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Housing and Amenities: A fundamental flaw

Discussion in 'Civ - Ideas & Suggestions' started by Olleus, Dec 13, 2016.

  1. Olleus

    Olleus Deity

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    Having taken a couple of weeks of Civ6 since it came out, I've come to a realisation. Housing and Amenities is pretty much a duplication of the same mechanism in a way which is redundant and flawed. Why are they redundant?

    1) They both act as a limit to the size of cities
    2) They are both local (ie, defined for each city rather than empire wide)
    3) The easiest way to boost them is to build a district (Neighbourhood/Entertainment Zone)
    4) They can also both be boosted globally (policies/acquire new luxuries)

    I accept that they not identical and there are many small differences between them, but those differences are just that - small. Having two game systems that do the same thing is simply unnecessary. The closest to a fundamental difference is that amenities are sometimes generated globally, such as luxuries or Zoos giving a bonus to several cities. Amenities can also have global impacts such as revolts. However, amenities are always 'consumed' locally. This is the many flaw which gives rise to the 'black box' of the Department of Luxuries which results in the confusing mess of a system we have now.

    I believe that the natural remedy to the twin problems of redundancy and confusion is to bite the bullet and make Amenities fully global - like happiness was in Civ5. Before I hear the cries of rebellion saying how bad that system was I'm going to say that the problem in Civ5 wasn't that happiness was global, it was that it provided a hard limit for growth, penalised new cities too heavily and a successful war would hurt the winner hugely.

    I could see a different system for global Amenities in Civ6 that I would call Order. Order would be much like Amenities is now, but calculated globally. You get negative order per population and positive order for luxuries, EZ, and all the rest. At order 0, your empire functions normally. With positive order, workers/settlers/districts/etc... are cheaper. With increasingly negative order you get more penalties, such as: not allowed to acquire new cities->cannot declare war->rebels spawn.

    Under a system like this Housing stays a completely local system that limits how big individual cities can get. Order (old amenities) becomes a completely global system that limits how fast you can develop your empire through conquest, building new cities or building districts. The two are decoupled and serve different functions. Note that this is not like the Civ5 system where you had to choose between many small or a few large cities, and that your core cities are not directly hurt by low order, only the development of your empire as a whole.
     
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  2. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    I think that keeping your empire happy is separate to keeping your empire with adequate free housing space. If there are options (though the options you provide are a) both Districts b) one is a lategame specialisation and c) the other is way down the list of District priorities) that give bonuses to both systems, maybe the issue there is the overabundance of these bonus pairings, instead of the fundamentals of the systems themselves.

    I see where you're coming from, but I think you're expending too much energy trying to downplay the things that make them different (revolts vs. lack of growth is quite a big one, for example). Amenities also matter far more with regards to War Weariness and how that stacks up, while Housing is omnipresent in peace and war.

    tl;dr: I disagree.
     
  3. UWHabs

    UWHabs Deity

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    I don't have a big problem with the current system. It's more closely related to the civ 4 health and luxury system, where you have 2 forces, and either one can limit you, but they come about in different ways.

    Amenities, as they are now, tend to be more of a global system. You can basically get a number of local amenities for cities, and then you have a global pool to top up cities that run into the red. It's really not that much different than you have described - the only difference really is how the department of luxuries allocates them. I mean, if I have a city who's at -1, I know that I can probably build a stadium somewhere else in my empire and the black box will shift amenities around to fix my city in the red. The way it works now actually has an extra bonus - if one city is massively positive, adding a stadium to it won't actually help the rest of the empire, as they won't have any of your global luxuries available to spill over to your cities that need it more.

    The main parts to amenities for me that require clearing up is how the Department of Luxuries allocates them, specifically how it chooses which city to give extra or less to, as well as the mysterious war weariness penalty. I'd love it if there was a way that I could force certain cities to try to stay in the green - if I'm building a wonder, or want to push a city to the next pop to open up a district slot, it's annoying when they go into the red and start having penalties. But then again, I wouldn't want to manually always assign luxuries either, so I guess it's just something you have to live with.
     
  4. Olleus

    Olleus Deity

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    I get where you're coming from, but the difference between Housing and Amenities has been forced at the top level. In any abstract sense they do the same thing e.g., affecting how quickly cities grow. Revolts are hardly an issue unless you massively overstretch yourself (hasn't happened to me in 120ish hours of Civ6 yet). It's the top layer of fluff that differentiates them like the existence of wonders that boost Amenities but the lack of such wonders for Housing. If you dont like Order, you can consider this thought experiment: merge Housing and Amenities together. Each pop consumes 1.5 of Housing+ and everything that used to produce Housing or Amenities now produces the same amount of Housing+. Apart from some balancing issues the game would be fundamentally the same. Not exactly the same, but it wouldn't feel as if anything in particular was missing.

    Housing and Amenities both provide a local barrier to how large and productive cities can be. Housing is produced locally and Amenities is produced partially locally, partially regionally and partially globally. That is a lot of overlap, and the way Civ6 makes them appear more different is by obfuscating how amenities work. Like @UWHabs said, most people treat Amenities globally. When they want to increase it they build a stadium somewhere knowing that it is very likely to push a city anywhere into the black. Might as well be honest about it and either make Amenities fully global or merge it with Housing.

    I believe making it global would lead to more interesting game play, so long as the reward/penalties for positive/negative are also global (i.e., affect empire management rather than city productivity) to avoid the pitfalls happiness had in Civ5.
     
  5. Olleus

    Olleus Deity

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    I think that last sentence boils down to it. The way amenities works at the moment is inherently ugly and messy because it produced locally, regionally and globally, but consumed locally. Whatever way you have of doing the allocation will either be a black box (as it is now), or require dull micromanagement. That is a logically necessity. Much better to have the consumption of Amenities be global, especially as we already have a local resource that limits city growth (Housing).
     
  6. ShinigamiKenji

    ShinigamiKenji King

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    Your system actually feels a lot like Happiness from Civ V; the bonus there were the Golden Ages. The penalties, though not as severe, would work almost the same too.

    In my opinion, we just need a system to manually assign luxuries if we want it to, just like we do with tiles. For example, I would want a city to always have Sugar, Citrus and Furs to be Ecstatic and churn out a Wonder, while the rest would be automatically assigned.

    EDIT: I've seen your response after I posted. The fundamental difference between them, for me, is conceptual: Housing is a hard cap, literally how many people that city will have. Amenities, on the other hand, regulates how fast you get there. Kinda like top speed and acceleration. In practice, Amenities also influence all other yields, while Housing only affects growth.
     
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  7. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    They are quite different things.
    Housing is 100% local and Amenities are 90% global with the only war weariness being local. (should be global IMO)
    I can have one city with +5 housing and one city with -2 housing
    I cannot have one city +5 amenities and one city -2 amenities (ignoring WW for a minute)

    Housing is pure local soft capacity on housing. just like in our own cities. When it gets too crowded less people want to live there. It is a local thing and a governmental housing policy can effect all our cities just like a scientific breakthrough can. Housing works to me and makes perfect sense.

    Amenities is quite confusing because in reality it IS happiness. A luxury is not an amenity. It is clear they tried to get rid of the word from Civ5 to try and disassociate it from that rather than have the guts to eat the chilli. I am going to call it happiness as most of us do. An amenity sounds like a toilet to me.

    Happiness just like in Civ5 comes from luxuries and just like Civ5 affects overcrowding and that is where there is conflict with housing.

    Happiness is the mechanic to encourage the use of luxuries. It has been a keynote in the Civ5 series and it is a dimension added to make the game more strategic. In reality happiness is a global thing that affects peoples locally with similarities to the game to a large degree.

    I personally find a city going -7 amenities because of soldiers dying in war when in reality the whole nation is saddened is where it falls down.

    However happiness I find is underrated. The more I play with mechanics the more I find that the difference between -10% and +10% for Amenities is significant. Especially with so few scalable % in the game. I call this an increasing value statistic over time because when you are producing a lot at the end of the game 10% is noticeable. It can be the difference between first and last. If you got 10% on everything through the whole game, that is a not something small. It is a big difference between housing and amenities. And if one city is at +3 then the rest are at +2 or +4 because it is GLOBAL.

    The fact that luxuries are allotted to the most needy automatically save us mind numbing poor maintenance, I like the idea. Its not that I have nothing to do every turn. Even the so-called local amenities through the likes of GP or Entertainment Districts are in fact dished out globally to keep the entire citizenship in a stable state. Regardless of how you want to look at it, happiness is a global thing spread out evenly apart from war weariness. (which is stupid to have locally)

    Amenities are NOT a black box, whenever I have looked at them I have worked it out. The only thing is if two cities are at -1 with the same size population then there is probably a random choice.

    While manipulation of Amenities would produce benefits, the overhead of manual maintenance has been avoided. Its a 50/50 choice. I prefer what they have done.

    To me, all the starter of this thread has done is trivialize the fundamental differences, changed the name to Order and used pretty much the same mechanic. If the thread said lets just call it happiness and make war weariness global as well then I would be positive, instead I have been tilted, soz for such a long post
     
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  8. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    Again, I think you're downplaying revolts and related consequences (which could easily lead to more fleshed-out systems in the future around that - there's no need to further separate out the two just because they're not different enough - they're different, and this can be worked with). I can even raise difficulty-related arguments. Or suggest increasing the impact of revolts at higher AI difficulties. These are very simple scaling-based changes that don't require the rework of Amenities as a mechanic.

    It's not that I don't think you could make improvements with the direction you're going, I just disagree on the direction. I don't think implement a more CiV-like way of handling Happiness is the way to go here.

    As others have said, the issue is how Amenities and Housing limit city growth. They do this in different ways, and their effectiveness peaks at different times in the game dependent on your own choices. Issues with obfuscation of game mechanics? I'm completely on-board with you there. Maybe it just needs communicated better.
     
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  9. Olleus

    Olleus Deity

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    What you all seem to be saying is that Housing and Amenities (call it Happiness if you want) are different because the later is somehow more global. In that case, go the full hog, and actual make it global. What is the advantage of each city being individually content or ecstatic or unhappy? Why not sum up the total net Amenities of each city and then have an Empire wide rating of happiness? That is essentially what the amenities black box is doing for us; only with some apparent randomness in which city gets what bonus/penalty when there are not quite enough Amenities to go around.

    Essentially that is all I'm advocating. Make it completely global by summing up all the + and - amenities of each city you have. This would lead to exactly the same system as now, only would remove the way the unpredictableness of the Department of Luxuries.

    The second change would be to turn the bonuses/penalties Happiness/Amenities/Order gives from a straight bonus to a derivative one (i.e. affecting your ability to grow rather than hurting you now) in order to remove the more irritating aspects of Civ5 happiness. Irritating aspects which linger in Civ6 - namely that capturing a large city in war reduces the ouput of your capital. I would rather it impacted my ability to conduct more wars or settle cities or develop my infrastructure than cut my production instantly by x%. But this is really a separate issue.
     
  10. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    Happiness is already global and if your city has - 1 happiness then their production suffers. This is real life, our company is laying people off and now complains that sickness is going through the roof. It is not a separate issue.

    It is not unpredictable, I build a zoo and can tell exactly what benefits my civ will get from it
     
  11. TomKQT

    TomKQT Prince

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    Health and happiness in Civ4 were also two almost identical numbers (similar efect and the same ways how to manage it) and many people consider Civ4 as the best Civ ever ;)
     
  12. EpicWestern

    EpicWestern Warlord

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    Keep in mind a lot development is based on flavor, not game mechanics. Amenities in civ6 are both local and global, because amenities, in real life, are both local and global. Iphones built in California increase happiness for both people in New York and California, but a zoo in California doesn't really increase happiness for people in New York.

    But anyway I found housing and amenities to be a bit annoying and unnecessarily complicated at first but after logging an embarrassing amount of hours I'm getting used to them, and am now actually glad they're there. I just wish the civ6 developers concentrated on other key areas like AI rather than develop complex new systems. I would trade both housing and amenities away in a heartbeat for an AI that was just 20% better.
     
  13. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    A zoo in Civ 6 seems to get spread out.... the city allotment appears to happen first and then be taken into account when the levelling occurs.Test it for yourself. (do not shoot the messenger)

    As already said... Housing is purely local and apart from WW, happiness is all global.

    #######

    As an aside... the dictionary describes an amenity as

    "a desirable or useful feature or facility of a building or place." - not exactly a luxury good.

    In England if asked where the amenities are it typically is the polite way of asking for the toilet.

    I really wish they had not chosen Amenity but just used happiness.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2016
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  14. Manifold

    Manifold ModderProtectionAdvocate

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    Is it not the same with culture and sciences? and faith and gold?

    my opinion:
    It must be possible to aim your luxury goods and amenities. It is silly that you cant prioritize cities to get amenities how ever you want. It seems to me that at the moment it is a gaming rule that always my wonder building city is unhappy and did not get enough luxury goods while my outposts and conquered colonies are soooo happy:mad:.

    This will make the different between housing as a local thing and amenities what the ruler can allocate by setting at least some prioritizations.
     
  15. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    They should be within a point of each other, Sometimes the logic is out for a turn nut next turn should flatten it. I would be nterested in a sav file that was otherwise.
     
  16. EpicWestern

    EpicWestern Warlord

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    Before I test, do you just mean the "within 6 tile" bonus? Maybe I should have used arena as an example. Like if I have only 4 cities, and they're all spread far apart, building a zoo in one city will do nothing for any of the other three cities. Or is that wrong?

    But if I have 5 cities, since we have 4 copies of luxury resources, you can make the argument that I'm helping one of those cities since the AI shuffles one of those resource copies to city that doesn't have it once the zoo is built.
     
  17. Browd

    Browd Dilettante Administrator

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    This is a less-than accurate characterization. Luxury amenities are global, in the sense that they can get reallocated among cities in need of Amenities, but most every other source of amenities has only local effect. Even the Zoos in your example are local, in that their effect is local to the city in which the Zoo is located, plus cities within 6 tiles of the Zoo. Zoo amenities in one city may allow luxury amenities to be reallocated to other cities, but excess amenities from entertainment, or garrisons, or any other local source cannot be shared across cities.
     
  18. GhostSalsa

    GhostSalsa Emperor

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    V the more disenchanted you become with the game, the more I like reading your posts

    I think the OP argument for shifting amenities back to global is strong though. The devs need to set their ideas into clearer categories so that they can tweak the game toward balance instead of toward "oh sometimes it rewards a million hours of player thought."
     
  19. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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  20. greygamer

    greygamer Feudal Lord

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    It was also touched on in Beyond the Monument Episode 29 when they discussed war weariness. They played several turns showing how happiness was effected (affected?) and you can predict it's spread through the empire.
     
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