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Happiness Balance Discussion

Discussion in 'General Balance' started by Gazebo, Nov 27, 2018.

  1. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch

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    No worries. I say give it time. It's different, but it's not just different because. There's more depth for empire-builders in this system. Recent changes have reeled in the complexity, but the depth is largely the same (if not deeper, as city-by-city micro matters a bit more now).

    G
     
  2. FaarmAnimal

    FaarmAnimal Chieftain

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    I love the mod, but no matter how much I try I can't love the happiness mechanics.

    I have played extensively as a bad player with no desire to be an expert, but I just can't see the depth you have implemented with the split happiness mechanic.

    I defer to your better judgement, but I don't think I am ever going to appreciate the full extent of the current mechanics. Maybe I need to love micro managing? I don't

    Not to take anything away from a fantastic mod, but for me the happiness mechanic is something to be tolerated rather than enjoyed.

    I doubt you are interested, but I seriously suggest you remind yourself of civ iv and see how a simple system just works better.

    Kind regards and keep up the good work.
     
  3. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    I'll summarize my current state of thinking about the system. I have had a long hate relationship with the system as G well knows, but over time G has compromised on certain positions to find a middle ground, and I feel the system continues to improve. In general, I think most of the work at this point are numbers tweaks, not conceptual changes (what a few exceptions I'll note below). Let me look at some specific notes:

    Yields Based Happiness: In the main thread, some people were noting that increasing yields doesn't fix happiness in their opinion, they just focus on the buildings. I feel the same, but I also don't think that's a problem. If my increasing of yields is mainly for the math in the back of the system to regulate I am ok with that...the key is that when I do build buildings it gives me a sense of control and power. When I have a lot of poverty and I build a customs house, I feel that I am putting the happiness system in my hands. That is a key difference from previous versions where it felt that happiness was managing me, not the other way around.

    Current Balance: I've played a few strong wide games and a few tall. I think happiness is a bit extreme on both sides.

    Wide = Too much unhappiness towards the later game. Aka expansion is penalized too much.
    Tall = Too little unhappiness. I want happiness to be a strength of Tall, but right now its an absolute non-factor to me.

    But those are number tweaks, no conceptual change is needed imo.

    Global and Local Happiness: Overall I am a fan of the new model. For me what I like is the system is now more layered than it was before (so its more complicated) but yet the controls are smoother so it actually feels less. I have more controls to look at happiness, but my controls are powerful and straightforward so I don't feel frustration by them.

    I also like that it creates a "colony" feeling with new cites. My main cities keep my Global Happiness propped up, so a new city doesn't suddenly tank my empire (to a point you can't go new city crazy). But the new city is going to be very unhappy for a while as I develop its infrastructure, which forces you to develop your new cities instead of just spamming them. That makes plenty of sense to me.

    That said, one weakness of the current system is there is a late game point where local happiness no longer matters. If my city is big enough where I don't care about growth, and I'm not building units....than local happiness is not really important.

    I also think that 60% Global may be too forgiving (again once some number tweaks are done to make the system more responsive late game). I can have most of my cities unhappy (actually I can have all of them depending on the numbers) and yet I am still "perfectly good" Global wise...which I think is a problem flavor wise and UI wise. The Global UI is saying "your cities are great!", but when you take a local look you realize that every city hates life.

    Urbanization: The one area about the current system I do not like is urbanization. This is where the "micro-management" of the system becomes tedious to me. I am constantly shifting my specialists around....not to focus on certain yields, but as a game of whack-a-mole to address happiness. And funny enough it gets worse when urbanization redactors are factored in.

    "Oh damn my Global Happiness dropped below 60%, time to drop that scientist." (drops scientist) "Oh right....I have a garden in that city, so that didn't do anything, well damn I'll have to drop a second scientist".

    The redactors actually make specialists more fiddly, because there is no longer the 1 specialist = 1 unhappiness correlation. And then funny enough, in the late game, suddenly I'm going all specialists because unhappiness no longer matters, which is this crazy and weird switch.

    I don't think happiness should be the key to specialists, I think food is. Make specialists cost even more food, allow me to earn them by focusing on farms instead of forests or mines, if that is my choice. Or weaken specialists if they are just too strong without unhappiness.

    Public Works: I still think PW as an emergency valve is a fine concept, our only issue right now are number tweaks. PW is not strong enough, I do think it should be a straight up -1 unhappiness, or maybe even a +1 happy (actually I would love a happiness source I can directly control). And then we adjust the core model so that PW is not needed that often (right now its needed in too many scenarios).

    But again, numbers tweaks, I think conceptually its fine.

     
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  4. Rekk

    Rekk Chieftain

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    What production/maintenance cost is required such that public works aren't impossible in early eras, but not auto-build in later eras?

    Is there any way we can filter all happiness into local yields so that the 60% global happiness isn't possible if "every city hates life" I'd rather keep the 60% threshold but have it representative of the actual population's happiness/unhappiness balance withiut any empire level modifiers.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2019
  5. tu_79

    tu_79 Warlord

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    A fixed number of turns.
     
  6. BiteInTheMark

    BiteInTheMark Chieftain

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    Ive done this comparison, cause the statement "PW are better done earlier cause the flat hammer cost are lower" could be true in some (I think rare) circumstances, but in most cases will be not as good as an investment in infrastructure, which could theoretically wait, cause their cost are independent of the era. IF, the PW has a direct effect (like flat +1 happiness) and decrease the difference to an overwhelming unhappiness, the additional +10% growth and unit production may be worth an early effort. But knowing you will need it 2 or 3 eras later would need a such deep understanding of the game, that youre already very good and shouldnt need PW.. And if you are such a good player and still need it, shows only, that PW isnt an emergency button, but a core element of the happiness system, which is bad.
    As said, I spend 6 times PW in my capital and nothing changed. The unhappiness was already far over the unhappiness caps and some tiny 10% reductions were doing nothing.

    Starting with the most irritating aspect, is the punishment by underdevelopment. Isnt beeing underdeveloped already a punishment? What do you learn, if the game strikes you with more uhappiness cause you generate not enough yields? That you have to generate more yields and be more efficient? Isnt that clear already from the beginning? If most of your cities generate less yields than your enemies, how big is the chance that you will win the game? If you see the other AIs running away by tech, policies and units, you don't need a happiness system to know that you are playing bad.
    Growth means, you have to switch your focus to food, instead of hammer, culture or science, and the more you grow, you have to focus even more. While you grow, others will be able to outpace you in aspects like tech, policies and miliary. You pay now the price for a possibly (!) stronger late game. Probably with missing good wonders, being attacked by numerous and technological superior enemies and later benefits from techs and policies. I think this is enough payment for growth (this needs of course good chosen numbers for the necessary amount of food to grow, which is in my opinion now the case).
    Expansion and warring should be the main culprits of unhappiness. Possibly the only.
    But what is overexpansion? How many cities are too much and should be definitly punished? In the former happiness system, ive once expanded very fast to 10 cities, one more would have killed me (hovering at -18 unhappiness for around 30 turns). If the numbers for the modifiers were chosen different, I could have founded one more, or in other direction, I may have fallen apart already after 9 cities. Should be gaining new unique luxuries or playing indonesia enable you to settle more new cities, cause luxuries have a big impact or like now, be only a side kick in the happiness system?
    In the version with the national median, there was a discussion how many annexed cities should be possible and some said, going beyond 15 is a waste, some thought 20-25 controllable cities should be the maximum, one other said, he like to annex all cause he loves micromanagement. Should be there a maximum number of annexed cities and if yes, which number and how do we adress different map sizes? For me, its hard to fix a system without knowing the defined goal.
    My idea for the "perfect" happiness system, based around "stability":
    The zero point of the system is 100%. Every time you found a city, get a new citizen or a new tech, the stability decrease to some degree (cause new things have to be integrated in the civilization which need effort and make always some people unhappy).The stability decrease to a greater degree, if you conquer or lose a city, lose units, improvements or trade routes. (losses and destruction always make people unhappy, not always the one with the gun in the hand, but definitly those with the hole in their home).

    If the instability reaches a critical amount, bad things happen. This could happen in steps (70%, 50%, 30%...) and get worse, the more the instability rises (decreased yields, rebels, rioting cities, revolting cities).
    The instability decrease over time naturally, much slower, if you stay at war (a self regulating way to slow down warmongers and also enables smaller and weaker civs to hurt you economically). But much better, if you have a lot of luxuries or good infrastructure with police stations, circus, stadiums etc.
    This way, bad city management isnt punished, cause the result of the bad management is the punishment for it self. Overexpansion and warmongering get slowed down, like intended, the UI can give you clear numbers, how much stability you will lose, if you get/conquer a new city, making it possible to plan your next expansion much better. Excessive growth or rushing through the tech can lead to some trouble (like it was the case by the industrialisation or the Meji-Restauration). You didnt need to check anymore every city for their unhappiness, hovering over the stability counter at the top bar will show you everything you need to know (stability decrease if citizen born/new tech/losing a city/.... and how much stability you will regain per turn).

    I know, this system will be never realized, cause it needs a lot of new code. Just an opinion how a system could work which focus mainly on the control of expansion, set some downsides for one-sided strategies (growth and techs) and make the response of the system as easy as possible.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2019
  7. chicorbeef

    chicorbeef Warlord

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    I think we should honestly just incorporate Public Works as a late game building in Industrial that decreases all unhappiness needs in a City by 1, if we're tuning down Landmarks, this will be a good viable alternative for late-game wide happiness. As a late-game building it shouldn't be much of a noob trap. If it's available on Industrialization or something it provides an incentive to rush that tech for struggling empires.

    Either that or just scrap it and tweak happiness without PW in mind.

    I personally think happiness is fine. You are motivated to do enough work to stay above 60% so you don't suffer empire-wide (fair) and then having individual cities with the local unhappiness penalties is fair. It more or less forces you to try and balance Growth and Specialist use and curbs military expansion (conquered cities will have a tough time building military, and instead should focus on infrastructure), and I think it does its job well and is very nice!
     
  8. Rekk

    Rekk Chieftain

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    Regarding "underdevelopment", the system punishes overspecialization. The game is stating that you will pay for ignoring certain building lines for too long.

    What is the main reason why 4-city science+growth strategy is the strongest in vanilla? Why is it not a string option in VP? What changes if happiness isn't a factor?
     
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  9. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    We could focus on
    Part of the reason is the expansion penalties to culture and science are very brutal in Vanilla.
     
  10. BiteInTheMark

    BiteInTheMark Chieftain

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    Counter-Question:
    Does the actual happiness system stops you in any way to win with a 4-city Korea/Ottoman/Germany?
    And why do you have to be punished by ignoring some building lines, making any building in the game necessary?
     
  11. Rekk

    Rekk Chieftain

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    and also focusing exclusively on science and growth? I would say, yes?

    I don't have a strong opinion on the why.
     
  12. BiteInTheMark

    BiteInTheMark Chieftain

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    Focusing doesnt mean I only run farms and academies in my cities. Tradition alone give good bonuses to maintain over a longer time of the game a good growth, especially the capital. And if I can run a 6 city ottoman empire with external trade routes which give food and science, a tall 4 city Korea will be able to maintain 100% happiness too, like I was able in my ottoman game. Also people are only moaning about the huge unhappiness penalty by wide play, I didnt read one post about huge unhappiness in a tall game.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2019
  13. Rekk

    Rekk Chieftain

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    B) I don't know why you're focusing on the city count when the section you quoted brought up science/growth to the exclusion of other yields.
    A) It's already been pointed out that happiness is too easy for tall on this iteration, so I don't know why you're bringing up how tall is too easy on this iteration as a counterpoint to happiness mechanics in VP in general.
     
  14. BiteInTheMark

    BiteInTheMark Chieftain

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    You started talking about the 4-city strategy in vanilla. I wanted to pointed on the fact, that the VP happiness system also never achieved the goal to deny this simple strategy, atleast with the mentioned civs.
     
  15. tu_79

    tu_79 Warlord

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    I talked about the yield mix, and called it development. Let me explain.
    It's not the general level of development, considered as the sum of all yields, but rather a minimum value to be reached by each type of yield. So to say, a city has to produce 10 hammers, 7 gold, 5 science, 5 culture in a certain turn to be developed. If it is producing 20 hammers, 3 gold, 2 science and 8 culture, it has big yields but it's not truly developed.
    Call it overspecialization if it is more understandable.

    If I understand your idea, it is not much different than what we have now. Main difference is that it would ignore the level of development.
    Would you accept to punish somehow an excessive specialization?

    Right now, the way needs are evaluated looks at the median values and applies modifiers based on population, size and other relevant factors. If your city is not producing at least the suiting proportional value of one kind of yield, it gets some unhappiness. This way, when you are too focused on some yields, you are neglecting others, and these ones will show some unhappiness. In my opinion this is a strength of the system. But it has a side effect when your empire is very underdeveloped in everything, with the negative feedback you are talking about. It is widening the gap between losers and winners.

    But how could we evaluate the overspecialization without hurting twice underdeveloped empires? Well, I think it is possible with a small tweak in the formula.
    We are using MedianYields (MedianProduction, MedianGold, ....) and comparing it, after adding some factors, to raw city yields. If we normalize the values before the comparison, the level of development is ignored and only the specialization is considered.

    For example.
    Consider global medians.
    MedianProduction = 120
    MedianGold = 88
    MedianScience = 51
    MedianCulture = 65
    Sum them all, and find the proportion of each yield: 324 = (120 + 88 + 51 + 65)
    NormMedianProduction = 37%
    NormMedianGold = 27%
    NormMedianScience = 16%
    NormMedianCulture = 20%

    Do the same thing with city yields
    CityProduction = 95
    CityGold = 110
    CityScience = 25
    CityCulture = 78
    Sum them all = 308
    NormCityProduction = 31%
    NormCityGold = 36%
    NormCityScience = 8%
    NormCityCulture = 25%

    And now, we are ready to make comparisons
    Poverty = (NormMedianGold - NormCityGold) * factors = None (can't be negative)
    Illiteracy = (NormMedianScience - NormCityScience) * factors = 0.08 * factors

    But then, technology level should not be taken into account, since the actual yield values matter little.
    Also, there could be some weird cases when a civilization becomes too advanced and changes its yields proportion due to the level of technology, making it feel unhappy even when the total yields are higher than the average. Is it right? It would [be] like people in developed countries complaining about the lost of farmer jobs, ignoring that they are working in a software company now.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2019
  16. BiteInTheMark

    BiteInTheMark Chieftain

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    I have simply a problem with punishing "overspecialisation" of cities. This is, why I was asking for a clarification about the goals of the happiness system.
    I think, "overspecialisation" of cities shouldnt be a happiness problem, cause they create already inner problems of themself. Its your decision if you brutally force science to the maximum in your cities, but then you have to deal with the lack of hammers to build something or be very vulnerable to tourismn victories of other empires by the lack of culture. Its up to you. And I think we shouldnt take this freedom away from the player.
    There are enough examples of cities in history, which were specialized but definitly not unhappy. Venice was entirely focused on money, were they unhappy? No. Detroit was totally focused on the car industry (hammer), were they unhappy while working for car companies? No.

    Its a huge difference.
    My system would give a faster response, is more predictible and would forgive done mistakes easier than the current one. In the current system, growing your cities fast in the early stage may be not a big problem, but researching more tech and rise the modifiers will maybe put you into a happiness hole an era later. Its pretty much hard to predict in the current system how my happiness will look one era or even 20 turns later. If you are close to a critical point of "stability", you know, stop settling/growing and possible wait with the unlock of a new tech, till your stability has recovered. You will be able to see exactly how big your ability is to grow/unlock techs/conqer cities is.
    (As an example, getting a new citizen cost you 1% of stability, unlocking a tech 5% and settling a new city 10%. If you are 8% away from reaching a critical point but regain 1.5% stability per turn, you know exactly, that you have to wait 2 turns and didnt get more than 1 additional citizen to settle safely a new city. While in the current system, you have no clue how much additional unhappiness a new city will generate, cause you would have to check every city and calculate the needs for a new, higher median, thanks to a higher empire modifier.)
    Somewhere in renaissance/industrial age, all your cities will hit the unhappiness caps anyway. No matter what composition your city has. Reaching 300-400% of the global median in every city and every yield type is something you cant achieve. If I focus fanatically on science starting from industrial age, the influence of the happiness system is ZERO. Only growing can harm you, cause the unhappiness caps are rising with your population. Its like we have a 2 sided happiness system, need driven in the first half of the game, happiness hoarding to compensate maximum unhappiness in the second half. I dunno if this was the plan, but I dont think so.
    Even in the previous system, rushing through the techs by rationalismn and scientist spam wasnt a problem happiness wise. It failed to deny the strategy, atleast in the later stage of the game.

    My system would allow strong focus to some degree, but it wouldnt allow rushing through the techs like its now without a lot of effort or downsides. Like we have now with war weariness for warmongers.
    I think, finding a balance for the numbers shouldnt be that difficult
    Simply check how long an average game lasts, how many pop, cities and techs an average civ has, give those aspects an easy value and set a recovery rate, which would compensate the sum over the length of a game. Increase the recovery rate by around 25% to make it more forgiving. That would be the base line.
     
  17. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch

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    Talking about new systems is academic because we’re not overhauling this. It’s a detraction from the main thrust of the thread, let’s stay on topic.

    G
     
  18. BiteInTheMark

    BiteInTheMark Chieftain

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    Iam fine with it, it was just funny to mention it. But the other talk shows that there are different expectations what the happiness system should adress. I would like to see less/no influence for being underdeveloped cause it's a double punishment, and specializing cities shouldnt be punished cause other factors will regulate it by it self.
     
  19. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch

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    You can like whatever you want but we’re not pursuing other options at this moment. You are welcome to bring this up in the mod mods sub forum.

    G
     
  20. tu_79

    tu_79 Warlord

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    Thus, knowing what we want happiness to behave, what number tweaks do you think may help?
    Stalker0 has already provided a nice input and suggestions.
     

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