[1Z1][Suggestion] Food, Housing, and Prestige Overhaul

By on April 15, 2010 12:05:47 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

PyroMancer2k

Join Date 02/2006
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As many people have pointed out the current food & housing system is a bit odd and not well liked. The reason I think is because you use food to build houses which doesn't make sense as those houses could be empty. And once the houses are built you can proceed to lose your food production and while it will become negative there is no real penalty. Also once a city has reach the desired level there is no incentive to maintain the current population. You can simply demolish the houses in favor of putting up production facilities. The same goes for the Prestige buildings as once you have reached the max amount of people needed the buildings become useless and ripe for demolish in favor of better buildings.

That being said what I propose is a real shift on how these things are looked at and used in the game. The objective of these changes is to makes sure they make sense from a strategic point of view and that they stay important throughout all stages of the game. Also since this is more concept then hard numbers I'll try to stay clear of using actual figures as that falls under balancing which can be worked out later. Anyway down to business.

 

Food

Obviously food should be used to feed the people. So the question is how to go about doing this. Well since the economy is global with all resources treated to one giant pool it stands to reason that food should be the same way. Though it's not just resources but also population that shows up on your global resources.

This provides a bit of a unique opertunity as we can use the global population to determine the food consumption as it also includes your army units. Thus if you build a large army it could end up eating most of your food. This way late game players won't be able to simply withdraw large numbers of their population into their army as a way of avoiding having to feed them.

It seems obvious that while food is in surplus the population should grow. The real question is what happens when there is a food shortage. Well a couple things can happen, first the most obvious is some of your people die from starvation and second your military units become less effective either from some penalty of maybe some HP loss. The exact amounts and figures to be determined during a balancing phase.

The question on how to manage a shortage can be handled several different ways.

1) The player has not control over which villages starve.

2) The player can assign priority on a sort of resource priority page which simply list the order in which towns should be given resources in case of shortages.

3) Similar to 2 only the player could choose to spread the shortage evenly thus no one city takes a major hit. Including possibly a mix with a High/Med/Low priority setup.

4) If a military penalty aspect is in play for food shortage then the player can choose which gets priority the military or the civilians. This would work best if the military actually takes an HP hit and can't heal until food comes in surplus again. After all if the player is damaging his resource gather base by starving out then the other option should also be damaging beyond simply a weaker atk/def for a single round. As in both cases the losses can be naturally recovered once food supplies are restored.

This also allows for the option of sieges that cut off food supply since as the mechanics for a starving population will already be in place.

 

Prestige

Prestige I think is ment to represent how popular and atractive a city is to potential citizens. While right now it serves as little more then a counter for how many people move in each turn. I think a much better approach would be to use prestige as a more dynamic tool that is sort of another cap to population as well as housing.

What I mean by this is the higher the prestige the more people move in just like now but at the same time the more people that are in your city the slower it grows. After all as the city fills up it becomes more crowded and less atractive to new citizens. Unless you continue to improve it with things that will draw people's attention like inns, pubs, theaters, and town halls.

So it becomes a bit of an uphill battle as the more population you get the slower the city grows which means you need more prestige to help make it grow faster. And of course there will be some point at which having too low of a prestige will mean that people actually start moving out of your city. This means that you will need to maintain a decent amount of prestige to keep your citizens happy and staying in your city. It will also make many of the currently useless prestige buildings serve a purpose.

 

Housing

Obviously given the change to food the houses shouldn't require them anymore. But given the changes to Prestige I think most of the housing buildings should give some prestige. Though I also think huts, housing, and Villas shouldn't be auto upgrade. As the higher ones should give more prestige and cost more as well as giving more population cap like they do now. The option to upgrade without having to demolish the old building and building a new one should be implemented as this would be a good feature in general since many modders will likely want to have building upgrades that are not automatic.

This new setup could make houses with high prestige such as estates more worth the investment. Along with even more potential to make the slums matter as a choice. Several people have already noted the slums need either more population support or less food usage. Under this setup though the food isn't really an issue though it probably would need a larger population cap. But overall it does open up some possibilities which would need to be worked out in balancing issues but the basic concept is there. As it's a trade off with faster population growth of high prestige but lower housing cap vs a higher housing capacity with slower growth. So it'll be kinda like it is now except growth slows down as the city gets closer to being full and you need to maintain a curtain amount of prestige to keep your citizens.

 

Final thoughts and other ideas

This setup makes it so in a way you have 3 things determining your population capacity but each one has a different effect so it's a bit of a balancing game. As food not only applies to your citizens but also your military there is the need for large amounts of food. While prestige has more of a morale effect on cities by not only effecting how fast they grow but also how much over crowding they will tolerate. And lastly the housing is of course the population cap for the city but also allows more types of bonuses to be applied to different housing effects in not only prestige but also possible other things like gold for "taxes".

While the proposed system includes some changes to all 3 areas they are not really dependent on one another. Like the food change could be made but the prestige could remain the same or have a completely different approach. And like I said before this is mainly an exercise in concept rather then specific numbers and balance. So things like how much food a farm should produce of how many people 1 food should support and all that stuff can be addressed at a later date. Even the figures currently in use on food, housing, and prestige haven't gone through any balancing so don't rely on them as a basis of comparison when it comes to numbers but rather compare how their mechanics work.

Before I wrap it up I'd like to close by covering another problem that exist under the current system, which is population only matters for leveling up the city. Once a city has reached level 5 there is no real reason to keep the population around. The city will not de-level even if you demolish all of the housing/prestige buildings. This quite frankly is not a good thing as you should want a player to need to keep that level 5's city at or above 1000 people to really get it's benefit.

I think the easiest method to make players want to keep the city's population up after reaching that level is by having a modifier of something like (Current Population/Required Population for Level) apply to the output of buildings in the city, it would max out at 1 so you'd need to put a cap on it since it's only meant as a penalty if they go under. Thus a level 4 city which requires 500 people to reach with only 400 people in it would only produce at 80% efficiency. This combined with level multiplier I've read about mention would really make a huge difference.

I only recently read about the multiplier and didn't really notice it in the beta so not sure if it's in, was planned but then scraped as some post in forums are old so this next part could be off. But supposedly a level 4 city has it's buildings produce at 4 times the amount thus a market with 1 gold is actually producing 4 gold. Well under the suggested modifier above a level 3 city with a base produce of 10 would produce 30 goods. While a level 4 city would produce 40 but because the level 4 has a higher multiplier it could drop to 75% of the needed 500 population before it's production was less then that of the level 3 city.

Of course that is a very basic setup which is easy for the player to understand. A much more complicated one with the population production penalty more closely matching the curve from level 3 to level 4 population vs bonus given could be down but then you'd probably also need to take into account the increased number in building slots and such. But that seems like more of a headache. Especially when the goal is quite simply have the player keep their population above the level required by the city's level.

 

Anyway I'd like to know what you think of my proposal. Questions, comments, and etc. let me know.

 

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April 15, 2010 12:37:50 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

You make some good points.

  Food: I also think food should be a requirement of population and not housing. Mabey factor up the amount of food a garden or farm provides and link it to the total population levels of a city. But house just doesn't feel right requiring food to build.

  Prestige. I hadn't really thought about destroying prestige building after capping. 1 Because I just assumed if you ran to far negative in food or prestige you would start to lose pop. And 2. Because I almost never build prestige building for the sake of prestige. This version of the beta doesn't really require a fast city growth (granted I know when the actual AI gets put in it probably will matter) But I think the idea of prestige being more of a variable in how fast a city grows and whether it can keep people living there instead of a static growth rate is a really good idea.

  One way of handling this would be a global pop pool that all cities pull from at least wilderness wise. obviously another algorithm for natural birth growth would have to be added due to attrition through war of population and eventual depletion of people on the planet. But every city gets a pop pull from the pool on it's turn and the amount of prestige factors in to how many actually come.

   Housing: This is obviously the hard cap of a population and should stay as such. I also assume that as the bugs get ironed out one wil be the ability to destroy a house and not lose the equivilant population amount.

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April 15, 2010 1:03:58 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I hadn't even thought about prestige buildings becoming useless in the current model mainly because I never really build any of them except for the palace. Pyro you definitely make a good point about prestige needing some kind of other benefit (or a change to the current system) to warrant there use. On housing however if you destroy them your cities population will decrease which I suppose wouldn't be a problem depending on what you want to build. If you just needed a research city or market city destroying all of those house would be a good way to free up tiles but you certainly wouldn't want to do that for a city who produces troops since they are drawn from a city's population.

I've come up with an idea of my own about how food and housing should be handled in my thread here. I'll have to give some thought to prestige however perhaps simply adding a bonus to income would be enough of a reason to keep them in your city.

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April 15, 2010 1:08:11 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Devs already stated that prestige will help you get people from other towns. And the speed at which it fills is an important feature : you won't be able to maintain a strong army without it, because each soldier will come from your population.

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April 15, 2010 1:16:28 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The problem Vieuxchat is once you reach the max population for a city (once all your houses are full) the prestige buildings no longer serve a purpose. And even if you lose a company of troops every city has some inherent amount of prestige that will more than likely replenish the population sufficiently before you need to train more.

Now that I think about it perhaps there should be a city efficiency bonus that is based on both prestige and population. Where the higher your prestige the more efficient your population is thus giving bonuses to research / arcane points produced and material, metal, and gold produced.

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April 15, 2010 1:19:46 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It also helps preventing you people from fleeing away in a nearby city with a higher restige

Anyway, I also think an other use when at max would be a good idea : If your population is a t max, then the prestige is a bonus for your building times and the income of every resource in the city range.

 

EDIt: or it could always attract new heroes easier ?

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April 15, 2010 1:23:17 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Darkodinplus,
I hadn't even thought about prestige buildings becoming useless in the current model mainly because I never really build any of them except for the palace.

And that's kinda the point of why it needs to be changes as most people in the forums seem to say that they don't use them.

Quoting Darkodinplus,
On housing however if you destroy them your cities population will decrease which I suppose wouldn't be a problem depending on what you want to build.

Yea I know you loss the population the issue is if you level your city up to level 5, which takes about 17 houses, you can then demolish all those houses for 17 more slots. It doesn't matter the population with all leave as that's a lot of extra space for production buildings with no real penalty. Plus if you had any prestige buildings to help you get their faster.

I usually make a B-line for level 5 on my cities then demolish all those buildings in favor of 4+ universities which produce 10 R&D instead of the 8 that schools make. This mainly so I can explore the tech tree faster and do more experementing with the mechanics of things.

It's helps that I have a min/max mind set and look for any type of advantage I can squeeze out of a system. But I still prefer balanced well rounded systems that don't have cheap exploits like this. Or the little Pioneer multi build bug that I found and reported.

If things aren't a tough choice for me then I don't really considered them all that balanced. As each route should have pros and cons. Right now their is only pros to rushing your population up and then demolishing the housing. It works great cause it's hard to have enough food for 7-9 cities at level 5 but if you only max out 2-3 at a time followed by demolishing all the housing to free up the food then raise the other cities up it's quite easy even in the demo to get all 9 cities to level 5 with 4-5 farms. And it's not a matter of "balance" it's a matter of me exploiting the mechanics since changing the values of housing cap or food usage on them won't prevent me from doing it.

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April 15, 2010 11:19:13 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

If prestige is a measure of how well your cities are progressing perhaps it could/will be used as a bonus in diplomatic activities. I imagine Lord Urban of the Golden Cities has more statecraft clout than Mayor Hovelstone of Swampington-on-mire.

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April 15, 2010 11:18:08 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

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April 15, 2010 11:23:07 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The current system is best so far. Housing determines population (caps), food determines housing, and prestige determines Pop growth rates.

All three systems actually mean something now.

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April 15, 2010 11:54:36 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tasunke,
The current system is best so far. Housing determines population (caps), food determines housing, and prestige determines Pop growth rates.

All three systems actually mean something now.

Best is relative. Best compared to what? The stuff they had before? And just because something is better then what came before doesn't mean it still can't be improved.

And the issue isn't that they don't currently matter. The issue is that they don't currently matter enough or for the right reasons such as empty houses use food. As well as once you reach level 5 they don't really matter at all cause you demolish the buildings and carry on with a level 5 city that has almost no population in it without any kind of penalty.

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April 15, 2010 12:02:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Are you aware the penalties will be in the final release ? Production times and unit production times are doubled when you're short on food. Moreover, buildings like tax center need citizens to be useful.

And i'm fairly confident they will add other things as the betas go on.

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April 15, 2010 12:23:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yea ... I was basically saying that, the way things are now, the proper "basic guidelines" are in place. As vieux says, food shortage WILL cause production penalties in the final release, and their will probably be mechanics in place to necessitate the presence of housing and population in a level 5 city (a potential mechanic would be for the City Size to shrink if enough housing is destroyed).

Its alot better than food and housing doing the exact same thing.

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April 15, 2010 6:08:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tasunke,
Yea ... I was basically saying that, the way things are now, the proper "basic guidelines" are in place. As vieux says, food shortage WILL cause production penalties in the final release, and their will probably be mechanics in place to necessitate the presence of housing and population in a level 5 city (a potential mechanic would be for the City Size to shrink if enough housing is destroyed).

Its alot better than food and housing doing the exact same thing.

The setup I propose doesn't have food and housing doing the same thing. Food effects both the military and the civilian population amount. While housing only effects the local civilization amount. If anything the current setup has food and housing doing the same thing cause you need 4 food to build 1 house then no food means no house. Food is the requirement for the housing thus there is a direct connection between the two and in effect Food = Housing under the current setup so they are the same thing currently. The only difference is how effective it is based on the housing you choose.

As for the "probably" part that is why I made this suggestion. I've learned over the years it's best not to assume anything. Just because you assume someone is going to do something a curtain way doesn't mean that's what they are going to do. And a lot of times when it's something important those assumptions get you into a LOT of trouble.

I'm guessing you have not done a lot of work with groups or teams as it's important to discuss everything and make sure everyone is on the same page. A lot of projects fail because people assume that other people are going to do something and do it in a curtain way. Then you find out what someone's been doing does not work well with someone else has been doing and you have a real mess on your hands trying to get it sorted out for the deadline.

Plus part of the point of this discussion and this section of the threads is to discuss ideas for the game. As I was under the impression that a lot of stuff still is up in the air and needs to be ironed out. I know the current phase is more about stability then mechanics right now but that doesn't mean we can't bounce ideas around as the developers like hearing our ideas. Especially since a lot of mechanics are going to be implemented during next couple phases.

Simply jumping in the thread and saying your figure the developers will "probably" solve the problem isn't particularly helpful. I was hoping more for a discussion on the pros and cons of the system I'm proposed. What's good or bad about it. Maybe even some info on planned changes that the devs have announce with links to those post for inclusion in the discussion.

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April 15, 2010 6:27:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This is a great post.  I wouldn't normally share internal design document material publicly but given the level of thought that was put into this discussion I think it warrants it.

This is from our internal document:

  1. Roads
    1. Engineering leads to a new tech called “Roads”
    2. When Roads (the tech) are completed, players get a new trainable unit (Caravans)
  1. Caravans (behavior different from previous mentions)
    1. Caravans can be trained. They are a special unit.
    2. When a caravan is sent to another city it establishes a trade route with that city.
    3. A caravan brings with it 10% of a city’s production per tile to the next city. When it arrives at that city, it “delivers” those goods into the inventory of the civ. Caravans then travel home empty handed (important change).
      1. Example: A city that is producing 5 metal, 5 materials and 3 gold travels 7 tiles to another city. When the caravan gets there 5 *7*10% of metal is added, 5*7*10% materials are added, etc. It then heads home and then will repeat the process. Nothing is added until it gets back to the destination city.
    4. After the caravan goes 3 cycles (1 cycle = back and forth) a path is made (dots between two cities) and food production in the connected two cities increases 10% and city gets 10% more tiles.
    5. After 10 cycles a dirt road is made (dotted line between two cities) and food is increased 20% and city gets 20% more tiles.
    6. After 50 cycles a paved road is made (line) and food is increased 30% and city gets 30% more tiles.
  2. Sieges
    1. A new Action is added to a unit. Lay Siege that is only enabled if a unit adjacent to a enemy city tile.
    2. When a city is under siege, an icon overlay is added to indicate it is under siege.
    3. The city is then cut off from the global system.
      1. City Resources tab shows warehouse icons and showing local resource storage that would have gone into the global pool but are now in the local pool instead.
      2. If a city’s food storage <0 then rationing begins.
  3. Rationing
    1. If rationing goes into effect production of non-food/non-gold is cut in half.
    2. If rationing goes into effect, a rationing icon is overlayed on the city (or some other means of telling rationing is occurring).
    3. Rationing affects cities in the order in which they are dependent on food. The cities most dependent on food (i.e.Net consumption keeping local food in mind). If all cities end up being rationed, this has been implemented wrong. Ration will go through cities until net food production = 0.
    4. Prestige = Base Prestige – Turns Rationing has occurred.
    5. Negative prestige capped at no greater than 10% of a city’s current population
    6. If negative prestige, then there is a 25% chance each turn that a random housing tile will fall into ruin (no longer be used and subtracted from the city’s food consumption).

With regards to the suggestions given here are some general design philosophies:

A. Simpler is Better.

B. Intuitive is Best.

With that in mind:

1. Food is global because it's consistent (i.e. other games have "global money") and because it provides greater strategic options to players. The reason every TBS game seems to end in a grind is because each city is a civilization unto itself. There is no real thought in what city you should take first.  In Elemental, there is a reason to go after a particular town because resources are global.

2. Housing exists to enable control of where population goes.

3. Prestige exists to control how fast population grows and to control influence and to affect neighboring enemy cities in a way that is simple and intuitive (why are my people visually leaving Arnete for Vilos? Because Vilos has a prestige of 8 and Arnete a prestige of 2).

4. In the case of a food shortage, the cities that grow the most food locally are going to be fine compared to their urban neighbors that have to import it. If it worked otherwise you suffer an uncanny valley situation.

5. Sieges should mean something significant. We don't want to force players to "control the countryside" via game rules but rather provide a simple and intuitive reason to control the countryside - if you don't control the countryside, your opponents can deprive your kingdom of vital resources.

6. Paying for "stuff" up front allows the game to have a broader set of features (i.e. the user doesn't feel like they're running a spread sheet). Thus, having houses consume food or units consume resources to be built allows us to have quests, NPCs, sophisticated city building without the game becoming ungainly. There is a reason why Caesar IV didn't have city conquest. If the scope of a game goes beyond a certain point, it becomes unwieldly.

7. While global resources is set in stone, other elements are not. If beta testers (or posts like this) make the case for something better, we'll look at implementing it as long as it keeps to A and B.  Variables that have dual-use are going to be avoided (i.e. prestige providing both a cap and a population growth level would not be likely to be used).  But on the other hand, we're not married to houses consuming food upon being built but we do find the game mechanic more enjoyable than players having to micro manage the case where they've accidentally overbuilt.  

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April 15, 2010 6:51:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Wow, thanks for the insightful post Frogboy!

Hopefully it will quell some fears that the economic system wont have enough enough depth.

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April 15, 2010 9:34:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Frogboy's last comment on not having to manage whether they have overbuilt houses is probably the igest plus to the current system.  That's not saying I don't like the previous ideas of having the population eat the food, therefore houses don't consume food, but without micro managing, it is possible to build too many houses.  I believe the current system works exactly how frogboy's post says housing and food should work.  food does not = food just because they consume food likePyroMancer says (I can see where yuo're coming from though).  Rather making houses consume the food ensures no micromanagement AND still means yuo choose which cities your population ends up in.

I've tried looking through a whole heap of games looking at the max population mechanic, and have found that they all end up with the each city is a civilisation unto itself mechanic, or the popo cap is hard limited as in MOO1 and 2, where the planet size limits population, I could not think of a meaningful way that to use this mechanic in Elemental.

One thing I think is missing from the current system is city placement decisions having a larger impact.  Currently, all i need to do is build a city close-ish to a resource or two, and I can make the city awesome if I choose to put the population there.  Perhaps there needs to be a mechanic in place that requires certain characteristics of the surrounding countryside of a city to make people want to settle there.  Meaning, not Every city is able to be housed up to lvl 5, rather a mix of huosing + gographical features are required to get a city beyond lvl 3.

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April 15, 2010 11:32:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

While I defeinitely understand that by making the building of housing consume food vrs the population consume food as a much simpler mechanic. There comes a point where you can possibly oversimplify and lose the magic of the experience.

  While I would completely support this system (I am not the one spending hours of my life making this game and appreciate the hard work of those who are) It just feel wrong on a very basic level. But more than the point of an emotional aurgument a logical resons as to why it I beleive detracts from the strategy of the game.

  First off is just basic stategy. If food is used building houses instead of feeding the population you remove the very basic stategy of starving them out. Especially since this game is using food as a global resource to allow for the specilizations in cities. After playing the beta I was of the mind that food as a global wasn't as attractive as it sounded before I got into beta But if you are trying to avoid the every city is an empire unto itself then it makes alot of sense to do it that way. Specialized food cites are all well and good but if you are going to have one then it needs to be incrediably well defended. and while a production negative is annoying and hurts. The loss of your ability to feed your empire should have such a dramatic and drastic effect that the current penalty just doesn't come close to the reality of the hypothetical situation.

  I try very hard not to base my aurguments on real life beause  hate when people say you shouldn't do this or that in a fantasy game because in real life... blah blah.

 But food is such a basic basic neccesity and such a monumental cornerstone of living the level of simplifing it to a basic construction material does really not do the concept justice.

*edit* ans p.s. Overbuilding aurgument I personally feel is lacking because part of the skill of the game is understanding the balance that needs to be struck. Yeah people will make mistakes and overbuild.  But that is part of learning and excelling at the game. Removing the possible mistakes that can be made by the player through gameplay mechanics dumbs down the game and overall makes it's lasting value less. I kinda feel that way about bulding limits. The game already has a good basic city limit of tiles space.  Adding building cap limits on top of that really feels like it forces you into a certain build pattern, especially in the early cities.

 

And to address Frogboy's Second point on housing. While  love the concept and mabey you plan on something to affect the following aurgument later in the development.  Without some kind of Global population limit. It just seems like it wouldn't make any sense to not try to grow every city to level 5. Why would we want to control the direction of population growth in cities unless there is some kind of limit of the resource of population that we can acquire. Granted with the attrition of war on population it would come down to who could be the last one with living citizens left if their was a global population limit. But I am having a hard time seeing why I wouldn't want max pop in every city. I am hoping mabey for a little insight into the how and why.

And on a final closing not, rereading this post I can see how it might be construed as a criticism on the developers and their ideas. I just want to say I in no way want that to be the case. I am amazed personally by this company. I have beta'ed a few other games and seen the way alot of developers leave the community feeling like their input is ignored. I have to say with this being the first Stardock game I have ever beta'ed that I feel like my input is valuable listened to, and even if none of it gets used that I made a difference in the development of this game.  I have nothing but admiration for this beta, this game, you developers and this company for making me feel like what I said made a difference.

Frog, Boogie and all the other developers at Stardock. Thank you for having the hands down best community relationship I have ever seen in a company. While I already own Sins and GC I will forever look upon any game designed by Stardock in the future with nothing but the uptmost hope and favor. Thank you.

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April 16, 2010 12:02:48 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting XeronX,
  First off is just basic stategy. If food is used building houses instead of feeding the population you remove the very basic stategy of starving them out. Especially since this game is using food as a global resource to allow for the specilizations in cities. After playing the beta I was of the mind that food as a global wasn't as attractive as it sounded before I got into beta But if you are trying to avoid the every city is an empire unto itself then it makes alot of sense to do it that way. Specialized food cites are all well and good but if you are going to have one then it needs to be incrediably well defended. and while a production negative is annoying and hurts. The loss of your ability to feed your empire should have such a dramatic and drastic effect that the current penalty just doesn't come close to the reality of the hypothetical situation.

*edit* ans p.s. Overbuilding aurgument I personally feel is lacking because part of the skill of the game is understanding the balance that needs to be struck. Yeah people will make mistakes and overbuild.  But that is part of learning and excelling at the game. Removing the possible mistakes that can be made by the player through gameplay mechanics dumbs down the game and overall makes it's lasting value less. I kinda feel that way about bulding limits. The game already has a good basic city limit of tiles space.  Adding building cap limits on top of that really feels like it forces you into a certain build pattern, especially in the early cities.

1tst para: I was under the belief that the food production/usage was still tracked at city level, but this was only noticeable when a city was beseiged.  ie When trading lines cutoff, the city must survive on its on food production.  Therefore if you do have one city pretty much feeding your entire empire......  you will feel the pain if yuo lose it!!  especially when loss of housing= loss of population = loss of city lvl = loss if production = loss of buildings with no reward.  And think, this would be the REST of your cities that are not producing ANY food at all.  If that goes on for too long, yuo will only have lvl 1 cities left!!

2nd para: I don't want to micro manage housing.  I want to micro manage armies, designs, research, OTHER buildings in cities, diplomacy.  But not housing....   I am with you on the building cap limits that are imposed on top of the city tile building limit though.   It seems that this extra limit is really just an early game restriction, because when you get yuor cities to lvl 3-5, you can build the alternate structures that provide the same resources per square as just building more of the 1 tile structures.  Maybe Frogboy can enlighten us on the reason for the building type limits?  what it is supposed to achieve?  I would prefer to be able to specialise cities earlier on in the game though.

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April 16, 2010 12:28:28 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting XeronX,

  First off is just basic stategy. If food is used building houses instead of feeding the population you remove the very basic stategy of starving them out. Especially since this game is using food as a global resource to allow for the specilizations in cities. After playing the beta I was of the mind that food as a global wasn't as attractive as it sounded before I got into beta But if you are trying to avoid the every city is an empire unto itself then it makes alot of sense to do it that way. Specialized food cites are all well and good but if you are going to have one then it needs to be incrediably well defended. and while a production negative is annoying and hurts. The loss of your ability to feed your empire should have such a dramatic and drastic effect that the current penalty just doesn't come close to the reality of the hypothetical situation.

You need to read Frogboy's post better. A besieged city must rely on it's own food production and if it isn't enough to feed the population rationing will be started in the city. With rationing training/building is dropped by 50%. This also applies to cities that are reliant on that city for food. So if your food production city is besieged it will be able to hold out fine, but the other cities relying on it will not be so good.

The only thing I would like to see is a drop in production based on how long rationing has been in effect. If a city has just begun to ration food due to shortage it will not have the same decrease in production as a city which has been rationing for 10 turns.

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April 16, 2010 2:36:50 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Myles,
The only thing I would like to see is a drop in production based on how long rationing has been in effect. If a city has just begun to ration food due to shortage it will not have the same decrease in production as a city which has been rationing for 10 turns.

from Frogboy's post, it looks as though housing could be crippled, which could drop the level of your city, which could mean buildings are auto demolished, which would mean an additional drop in production (over the 50% rationing of non gold/non food production).

I like your idea, but could it end up slightly too crippling?  Would it be better to start rationing off at a smaller percentage, and rampingthe percentage  up the longer the city is besieged, along with the chance of losing houses if the city is in negative growth (negative prestige)?  eg:  during rationing for first 5 turns have 20% reduction in production, next 10 turns 35%, after thant 50%.

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April 16, 2010 6:53:29 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

# After the caravan goes 3 cycles (1 cycle = back and forth) a path is made (dots between two cities) and food production in the connected two cities increases 10% and city gets 10% more tiles.
# After 10 cycles a dirt road is made (dotted line between two cities) and food is increased 20% and city gets 20% more tiles.
# After 50 cycles a paved road is made (line) and food is increased 30% and city gets 30% more tiles

Excellent idea. I really like the bonus tiles.

When a caravan is sent to another city it establishes a trade route with that city.

Will we be able to choose the waypoints used by the trade route ?

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April 16, 2010 7:15:26 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

if I read correctly, this

Prestige = Base Prestige – Turns Rationing has occurred.

Negative prestige capped at no greater than 10% of a city’s current population

and

Prestige exists to control how fast population grows and to control influence and to affect neighboring enemy cities in a way that is simple and intuitive (why are my people visually leaving Arnete for Vilos? Because Vilos has a prestige of 8 and Arnete a prestige of 2).

implies that siege and food problem may translate in population loss each turn.

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April 16, 2010 9:03:08 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Wow thanks for the inside track Frogboy. There have already been some great responses as well. Given some of the comments already I think I should probably explain some of my ideas in more detail so there is a better understand.

Quoting Frogboy,

Rationing affects cities in the order in which they are dependent on food. The cities most dependent on food (i.e.Net consumption keeping local food in mind). If all cities end up being rationed, this has been implemented wrong. Ration will go through cities until net food production = 0.

This is actually what I had in mind with suggestion 1 on my ways of handling food shortage. Basically that the system automatically does it for the player. While the other suggestions where that the player gets to "choose" which cities go into rationing effect. I kinda get the impression some people thought this meant I was advocating a local food setup when I wasn't.

The topic of food shortages though also comes into issue with sieges. And on this I want to refer to the two design philosophies you mention which I also try to keep in mind myself when designing things. The problem is sometimes the two can conflict. For example as people have noted that food restricting housing limit, thus empty houses using food, is certainly simpler but not quite that intuitive. It also gives rise to some potentially strange gameplay aspects.

Some examples are as follows.

1) If a city comes under siege to prevent the player from going into rationing they demolish "empty houses" in that city because they weren't at their population limit yet but they have enough local food otherwise.

2) The player queues up military units for production reducing the city's housing needs then demolishes the empty houses to free up the food. Late game it's not that hard to queue up a few hundred peasants. I have even made a legion of peasants in one game so far.

Quoting StillSingle,
Frogboy's last comment on not having to manage whether they have overbuilt houses is probably the igest plus to the current system. 

I will admit I hadn't really considered this an issue. But that was mainly because I was anticipating more of a Civ type growth. In that if you don't have enough food your population simply stops growing. This way you don't end up with a ton of cities that have grown too large and are all starving to death. I will admit I didn't mention that so I can see how it could be an issue as that one one of my major dislikes with Gal Civ.

In the first Gal Civ your population kept growing non stop until the planet revolted. It was a pain and the only way to really solve it was to constantly put lots of people on ships and the scuttle the ships. Not exactly a nice thing to do I know but I found it was the best way to handle the run away growth.

That being said since your population would simply stop growing if you lacked the food despite having enough houses it would be a bit harder to hurt yourself from over growth. Granted when you reach that point of 0 food surplus you would be much more vulnerably to a siege or loss of pioneer farms but that is true even under the current setup with empty houses.

For easy of management there would probably need to be a max population with required food display. This would display how much food you needed to reach your max population. This way people can tell if they have way more houses then they probably should but not penalized on food usage of empty houses. The display would really only need 2 numbers which would be current surplus/shortage amount and amount needed to support full population. Without this someone could have enough housing for say 3K people but only enough food for 1.8K but not realize it as their population is only at 1.3K.

Though one approach would be to have a 3 number display in the form of a fraction like so. Current Usage/Current Production (Required to fill current housing). So for easy math let's say 1 food feeds 10 people and use the example above so the food display would show 130/180(300). This simple display let's the player know they are using 130 of their 180 food but will need 300 food production if they want to fill all their houses.

Another approach on the display which displays the bare minimum and uses the surplus/shortage method would be something like Current Surplus/Shortage (Required surplus to fill empty housing). So in that same example the display would instead show +50 (+170). If the player has more food then they need to fill all of their housing the number of the left would be higher. If the player's housing also manages to fill up completely then it would display a zero and look something like +24 (0). This way the player can at a glance tell if he's going to have issues down the line.

Having food act as a sort of global cap while the houses is a local cap like this does seem to fit in well with your design intent. And simply having the population stop growing once the food surplus is hit I think makes things a lot simpler for the player. This way they are not overly concerned that in 2-3 turns their population will grow beyond their means to feed them and cities are gonna be forced into rationing. While it still allows the player to determine where the population goes through housing.

Quoting XeronX,

*edit* ans p.s. Overbuilding aurgument I personally feel is lacking because part of the skill of the game is understanding the balance that needs to be struck. Yeah people will make mistakes and overbuild.  But that is part of learning and excelling at the game. Removing the possible mistakes that can be made by the player through gameplay mechanics dumbs down the game and overall makes it's lasting value less.

Yea I feel kind the same way. The problem more often then not though is in the execution. Sometimes in games like Gal Civ it's hard not to have your population growth run away. Other times like in MOO3 the details on your population and where they are working are buried deep in spreadsheets displays so it's hard to tell you have to many buildings and not enough workers. Sometimes seemingly good ideas and concepts can get bogged down in overly complicated UIs or end up being counter intuitive implementations. And of course sometimes the ideas just aren't fun as you have to weigh realism vs gameplay.

In the end it's great to have interesting and complex systems that work behind the scenes. So the player knows they are there but doesn't need to concern themselves with the details. Like where each individual unit of food goes to make sure every city has enough as that is something that can be done behind the scenes but it does become important when sieges happen. And if the player was forced to manage that it would mean they would then have to once again reconfigure food supply routes every time their was a siege which isn't fun and not something they really should need to worry about. So the system can be there but it doesn't bog down the player since it's automatic.

 

In closing I'd also like to hit on another potential problem I noticed with the current system in regards to R&D. The unlimited tech tree where you can continue to research areas and get bonuses posses an interesting abuse of the current system. That is if you keep researching housing you can get houses that support several times more then your enemy for the same food amount. I actually do this as a way to save space and food in getting my cities up to level 5 faster. 17 Villas are needed to reach level 5, while 1 R&D in Housing Improvement reduces this to 15, then a second R&D reduces it to 14, and so on. While needing less houses is no problem it does seem odd that you now need less food to support the same population since housing requires food which allows me to get more cities to level 5 on the same amount of food. This ends up making housing tech more useful then farming tech since your getting a double benefit from it.

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April 16, 2010 10:10:42 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

My last post was getting long so I figured I'd start on a new one covering other issues.

Quoting Frogboy,

Rationing
If rationing goes into effect production of non-food/non-gold is cut in half.
Prestige = Base Prestige – Turns Rationing has occurred.
Negative prestige capped at no greater than 10% of a city’s current population
If negative prestige, then there is a 25% chance each turn that a random housing tile will fall into ruin (no longer be used and subtracted from the city’s food consumption).

Quoting StillSingle,

Quoting Myles, reply 19The only thing I would like to see is a drop in production based on how long rationing has been in effect. If a city has just begun to ration food due to shortage it will not have the same decrease in production as a city which has been rationing for 10 turns.

I like your idea, but could it end up slightly too crippling?  Would it be better to start rationing off at a smaller percentage, and rampingthe percentage  up the longer the city is besieged, along with the chance of losing houses if the city is in negative growth (negative prestige)?  eg:  during rationing for first 5 turns have 20% reduction in production, next 10 turns 35%, after thant 50%.

I agree with you guys that rationing should have a cumulative effect on the population. From Frogboy's post we can already see that how long a city is under rationing has cumulative penalty on Prestige so why not something similar on production that caps out 50%? Say something along the lines of Production Penalty = Turns Ration has occurred * 5%. This way it takes 10 turns to reach half production. In fact if you wanted you could make it so that it does not even have a cap and thus after 20 turns all production stops until the people get food again.

As for the loss of a house, under a system where food does not support housing but the population the loss of a house would not make much sense. And instead the population should probably drop which could be achieved with Negative Prestige. As Prestige represents growth a negative amount would indicate a decline.

Quoting Frogboy,

Sieges
The city is then cut off from the global system.
City Resources tab shows warehouse icons and showing local resource storage that would have gone into the global pool but are now in the local pool instead.

It appears they plan to make it so that any resources the city under siege produces sit in local warehouses until the siege is broke. This means if the city wants to train new units or build anything else then it must rely on it's own resources. Crippling it immediately with a 50% penalty seems a bit harsh. Just because an enemy army sets up camp outside the city doesn't mean everyone instantly starts starving and production comes to a halt. A penalty that grows over time as the population starves seems to make more sense. If the city has good materials production why shouldn't they be able to continue producing a decent amount for recruiting troops at the start of a siege? Since they no longer have access to any of the other resources in the global pool.

EDIT: This siege setup kinda begs the question when is production calculated? The reason I ask is cause it makes a HUGE difference. If it's at the start of your turn someone could easily abuse the system by having fast units run into your territory and "siege" the city so at the start of your turn that city only gets 1/2 production if there is a food shortage. If it's at the end of a turn then the player has their whole turn to break the siege before they take the production penalty. Now the cost of the unit vs how much lost production from a 50% hit is something for examination on balancing. But the fact remains it could open the door to serious abuse by having a large and instant penalty with the press of one button.

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April 16, 2010 12:06:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

One thing I think is missing from the current system is city placement decisions having a larger impact.  Currently, all i need to do is build a city close-ish to a resource or two, and I can make the city awesome if I choose to put the population there.  Perhaps there needs to be a mechanic in place that requires certain characteristics of the surrounding countryside of a city to make people want to settle there.  Meaning, not Every city is able to be housed up to lvl 5, rather a mix of huosing + gographical features are required to get a city beyond lvl 3.

I think that could be resolved by looking to the real world: Water.

Lack of access to water, particularly fresh water has been the key limiter historically.

Right now, because the river system is being redone, the world doesn't have rivers in it. But it will in Beta 3 again.

Thus, you could have some sort of sanitation system (Aqueducts, Wells, etc.) could be improvements that show up only for level 3 and higher cities and provide a % bonus to existing housing and they can only be placed on tiles that have access to water. No water, no Aqueduct. No Aqueduct, getting to higher populations much harder.

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