Freshly Squeezed Brain Juice

Philosophy and Game Design

Super Energy Metropolis Prototype 3

Posted by brainjuicegames on March 10, 2009

So, I’m proud to show off Prototype #3!

Prototype 3 : Dynamic Pollution

Prototype 3 : Dynamic Pollution

So, after prototype 2, we learned that we were going to have to deal with pollution in a more dynamic way, not only for accuracy’s sake but also because there still was no incentive to build roads.

As you can see, people will now turn into little cars whenever they touch a highway square. They will then move significantly faster than a person moving on dirt, but the downside is they will start leaving little trails of pollution down behind them. This pollution is a very small amount, but if a lot of cars travel over the same area, it will quickly build up.

More details and the playable prototype link after the jump 🙂

So, a quick list of all the changes:

  • People now turn into cars when traveling on roads (modeling people getting into their cars to drive on the freeway). Seems like a nice way to abstract that. If you build roads, people will buy cars and use those roads.
  • When a person has transformed into a car, they will produce smog so long as they are still in “car” mode.
  • When a person puts in a man-hour of work in a factory, it produces a small bit of pollution. (Still haven’t modeled an expanded radius of pollution for factories). This is different from prototype 2 where factories produced a static amount of pollution for the duration they sat there.
  • Basically, pollution is now produced by cars and factories rather than just being plopped down on the map with them. Pollution dissipates over time, and also stacks if it is produced by multiple overlapping sources. If the production rate is higher than the dissipation rate, it builds up, otherwise, it fades away.

Health, productivity, etc, all work the way they did in version 2, as does the little priority menu. Just so people know, it’s just a quick and dirty system I threw together (though I suppose now is a good time to prototype interface as well). “Build” means “Construct new buildings”, and “Produce” means “Make some more product by working in a factory.” If one is set higher than the other, then they will favor the other when choosing between jobs, with some minor glitches in the AI. It’s not perfect, but the intended effect works – when you put Build on hi priority and Produce on lo priority, people tend to work on construction jobs before going to the factory, which fixes the “factory as labor thief” problem from prototype 1.

At any rate, the main changes to this version are dynamic pollution. I’m thinking it works pretty much the way I intended it to, but I’ll see what you guys think before posting my final analysis, now that we have a decent crew of regular commenters 🙂

Here’s it is! Click on the image below to play!

Click here to play Prototype 3!

Click here to play Prototype 3!

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2 Responses to “Super Energy Metropolis Prototype 3”

  1. Brian Ackermann said

    This is shaping up nicely. I won’t be able to play this today, but I wanted to comment anyways.

    I was thinking of a few things.

    1 – with the addition of cars creating pollution, I think you’ll also have to plan on modeling some kind of traffic density scheme.

    2 – supply & demand to calc what to build. First, I was thinking that you should probably make sure that at least like “20%” of your workforce is always doing one of the two (if available at all). Second, I was thinking that if buildings ‘cost’ some amount of your factories production, then you could use the available ‘Goods’ value (along with the build queue) to identify what was needed at any given time. If you have enough goods, you can build, otherwise you’ll have to produce more. Distance from home would probably also play a factor

    3 – tiles. 2×2, 3×3, 1×1. It bothers me a bit (yes, I know…we’re still prototyping, but I want to say it anyway), that roads are as large as factories. So, what I’m thinking is that your base grid should be made up of smaller blocks (say, quarter the size of what you have now). Small roads (with lower speeds, and lower traffic resistance) would only be 1×1. you could build a larger road (2×2) as a ‘main thorough-fare’ or ‘traffic corridor’, which would have higher speeds, and more resistance to congestion). The other buildings would be 2×2. But then you could easily add new building types (even building shapes — 2×3? 1×5? sure!) Larger buildings would cost more, but would do more, as well, a 2×3 factory would outproduce a smaller factory, even though it was bigger….

    4 – Technology tree. I’m sure you’ve got plans and ideas for this, so I’ll keep this short, and only touch on one idea I had. With the combination of multi-tile buildings, and new technology, existing factories could do more with less. Say you have a “Goods X Factory”, which produces a base of 1.5 “X’s” a man-hour. But the building is a 3×3 tile. Now, say you learn/discover/remember/recover a new technology. NEW buildings of type “Goods X Factory” might now only be 2×3 tiles, while still maintaining the general output profile of the original….another tech does the same. A third tech, while not changing the footprint of the ‘current model’ does change some of its input/output profile (pollution, for example, (like installing CO2 scrubbers onto a smokestack) )

    5 – ‘Goods’ will require raw materials to manufacture. Which suggests origination questions (imported? locally generated?). It also suggests a shipping/freight aspect, to get the ‘goods’ from the POO to the factory (new vehicles–trucks, freight trains?), which of course adds to traffic patterns…

    6 – Water. Water is an input raw material that both the ‘fellows’ and the ‘factories’ will need to consume. Managing water seems to me to be not as important as managing your energy and pollution, but right up there!

    Okay, thats all for now….

    –Brian

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