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Housing and Amenities: A fundamental flaw

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

  1. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    Thank you @greygamer it seems despite my best attempts to PM the amenity guide player and multiple posts in here no-one got the point.
    The best proof I can do on a single screen is to say here is Manchester with a zoo and Arena on +4 Amenities while my entire empire is on a minimum of +3 amenities... Even cities in the middle of nowhere are either +3 or +4. Try it, test it.

    upload_2016-12-14_10-8-8.png
     
  2. Olleus

    Olleus Deity

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    Are you saying that amenities from districts\buildings\zoos are allocated globally?

    If that is true then my argument is even stronger. Why have a resource where all the positives are global and the negatives local. Why is that either desirable or easy to understand. The very fact that we are having this discussion suggests that the system is flawed. No one answered me directly last time, so I'll ask it again:

    Why is the current system better than one where all the amenities (positive and negative) of every city are added together and the amenity bonus/penalty is applied on en empire wide level? Those bonuses/penalties could be adjusted to affect conquered cities more strongly than home built ones, or have 'empire' effects (increased cost of building settlers, reduced ability to capture cities or wage war, slow the rate at which settlers/builders/districts increase with time ect...).
    Reasons to change:
    1) More differentiated from housing
    2) Easier to understand
    3) Easier to plan for (which is surely the key point in a strategy game)
    4) Eliminates the need for a black box which distributes the resource outside of our controls
    Reasons not to change:
    1) Would involve some work to code and overturn habits formed
    2) Devs would have to admit they get it wrong
     
  3. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    No, it suggests you have not validated happiness correctly... I have queried and investigated and disbelieved until proven. I am not saying I am 100% right but I seem further down the track.

    I did answer it, perhaps you did not read it? They are global already! the only thing that is not is war wearyness and that is stupid to be local.

    My original post answered all your questions and more - https://forums.civfanatics.com/thre...ties-a-fundamental-flaw.607206/#post-14598618

    Why is "Devs would have to admit they get it wrong" a valid argument for change?

    Your argument includes emotives which indicate clouded judgement.

    Your argument now includes asking to be able to manipulate global happiness to suit you which no longer makes it global which is what you originally suggested...

    Whay call it order... its as bad as calling it toilets or amenities. Order is nothing to do with luxuries and zoo's... Just frigging call it happiness. That is what it is.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2016
  4. Olleus

    Olleus Deity

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    Amenities might be produced globally but they are consumed locally. I have some cities that are content and some that are ecstatic or unhappy. These cities get different bonuses. I literally do not know how to spell this out more clearly. There is no empire-wide amenity score, but there is a city based one, ergo, Amenity is defined locally, even if sources are global.

    So, once again, why is having some cities having different bonuses/penalties from amenities better than all cities having the same bonus (especially as I currently cannot choose which city is happy and which is ecstatic)?

    While you might be confident and clear in how amenities work, most people on this forum are not. Considering that the people here have a far better than average understanding of how Civ6 works, it is entirely fair to say that the current system is confusing, poorly explained, or both.

    None of these arguments are emotive, I assure you my judgement is unclouded as anyone else's.

    Call it happiness, amenity, order, whatever, I couldn't care less.

    "Devs admitting they were wrong" was listed as an argument against change, not for. Please try to keep your comments based on what I actually said.
     
  5. Browd

    Browd Dilettante Administrator

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    I must say that repeating an assertion that all Amenities are global does not make that assertion true. The only sources of amenities that are global (in the sense they can be freely reassigned by the game to whatever cities need them) are luxury amenities. Every other source of amenities only has local effect. Entertainment district + 1 Amenity = local to the city in which the ED is built. Arena's +1 Amenity = local to the city in which the Arena is built. Zoo's +1 Amenity = local to the city in which the Zoo is built, and to cities with 6 tiles of that zoo (still a local, or if you like a proximity or adjacency, effect). Retainer policy's +1 Amenity from garrison = local to the city where the garrison is located. Liberalism policy's +1 Amenity to cities with at least 2 specialty districts = local to the cities with 2 districts. River Goddess Pantheon belief's +1 Amenity to cities if they have a Holy Site adjacent to a River = local to that city. The list goes on, and on, and on.
     
  6. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    Oh dear, I want seriously off the rails, was that me? Ok, apologies @Olleus.
    I guess if you are really short on luxuries then your colonies may suffer while your capital is happily visiting animals.
    The luxury mechanic has been inherent for a long time and IMO both works and is critical to your success.
    What you suggest is to dumb it down to a slider like civ 4 with a name called order so you can avoid some of the mechanics like local war wearyness? Exporting zebras to the colonies to keep them happy?

    @Browd has this been tested to ensure those local amenities are not spread? I did some that indicated this was so and earlier you will see greygamer referenced Beyond the Monument Episode 29. Now it may be that the local stay local and I just had not tested well enough, I will check it. Unless you have serious amenity issues the net effect is all cities have the same bonus. My issue is I appreciate 10% extra on everything but food (20%) and tourism as well as the trade value so always keep positive.

    Sorry for being quite negative
     
  7. Browd

    Browd Dilettante Administrator

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    The game will manage allocations of luxury amenities to minimize net amenity imbalances between cities, which means that a city that "needs" 5 amenities to be content and that has an ED, arena, zoo and a Retainer garrison (+3 amenities from entertainment and +1 amenity from policies) would only "need" 1 luxury amenity assigned to it to be content, while another city that also needs 5 amenities to be content but that has no other sources of amenities (e.g., no entertainment district and no garrison in this example) would need 5 luxury amenities assigned to it (assuming you have 5 unique luxuries). Yet another city that only needs 4 amenities to be content but only has +1 amenity from an ED (but no ED buildings) and no garrison (in this example) would "need" 3 luxury amenities assigned to it to be content.

    To take an extreme example, let's say you only have 4 cities (so each city will get +5 amenities from your 5 unique luxuries, in this example). Let's also assume that you capital needs 8 amenities to be content, and cities 2 through 4 each needs 6 amenities to be content. Finally, let's assume that you decided (for whatever reason) to prioritize local amenities in your capital and city 2, but not cities 3 and 4.

    Your capital gets +1 amenity from the Palace, +5 amenities from luxuries, +1 amenity from its ED, +2 amenities from its arena and zoo, and +1 amenity for a garrison (retainer policy), for a total of 10 amenities, in a city needing only 7 amenities -- your capital's citizens are ecstatic, with associated growth and yield bonuses.

    City 2 also has +5 amenities from luxuries, +2 from its own ED and Arena, and +1 from your capital's zoo (since it is within 6 tiles of the zoo), for a total of +8 amenities in a city that only needs 6 amenities, so that city also enjoys growth and yield bonuses.

    Cities 3 and 4 have nothing but the luxury amenities -- they are out of range of the capital's zoo, they have no EDs, no garrison, no other amenity sources whatsoever -- they each get +5 amenities (all from luxuries) and nothing else. Since those cities need 6 amenities to be content, their citizens are discontent and those cities suffer growth and yield penalties.
     
  8. Olleus

    Olleus Deity

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    I've already said, don't care about the name, just thought Order was more indicative of what it did.

    Not saying that there should be slider, don't know what you're talking about... Nowhere have I come close to suggesting being able to spend money to curb war weariness. Literally, where on earth did that come from?

    You're the one who said that amenities from Zoos are already global not me. And even if this isn't the case, enough Amenities come from Luxuries and the allocation of Amenities is enough of a black box that if I have an unhappy city in one corner my empire, then building an EZ or a zoo in the opposite corner will almost certainly cause a reallocation of luxuries such that the former city is no longer unhappy. Do you agree that this is the case?

    My question this is (and please don't get sidetracked by irrelevant comments): Why is it preferable for Amenities to be consumed locally such that different cities will have different bonuses (some happy and some ecstatic for example), when I do not have control over which city has which bonus? Is it not more natural and more transparent to have a single empire wide amenity, which would be calculated exactly by taking the sum of the what is the current Amenity level from each individual city, and giving an empire wide bonus. I gave a list of reasons for and against this 6 posts above this one. If you disagree with them, please explain, but there is really nothing gained by going against strawmen.

    For what it stands, this idea would be nothing but a simplification of the UI in the cases where you have enough amenities (or too few) such that the Department of Luxuries makes it that every city has the same Amenity level. When this is not the case, it would merely smooth out the differences between some cities being on one Amenity level and some on another.

    A second change is that having Amenities be global allows some more interesting bonus/penalties to be allocated to them, but that is a different matter entirely.
     
  9. EpicWestern

    EpicWestern Warlord

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    +1 to Browd, and yeah I actually did test it today and that's how it works. Entertainment district amenities are simply not global, even though it can seem that way since building them *may* spread your luxury resources out and positively affect other cities.

    The current system is kind of a hybrid between being able to decide which cities you're making more powerful and just making your empire more powerful as a whole. With four cities you're making whatever city builds ET district and buildings more powerful, with 5+ cities (with high populations) you have less control. Granting us full micro, where we have to manually trade luxuries between cities would be an absolute nightmare. Even just the option to allow us to micro resources forces always-try-the-best-possible-play type players like myself to manually check and shuffle them which is just too tedious. But anyway, I would say probably 80% of the time building an ET district/building will positively affect that city as opposed to shuffling your resources around so it positively affects something else.
     
  10. Olleus

    Olleus Deity

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    Thanks for checking the facts out. I disagree that 80% of the time building a zoo will affect local cities rather than the one with the lowest amenity. When you have many cities luxuries always seem to spread themselves out such Amenities are evenly distributed. Unless you have massive WW in a single city (which is silly, why wouldnt WW affect all cities) you're never - in practice - going to have a city ecstatic and another unhappy at the same time. It just doesn't happen, the game is designed that way. While this could be solved by giving us huge micromanagement, this would be a terrible idea. And that's okay, because we already have a system to limit the growth of individual cities, it's called housing.

    So get rid of the semi-local semi-global system of Amenities and make it fully global. It's "local" use as a game mechanic to limit individual cities can be handled by Housing. This leaves Amenities with it's "global" use of forcing the player to invest in infrastructure (be it EZ/zoos/wonders or luxuries) in order to grow, and worry about the cost of war via war weariness and losing trade deals that grant luxuries. And the obvious, easiest, cleanest and best way for Amenities to do that is to make it completely global. This is simply the case of adding up all the positive and negative Amenities from every city you own and giving a global bonus or penalty based on this single number.
     
  11. GhostSalsa

    GhostSalsa Emperor

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    I still agree with this thread's OP.

    Here is how I would currently phrase the argument for globalizing amenities or otherwise scrapping the current system: In VI if my city wants "thing" the choice should only be "give city thing or not."

    We want binary growth choices and complex impacts. That is the design of a game that knows what the stakes you face are and lets you get to pathing your way through alternate strats. Complicating the growth choices (in VI instead I have to think, this city needs thing, so maybe putting a rock under the thing pool here will shift thing water there) puts a third party between player choice and game impact, called "player accounting incompetence." (Accounting is meanwhile pretty fun and rewarding when it is bent toward the complex impacts of simple choices...)

    The effect is that the player understands they will not know the right thing to do a lot of the time, and treats this hugely complex gameplay element as random and unworthy of care.

    Here is how I would currently phrase the design flaw with the current system: Ed explained growth would be limited by two dimensions at once, while powered by the third thing, food. In microcosm every city would have a cool, two-things demanding care at once, personalized growth challenge. But using semi-global resources for one of the limiters was sloppy and lazy, it reflected not ever really finishing the design of the "per city three factor growth game."
     
  12. EpicWestern

    EpicWestern Warlord

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    Going back to flavor, I'm pretty heavily opposed to amenities being purely global. Again, a zoo in San Diego doesn't really make people happier in New York. It doesn't really matter that housing is something that already exists in Civ6, housing and zoos are both something cities have in real life and their function is reflected properly in the game. If anything, amenities should be effectively less global. Getting a zoo in San Diego doesn't mean its people just suddenly stop eating truffles. Still, I wouldn't argue that we should just have infinite copies of all resources, because again, in real life you don't just get infinity resources because you have them somewhere in one place.

    But I agree that there should be at least some sort of mechanic to improve effective overall happiness. There has to be *something* a big city can do to make smaller cities better/happier. I think the best option would be to have some sort of buildings/districts that allow you to improve upon or make new luxury resources. So once San Diego has truffles it gets locked in and won't be shuffled out, but it might have some 'business headquarters' building that doubles the copies of truffles worldwide from 4 to 8. Or it could have some 'specialty factory' that produces a new luxury resource (kind of like cosmetics or jeans).
     
  13. GhostSalsa

    GhostSalsa Emperor

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    I thought more about whether amenities should be global or local based on the stated design intention of each city having a mini-game with three elements for growth. (Sorry to hijack the thread)

    In my last post I said: the semi-global amenities resource reflected that they never really finished designing the growth mini game so it should just be back to global

    But the other option is to double down and make it truly per-city. A good UI and more focused definition of resource elements, and we can implement the player micro-ing the distribution of luxuries without it being tedious!

    The UI would be this: when we are in city screen (when they bring city screen back), amenities are a tall expanding column of cute bubbles. The background behind the bubbles indicates how many bubbles should be filled by showing city pop. (depicted as a pile of citizens). Copies of luxuries are assigned into the bubbles, with NO SHARING (think how great works were a global resource assigned to cities in V). True local amenities (buildings) fill their respective bubbles. City needs dictate one new desired local amenity as a faded image of the item (e.g. This city doesn't want a sewer next (sewer should be am. not h), it wants a park, it wants a military monument unlocked a victory, whatever whatever, we know how quests work). Luxuries count as +4 am. in their assigned city and this is depicted by the bubbles spacing out higher (above the pop demand). Other global luxuries are available to assign to different cities, but worth fewer am., such as your circus, your theatre troupe, whatever it's just details at that point…

    Later "civics" can increase the am. value for different amenity types, just as V's happiness policies freed up large increases of growth all at once. But we need to go back to some of the government being of permanent policies. It was really sexy in V to flavor your policies and play around happiness sources..

    The bubbles work because moving luxuries is always easy but rarely desirable. So the player is microing, but won't have a lot of reason to move bubbles between cities except for meaningful changes in city roles, e.g. "Ok I need this city to grow a lot and am going to put a halt on the others for now," the same way we re-focused food TRs in V.

    Edit: ack, I forgot the most important part:

    Assigned luxuries have a high maintenance cost. So not just are you losing out on the sale to another player but you are paying high $ to subsidize the luxury for your gross non rich citizens. I imagine 7gpt, the same price we pay for 4 citizen's worth of luxury am. already (anyway the game needs something so that global gold income stays low for players not going all-out on international TRs)

    This is crucial to the bubbles system. It's important that unassigned lux's have a large passive benefit (otherwise players who are stuck at housing caps are being taxed twice).

    True local amenities can cost maintenance too. This implies that amenities unlocked by certain local buildings can have the same initial hammer cost as a generic-version amenity, but a lower maintenance cost. For example, have a granary in city, can build amenity: "the dole" for low gpt maintenance. Have aqueduct, can build baths (sorry Rome). This creates add-on value for one-off buildings and districts (with TRs so strong now buildings feel weaker).
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2016
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  14. Olleus

    Olleus Deity

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    But I don't see the point of designing a game mechanism "because it exists in the real world" if it doesn't do anything for gameplay. There a hundred million things in the world that affect cities, but nobody is clamoring to have them included in Civ7. However I do agree that game mechanisms should be clothed and presented in a way which is realistic - it makes the game easier to learn and more immersive. That was why I thought Amenities should be changed to Order when it becomes global.

    You are starting with "what do amenities mean in real life" and from there decide what they should do. It's vastly better to start with "What limits to growth do we want" and (for both gameplay and realism reasons decide on "a local limit to individual cities and a global limit to empire". Looking at Civ6 from this angle we can see that Housing does the former task brilliantly and that Amenities does a half decent job of the latter, although it suffers from the problems you described yourself. The solution to this is to take the Amenity system we currently have, and remove its problems (ie, building a zoo in San Diego to make New Yorkers be more productive, and the black box confusion it entails). The neatest way to do that is to make it Global and - from there - agree that Amenity is not the best name for the system and so call it Happiness or Order or something else entirely.
     
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  15. dagriggstar

    dagriggstar King

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    I feel like there are two system that do the same thing, the logical thing to do is to completely remove one of the systems ? I mean do we even need a happiness/amenity system ? In what version of the game has such a system been fun ?

    I'd rename luxury resources to economic resources that yield gold, with more gold for having the same type (For example 1 tobacco = 1 gold, 2 tobacco = 3 gold, 3 tobacco = 6 gold, 4 tobacco = 10 gold etc)...
     
  16. EpicWestern

    EpicWestern Warlord

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    I mean the art, music, and having Sean Bean narrate doesn't do anything for gameplay either but it makes the whole civ experience more enjoyable. I mean I would agree that developing the amenity system was probably somewhat of a waste of time and resources, but well, they did it and we're here now and I don't feel like going backwards accomplishes anything. Unlike other features in civ like military AI and diplomacy, housing and amenities seem to actually run smoothly. There's a somewhat annoying learning curve (not helped by a barebones civopedia), but once you figure it out the complexity stops mattering.
     
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  17. Olleus

    Olleus Deity

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    The art, music and narration is obviously nice and immersive. But it isn't a game mechanic and doesn't contribute to gameplay per se, so falls outside the scope of the design arguments I gave previously.

    I agree that Amenities works fairly smoothly, and it shouldn't be a priority to change it. But unlike the AI, it shouldn't require that much work to improve. I'm not advocating getting rid of it. My proposal is pretty much limited to summing up the Amenity from every city (calculated as it is now) and displaying the total on the main UI rather than the city panel. Perhaps also renaming it to something more intuitive and perhaps changing the nature of the bonus it gives. Not a trivial change, but far less work than optimising the AI
     

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