Economics

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by Cicada Maple, Jun 12, 2010.

  1. Cicada Maple

    Cicada Maple Chieftain

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    A mod for Civilization IV or Civilization V (or the new game itself) has to include MORE economic concepts. So far, I've seen very little "real" economics in the game. Have you seen the Commerce Screen in Civ IV? It's appallingly tiny compared to the other screens! And there's nothing interactive! Take an example I've heard many complain about: the treasury system is weak and money-rushing buildings and units requires way too much gold in the early as well as late game. Here's another: corporations don't do enough and there aren't enough of them. Ok, well these are easily fixable. I'm not a big fan of XML or Python or whatever, but even being somewhat computer illiterate, I know this is easily doable.
     
  2. Cicada Maple

    Cicada Maple Chieftain

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    I'm here to make a few suggestions which might not only spice up the game, but could make it a better, more realistic, and in the long run, a more fun game altogether. Some are specific suggestions, others are general ideas.

    Civ needs a Central Banking section as part of the Commerce Screen. This part of the screen would then allow the player to:

    [1] adjust INTEREST RATES; expanding or contracting business deals/loans, raising or lowering inflation - there will have to be a minimum & maximum cap on rates.

    [2] monitor INFLATION/DEFLATION,

    [3] adjust TARIFFS on certain products; increasing profits from foreign trade deals, might possibly cause deal-cancellations, might boost corporate profits, might cause angriness in cities if rates are too high,

    [4] sell government BONDS (i.e., allow players to go into debt); decreases gold-per-turn but increases treasury and there will have to be a limit as well as make LOANS internal to your society (i.e., allow players to go into surplus); opposite effects of bonds, also somewhat limited, and

    [5] adjust TAXES; causing increases in angriness or happiness depending on the situation or city. Underdeveloped areas, colonies, and conquered areas will hate them, for example, whereas well-developed areas with buildings and improvements will not.

    It would also allow you to monitor all the things the original Commerce Screen gives: you could see what you're losing in maintenance, how much is in your treasury, etc. etc. Same old stuff…
     
  3. Cicada Maple

    Cicada Maple Chieftain

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    However, parts of the new Commerce Screen obviously have to be made available with new technologies. Taxes (#5) should be enabled through Currency, or maybe even as early as Mathematics (I know guys, taxes DID come as early as 2000 B.C. in the middle east, etc., but for the purposes of the game, you don’t want people exploiting it early on). Adjusting interest (#1) should be made available through Banking. Monitoring inflation/deflation (#2), adjusting tariffs (#3), and selling bonds/making loans (#4) should be given through Economics.


    Two big compliments to Civ IV: city maintenance fees and corporations are not only a great start, they work wonderfully already in many ways. But they do need to be expanded upon, particularly the corporations. And here’s why:

    [1] Not enough of them, plain and simple. With only two food companies (Sid Sushi and Cereal Mills), there’s barely any sense of rigorous competition. Also if there’s going to be more of them, they need to cover more different individual resources. There need to be companies specializing in spices and silk, and other (perhaps smaller) groups of resources like that. There are no Oil Companies for example! This is a massive part of modern history!

    [2] They need to be more easily acquirable. The idea with Great People founding corporations is interesting, but then more corporations need to be available to more Great People. Great Prophets and Spies can’t found anything, for example, and maybe they should. Great Engineers can only found hard-mineral companies like Mining Inc and Creative Con, and maybe that should be expanded or diversified.

    [3] They should introduce new resources. Not too many of them, just a few. Tobacco was and is a big part of history, so is Cotton, and so is Rubber.

    [4] They should introduce the concept of the manufactured product. They should allow for corporations that utilize natural resources to make finished products. For example, let’s say you discover Combustion and have access to Oil, Iron, and Rubber, you should be able to build an Automobile Company and create maybe about 3 or 4 tradable “Model T’s,” just like Hollywood gives you a few Hit Movies, except that it uses a few existing resources to make better resources.
     
  4. Cicada Maple

    Cicada Maple Chieftain

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    Last but not least, players have to be able to make and take loans from rival players. It happens all the time and is a big part of the history of civilization. As well as being able to trade techs for money and ask for tribute and gifts, there should be a separate diplomatic option for making money loans. If you need to borrow large sums of money (900 gold or higher) from another player, there should be an option of trading treasury gold for a gold-per-turn rate which will last for 10 turns. The AI will have to have some mechanism for deciding what is fair (i.e., they make more money back after 10 turns than you took from them in that deal). This game mechanic worked really well in Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, which has a similar setup to Civilization III, so it should be pretty easy to re-implement.
     
  5. Hypernova

    Hypernova Warlord

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    It could be interesting, but it seems like adding complexity for the sake of it. The current simple system works well for gameplay. It would be difficult to make a system which transitions gradually with technological change, without a sudden change that makes it seem like you're playing a different game when you research a certain tech.

    If economics were really properly simulated this would take away a lot of power from the player. The reason there isn't economic indicators or government policy in Civ is because you control resources and labour directly, which is only remotely accurate if you're a modern civilization running the state property civic. Do you really want a Civ where you don't control terrain improvements but they are set up by independent firms in modern times or local landowners in ancient times?

    I would also worry a lot about it's accuracy. As someone who has studied economics, I know that not only is economic knowledge very low among the general population, it is also something that most people seem to think they know about. I think it is better a simplified system than a complicated one that is a mangled version of reality.

    That being said, if it could be well integrated into the game, and not just tacked on for the sake of it; and if it was accurate and reflected academic economics, rather than just what people think economics is, then it could be a fun addition. I remember reading that the MMO Eve Online hired an academic economist to make sure the game's economy worked right; if Firaxis was to add a realistic economic simulator to Civ then they should also hire an academic economist. However, it would require a massive overhaul of how Civ works. The whole system of working tiles for commerce, production and food would be out, as would the concept of natural resources as it currently works. I don't think people would appreciate the change and this forum would be flooded with long threads filled with angry comments methinks.
     
  6. Cicada Maple

    Cicada Maple Chieftain

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    With the exception of the suggestions for the Commerce Screen, most of my suggestions would not add any further complexity to the game or even make people that angry, I don't think. Adding more corporations that cover other resources is easy and would add more to the game without changing complexity... Letting more Great People found more corporations would simply complement this change. 3 or 4 new resources would not complicate the game all that much... and the idea of the "manufactured product" is already available in the sense that Aluminum Co or Standard Ethanol convert certain resources into another product (coal to aluminum, for example). All they would have to do is add a non-acquirable new resource that would come into existence when you found the corporation, and make it tradable. These changes I'm 100% sure would literally only require a few XML editions.

    Very simple for the game makers, very simple for the game players.

    Now for the Commerce Screen. Yes, you're correct in many respects: taxes are already modeled in a way, so I wouldn't mind if that idea were thrown out the window. Monitoring inflation/deflation may not be entirely necessary considering all the already existing controls (but Sid put that in the game anyway). Some of the others I suggested probably aren't entirely accurate (though I don't think they have to be - at least not economically accurate, but I won't argue about that). Tariffs for example, should in some way influence your civ because they've been an important part of history. HOW they should do it, I can't say. But even this idea I'm not too fond of anymore. Maybe they should consider tariffs, maybe they shouldn't.

    But there are two ideas I will continue to hold on to because not only has Sid Meier done these before, but they worked beautifully in the past:

    [1] Decrease the gold amount for money-rushing buildings under Universal Suffrage.

    [2] Allow players make and take loans with other players. In other words, have a very simplistic part of the diplomacy screen which allows you to give, say, 1000 gold to Player X in exchange for 20 gold per turn for the next 60 turns or so (which can be interrupted by war, cutting off trade, etc.).


    Low rush prices and loaning are already available in Alpha Centauri. I think it's about time they brought those ideas back.
     
  7. Cicada Maple

    Cicada Maple Chieftain

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    Which one is that again?
     
  8. Earthling

    Earthling Deity

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    None of this would apply before the Industrial and more likely Modern era, as such it is too complicated of a system to put into place for the course of the whole game. Individual mods or scenarios, yes, but I think a very good principle of design for a civ game is that a whole different mechanic that changes things in the late game, like changing economics entirely, would confuse and annoy a lot of players.

    The simple fact is that for much of the game the concept of your civilization/King/Ruler just having his treasury, and more basic and abstract representations, works pretty well. Some things may be represented in civic categories or advisers or whatever, but not through a vast array of sliders and policies the player has to set or something.
     
  9. Buncombe

    Buncombe Chieftain

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    These are great ideas and should come into effect in the modern era, with the adoption of emancipation and free market civics. Poor management of these complex factors would lead to revolutions that could even affect civics. The price of freedom is so misrepresented in the game as it stands.

    Other mineral resources, especially tin, zinc, and mineral fertilizers (the latter effecting agricultural output) should also be introduced to the game. We'll see...
     
  10. Lockesdonkey

    Lockesdonkey Liberal Jihadist

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    Why do you care?
    There are at least two threads about economics with very well thought-out models badly in need of discussion.
     

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