Reformulating Societal Energies and Happiness Modifiers

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panikattak
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Reformulating Societal Energies and Happiness Modifiers

Postby panikattak » Tue Dec 18, 2007 7:15 pm

I'm not sure where I'm going to go with this but I wanted to share what I've learned so far from what I've done.

I've been reformulating my buildings and their societal energy and I've come across a formula that's been working. Basically, homes produce all societal energy, workplaces and venues consume societial energy, decorations do not produce or consume energy. Energy amounts for production or consumption are based on how many slots a building has. Homes produce 2 energy points for each slot, while workplaces and venues consume 1 point per slot. Homes produce two points per sim, one for a workplace and one for a venue. It makes sharing venues more important and highlights such aspects such as open hours into more strategic decisions. I can also tell that I have to walk a line between enough venues to keep people happy but still having enough energy to keep my sims employed. And with a -7 happiness modifier, this formula has made me on several different occasions to choose between unemployment or happiness.

I have also reduced the happiness modifiers for all venues to +1 but I'm sure there will be exceptions. But this makes having modifiers like the worship bonus from the stupa and special sim elders very important.

Most big decorations have been modded to have neighborhood improvement modifiers instead. I use them to beautify the area they are in and make them more desireable instead of using them to balance out my societal energies.



What do you think? Has any one else played around with reformulating or rebalancing buildings?

Lilbluesmurf
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Postby Lilbluesmurf » Tue Dec 18, 2007 9:11 pm

I would think that you will end up running into so large problems with only houses producing energy, eventually you will have a very large number of unemployed people just so you can have enough energy.

It also doesn't make sense to me that buildings like a museum, or other learning facilities would consume rather than produce. I see it as anything that inspires or educates people would produce energy (ie, it instills knowledge, ideas, hope, fear, etc into people who visit/see it). Where as places that require something of people would consume it.

Examples:
Person has a job that requires some creative thinking, he goes to a creative venue and is inspired by what he sees and goes back to work and incorporates that (uses it) to do his job.

Person work at a research or science lab, he goes to a library, school, etc and learns about something, he then goes back to work and uses that knowledge to further his work.

Person works at a police station, he goes and sees a movie that has lots of bad guys and things gone wrong (condition venue), he is scared (even if it's subconcious or whatever) and sees a reason for needing authority so he goes back to work more confident in what he does, but when he sees corruption or misuse of the power it also nulifies that fear a bit.

etc etc etc

It actually doesn't make a lot less sense to me for homes to be providing the energies unless the home itself somehow inspires the residents. I could see maybe a plus 1 for one or multiple things in normal homes since people can do things like read or play games at home. But I would say a very small amount of peoples inspiration comes directly from a home itself.
Last edited by Lilbluesmurf on Tue Dec 18, 2007 9:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SlightlyMadman
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Postby SlightlyMadman » Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:14 pm

Are you taking into account the positive and negative effects in your calculations? It seems to me that a home with a -1 happiness modifier should produce more societal energy than one with a +1 happiness modifier, otherwise there's no reason to build anything but the latter. Additionally, a venue that gives +7 happiness should consume more than one that gives +3 for the same number of sims.

There's of course plenty of other things to take into account, like radius effects and special sim production, as well. The more I've toyed with it, the more I've realized it's not the societal output of buildings that's imbalanced (it's actually fairly well balanced), it's the buildings that produce resources but have no downside (the bank, savings & loan, and real estate office come to mind).

A better approach would be to rearrange special effects and special sim production for the buildings so that positive production buildings all have negative effects, and vise versa. For instance, that +1 happiness luxury home consumes prosperity, which would have to be backed up by a bank. Currently,there's no downside to either of these. To balance things, the bank could be given a -1 happiness modifier for its workers (working at a bank is a lousy job), and possibly even spawn criminals (bank robbers).

Khanon
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Postby Khanon » Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:58 pm

In that instance, I believe the S&L was created due to a severe lack of early game generation of prosperity in closed testing... So much so that unless you were doing a Free Play game where all buildings were unlocked, it would be very easy to get locked into a trailer park brewery/lumber mill type setting and not be able to break out of it in early game.

I know I've tried, with default settings, to make a rural "Small Town" community without using either the bank or S&L and almost always wind up having to use the S&L, or both, to spur on growth (sort of a reflection of real life...the injection of fresh money into a neighborhood), lest it never be more than that pathetic small town.

I suppose that if I weren't one for at least partially realistic community developments in my games, I'd not need them. However, I play for the story that drives the city...

SlightlyMadman
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Postby SlightlyMadman » Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:47 pm

Yes, keep in mind I'm not saying that the S&L and Bank don't belong. Like I said, I think the resources values for various buildings in a theme were very well balanced. The issue is not that the S&L and Bank have huge net positive output, but rather that they have no downside to make it dangerous to spam them. A building like that should have some sort of serious defect that can be handled if you only have 2 or 3 of them on a map, but having one on every block should destroy your city.

Akodis
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Postby Akodis » Wed Dec 19, 2007 9:24 pm

There are areas in real cities where you can find 3 banks, a couple of S&L's, and a few realtors in the same neighborhood, if not on the same block.

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David Beebe
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Postby David Beebe » Wed Dec 19, 2007 10:15 pm

SlightlyMadman wrote:Yes, keep in mind I'm not saying that the S&L and Bank don't belong. Like I said, I think the resources values for various buildings in a theme were very well balanced. The issue is not that the S&L and Bank have huge net positive output, but rather that they have no downside to make it dangerous to spam them. A building like that should have some sort of serious defect that can be handled if you only have 2 or 3 of them on a map, but having one on every block should destroy your city.


Time for that "Bonnie and Clyde" mod...

Khanon
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Postby Khanon » Wed Dec 19, 2007 11:56 pm

SlightlyMadman wrote:Yes, keep in mind I'm not saying that the S&L and Bank don't belong. Like I said, I think the resources values for various buildings in a theme were very well balanced. The issue is not that the S&L and Bank have huge net positive output, but rather that they have no downside to make it dangerous to spam them. A building like that should have some sort of serious defect that can be handled if you only have 2 or 3 of them on a map, but having one on every block should destroy your city.


4 blocks from my house, where the Lucky's grocery store is, there's 2 banks, an S&L, a credit union, and 3 realtor offices.. That's just on that one block. Do you know how many banks, s&l's, credit unions, and other financial institutions you can find in a 2 blocks square in cities like San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, New York, etc.?!

Wait...you said something about not breaking a town. lol *sighs*

At any rate, it's common. VERY common. What we need are mode building mods that show several bank looks, several S&L looks, credit union looks...hell, even altering the stats for each one slightly would be cool. Make it so you can place only one of each, but make a lot of unique ones...

Yesyes...many cities have more than one of each type of bank. However, many cities also have more than 3 of each type of home and more than one type of strip mall and dept store, too. :p

zero7
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Postby zero7 » Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:41 am

Khanon wrote:At any rate, it's common. VERY common. What we need are mode building mods that show several bank looks, several S&L looks, credit union looks...hell, even altering the stats for each one slightly would be cool. Make it so you can place only one of each, but make a lot of unique ones...

Yesyes...many cities have more than one of each type of bank. However, many cities also have more than 3 of each type of home and more than one type of strip mall and dept store, too. :p


Basically, the problem is lack of custom content. It was the same in the early days of SC4. Walk through any town, however small, and really look at the buildings - most commercial buildings are unique; even 'box' retail units are unique in game terms because of each shop's signage.

As far as banks in SCS are concerned there are two problems one is lack of building variety, but the other is that the bank buildings have a very distinctive design and look odd when repeated in a city.

Once the reskinning starts there are other, more generic, buildings that can work as banks - and when we get the custom object tools the problem will disappear completely.

The problem for SCS with commercial buildings and limiting the number is that it does not work on the basis of finances and that is the real-world limiting factor. Maybe if each building had three energies associated and you could only have two positive and one negative or two negative and one positive then you could ensure that there was a downside to every building.
Last edited by zero7 on Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

SlightlyMadman
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Postby SlightlyMadman » Thu Dec 20, 2007 4:40 pm

The problem is not that I think there should be only 1 bank per city or some nonsense (that would be an easy problem to solve by making it unique).

The problem is that the bank, and a few other buildings, have only positive effects, and no downside. Most other buildings have some sort of a drawback, be it resource usage, unhappiness, spawning hippies, etc. The bank has none of these. It makes money, provides resources, and gives jobs to your workers.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't be able to create a city with 5 banks on one block, I'm saying that you should have to deal with the repercussions of doing so. For example, if you put 5 office buildings on one block, you need to lay down a huge number of buildings to provide the production resources for them.

panikattak
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Postby panikattak » Thu Dec 20, 2007 8:03 pm

@lilbluesmurf:

In this system, the societal energy is more tied to the sim themselves by being defaco paired to those energies by having the production of said energies directly influenced by their slot in a home.

And because of this system, yes, you do have to balance how many venue slots vs how many work slots. Of the few towns I've made this way, I've found that slight unemployment is better overall then too few venues.

The biggest reason I did this was because I find using decorations for balancing societial energies too much like cheating as well I feel like I'm creating surpluses in some energies but deficits in others only because it's what I'm placing. And all I have to do is drop enough decorations until the deficits are balanced and I'm good to go. The surpluses don't matter. In this other formula, you can't do that. Each sim gets two societal points, basically one for a job and one for a venue and they have to be distributed wisely because if you go against what you've laided down, there is no way to take out the slack and some buildings will go unpowered.

And I like tying the energy to the sim. Althought it is a hackish way of doing it, tying the energy to them by considering what kind of sim would live in this kind of house and because of that, this type of house will give off this type of energy.

However, I had my folders open when I was playing and the game froze adn I couldn't close the folders. I restarted my machine but got distracted and diskcheck trashed my modded building backup folder, which I didn't catch before I deleted my game to reinstall and consequently, deleting my only other copy of what I was doing so I'm back to square 1.





@Slightlymadman:

My starting money is turned down to $1000 and most of the buildings are more than $1000 in price alone. And I was working on how I would calculate the price of a building based on how many slots it had as well as any other perk it might have (such as abilities or happiness bonuses). But basically, I was going to use cost to balance those aspects. Really good buildings are really expensive to build.

mprovancha
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Postby mprovancha » Thu Dec 20, 2007 9:14 pm

Khanon wrote:In that instance, I believe the S&L was created due to a severe lack of early game generation of prosperity in closed testing... So much so that unless you were doing a Free Play game where all buildings were unlocked, it would be very easy to get locked into a trailer park brewery/lumber mill type setting and not be able to break out of it in early game.

I know I've tried, with default settings, to make a rural "Small Town" community without using either the bank or S&L and almost always wind up having to use the S&L, or both, to spur on growth (sort of a reflection of real life...the injection of fresh money into a neighborhood), lest it never be more than that pathetic small town.

I suppose that if I weren't one for at least partially realistic community developments in my games, I'd not need them. However, I play for the story that drives the city...


That's a very interesting point. Adding the savings and loan just to overcome how hard it is to get prosperity is one of the things that make the game too easy. It shouldn't be the case that just because its hard, you should patch in a super building that solves all your problems.

Seriously, 5 slum appartments and an office building makes for lots of prosperity, but causes alot of crime. This is the kind of balance you should strive for to make the game harder. I am glad that slightlymadman has gotten on board my idea of making the game harder through building balance as explained in this thread:
http://www.tiltedmill.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14622

There are not that many buildings that are all that imbalanced. Most buildings do cost SOMETHING. The main issue atm is decorations and about 8-10 buildings. I have a list of them at home and will post them in the next day or so. Some that come to mind right off the bat are the genetics lab, bank, savings and loan, observatory, and the astrophysics lab. All of these buildings are basically super decorations that not only provide large (or enormous) bonus in value categories, but often have great special sim spawns, super good activated abilities, and generate income to boot.

What would be best, as David Beebe mentioned would be additional negative special sims spawns and/or area depressing effects like pollution but not pollution particularly. Of course, theres modders who can probably address this issue, or theres always the developers here at tilted mill such as one David Beebe : ).

I DO think its great to have what should be spammable buildings in a very limited sense. There really ARE a TON of banks and realtors in each and every city. You should be able to build a ton of them, which is why they are not unique (I have left buildings that are unique out of my "list" because the only issue is really spamming them) and additional skins for these buildings would be a boon to most city development. All we are advocating is some balance to these buildings. Maybe they make their workers more unhappy, or maybe they consume some other value like productivity or creativity. Or maybe they just make lots of people unable to buy accessories because they are so in debt to their sub-prime mortgage, who knows?

Khanon
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Postby Khanon » Thu Dec 20, 2007 10:52 pm

hehe I'm agreeing and disagreeing at the same time. From the "proper play" aspect of it (proper play as far as I'm concerned is at least semi-realistic development, not plop-spamming units) the S&L and the Bank are fine, as is...

However, in light of people likely, in some cases, using them to "spam" up prosperity and, to a lesser extent authority, I agree that it's also a bad thing that should have a negative.

Aesthetically, S&L's usually don't have much of a negative effect especially when compared to banks. I'd almost say it should cost a spirituality or two to have a bank...and just make an S&L more costly to build and, perhaps, inject a cost to operate for it. *shrugs* Just thoughts off the top of my head.

I can't argue difficulty or ease of play with SC:S. Not in the least. And, to be perfectly blunt and honest, no one else can "fairly" argue it, either. From 2k on, SimCity games could be as slobberingly easy or as brutally difficult as anyone chose to tweak their game to make it. SC:S is no different.

Where it differs is that SC:S is, out of the box, more for a novice to CB's. Many of the others could be just plain ruthless out of the box to a novice. 2k and up just required tweaking to bring it towards the middle. SC:S requires tweaking to make it harder.

To SC:S's credit, as well, it's easier to mod for those who aren't adept at coding/modding.

I'd do more modding if it wasn't for the fact I can't do art to save my life.


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