A few post back I had written about the Wombat’s brief flirtation with despotism as several of us flocked to NationStates. Since I haven’t personally heard anyone talk about it since those initial days I’m going to assume that I am not the only one who bounced off it, but the idea of expanding on the formula never really left my mind, especially since I started thinking about making something similar, but larger, and in space.

Back when I was working on Project Universe, my biggest (initial) hurdle was coming up with the supply-and-demand mechanic whereby quantity drove prices. I went through several attempts to half-ass a “formula” which would increase the price if a shop had limited quantities (paying more for player drop-offs, and charging more if the shop needed to hoard their inventory), or decrease the price if the shop had an overabundance (for obvious, reciprocal reasons). That was just one formula, though, and when I finally got something that worked under the types of circumstances I expected, I patted myself on the back and moved on.

With “colony” games, though, things get more complex. I have an Adobe XD layout for the first page of this theoretical game which allows the player to set up her colony with a name and an icon, but after that, I wasn’t sure how to go about planning for the next stage. I would want the population to be a major tool in how the colony progresses, so I figured that as the colony manager, the player would need to divide up the population between several different concerns.

In the functional design screen shot at the top of the page you see some colony stats: Unemployment, Colony Name, Initial Population, and Cash. Then there are 8 sliders representing “classes” or “concerns” that the manager will need to concern herself with. The manager can redistribute the population among these 8 buckets to power-up or -down certain concerns. If there’s any excess population, they end up in the Unemployment bucket, although there’s no benefit to having unemployment. These bucket values are expressed in percent, although there are real numbers backing these values (which you can see in parenthesis next to the bucket name) which would be used for…something.

This “something” is what I’m struggling with. What does assigning population to these buckets do, exactly? Although 25% of the population is enlisted in “Food” (we assume “production” and not “being the food”, of course), how should the game use food? How should the population participate in food? I would assume that each concern would b expressed differently, and I have some ideas on that, which I’ll get to writing down at some point.

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