5/4/2020 in devlog
As Populous inches ever closer to release, Fabian takes a look at the political future of the game and Michi returns to development after fixing tons of bugs.
Most of my time this week went into follow up emails for the journalists I wrote last week. It was a bit deflating to not hear back but April was a very gaming-heavy press month with some very huge releases across the industry. I will have to rework my press strategy a bit and try to branch out of the gaming press and into other areas like sci-fi and economics.
I also finalized some content ideas for the homepage relating to both SEO and UI/UX that I can hopefully implement sooner rather than later. Some of it I know will have to wait until our new hire starts in July but that is not so far away now. If you are reading this, please make sure you're following our social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) for some cool content coming soon!
The work on "Populous" continued pretty much as announced last week. Michi is implementing a testing environment for the core population model, while we're still generating and sorting through lots of ideas on the content side of things. Now, I talked quite a bit about the new population system in general already, so for this devlog I'd like to muse about the (perhaps distant) future a bit.
One of the parts of the concept that we'll have to see if it makes the initial release, but definitely has a lot of potential, is its connection to politics. Currently Governors have relatively few options and elections are mostly just based on minimizing all the fees and being active in-game so people know your name. In the future we of course want to expand on this and "Populous", since it concerns a planet as a whole, will give us several new levers to do so.
You can easily imagine a governor being responsible for running certain campaigns to e.g. boost immigration or increase happiness (at least temporarily). On top of that, educational programs immediately come to mind as well to improve upon a planet's ability to generate engineers and scientists. We're also thinking about other ideas such as governors influencing the workforce distribution in certain ways (fair ways of course).
This means planetary populations could give governors the ability to actually use all these fees collected by their corporation to (transparently) invest them back in the planet's future. Also, all the other players on the planet would be able to use the population's development and statistics to judge whether the actions of their governor make sense. This in turn would open up the possibility of much more interesting electoral campaigns with actual political "programs", plans being laid out, promises being made and so on.
After all the outages and bug hunting of last week I was really eager to get into actual development again. I started with the design document Fabian has written for the Populous release and translated it into a list of implementation tasks. After that I immediately started to implement the first task.
Fabian and I decided that it would probably be best to implement the core of the population simulation independently of the rest of the game. That way testing the population model is way easier than firing up a local instance of the game and clicking through all the (not yet existing) UI elements and waiting for things to happen. I am currently writing a simple command line tool that takes a few input parameters (like initial population size, workforce requirements of the players and so on) and generates a CSV file with the population development over several week-long iterations. Fabian can then take the CSV file and import it into his favorite spreadsheet/BI program.
So far I've only managed to implement the very first of several steps of the population simulation, but I am confident that I will be making progress next week.