligible when playing on an easy level, and become more pronounced on harder levels. More experienced wizards will need to balance their production/population levels with resources spent on cleaning up. Very powerful spells can only be cast once in a given location, as their chance of being cast drops to near zero at that location due to magic pollution.

@zigzag: I agree, corruption in MoM and pollution in Civ are more annoying than anything else, but mainly because they have been not really thought through and implemented poorly. I strongly believe there's much more to that concept in terms of making the game interesting than what was done in those games.

 

@ nightsedge: Mining did cause what I sense you refer to as industrial type pollution in Roman times. Poop in the streets has led to cholera and other diseases rampaging ever since humans settled.

It's only because our mechanisms for dealing with garbage have evolved so immensely that we tend to see the garbage produced by a small settlement as innocuous. 100 people in a small place can pretty quickly render their environment uninhabitable, even without a nuclear power plant, ore smelter or industrial size swine breeding facility.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 14, 2009 1:31:59 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

But challenge and strategic considerations are only fun up to a certain point. What you're suggesting just sounds like adding another variable to optimize. Providing mechanism for monster spawning isn't on its own very compelling, since there are other mechanisms which could serve the same purpose. Obviously all of this is just theorycrafting -- I'd have to play it to know.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 15, 2009 1:32:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well even if it isn't implemented I'm sure someone could mod it in. Would be helpful for a simulator based off the engine.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 15, 2009 1:41:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

As I see it, we discus two different suggestions here: industrial pollution and magical aftereffects.

I'll start with the industry:

I think you guys (even you jungwirsch) missed the point. It's not like a pollution tile, but rather like the unhealthy population in civ4. It basicaly gives another obsticle that needs to be overcome to achieve full potential. Personally, I like the idea quite a lot. Especialy if it has some interesting effect on the area. Suggestion: how about a system where the pollution level isn't mechanicaly important, but it has a very big effect on random events occuring in the city?

 

As for magical after-effects... This is an even BETTER idea!

Even though I see it handled completely different. A battle which seen extreme use of fire magic would leave an area of ever-burning charred land. A too-massive storm spell should make the whole area's weather patterns funky.

This system would discourage players from always using 'big nukes' to handle stuff, since the cure may be worse than the illness.

 

Also, in a game with such a name, I *demand* rampaging elementals to appear when a channeler missuse his power too badly.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 16, 2009 1:12:01 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

man, waste management always makes me think there is an intended environmental message

 

Not a bad idea though.   I wonder what kind of magic wastes might exist.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 16, 2009 1:31:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I wonder what kind of magic wastes might exist.

That question, on this forum, is just asking for trouble.....

But in any case, some ideas on the subject (since I was the one to originally think of it):

  • Repeatedly using a single mana type in an area should slowly alter the terrein in that area. If you use too much fire the land gets burnt, if you use too much water it freezes, and so on.
  • Some artifacts should either suck life and resources from the area where they were made, or put something nasty into that area. Imagine, for example, a blazing sword creating a burinign bush in the spot where it was forged.
  • Just generally using a lot of magic in a small area (or imbuing large amounts of essance into a certain place or stationary thing (or a mobile thing that you don't move for a while)) should cause wierd effects in the areas, increasing the chances of magic-related random events and maybe even incrweasing the power of spells casted from that area.
Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
Stardock Forums v1.0.0.0    #101114  walnut1   Server Load Time: 00:00:00.0000203   Page Render Time: