I appologize in advance for duplicating anything Pidgeon has already said.
Say, in Starcraft you have units that can evade main force (mostly flying units or flying transports, but some invisible ones too) that deal lots of damage but have relatively weak defences. Obviously, map design helps too. And it's very cost-effective to destroy the enemy economy because workers cost a lot, and you can't restore mineral gathering immediately. That's just an RTS without any complex economy yet "convoy raiding" is very effective, it probably wins just as many matches as a direct combat.
Well done, point made! I'd never have thought to use Starcraft, it's so... Blizzardy? Why are you providing an example for my argument? Starcraft, a game with actual workers carrying actual resources from their extraction point to a storage facility, allows you to raid that resourcing operation and kill actual workers, stopping actual resources from being recieved. Non abstracted raiding is not dependant on complexity, just on actual resources. What you can't do in Starcraft is raid the supply lines between the main base and any satellite bases, because they don't exist. A forward production center is just magically supplied with all the resources it's using. End result, with nothing to raid, there's nothing to protect, and main armies tend to be the entire army. RTS games are typically one dimensional fights, the lack of a supply system is a major contributor.
That's because in an abstraction you're changing the outcome. In simulation, you can change only inner workings of the system with potentially unpredictable and unobvious changes in outcome. Since you have more control over an abstraction, it's always easier to balance an abstraction.
This, after agreeing that an actual resource system is a good idea.
You're working at a problem from the solution, and going in reverse. An abstraction isn't part of a system, it's abstracted from it. When you have an actual system, balancing each individual input is all that's required. You wouldn't balance bear cavalry, you'd balance bears. As long as the base inputs are balanced, nothing will throw the system out of wack by being added to it. When you create a higher level output, you simply maintain a uniform method of production. I prefer a logarithmic scale myself, base 2 should be quite effective at discouraging an all elite unit army, while still making that better weapon a rewarding investment in the long run provided you take care in how you deploy your forces.
When you abstract the system, you can't balance the inputs that don't exist. You just have cost. Instead of actual bears, you have the cost of getting bears, an unlimited supply of bears. No more natural limitation on number. You then have to abstract a system to deal with that unlimited supply of bear cavalry, because as everyone knows, an all badass army is always better than not. The most common methods are jacking up the cost to a prohibitive level, or giving everyone a bear counter that wipes them out with the greatest of ease. A less common, but far superior system tries to mimic what reality would do and puts either a hard or soft cap on the number of identical units you can have. Rise of Legends for instance has a soft cap, Dawn of War has a hard cap. They work better than the less advanced abstractions, but still not that well. They're also hell to balance.
To take the 110 resources in Elemental specifically. Instead of balancing the thousands of units you'll be able to create with those resources, a monumental, and quite frankly impossible task, you balance the much smaller subset of raw materials. You then balance the refinement processes that turn them into more advanced goods. If each tier is balanced, the task is finished. Comparatively, it's an excecise in simplicity. Any new input is simply balanced with whatever it's being added to, instead of trying to rework an entire abstraction to accomodate a new unit that breaks the house of cards you've built using specific counters.
28 isn't remotely like 110. Don't you see the difference? LOL Well, i can't help you in that case. Besides, it was my point - even in economic simulators you don't control 110 resources. And even in worst case you don't control the logistics of 110 resources. # 1 is insane idea. I'm starting to like #3 where it's automated as much as possible. However, universal resource storage is better anyway (that is, as long as cities are connected, they're using the same warehouse for all their resources).
#1 is not full manual control. Manual control of the automation is still automated. It's not the nightmare you're thinking it is. It would likely be more work than 3, as 3 will be defaulting itself to a distribution model more likely to please the user since it will be demand driven. I was pointing out that there is a real time game with a higher work requirement already in use, and it's negligible. Calling The Settlers an economic simulator is a really low blow. It's better than most I guess, but it's by no means a simulator. They barely scratched the surface in a resource system, what's there is partly superficial too. If you want to see what a complicated simulation really is, you need to look up some of SSG's war simulations. Sword of the Stars is more of a simulation than The Settlers is.
And there is no point to imply that i'm slow and my micro sucks. I'm a former RTS player and i out-microed everyone in Civilization 4 ladder on Future start (that era has highest micro requirments). So i bet my micro is much better than yours.
I did state that I meant no offense to multiple amputees. It's not as if I had cause to assume you were one so you shouldn't be taking it personally anyway.
Taking this silliness seriously, currently, you're quite likely to be faster than I am. Satellite internet is inhospitable to RTS games. In combination with the arthritis, my dexterity has dropped rather significantly with the lack of practice. It's downright pathetic how bad I am at FPS games right now, to get killed in single player at standard difficulty in a game like Doom 3 would have been unimaginable five years ago. I used to be a micromanagement god, would have made it into the top 50 on RA2 no problem, unfortunately people in the top 50 were telling me I needed a map hack if I wanted to get there. Making a cheat standard practice is not cool. I'd never be professional gamer material, the reflexes were maybe fast enough for something like CAL when I played Counter-Strike 16 hours a day, but you can't really maintain anything resembling a life while doing that. If it was me back then saying The Settlers were easy, you'd have something to argue. The crippled out of practice me is just more evidence that a complex resource system doesn't have to be a lot of work. If I can use it, anyone can.
Yes, I admitted to playing playing Counter-Strike 16 hours a day. In my defense, it wasn't quite so generic before they sold it to Valve and nerfed the physics.
Fine, fine. Everyone else failed so far, and they'll do it. Right.
My sarcasm is better than yours.
First, you're wrong. Complex economies have been done. There are plenty of economy sims with decent interfaces. The City Building series started by Impressions Studios is an excellent example of a complex economy with a decent interface. A much more complex economy than needed for a 4X. You wont be managing the wealth of your citizens to keep taxes high while not losing workers to retirement for instance. If they can go into the nitty gritty in a city simulator in real time without bogging you down, they can scratch the surface in a 4X without bogging you down too.
Second, Stardock is quite possibly the number one company on the planet for interface design. WinCustomize is the biggest site in desktop enhancements. They're top dog in the widget market.
To correct your statement. No one else has tried to put a relatlvely deep resource system into a 4X game, but Stardock can easily accomplish the task.
As far as a central warehouse goes. If it's not being transported somewhere, there isn't anything to raid. Either your warehouse is symbolic and irrelevant, or you still have to ship resources to the production source. In which case, you might as well ship them to a production source in the first place. The joy of abstractions, make something simple and break something cool.
For the massive flood of caravans concern. I really doubt this is a problem. The description says regular shipments. I expect they wont be shipping them out each and every turn. Getting them each and every turn wouldn't really be of any benefit either. You might be thinking you could use them each and every turn and that delay is harmful, but everyone is getting the same delay.
Pigeon, you're starting to scare me. Quick, find something disagreeable in my post.
Oy. That's just silly. Calling the greatest RTS of all time not a strategy game is pretty far out there.
This is why everyone that isn't a Blizzard fanboy wants to kill Blizzard fanboys. A generic, archaic game with polish and little else becomes the greatest RTS of all time. It is to strategy what McDonalds is to the hamburger. Market penetration with good advertising and not much else.
I suspect most Blizzard fans just haven't tried anything besides one of the equally safe and unimaginative games in the same vein.