Fallen Enchantress- Production, Population and Terrain

By on September 9, 2011 5:20:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Derek Paxton

Join Date 03/2003
+173

Forget everything you know about the WoM economic model.  Food is gone (as it exists in WoM), housing is gone, global population is gone, specialists are gone (improvements don’t use population), materials are gone, resource multipliers on city level up are gone, fixed build times are gone, unlimited improvements are gone (you can never make more than 1 of an improvement in a city).

In Fallen Enchantress a city has one production queue.  The amount of production a city generates is based on its population, with some modifiers.  Small cities take a long time to produce big things.  Since there aren’t specialists (ie: consumed population) or materials if you have the tech to produce a unit or improvement you can generally stick it in the queue*.  It’s not hard to fill up a city with 60 turns of things to produce (or to cancel items out when something changes).

Population is local and a city’s population is broken into Farmers, Workers and Rebels (we may change the name for this last one, Dissidents?  Angry Hobos?).  Farmers produce food, a little production and pay taxes.  Workers don’t produce food but they produce more production and pay taxes.  Rebels don’t produce anything and don’t pay taxes.  You cities automatically allocate enough farmers to feed your population and armies (meaning the more armies you have, the more farmers you need, the less workers you have and the slower your production is).  Your goal is to have as many Workers as possible.  Minimizing Farmers (by investing in food producing buildings and capturing food resources) and minimizing Rebels means more of your population is Workers.

The player can set his Tax Rate.  The tax rate determines how much your population pays you each turn, but it also increases Unrest.  Unrest creates Rebels.  Although it never hits the point where more Unrest means less gold (higher taxes always give more money), higher taxes always mean less production.  Life in Fallen Enchantress is expensive, monsters don’t all give gold (in fact few carry gold).

Growth replaces Prestige and is the rate at which population is added to your city.  It is influenced by improvements, local resources, champions in the city, and the amount of cities in your kingdom (the more cities the slower your growth to balance small empires vs large empires).  Since population determines your production and taxes, your high population cities are the backbone of your empire.**

Whenever you build a unit the population comes out of the city that produced it.  In effect armies are population that isn’t contributing to production.  Making a stack of 9 spearmen is a serious investment.  Disbanding units returns the population to the nearest city (if you are in your borders).  When you build Pioneers you can build them at all the same unit sizes as your other units, and the amount of Pioneers in your stack takes that amount of population away from the building city, and starts the new city with that population.

Improvements have fun with these mechanics.  Slums increase the cities Growth and Unrest.  Governmental type buildings reduce Unrest, the Mint of Ruvenna provides +1 Gildar per Worker in the city, etc.

Most importantly, from a city specialization standpoint, when you level-up a city you get a random list of improvements that you can unlock for that city.  They are based on the city level so the improvements you get at city level 2 are a different list than those you get at city level 5.  There are rare improvements that may popup in these lists, especially at higher levels.  For example, when leveling a city to level 3 you may have the option to unlock any of the following improvements for that city:

Apothecary- consumes a little mana, provides research, champions can buy Healing and Growth potions.

Bazaar- +2 Caravans, the city produces +50% more Gildar when nothing is in the build queue.

Bell Tower- Improved Production and free Peasant defenders if the city is attacked.

Brewery- Reduces Unrest and reduces Production.

Infirmary- Small Growth bonus and all injured units in your city are completely healed.

The player can pick one, and it is only unlocked for that city.  The player still has to build that improvement.  We may decide to place it for free, but I like that the player has to build them because it allows me to balance them on build costs, but in general they have low build costs.  This is how we specialize cities, and this is our reward for players that choose to run small empires so they can race to getting up to city level 5 unlockable improvements like the Onyx Throne (-50% Unrest, -10% Unrest in all cities), Pyre of Anniellum (provides mana and increases the power of Fire spells), etc.

Terrain matters.  Terrain has tile yields, and a city gets the tile yields of the tile it is founded in and all surrounding tiles.  In the beginning this is a significant amount, as the city grows this is less and less of the total food and production amounts.  A city on fertile land by a river will get some bonus Food and Gildar each turn as well as having access to improvements that can only be built on a River.  A city in a desert won’t get any of these base yields, but may be worth it to grab important resources.  Tile yields don’t extend as the city extends, they are only those 9 tiles.  Tile yields aren’t intended to be the root of the game.  They are a boost to new cities, turning a city that may take a while to produce anything real, into a reasonable city relatively quickly (your capital gets free starting population so it skips the new city slowness).  City on good tiles are better, but it isn’t game winning, especially later in the game.

               

* Metal and crystals are still resource requirements for some things, most notably advanced armies.  So we still have the concept of “you can’t build that until you build up x resources” but its used for special things, not everything.

** When a city is taken in combat half of its population is lost.  Also when units die their population is forever lost, giving us some outputs for the population system, it doesn’t continually build.  And, although warring successful wars has its benefits, it can be costly too.

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September 9, 2011 5:25:33 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Brewery = Win.

Frankly, I'm not sure I understand what those other things even are.

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September 9, 2011 5:37:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
Brewery = Win.

Frankly, I'm not sure I understand what those other things even are.

if they don't provide you with beer, does it matter?

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September 9, 2011 5:38:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Kestral2040,

Quoting Frogboy, reply 1Brewery = Win.

Frankly, I'm not sure I understand what those other things even are.

if they don't provide you with beer, does it matter?

I assumed they provided other types of liquor. 

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September 9, 2011 5:44:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,

Quoting Kestral2040, reply 2
Quoting Frogboy, reply 1Brewery = Win.

Frankly, I'm not sure I understand what those other things even are.

if they don't provide you with beer, does it matter?

I assumed they provided other types of liquor. 

oooh, the plot thickens

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September 9, 2011 5:51:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

are farmers/worker abstracted numbers, for example a city has 1000 population does it have, say 500 workers and 500 farmers or is it more in line of civilizations specialists?

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September 9, 2011 5:58:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Kestral2040,

Quoting Frogboy, reply 3
Quoting Kestral2040, reply 2
Quoting Frogboy, reply 1Brewery = Win.

Frankly, I'm not sure I understand what those other things even are.

if they don't provide you with beer, does it matter?

I assumed they provided other types of liquor. 

oooh, the plot thickens

Will orchards produce limoncello?

 

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September 9, 2011 5:59:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

So to summarize: terrain bonuses, tax rates, managing armies vs production... this is pretty win.

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September 9, 2011 6:40:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This is really encouraging; I like the farmers/workers/rebels thing from MOM a lot; great mechanic, and I like that terrain locally matters initially, but won't be the driver for growth, like it is in Civ.  It keeps us out of the whole "workers/improvements" mechanic, which is good to see.

I love the idea of having to take population to make an army; it was one of the things MOM missed, and provides a great additional mechanic.  I'm interested; if I build a unit in the field, and it's damaged (some units killed); do I replace those killed soldiers from population, or do they heal up outside of the population mechanic?

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September 9, 2011 6:51:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Lots of Dev Journals today, which is good because I'm stuck at home popping pain pills after having my wisdom teeth surgically removed.

Hmmmm..... I see we are moving to a system that is closer to that of Civ.

The new population/unrest system seems like it would work fine. Needs a little more micromanagement then WoM, but that's fine.

I definitely like the new city level buildings. They are a large improvement over the WoM multipliers. However if the buildings are somewhat random than it may be kinda hard to purposely specialize cities down a specific path.

I am a little worried about how you are moving towards the Civ system of local production, combined unit/building queues, unique buildings, and significant penalties for investment in military infrastructure. The focus on maxing local production and racing other players to build evermore buildings in Civ5 really annoyed me to no end. It made building military units hurt players over the long run and caused them to fall behind, and also caused several unrealistic situations. Like if a monster appears outside your city and you quickly build a defender the work on the building is lost. It's a huge reason not to go to war, as you could end up seriously behind in civic infrastructure and research. Combine that with the champions and magic and you could end up with a system where players just choose not to build armies. Uncombining the queues should be considered depending on how the beta goes.

Also I am concerned about city specialization, because it really doesn't exist in the Civ5 system. True some terrain or resources allow you to unlock buildings like waterwheels but they don't actually specialize cities, they just boost them. You would never not build them, and they weren't exclusive. All buildings really came down to boosting local production, gold, or research; and you would always build them all. FE also has less strategic resources then Civ5, unless you are hiding them. Food and materials are gone. Are you going to be specializing cities for metal, horses, or crystals? If not then the city level buildings are going to be pretty much the only difference between cities. Which is kinda unrealistic and boring. Every city will be full of the same buildings producing gold and research.

I think you should consider keeping materials as a resource. There is a difference between resource production and manufacturing. Then you could have some cities that are raw material producers (ie. mines/lumberyards/farms/gatherers) and others that are specialized to actually produce final products (ie factories/craftsmen). You might even look into adding more resources.

Sorry if I sound cynical and negative but major dental work does that to me.

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September 9, 2011 7:08:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Thinking about it a little more, this is also (unsurprisingly) a little like MOO2; farmers, workers, scientists.  Any thoughts of breaking the populace into 3 categories, instead of two?  How does this mechanic feed research?  In MOM, that came essentially from nodes and buildings; is there a similar mechanic here?

It might be fun to have farmers/workers/researchers/angry hobos, and then split researchers into mundane (tech tree) and magical (spells).

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September 9, 2011 8:27:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Population is local and a city’s population is broken into Farmers, Workers and Rebels (we may change the name for this last one, Dissidents?  Angry Hobos?).

Tempted to say Tea Partiers, but maybe you should just go with Slackers.

Then again, HORCon is an idea. Habitually Offended Resource Consumers. Though I am sure somebody can come up with a better acronym.

 

p/s: Food And Material Resource Export Manager - FARMER

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September 9, 2011 8:40:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm glad to see the team steering the project closer to MOM style, while changing it up along the way.

I am getting excited to play this game! 

I had already started designing a fantasy 4x game assuming that FE would fall short, but maybe I was too pessimistic... 

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September 9, 2011 9:52:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Winnihym,
This is really encouraging; I like the farmers/workers/rebels thing from MOM a lot; great mechanic, and I like that terrain locally matters initially, but won't be the driver for growth, like it is in Civ.  It keeps us out of the whole "workers/improvements" mechanic, which is good to see.

I love the idea of having to take population to make an army; it was one of the things MOM missed, and provides a great additional mechanic.  I'm interested; if I build a unit in the field, and it's damaged (some units killed); do I replace those killed soldiers from population, or do they heal up outside of the population mechanic?

Agree, solid.

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September 9, 2011 10:08:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting DsRaider,
It's a huge reason not to go to war, as you could end up seriously behind in civic infrastructure and research.

Is this necessarily a bad thing?

One of the things I loved about Galactic Civilisations was that it punished you economically (with maintenance costs) for gratuitous militarisation.  As a result the game had a lot more layers than just being an arms race...

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September 9, 2011 10:26:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting irrevenant,
One of the things I loved about Galactic Civilisations was that it punished you economically (with maintenance costs) for gratuitous militarisation. As a result the game had a lot more layers than just being an arms race...

It's a matter of degree. Cities in Civ5 basically never stop constructing buildings. They are what produces gold, research, and even local production(so you build faster). This also seems to be how FE will work. This continuous building means that if you stop to build military units you will have put yourself behind and quite possibly never be able to catch up. I support maintenance and population costs but a combined queue like in Civ5 can be really annoying and frustrating. FE might be different but it might not.

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September 9, 2011 10:36:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Brewer provides me with lots of scotch I hope! Its 5 o clock somewhere!

 

But seriously that beta I want!

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September 9, 2011 10:45:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Does sound closer to MOM.  This is a good thing.  Always.

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September 9, 2011 11:23:04 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Fact: The Devs said that they could not give us more journals until they were close to finishing the beta.

Fact: There are an increasing number of journals.

Inference: The beta is coming soon.

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September 9, 2011 11:50:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Looking forward to this game.

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September 10, 2011 12:12:27 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Jarod Silverstar,
Population is local and a city’s population is broken into Farmers, Workers and Rebels (we may change the name for this last one, Dissidents?  Angry Hobos?).

Tempted to say Tea Partiers, but maybe you should just go with Slackers.

Then again, HORCon is an idea. Habitually Offended Resource Consumers. Though I am sure somebody can come up with a better acronym.

 

p/s: Food And Material Resource Export Manager - FARMER

ORCs (Offended Resource Consumers) for the win!

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September 10, 2011 1:24:37 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm not a fan or removing the split queues- to me the split queues are a big part of Stardock's games.  My objections are largely traditionalist here, so they can be disregarded.

 

That said, maybe split queues should be limited to major cities, or a benefit of a lvl 3 city? Unsure if that's doable though.

 

I think rebels if you get too many of them should have a chance to overthrow towns, or hurt city defense (turn traitor?)  Maybe also have rebels potentially leave a city and spawn as bandits somewhere else, or random adventurers?  Event system could be used here.  I always felt the events in GalCiv2 could use a little EU-influence, I'd like to see FE take a little of this direction where appropiate.

 

That said, the best games don't come from inventing a lot of new concepts, but often taking existing concepts and making what works work better, so I'm just going to wait and see and hope for the best.  I'm liking most of this so far.

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September 10, 2011 1:40:01 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Balancing small vs large empires is a good thing, but I think that simply reducing the population growth rate with increasing number of cities feels forced and quite unintuitive. After all, I don't know a real-world parallel that reasonably explains this game mechanic and that tends to break immersion for me.

How about implementing something like inefficiency or corruption in the form of food and production losses instead? Or perhaps also increase unrest? 

On a related note, growth could also be proportional to the amount of food produced which makes it an incentive to have more farmers rather than just always maximizing the number of workers. Since food is also affected by the corruption mechanic I just mentioned this can be used to further limit population growth. 

 

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September 10, 2011 4:09:42 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The thing is that you really need one of those mechanics to put a distinction between quick expansion with many cities, and turtling with just one or a few cities. The way I see it, factions attract citizens, instead of cities attracting citizens.

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September 10, 2011 4:46:54 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Ben Yeoh,
Balancing small vs large empires is a good thing, but I think that simply reducing the population growth rate with increasing number of cities feels forced and quite unintuitive. After all, I don't know a real-world parallel that reasonably explains this game mechanic and that tends to break immersion for me.

Agree completely. This is the prestige penalty by any other name.

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September 10, 2011 5:19:37 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

MoM style population management. 

Also, the random nature of city improvements sounds very appealing. It's nice to see that the game is going in a more unpredictable direction regarding progression, unlike Hero... Might and Magic Heroes 6, that just about abandoned that idea.

Like a wise red dragon disguised as a man once said, "Mystery is important, to know everything is boring"

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