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Acharis

Science & Education

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Turn based strategy game, XVIII-XIX century.

I try to implement a research system with these properities:
- give strategic choices to player (obvious)
- the researched technology (research points) has to be also implemented (construction cost), for example you first invent steam engine and then you also have to construct the steam engine project so your factories can use it (as a global thing, maybe like minor wonders in Civilization?)
- research level should act as tutorial, or limiting complexity (so some things are disabled at the beginning and later are unlocked in order to reduce the shock of a new player due to complexity).

While separately these are easy to make the mix of 3 at once is more tricky...

Alternatively, there could be some unlockable by player "eras" which might act as something.

Another thing I'm thinking of is using education for something, preferably as something not related to science (global bonus to production due to educated workers being more productive). Like you build university to increase science and schools to increase education. There could be also a resource "paper" which might be used for something.


I know what I wrote is messy and do not fit together and some of these will have to be removed, use it just as a base of your thought and propose how would you do something similar to this.

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As for the research part i'll suggest developing Steam Engine tech and then implement it building new factories or upgrading existing ones (were there any factories before steam engine?).
As for education you could go with education levels like the ones in Tropico. Some buildings need uneducated workforce, like farms and mines, others more advanced require highly educated professionals like hospitals and power plants.

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First "factories" were called workhouses, they used only basic tools. As for upgrading buildings I can't use it because there will be also some more abstract inventions, I can't make "drug factory" building after invention of penicilin, the number of buildings would be enormous then :)

The biggest contradiction is that I want the player to have a choice and also I need to make several thing linear (no raliroads before steam engine, order in which buildings become available to not confuse the player too much, etc)...

Maybe make two separate things then?
Like there would be eras which are enabled by reaching several conditions (buildings, resources) and paying (overall cost of implementing new technologies needed for next era). Era would enable some new buildings and some inventions.
Inventions are just plain research via research points, the choice is in players hands. But some eras might require a few key inventions as prerequisite (a few).


Education.
I'm not sure if I want population being attached to buildings. First I would like to try independent ideas. One thing that would fit the game would be if education level was not important at the beginning but very important later (industrial society needs smart people, agrar society doesn't).

Each era needs better ratio of educated people?

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Education levels do not nesesarily attach population to buildings. In Tropico an university deegree citizen can be a doctor, an engineer, a secret agent, a university professor, or if nothing better is available a simple farmer or lumberjack.
At first you have farms that do not require any education, when you advance more buildings become available and they need educated people to work.
You can also simplify it as education buildings raise the education value of a city, and you can only create certain building and keep them working when the city excedes an education requirement.

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Let's say there are 3 education levels of citizens (Tropico style) not connected to any profession. Buildings require certain volume and level of workers. School and university converts citizens automaticly to higher levels regardless of their current occupation.

But how to check if there are enough workers? I can not make it so workers are "used up" when the building is constructed since High School level employed in a building can be converted into University level later.
Maybe the building can be constructed always but when there is shortage there is some global penalty for workers shortage?

I would like the simplest solution possible, so no separate "people" entities walking around, just a few variables describing the whole population as a collective.

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You could have 3 population variables:

Uneducated
Educated
University

When population is created (born/enter the workforce/etc) they are placed in Uneducated, however, some of the population can undertake Education and when they complete it they will be added to the Educated variable and subtraced from the Uneducated variable, and so on for University too.

When you look at population needs, you can look at the total of what buildings need of each variable. If there are enough population in that level, then you have enough workers and the buildings can work at maximum capacity.

If you don't have enough workers of a particular level then the building(s) will either not work at all or work at a reduced capacity (what ever works for you game).

As for research, I have always found most research in games to lack any real risk. Sure there is the risk that the opponents will bet you to a particular research point, but that is not a risk of research.

An idea I think that would owkr is one based on how real technology is developed (in a broard sense).

First of all, tools and technology are different. Technology can be described as Tools to make other tools (yes there are other descriptions of technology, but this one works for the concept I am giving).

That is, technology is the process of building tools by using other tools.

Now with this way of looking at technology if you loose a tool, then you can loos ethe ability to make the next tool. However, sometime it is possible to loose a tool that is no longer needed and this won't affect you ability to make tools or develop new tools.

In games, this would mean that a technology is something that you could loose. For instance.

If each tech advancemnt gave you a "tome" that needed to be put into a library before it could be use, but then that library was destroyed, then you would loose whatever tomes you had in there (think the library of Alexandra).

Now, if you could copy these tomes, and even trade them, then research becomes more mobile and more valueable to players. It would be possible to launch attacks against their libraries to set them back technologically (but they could od the same to you too). Then defending and attacking libraries becomes an important strategic option.

The other thing that results from looking at technology like this is that you get an easy way to impliment your second criteria as well. If you think of technology as tools to make tools, then making rails and steam engines both need certain tools (metal working, factories, etc) before they can be made. So although someone might have invented locomotives as a concept, the society does not have the tools with which to make it. they might be able to see what tools are needed, but they might not have them.

This means that you could allow the player a vast amoutn of technologies to persue (even all of them) but researching a tech before you have the supporting tools is a waste of resources by the player (however, there could be advantages in trading). But, you could also have a tech tree (which is different form the tool construction prerequisite tree to make a particular tool) and only allow the player to research the next techs in the tree.

By seperating the tech tree from the tool development tree, you can allow players more strategic choices on how they persue their tech advances.

You also get criteria 3 as well. However, this is mainly in how you design the tech and tool trees. In these players will at first start off with only a few techs they can research, and only have access to basic tools. As they develop, they will gain access to more and more tools and tech and so becale to have more things they can build (as you can have more tools or techs as prerequsites).

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Quote:
Original post by Edtharan
When you look at population needs, you can look at the total of what buildings need of each variable. If there are enough population in that level, then you have enough workers and the buildings can work at maximum capacity.

If you don't have enough workers of a particular level then the building(s) will either not work at all or work at a reduced capacity (what ever works for you game).
But which building should be shut down? :D That's the whole problem. Workers are not assigned to buildings, they act as a group. I can clearly know how many workers are missing globally, but what to do when there is shortage? I would really like to avoid any algorithm that determine which buildings should be shut down...

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I would say that buildings should have a min, standard, and max number of workers. Rather than 'shutting down' if you have a shortage, they would rather work less effectively than they would otherwise.

This way your buildings just work a little below where they should, rather than out right shutting down. Include the 'max' above standard to have something for spare workers to do. They should be a little less effective (Due to over crowding/whatever) but not simply wasted.

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Quote:
Original post by Acharis
Quote:
Original post by Edtharan
When you look at population needs, you can look at the total of what buildings need of each variable. If there are enough population in that level, then you have enough workers and the buildings can work at maximum capacity.

If you don't have enough workers of a particular level then the building(s) will either not work at all or work at a reduced capacity (what ever works for you game).
But which building should be shut down? :D That's the whole problem. Workers are not assigned to buildings, they act as a group. I can clearly know how many workers are missing globally, but what to do when there is shortage? I would really like to avoid any algorithm that determine which buildings should be shut down...

As I said, it doesn't have to be a complete shutdown, but they can be run at "a reduced capacity".

This means that if a building only had 90% of the workers it needed, then it would run at less than 100% (eg 90%) efficiency. Of course, the simplest is a linear relationship, but it doesn't have to be, and because ther are multiple population types needed it probably won't such a simple relationship.

It also doesn't have to be a smooth variation. You can have descrete steps in it to reflect certain aspects of how the building is supposed to work.

For example: A factory might have a number of machines used to build things. You could define that you need 100 uneducated workers, 50 educated and 3 university workers for each machine. Each machine would need the full compliment for function, and any workers not assigned to a machine don't contribute to the amount produced.

SO if you had 340 uneducated 110 educated and 10 university workers available for the factory, you could operate a maximum 2 machines (because each machine requiers 50 educated works and you only have 110 of them). If the factory has 5 machines, then factory would opperate at 40% capacity.

What you could do with the excess workers, is to allow them back into the work population pool of rthe player, they could then go and work in a different building. To do this, though, you would need some way to prioritise buildings (which could be based off wher the player is putting their resources, or worked on a supply.demand basis).

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I can't shut down or make a specific building produce less because workers are assigned as a total, not to separate buidings. I would also like to avoid prioritisation of buidings since it never works the way player intended + it is complex. The best would be if there was something like "your buildings are missing X workers total so it will affect your overall 'something' nagetively". Like if the building is missing workers but it is not the building getting penalty but global economy or something else. No clue what the 'something' could be through :)

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