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We colonize an Earth-like planet with 2 million people...

  1. May 12, 2015 #1
    And what would we bring? Assuming large space ship. What would be most difficult to rebuild on this new world? I am mostly talking about tools and possibly whole factories (or small versions).

    Also what industries would be most difficult to rebuild?

    Working on a game where you could do just this, so that is why I am asking.

  2. jcsd
  3. May 12, 2015 #2


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    This belongs in science fiction, not general engineering. Right now we can barely even dream of the technology that would be required to do that and we aren't likely to have it for centuries.
  4. May 12, 2015 #3
    Posted it here because I wanted answers from engineers. Since it seems like an engineering question? If that EM drive is really a thing, an we have reusable rockets, the posssibility of doing such a thing could only be a few decades away?
  5. May 12, 2015 #4


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    More like centuries.
  6. May 12, 2015 #5


    Staff: Mentor

    Agreed. Thread has been moved.

    You're still asking questions about something that is too far out of range of current technology to belong in the engineering forum.

    It's certainly not enough of one to merit being discussed in the engineering forum.
  7. May 12, 2015 #6


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    Imagine a large modern city and hundreds of miles of surrounding countryside. You need to bring everything within that.

    If your story allows for a more gradual colonisation over time with multiple deliveries then it's a different story. If you stick with one then you're literally going to need a flat pack city state.
  8. May 12, 2015 #7
    Maybe interesting for a story, is that a long enough journey would mean this population doesn't know/remember a lot about living on terra firma, so they have to rediscover all the ways of surviving wild. Building homes, infrastructure, wells, even making fire could be new territory for your characters. As this is an alien world, you could add cool twists to well known techniques and tricks that can catch a reader off guard. It may be Earth-like, but it is also a clean slate in terms of what is possible. It is your world, make it awesome.
  9. May 13, 2015 #8
    I already asked question like that:
    (maybe it would partially answer your question)

    The most challenging part?
    -production of any high tech electronics (requires in RL factories costing one or a few bln dollars that produce for whole continent)

    Any object that you require in small quantities, possibly one:
    -production tolls
    -some medication would be a bit tricky (with rare diseases you'd have one patient ;) )
    -FMRI (or any complicated medical equipment)
    -3D Printers

    You take such equipment with you ship? Good idea, but how would you get spare parts? ;)

    It would be tricky with ores. Theoretically - whole planet for you, in practice you may discover that good ores of ex. lithium are 12000 km from your main city. And yo have to build there one tiny village with mine...

    EDIT: For game purposes you should presumably consider as crucial whether this planet can trade or receive high tech devices from other planet.
    YES - no problem, it should develop quite quickly among abundant resources
    NO - (survival mode) - no tech growth, first high growth, after a few years in which there would be running of crucial tech equipment - slow growth
    NO -(any other mode, like preparing to war) - all efforts go to a project and colony slowly shows decline
    Last edited: May 13, 2015
  10. May 13, 2015 #9
    Thanks for the comments!

    Some details if you care for it (or have any feedback :) ).

    It will be like a civilization type game, but I want to make it more realistic, with markets and a political aspect (yeah v ambitious i know).

    The idea is to split up in roughly 4 factions at first, the open minded science people (open society better at science vs closed and controlled). The hivemind, they are experts at building things efficiently, and are very disciplined and good for cheap labor (and good at espionage). And the peacekeeping military faction. The third one is not strong on science or engineering, but they got the guns and military knowhow, and exchange food and tech etc for protection against the fourth faction.

    And the fourth group is a bunch of crazies that somehow gone insane on the trip to this planet (maybe something to do with cryosleep?, or maybe they got sabotaged, who knows?) They especially seem to really hate the science faction somehow. They are not completely insane, but are somewhat rational, but very very angry.

    Then later on as the population reaches to a billion+, you get the corporate faction (megacorp 1!) that tries to control everything in lots of dirty and subtle ways, and you get the greens who really care about the planet and are like humanists. And possibly a mutant faction too that sort of uses guerilla terrorist tactics and stuff.

    The gameplay mechanics would be as follows,
    -a building option (building certain units, weapons and buildings for the land you control). Can roughly choose how to build your cities (low rise vs high rise in certain tiles, defenses etc, havent worked it out completely).

    -a market with materials and goods. This will sort of imitate how real markets work with consumption vs supply (a few % more consumption then supply and the prices explode). Also each commodity and product will have a production break even cost (so commodities far away have a higher production cost). And a certain realistic price range of what people are willing to pay. So if one commodity becomes rare, there are alternative inferior option commodities that can suddenly become more valuable. Will allow for some interesting tactics :) . But probably a ***** to work out.

    -A political aspect. You play one leader in the game. And your asset are people. The more people are behind you, the more powerfull you are. You can use them to reasearch stuff, to build stuff, to fight etc. You control people by controlling thought leaders (again sort of imitating real life, why pol pot killed all intellectuals). You cannot just willy nilly start wars if the people don't support it (unless you are peacekeeper or hive). If you play the science faction, they will only accept war if there is no other option (so you could for example trick them into thinking your being attacked first if you want to attack someone). And there are thought leaders that have influence over people, and if you control those thought leaders, you control their people. You can do this by for example spying on those leaders, and finding weaknesses on them. Also if you attack another faction, and you start murdering their people, they will all unite against you, and it will be a ***** to control their cities. So you have to be subtle.

    -Espionage aspect. This one is important, as information is everything. The more open your society is, the harder it is to have a good spy network. The more closed it is, the easier it is (but then you won't progress much on science). Kind of like what it was with the USSR vs the west. Russians were the best spymasters, but bad at science.

    -A science aspect. Science is hugely important. As this will boost your economy (allowing you to produce more with the people you control), and people will largely favor the richest faction. There is a tech tree like in the civilization games. Except you will only make progress if you control a lot of people (larger chance of some genius being born) and if your society is very open (which makes it hard to set up an effective espionage network, and makes warfare hard).

    Some interesting obstacles will be energy, new technologies like a superintelligence, nanotechnology etc. Synthetic biology allowing people to mutate in lot's of ways, and allows them to live very long.

    Now right from the get go there is some mysterious stuff going on. It seems the icecaps are way too large, and for some reason their melting point is much lower then it should be. And there is a large desert on one side of hte planet, and when you try to explore it, weird things happen (this should play an important aspect later on). And you will find an abandoned outpost somewhere that doesn't seem to belong to any humans. And there are two weird floating thingies at both poles of the planet.

    Each faction has it's strenghts and weaknesses. But they all need science in a way. Science (and applied science especially) = wealth Because if you lag behind, and your people see how much better the other factions have it, you lose control. Or you can destroy science, like some dictators have tried to do in the past.

    There is a fear, respect and brainwash meter when it comes to your population. A lot of fear = little openmindedness and little science. Leaves you vulnerable. A lot of respect = a lot of science, but also vulnerable to bad propaganda and sabotage.

    Some fear and a lot of respect is best. And a lot of fear and some respect is best if you want to start a war. Then brainwash determines how irrational a population is (or how much they hate science). Have a lot more details, but then it would get a bit too long.

    So the big question is, how much starting tech do you give the player? As that will have a big effect on the amount of options you will have. Too much options = too easy, and too little options = too hard. Possibly something like cold fusion? Where do they get their power from, fossils or maybe super effieicent batteries + solar (but with some limitation).
  11. May 13, 2015 #10
    If you claim doing it complex - why are you not allowing player to pick up features of his society? Either on axis or as features? (Under perfect conditions it would be possible to let society evolve in long run, so you would be able to swap some features...)

    Sounds interesting and damn challenging.

    I first thought about making storage for each city, etc.

    But now we live in knowledge economy.

    I have the following:
    Each city has some resources nearby and can allocate part of labour force to produce from them. It can also invest in facilities to develop it.

    System calculate all possible trade routes and their relative cost. Then you repeat it the procedure a few times to optimize it. It has also its demand, so it just maximizes its welfare function.

    In case of services there is no transport cost or it just related to distance.

    Part of resources you can run out of. Not in 100%, but their production cost would go up. Possibly other cities would suddenly become producers.

    Transport route changes. At start for bulk production goes through seas. Later there would be development of infrastructure and inland transport become more practical.

    Create one class conflict, and within this create different ones like:
    -legalizing drugs and allowing them to flood out
    -ideological war (forces other to evolve towards your political system)
    -classical espionage

    or more subtle ones:
    -cultural war / meme war
    -financial war (think about USA banks downgrading Russian debt rating :D )
    -brain drain / causing mass migration by higher life standard

    I'd rather think the more open society, the easier target you are.
    They weren't so bad at science, they s**** the economy.

    Reminds me "Deadlock 2: Shrine wars". Just make a random terrain generator each time, to have a different game each time. Automatically hide such stuff in the middle of nowhere.

    Just ice caps? What about a tidally locked planet? Or a desert world with wet polls?

    As little as realistically possible. Its more fun to see how your civ develop. As mother ship something of unimpressive tech like:

    Logic challenges:
    -nukes or other WMDs - presumably there should be some political mechanism making it unprofitable, something like Bad Boy points from Europa Universalis, that makes aggressor an outlaw for both any other faction and his own subjects. (however, it makes an interesting possibility of Samson option http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samson_Option )
    -immediate transport - one year, one tile? Century for walking through continent? In era when jets are an old technology? ;) D
    -AI replacing humans - presumably just use old technology or make it helpful, but not overkill
    -transport cost - with contemporary tech its actually quite low within a planet
  12. May 13, 2015 #11
    Hey thanks for commenting. Seems like you put some thought in this already!
    I reccommend this book:

    Basically the premise is that most people are sort of in the middle. And few people at the extreme ends (like liberal vs conservative). And when the enviroment imposes extreme conditions on the middle they can be swayed either way (like with hitler).

    And usually things happen when there are men of words riling them up, convincing them the current order is doing it wrong. Then comes the man of action, to change things. So Karl marx and Tolstoy would be a man of words, and Lenin would be a man of action. They are sort of the thought leaders, they organize parts of the population. So the idea here is that you can only indirectly control populations it self through these leaders. You can bribe them, blackmail them (if you find some sensitive info), kill them or try to work with them. And you can indirectly use propaganda or police state tactics to sway the populations they control (so a fear and admiration level, and a brainwash level to indicate how easily groups can be swayed to some direction. With most of the population having a low brainwash level). Allthough that would be harder, and more blunt and risky.

    Control the intellectuals, and you control the populations.

    Screw that up completely and you lose most support, and you get tons of brain drain etc. Like how all the german speaking scientists fled Europe in world war two, except a bit more extreme.

    So then you have these initially 4 playable factions. And they are all believers for the most part in their own faction and way of doing things. So the hivemind follows their leader and wants order and discipline, and are sort of brainwashed and submissive. The free thinkers want freedom and science, but are less organized and vulnerable. The military faction are like spartan, who almost blindly follow a few charismatic generals, and feel their duty is to protect everyone against the elements (and mostly the 4th crazy mutant faction). Or possibly take over control alter on. And then the player can choose which faction they like to play. And try to get as much power as possible in whatever way. But ofcourse the idea is that if you start with military you could end up in a very different place over time if you want to (but it will be harder to build some freeminded utopia then with the science faction).

    You could give skill values to people in your population. So science people are good at R&D, the hive are good at production and building (and the second most brainwashed), and the militairy is good at fighting and discipline. And through training you could make them better at something else (but at a cost).

    Coudl be interesting to have like secret factions. So secret science projects to research weapons in case you dont trust the Spartan faction. Or like secret special military units to do dirty work that cannot see the light of day.

    Yeah that sentence was a bit vague on my side. The more open a society, the better they are at science, and the worse they are at spying. A closed authoritarian society is very good at spying, but not so good at science.


    This movie is very interesting, based on true events. The soviets had massive spy networks in US technology companies, stealing a lot of their tech. Sometimes they did not even have R&D themselves, but almost completely relied on just stealing it. Since their economy was a lot worse, they did not have the resources to allocate as much to R&D, except in some isolated cases like space flight.

    Actually an interesting thing, when that officer leaked out all this info about these soviet spies, they sabotaged the tech, the soviets would steal. So various soviet pipelines actually blew up because of this.

    I also want to add in the concept of geniuses. Like after world war 2, scientists were a hot commodity. So you have certain scientists that are with your faction for whatever reason, and you can poach or assasinate scientists from other factions (and make sure to protect yourown). They would have a large chance of researching some very valuable tech over their lifetime (granted that they are in a free thinking enviroment with other scientists).

    Yeah totally agree. I thought that earth would have really advanced tech, but has become inhospitable. And all the tech was put in giant servers in those ships. And millions of people were put in cryosleep or something, coming out like once every 5 years.

    But when those ships crashed, a lot of data went lost, and a lot of scientists with the know how died or went mad because of some mistake with cryosleep settings (like how concrete was invented in the roman empire, but was then lost for hundreds of years after it fell).

    So then you can add selectively really advanced tech, with primitive.

    And to make it interesting, I thought this new planet should have low oxygen at first, to sort of put up a challenge. Like in the Himalaya's, but worse.

    You could make fossil fuels rare? Would have to adjust this as your creating the game, to see what works.

    The 4th faction, the one that is just out for revenge, they would sort of be the wild card. So you could let them steal a nuke to make it interesting or something. You could make some sort of alliance with them and give them tech, to make it more difficult on other factions. And if the population becomes large, they could merge in and become terrorists or something.

    Yeah storage would be very important too. Really interesting analogy what you see in the oil market now. There is only like a 4-5 month storage for world oil supply, and if they run out of storage, that would mean the oil price would spike down (as otherwhise oil would have to be thrown away). And shutting down oil wells could be more expensive that just running a small loss for a while.

    So you could do things with that, like sabotage of supply facilities for various products and commodities, to drive the price down. Or sabotage production facilities to increase prices! Especially if they take long to build. So like refined rare earth metals or something.

    Giving them teleportation or fusion in the beginning would not be a good move. As that would make it too easy. I think each powerful tech should have the potential to cause some dystopia or destroy everything, or help you towards a utopia if handled right.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  13. May 14, 2015 #12
    -factions - too simple (you can easily increase their number and make them change their stances)
    -world - too simple (you can easily random generate a new version from wide parametres to provide a new game each time)
    -politics - seems right
    -economics - seems too complex

    [but it's your choice, so I'd provide advice according to your request]

    I think that there is also another factor - in open society if you build a bridge to nowehre - its a scandal. In a totalitarian society - its another success of your great nation, and anyone who says otherwise is going to be punished. So you should expect that some projects cost much more than supposed to...

    You are making it too complicated...
    ...still have blueprints...
    ...just such factory cost 100 bln dollars each...
    ...requires whole industrial complex to provide it with raw materials...
    ...actually the parts produced on this planet are not according to specification...
    ...what is actually workable, but requires a long R&D project to adjust everything...
    ...and in the middle of the project you discover that documentation is not 100% complete and project would be delayed by a few more years...
    Too much of grim realism? :D

    Using local fauna as beast of burden? ;)

    Not cool.
    Under normal conditions - domed cities. Any idea of pumping up oxygen - helps all factions, not only those who paid for it.
    Counteridea: cold planet and by building industry base you cause global warming ;)

    Changing market conditions is all the fun from the game, right?
    Not "rare". For example - lets imagine that each field has:
    -some amount of easily exploitable resources at start
    -some de facto limitless resources that require very high effort to extract them.
    That would cause you to have to adjust position of some of your cities and trade routes.

    Or wood. At start it would be very cheap. Later, when you have to make plantations - very expensive.

    I started to think about the setting:
    -Fast transport (if ex. a round is one month, than your low tech jet can can encircle the planet 14 times ;) )
    -Weapons being an overkill.
    Normal war would not be specially interesting.
    Let's make that all countries and all citizen believe in some convention that effectively forbid waging war. And forces each country to follow plenty of rules, what makes covert/ideological/demographical/economical war that what's left.

    Concerning economy, you are trying to make a multi agent system:
    Who is the agent?
    Each city?
    So you use goods for:

    Consumption as such would not be hard. You'd have some supply and demand curves crossing each other for each of your goods and services, your utility generated from that. Each round you adjust your position at it.

    Investment choice and storage sounds quite tricky for me.

    Except from that:
    Is your storage cost 0?
    (if not then for each good you either have some expenses or some tiny amount should be spoiled each round; presumably you have to have such value for each commodity)

    Some goods can be multiuse.
    Wood - as construction material or source of energy. Economic decision would be based on price.
    Food - to eat and source of biofuels

    Some stuff can be a byproduct - for example recently sulphur was very cheap because was a by product of oil production.
  14. May 14, 2015 #13
    How do you deal with improvements?
    -buildings in cities?
    -improvements to tiles? (like field, mine)?
    -improvements connecting cities (like road, power line or maglev)?
  15. May 14, 2015 #14
    Im making some concept art now, ill show it later.

    Why do you think factions are too simple? The idea was that they all have a strenght and a weakness. And that the world is at first very dangerous because of the fourth faction with their guerilla tactics living in the mountains. So at first they need each other, but then later on they will dislike each other more with conflicting interests.

    Later on based on what the player does, there should be more factions popping up, that you have to deal with.

    And then later on there is this massive desert that will become interesting (plan to put in massive sandworms and possibly some commodity that could be very valuable later one). The idea is also a very large world. So the first 10-15 hours, you would barely explore even half of it (all the factions would occupy a small space). And it should feel somewhat dark and hostile.

    And Unlike previous civilization games, I want to add in a story element too, to make it feel more alive.

    With economics I agree, I want to work out some precise models. Probably will have to simplify at some point.

    Yeah agree, it is too vague, how about this then:

    Hivemind type faction:
    Worker drones, not a lot of freedom, and are largest in numbers. Authoritarian regime

    Science faction:
    The engineers and scientists, but factories are not here due to higher expected wages, they preserve science, and come up with new ways to make things more efficient. Smaller in number, and profit from the fact that Hivemind produces cheap stuff.

    They should both have dark traits, like hivemind is borderline slavery, and science faction looks another way and sometimes pushes their scientific research beyond ethical boundaries (usually with some backlash, but not if you make them more expensive secret projects)

    Leaders of two factions realize they need each other.

    Third faction is military faction, good at neither and they fight off the fourth one, that is leaving outside in the wild trying to destroy the other three (because they were deemed too unstable and wild to fit in there). Again the first two needs the third one.

    If you keep the factions to a low amount, you can make them quite different, The more factions, the more difficult that becomes.

    Because for efficiency reasons, a lot of these corporations are sort of semi controlled by the player. Like monopolies for telecom networks to save manhours (because colony is still relatively small). So later when you get bigger that results in monopolies, and you get the corporate faction, but they should play a lot different. The military faction becomes the military industrial complex.

    Yeah something liek that. Makes it easier to balance the game. If it is too easy, you make local fauna more powerful.

    Causing global warming is really really difficult if you start out small, and want to add advanced tech later on. Could also affect things by having a second sun affect the climate in different ways.
    I would think that building basic stuff should be easy, but takes time. Like coal and iron to make steel. I want that feeling at first that you have to conquer a massive hostile world. Like the first colonizers in the US felt.

    Then the metals required to make more advanced tools and products would be harder to get. Have to travel larger distances etc.

    I thought about making it continues, so no turns. Just pauze and play.

    How about guerilla wars at first? Three factions are likely not fighting at firist, just fighting enviroment. Then later on things can get hairy between them. Overkill with weapons wouldn't make sense at first, only later on when you have a 2 billion population at least. Then warfare is more covert?

    I think Alpha centauri had atrocities. I really liked that. Agree with you on that! It shouldn't be as easy as with CIV, that you can just fight wars willy nilly with little consequence.

    I thought about that, and it would be difficult. As usually corporation and government conflicts. Seperating between corporation and government would make things very complex. Would have to think about this some more.
    Investment could be another version of consumption, except with a reward. Problem is, you would need some sort of debt system? Would make things complex. Especialy with AI.

    Recycling would be interesting, as science faction could figure out ways to do that to get costs down for the hive faction. Seems that building some sort of realistic economy will be most difficult, but i have not given up on it yet :) .

    Well at first cities would look different then current cities that were not build around modern technology. They should be more spaced out. But I thought the guerilla attacks would make that interesting. Living in highrises would cause more unhappiness, but is cheaper and safer (as you have to defend a lower distance of borders against terrorist attacks).

    So one city is multitile instead of one tile (should be a closer zoomlevel as well)

    So highrise (less space) vs low rise
    WHere to put industry?
    Where to put defense or look out?
    Where put farm?

    Roads should be automatic, but you can control where to put enhanced transportation like maglevs or highways (or hyperloop?) And you could also build secured transportation? Have lot's of options on army bases, remote research bases, mines etc. How about a north pole weather control station to mess with your enemies?

    Then later on you should have megacities that merge into eachother. And possibly more options of where to put buildings or allow different type of people to live or work. Sort of a much simplified cim city. And then cities will also merge into each other (especially if you get really late game with like 20 billion people).

    The cool thing, if you pull it off, it will feel very alive and real, but I guess it is a real ***** to do so :) .
  16. May 14, 2015 #15
    Getting all those people there would be harder then anything that had to happen afterwards. Possible exception: Terraforming the planet and creating a biological infrastructure! This would be harder than building cities and infrastructure and could take longer than the trip to the planet. If the planet already has life, interactions could be deadly - total extinction of either the native life or yours is as likely as co-existence.

    Sending live humans is a bad idea, as the descendants could cause destructive chaos during the voyage, or not want to leave the ship once they arrive. Frozen humans or clones with brain-taping would be more likely to succeed.
  17. May 14, 2015 #16
    -because it is cool to play your own faction
    -because it is cool to opportunistically change your own ideology: "Yeah, we dropped direct internet democracy and now are a technocracy. The decision time is 90% shorter, production is +30%, just the whole country is one big riot".
    -you must have to write some flexible faction template to allow new faction to appear, thus there should not be much extra work
    (is it going to conflict your scenario?)

    Unknown interior of continents in time of surveillance satellites? Big unutilized spaces - full realism, but not unknown.

    Make the day / night cycle very long - it would make only sea coast habitable and would explain why some areas are explored later.

    Sandworm? Isn't it overused?

    To what extend can you offer flexible scenario and guarantee that player would trigger proper events?

    You don't have to make faction size equal.
    You make let's say 4 major factions (one player controlled) and let's say 12-20 minor factions, each of them starts with maybe 1/3-1/5 of asset of a major one.

    You may move one move further. Let's make it very civilized (on surface)... but fiercely competitive.

    For practical reasons, you may ignore such nuances like equity, debt or hybrid capital ;) I see one serious obstacle - if there is real choice concerning investment project and not just upgrade factory lvl13 to lvl14, then there should be some quite bright algorithm to make a decision.

    The challenge would be making acceptable simplification.

    I see one chance to make at least impression that there is high complexity and multi agent play.
    1) Top level - politics
    2) Medium level - city self govern themselves
    (they effectively build what they need; are forced to ineffectively build what empire requires from them; or are building what they want but the empire can finance them extra project)
    3) Population migration.
    -They simply go from poor, polluted cities, to the better one. Ignoring everything rest. You want population somewhere -lower taxes or even start subsidizing them.
    -they can start a new city and new faction in some unclaimed land (just as random event)

    Your RAM would be angry about it ;)
    I think you should choose between huge amount of very simple cities or moderate amount of complex one.

    Zoomable? And click on all your 100s titles?

    How do you bind your city inhabitants with your industry? They have to be next field?

    Concerning farm - each respectable civ game assumes that your city is surrounded by fields. Which would mean that Hong Kong inhabitants are dying out of hunger because nearby city took all nearby fields. ;) With trade modeled it should be workable.
    Last edited: May 14, 2015
  18. May 15, 2015 #17
    Yeah you seem to have more experience on the practical side.

    If you look at google maps, our planet is really massive. It could be that some satellite did a quick fly over. But satellites only last for so long, and have limited fuel. Current lifecycle is about 15-20 years. Ofcourse at first a space program would be very very expensive with relatively little pay off. So you have a rough idea what the planet looks like but no detail. You are very limited at first when population is small. And ofcourse you need the few satellites you have to pinpoint location of rebels that are harassing you, so that sucks up fuel even faster.

    Also there is little reason to explore if one side of the planet does not seem interesting, and is uninhabited.

    Sandworms are interesting because they can gobble up large things. So tactically you gotta move around them.
    Multiple story lines and characters that you trigger with different playing styles.

    Yeah and the fourth faction will sort of become a commodity? Let's give them some mutation or something? Like the hive faction could want them for cheap slave labor, the science faction for experiments, and then military faction just needs them as an enemy so they are needed and can have influence.

    You could allow the player the set up some starting colony, and do various things to make it attractive?

    How about this, lategame everything is ran by corporations. So that is then the only economic entity. Still have no idea how to start out with that.
    You probably have way more experience on this then me. But what about very large tiles that you click on, and it goes to a new screen the size of what would be 2-3 miles or something. There you can just build ****, and when your done you go back to the large screen again that is way more zoomed out.

    With industry or force? So if an industry is in a certain tile, it will pull in a certain amount of inhabitants. Or if certain commodities are there.

    How about a system where one city produces something, but usually a very large surplus. And then it automatically gets spread out over the richest and closest parts of your cities and your allies cities. (and you can control wether you allow export or not). So you could set a wealth level determined by skill level, and then they are cut off from most goods and services if they are very lowly skilled. Or something like that.

    So two farming cities could produce 75% of the food, and it will be spread out. And ofcourse there would be supply lines between them that can get cut off? If that happens, famine! Shouldn't be that hard?

    You could allow the player to control education (or training level of inhabitants). The more highly they are trained, the harder to control and the more needy they are. So more reward, but also more risk?

    Im curious since you seem to have given this some thought already, you have experience with game developing? Any progress on a current project?
  19. May 15, 2015 #18
    I'm happy that I make so good impression. ;) In RL I thought about studying programming, but I ended up in economics. I haven't finished anything serious. The areas that I can be useful:
    -creative ideas;
    -making simple enough models (with basic understatement of data structures).

    With programming as such my usefulness would be limited.

    -you know landmass and landscape (we know that about inner planets in the solar system)
    -you have no idea about natural resources beneath.

    Anyway, have you thought about a tidal locked planet?
    (then the cool side would be unexplored)

    My idea here is the following. You'd not achieve specially bright AI. So instead of trying that, model that each of powers in micro level ungovernable and local gov makes some decisions on its own without taking care about general plan, while central gov disciplines it only from time to time.

    May I do math?
    -You have 2 miles * 2 miles fields
    -you have a cylinder shaped planet... (yes, there are such in games :D ) which has earth which is 20 000 km * 40 000 km
    -so you have a 62000 * 123000
    -lets say that for each city part there is 500 of two bytes variables

    We've just allocated 62000 * 123000 * 500 * 2 bytes
    Which is 6.9 TB of RAM, while my computer has merely 2 GB of RAM.

    My answer is that your idea exceeded your era :D

    My idea (yes, I know, I dumb everything down, to make it easier):
    1) use freeciv files to get most of interface and big part of graphic done (so you'd have to like their C language)
    2) accept that's a turn strategy
    3) allow unlimited move in a turn, but each field would just cost you energy (realistic in XXIst century), it only fails in case of military conflict
    4) cities and surroundings
    -like in free civ accept idea that there is a city surrounded by a zone around that it controls, presumably this zone should grow with population
    -stop blocking high population growth
    -as one of land improvements you can put... suburbs. So you end up with belt of cities surrounded by suburbs (close enough?)
    -only tiny share of your population works in agriculture (in RL in developed country its 2% of labour force)
    -you have a bigger choice of what to build around the city
    -you put main improvements in the city
    5) trade (goods)
    -you have production possibility in your city, you can produce more but at extra cost
    -you have calculated trade routes to all cities (100% sea is very cheap, 100% rail too, reloading or moving trough wild expensive, airtransport - expensive)
    -you add your production cost to transport cost - you get price of your goods in that city, you may add tariffs if applicable
    -you match that with local demand
    -you run a few repetition to optimize that function
    6) trade (services) - in 1st world nowadays services its 70%-80% of GDP
    -each of cities has its own speciality
    -for data purposes you have for each area (let's say movie making, health care, programming, electronic designing, finance services, tourism, etc) a list of top 5 cites. You have bonus from buildings, nearby fields, education of your population, and your prior investment in that area.
    -you get some trade incomes, even though no stuff was physically transported (but subject to the same restrictions, like tariffs/embargoes )
    7) Your city population happiness:
    -extra buildings nearby improvement making it happy
    -number of flats (yes, use one variable for number of flats and your citizens like to have plenty of extra space, it would be useful as stabilizing mechanism if a few emigrate suddenly city would become spacious)
    -climate (they like moderate climate and if they have to live somewhere else they demand something extra)
    -taxes/subsidies/policies (let's say that your citizens may dislike your surveillance or cloning policy)

    Except of usual riots, if people in one city are happy and in other unhappy - someone is voting with feet.

    Education and demographic

    -you can just from time to time create a great man... right... great person, who if hired would give one proper bonuses to any applicable area. And probability that one of players would have a chance to get him/her would be based on some mixture of number of your population, their education, your prestige, specialities, etc.
    -with education... I have mixed feelings:
    a) one generic "average education level"
    b) split your population on a few levels of education attainment, and keep record for each
    b sounds better, untill you think about age, because you end up with big mixture of combination of age/education which would require plenty of variables.
    (I still think how to do it, presumably "average education level" which would just lag after your investments in education)
    Last edited: May 15, 2015
  20. May 15, 2015 #19
    I would bet we'd hit the ability to transfer our conscious to an immortal machine before we can travel through the stars. So I'd imagine we wouldn't even need a planet, or atmosphere, food, water... I imagine all we would really require would be a steady supply of raw materials for new projects, which we could find floating around in space, and access to a monstrous amount of energy, so some sort of collector.

    I would bet that when humans are traveling between stars, our species will be physically more like The Borg than Picard.
  21. May 15, 2015 #20
    Technically speaking you are right, but I'm afraid that robots are not cool enough for game purposes.
  22. May 16, 2015 #21
    8) A few more ideas:
    -each tile has a type of terrain as variable
    -each tile has one improvement (another variable), forest counts as improvement
    -each tile has transport improvement (a few combinations)
    (so 4 variables and you have everything)

    8.1) Any bonuses are declared in separate dataset (location: X-axis, Y-axis; type of natural resources; how many easily exploitable is left)
    8.2) Improvements can be also put on sea... you can do it if you pay for it properly ;)
    8.3) Limited terraforming
    8.3.1) No changing climate locally, as some civ clones allowed, however one can put extra improvement (let's say greenhouses working as farm on ice sheet, just you pay heavy price each turn)
    8.4.2) you can level mountains, however you just select two fields nearby - one become - one higher, so you level mountains and reclaim land on shallow sea in the same time.

    9) Made the climate / weather not fully stable
    9.1) Make a round shorter than 1 year, like even half year is enough; fields on different side of planet would bring crops, different area would be covered by ice (for a normal planet)
    9.2) Make the planet going in to moderate climate cycles (easiest explanation: binary system and in 40 year cycle because of long existing orbit)
  23. May 16, 2015 #22
    Re: number 8.

    What if tiles can have conflicting improvements: There is a forrest, but it is ruined if you mine the coal underneath, and the fish in the adjacent hex also die.
  24. May 16, 2015 #23
    Conflicting - just using one variable would solve that - putting new value would replace forest by a mine.
    With indirect impact that can be just solved through pollution variable.
  25. May 16, 2015 #24
    How about this, you control 3.5 by 5.5 km tiles of city centres (or strategic places). And for the area's around that, you use a brush tool. So where industry is allowed and high rise vs low rise. I just like the idea of building stuff up close with more details. I missed that in civ (+ having some human element/story type thing). The world feels more real and alive that way. So you could have like 30-40 of those 3.5-5km tiles.

    It would look something like this then:

    And I like this art style (this would be the first zoom level where you build your city centres)

    And it would have this type of feel then (but i think lower graphics, and bit bigger tiles or something?)

    About 200-250k people can fit in a tile like that.

    Second zoom level like that:

    And third zoom level like this (like in EU and crusader kings):

    I like your other idea's , respond to it later :).

    Why not use Unity and start out with something like this?


    It seems for a few thousand you can get full feature unity?

    You download this for like 75$

    Not sure what the downsides of Unity are, but several pretty good games have been made using Unity now.

    Anyway, im creating some drawings of graphical feel, since I have seas of time on my hands (and some nice starting capital). This could really turn into something!
    Last edited: May 16, 2015
  26. May 16, 2015 #25
    I like your idea on economics. What do you think about three factions? Also like your idea of a lot of tiny factions (preferably with different specialties)

    How about starting with three factions, the militant, science focused, building (hivemind type) focused. Like I mentioned already.

    But you start out like 50 years in, so there has been some time to develop things and build a few starting cities. And population is like 30 million people total for entire world?

    And then a few % farming each.

    But science has like 75% services of teaching, preserving science and research/engineering. They are maybe 6 million people?
    The Hive is focussed on cheap labor and is like 75% manufacturing (a lot of stuff has to be build, since civilzations have to be rebuild almost from the ground?). A bit like how China's economy has been running on 50% investment or so for a long time now. They are starting with 11 million people?
    Militant is a bit of each, but focused in 50% services (with a lot in military obviously) and 40% or so manufacturing and building. They are starting with 4 million? Their main specialty is fighting.

    So now you have 21 million. And then the fourth one, those murderous maniacs are about 4 million strong as well? Or they could be split up in several groups and very spread out. They keep things interesting, and keep the tension up.

    And then finaly have like half a dozen of city state type factions. Like Slav type people. They are very tough and could operate well in remote regions or something. French sounding faction good with culture and having them as friendly gives happiness bonus or something (yeah i know cliche). So basically each small faction has a specialty or so. They will be about 6 million big then.

    And then each of the three largests have their own big main city and territory, but can sort of blend in to each other (if they are somewhat open at least).

    I like your idea of leaving corporations out when playing with those civs. That is just impossibly complex. Allthoug you could add in some form of debt?

    With diplomatic stuff, the science and hivemind faction should be sort of tense against eachother from the start. With military (and potentially those wildings and city states) in the middle of it. If for example you make peace with those rebels in the mountains, you would no longer need militant faction, and that would hurt their economy. So then they would try to rile things up again.

    No storage facilities for each commodity/product? I like the idea of sabotage and manipulating markets and cutting off area's from supply. You could make it so that at like point A (where a mine would be located) every so often a commodity is generated, and then taken to location B through some transportation line. Where it is stored or used up right away (if there is a shortage). But you want to exceed demand a little bit with supply. So obviously you always want some stockpile (or inventory), in case one of those transports is intercepted, or mine goes down or something. So location B is slowly using that thing up (or quicker if you use it to build something?) and has a certain limited storage capacity. If that capacity is destroyed, it means a shortage. For example, cut a city with limited farms off from food supply and bad things will happen. I like some mechanics of offworld trading company (allthough I don't like how they did the buying/selling and market element).

    If a city gets all their supply from sea for example, you could cut that off, and then they would be forced to get part rail, part air, which would be more expensive. The city AI would always try to pick the cheapest option first obviously.

    And I like the idea of embargo's.

    As for AI, im not very good at mathematics, but you could take a lot of smaller bell curves for each thing, that all interact with eachother, creating one large bellcurve? And then give each AI some personality? So at each turn there would be some optimal decision based on cost, information available etc. And then add in some irrational decisions with a RNG. But im way out of my dept here lol.

    You could split the game up in objectives? For example, the first one for science and hivemind (the two main superpowers) to deal with rebels, and later militants (as they could become obsolete and their army could become a problem). When that is dealt with, and you grow larger, possibly a next objective is to deal with something on the far side of planet? Or some virus/disease alien life.

    So that makes it easier ot create an AI for each entity. As they all have clear objectives and act according to biases their personality gives them.

    The small city state like factions just play to survive and hitch on to whoever seems most reasonable.
    Last edited: May 16, 2015
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