So, I've been perusing a few threads here, in regards to pioneer spam, outpost building, and city growth. I already have an outpost mod I'm working on,s but I'm distracted with a couple of quest coding fests at the moment...
Anyways, several players have expressed interest in a more 'hands on' approach to city management. With that in mind, here is the 'design goals' statement I have in mind r.e. a mod to address this.
My issues with the current model:
1) The current population growth model works off of the concept of growth bonuses. Essentially, each city will attract population each turn, based on it's growth level. This happens in the background now, so players don't have to worry about assigning population to structures and such.
This encourages abuse, especially at faster game rates, where people build Pioneers to 'skim off' the excess population when a city hits it's population cap. Said Pioneers do not require food, and can wait around as long as a player wishes, until they are killed, found an outpost, or found a city. I think they can be used to boost population levels in a city as well (need to check this). While this certainly works, it encourages city and outpost spamming. Sure there are penalties (unrest) that tie into this, but the 'more cities makes people more scared' premise seems counter-intuitive to me.
2) Structures are no longer tied to population, just city levels. This is certainly easier, but once a structure is built it has no 'manning' requirements should the city then decide to drop it's population levels a LOT by spamming pioneers. Essentially, you have a bunch of population sitting around doing nothing while buildings are on autopilot. Apparently E:LH is an automated society, you just didn't realize it before...
3) Several modders have re-introduced population costs for armies from time to time. This makes sense to me, but of course is not part of the 'core design'.
Changes I have in mind:
1) (Re)Introduce new resources - Population pool.
Sovereigns will now attract/produce a number of people each turn. This will be tied to various bonuses, of course, but these will be for a global population pool, not for each individual city.
Three resources will be tied to this.
- Total Empire Population: A global counter showing the total population of your empire. Random events can tie into this variable... plus it makes you feel cool to know how many citizens are under your command...
- Total City Population: This will look the same as you see it now, but will be handled differently. Essentially population growth will be a direct result of adding new structures to the city (i.e. a Smelter might cost 30 population to build, and adds 30 to total city population).
- Available Population Pool: Any new structures, units, etc. will have a population cost, that is subtracted from this pool. If this pool is at zero, no new structures, etc. may be built.
2) Units will (again) cost population.
Most units will have a personnel requirement, that will be deducted from the population pool. Pioneers will cost the same in population as other units, but see below:
3) Buildings cost population among other things.
Essentially, you will need to provide citizens for the structure, which are deducted from the available pool of citizens.
4) New cities will not require additional population (over the Pioneer requirement), but...
New city sites will essentially be tents, when Pioneers establish a new city. The actual 'city hub' will still need to be built, and like all other structures will require population.
5) Cities will not produce population directly.
Sure, some city structures may provide bonuses to the growth of the global population pool, but will not accumulate citizens directly. New citizens will mainly be assigned via structures. I may also introduce a mechanic to add more population just because, but this will need to have controls associated with it.
6) City Hub Growth:
City Hubs may be upgraded ONLY if the required total population is on hand for said upgrade. Hence, total city population may have a slightly different effect on Hub growth...
7) New approach to Unrest:
Unrest will still be in play, but the penalties for multiple cities may be different. Example: There could perhaps be higher unrest bonuses for larger cities, which would of course introduce the need for morale boosting structures.
8) Players will need to accumulate population to build units/things...
Since almost everything unit wise and building wise will have a population requirement, Players will have to wait until they have sufficient population onhand.
9) Population Growth/Turn now a global stat:
Your Sov/Empire will have this stat. The higher it is, the more people that will be added to your Available Population Pool each turn. Obviously, you will accrue bonuses to this as the game goes on, and attract higher numbers of people each turn as the game progresses. HOWEVER, Cities won't be the primary driver behind this, and a control will need to be in place to ensure that 'City Spamming for the sake of higher growth bonuses' does not become an issue.
On the Global scale, a Sovereign will see a new stat(s) across the top bar, next to Mana, Gold, etc. which will show available/unused population for upgrades, etc., and perhaps a global population count, although I might just leave that as a Ledger item. Population Growth per turn will also need to be shown somewhere.
What happens when a city is captured, and it's effect on global population levels, may need to be addressed, and I'm not sure how this would be handled. Currently, however, Global Population as I envision it is more akin to Fame, so this may be a non issue. Essentially, one might think of it as '50,000 people flocked to the Sov's banner this game', not 'You currently have 50,000 total population'. This could be tied into some sort of victory condition I would think.
The Plague Event: Since population is now tied to structures, this event will need to have a different approach. Not sure what to do right now about this...
Grain: Since City Hub level could still be tied to Grain, cities will still hit population caps, of a sort. That being said, this will need to be explored further. This may be a case where there is a disconnect between the grain resource and total populaton. Lots to think about here...
Elemental used to track craftsmen and such. Maybe there is something there to address the Grain situation and Plague situation...
Fame could play a role here. Where tracking growth bonuses introduces the issue of 'Sov still having the bonus despite losing a city' issue, perhaps the Sov earns more growth bonuses as he/she becomes more well known globally (i.e. becomes, well, Famous!).
The spells/enchantments that increase city growth may need a rethink...
Well, that's what I have so far. I'll probably jump into this at some point in the next couple of weeks. I need to button up a few things for updated releases first...
Comments, suggestions, etc. are of course always welcome!