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Thread: City spam.

  1. #1
    Arcane Candidate
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    3

    City spam.

    So hi there!
    First of all I'm really excited! about this game!

    To our subject city spam!
    (a lot of exclamation points )!!
    !
    can you guys try to avoid the situation where city spam is encouraged?
    Warlock and FE both have that problem and it's really annoying..
    especially late game where you have like 50 cities.. who has the energy to deal with that?

    Sorry if I'm a bit incoherent It's 4AM for me..
    I saw you guys while reading RPS on my phone.. So I ran home so I can post about this
    (was taking my dog out.. stood on some shit in all the excitement )

  2. #2
    I know just what you mean and we are going to try to avoid that. I've been playing with the idea of "city influence" where a city can claim more and more tiles. Even potentially "starving" an enemy city out. I want to see what other ideas people come up with, but I certainly don't like city spam. The fact that the AI in MoM would build a city ANYWHERE it could annoys me even now. My point is that we're aware of it and are going to try to come up with a solution everyone likes.

  3. #3
    Mage’s Assistant
    Join Date
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    Poland
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    There are two main reasons for city spam:
    1. Population grows faster in small city than in big one.
    2. You can't build many "copies" of one building in one city.
    Both are unrealistic.
    Sorry, signature is under construction.

  4. #4
    Another two issues are that:
    Cities only expand up to a certain point (influence wise). Unshackling that may very well lead to a situation of troublesome growth (Say controlling a tenth of the map using just one city, or shooting a line out that covers the whole map), while leaving them shackled means you need more and more cities to get all the resources.
    Even the most well designed cities have a limit to how much they can expand (population wise).

    What I would probably suggest is something like metropolises, in which, when a city grows past a certain point(Say 8 or 10), can build (Or generates) townships nearby, expanding its influence and the size of its potential population (Since the township functions only to expand influence, give food, resources and money to the main city, and of course to be looted. I.E. You don't have to manage it, unless you desperately want to assign where it harvests from.)
    The ability to absorb cities (Sending three quarters of the population to the main city, assuming it is size 4 or above) you built earlier may be a good idea, as sometimes I want to access a resource now, not in forty turns.

    So, in a way, you are still left with the prospect of one city controlling one tenth the plane/world. But you (as the enemy) at least have the ability to destroy the townships and force back the city, as opposed to being helpless in the face of 'influence'.
    Also, even though you might have a city generating 500 food a turn, and 950 'hammers' any unit produced there would still have to travel a sizable distance to reach the outlying townships.

    The main problem I see, though, is that 'the developers' may feel incline to increase the production requirements of some units to make the metropolis the only reasonable course of action...and since these units require so very large a number of hammers they need to be more powerful than simple Swordsmen, who could be spammed. So they are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.

    One way to overcome that would be to have 'waste' increase with the number of townships...So while you might continue to expand and bring resources under your control, you would never approach truely unreasonable numbers of hammers. (Ideally each township would cover a max radius of 5, and the city a max radius of 6. So with 3 townships, on all four sides, you would have a diameter of 32.5 squares (Due to 1 square overlap between each township/city), and the city would cover 1,056.25 squares in total (Assuming a square, 829.15 assuming a circle). Which is more than enough to be getting on with. Assuming each square produced 2.5 food, 2.5 hammers and 0.5 research, you could get 2,073 Food/Hammers and 414.5 Research every turn. There are 12 townships, so assuming each one reduced efficency by 5% (Multiplicatively) the final result would be about 50% of that. Still a substantive number, but not as substantive as 2,073 and 414.5.

    You then need to consider that a city would need a population of 829 to achieve such a figure, and if each civilian eats 2 food per turn, then the actual amount of food thus produced is fairly small, meaning it would be a long time before such a figure was reached. (At 100 people it is producing 50 food per turn (not including effiency). Assuming the amount of food required per increase did increase (at a rate I will not guess at) this large figure could be offset.)
    The more reasonably achievable population of 100 people, for instance, would generate only 135 Hammers. Which it would achieve late in the game (unless it built a huge number of farms, and then replaced them with workshops or some such...which would require alot of workers so back to square one there on the gaming front =p). I would also say that you could achieve 100 squares coverage (circular) with a circle with radius 16, half what we said in townships. So if we assume 6 townships and population of 100 you could achieve 184ish Hammers and negative 16 Food, assuming our averages and that 2 food was eaten by each citizen.
    Of course in the real game you are juggling more concerns than just 'Can I reach the highest hammer output?', problems of enemies positions, supplies, some terrain not being worth as much, some being worth more, and so on.

    So I would suggest the limits being 6 Townships in total (Which is about 75% efficent), generating around 184 hammers assuming an average of 2.5 hammers per tile, with a pop of 100, covering an area of 100 tiles, and a deficiet of 16 food, assuming 2.5 food per tile as well though can be 6 on one side (Covering a line of 34/35 squares), or spread more evenly.
    Clearly this figure to be massively inflated if it became possible to supply cities on the Earth Plane (for example) with vast amounts of food, or to multiple the amount of production going on in a city.

    Though at some level you do have to accept that 'Gamers gonna game', and that the way to do so is not so obvious, or so hardcoded into the AI, that it does so blatently and repeatedly.

    As such you might have 2-5 cities covering the same area as the 50 stated in the opening post, without them producing an endless supply of units, or wonders in 4-5 turns.
    Last edited by Archimage; 02-21-2013 at 01:16 AM. Reason: Extension and Elaboration

  5. #5
    Acolyte
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    Hungary
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    Am I right that you all talking about reducing the numbers of the managable cities? And the need of building cities?
    I love building cities and raise buildings in it! In Civ2 (or maybe it was the third? ) sometimes I just went through my cities and checked their views. I would be very sad if I wouldn't be able to spread my empire with my outposts, hamlets, and thriving megapolises. There's the "automanage cities" for those who don't want to spend their times with this.

    If you see from the real world and simplify it then you must have a lot of tiny villages from where the people go out on the fields to work and "create food". Somewhere between the tiny villages there are the small towns of markets and somewhere between those are the big (capital) cities from where the most science comes.
    Today's big cities are based on the medieval small market towns or forts which are placed on strategic sites - river banks, hills looming over trade routes, etc.

    What I want to say with this that there's no empire without lots of settlements. Of course in a game you don't have to manage all of them. You could leave the tiny village of Fraxburg with it's six houses out of the management - it's just a tile in the game with 3 grain 1 hammer and a half coin on it. But you should be able to choose where to build the small towns and possibly upgrade them into great cities and extend your empire border to the former savage lands.

    Sum:
    Lots of cities with tons of buildings that's what I want!

  6. #6
    Now that would be interesting. I must confess I typically build between 5 and 8 cities, and sprawling empires are an anathama to me =P However if we assume Metropolises and Townships then splitting the great city, with six townships, up into 7 seperate city could be rather interesting and would give greater variability to play styles.
    A kind of 'Centralised' (A few epic cities) Verses 'Decentralised' (Lots of less epic cities) state. It may be that in your highly decentralised state you have your capital, with 3-4 townships for those 'really big' projects but yeah =p

    Also the ability to name townships. As a Britisher I have often been annoyed you can't label tiles around cities. So London is just a city, not replete with 'The Borough of Islington' or 'The City of Lewisham' bolted on. More of an optional extra than an essential element...maybe a popup tooltip with stats like 'City of Lewisham, population 50,000, sports team 'The Grizzled Lions'' and so on =p

  7. #7
    Archimage, your number crunching is truly impressive and metropolises could be a good way to handle the “massive city” issue. Of course, I think another way to handle it would be to grant terrain a smaller max-population bonus the further it is from a city. The idea is that if a farmer has to get on a cart and ride four hours to get to work he's not going to get a lot of farming done before he has to head back to town. It would be a matter of diminishing returns until the city finally reached it's max-population and therefor maximum influence if you see what I mean. This would “naturally” limit cities and keep out “world dominaters”. I think if we did that it would handle the two issues we're trying to address which are city spamming and single cities taking over the world.

    Thoughts?

    P.S. - Naming tiles – I love it, lol. It would be super easy to do. We just need to come up with a in-game mechanism/interface for naming them.

  8. #8
    Moderator
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    If you go the megacity model, how would you handle production overrun? Of you only have 5 cities, and they each can only build 1 unit per turn regardless of actual production, that's not good. Also, you have 5 megacities, but what does that mean for the early game? Each of the megacities would likely have their core clustered around your starting area.

    Not a fan, also not a fan of the limitations you suggest.

  9. #9
    I don't think we'll run into true mega-cites. That's why I propose limiting the effects of terrain on max-population based on distance from a city. If a city can only ever use the 21 tiles (I believe that was the MoM count) that immediately surround it we're going to end up with city spamming. If we allow cities to increase their influence it will avoid that spam. However, the MOST efficient way to use the land will still be to build a city in the area you're wanting to make use of. You'll be able to put a large population toward the work load. So, if you want to build cities everywhere that will still be a solid strategy.

  10. #10
    @Krakizbad
    Production overrun, by which I assume you mean 'A building costs 100 hammers and the city produces 183 hammers, where do the 83 hammers go to?' I would imagine that some percentage (say 25%) would carry over to the next build, or be converted to gold.

    Addressing your final point (Which I wrongly saw as aimed at my argument), my vision of it would be that you might build the normal amount of cities (How many games of Civ have you reaching size 8 in the first 100-200 turns?(marathon/epic scale)), and in the mid-late game might start incorporating some of your early cities (the ones that didn't do as well as you thought they would, or where there to 'bridge the gap') into your major cities, getting rid of a city that just takes up valuable management time and replacing it with a boost for one of your 'good' cities.

    @Aaron
    I think I see what you mean, though I do see an issue in that...I build a city surrounded by farms, thus setting the max population relatively high. Even if you brought in a cap of 21 workable tiles (Which I think I misunderstood, but it is a servicable idea to prevent mega cities so...) no matter how big the city is, then the smallest square to accomodate that is a 5*5 at 25 tiles which is not THAT far away from the city so the diminishing returns doesn't have to bite too bad. Assuming 15 tiles are 'less than useful' it still only amounts to 36 tiles, the same as a large city in Civ.
    It then dominates a vast area, which is then 'mine', and I can go and build cities in that area at my leisure, stop people from crossing it, etc.
    Added to this, managing the vast area (say you aren't powergaming in the above fashion), if the city controls 8 tiles leftways, 8 tiles rightways, and 8 up and down, then I have 256 squares to allocate my 21 (or more) workable tiles. Of which only the closest 36 or maybe 64 are going to have sufficent food and hammer output to cover the population invested on them. Even at only 6 squares each way it is 144, 5 is 100, 4 is 64 and 3 is 36. So it grows out of all proportion.
    Also consider that if it takes 12 turns to build a farm, anywhere, then I am going to want to build them near to the city to maximise the input/output balance. If it covers 100 squares I need to invest 1,200 turns worth of building to cover all those tiles...Something I am simply not gonna do, so it follows that large areas of the map are just barren, but under your control.
    On top of all this is the problem that you still end up spamming cities to get distant resources.

    (I say 'large areas' the time taken to actually build a city up to such a point would take a long time, though this, in and of itself, poses a problem as if you need to wait 300 turns to expand your influence enough grow, and you can build 10 settlers in the same space of time, you are going to build 10 settlers and city spam those resources.)

    (On a 'if this was real life' level, if a farmer spends 9 months of the year farming, 2 months harvesting and 1 month travelling to and from (and attending) the market then the actual loss to farming is small. Also you could send out a travelling grain wagon if it continued to pose a problem, since 50 guys, with 25 wagons would be far cheaper (in man hours) than 2,000 farmers all making the journey)



    An alternative to all of these systems is, what I like to call 'The Canada System' (Since we are naming systems now =P). You meet another country and, assuming you don't instantly declare war, you are presented with a map outlining (black outline, devoid of detail, unless you have explored those areas) the continent/world/plane(s) (depending on how late in the game this is). You then allocate 'what is mine and what is yours' and the imaginary lines are set down.
    If you want to go back and alter those lines you might call a conference or 'reinterpret' the lines yourself...bringing you into conflict with whoever you made those deals with.
    "Oh you thought I meant the Rhine? Actually I was talking about the Seine, guess you are gonna have to give up those cities if you don't want a war."

    Subsequent meetings might follow on, or just between nations...While Britain and France have agreed that Vancouver Island is British, that agreement might not neccessarily bind America to accept that. Just because the King of Spain sold the land to France doesn't mean the natives agree(or even recognised Spain as owning it in the first place, oh what a tangled web we weave).

    Either way you could make a unilateral decision to claim a huge area (say the fire plane) because no one else (no other player anyway) is there. Naturally if someone then settles on the Fire Plane and you don't notice because your map is incomplete, and so lives there for the next fifty turns without you complaining you lose that 'claim', or if they defeat you in combat.

    Thus it 'strongly discourages' the AI from plonking down cities right next to you, and gives you a valid excuse for war (I always hated that when I tried to drive one nation from 'my' lands the rest of the AIs would tut and look at me disapprovingly.) As such, because you are not full of fear that the AI will nab 'your' territory if you don't spam build, you can approach city building in a more intelligent manner. "Yes I would quite like that Iron Resource node, but actually, at the moment, I can't support ANOTHER city."

    I would suppose that all the tiles would be given weightings, and 'undiscovered' territory would be weighted based on how many needs were filled already (Say if the AI had no sources of Iron it would be more hopeful of finding it in the undiscovered region, than if they had lots of Iron. Also dependant on their personalities (and that of their advisors, if that route is taken)). I would say that an option to have 'undecided' zones would be good too, so you don't get caught in a balancing act of 90% undiscovered territory.
    Also perhaps instead of a 'Yes/No' responce, relations could take a hit/increase depending on how hard a bargin you drove, with revisionist tendencies cropping up the less flexible you were...Or spitefully settling in your territory, having mission/adventurers to your detriment, and so on.

    Cities could grow on the old system, with a 21/36 tile area (perhaps scaling over time, or with population, from 9 to 25 to 36), and since you are not trying to 'fill up the gaps' you can build cities in the genuinely good locations. (And not neglect forts because you could be farming that tile!)
    Last edited by Archimage; 02-22-2013 at 12:18 AM.

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