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Opinions for specific design option.

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For those unaware, my current hobby project (hereafter 'Moe') is a turn-based fantasy 4x game along the lines of Master of Magic, Colonization, Imperialism, Civilization, etc... Two of the main divergent points are: - Population units are finite. They're born, multiply and (usually) die. - Building projects are not constrained to cities. Cities don't exist really, and any given tile may have one or more building projects going at any given time. So, I've come across a design decision from which I would like to elicit opinions. Each unit has skill levels, randomly determined at their birth, based on their race. Things like the unit's people skills, or skill at manual labor or magic. Tentatively there are 6 skills (labor, crafting, people, mental, magical, psi), with 5 levels (none, basic, skilled, expert, legendary). None is only common for magical and psi. Zombies and the such might lack crafting, people, and/or mental skills; but that's undecided. The projects units may work upon will require different skill levels. Farming a field might only require a little basic labor, but creating a cloaking field around your tile might take a lot of legendary magic skill. High skill units then become more potent and valuable. Races with high skill spawns will have low birth rates to compensate. It will be necessary I think to allow 'downgrading' of work. Someone with expert psi skill should be able to provide basic skill to a project. The question comes: 'Should downgraded work take less Action Points?' or equivalently 'Should highly skilled units be able to do more work than lowly skilled units, not just more difficult work?'

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Original post by Telastyn
It will be necessary I think to allow 'downgrading' of work. Someone with expert psi skill should be able to provide basic skill to a project. The question comes: 'Should downgraded work take less Action Points?' or equivalently 'Should highly skilled units be able to do more work than lowly skilled units, not just more difficult work?'
Higher skilled units should be able to do more work than lesser skilled workers, but only to a point. For any given item, one man can only create that item so fast, as he is limited by his tools and by his human traits. In fact, an apprentice blacksmith, for example, working against a master could both produce a sword in roughly the same time. However, the master's sword will undoubtedly be of better quality. Had each gone at their own pace, the apprentice could _eventually_ make a sword as good as his master's, but the apprentice would spend much of that time correcting his mistakes, whereas a master's skill spares him such errors and thus lets him complete the blade faster.

This is where the largest factor of production comes into play: how fast can an item be made with the fewest deficiencies? In this regard, I think you can solve your dilemma by introducing a sense of quality into the game, along with a "maximum yield" factor which would represent the highest output humanly possible. Looking back at the sword example, let's say the build time to make a batch of ten swords is one minute (real time). In that minute, the unskilled apprentice only manages two. The master makes nine in that time. A legendary blacksmith might make 15--in this case, 15 would be the maximum yield; the legendary blacksmith can make no more than that amount, again because of the limitation on tools and the fact that he only has so much stamina; certain techs might increase this. Each sword made, however, is identical. The idea of quality here is thus an assumed attribute reflected in the amount of items of a set grade that were successfully produced in the given time.

I think the final question here is if lower-skilled units should be allowed to work on more complex projects--for certain projects, some workers simply won't be skilled enough to even attempt to help; it's way beyond their league. To address this problem, you could introduce yet another factor, this one being knowledge/schooling. Let's take your magical cloaking field. This is obviously a spell that is near impossible to do without direct knowledge--only assumed impossible, since a lot of experimenting could eventually allow the mage to cast the spell. However, what if this spell is relatively simple to cast once known, and is taught in middle school to all students of the community? Thus, any unit that went through at least so much schooling would know of the spell. Or, say there's an advanced college-level spell out there, called fireball, but even the master magician doesn't know about it since the player hasn't funded much towards schools and teaching in his cities (hypothetically). Some legendary mage may know it, who could teach the other magician if accepted as a pupil. Anyway, I think you get the idea.

Either way, sounds like a fun game you're making. Keep us all posted!

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I would say that it would be more "realistic" not to allow downgrading work too much. Expert and educated craftsmen wouldn't want do some basic chores over and over again. I mean, would you like to do "Hello world!" -program 10 times every day?

That being said, it may be necessary to allow it from gameplay perspective. The question should it take less action points is difficult and it depends much on gameplay. If highly skilled units work faster than low skilled units, then the impact of highly skilled units is even more emphasised.

If you want it to be "realistic", then I would say it depends greatly on the job. Basic labor farmer will not work any slower than higly skilled, but his work may not be as good as skilled farmers. On the other hand, individual who has expert people skills can persuade people to his views much faster than a person with basic people skills.

edit: Quality of work can be indeed converted to amount of work produced in certain jobs as mentioned by the above poster. Good point.

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Right, so let's take a more well defined example.

You have two units. One is a Blacksmith with basic labor, basic crafting. One is a Blacksmith with expert labor, expert crafting.

You have two projects.

One is for a sword. It requires the worker be a blacksmith, a smithy exist in the tile, trace iron to exist in the tile (you may 'use' a unit of resource to spread trace amounts in a certain radius) , 6 basic labor, and 2 basic crafting.

One is for a masterwork sword. It requires the worker be a blacksmith, a smithy exist in the tile, 2 iron, 14 basic labor and 3 expert crafting.


So, already the basic blacksmith cannot make masterwork swords. They don't have the crafting skill required. The masterwork sword will take longer anyways, just because it has more requirements.

So, should the good smith be able to finish the simple sword faster (which equates to more of them) than the bad smith? Or is being able to work on them at all sufficient advantage?

Tentatively, I think there is benefit to having players balance their race/empire to have enough skilled labor to do the nifty things, but enough peons to do the big things.

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Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
So, should the good smith be able to finish the simple sword faster (which equates to more of them) than the bad smith? Or is being able to work on them at all sufficient advantage?
As I tried to point out in my first post, skill does not always translate directly into speed; a smith with twice as much skill as another shouldn't be able to make a sword twice as fast. Also, the "difficulty" of a task does not always share a direct correlation with skill; given a huge amount of time, even the apprentice blacksmith could make a masterwork sword. I think being able to work on tougher projects would be sufficient enough, though.

Which way do you think would be more fun for the players?

[Edited by - Omega147 on August 11, 2007 4:43:09 PM]

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