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suliman

Income sources in modern /sci-fi empire builder

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Hi!

Im making a total war style empire builder (turn-based, control cities on a map, move armies around) but need some input about "income". I use the full world map as the playing board, so it's a bit risk-like in that sense. There is 4 "resources" but I have mostly questions about "funds". Its modern day with some scifi elements. Most cities are destroyed but new empires emerges and rebuilds. The resources:

Power
Generated by power plants, some cities has better output from solar, biomass plant etc depending on world location (close to river: hydroplant is good etc).

Development / Research
Generated by population, but mostly from research centers/labs/academies

Fuel
Used for units. Generated by refinieries (efficiency based on local oil and gas natural resource). Or more expensively from synthetic fuel plants.

Funds
General and most important resource. Used for both buildings, infrastructure, spies and units. How can cities earn this resource? It's sort of "wealth". My idea so far:
Taxes
Mines
Agriculture
Logging? (might be used for biomass power plants instead)
Trade? (not sure if this fits the game)

How is "wealth" or general funds/resources generated in a modern setting, with totalitarian governments and full world war going on? Preferably something connected to buildings/infrastructure and/or the terrain/location in the world.
 

Edited by suliman

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I feel like "Power" might be a poor choice in this case. Strategic resources in a game are usually things we understand to be easily transportable and stored, so you can stockpile when able. Unless you're making a more futuristic (which it doesn't seem like, though I could be wrong) power doesn't fit that frame. Electricity generation is highly local - power plants need to be fairly close to the areas they serve because power is lost when transmitting it a long distance. 

Even if you remove power, you can still have bonuses to production or other game areas that are understood to come from good power generation (like near a hyrdoplant-capable river/dam). 

Assuming this game is set in or near the modern day, I might go with mines/metals as a resource. Not necessarily for the common metals like copper and iron, but rarer metals used in more specialized and high tech weapons like titanium and rare earth metals. They could be a high-tech gateway. 

Timber doesn't seem like a good choice. Agriculture maybe, especially if it fits the game (maybe there's a world-wide food shortage and fighting over arable land is a big part of the conflict? Could make for a good game element). 

 

Now, on to your main issue of funds. Representing funds income as taxation makes sense - most players will understand it. Does that mean that conquering cities/populous regions immediately increases your funds income? Cities would probably also need to be peaceful and safe to allow for actual taxation, offering incentives to not just conquer areas but to secure them. As far as how it works with totalitarian governments, you might look to Hearts of Iron for an example. There is no real concept of fungible wealth in that - you control resource sources and usage directly. The State has taken complete control of any production necessary for wartime, so they don't worry about paying for it - they just worry about getting and using it. If you were to abandon the funds concept altogether I think that could work just fine. Really depends on what other uses you have for it.

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In a totalitarian global total war scenario there's presumably not much international trade going on, so something superlinear in the number of cities could simulate the value of non-local resources and specialization. If you wanted to get simulation heavy this could take into account resource diversity, but you could also hand-wave away and say "any city is going to be rich and poor in different resources." In essence by conquering a new city you got access to purer iron ore letting you smelt steel faster and produce more tanks, which is all abstracted into "more wealth." This would encourage snowballing for quicker games where somebody gets an edge and then conquers the world. Especially if you require geographic diversity this could have a counter where a player has to stretch themselves thin to maximize wealth, opening themselves up for counterattacks until they can resolidify with the additional wealth.

Another resource to consider is "stability": If people aren't being fed, they'll turn to scavenging rather than showing up for their shift at the factory. If people keep vanishing into the countryside to get away from missile strikes, specialized knowledge keeps getting lost. If the highways are crumbling, deliveries are slow. Here construction would lead to better stability (more farms, road repair projects, hospitals), but it would mostly be a function of not letting your cities be attacked. Spies sowing unrest, air strikes, raids on truck conveys between cities would do economic damage, so you could fight wars two ways: either seizing cities with troops for knockout blows, or wearing your opponent down and then going for the conquest.

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Most countries have country-wide power grids, so to have an empire-wide power grid is a stretch, but not to wierd in my opinion. Not sure yet. Maybe powerplant could also just generate "funds" instead of being a resource of its own, or give bonus to factories (like in most civ games).

I was unclear:

I need several sources for income. Taxes (that affect happiness) and mining are a given. Maybe split mining up to give some more geographical significance?

But I want more:) Why is logging strange? Not modern enough? It seem a good choice to make cities still matter if not close to mineral sources. Wood is not used so much in infrastrcuture / military production though in the modern era...

I have "factories" for producing military units. But maybe have a choice between "mil factories" and "civ factories" like in HOI4. Civ factories would produce consumer goods, which yield income (funds). But this isnt so location-based.

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Printing money doesnt really work. "funds" represent wealth or resources as previously stated.

Finding Gold in a cave is not an empire wide scope resource used to fund factories and aircrafts.

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On 6/16/2017 at 0:40 AM, suliman said:

I need several sources for income.

in total war type games you have taxes and trade, and some factions or settlements ( perhaps?) seem to get some additional base amount.  you also have a number of resource types (raw materials) that allow the construction of specific types of buildings and units - including buildings that can generate more income via taxes.

in RTS type games you typically have gold as a resource - which becomes money (perhaps with a smelter and a mint). you can do the same with things like silver, platinum, palladium, diamonds, uranium, etc. but these are all forms of mining income or to put it in more general terms: income from state controlled resources.

say you're the government of a country. how can you get money? tax stuff, trade with other countries, exploit natural resources...  can't think of much else. 

ah, one more, and total war has it:  tribute payments from subjugated countries.  but this could also be considered just another form of taxes. 

 

Edited by Norman Barrows

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True but let me phrase it like this:

What natural resources could suit? If i clump mining into one, agriculture into one. What else is there? Maybe this is enough but want to have all ideas on the table:)

I use oil already as "fuel". And forest resource is used for biomass energy. Maybe I covered everything? (i like rather broad cathegories of natural resources)

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Also, you might be able to implement a "Scientific Funding" style of income. Say for instance, you have certain prominent(rich) people in your empire/cities, and they want you to research certain things and are willing to pay you to research them?

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I think the best fit for a near-future postapocolyptic setting would be cryptocurrencies.  

So your funds would be determined by unutilized computing power.  Essentially it'd mean an oppositional relationship between research (using your computing cycles to solve real problems) and money (using your computing cycles to solve meaningless problems that make you money).

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How would cryptocurrencies translate to ability to construct buildings and machines of war? It seems more like something you use to fool someone for real currency and then use real currency to buy resources/items in a working economy.

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