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[feedback] Industrial Revolution (turn based strategy)


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#1 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3890

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 02:24 PM

I'm looking for general feedback about this game idea (what you liked, what you didn't like, what is good, what is bad, what is missing, etc).

On the first post I included the overall things (tell me what you think/feel about these), I have details and more advanced questions in  the second.

 

When giving suggestions, please take into account the implementation cost (I need to code it you know), easy to implement and simple yet great ideas are the best :)

 

 

 

Theme

Industrial revolution, colonization (in terms of buying raw resources from primitive nations and selling them finished goods), imperialism, switch from agrarian country to industrial country.

 

Core mechanic

The player is a ruler of a country made of 8-16 provinces (you can never conquer nor lose provinces), I'm not sure if the country will be an island or if it will have some neighbours (anyway, it will always have sea access). All this is displayed on one screen without any scrolling nor zooming. On of these provinces is capital (slightly developed) the rest is fully agrarian. One of the goals of the game is to build industry in the country. The main activity is constructing buildings (coal mines, factories, etc) in provinces. These produce goodies each turn. More goodies means you can build more buildings :) You can also import/export goods, need to build fleet (merchant and navy). There is also research. Plus other less important things.

 

Provinces

Each province is a (partially) separate ecosystem. It has it's own population, specific resources (like coal, iron, fertile ground, aboundant forests), buildings, local government (administration), infrastructure (railroads, telegraph). Also rebelions are province wide not country wide. Resources are not stored in a province, there is one country wide stockpile (so the player is not forced to look through various stockpiles), technically these resources are produced in a province and there auto transported to the capital (the player only pays transport bills, no need to click anything :D), once stored in the central stockpile these can be used by any province (maybe not realistic but convenient and simple).

 

Agriculture & Industry

Industry is pretty strightforward, you construct a building and it exctract a resource / produce goods.

Agriculture is special, there is no such thing as "farm". Or to put it other way, each province starts as one huge farm and cities/industry reduce its size (so the farming area can only shrink, never grow, but you can increase farming efficiency instead).

 

Population

The player can never directly order population, they are autonomous. You can't assign them to jobs, can't transfer to another province, nothing like that. Population lives in provinces, they can decide to migrate to other provinces (if there are better wages, cheaper houses and lower taxes for example).

The player can affect where population move by:

- building industry (more industry means shortage of workers which means better wages which means some people will want to move there) (expensive)

- building more houses (maybe the wages are not that high there, but the house renting is cheap and houses are big, some will want to move there)

- investing in railroad system (it increases the mobility of population, a higher percentage will try to switch province each turn)

- waiting (in the end, given enough time, population will spread until the wages/conditions are the same everywhere)

 

Labour (population again)

There are 3 kind of occupations:

- farmers - it's fixed, each province needs X farmers (you can reduce this number by introducing farming tools and machines), they are the less troublesome folks, they do not need houses (they live in villages not cities), they are always happy and do not demand anything, they don't need education, basicly a ruler's dream subjects :) Around 90% of starting population is farmers.

- craftsmen - they are private manufacturers and providers of services, in a good managed country they will extinct and switch to workers cast, good only for paying taxes

- workers - proportional to your industry (each building require certain number of workers)

- unemployed - trouble, trouble! Rebelion warning! If you have too many of these it means you messed up sometinh with your country. Overall you should suffer shortage of workers instead of fighting unemplyment.

 

Priority of jobs: farmers are absolute top priority, everyone wants to be a farmer :) Agriculture is always covered 100%. Workers is the second priority (althrough some smaller percentage will try craftsmen career, depending on the current worker's wages). If someone is left then up to 5% will become craftsmen. And the rest is unemplyed.

 

Note that only farmers occupation is fixed. Workers are more fluid, for example you can still build more industry if you have shortage of workers (up to x3 shortage, then construction of new buildings is disabled in that province) but you will need to pay overhour wages (expensive, as a side effect it makes this province more desirable to migrate to).

 

Winning condition and losing condition

I'm not sure about that one, probably the goal would be to reach certain industrialization level or maybe international reputation points of some sort.

As for losing condition the most dangerous and frequent would be bankrupcy I guess. The economy is favouring maximum production output (in exchange for paying extra to workers, also some goods (coal) are auto imported if there is shortage), generally, factories will do whatever it takes to produce at maximum capacity even it it makes you bankrupt :) Another danger would be rebellion/happiness of population. I'm not sure about military defeat (and I'm not sure if I would include army of any sort in the game), but even if, that one would be easy to averted.

 

 

Walkthrough example

1) Player's first goal is to build basic minimum industry (coal and iron mine in a province that have these, steel foundry, bricks and planks production, maybe some basic railroad system between the capital and the mining province).

2) The next step is agriculture. You want to free most of these farmers (90% is far too many!) and improve efficiency (food per acre) (irrigation system,fertilizers). These both should one one side free a lot of farmers who can now work in your factories and on the other grant you a lot of spare food which would boost population growth (which means even more workers later)

3) So, now you have an unemplyoment, great! It means you go on a building construction spree without worrying on going bankrupt because of extra wages.

4) It's getting crowded (population boom caused by aboundance of food), you need to enlarge cities (houses). Farming area will get reduced because of it, well time to invest in agriculture more.

5) Time to export your consumer goods abroad (ships needed) for a quick cash.

6) Maybe it's time for a country wide railroad system?

7) Now telegraph lines everywhere maybe?

8) Victory :)


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#2 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3890

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 02:25 PM

Detailed and more advanced stuff here. I underlined the major questions.

 

 

Industrial production philosophy

The main concept about production is that each steel foundry takes 1 cool and 1 iron and produces 1 steel. Always. No exceptions (it makes the interface look much better, no ugly fractions and the most important part, industrial production is strightforward and not confusing).

But I need to take into account labour availability, their education (public education was originally not invented for making more scientists but to teach workers alphabet so they can read instructions and do some absolutely minimal math).

So I thought of wages system. Factory can operate at full capacity even if there is a serious shortage of workers but you would need to pay them mych more. If there is enough workers you per $1 per worker, if there is shortage you pay $2 TO ALL workers in that province, if there is twice less workers than needed you pey $3 per worker and so on. When it reach tripple workers shortage the building interface gets grayed out and you ca't build anything more untill more workers arrive to the province.

 

But how about education/literacy? How this could affect/be connected to production?

 

 

Education

There would be 2 buildings, shool and university. But the university would not be "a better school", it would have a slightly different purpose. There would be 3 levels of education (Basic, Advanced, Expert). In school they would teach Basic for 100 people and Advanced for 20 people. In universities Advanced for 10 people and Expert for 20 people.

 

The Basic is used by industry (barely literate workers, just so they can operate machines better). It does not affect science at all.

The Advanced is used by government administration (better efficiency) and for science (small boost).

The Expert is used for science (huge boost).

 

I think education levels should be country wide, non province wide (the educated population would be assumed to always be in the place they are needed the most). But I'm not sure about that one...

 

The effect of building a school would not be instant. It would teach (Basic level) +5 people per turn up to 100 people total. So if you have 100 people in your country it would take 20 turns for all of them to reach Basic level.

 

Note that at some point you would reach 100% of Basic education yet you still might want to build more school for Advanced education (which would be 20% at that point). The university is an option too (if you ant Advanced), still, it's less economical than school (university is more expensive and teach half Advnced compared to school), but on the other hand it also adds Expert, which is a nice perk not granted by schools... It should lead to some non trivial decisions if you should build schools or universities.

 

 

Administration (local government) and paper

Each provinced has a level of local government (local administration, tax collectors, courts, etc). At the start you have a level 5 in your capital and level 0 in all other provinces. You can upgrade it with one click on the province screen (relatively expensive). One one hand it would work as a lock (to not get the player overwhelmed and discourage improving all provinces at once), in order to build any industry you need administration level 1. Upgrade is not cheap, and what's worse require upkeep each turn (so you would go bankrupt by improving all provinces at the very start). On the other it would increase tax collection effectiveness, and possibly other goodies.

 

I think it would be very cool to introduce paper as upkeep cost for administration :) You start as a primitive agrarian country and them improve your government and need to build more and more paper mills producing more and more paper eaten by the ever growing bureaucracy :) Or maybe you could intouduce edicts/policies, and each of these would have a turn upkeep paper cost as lang as in effect. Quite thematic and realistic I would say.

 

I think paper should be used as upkeep for schools/universities somehow. Maybe halve the efficiency of these by half if no paper upkeep is paid? Or maybe increase the cost of running these? Or maybe auto import paper upon any kind of shortage?

 

 

Export and consumer goods

You should be able to sell finished goods to some other (virtual and not present on the map) nations. Or maybe sell these to your population? I'm not sure how make that part. What I know is I don't want to fully simulate all kind of AI competitive empires, I would love to keep it very simple somehow (beacuse the game is focused on internal development of ones country)...

 

 

Sphere of influence (AKA ruling the seas)

There should be a concept of having navy fleet (to protect your merchants, making sure you are the one who get the profits from trading with primitive nations). Again, I have not thought how to handle this, would like ideas.

 

 

 


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#3 Unduli   Members   -  Reputation: 983

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 02:44 PM

Well , I am a bit short of time but

 

- What is the purpose of navy if there is no win/lose? Is it for blockade of trade like Patrician series?

- I think it is better to implement either basic AoE style stockpile without transport cost or full transportation.

- Your 'classes' lack most important one "bourgeois" although I think it is due to player taking this role ie making game "Socialist Economy on Industrialization Era"

- I think you should think of a mechanism to stimulate need for import/export

 

But I think this would be a nice 'simulation' for theories of known economists like Adam Smith and David Ricardo.



#4 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3890

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 03:35 PM

- What is the purpose of navy if there is no win/lose? Is it for blockade of trade like Patrician series?

I just finished writing the details in my second post. That's one of my question :D

 

- I think you should think of a mechanism to stimulate need for import/export

And that one too :)

 

 

- Your 'classes' lack most important one "bourgeois" although I think it is due to player taking this role ie making game "Socialist Economy on Industrialization Era"

 

Important thing. All industry in the game is state owned (player controlled) in the game. Why? I played Victoria: Empire Under the Sun, there was a policy "free something", when your country adopted it the AI capitalists were building factories as they desired and you could build them not. It was TOTALLY unfun :) I mean, really, that concept was working so bad there (you could just watch, nothing left to do, you decided on almost nothing!), I went for the good old "it's all player's", even if it is not realistic.

 

But coincidentally, I was thinking of introducing some small elements of private property. Like the independent craftsmen that provide consumer goods to pepulation if the player his not yet. But I was thinking of a second tier, capitalists' owned manufactures. From time to time there would pop up these manufactures in provinces (these would be displayed clearly distinctive as no player property) and they would produce different things each turn as they desire. For example, if the player uses more coal that produces they would go to the forest, cut down some logs and burn them to make charcoal which would be then auto sold to the player as a coal substitute. It would be cheaper than importing coal from abroad (but you need to have these private manufactures in your country first). I guess player would be encouraging these capitalists to build manufactures (by taxes, laws?) Anyway, this concept is quite unfinished right now.


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#5 powerneg   Members   -  Reputation: 1463

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 10:46 PM

private companies/property would still be subject to governmental(player) decisions, which could be tax-rates, subsidies, and even permission to actually build something somewhere.
most if not all countries in the world have a certain mix of "capitalism" and "communism" different for any country, actually letting a player decide on that would bring in a interesting layer of complexity.



#6 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3890

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 11:16 AM

OK, maybe I will ask another way.

 

Is there anyone who is a fan of this theme (industrial revolution, colonization, imperialism)? If yes, please post or PM me, I would love to talk.


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#7 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3890

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 11:40 AM

Hmmm, it seems the concept is flawed or at least not very appealing... What you think about those below?

 

 

1) Retheme to steampunk. Zeppelins, ornithopters, Tesla, steam powered tanks, etc.

 

2) Simplification. No provinces, you just build stuff in your country. Something like this: http://silverlemur.com/minigames/industrialrevolution/

 

3) More forcus on military. Traditional army & fleet setup with wars/battles, etc. A bit of tower defence feel (build sufficient army befor turn X or you will be conquered).


Edited by Acharis, 16 March 2013 - 11:45 AM.

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#8 wodinoneeye   Members   -  Reputation: 857

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 04:27 PM

On thing I reacll from some games is they allow you to use the amoeba strategy (grow very large and overwhelm opposition) when often in reall life (world) there are quantum levels/magnitudes of complexity(series of them)  when certain organizations/organisms grow past certain sizes.

 

Having that allows the game to shift as it progresses offering new challenges/problems to solve (prefereaby with more than one way to solve iit)


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