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lrh9

4x population mechanic - worker experience.

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I'd like to make a space 4x game, and I've been reading what others have posted about the genre. I'm trying to do my due diligence to research and design.

One poster posited the idea of treating population as experience points. Unfortunately, I couldn't quite tell where the idea was going.

However, it did spark this idea.

In brief:

Let each area of economic activity (production, research, prosperity/farming, etc.) have different tiers of experience.

The more population in each tier of experience, the faster activities requiring that level (or lower) are performed and the higher the quality of the results.

This population can be moved from one planet to another.

Planets also have schools.

Population put into a school can increase the rate at which "student" population advances up the tier.

Consequences and implications:

Players can relocate populations to boost economic activity in an area of space.

Players have a choice between concentrating populations to perform advanced economic activities quickly, or spreading population which allows more planets to perform lower level economic activities at an equal rate.

Players have a choice between using population for economic activities, or to teach other population.

Wrap-up:

My main concern is that this feature sounds like it would be micromanagement hell.

I can't see this mechanic being fun past ten or more planets. I'm thinking that immigration/emigration policies would mitigate the tedium. I haven't given enough thought to this. Ideas on how to avoid forced micromanagement? Ideas in general?

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It would take more programming work, but you could look at a system that doesn't necessarily require the direct, personal intervention of the Emperor to handle population demographics and distribution.

For example, if some planets (or even cities) have certain amenities or other attractions that cause population units to move from place to place, then the population will naturally handle itself. The player can affect this indirectly by manipulating those incentives (giving a big education subsidy to Planet X -> better schools -> incentive to immigrate there, and population will shift accordingly along with other factors like income, employability, what have you). You could also allow the player to displace population at will, maybe with some consequences.

So the player gets to fiddle with the empire as far as infrastructure and directing funds, and other things that might be tedious to manage can be modelled as consequences of that fiddling. And for players that really want to, you can include options to intervene directly at those low levels. It might be hard to make good models of different combinations of things that the player can do, but I think that the payoff would be very interesting.

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I don't see an upfront problem if you are aiming at folks who like micromanagent. If you think it would be fun up to 10 planets, why not consider a mechanism where you can only have N territories and in order to grow must aggregate what you have? So past 10 planets, you form a state/region/sector, then you treat them similar to planets. Territory might then scale well as you aggregate territories into larger territories.

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I am definitely considering some sort of grouping system to aid in reducing management complexity. Population management could be one group management feature.

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Sid Meyer's Colonization? I think 10 planets might be a bit too many for such system. Personally I don't think a player should have an option to distribute population based on education, way too many unimportant details that does not matter much. But if there was planet level education then it might work (planets, not population, have education level and experience in specific fields).

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MOO3 attempted to have the AI handle player-level decision making, and bungled the job. Not only did the AI fail to make sound strategic decisions, it left the player with nothing to do except press the next turn button. In a space strategy game, I want to have the game execute MY strategies -- without this simple matter of ownership, there's little buy-in. A much more inviting way of handling the decision making is with saveable queues, where the player specifies a list of constructions in order, and assigns that list as needed. This has been done well in a number of games, and is a pattern I enjoy. Variants on the theme are Standard Operating Procedures, Rules of Engagement, and civilization's adopted policies.

I would enjoy doing nothing but pressing the next turn button if I was watching my plans in action.

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[quote name='AngleWyrm' timestamp='1305444386' post='4810981']
MOO3 attempted to have the AI handle player-level decision making, and bungled the job.
[/quote]
Yeah, MOO3 is a marvelous project, it's a perfect example why certain things can not work. This game brought a lot to humans knowledge of game design :)

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