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Acharis

Industrial revolution strategy (post mortem and ideas)

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The easy way round this seems to be to vary the time it takes to produce a single resource. For example, if a fully staffed mine produces one unit of coal every 10 seconds, then an understaffed mine could produce only one unit of coal every 15 seconds.
It's turn based strategy. There are no seconds :)
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Primarily, I wonder how to do some "unit/markers/tokens placement on the map". I mean, the map I drawn has these (utterly cute and tasty to me :D) square piles of tokens (green ones and red ones). I would love to find use for them.

 


Its probably a little different then you intended but I'm thinking of my new favorite board game 7 wonders, specifically that you don't produce resources but resources buildings determine how many resources you have access to on a give turn.
Generally and principally, I'm against blindly borrowing from boardgames. 7Wonders mechanic is very good and makes a lot of sense for a boardgame (I even used it in one of my cardgames). But the core purpose of this mechanic is reduction of downtime (counting resources); with computers, well, the computer can do all the dirty calculation :) I think for a computer game "real" resources that "physically exist" are better in most cases...

 

 


As for transport what transport technology could do is determine how far resources can travel. Initially only adjacent provinces can share resources. But unlocking new technology could increase that. Roads might let provinces use resource 2 spaces away while railroads mean they can be used anywhere on the map. In this way planning where to build your resources buildings is as important as what you build. Building a steel mill in pink is useless if there isn't a coal and iron mine in purple or brown. Likewise I can only ever use that steel in one of those three places.
The biggest problem with transport of resources is that's it's hidden from the player. How he/she can know that resources travel this way (other than reading manual)? If I try to portrait it on the interface somehow it would be bloody messy I suppose...

 

This brings me to the old designer's mantra, "do not design/implement things the player won't see". So I wonder about the transport of resources system in the first place, I'm not sure if it wasn't a mistake.

 

What if I ignore transport of resources completely? Like, everything is automaticly transported to central stockpile and then used up as needed?

I can still use railroad network for 2 things: it increases population migration between provinces (which is important) and each factory/mine need to pay transport fee upon *production* (not use) of resource of any kind (railroad level in a province would reduce that cost.

OR

Let's make it very simplified, first a province uses up it's *own* production and then sends the rest to the central stockpile, which then is redistributed. This would be more intuitive to the player, since if you build a lumber camp and lumber mill in a province it might suggest that you wanted the lumber camp to provide logs to the lumber mil, not to some paper mill in different province.

 

What you think?

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The central stockpile can be entirely virtual, a mere abstraction for manual and automated management purposes. Actual resource movement can be done between actual places and on the actual road, rail and channel network with explicit trains, ships etc. and automated in the guise of minimum cost network flow problems (given resource producers, consumers and stockpiles, minimize the cost of moving them to the appropriate destinations along the edges of a graph representing places and transport between them). This kind of automation can remove the tedium of ordering transport of materials, collect statistics (how much does it cost to transport a certain resource, on average? Which long or expensive routes are contributing?) and signal to the player that a certain road, rail trunk, channel, river etc. is saturated (rejecting transport of low-priority goods). Details of a certain road etc. can show what travels on it and between what places. There should be a place for both global resource decisions (e.g. I built all possible mines but I need more Iron quickly for warships: buy it from abroad or recycle old ships?) and local transport decisions (e.g. Paris needs so much fish that it has to arrive fresh from Marseille: which railroads should I build in the middle of France?); what's important is making them interesting, nontrivial decisions and cutting the boring or useless details.
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You have tokens that represent iron, wood, coal and then from a simple glance I can see that a province provides two wood.
Too many resources, it won't fit on the map. There are also things I didn't mentioned like spice consumed by population and several dozens other resources. It would mean like 10-20 icons per province...

 


I guess the things about transport routes is how critical resources movement and stockpiling is to the game. Is it like Transport Tycoon? Do I need to concern myself with maximizing the output of a steal mill by transporting coal and iron from half a dozen different provinces and ensuring that those transports aren't going back empty? Can I just build anything anywhere and have access to it? If so does that make the map a bit irrelevant since there is effectively only one province instead of several?
No, it's not like Railroad Tycoon at all. The main reason for railroad is that it is very in theme, so I wanted railroads somewhere. But I don't really like (find it fun) the whole resources transportation.

 

As you said this could make the map irrelevant (and that's why I tried to do the trasportation in the first place) but I feel it was a mistake... Instead the map should have other purposes like social, ideology, people migration, rebelions, demonstrations, spread of culture, education.

 


Btw, if I am not mistaken, at early industrialism labor was extremely abundant, so doubt any overhour applies, but ofc classic demand-supply rules does.
Well, yes, but not preciselly. An important part of industrialization was a huge improvement in agrarian technology, it allowed to free hordes of farmers (1 could tend the fields now where 10 were needed before) and let them convert to labourers.

Anyway, it's not that important to stick so close to historical accuracy :) If overhours are desired for the game mechanics I can use them.

 


Or you can simply set a fixed cost X number of provinces.
What you mean exactly? I'm not sure I fully understood that part.
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Well, I mean it can be pretty straight forward (or not so pretty)

 

transportation cost is 100 for one province, 200 for 2 province ....

 

or

 

you set three province type (50 for flat (?) , 100 for normal , 200 for mountainous)

 

I mean you put a fixed cost not a function of population or industrial activity.

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I think I will ignore transport completely, maybe make something extremely simple like Unduli said. Transporting stuff is simply not what's the core fun of that game.

 

 

The main difference between provinces could be the natural resources.

Factories is one thing, you can build these anywhere (as long as there is enough labour available) but each province will have a different set of ores (coal, iron, tin, copper), forests (wood), pits (clay). Also farming, but that's a separate can of worms.

 

I think resource deposits should have 2 parameters: richness (how much stuff one mine can dig here; forest should not have this variable?) and size of ore deposits (how many mines you can build in that province). You would have a (limited) option to send prospectors which can discover more deposits (+X to max number of mines), and some technological advances (deep mining tech) would allow more mines. Forests can not be enlarged, so only trade is an option here in a long run.

 

Next land, that one is more complicated. I want a separation of agriculture, it's special. Every province has ALL unused land assigned as wheat farms from the start. You can increase efficiency of farming by technology, but over time the farming are should be reduced by cities and factories. So, you don't build "farms", by default everything minus number of factories & mines & houses is a farm.

 

Now the problem, what about sheep? There need to be wool, absolutely. So, there must be some option to assign some part of the land for sheep instead of wheat. How to do it? In addition, in reality (not that it needs to be done realisticly, it's just an example) sheep were shephered in areas where farming was not possible (mountains, hills). Not sure how to appoach this...

 

 

Labour

Right now it's quite simple, each building/factory requires X workers, based on shortage/abundance of labour the wages are set (the premise is they work overhours if needed and that the factory always run at identical efficiency), when the shortage exceeds x3 the option to build more factories is disabled (they can't work harder, at that point you have to bring more workers).

 

The population migrate between provinced based on wages in the province.

 

So far so good (OK, maybe the identical efficiency of factories regardless of workforce is a bit lame), but I have a problem with farmers. Farms are fixed, they require X farmers, everyone above is automaticly converted to labourers. Farmers are NOT effected by wages and you never pay them anything, they are FREE (it's to simulate the traditional agriar society, they are easy to please, require nothing and so on, and you want to make them convert to labourers). But it does not work so well with the wages system of labourers...

 

 

 

How to solve/approach those?

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I think I will ignore transport completely, maybe make something extremely simple like Unduli said. Transporting stuff is simply not what's the core fun of that game.

 

 

The main difference between provinces could be the natural resources.

Factories is one thing, you can build these anywhere (as long as there is enough labour available) but each province will have a different set of ores (coal, iron, tin, copper), forests (wood), pits (clay). Also farming, but that's a separate can of worms.

 

I think resource deposits should have 2 parameters: richness (how much stuff one mine can dig here; forest should not have this variable?) and size of ore deposits (how many mines you can build in that province). You would have a (limited) option to send prospectors which can discover more deposits (+X to max number of mines), and some technological advances (deep mining tech) would allow more mines. Forests can not be enlarged, so only trade is an option here in a long run.

 

Next land, that one is more complicated. I want a separation of agriculture, it's special. Every province has ALL unused land assigned as wheat farms from the start. You can increase efficiency of farming by technology, but over time the farming are should be reduced by cities and factories. So, you don't build "farms", by default everything minus number of factories & mines & houses is a farm.

 

Now the problem, what about sheep? There need to be wool, absolutely. So, there must be some option to assign some part of the land for sheep instead of wheat. How to do it? In addition, in reality (not that it needs to be done realisticly, it's just an example) sheep were shephered in areas where farming was not possible (mountains, hills). Not sure how to appoach this...

 

 

Labour

Right now it's quite simple, each building/factory requires X workers, based on shortage/abundance of labour the wages are set (the premise is they work overhours if needed and that the factory always run at identical efficiency), when the shortage exceeds x3 the option to build more factories is disabled (they can't work harder, at that point you have to bring more workers).

 

The population migrate between provinced based on wages in the province.

 

So far so good (OK, maybe the identical efficiency of factories regardless of workforce is a bit lame), but I have a problem with farmers. Farms are fixed, they require X farmers, everyone above is automaticly converted to labourers. Farmers are NOT effected by wages and you never pay them anything, they are FREE (it's to simulate the traditional agriar society, they are easy to please, require nothing and so on, and you want to make them convert to labourers). But it does not work so well with the wages system of labourers...

 

 

 

How to solve/approach those?

 

 

Actually, I think transportation adds depth but its up to you. Transportation let you decide optimal place to put factory (proximity to market and supply)

 

For mining, you might also consider mining deeper with more cost as it may become viable in time (like it was in peak in oil prices)

 

For farming, you may consider adding pollution (urban and factory related) affecting farm output. And for default farm , it is not realistic if there won't be enough people to sustain them. If I were you, I'd rather introduce "meadow" for sheep as well and make it default instead of farm.

 

And for labour, farm output ie wheat is a commodity as well and a survival one, so you simply can't convert population to all workers, as wage is a function of "wheat" in this era.

 

 

Btw, better take a look at Harris - Todaro model (glad I had enough thanks to getting "Development Economics" 4 times :) ) , it gives you some ideas

 

Actually why not read an entire "Development Economics" book :) , I unintentionally got many for my game project.

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"During the industrial revolution people worked unpaid overtime because there were not enough jobs to go around rather than there being too many." - I think unemployment was more of a XX century thing. Plus, a society that makes 4 year old children work 14 hours a day does not sound like one with too much spare workforce...

Anyway, the gameplay dictates that the player has a shortage of workers and needs to struggle to allocate them as best as possible. Unemplyment would not be playable.

 

"If I build 3 factories but can only support 1 should get triple the goods at a slightly higher cost I should get a third from each." - But then the gameplay would degenerate. You have 3 workers, you bulit 3 factories and then... you can't do anything beside waiting for population growth to give you +1 worker. I don't see it being playable...

 

"You could always just make everyone who doesn't have a job in a mine or factory a farmer." - Well, that's almost how it works now, but the opposite. Everyone who can't have a farmer job becomes a labourer. That's assuming fixed ratio (1 farmer per 1 plot of land). But I wonder if it wouldn't be better to have it non linear (5 farmers per 5 plots = 5 grain, 2 farmers per 5 plots = 4 grain), it would allow gradual conversion of farmers to labourers...

 

 

My general point is that there are 2 classes of people, villagers and citizens. Villagers (farmers) live in villages, you don't need to provide houses for them (they have these already) nor food and very low amount of consumer goods. Citizens (labourers) live in cities, you have to provide them housing, city infrastructure, food, heating during winter, a lot of consumer goods. Villagers are self sustainable (they produce what they need, they go to a nearby forest to gather wood they need and so on), citizens require a lot of effort, logistics and preparations.

 

I feel that maybe villagers/countrymen should be a separate clas of some sort. Then, if the labourers are far better of than they, they would start converting to labourers?

 

And that's before we think about educated people (like teachers). With the current system, when you build a university it will use up X labourers... One day they were working in mines and suddenly today they teach quantum physics :D It does not feel all right to me at all...

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a society that makes 4 year old children work 14 hours a day does not sound like one with too much spare workforce...

And that's before we think about educated people (like teachers). With the current system, when you build a university it will use up X labourers... One day they were working in mines and suddenly today they teach quantum physics biggrin.png It does not feel all right to me at all...

It doesn't feel right, because I'm pretty sure it isn't right - though you may well decide to stick with it for gameplay reasons.
 
There have been very few civilisations with a significant labour shortage, and all of those are do to environmental factors that heavily limit maximum population (i.e. shortages of food during harsh winters or on small islands). For a society well on their way into an industrial revolution, such a shortage would be laughable.

Industrial revolutions even tend to vastly increase the available workforce, given that manufacturing previously performed by skilled craftsmen can now be handled by unskilled labour.

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I remember playing tropico several times and often a worker shortage was just that you're buildings stopped working efficiently and all you could do was turn off buildings or wait for your work force to grow in size.   You might also need to either hire expensive foreign workers or wait for your people to become educated enough to work at some buildings.  Since something like hospital required a university educated worker and you might not have any in your population so your hospital does nothing but waste money until someone graduates from university. 

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And for labour, farm output ie wheat is a commodity as well and a survival one, so you simply can't convert population to all workers, as wage is a function of "wheat" in this era.
Exactly. Food is critical and you need it first, so the player can't just go around depleting farms workforce. Maybe make farmers traditional like stubborn pops that stick to farming in excessive quantity, so the player want to convince/force them to switch the job but never will face shortage of them? I don't know...

 


Industrial revolutions even tend to vastly increase the available workforce, given that manufacturing previously performed by skilled craftsmen can now be handled by unskilled labour.
Yes... I like the concept of converting already existing population... But how exactly handle it?

 


I remember playing tropico several times and often a worker shortage was just that you're buildings stopped working efficiently and all you could do was turn off buildings or wait for your work force to grow in size.
I was thinking about Tropico model for a while as well. But there are 2 major incompatible characteristic.

First, in Tropico there is this INSANELY high pop growth rate, all this immigration and an option to order experts from abroad. You start at 50 pops and end up with 500. such huge growth would be very unrealistic for the industrial revolution era game.

Second, it's realtime, so if they worker has not reached the factory yet you don't sweat and just wait a bit longer. Now imagine turn based, you built a factory and the worker has not reached it yet next turn, you would start to sweat, think you did something wrong... Such system would not work that well in turen based game.

 

I can think of 3 solution for population:

1) Allow the player to "produce" population. In Imperialism you could produce infinite number of workers (by pressing a button) by spending 1 canned food + cloth + furniture. Althrough in practice you were capped by food available.

2) Give the player a lot of unused or not optimaly used population reserves (like farmers, craftsmen) that can be converted to desired workforce.

3) Make workers shortages non devastating, like make the factory efficiency formula non linear (1000 workers = 100% output, 500 workers = 80% output)

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Population & factories

 

I was thinking about it, tell me if it makes sense/if you have a better idea/if it should be altered. Also there are some questions.

BTW, I know it sounds like a communistic planned economy since the state pays all the wages and everything, but I concluded I want the player to have a lot of control, so I was willing to sacriface that part of realism.

 

 

Make everything (factories, mines, farms) "production structures". Instead to creating classes of population (labourers, miners, farmers) on province level let the population occupy a certain production structure and then those who are inside farm are farmers, inside factory labourers. Instead of wages calculated on province level make them separate for each production structure, those that have not enough workers will auto set high wages and those with a lot low wages (plus, the wage will depend in the player selected priorities, like "give more wages to coal miners" option would increase wages in all coal mines everywhere).

 

There would be a special category "unemployed", all new born in a province start here and then quickly start to find some job (there is no "delay" or "resistance to change occupation" for unemployed class, they all will try to find any job (inside a province) immediatelly).

 

Population would first migrate between provinces (based on the average wages in all production structures inside a province plus housing in a province) and the migrate inisde a province between production structures (much faster than changing a province).

 

Consumption

The money earned by population is spent on food and consumer goods (that you as government sell). I guees, if there is not enough/too expensive food it should reduce the population? But from which production structure? And there should be some "morale/happiness" (but for the whole nation, for a province or for each production structure separately)?

 

Farmers as a bit special category

Since I try to simulate the shift from agrarian to industrial society I think farmers should behave a bit different. Like, they need no housing (they use their own countryhouses, they don't need to rely on player build houses inside cities). Also they have low consumption of consumer goods (the assumption is they can do a lot for themselves in their villages or simply don't need a lot since they love to lead simple life). Therefore, farmers would be the least demanding class (they have always perfect housing, and halved consumer needs (except food) and are content with rather low wages).

 

Education?

I'm not sure how to fit literacy here. I plan 4 education levels (illiterate, basic, advanced, expert), you can increase these by building schools and universities. But how to relate this to population? I mean, farmers should be iliterate (no problem) but factory workers should be at least basic literate also there should be some advanced/expert engineers that supervise a factory (so 90% basic and 8% advanced, 2% expert would be optimal for example)? But how to do it? Add literacy levels to each "production structure"? Quite messy since there are migrations and changing jobs...

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Economics and production is very much about allocation, which means network graphics (lines) as the core game-board. When you have the maps built with polygons this generates lots of problems. As an example, canals and rivers were hugely important for transportation (one of the reasons china could not get industralized hundred years ago - their rivers from coal-rich inland to the coast were too wild). 

 

If you would reboot your game then a network as the core interface (both graphically and game-logic wise) would make your job much easier. You could then "wrap the nodes" in polygons to create the areas. 

 

The second thing I'm thinking about is the usage of phases and stacks. I could not find anything written about it this is how I would have done it: 

  • Production phase (items appear, depending on production/transformation capacity)
  • Allocation phase (move stuff from one stack/node to another, for a cost of some form) . Some nodes have good connections (canals/rivers) and cost nothing, wile others are very expensive (push it through!)
  • Adjustment phase/Construction phase (do some politics, like assign more labour or invest in a node/city).
  • Repeat! 
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Thanks for trying the prototype!

 

 

 


Allocation phase (move stuff from one stack/node to another, for a cost of some form) . Some nodes have good connections (canals/rivers) and cost nothing, wile others are very expensive (push it through!)

I was thinking about trasporting resources (allocation) but I think I will ignore that part. The thing is the game is turn based, so it's kind like a "photo". Moving resources is best for realtime (note that *all* games that are about moving stuff around (Roailroad Tycoon, Settlers) are realtime), where you have a "movie", you can see the goods actually moving. For turn based... I don't think it could be presented in an equally good way.

 

So, I think I will just skip it and make "all resources being available to all factories" as a sort of central country stockpile. Or maybe just add "if a steel foundry is in a province that has coal mine it gets +20% efficiency".

 

 

 


I gave the demo a quick try. But I couldn't figure out what was going on. I just built in one province till most of my population was employed then hit next turn a few times. I gained a bunch of resources but that was it.

What am I suppose to be doing?

What limits my development? Building factories doesn't seem to consume any resources or take any time.

There was a wage figure but if there was money involved anywhere in the game than I can't see where it comes from.

Most of it was not implemented yet (mostly because I was mendling with moving resources between provinces). So I will just describe hoiw I plan it to look smile.png

* building factories uses planks, bricks and money; it's conctructed instantly but you have to wait till workers populate it, so in practice it would take several turns before it reaches full efficiency

* each factory has automatic set wages, you pay it to workers

* all population pay tax (partially based on wages)

* all population consume some resources (food, furniture, cloths and other consumer goods) each turn (farmers consumption is halved, except food), they pay you for it (based on average wages); if there is shortage of food some die, if shortage of consumer goods (unlikely except beginning) they are unhappy

* generally you produce more goods your population can consume, so you want to export finished goods, that would be an important source of income

 

Unless you have other/better idea I will implement the system above.

Edited by Acharis
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What if instead paying salaries.  You had a tierd population system like in the Cesar games? Basic level 1 people only consume food.  As long you have enough to food to feed people they are happy and productive.  But if you want them advance to higher levels then you need to make goods and a services available to them. A level 2 citizen might require access to one finished good a turn, while a level 10 requires access to all goods and services.   

 

Ideas for advantage of Higher citizen levels:

  • Increased tax revenue
  • Improved efficiency a level 2 citizen might be 20% more effective then a level 1.
  • Minimum levels for buildings.  A hospital might only employ level 5+
  • Private buildings.  Level 4s might quit their factory jobs and start opening stores, and restaurants, which increases happiness and culture.
  • Unlock useful bonuses - Get enough level 5s together and they open up a private shipping business which provides a small steady stream of export revenue.
  • Tech upgrades -  Higher level citizens have a better chance of discovering a new technology for you to use.
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