Author Topic: Livestock?  (Read 24757 times)

Livestock?
« on: February 18, 2013, 05:26:15 PM »
Having watched the gameplay trailer, I'm really impressed by the look and character of the map, and how much the pieces interact with it. But it seemed odd to me that while the nomadic camps migrated around the map, their only source of food was from static farms. Are there any plans to include pastoral farming? It seems like an obvious fit for both the theme and design philosophy.

Jon Shafer

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Re: Livestock?
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2013, 06:51:16 PM »
That's a great idea hnegf, and not one I'd though about at all before! I'll do some brainstorming and see if I can come up with a good way to implement it. :)

- Jon
If you have any questions, please send me a private message here on the forums or an email at [Contact@ConiferGames.com]. Thanks for your support!

Re: Livestock?
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2013, 04:42:58 AM »
I like the idea, perhaps a more nomadic lifestyle could be modeled for certain tribes (Huns?) by using sheep herds (or goats, raindeer or whatever, but i like sheep :) ). These herds could be moved around like the supply camps and would exhaust the terrain tile they end their turn on which would need several turns to recover from exhaustion before it could feed a herd again. This way a nomadic tribe could keep their main food supply close to their main force and they would have an incentive to always move on. It could be interesting if something like this makes it into the game or could be moddable into it later.

Peter

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Re: Livestock?
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2013, 05:16:09 AM »
This way a nomadic tribe could keep their main food supply close to their main force and they would have an incentive to always move on.
not as a rule, at least if the herd isnt too big.
herd's route can be cycled so it would move around some area: when grass is being eaten on one tile, it is being restored on another.

gameplaywise, i think it will be very funny to steal rival's herds!
i wanted to do the mod for civ5 about this but found it quite hard, given that AI should be teached to adress the whole new concept and all the special cases properly.

Re: Livestock?
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2013, 05:43:35 PM »
This sounds pretty cool. I think it'd be a great addition to the game.

This could also be used to help differentiate the different tribes as well. Some tribes will be more suited/predisposed to having farms, while others would be more suited/predisposed to having herds/flocks.

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Re: Livestock?
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2013, 06:59:31 AM »
Also back then, in the mediterrean they had better breeds than up in the north.

Especially cattle were bigger, that meant roman pastoring produced more meat and millk compared to North of the Alps:
http://www.jsr-hersbruck.de/site/was/faecher/geschichte/klasse_6/rom/images/09_villa_01.jpg (white=germanic, shaded=roman, black=today)


..maybe another idea for a romanization perk? ("Introduce Roman Cattle")

Jon Shafer

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Re: Livestock?
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2013, 01:24:05 PM »
Great suggestions guys. I definitely think there could be something interesting to take advantage of here!


Also back then, in the mediterrean they had better breeds than up in the north.

Especially cattle were bigger, that meant roman pastoring produced more meat and millk compared to North of the Alps:
http://www.jsr-hersbruck.de/site/was/faecher/geschichte/klasse_6/rom/images/09_villa_01.jpg (white=germanic, shaded=roman, black=today)

..maybe another idea for a romanization perk? ("Introduce Roman Cattle")

Good info and idea! I didn't know that. Should be able to work that in somehow...

- Jon
If you have any questions, please send me a private message here on the forums or an email at [Contact@ConiferGames.com]. Thanks for your support!

Re: Livestock?
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2013, 05:05:15 PM »
That's a great idea hnegf, and not one I'd though about at all before! I'll do some brainstorming and see if I can come up with a good way to implement it. :)

- Jon

Cool! :) I imagine it could open up some invade-pillage-move on strategies. Also, starting out with herds instead of farms could make the early game more interesting: where should you settle, and how long should you look? Should you settle at all?

Also, because I like making lists, here's an analysis of herds versus crops.

advantages:
-can be moved
-provide food during winter
-can make use of less fertile land
-could also provide wealth in the form of hides and wool

disadvantages:
-provide less food per tile (if used sustainably)
-potential for overgrazing
-a more tempting target for opportunistic enemies
-meat doesn't keep as well as grain (maybe room for a romanization perk here)
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Jon Shafer

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Re: Livestock?
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2013, 10:37:32 PM »
Great ideas hgnef! Definitely things I'll be trying to factor in while working on the design. :)

- Jon
If you have any questions, please send me a private message here on the forums or an email at [Contact@ConiferGames.com]. Thanks for your support!

Re: Livestock?
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2013, 01:41:52 PM »
Depending on how the mechanics worked it might force the player into some very interesting situations, perhaps the herd is wandering and your people just follow it... well then perhaps you might find yourself thinking that it is it a bit concerning that this fertile valley they're following seems to lead directly into Atilla's lands and be forced to decide between a premature conflict with him, abandoning/gifting the herd to him, possibly with some diplomatic favor to be gained, or simply filling your bellies by thinning the herd and moving on.  On the other side if you can steer the herd then finding yourself in the same valley might make you choose between fighting for the healthy pastures or losing some of the herd's population and thus effectiveness as you take it on a trek over the mountain tops.

It is a very interesting concept.

Re: Livestock?
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2013, 04:06:01 PM »
The "barbarian" tribes were not nomadic in the sense that they were hunters and gatherers. They relied on farming and pastorage, so their herds were managed. That means they never followed the herd but the herd followed them. However the needs of their lifestock (cattle, sheep, goats, pigs) defined the path to go.

I imagine a numerous lifestock could also be a millstone around a players neck: if you want to move your tribe through unknown terrain, your lifestock forces you always to use a route that provides sufficient feed grains. Otherwise your animals unevitably starve. If that happens, or if you consume them or trade your herds away to be more flexible, you'd first need to make sure you find an appropriate substitute food source.

Re: Livestock?
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2013, 11:54:44 PM »
I like the livestock idea, makes perfect sense.  It could also be noted that your rate of slaughter has a direct effect on how much you get from them over time.  I don't know if that makes it too much to manage/takes away from the gameplay.  But if lets say a ten stack makes 2 food per turn through slaughtering, though it stays at ten from births, then slaughtering 5 of them for 5 food right at that moment is going to reduce your stack permanently thus reducing food production over time.  I feel like you could easily argue it being such a small piece of the game that giving it too much detail would be a bit much.  Though if a farm is working like it has 40 units of food and each turn it makes 2 food so in 20 turns it is depleted, then you could say this sheep stack will make 40 units of food at 2 a turn unless you slaughter them all right now for 20 food.  Easier to deal with and the concept is maintained.

As an aside I feel like I'm an idea guy, good idea bad idea too far from the core concept idea, I make ideas all day long.  So don't feel bad about thrashing anything I say, ever.  I'll just come up with another idea to spit ball with :)
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Re: Livestock?
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2013, 08:30:49 AM »
The simplest way I can think of would be to implement Lifestock as a unit, it could be treated like a mobile farm. The output is lower than a farm, but it is a cheaper and a more flexible way to get food.

The game would benefit by offering the player some more basic decisionmaking with high impact. (Do I invest in settling down and grow or do I choose a nomadic lifestyle, to keep more options for reactive strategies?)
With depleting resources players with lots of lifestock units would be motivated to keep moving. This could help trigger the migration domino effect that has been talked about here, as neighboring tribes keep pushing each other to more fertile areas in the south and west.


-It could make sense to differentiate the food output produced by lifestock depending on the kind of tile (ie. grassland +4, steppe +2)

-Lifestock units do not only provide food, they can provide some kind of extra production bonus (wool, hides, leather, grease, etc).

-Like a farm, lifestock turns useless in wintertime unless moved to a warmer place (more grassland). During a winter turn when a lifestock unit is on "standby" (not grazing), it costs food instead of producing food. (ie. it costs 1 in winter, when it produces 4 in summer)

-A lifestock unit can be consumed, producing X amount of food at once. When being consumed the partiular unit is gone forever after the next turn. This provides an always available exit strategy for the player.

-It should be attractive to build an economy, that relies on both farming and pasturage at the same time, if there is sufficient tiles. (In the mediterrean pasturage worked alongside farming: during wintertime herds were grazing at idle cultivated areas. In summer they moved into the mountains, which offered sufficient herbage vegetation.) So in warm areas lifestock can even be used during both seasons. That makes them even more appealing to occupy..

-Lifestock units can turn grassland into steppe (overgrazing). The effect reverses if the tile is not touched by lifestock for X turns.
If the number of lifestock units and available grassland tiles gets out of balance, there is more pressure for the player to move on (domino effect).

-Lifestock units could be further devided into cattle and sheep, the latter being the "light version"(less fastidious than cattle, but also less productive).

-Holding Lifestock could be a specialty of the horse-riding tribes like the huns.

-Stock farming methods could be upgraded by Romanization Perks (better breeds, new fodder crops: Barley, Spelt, Rye and Oat ).


Sorry if some ideas have already been posted, just collecting thoughts.

Re: Livestock?
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2013, 08:15:45 PM »
I imagine a numerous lifestock could also be a millstone around a players neck: if you want to move your tribe through unknown terrain, your lifestock forces you always to use a route that provides sufficient feed grains. Otherwise your animals unevitably starve. If that happens, or if you consume them or trade your herds away to be more flexible, you'd first need to make sure you find an appropriate substitute food source.

Also, when attacking a neighbor you have a dilemma: do you bring your herds with you, investing your livelihood in victory? If not, do you leave troops behind and attack with a smaller force, or risk another tribe making off with some of your herds while you're away?


-Like a farm, lifestock turns useless in wintertime unless moved to a warmer place (more grassland). During a winter turn when a lifestock unit is on "standby" (not grazing), it costs food instead of producing food. (ie. it costs 1 in winter, when it produces 4 in summer)

The way I envision it, herds would continue to provide food without pasture but their numbers would start to dwindle. I know nothing about the subject, but I imagine there is point in the lifecycle of cattle etc. beyond which you don't want to wait before slaughtering, so even during a month when your herd is starting to go hungry, you still have a "ripe" generation from earlier.


-Holding Lifestock could be a specialty of the horse-riding tribes like the huns.

Maybe herds could have a maintenance cost in horses? Except for horse herds, obviously…
Maybe a bit too fiddly, but something to consider.


I imagine the most difficult part of adding livestock would be the depletion mechanic. A simple way to do it would be to have each herd reduce the supply of its tile by one at the end of each turn. There would need to be some sort of buffer like units have, which goes up when the herd eats and down when it doesn't: the herd would die if it runs out, and could be split in two when it's full. Grazed tiles could have a chance to recover a supply point or two during wet seasons, in keeping with the theme of somewhat unpredictable map conditions.

However, since (as far as I can tell from the preview video) tiles only go up to three supply, there's not much room to tweak things. If all supply values end up being doubled and rebalanced from there, herding turns into a math problem that slows down the game, and could make things very difficult for the AI. At this point, I think the best solution would be to replace the minus-one-per-turn modifier with a single 'grazed: -50% supply' modifier that basically means "time to move your herd to a new tile". This way, the player could see which herds need to be moved each turn without having to look at any numbers.

Of course, the modifier would have to be governed by an invisible value on each tile measuring how much vegetation is left for grazing. I know invisible values aren't in the spirit of strategy games, but I think it would be enough for the UI to tell you how many turns your herd can stay in its current tile (or a prospective tile, when moving) before it becomes grazed or barren. As a bonus, implementing the veggie value would make it easier to replace the buffer with herd sizes, so that herds in fertile territory become larger and more productive, but graze tiles faster.
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Peter

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Re: Livestock?
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2013, 03:13:14 AM »
Of course, the modifier would have to be governed by an invisible value on each tile measuring how much vegetation is left for grazing. I know invisible values aren't in the spirit of strategy games, but I think it would be enough for the UI to tell you how many turns your herd can stay in its current tile (or a prospective tile, when moving) before it becomes grazed or barren. As a bonus, implementing the veggie value would make it easier to replace the buffer with herd sizes, so that herds in fertile territory become larger and more productive, but graze tiles faster.

i think there could be not a counter but a probability of overgrazing, rising with the herd size