5/11/2020 in devlog
Fabian provides some insight with how the upkeep system will work once Populous hits and Michi explains how keeping your workforce happy is the key to success.
Not too much to report on my side apart from follow up emails to journalists and SEO ideas/website changes that will be implemented if not very soon then in July when our new team member joins. I am also focusing on the psychology of what our "perfect player" would look like and pinpointing exactly where Prosperous Universe fills the void for these players. It's interesting go through and think about exactly where our game excels and how to get in front of these players.
Last week we had some discussions about the details of how the upkeep system of the new planetary infrastructure should work when we introduce "Populous". My first intuition was to move away from the fraction-based expenses we have had with workforce consumables and create a more transparent and discrete system. After all, we don't really need to be concerned about rounding effects too much when it comes to population infrastructure, because they'll be built and run by all players on a planet together.
What we'll try to do is have upkeep materials of different categories, each with its own "ticking timer". Some materials will be "fast", which means a certain amount from the infrastructure's storage will get used up every day. Others will be "slow" and may only need a couple of units once per week. Of course a lot depends on the final balancing details still. For example, we'll need to figure out exactly how many of those categories we'll need. We don't want to create more than we necessarily have to and keep things as easy to understand as we can.
In other news, but also related to that same "transparency" principle (and to last week's devlog), I'm also working on mocking up a new governor information screen centered all around population, the efficiency of the existing infrastructure and so on. After all, governors should be able to make good (or bad) decisions and call the shots based on actual data rather than just gut feelings.
This week I've been solely working on the core of the new planetary population model. It consists of many small steps and basically calculates how much the population of each workforce group grows or declines.
The model has several input parameters, and the most obvious is probably the current workforce population. Each kind of workforce has different needs that can be categorized into life support, safety, health, comfort, culture and education. These needs are fulfilled by planetary infrastructure that is build and kept running by the planet's site owners. There will be several infrastructure projects for each workforce need and each of them can be 'leveled up' to provide for a larger population. Life support is an exception here: on a habitable planet the life support is a given, on unhabitable planets it is provided by the habitations in the player bases.
All these input parameters are combined and eventually lead to a growth, stagnation or decline of the workforces. However, the engineer and scientist workforce is exempt from this growth, they can only grow through a mechanism we call population shift. At the end of each simulation step a fraction of each workforce will be promoted to the next higher workforce (technicians to engineers for example) if their happiness is large enough. So to grow a population of engineers the players will have to keep their technicians satisfied and provide infrastructure for the engineers.
I did not finish the model yet, but at least I reached the last two simulation steps :)
Besides a few calls with the rest of team, the focus of my work this week was on our other project AirlineSim. For years now, Prosperous Universe has been the top priority for the company and consequently, AirlineSim received little love despite being an important source of revenue for us. So it was about time for me to invest some time there, partly to work on an upcoming maintenance patch, partly to start preparing a road-map for future developments. Another reason I am doing this now is that we expect an enourmous amount of work to pile up once our new frontend guy starts feeding the development backlog in July. Therefore I am trying to get as many non-Prosperous Universe stuff out of the way as I can, so expect fewer and less interesting updates from me over the coming weeks.