What Role Do Pops Play? My personal wish list for future FOG games

Field of Glory: Empires is a grand strategy game in which you will have to move in an intricate and living tapestry of nations and tribes, each one with their distinctive culture.
Set in Europe and in the Mediterranean Area during the Classical Age, experience what truly means to manage an Empire.

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david.brewster
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What Role Do Pops Play? My personal wish list for future FOG games

Post by david.brewster » Sat May 16, 2020 1:53 am

Looking at the faction ledger, it's always struck me that number of pops tends to correlate closely with number of regions. In other words, you don't tend to see countries with many regions having few pops, or countries with many pops having few regions. Moreover, most of the map is pretty uniform in terms of population. My empire typically has one or two cities with around 30 pops and almost everywhere else with about 20. This means that pops don't add much to the game beyond what you already have from regions. If you added an ethnicity % and a way to focus production to certain areas, you could do away with pops and little would change mechanically.

In my view, what makes pops special, and different from regional modifiers, is the autonomy and the diversity that they represent.

I propose the following ideas to look at this issue:

- Add more variation to population levels, so that it is possible for a country with few regions to play tall by having a large number of pops in each region.

- Allow pops to move from less reliable regions to more desirable regions. Let the player influence this movement by choosing buildings that make regions more or less desirable.

- Associate the number of pops of a given ethnicity to the number of regional troops available. For instance, having 10 Galatean pops = you can recruit up to 10 Galatean infantry.

- Give pops some autonomy to choose their occupation, and instead only allow the player to nudge them in a certain direction.

- Add options for encouraging or discouraging conversion (for keeping local troops)

- It would also be cool if pops could have party affiliations

travling_canuck
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Re: What Role Do Pops Play? My personal wish list for future FOG games

Post by travling_canuck » Sat May 16, 2020 3:47 am

Some of this is a problem with all of these types of games. I curse Sid Meier's for coming up with the idea that population growth is based on the amount of food you shove into your people. I curse even more the number of games since then that have adapted that same approach. Lack of food is a limiter on growth, as is the general health conditions of the region, but growing more food doesn't result in faster population growth, or even in lower death counts except in closed systems where people can't move about during times of famine.

The unrealistic population growth trends this system creates is exacerbated by these types of games generally not having a mechanic to move food around from place to place. FOG:E at least tries with provinces, but not all that successfully in my opinion. The immobility of food in these games results in populations growing wherever there's a food surplus, but that's not how real population growth happens. What typically happens is that when there's a food surplus, people leave the region with the food surplus and move to the biggest city they can reach from where they (or their government) then buy the surplus food off the people back home who are producing the surplus. People stay behind in the country only to the extent there's an increased demand for labour to work the farms, but otherwise the extra people who can be fed by the increased food production tend to live elsewhere, sometimes in a regional centre but more often in the capital or wherever the bright lights of opportunity are perceived to shine brightest. So while I'll buy the idea that an increase in the production of food can, within limits, result in an increase in the population generally, the majority of the growth should usually be in your capital or other centre of trade, and not broad-based across the empire.

I agree with your idea of population choosing their own area of occupation. I dislike the mechanic of "this turn everybody works in industry", "next turn we're all farmers", etc. Moving people around from job to job doesn't feel like managing an ancient era economy, to me. At best, I may make Slaves be available for you to move from function to function, while Citizens make their own selection. That could have some interesting additional game play implications if certain ethnicities had a preference for working certain functions (although on the other hand, that could also dangerously veer off from game flavour to stereotyping, too). If you really wanted to give players final control over where their Citizens work, you could allow the player to allocate Citizens as if they were Slaves, but at a sharp increase in their Unrest factor and a slight decrease in their Productivity for as long as you make them work outside of their preferred function. Then if your Loyalty level is high enough, you could get away with forcing everyone to focus on a single civic project (more food, culture, etc.), but otherwise you'd be increasing the chance of unrest or a revolt.

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Re: What Role Do Pops Play? My personal wish list for future FOG games

Post by FrenchDude » Sat May 16, 2020 3:24 pm

I think that the population répartition will be significantly altered and more varied between regions with the next DLC/patch coming, thanks to the different impediments/bonus implemented

storeylf
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Re: What Role Do Pops Play? My personal wish list for future FOG games

Post by storeylf » Sat May 16, 2020 5:08 pm

I was just remembering back to playing Imperium Romanum II about 30 years ago, and how that reflected on Romes particular need to pull in food from the grain baskets of North Africa/Egypt. This game covers the period where supplying its citizens with grain was beginning to become important and ends with Rome more or less at its peak and importing huge amounts of grain. Even if it isn't Rome in any given game, I can see a player needing that for his expanding empire. In game that is sort of handled via the events (grain distributions etc) and food trade goods that boost production, but it feels like it doesn't quite capture the impact on politics/foreign policy. A Food trade good or Corn law event isn't quite like worrying about who controls key regions for food production.

I read this thread and also thought that, yes, part of what made Rome so big went way beyond just how much food the surroundings produced. Indeed that was its problem, the surrounding region couldn't. The game will increase your city via slaves etc which is fairly historical, but Rome was a magnet in itself (or even Athens etc before Rome).

So I had a play around with my scenario, and have added a basic 'magnet' system, so each turn a city has a chance based on money and culture to pull people internally from another, and another random region (may make that always the capital) will have chance to pull from anywhere in trade range (barring enemy ethnics) at reduced rate. I have no idea how that may pan out over the long haul, and I will tweak with that more. This happens to each faction, so you could also have your pops pulled away from you, especially during a bad time which cripples the economy or because factions near you are economic/cultural powerhouses. Cities which keep pulling in pops could become a major issue - a lot of loyalty issues faster than you may want. It might also make some of the conversion buildings even more useful in your major cities, as they may want to convert immigrants; at the moment (at least so far in my games) I've not seen them as too important, but I do tend to keep fairly small in number of regions so seldom see worry about much converting.


Interesting thoughts though. I like that the game already makes health more of a factor, so it isn't simply food and the provinces do move food around locally. Health can be a quite big bonus at the moment from what I've seen.

Pocus
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Re: What Role Do Pops Play? My personal wish list for future FOG games

Post by Pocus » Mon May 18, 2020 12:58 pm

You have modded the scripts you mean?

Some interesting ideas, for this game or the next :wink:
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Re: What Role Do Pops Play? My personal wish list for future FOG games

Post by travling_canuck » Mon May 18, 2020 4:10 pm

storeylf wrote:
Sat May 16, 2020 5:08 pm
Health can be a quite big bonus at the moment from what I've seen.
It is, and this is one of the many things FOG:E does well. I think Health could take an even more central role in population growth, however. Let's say the reproduction rate is set at 1 + Health, so that at a health score of 0%, the population is stagnating (children living to adulthood equals the number of adults dying each year). At one turn = one year you'd need a divisor of something like 25 to give a reasonable population growth trend, so at a Health score of 25% you'd get 1% population growth per turn and at 50% you'd get 2% population growth per turn. A 10 pop region would then get a new pop every 10 turns at a Health Score of 25%, and a new pop every 5 turns at a Health Score of 50%.

The next question is where those people go? If there's local work for them, they stay there. If there's government work for them (recruitment into the military on a permanent rather than temporary levy basis, for example, or recruitment into a religious order) that's the next choice. If neither of those apply, then they move to the nearest "magnet", i.e. a big city with lots of opportunity for work or at the very least charity.

Wherever they end up, you then need to feed them. If there's insufficient food, you get severe unrest and ultimately population decline. Excess food becomes a loyalty bonus, as a full belly is a happy belly.

Then to close the circle, the bigger a city gets, the lower it's Health score goes (everything else being equal), as sanitation conditions worsen and disease spreads more rapidly. It could be something like the first 10 population subtract no health, the next 10 subtract 1% each, the next 10 2% each, etc. A large city in the ancient world would then struggle to grow organically, and would rely on immigration from the relatively healthier countryside for additional growth.

Some buildings could give a Health bonus that only eliminates the penalty from having a high population. Sewers, for example, could be structured as increasing the base number of "free" Population in the Population health score, so for example instead of the first 10 population subtracting no health, it could be the first 15, and then the next 10 subtract 1% each, etc. The value of these structures would then be significantly bigger, the bigger the city is (since it "lops off" the top of the calculation).

Finally, each region could be given a base Health score dependent on terrain and whether there's an adjacent river or freshwater lake. That way you'd get some starting Health and population growth even without any health-related buildings, and some map-variation to the population growth rate.

Pocus wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 12:58 pm
Some interesting ideas, for this game or the next :wink:
Yeah, some of these are pretty fundamental ideas, not something you casually patch in! :lol:

Whether they can help create a core system that is more fun to incorporate into game play is a fairly important factor, too. :oops:

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