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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Slight revision to economy system

While working on the UI for planet screen, I noticed that there are a lot of managing for a planet.  First, there's the regions that you develop, as well as buildings for it and specials for them.  Second, there's sliders, one for each region type.

I'm also working on the underlying data structure for the economy system, and I'm having issues with having both regions and sliders.  There are three types of outputs:  Outputs that are generated automatically by population (similar to MoO 1/2's BC, each population creates BC automatically, regardless of what output they are in), outputs generated by population (you assign them to do this output via slider), and outputs generated by regions.  I've been trying to brainstorm on how to handle this in the code.  Then I realized something.

It's too much micromanagement for marginal benefits.  Which would be easier, telling your planet to develop 3 farming regions then forgetting about it.  Or telling your planet to develop those 3, then when they're developed, assign a segment of population to that output?  What's the difference?  The ability to "overproduce" that's already punished by inefficiency?  The ability to assign to different outputs for a slightly increased output of a type?  Those are insignificant in the grand scheme where you have 100+ planets.

So I'm going to rip out the sliders idea from the regional system.  There won't be sliders, and the outputs will be calculated automatically based on the available resources and the population size.  Let's say that you have a planet with 6 regions, and 3 are farming, 3 are undeveloped.  It can hold 60 Humans, but have only 30 humans.  Therefore, it is operating at 50% efficiency (30/60) across all regions.  So each farming region outputs only 50% of its optimal output, and the undeveloped regions are outputting nothing.  In order to get the most out of a planet, it need to be fully developed (all regions developed), and fully populated.  That is a simple concept that players will understand.

Also, if it happens that a planet have more population than it can support (120/60), then it will use the inefficiency formula across all the regions.  This can occur if a disaster strikes causing the planet to degrade to another type, or you landed more people than it can support.  Population growth will then go negative.

So the "Population Allocation System" is now just regional systems similar to MoO 3, but in that population aren't restricted to a region.  I still plan on "Output Allocation System" where there's sliders, but there won't be regions (similar to MoO 1) later after the basic game's done.

This should be a lot less micromanaging, and you can assign regions from planet list screen as well.  Each region can have improvements and buildings to improve its output.


  1. I find it very interesting that you always try to think of how to improve the UI to use less micromanagement especially mid and late game.
    Keep up this path. But dont forget the early game.
    Especially if you havent paid 50 bucks for a PC game and you arent already commited on the game people tend to be less forgiving on design flaws and never touch it again after they where bored at the beginning of the game.

  2. I too welcome the simplification of colony management.

  3. Glad that you guys support this.

    The plan for early game is that you manage each planet individually. Then as your empire grows, you start to use the planet list to add regions. I'm kicking around an idea of "Add Region in best available place" where if you click on "Add Region" and selects "Farming", it will add farming to a undeveloped region that will produce the most farming of all available undeveloped regions on all planets. So you can spam add regions and it'll put them in the best spots across your empire. This is for planet list.

    Same idea for region improvements/buildings. You go to planet list and add "Terraforming" and it will be added to the planet's construction queue that will benefit the most from it. Or maybe "Automated Factory", and it will look for a region that don't have it and outputs the most industry, and adds to that region's queue.

    Then there's the "Add to All", if you add a region, it is added to every planet's queue (selecting the best region for that planet). For example, if you want military region on every planet that have at least one undeveloped region, it will add to every planet. Similar to MoO 1's "25% 50% 75%" option when a new tech is researched. "Add to All" will also work with buildings.

    The idea is that in beginning, you manage each planets individually, along with which buildings they build and regions they develop. Then later, you start using the macromanagement to add regions/buildings, and the game handles the small details for you. So the thrill of managing remains constant throughout the game.