Topic: Warehouse controls
Posted at: 2010-03-28, 22:16
I've been using the term "micromanaging" to refer to a somewhat more specific phenomenon, for which I don't have a better term. Specifically I mean "player repeatedly performing one time actions in response to the same chronic situation" as opposed to "player making changes that have a long term effect on a chronic situation". I am much more interested in the persistence of an action than the magnitude of an action. In particular, fine tuning does not necessarily mean micromanaging.
For example, if the player had to click on a quarry each time a piece of stone was required, that would be micromanaging, (even if the stone is really important). Fortunately, simply building a quarry near some stone solves the problem in a somewhat more permanent manner (at least until the stone runs out).
The important thing is that we should avoid supporting the kinds of actions that will very likely have to be repeated over and over again in response to a chronic situation. These kinds of actions need to be replaced by actions which, when applied a single time, will have a lasting effect on the chronic situation.
Example of chronic situation: There's plenty of wood in warehouse A (near a forester/ranger and lumberman), and I want more wood in warehouse B (far from any permanent wood source).
Bad solution: Move wood from warehouse A to warehouse B. The player will repeat as necessary every time there is a shortage in warehouse B. Good solution: Tell the economy to keep moving wood from warehouse A to warehouse B whenever there is excess wood in A and not enough wood in B. This solution requires a user interface that allows the user to specify what is meant by "too much" and "not enough".
The "Bad solution" is bad because it requires the player's continuous attention in a way that is boring and annoying because it is repetitive. The "Good solution" is good because it allows the user to solve chronic problems with one time solutions.
There is a large variety of chronic situations for which this proposal would provide a lasting solution.
It is also possible to try to make the system automatically detect and resolve things like local shortages. However, I don't think that is always necessary or desirable. In fact, it makes sense to me that such decisions should be made by the player, since it is a game about managing economy. The point is not to automate everything. The point is to make it possible for the user to control the economy in an entertaining manner.
Edited: 2010-03-28, 22:37
Posted at: 2010-03-29, 19:17
I like your approach to defining and dealing with Micromanagement. It certainly helps the discussion to have a clear picture in mind what it is one is talking about
Posted at: 2010-03-31, 09:59
I have think a lot on your proposals, and I think that military approach of desired ocupancy is easier to understand for new players that working arround with capacities. I have started a new proposal for specific implentation of soldier control sites, still in drafting and still not start implemtation because some improvements are needed on economy code.