from this thread:
please give this some thought before you react and read my analysis. i apologise if i have not found all the right quotes.
For 1.09, I am lobbying to have something put in that goes way back to an original concept that got lost and that is, using your citizens as a resource (population is still a resource, it's just not used for anything). This way, we could begin migrating back to the original concept tha tyou can build multiple buildings in a given city as long as you have the resource (available citizens) to make use of it. This encourages fewer cities and makes players choose between using their population for building their economy or putting them in arms.
This really deserves a journal entry on its own but...
In v1.09, we will have specialists instead. So a merchant will use up a specialist slot. The number of specialist slots a Kingdom/Empire gets is the total population /10 (the idea is that 10% of the population are specialists of various kinds though historically it's a bit less than that but this is a game not a historical simulator <g>).
So your village with 80 people will provide your Kingdom with 8 specialist slots. A merchant would use 1 slot. A Study would use another slot. You could build multiple such buildings as long as you have available specialist slots available. Similarly, a military unit would use a slot (not 1 per soldier but rather 1 per unit giving the advantage to those kingdoms that can field larger groups AND get us back towards a more epic feel because if a unit costs a specialist slot, the base training time of training ONE unit can be lowered and thus allow training of much larger groups to be much quicker getting players back to fielding much larger armies).
e. There's no specialist production per se. The idea is that in any society, N% of the population can be specialists. So future modifiers might increase the 10% of population being specialists to say 11% and so on but we don't plan to play with that in v1.1 (maybe in a future v1.2 and so on).
So, as far as I can determine, every ten people (or whatever), you get a slot to spend on either building a unit or building something that produces production.
The principles behind this are good: population will be an important resource, production will be related to population and players will be forced to choose between units and production.
However, this is a whole new game mechanic we're talking about here, so it needs a bit more thought than this cursory glance.
The most obvious thing is the numbers. If it's every ten people, then a few things are evident: population brackets for settlements grow at an increasing rate. Right now you don't have more than ten people until level 2. You also have around a thousand people at the higher levels. so we're talking about a range from 0 slots, to 100. whatever you make the pop cost os a specialist, you get a massive disparity. either i get barely anything until i'm level 2, or i get an obscene amount at level 5. don't forget that some of these buildings might be ones like the workshop (which you currently depend on in the early game for your basic production. also remember i have to build something (or so it seems) to make use of each slot. so at level 5 i could have 20 merchant buildings. this to me implies
- lots of checking back on settlements every time they spawn a new slot, so i can make use of it (in addition to current checking back for levelling up and non-slot buildings). as population expands AND i gain more settlements, this micro will increase EXPONENTIALLY (well, quadratically actually). will i get a warning every time a population increases by ten, or will i have to keep checking myself? to my imagination, either sucks as a prospect.
- (even more) massive urban sprawl as i build the same things over and over again.
- i will have to demolish buildings to build troops, then build them up again when i disband them. recruiting has suddenly become much more complicated
both these things will be especially true if brad's (probably placeholder) numbers are an accurate estimate.
of course, you could always increase the cost of slots at an increasing rate (10 for the first, 15 for the next etc), but there's a problem with this that i'll get onto later.
but back to settlement levelling for a moment if you will. yes, that old meaningless mechanic, you'd forgotten about that now hadn't you? settlement level is currently used to restrict a few unique buildings. you also get a big arbitrary, abstract % increase to one type of production, or the chance to spawn a unit.
sounding familiar yet?
what's worse this % increase is not recorded anywhere nor are you given time to analyse the settlement before you choose. i hate the level up bonuses. to me they feel like a half-arsed attempt to make people care about levelling because as a mechanic it is poorly thought out and under implemented. from what i'm reading i have no reason to believe it will be removed or improved as a concept.
but back track a bit, remember when i suggested solving the slot cost by increasing pop costs at an increasing rate? you know what else increases at an increasing rate? SETTLEMENT LEVELLING REQUIREMENTS!
so we have a flawed old mechanic and a shiny new (apparently flawed) one, which is best implemented by making it more like the old one. this is what doesn't make sense to me. why introduce all this redundancy, for a system that sounds fiddly and annoying? isn't there a far better solution?
yes. yes there is.
so you want to limit buildings by population? fine. we already have a way to discretely chop up settlement sizes. it's called city level. far easier to say "you have reached level 2, you may now build one from this list: a merchant, a lumber mill etc" then have the player do the same thing at level 3. if the level requirements are out of whack with how many i need, then add more levels and reduce the brackets, but the principle remains the same. at a stroke you've removed the need for specialist slots, and made a redundant old mechanic relevant again.
at this point your asking how does recruitment come into this? and what happened to brad's concept of proportionality? well, both these ideas can be done far more intuitively, and with less micro than specialist slots.
make the production buildings produce in proportion to population. so a merchant generates 0.01 gildar per person, per turn or whatever. that's the key to all of this. this way i don't have to build a hoard of them to make use of my population. and the best thing about this is how it handles troop recruitment.
every time you recruit a unit (even at present), the number of guys is removed from the population. this means that if your buildings produce as a proportion of population, then removing population will cause production to go down. then when i disband them it goes back up. this is EXACTLY the kind of "swords or butter" decision brad was talking about, without the need for specialist slots. if the population cost of units is currently not significant, then multiply them up (ie, one guy cost 5 pop, to represent the fact you are taking their breadwinner or "specialist").
the point is that simply reducing the population of a settlement and having that affect production is: far more intuitive, works within the current system and totally removes any need to destroy and rebuild my buildings, or reassign my specialist slots just to recruit some guys. why make an abstract, gamey, slot based mechanic to MODEL "the boys going off to war," when you can ACTUALLY DO IT by simply reducing population?
the best thing about buildings production being tied to population is that it discourages city spam, which the specialist slot system does not do at all. in my system one 100 pop city is better than 2 50's, because not only does it gets more buildings, it gets more out of them because it has higher pop. a lot of this depends on how population increases (currently on a very crude model that also encourages spam), but that's a whole other argument (on which i have other equally strong opinions)
i would really love to have my worries dispelled, and i'd love to hear a good counter argument from brad. but currently the more i think about the specialist slot idea, the less i like it.