Encourage Innovation

Discuss anticipated or desired features here
tobing
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Postby tobing » Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:10 pm

"PhilL" wrote:So I see there are solutions to this concern already being hashed out in private games being developed by some of the forum members. Very cool BTW.

:cool:
"PhilL" wrote:As stated by Tobing There always is a optimal block and in his model (correct me if i am not understanding this correctly) it is so complex that adding just one building varies the pathing of existing areas that were previously stable and could disrupt them. This behaviour would lead one to see the pathing as a more random system.
For the most part the people here discussing this are more hardcore players and might welocme this as an advancement in city building but the average player this would be a giant turn off. Getting midway through a map and then attempting to develop the city for additional housing to meet the goals and doing so disrupts the initial build out so much the city crumbles.
...
because the walker are so "smart" than the player doesnt truely understand how they make decisions.

No, it's not like that, the walkers are really smart here. They go where they are needed most, and the decay of goods and services is such that IF you can get enough goods into the area (i.e. to the distributing markets) then you won't have everything crumble down. They system is quite stable, things only become unstable when you can't get enough goods to the market(s). If that is the case, the houses nearer to the market are served better (same for services and such). Near refers to path length on roads, btw.

You can try yourself btw, this part of Villages and Cities is completely implemented and actually quite mature right now (with some room for improvements when it comes to storage yards and overall control of goods flow all over the map).

When I say complexity here, I really mean that the algorithms behind the scenes are complex. Each single game system is simple enough, yet they interact with each other, so there's complex emergent behavior (not really complicated).

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Chris Beatrice
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Postby Chris Beatrice » Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:07 pm

Wow, what a lot of great thoughts here.
This topic, in a broad sense, is one we discuss a lot.
As a few people pointed out, the reason Medieval cities look ad hoc and unplanned is obviously because they were! Do people think it'd be fun if the game encouraged you to lay out a city that mimicked an unplanned Medieval city? That'd interesting... I think the way to make a game like that would be to let the citizens do everything themselves... now those would be super-super-duper smart walkers!

But seriously, I guess the point people are getting at is they don't like it when the game forces you to employ templates, and unrealistic templates, specifically. That does get repetitive. But as a side note, that's what real city-planners would do if they could. The fact is, building a city unilaterally, and in a short period of time, is inherently very, very weird.

In MM if you "design" a city with very little planning, or just with housing kind of fragmented, it'll still work - differently and better than the older classic cb games referred to here. It will work better if things are somewhat grouped, though, whether that's housing, shops, trades, etc. We already talked about why it doesn't work well to have houses over shops, and this is related. Probably the single most unrealistic thing in MM and all cb games is splitting off housing from everything else. That's how things are in the 'burbs, but not in cities, even today. So in fact the model probably mimics some larger scale representation of suburbs, city, rural areas and industrial towns, if I had to describe it. This is part of that pesky scale issue with cb games again... Encouraging this grouping could be done via some beautification requirement, or just about anything, such as resource distribution.

In MM having similar kinds of buildings grouped is encouraged and rewarded (that is, things work better that way). City organized like this also allows you to more readily assess how you're doing (since housing evolution is the central focus of the city) by, for example, looking at a few housing areas, vs. individual houses spread out all over the place and interspersed with all the other buildings.

We shall have to see how things shape up in terms of being repetitive to the point of not being fun. Fingers crossed.

sakasiru
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Postby sakasiru » Sat Jan 05, 2013 1:56 pm

Why is it important to have housing only houses anyway? If every family has a trade, they could live in their respective workshops, since in medival times most things were a family business, anyway. It worked like this in CotN. Farmers lived in farmhouses near the plantations, shopkeepers lived in their shops etc. Most members of the family worked in the lower class, while in the higher the housewifes concentrated on shopping and housekeeping. Makes sense to me, and also fits to a medieval setting.
It would also help to grow an "organic" city; first it's a cluster of some farms, woodcutters or something like that overlooked by a small tower of the local noble near a trade route, with an occassional faring trader stopping by the marketplace, then maybe someone opens a tavern, a small shop, a mill. As the town grows, there need to be craftsmen, maybe a priest, later when the city gets richer some guards, money lenders, rat catchers. Outside there would grow a cemetery. If for some reason there are more people than trades they would build a shack somewhere, or move a way, other than that, sons take over the family business and expand the houses.
The home of the local knights grows over time, while his business is protecting the settlement and the safety of the travellers coming through. He builds a city wall at some point, a church, hands out alms for the poor, keeps some stock of produce for times of bad harvests, so you need to build a storage, too. Maybe the people he employs like the tax collector or some guards will live in the growing castle.

At no point someone plops down a house somewhere and then goes looking what job he would take, it's more like new workers arriving would live with their employers until they learned the trade and set up their own shop, either in the same town if it is big enough or they move on to the next (or where they came from, since they most likely come from a family in the same trade). Maybe as a craftseman's house is expanded, he can take more apprentices? Living was pretty crowded in cities in medival times, maybe at first everyone had a little plot with a garden patch, but then they expand the house, build a barn and a pig pen in the backyard, a tool shed, a stable if they are rich, and the house begins to touch the next in the row, so the gaps close, and the city gets this crowded look. Bigger roads would be fortified when they don't want their carts to sink in the mud, the marketplace gets paved, maybe new settlers will have to build outside the walls, when they have occupied every last patch available inside the city, but they will prefer to be inside as long as there is a tiny gap there.

So, for gaming purposes, it would be benefical if you can't tell beforehand how big a house would eventually grow, if the city wall would be limited in how many space it can hold (easy: make it expensive!), and maybe give the AI some say where new arrivals will stack their claim. Maybe the player can lay out paths, and along those, every settler will take up as much space as he can afford. This would rather inevitably result in a medieval city layout ;)

PhilL
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Postby PhilL » Sat Jan 05, 2013 4:19 pm

"Chris Beatrice" wrote:
MM having similar kinds of buildings grouped is encouraged and rewarded (that is, things work better that way). City organized like this also allows you to more readily assess how you're doing (since housing evolution is the central focus of the city) by, for example, looking at a few housing areas, vs. individual houses spread out all over the place and interspersed with all the other buildings.

We shall have to see how things shape up in terms of being repetitive to the point of not being fun. Fingers crossed.


I dont think having similar types of buidlings grouped toggether is the issue. I agree it is easier to monitor the status of industries and housing this way with a simple glance, provided there are enough visual cues to provide the needed informaton.

I dont agree that housing evolution should be the central focus though. A city doesnt just provide housing it needs to be a well balanced machine with services and resources that the people want and need.

I think what we want is the abiltiy to develop housing areas in differant layouts that do not punish the player because of inefficiencies due to a deviation from the optimal housing block.

I really hope this can be implimented In previous city builders I was looking for a option to click and drag to highlight the housing areas then copy and paste them to a new area. its the repitition of the same block that I would like to see avoided.

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Chris Beatrice
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Postby Chris Beatrice » Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:00 pm

"sakasiru" wrote:Why is it important to have housing only houses anyway?


That all works, just not the gameplay we're going for here. It's not that we HAVE to have houses separate from everything - that's just what works best for the gameplay here. That extends to all building types - each just does one thing. This allows for much clearer feedback, easier for the player to understand what's happening, and also to be able to adjust what he wants to adjust, and balance things the way he wants (e.g. he needs more tinware production but not more people).

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Chris Beatrice
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Postby Chris Beatrice » Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:07 pm

"PhilL" wrote:I dont agree that housing evolution should be the central focus though.


Again, this is a choice for the type of gameplay we want here. If city-building games were purely simulations, they'd perhaps all be quite similar. But to make different gameplay, we change things... and of course deviate from reality. In this case that means there is a fundamentally more artificial and gamey distinction between different building types, homes only hold people, workplaces only employ people, etc.

"PhilL" wrote: I think what we want is the abiltiy to develop housing areas in differant layouts that do not punish the player because of inefficiencies due to a deviation from the optimal housing block.


I guess I'm not understanding this... because, logically, there is always going to be an optimal layout (probably even in real life), and therefore it's beneficial to use it (or, conversely, you're punished for not using it). And as Jeff said, the only way to shake that up is with terrain obstacles and constraints like that. The reason things don't work that way in real life is because the time scale is much larger (you're not able to always move things around easily), but in many cases (e.g. a planned city or subdivision) there are templates that work best because they allow the builder to fit the most housing lots in while still adhering to the code...

That being said, if the optimal layout (in a cb game) is not VASTLY better than a variety of other valid layouts (if, for example, proximity matters a lot, but layout not so much), then you as an advanced gamer might feel free to employ different layouts.

Anyway, in MM we certainly don't (intentionally) try to force you to use just one layout... but some players always figure out what's best and then find it hard not to stick to that. Some players say in games like Caesar III you HAD to use a specific layout all the time.

EmperorJay
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Postby EmperorJay » Mon Jan 07, 2013 6:50 pm

"Chris Beatrice" wrote:Anyway, in MM we certainly don't (intentionally) try to force you to use just one layout... but some players always figure out what's best and then find it hard not to stick to that. Some players say in games like Caesar III you HAD to use a specific layout all the time.


What would randomization of certain algorithms (within boundaries) do to prevent a single best layout?

Caesar Clifford
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Postby Caesar Clifford » Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:34 pm

Honestly very few players ever use the same layout over and over. I've seen many contest entries in games like c3 and there are as many different blocks as there are players and lots of us just build. We don't use the same layout over and over again. Its only the real number crunchers players that tend to do that. But seriously I would doubt [ based on what i've seen from other CB games ] that even 5% of players would use the very best block even if they knew what it was.

Everyone gets enjoyment in different ways from these games and I'm sure people will enjoy trying different layouts and blocks.

EmperorJay
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Postby EmperorJay » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:00 am

"Caesar Clifford" wrote:Everyone gets enjoyment in different ways from these games and I'm sure people will enjoy trying different layouts and blocks.


I agree, for any person reading this forum, there are so many who don't and just play the game.

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Chris Beatrice
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Postby Chris Beatrice » Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:04 pm

"EmperorJay" wrote:What would randomization of certain algorithms (within boundaries) do to prevent a single best layout?


Randomize what, exactly? You mean randomize then lock it in, e.g. use a different seed for each... instance of a building, maybe?

Czech Centurian
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Postby Czech Centurian » Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:26 pm

"Chris Beatrice" wrote:Randomize what, exactly? You mean randomize then lock it in, e.g. use a different seed for each... instance of a building, maybe?


I was thinking of something like that. Like in Caesar III the buildings spawned walkers on the North East corner of the building I believe ( I read that on Heavengames, I never actually built according to that though. So other corners could be used. :p /jk

I'd actually prefer it if walkers came out the front entrance if there is such a thing and that you can rotate the building to face the entrance.

I'm not really too fussed about building the same blocks. I put some houses in a block or rectangle and then I place service around. Housing likes to stick together I think.

You could maybe have neighborhood traits. Something that becomes apparent once the houses are built, you don't want people scrapping half their layout because of some random occurrence. So something like you click the house and it info panel says this community is particularly religious. That would be a clue that they need a chapel, church, whatever closer than other buildings. You then have a few of those preferences and then you just need some way of recognising what a neighborhood is.

EmperorJay
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Postby EmperorJay » Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:39 am

"Chris Beatrice" wrote:Randomize what, exactly? You mean randomize then lock it in, e.g. use a different seed for each... instance of a building, maybe?


Well, yes, something along those lines. First and foremost I'm not sure if the issue of housing blocks really is an issue for 99% of the players and second I am also not sure if randomization is a good or bad thing at all, but I am enjoying this discussion and I do enjoy putting things in a different perspective. I'd like to quote one of my earlier posts to illustrate how I imagine enough randomization to ensure no map is exactly the same while maintaining enough predictability to be able to learn and understand game mechanics.

Myself, paraphrased wrote:If honey consumption is always between 0.5 and 1.5 units per month and production predictably different for different climates (or map variations such as type and availability of flowers), then we must innovate. Continueing along this line of thought, if beer consumption is always between 0.5 and 1 in northern provinces but between 0.75 and 1.5 in warmer climates, we can add somewhat realistic variation that will ensure no map is the same and no housing block will always work.


A similar concept could be introduced for aspects other than item consumption. For instance, you mentioned the Security Rating would return. Predictably, in missions where you know raiders are nearby, citizens will inherently feel more insecure. However, in safer missions actually being raided will hurt the security rating even more than usual because citizens wouldn't expect such a thing to occur. Now, this gives the player the choice to build walls in "safe" missions to ensure that if something happens, the effect will be lessened. Then again, the chance something will happen is so small that not building a wall and just taking the hit is more cost effective.

For players who aren't interested in number crunching and act "on the eye" anyway, this system will still work as they will place an extra beekeeper or wall when they need to, not when they predict they'll need to. Still, a system like this would make any map a unique challenge even if the geographic features are the same. For the number crunchers this adds an extra layer of depth to the game as they will be able to predict in general terms what to build, but will need to address map specific issues for optimalisation. Perhaps on easy this system will be turned off, on normal it will be limited and on hard this will be implemented on any aspect.
Last edited by EmperorJay on Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:49 am, edited 2 times in total.

MoiChain
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Postby MoiChain » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:43 pm

What about a thinner grid and different available sizes (with different capacities like radius of effect or steps the walkers do) for a same service provider ?
With unmatching sizes and optimizing building sizes to the local needs and possibilities, you'll almost get a randomization and the serpentine streets.
Example :
Medical care - 3 available sizes : 3x3, 3x5, 5x7 (or only squares 3x3, 5x5, 7x7 if you wanna simplify graphics by scaling)
Tavern/Bar - 4 sizes : 2x2, 3x5, 5x9, 7x11

For the streets, we could imagine the corners of buildings were walkable, so that walkers (but maybe not large chariots) could walk diagonaly if two buildings touch each other by just corners ...

Streets could be placed as large/medium/small (5,3,2 tiles).

What a mess ! No ? (Excuse my French, and my poor English too)


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