What happened to the farmers/craftsmen/peasants/malcontents?

Also, how to drastically reduce the number of improvements and make city building fun

By on January 22, 2012 10:17:32 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Satrhan

Join Date 11/2008
+24

Like the title says, what happened to the farmers/craftsmen/peasants/malcontents division that was talked about a while back? I just realised it wasn't in the game when discussing city building in this thread. I remembered seeing a screenshot that showed this system recently, in the 'welcome to the first public beta' thread. This is the screenshot I mean:

I really liked this system in theory, because it allowed each type of citizen to produce different things. So farmers produce food, craftsmen produce production, peasants produce a little production, gold, and research, and malcontents don't produce anything. To me this system is much more elegant than what we currently have, where food is just produced at maximum capacity, research and production a fixed amount per citizen minus unrest percentage, and gold the same without the unrest reduction.

Suggestion
Re-introduce this system, and allow the player to control how many of each productive citizen (with +/- buttons next to each type?) there should be. The following will need some balancing, but I would start with this:
1) Farmers each produce the tile's grain yield in food. So with a yield of 3 and one farmer, that farmer can feed himself and two other citizens.
2) Craftsmen each produce the tile's materials yield in production. They don't produce anything else (gold or research). This would allow you to increase the production of your city immensely, but at the cost of no tax or research production.
3) Peasants produce a little tax and a little research, maybe some production as well, depends on balancing.
4) Malcontents still don't produce anything of course. (Maybe spawns some bandits near the city once in a while?)

What this will accomplish is not only give you more direct control over how your city functions, but it will also reduce the number of buildings required to specialize a city. Want a city to grow? Add more farmers (no more + food per grain buildings). Want it to become a production powerhouse? Add more craftsmen (no more workshops).

Limitations
There should be some limit on how big a city can grow, because otherwise you could just keep adding farmers and it would grow. This could be done in a few ways:
I) You could set a maximum amount of food that can be produced per tile yield, but that's what we have now.
II) Have unrest increase as the population grows, so at some point there are no more peasants to convert into farmers.
III) Have growth shrink as the population grows, all the way down to zero. You could keep adding farmers, but it wouldn't do anyting.

II and III are how civ4 handles it (health and happiness), which was a good system imo. Like civ, you (the player) could then choose to fix these problems by building certain improvements that either reduce unrest or increase growth.

Expanding on this
The system I describe above could work I think, but it could be taken further.
A) Buildings could change or add a production type to a certain type of citizen. Examples: Tax office makes farmers and craftsmen produce taxes, but increases unrest. A labor camp makes malcontents produce production, but increases unrest. A festival reduces food production, but also reduces unrest. A school increases research from peasants.
B ) Some buildings could create a whole new type of citizen. A library allows sages that produce a lot more research but no taxes. A merchants guild allows merchants that turn some production into gold. A cult of the damned allows cultists, that increase death mana from a nearby node, but increase unrest as well.
C) Resource tiles could be changed as well, so that for example a nearby mine doesn't produce anything on its own but allows miners that produce a amount of metal/gold/crystals per turn.

Reducing micromanagement...
The system I have described above could lead to some un-fun micromanagement if not properly handled. Example: If farmers only produce food, you wouldn't want to produce more excess food than required for growth that turn (if there is no other benifit to overproduction), forcing efficiency fans to manually adjust the number of farmers each turn. AI can handle this just fine, but it isn't fun for a human. Therefore there should be some toggles that help you shape your city over the turns. The 'Enable growth' toggle would when activated increase the number of farmers each turn so there is enough food to grow the city. The 'Avoid unrest' toggle would prevent any automated change in citizen division that would increase unrest. The 'Avoid negative income' toggle would prevent any automated change that would make the nett income of the city become negative. And there could be 'Maximise' toggles for each category of citizens or producable resources (production, research, gold, metal, mana, etc).

...and cheese
This system could also be vulnerable to cheese tactics, by quickly changing citizen distributions to whatever you need at that moment. See a large army comming? Turn everyone into craftsmen and build an even bigger one before they get to the city. Need a lot of mana for a spell? Turn everyone into a cultist. Etc. This could be punished or prevented, either by having an temporary unrest penalty for large changes in distribution, or by limiting how fast distribution could be changed (for instance allowing each group of specialists to change by only one each turn). Neither solution is perfect, but both are workable I think.

Now, in conclusion I think this would both allow cities to become much more specialized, and reduce the amount of utility buildings that you need to build in a city.

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January 22, 2012 10:20:58 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

There are a lot of good ideas here!   I wouldn't mind seeing them implemented.

Best regards,
Steven.

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January 22, 2012 10:24:58 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Wow I forgot about this too! I'd love to hear from the team on this since it was talked up during development. I don't know if we really need it. My guess is that it was found to be unneeded complication.

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January 22, 2012 10:26:38 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Great ideas. I wholeheartedly agree (every step towards master of magic is a step in the right direction).

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January 22, 2012 3:41:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think that the different buildings were meant to be the means of specializing a city to be a population centre or a production centre or a magic centre.  I don't know how well that works, as it seems people still just build one of everything.  They just decide which one gets built first.  City specialization and development needs work.

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January 22, 2012 6:53:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting DexCisco,
I think that the different buildings were meant to be the means of specializing a city to be a population centre or a production centre or a magic centre.  I don't know how well that works, as it seems people still just build one of everything.  They just decide which one gets built first.  City specialization and development needs work.

 

Yes, but maintenance costs help with that. You can tank your economy if you overbuild without enough income. This may need further balancing, but they are on the right track.

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January 22, 2012 6:58:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

+1 to the original poster. These are some great ideas. As I've said in a couple other posts, I'm all for giving more and more meaningful ways of interacting with those 4,3 3,5 6,2's scattered under your city. I don't really care how its accomplished, I just want something meaningful to think about beyond just initial city placement.

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January 22, 2012 7:01:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It LOOKS like they just got phased out. What it LOOKS like is that in that screenshot, 1 material = 1 craftsman = x production. And 1 grain = 1 farmer = 1 food. If I were to hazard a guess, they just removed the "middle man" (pun intended).

Instead of a building that gives you +1 farmer, they just have buildings that give you +1 grain instead.

 

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January 22, 2012 7:05:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Added a bit about reducing micromanagement and cheese.

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January 22, 2012 7:11:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

@Heavenfall; That's what it looks like, but I don't think it's better. With the current system you have to build that building if you want the city to grow, and many more like it. They're not very interesting to build, you usually build one in every city anyway, and contribute to the bloated cities. Lets remove them and only give you things to build that are actually interesting.

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January 22, 2012 7:28:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Honestly I prefer the system as it is currently. It is much more elegent and requires less micromanagement. There is also less potential for abuse and fewer 'minor balance' issues that will constantly require tweaking as new means of abusing this type of system become apparent.

 

As far as specializing cities is concerned, the buildings you gain at each level up assist with doing this, though I am in the same boat that they could use some work. I would prefer a similar 'leveling' system to heroes. That is on the first level up you choose a 'path' and that path opens up new buildings and building choices on level up for you. Say for example the paths are:

 

Growth (Chance for prestige, food, growth and unrest buildings)

Military (Chance for military and production enhancing buildings)

Technology (Chance for buildings that increase tech and provide minor new unique techs)

Trade (Chance for city gildar, caravan trade, diplomatic capital and treaties bonus's buildings)

Magic (Chance for buildings that produce crystals, shards, mana/turn and free city spells)

 

Keep in mind that city levels need not be limited to a single building choice, but the very first thing that needs to be looked at is balancing the buildings with one another. I find that I =always= build gallows, as the benefit of +10% production or +10% research is easily trumped by providing both of those things through reduced unrest. The bakery is an example of a good building. It is not 'always' a good choice but is strong enough on it's own that I want to shoot for the next city level to get it.

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January 23, 2012 3:43:55 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Heavenfall,
It LOOKS like they just got phased out. What it LOOKS like is that in that screenshot, 1 material = 1 craftsman = x production. And 1 grain = 1 farmer = 1 food. If I were to hazard a guess, they just removed the "middle man" (pun intended).

Instead of a building that gives you +1 farmer, they just have buildings that give you +1 grain instead.

 

 

Pretty sure this is it, with malcontents now being represented by unrest.

 

Quoting CdrRogdan,

Keep in mind that city levels need not be limited to a single building choice, but the very first thing that needs to be looked at is balancing the buildings with one another. I find that I =always= build gallows, as the benefit of +10% production or +10% research is easily trumped by providing both of those things through reduced unrest. The bakery is an example of a good building. It is not 'always' a good choice but is strong enough on it's own that I want to shoot for the next city level to get it.

 

I agree, I don't understand the advantages of going anything other than gallows for the first upgrade (it turns your normal taxes into low taxes with not only a lack of income loss, but an income gain!) with the possible exception of training post I think its called which gives a bonus towards unit training if you want to be very aggressive early game.

 

It also seems like there is no randomness at all for first 3 upgrades? I notice later on there are buildings that pop up as rare that aren't always there. Later buildings are also a lot more interesting with big choices between powerful upgrades like Slums (-50% maint) and Palace (ponies).

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January 23, 2012 4:02:13 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

There is randomness in the first three upgrades.  You can even reload to the turn before and get different choice when your city levels up.  However to prevent abuses I would suggest that the next upgrade choices would be made when the previous level is reached.  So at the start of the game, it would decide on all Level 2 upgrade choices for all cities.  Then when a particular city reaches Level 2, it would decide on the upgrade choices for Level 3 level up for that city.  This would prevent the exploit of saving the turn before a city levels up and reloading if you don't get your desired building.

Maybe also, at the start of the game, all heroes get their first upgrade choices decided (starting level + 1), and then when they reach the next level the game decides what choices they should get on the next level-up.  Though this would not affect battles where a hero levelled up more than once in the same battle, however these battles are likely to be hard so the player wouldn't necessarily want to repeat them and you would only get second and subsequent levels-up with one action as random.  Most battles, especially if experience is split, won't result in any particular hero levelling more than once.

This also goes along with all surviving winning armies (minus any heroes reduced to 0 hitpoints or less during the battle win) getting the experience equally divided, so experience gained by each surviving hero or army = (total experience of killed units)/(number of surviving armies).  You shouldn't get full experience if you were just were present in a battle, and I think simplicity and balance is the key.  I don't particularly like AoW's way of doing it when only the unit striking the killing blow of another unit receives any experience.  I don't think it suits FE and dividing up experience evenly based on number of surviving armies is good enough in my opinion.

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January 23, 2012 10:53:22 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting CdrRogdan,
Honestly I prefer the system as it is currently. It is much more elegent and requires less micromanagement. There is also less potential for abuse and fewer 'minor balance' issues that will constantly require tweaking as new means of abusing this type of system become apparent.
I guess we have different opinions on what is elegant. The division into different types of citizens allows for both subtle and not-so-subtle changes in city output. Buildings are just always there, never changing what they do or what their effects are. Besides, I would like to feel like I'm ruling a bunch of people, not a gathering of buildings.

As far as specializing cities is concerned, the buildings you gain at each level up assist with doing this, though I am in the same boat that they could use some work. I would prefer a similar 'leveling' system to heroes. That is on the first level up you choose a 'path' and that path opens up new buildings and building choices on level up for you.

We're not so far apart on this. I just want to cut a lot of the dead weight in the building selection. The buildings that you will probably build in every city because there is no reason not too, the only 'choice' being what order to build them in. You should only have to make interesting choices when you're deciding what to build.

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February 2, 2012 10:24:08 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Shameless bump. Still think this system would be a big step towards more interesting city building and empire management.

I know this is a long shot, but any dev care to comment on why this division was abandoned? I think it was pretty well received when it was announced five months ago, and it seems like it was implemented in a previous build, so what changed your mind? I don't mean to sound entitled, I'm just curious what you found was wrong with it..

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February 2, 2012 10:28:42 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would be interested too.

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February 2, 2012 2:45:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think I read somewhere that major changes to city mechanics were in the works for one of the upcoming updates/beta versions...

Which is good. Because right now, all the current system makes me want to do is exit the game and go play FfH.

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February 2, 2012 3:54:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting CdrRogdan,
Honestly I prefer the system as it is currently. It is much more elegent and requires less micromanagement. There is also less potential for abuse and fewer 'minor balance' issues that will constantly require tweaking as new means of abusing this type of system become apparent.

This. The city system needs improvement but re-adding specialist would not help, just add pointless micro.

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February 3, 2012 8:51:05 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I don't agree, was it pointless micro managing specialists in cIV? I didn't think it was. Or in MoO? (I haven't played that, so I'll have to take your word on it.)

With specialists you can cut a lot of buildings, especially those providing more food or production. It's good that the dev's stopped the endless spamming of just 2 or 3 buildings that was WoM, but they've replaced it with spamming a whole bunch of pretty similar buildings. Using specialists you can control what a city does far more precisely, and you only have to build a few buildings, each of which can now be a meaningful choice. Together with proper toggles and a good kingdom ledger, it wouldn't have to be much mircomanagement at all..

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February 3, 2012 9:15:09 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Something drastic is going to have to happen to the economic game. There needs to be a game here, this set and forget type stuff isn't cutting it.

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February 3, 2012 9:50:19 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'd rather avoid the specialist route. Adds unnecessary complexity and micromanagement. I do agree that city building should be more exciting/strategic, but I don't know that this is the answer.

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