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[NFP] Yield of Science under different population

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by Lily_Lancer, Dec 17, 2020.

  1. Timberdoodle

    Timberdoodle Chieftain

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    I'm not opposed to the idea of lots of small cities being more effective than few large cities. Civ 6 was originally built to favour wide and move away from Civ 5's 4 city meta. I think that's a good call on the whole, as it leads to more conflict over land and more dynamic situations.

    I think the ideal balance would be that a civ with few, tall cities produces more science per city than that of a wide civ with many low pop cities. However, overall the wide civ should have more total yields due to them controlling more land.

    I can see Rationalism finding a place amongst those tall empires with few cities, making those cities a little more efficient. Where as wide empires can't really pursue it without running into amenity issues, but still have the overall advantage due to shear number of cities.

    That theory starts to lose steam though when you consider the amenity system. Amenities should be there to act as a soft cap on total empire population, causing the player to choose either a wide play style with low pop, or a tall playstyle with few cities, or somewhere in between. However, going wide means you can also grab more luxuries, found more national parks and so on. Wide cities will also rarely drop below displeased due to the way amenities work too.

    One option would be to buff the Audience Chamber, so that it gives extra amenities to cities with governors, or maybe extra yields based on population to cities with governors. It's effectively the point in the game where your choice of building should reflect whether your going wide, tall, or focusing on conquest.

    If you could get a bigger rewarded for growing a small, tall empire, then getting the bonus from rationalism would just be the cherry on top. Tall doesn't need to be better than wide, but it should be able to compete.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2020
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  2. Myomoto

    Myomoto Prince

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    Ideally I would just like to see more cities being optimal, while more population would also be optimal. I.e. you would prefer to always go tall and wide if possible, but the terrain might limit this.

    The big problem currently is that cities generally get their district yields for free without dedicating any citizens to actually work in the districts, and that cities rarely have more than 6-8 highly valuable tiles to work, meaning all the additional population besides this ends up working 'junk' tiles that gives 3-4 yields in total, yet they consume the same amount of amenities...
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2020
  3. Pietato

    Pietato Emperor

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    Well, you can eventually plant forests. But yeah, increased population needs a lot more benefits.
     
  4. DanQuayle

    DanQuayle Prince

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    Your example is a bit farfetched, but I think it illustrates well the 'flatness' of value between cities.
    In a world where all cities have pretty much the same value, the only thing that matters is the number of cities that you own.
    However, to be more precise I will add a little nuance and reformulate this statement this way: The total yield (science) output is mainly a function of the number of districts (built up with buildings) that you own and since you cannot build more than one specialty district of the same type in the same city, the number of cities that you own with that specialty district is ultimately the only thing that matters to increase that total yield output (science).

    This is because civ6 puts way too much emphasis on infrastructure (capital) and not enough on population (human capital).
    Currently, the main advantage of increasing population is that you unlock more district slots (ie more infrastructure).
    As an illustration, if Firaxis were to implement bio weapons in the game that kill off a large proportion of a city's population, but leaves the infrastructure (districts) intact, they would do little damage to the recipient because the yields provided by that city would barely change even if more that half of its population is wiped out because the yields provided by that city mainly come from districts and buildings.
    In the current incarnation of civ6, a ghost town from the depression era full of infrastructure nearly provides the same yields as a bustling city with the same kind of infrastructure.

    ***

    I identify 3 main caveats with your example that one should keep in mind:
    1. It is easier to achieve an adjacency of +4 in a more populous city. Since you unlock more districts per city, they can be used to increase the adjacency of the campus by placing them next to it. With pop 4 cities, even if you pair them and build all 4 districts next to each other, you can only increase the adjacency of the campi by +1 which means you absolutely need to get a +3 adjacency bonus from terrain to reach +4. If you have more populous cities, with more district slots, you can potentially place 4 districts next to a campus and increase its adjacency by +2 which means you only need to get +2 adjacency from terrain to reach +4.
    2. You can increase your amenities by building the necessary infrastructure (Entertainment Complexes). It is less costly to 'waste' a district slot to an EC in a taller city. If you can only build 2 districts per city (pop 4), choosing to build an EC has a greater opportunity cost. Since in your example you want to build a campus in every city, building an EC means one less CH, IZ, HS or Harbor, etc.
    3. You can build and develop districts faster in more populous cities, because they have higher production. The extra science can thus be expected to come online faster.

    ***

    The main giveaway I get from this is that the meta changed:
    Before you wanted all your cities to get to pop 10.
    Now you maybe identify a few cities which you can get to pop 15, build a few pop 7 cities where you need districts that provide regional bonuses and leave the rest as pop 4 cities.
    Growing 'needlessly' cities has now a greater opportunity cost (with the increased Happy/Ecstatic bonus).
    You need to identify how many districts of each type you need to reach your victory condition and identify how many pop you need to build them all and not grow further.
    Buying amenities from AIs may also be more beneficial now.
    Warring also has a greater opportunity cost (loss of amenity through war weariness).

    ***

    From memory, in Civ5 BNW (which is regarded as the civ game that punished the most wide play), each new city increased unhappiness by 3. Since each new pop also increased unhappiness by 1, founding a new city (with pop 1) increased unhappiness by 4 in total. If your total empire was unhappy (total unhappiness greater than total happiness), your population growth in all your cities was pretty much halted (ie much harsher than in civ6). Early happiness also came from luxuries, but workers needed 5-8 turns to improve them (ie not instantaneously improved with builder charges). You also could increase local happiness by constructing buildings (infrastructure). Gandhi had as a unique ability double unhappiness from new cities (2*3), but halved (0.5) unhappiness from population. It was regarded as promoting tall play: only after reaching pop 7 did Gandhi's cities become happier than cities from other civilizations. (Civ6 is basically Gandhi's upside ability without downside for all civilizations!)

    Now why I am talking about this? By giving a fixed amenity/happiness cost to any new city, you create an "amenity cost" that needs to be recouped before becoming a net positive. Spamming low pop cities thus becomes more costly from an amenity perspective. This would counter-balance the current benefit that low pop cities get more free amenities. By removing the free amenity that each new non-capital city gets and putting back the content minimum threshold back at 0, the game has very slightly moved into that direction.

    ***

    Now, I wonder what if district buildings provided 0 yield unless they were worked by a specialist?
    After all, what good is a University without professors? What good is a Factory without workers?
    Why should an empty Coal plant provide any production or electricity?

    Current specialist yields would be reduced to zero and replaced by the building yields.
    Current building perks such as 25% experience for units for Barracks would only be applied if the Barracks is staffed.
    Great Person Points would only accrue when specialists are assigned.

    In this scenario, a pop 4 city with a Research Lab would only provide a near equal amount of science as a more populous city if it is able to work all 3 science building slots. If it does, it would be useless at producing nearly anything else and would be very likely to run into a food deficit (unless it is working a 6+ food tile or has buildings that provide food beyond the +2 from the city center). The only way to fill that deficit would be to run a trade route that provides food. You would thus need to go CH/Harbor + Campus in all cities to even begin to try to make this work.

    I recently played the latest 6otM games which were OCC. One thing that is apparent from playing them is that any pop above 30 is nearly completely useless even in a Pingala city. You eventually run out of slots to assign population. If more districts such as EC/WP required population to be assigned to in order to provide their perk, you would never run into such a problem. In fact, if all specialty districts required population for their buildings to work you would always have more district slots available (+terrain slots) than you would have population as long as you build them when you are able to unlock them. Example, at pop 4-6, you can unlock 2 districts (with potentially 3 slots each), you thus have 6 specialty slots available for 4-6 pop. When there are more slots than population available in a city, you create a choice for the player who decides which slot he wants to work. Currently, specialty districts that provide no additional slot not only add no slot, but they take away a workable terrain slot which hurts populous cities more. (Note: I guess it is theoretically possible to run out of specialty districts (limited by district types available) to build in a city and to have all terrain tiles occupied by wonders or districts, but this would happen at a higher population threshold than currently).

    Now some of these changes are easily moddable, but others not. Furthermore, the AI barely knows how to play the game as it is, I wonder how it would be able to cope with such changes. Maybe, the extra yield preferences will be enough to make the AIs assign population as specialists.
     
  5. Myomoto

    Myomoto Prince

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    I don't really understand the argument that the AI cannot figure out how to use specialists. Specialists are assigned exactly as any other citizens on the map. It is just a matter of giving the AI a weight/priority list of yields for how to assign its citizens - something that is already implemented to an extent as this is how your cities automatically picks which tiles to work.
     
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  6. Stringer1313

    Stringer1313 Emperor

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    I think they need to jack up the Amenities negative another notch or two across the board.
     
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  7. DanQuayle

    DanQuayle Prince

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    There is an unused sql table in the game that grants GPP to specialists (however it is bugged). From experience, if you remove GPP from buildings and grant it to specialists, you will see that AIs actually generate little passive GPP (few specialists assigned), but that they also love to run projects to generate GPP.
    However, I did this without also "jacking up" the base yields of specialists. Maybe, if you improve the base yields they will naturally assign more specialists. I don't think there is a natural pseudo yield valuation for GPP for the AI (since it can't be assigned to tiles). I'm not an expert modder, so don't quote me on this.
    Another challenge for the AI (and the player), it to balance food growth and specialist assignments. Staff too many specialists and your city will run into stagnation.
     
  8. Myomoto

    Myomoto Prince

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    I think it could all be solved by giving the city manager a very basic script. All yields have a weight that decide their score, and the city will assign citizens to work to maximize this total score.

    For each level of population in the city the weights will change. For example, if the city has less than 4 population, food will have a weight of 1, production 0.5, and all other yields are a 0 -> basically means, find as much growth as possible to grow the city. When getting to higher population, yields like science, culture, and gold will be added to the weight scheme.

    I don't think GPP need to be included too much, if the base yields of the specialists are high enough, i.e. if a scientist in a library gives +4 science and +1 GSP, the 4 science should be enough to get the AI to assign citizens if the weights for yields are set correctly.

    I think a reasonable expectation is that a city of 7-8 pop should be working 2-3 specialists, depending on the availability of high food tiles. This would also fit more or less perfectly for around the Medieval Era when the Feudalism civic unlocks the +0.5 food adjacency bonus for farms. Developing a large farmland of multiple adjacent farms would become essential for running your specialists at full capacity in each city - EXACTLY how it should be if we wish for the game to refence the actual history of medieval urbanisation. Boosting food by internal trade routes would also be possible, but seeing as how farms also contribute housing this would more be for additional growth of the city I think.

    Edit: Also, how damn hard could it really be for Firaxis to add the GPP to the list of yields to consider for how the AI assigns citizens to work tiles?

    I think rather the problem right now is just that Firaxis are unwilling to go back on their design decision of buildings giving flat yields, as this was likely a decision made to simplify the game overall, and now they do not wish for the community at large to become confused with massive gameplay changes in how citizens are assigned. I promise you that the vast vast majority of players of Civ 6 do not even realise that specialists are a mechanic in the game, or that citizens can be assigned to work in districts - this is also largely helped by the fact that the UI currently for actually assigning citizens is almost invisible (you don't see any yield icons from districts when assigning citizens to them).

    Anyway, this is why I would like for this to at the minimum become an optional game mode, or maybe more realistically a semi-official mod from the team themselves (as it is to my understanding currently impossible for modders to implement these kinds of changes themselves as it requires making new .xml tables in the game's code).
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2020
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