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Topic: More economic?

hessenfarmer
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Posted at: 2020-05-05, 14:36

Nordfriese wrote:

hessenfarmer wrote:

Also there are two ways of defining long-term fun. For you it mainly means the initial challenge of building up a settlement from scratch. For me it means keeping the economy running for a very very long time and ever increasing. Widelands currently only supports the first way of playing, the second one becomes pointless when the last enemy was defeated. That's what I want to change.

I agree there are multiple ways to define fun. For me it is mastering the challenge of the map. Sometimes I have played a game where I wanted to conquer every singel field possible on a map or where I wanted to have no ressources left in any mountain, Many things I had fun with. However I like to have new challenges more then running an endless game in this type of game. For the other type of fun I play a different game as said. Eg. your post reminded me to try OpenTTD again, but I also like the stronghold series which is more military based, or the games like Patrizier which are more economic and more endless. So I really think there is a game for every kind of fun. But I strongly doubt that there is one game that fits all flavours of fun for everyone. And I believe the risk in a concept that is trying to do so woulod be to be mediocre in every aspect.

In the base game it's the only one, but with a few clicks one can enabled the FIRS addon which introduces more industries with multiple in- and outputs, some of which can be used to boost the production of other industries. This makes for many interesting feedback loops. (e.g. Wald produces Holz, Sägewerk turns it into Schnittholz, Holzverarbeitung turns this into Ersatzteile, which boost the production of Steinbruch, which produces Stein, Kalkbrennerei turns this into Landwirtschafts-Betriebsmittel, which is accepted by the Wald to boost Holz production).
A concept that is perfectly imaginable for Widelands but not present here.

So in the end it is again about earning money faster. By the way I never tried but I beleive in multiplayer an OpenTTD game is different from a singleplayer as well, as it should be a race for the best routes in this case, as far as I remember each tile could only hold a track of one player.

As an additional game mode perhaps? How about a new game mode "Economy Challenge". Some buildings (trainingsites, weapon industry) are disabled there, and many other buildings are enabled only in this mode. So this would extend Widelands to provide another way of playing without affecting the other ways of playing at all. So we'd have a "high complexity" game mode with many buildings, which only makes sense for very long games for players who don't think in terms of winning or losing, and the default "balanced" modes.

This would be doable. However there wouldn't be any difference to forking it completely. This would mean we would need an artist to create all the buildings for all tribes, which we don't have for the legacy tribes, or implementing this for only one tribe. It would be a lot of work to create these buildings and the underlying mechanics, to maintain them and to keep the game consistent as whole. Last but not least we would discuss completely different games here in the forum which would be hard to distinguish. So in this case a real fork would be the better solution in this case. I believe this could be better maintained and improved separatly to reduce the effects on the other part.
So either we should agree on the type of game widelands should be (RTS or economic simulation) or we need to fork it in my opinion. Of course i would regret such a fork as it would not make anything better, for neither of the resulting fork.
So my vote would be let's keep it a RTS game still inspired by the Settlers Series, though slowpaced in terms of required clicks per minute. And enjoy OpenTTD or other simulations like this for the fun that can be generated by them.

EDIT: We frequently get suggestions about more complex economic pathways (e.g. using food to improve farms, making foresters having to water trees, hop for making beer…) which are always rejected because they would screw up balance and change the tribes too much. Such a mode would allow us to implement all such suggestions and make the suggesting players happy.


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Nordfriese
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Posted at: 2020-05-05, 14:51

Another thing I'd like to throw into the suggestions pool is an add-on system. Currently we have only maps as add-ons – anyone can upload maps onto the homepage and download other people's maps to enhance their playing experience. We could create an in-game server applet that allows users to up- and download stuff inside the game, and not only maps but also new immovables, terrains, worlds, buildings, and even tribes.

This would allow us to keep the official game as it is, and anyone who wants more wares, buildings, pathways, whatever and knows Lua and Blender can create an addon and share it with everyone interested in an uncomplicated way. Lots of games have such a system, why not Widelands?


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hessenfarmer
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Posted at: 2020-05-05, 15:05

Nordfriese wrote:

Another thing I'd like to throw into the suggestions pool is an add-on system. Currently we have only maps as add-ons – anyone can upload maps onto the homepage and download other people's maps to enhance their playing experience. We could create an in-game server applet that allows users to up- and download stuff inside the game, and not only maps but also new immovables, terrains, worlds, buildings, and even tribes.

This would allow us to keep the official game as it is, and anyone who wants more wares, buildings, pathways, whatever and knows Lua and Blender can create an addon and share it with everyone interested in an uncomplicated way. Lots of games have such a system, why not Widelands?

+1 we would need some precautions to not getting into an incompatible state but this would be doable, and maintainable imho.
this could really generate more variety and depth.


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blind3rdeye
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Posted at: 2020-05-05, 15:07

I've been playing 'struggling outpost' starts vs the AI; and for me that is mostly about economic management. It's kind of a race - I need to my economy strong enough to build proper defences before the AI wipes me out. And once I've got my defences under control, I often let the game continue for a very long time... I just expand, and get stronger and fill the available land with no rush to 'win'. I try to scale up to make a very efficient large-scale village, with several training sites running at 100% at various economic hubs around the map. So essentially I'm trying to get the most out of the economic side of the game.

I agree that without the military side of things, the economy is very shallow; but I kind of treat well trained soldiers as a goal in itself even if they aren't needed (just because that's the end-point of the economy).

I agree that it would be nice if there was other economic options; but to be honest, I really struggle to think of things that would be fitting in the game that we already have. New types of resources with complex economic pathways could be interesting; but a player might ask 'why'? Like, why would you make these things? Is it just to fill the HQ storage with fancy stuff? I kind of already play like that - but the fancy stuff is the gold spears and shields etc. And I also worry that adding complex new economic pathways could risk making the game less approachable - too many different things to learn and understand just to get started in the game.

A new mode with replaced military stuff with just more complex economic stuff could be nice. I'm kind of imagining it as more of a game 'mod' than a game 'mode' though. It would be a significant change to way the game is played.

I can think of things that might be interesting for an economy based game; just brainstorming on it now I might suggest seasons; or at least fluctuating needs and temporary environmental challenges, such as slower tree growth, or even a forest fire, maybe neighbouring tribes who request certain resources or offer trades, special workers may be given their own stats and characteristics, so that a worker could be given special high-end wares to give them some kind of bonus, or at least acknowledgement. For example, a lumberjack could have an auto-generated name, stats for trees chopped, and have a hut adorned with some special ... stuff. Giving the workers some character could give people something to aim for.

All that said, I'm not sure if any of that could be suitable for Widelands. Widelands is already a good game. Obviously people will get sick of it after playing for a long time, but that doesn't mean it needs to morph into a different game. I am certainly interested in ideas to more the economic side of the game a bit deeper; but as I said, I struggle to think of good ideas that would really be suitable without changing the nature of the game.

That said, I do think having more worker-stats and more end-of-game stats would be a big help. I'm thinking now about when the game ends. At the moment it simply says "you win" or whatever. I think it would be much better to have a detailed stats screen, showing number of trees chopped, ore mined, battles won, buildings constructed and deconstructed, etc. Possibly with graphs... possibly with animated graphs showing how the game played out. (I'm imagining something like what happens at the end of a Civilization IV game.) I think simply showing some of that information would give players a sense that they have something to aim for, even without adding new content to the game.


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Nordfriese
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Posted at: 2020-05-05, 15:34

hessenfarmer wrote:

Nordfriese wrote:

Another thing I'd like to throw into the suggestions pool is an add-on system. Currently we have only maps as add-ons – anyone can upload maps onto the homepage and download other people's maps to enhance their playing experience. We could create an in-game server applet that allows users to up- and download stuff inside the game, and not only maps but also new immovables, terrains, worlds, buildings, and even tribes.

This would allow us to keep the official game as it is, and anyone who wants more wares, buildings, pathways, whatever and knows Lua and Blender can create an addon and share it with everyone interested in an uncomplicated way. Lots of games have such a system, why not Widelands?

+1 we would need some precautions to not getting into an incompatible state but this would be doable, and maintainable imho.
this could really generate more variety and depth.

Put it on the wishlist
https://github.com/widelands/widelands/issues/3898
https://github.com/widelands/widelands-website/issues/330


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Nordfriese
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Posted at: 2020-05-05, 15:42

blind3rdeye wrote:

I've been playing 'struggling outpost' starts vs the AI; and for me that is mostly about economic management. It's kind of a race - I need to my economy strong enough to build proper defences before the AI wipes me out. And once I've got my defences under control, I often let the game continue for a very long time... I just expand, and get stronger and fill the available land with no rush to 'win'. I try to scale up to make a very efficient large-scale village, with several training sites running at 100% at various economic hubs around the map. So essentially I'm trying to get the most out of the economic side of the game.

This is a way of playing I would also like – except that the AI is too aggressive to allow playing without focusing on battle once the enemy is sighted, and then it's again all about fighting, fighting, fighting, enemies defeated, the end.

I agree that without the military side of things, the economy is very shallow; but I kind of treat well trained soldiers as a goal in itself even if they aren't needed (just because that's the end-point of the economy).

I agree that it would be nice if there was other economic options; but to be honest, I really struggle to think of things that would be fitting in the game that we already have. New types of resources with complex economic pathways could be interesting; but a player might ask 'why'? Like, why would you make these things? Is it just to fill the HQ storage with fancy stuff?

This is the question I ask myself when playing collectors

I kind of already play like that - but the fancy stuff is the gold spears and shields etc. And I also worry that adding complex new economic pathways could risk making the game less approachable - too many different things to learn and understand just to get started in the game.

That's a point for the add-on system

A new mode with replaced military stuff with just more complex economic stuff could be nice. I'm kind of imagining it as more of a game 'mod' than a game 'mode' though. It would be a significant change to way the game is played.

Another point for having such mod(e)s as add-ons

I can think of things that might be interesting for an economy based game; just brainstorming on it now I might suggest seasons; or at least fluctuating needs and temporary environmental challenges, such as slower tree growth, or even a forest fire, maybe neighbouring tribes who request certain resources or offer trades, special workers may be given their own stats and characteristics, so that a worker could be given special high-end wares to give them some kind of bonus, or at least acknowledgement. For example, a lumberjack could have an auto-generated name, stats for trees chopped, and have a hut adorned with some special ... stuff. Giving the workers some character could give people something to aim for.

Seasons were suggested before and rejected face-sad.png A trading system is on the way (but it's a long, long way face-wink.png ). I don't like the idea of making workers individualistic as it's a special aspect of Widelands over other similar games that you don't control individual workers but give more "global" orders.

All that said, I'm not sure if any of that could be suitable for Widelands. Widelands is already a good game. Obviously people will get sick of it after playing for a long time, but that doesn't mean it needs to morph into a different game. I am certainly interested in ideas to more the economic side of the game a bit deeper; but as I said, I struggle to think of good ideas that would really be suitable without changing the nature of the game.

That said, I do think having more worker-stats and more end-of-game stats would be a big help. I'm thinking now about when the game ends. At the moment it simply says "you win" or whatever. I think it would be much better to have a detailed stats screen, showing number of trees chopped, ore mined, battles won, buildings constructed and deconstructed, etc. Possibly with graphs... possibly with animated graphs showing how the game played out. (I'm imagining something like what happens at the end of a Civilization IV game.) I think simply showing some of that information would give players a sense that they have something to aim for, even without adding new content to the game.

+1 for more detailed stats


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king_of_nowhere
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Posted at: 2020-05-05, 17:21

blind3rdeye wrote:

That said, most of what I'm talking about above probably isn't what wins / loses games anyway. Actually, that reminds me... does anyone have some good multiplayer replays that involve a late-game comeback? Like, one player lost a significant amount of battles and territory, but was then able to hold the line, build up their economy faster than their (larger) opponent, and go on to win. I've only watched a handful of multiplayer matches, but I've never seen that happen.

last year tournament, me against the-x on ice wars is a good one. i can't think of others.

the reason comebacks from close defeat are rare is because, normally, one who had advantage at the beginning is the most skilled one, and so he'll keep being more skilled to the end.

Tribal-Chief wrote:

I agree with the fact that WL is not an economic game.

With most economy games there is usually a currency to measure your worth, that is how good your economy is, are you earning more than maintaince costs plus expansion costs? The only real method of measuring your performance in WL is to build weapons and defeat opponents which is more of a measure of your military skill.

not at all. there isn't much to military skill besides sending soldiers to attack. at most, it is a measure of your skill at producing soldiers.

but hey, want a currency to measure your score? you could set a peaceful game and use fully promoted soldiers as currency. the 2018 economy tournament was all about that.

Tribal-Chief wrote:

hessenfarmer wrote:

According to our homepage it is "Widelands is a free, open source real-time strategy game" so for an RTS it is not that much military focused in comparison to other RTS games.

Looks like page was rewritten some time ago, it used to say it was an economy simulator, more about building up than tearing down.

it is. you can't tear down anything without first building up.

hessenfarmer wrote:

the small complexity of widelands economy

small complexity? we are all accustomed to it, but this is one of the most complex games around. each tribe has 20-25 different buildings that it needs to have, and each tribe is different. and you can't skip any part of it, because you won't get soldiers otherwise.

proof of this game's complexity is that it took many years before someone figured out the shortcuts.

i have never seen a new player join the forum and say "nice game you have here, but it is way too simple, you should add complexity". instead many say "my economy is stuck and i can't figure out why".

this is a further factor to consider. we can't make this game even more complex, or new players won't be able to start.

blind3rdeye wrote:

That said, I do think having more worker-stats and more end-of-game stats would be a big help. I'm thinking now about when the game ends. At the moment it simply says "you win" or whatever. I think it would be much better to have a detailed stats screen, showing number of trees chopped, ore mined, battles won, buildings constructed and deconstructed, etc. Possibly with graphs... possibly with animated graphs showing how the game played out. (I'm imagining something like what happens at the end of a Civilization IV game.) I think simply showing some of that information would give players a sense that they have something to aim for, even without adding new content to the game.

this would be very nice. even better, the game already tracks a lot of information in the statistics and replay, so it should not be too hard to implement.

Nordfriese wrote:

What we need are more production pathways that do not lose their purpose in non-fighting games. These would not be needed in performance-centered MP matches (therefore, no balancing required as long as the existing pathways are not affected) to keep up an economic aspect for casual players in endless 1-player games.

i want to point out that i had the gardening center for amazons partially for this purpose. the building is too slow and resource-consuming to be any use in competitive multiplayer, but it can give a nice custom objective of "terraform the map". Some of the challenge maps also are prone to this; "to make the desert bloom" is made to encourage the player to squeeze as much trees as possible onto the poor terrain; i never played it to the end, and only once i even conquered the mountain passes; i mostly just try to build an oasis empire for the sake of it.


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hessenfarmer
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Posted at: 2020-05-05, 20:47

king_of_nowhere wrote:

hessenfarmer wrote:

the small complexity of widelands economy

small complexity? we are all accustomed to it, but this is one of the most complex games around. each tribe has 20-25 different buildings that it needs to have, and each tribe is different. and you can't skip any part of it, because you won't get soldiers otherwise.

proof of this game's complexity is that it took many years before someone figured out the shortcuts.

i have never seen a new player join the forum and say "nice game you have here, but it is way too simple, you should add complexity". instead many say "my economy is stuck and i can't figure out why".

this is a further factor to consider. we can't make this game even more complex, or new players won't be able to start.

I fully agree and have to admit that irony isn't a really good concept in forumthread without proper tags. face-wink.png so this was meant as an ironic expression.
Especially blind3rdeye pointed it out that after some years and hundreds of hours of fun the experienced players get a liottle bit tired of this game. Tbhis is maybe somewhat similar to a long lasting love relation. And the cure might be the same face-wink.png just take a hidden look at the other alternatives and most probably you'll realize what you loved all time in the game.

blind3rdeye wrote:

That said, I do think having more worker-stats and more end-of-game stats would be a big help. I'm thinking now about when the game ends. At the moment it simply says "you win" or whatever. I think it would be much better to have a detailed stats screen, showing number of trees chopped, ore mined, battles won, buildings constructed and deconstructed, etc. Possibly with graphs... possibly with animated graphs showing how the game played out. (I'm imagining something like what happens at the end of a Civilization IV game.) I think simply showing some of that information would give players a sense that they have something to aim for, even without adding new content to the game.

this would be very nice. even better, the game already tracks a lot of information in the statistics and replay, so it should not be too hard to implement.

agreed, but most of the stats mentioned above are already there, although not used very often (in fact it took my some years to realize they are there (while translating changes to the economy tutorial). So what exactly would be needed that is not covered by the general stats and the wares statistics?
Currently my first would be to show stats for collectors win conditions same as for wood gnome and territorial wc.


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ilguido
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Posted at: 2020-05-05, 21:08

I am all for a greater economic focus, even though I do not think that Widelands should resemble an endless game (openTTD, Sim City and the likes). I think that more diversification in the economic characteristics and propensities of the tribes would be a nice feature. For example, there could be simpler economies that can bloom quickly, but that cannot adequately manage resources and becomes weaker toward the end game, while there could be economies that need more resources at the start and have more complex pathways to a full development, but that manage more efficiently their resources in the late game. That is a divide between simple economies and complex economies.

For example, the Barbarians could have quick paths to a full economy, with stronger basic warriors and cheaper basic buildings, but their resource management could be worse, hampering them in the middle to late game (of course that could depend on the scenario). The Empire, instead, could have more complex pathways to build a basic economy, but a more efficient resource management in the middle game and stronger power-ups. The Atlanteans should have the most complex pathways, but the stronger buildings and warriors in the long run. So, in a three ways battle, the Barbarians should try to expand as quick as possible to engage the enemy while it is still not developed, while the Atlanteans should try to build up their economy and weather the initial phase so to take advantage of their superior technology later in the game, and the Empire should be something in the middle between those two. So the relationships should be like this: (game start) Barbarians > Empire > Atlanteans, (middle game) Empire > Barbarians ~ Atlanteans, (late game) Atlanteans > Empire > Barbarians and then (end game, when resources are scarce) Barbarians ~ Empire ~ Atlanteans.

It could be an interesting test ground for the cost of complexity: advanced technology requires an advanced economy and an advanced society, but it introduces complexity and fragility into the system.

Edited: 2020-05-05, 21:10

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king_of_nowhere
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Posted at: 2020-05-05, 21:34

hessenfarmer wrote:

king_of_nowhere wrote:

small complexity? we are all accustomed to it, but this is one of the most complex games around. each tribe has 20-25 different buildings that it needs to have, and each tribe is different. and you can't skip any part of it, because you won't get soldiers otherwise.

I fully agree and have to admit that irony isn't a really good concept in forumthread without proper tags. face-wink.png so this was meant as an ironic expression.

it fooled me. there's several people here claiming that since some of us can get a hero soldier in 40 minutes (with a full economy), then making a hero soldier is too easy and should be made more complex. plenty of people fooled by the "i'm good at it, so it's easy" fallacy

ilguido wrote:

I think that more diversification in the economic characteristics and propensities of the tribes would be a nice feature. For example, there could be simpler economies that can bloom quickly, but that cannot adequately manage resources and becomes weaker toward the end game, while there could be economies that need more resources at the start and have more complex pathways to a full development, but that manage more efficiently their resources in the late game. That is a divide between simple economies and complex economies.

For example, the Barbarians could have quick paths to a full economy, with stronger basic warriors and cheaper basic buildings, but their resource management could be worse, hampering them in the middle to late game (of course that could depend on the scenario). The Empire, instead, could have more complex pathways to build a basic economy, but a more efficient resource management in the middle game and stronger power-ups. The Atlanteans should have the most complex pathways, but the stronger buildings and warriors in the long run. So, in a three ways battle, the Barbarians should try to expand as quick as possible to engage the enemy while it is still not developed, while the Atlanteans should try to build up their economy and weather the initial phase so to take advantage of their superior technology later in the game, and the Empire should be something in the middle between those two. So the relationships should be like this: (game start) Barbarians > Empire > Atlanteans, (middle game) Empire > Barbarians ~ Atlanteans, (late game) Atlanteans > Empire > Barbarians and then (end game, when resources are scarce) Barbarians ~ Empire ~ Atlanteans.

It could be an interesting test ground for the cost of complexity: advanced technology requires an advanced economy and an advanced society, but it introduces complexity and fragility into the system.

this is already the case. barbarians can make a hunter, a tavern, an iron and coal mine, a weapon smith, and they can already train cheap level 0 soldiers.but they suffer in the late game, because their bread is very expensive. while atlanteans are supposed to be more difficult to jumpstart. empire sits in the middle.

at least, this was the basic intention. competitive multiplayer gameplay revealed that in fact well-managed atlanteans can jumpstart their economy even faster, and they have better soldiers. we already did some improvements to this in the past - increasing cost to some atlantean buildings, reducing costs for some barbarian and empire promotions - but still atlanteans are a bit stronger overall.

then again, we can't make big difference between the various economies, because we have very different maps.

we have very fast maps like crater, where you make contact with your enemy immediately. a tribe that is too strong early would win crater automatically. and there are slow maps like the nile, where you take hours to even make contact with an enemy; a tribe with a late game economy would dominate there.

so, differences between tribes are there, but they can't be too great, least some tribes become unplayable on some maps.


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