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Community Poll: Backwards compatibility of buildings

Your vote is called for!

Here we go with a new category of posts on this very website we all love so much: Community Polls.

Every once in a while an issue pops up in the game balance or design that has no agreed upon best solution. Here is the idea of community polls which will follow the following ideas:

  1. a community poll will run for roughly 4-6 weeks. Some might run longer than others and the time is not strict.
  2. Every poll will be presented together with a pro and contra side of the argument.
  3. The community poll will have some answers you can choose from. There might be more than one related poll running at the same time.
  4. You are asked to only vote once. We will not technically enforce this for the moment. Update: we enforce this now.
  5. The outcome of the poll will likely influence the game - rules might be changed, features might be changed. But the last word will always be with the core developers and as always, I will keep a veto right to kick/keep features out of the game. But if your opinion would not matter to us, we wouldn't ask. This is mainly a disclaimer if things turn out to be different than thought while writing the original poll text.

This will hopefully settle some long running discussions with a final decision. When a community poll is 50% 50% we will have a hard time deciding though.

The corresponding site in the Wiki is CommunityPolls. There is not much on it currently though.

Backwards compatible buildings

Some buildings in widelands loose features when upgraded. One example is the metal workshop of the barbarians which becomes an axe factory and will no longer produce tools. Only axes. Another is the barbarian brewer who will refuse to make anything else but the tasty strongbeer - an ale worthy of warriors. Most people seem to take these without any problem - but there is one building that gets a lot of heat:

the empire inn

The poor empire inn. As a tavern, it produces rations for mines but as the mines go deeper, real meals are needed to satisfy the miners. The inn provide those, but they are specialized and will no longer produce rations. And some people dislike this. The bug report on launchpad is quite busy and people feel strongly enough about this issue to specially sign up for launchpad to join the discussion.

Why is the inn okay?

I feel the specialization fits the lore of the empire: in my eyes, they are a highly specialized and bureaucratic culture: if someone promotes an empire cook to chef de cuisine he will not even think about touching a pan ever again. His job is all administration from then on. So I feel that inn keepers will refuse to produce lowly rations when they are hired to produce meals.

I also think it makes sense from a game mechanics point of view because this gives a distinction between the barbarian and the empire tribe: barbarian have a harder time juggling their mines and taverns because they have 3 levels of enhancement each. But if they make the error to enhance their taverns too early it will not bite them as hard because the enhanced inns are backwards compatible. The empire has only 2 levels but they have to be spot on with enhancing taverns to inns and rebuilding new taverns so that they can balance their production of meals and rations. This is not only a disadvantage: if you need a lot of meals, the empire will produce them faster than the barbarians because they are specialized on this very task - their building will not waste time on other products.

I feel the inns of the empire are a nice example of diversification and balance and should therefore stay as is. I feel it would make widelands more uniform to change them to also produce rations.

Why do others think the inn should remain backwards compatible?

The main argument is that it is illogical that inns suddenly stop making the ware they used to make as a tavern. This will especially confuse the beginner who enhances his tavern when he enhances his first mine and than suddenly the smaller mines no longer work. This is even worse when people have played the barbarians, because their taverns are backwards compatible. Most people also feel that the difference does not add much to widelands and only has a small effect on balance. Some seem this issue also as frustrating.

Astuur offers another argument: A second argument for having the Empire Inns also produce rations, is that doing otherwise is much more severe a handicap as it may seem. With each new mining and heavy industry area, you need to have a permanent tavern since all mines start as "normal mines" first. The crucial aspect is "space" and its severity depends on the map. The Empire is so challenged spacewise with sawmill, wine branch, stonemason and piggery (compared to the Barbarians), that I would welcome to lift the tavern plus inn requirement. No other tribe needs to have a mine (i.e. "marble mine") so early to progress. And yet another building seems too much for many starting points. Go and play "the green plateau" as Empire on green, and you will see what I mean.

Wrapping up

You have an opinion of your own? A question? The discussion thread is here: http://wl.widelands.org/forum/topic/911. And of course, you can vote in the sidebar.

While writing this, I realized that I had less to say about the other opinion and I didn't even try to hide my own. For future community polls I will ask a prominent supporter of the other side as well. I will also update this post with new arguments from either side as they pop up. Let me know what you think about the community polls and the way this one was run. Please also suggest improvements so the next one is even smoother.

Update

Okay, it turned out that some people could not resist the temptation to press the button 20 times. The one vote per account will need to be technically enforced. I whip up a solution as quickly as I can and restart the poll.

Update 2

Some coding later I present you the all new poll system where everybody can only vote once. Your vote is bound to your account - this means we loose all the anonymous users which make up a big chunk of the traffic on this site, but it can't be helped. I reset the votes to 0 and reopened the poll. Now let's see again.

I updated the post and the wiki page to reflect the changes. I also updated this blog post with an argumentation from Astuur to better reflect the other opinion.

Update 3

The poll will run till the end of january. This is an arbitrary date not equal to today.


6 comments Posted by SirVer on 2011-11-18, 22:16

Comments on this Post:


Venatrix

I just wanted to point you to the image of the inn: It’s the Barbarian one, not the Empire. face-wink.png

SirVer

Uuuups. I knew something was wrong here. Thanks for pointing this out, I fixed the image.

Personal_Joke

Being able to vote multiple times kind of defeats the purpose of a poll, although i personally only voted the 1 time.

SirVer

I changed the voting system. Everybody can now only vote once.

Personal_Joke

I've already voted and can still vote again.

Personal_Joke

Never mind. Looks like you reset the votes face-grin.png


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