Thread Tools
Old August 8, 1999, 09:30   #1
Local Time: 08:22
Local Date: October 31, 2010
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Korea and New Zealand
Posts: 13
Brian Reynolds on ICS...
This is a post Brian made in response to the question: Will Civ3 address the problem of ICS or "Infinite City Sleaze," a topic made popular here by Metamorph and others. ICS addresses a "flaw" in the game design: New cities are x+1, where one is the extra square worked with each new city, thus making 5 small cities of population one more productive than a single, larger population 5 city. That discussion is still around here if you are interested in it.

This quote comes from the SMAC forum. I put it here for obvious reasons and because I think it highlights the importance of our work on the list.

As promised, Shining and I will sort a few things out soon and hopefully make the site a little easier to use for the list making process. Keep up the ideas!


Thanks for the suggestions--yes, the Civ3 design should correct the problem you describe, both by making larger cities more desirable (and more obtainable) and by restricting small cities in some of the ways described here and in others. When we get to public alpha/beta testing, this will be a key focus.

Keeping up with and responding to all of the mail we receive can be very time consuming, so there are often periods where we just hunker down and work on the games; it's not a situation where we can "just hire somebody" to respond to all our mail, because the hire-ee wouldn't know what the designer was thinking w/o taking up exactly the (designer's) time the hiring was intended to save. But all of your feedback (and especially participation in the organized suggestion lists, copies of each of which are right next to my computer) is useful, and you can expect us to resurface in e-mail, forums, and newsgroups at appropriate times.


p.s. I'm out of town for a bit, so will probably not see your responses for a little while.
YinShining is offline  
Old August 12, 1999, 14:23   #2
Local Time: 08:22
Local Date: October 31, 2010
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Commack, NY, USA
Posts: 195
Well, you've certainly gotten my attention...

I still get the impression that BR is just viewing ICS as 'one of those gnawing little bugs', rather than a fundamental flaw in the overall economics of the game! The entire concept of giving a size 1 city twice the production that it should is misguided. The higher we walk along the path that civlike games have taken, the _greater_ the resources produced by size 1 cities becomes. It's monstrous.

It's been stared at, toyed with, altered, manipulated, configured. They've tried to hide it, to reduce it, to balance it, to proportionalize it. But it won't go away. It's like a ball of lint under the rug. No matter how much you smush around the sides, the bump is still there. There's no other way around it. Your only recourse is to just go ahead and pick the carpet up, and pull out the lint.

An economics system must be designed from the ground up which is NOT based on granting small cities big boons. Over a dozen alternate economic/production/resource systems have been proposed which easily eliminate this aspect of current civlike games. If pressed, I could probably rattle a few off right here and now. Try me.

But I don't think that's the full crux of the matter. I think that most people -- designers included -- LIKE having small cities that produce a lot so they can grow faster. It's less micromanagement, it's a quick-and-dirty way to get a growth spurt. Nobody likes to have to develop a tiny hovel from a hole in the ground into a thriving city entirely by hand each and every time. They don't want to have to supply it with resources from other cities. They have enough trouble just getting the population up, getting the land developed and the military units in place and the bunches of requisite buildings that have to stand there. They want a bonus. They want the easy way.

And it's this temptation that opens the door for ICS. Shortcuts are exploitable. Entire shortcut-based nations, as well as military and economic tactics spring forth. And this is totally contrary to the spirit of the game, both realism and fantasy. It ruins the competition of computer play, it obliterates any chance of challenging or interesting multiplayer play. It makes number crunchers look bad, rules lawyers look worse. It doesn't belong in the game!

The designers of civlike games need to take ICS seriously. Else it will rear its ugly head once again. And like the ball of lint under the rug, it will set everything else off askew that sits on it. Just about everything else in the game traces back its balance to the base economic system. How fast you grow directly affects the rate at which you gain power and how powerful you can become. That doesn't just affect the game. That IS the game!

The entire conceptualization of what's going on in a civlike game has to be restructured in the minds of the developers. That is the key. Nothing less will suffice.

- Metamorph
Metamorph is offline  
Old August 12, 1999, 21:45   #3
Apolytoners Hall of Fame
Born Again Optimist
yin26's Avatar
Local Time: 04:22
Local Date: October 31, 2010
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: This space reserved for Darkstar.
Posts: 5,667

I'm glad to get your attention. You are, after all, THE guy on this topic. If I hadn't enjoyed your discussions so much, I never would have put your ideas on the list and Brian might never have taken the issue seriously.

Of course, the very real question remains: How seriously is he taking it, and how does he propose to fix it?

Meta, I have a very real favor to ask of you. You are a great writer and make a very strong case. Could you PLEASE (!!) write your full case and post it here--most importantly, please include ways in which the problem can be fixed w/o, as you noted, making the game too much hassle for the average civer?

Brian noted in his thank-you e-mail to me that the ICS part of the list was great but lacked an alternative. I didn't include all the alternatives at that time, but for version 2, I'd like to have one section JUST on ICS. Can you do it? Your contribution may well be one of the biggest factors in seeing a Civ3 that's not just a boring re-hash.

Have faith! Brian is listening...
<font size=1 face=Arial color=444444>[This message has been edited by yin26 (edited August 12, 1999).]</font>
yin26 is offline  
Old August 13, 1999, 02:07   #4
Theben's Avatar
Local Time: 04:22
Local Date: October 31, 2010
Join Date: Dec 1969
Location: Dance Dance for the Revolution!
Posts: 15,132
I've proposed that a new city size 1 doesn't put anyone in the field. The size 1 city must use the resources in the city square to build, grow, trade, etc. Food would not be the determining factor in growth, just one of them , so an average of 2 food is adequate at start.
Theben is offline  
Old August 13, 1999, 10:06   #5
Local Time: 08:22
Local Date: October 31, 2010
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Commack, NY, USA
Posts: 195
Oh, bleh, fine...

You win, yin. I'll write something up. I'll do it over the course of the weekend. And I'll hold you to your claim that Brian's ear is bent to my words. *evil grin*

Just keep in mind that I've taken an extremel y philosophical approach to this particular aspect of civlike games. Number-crunching is insufficient, as Gerfang and I proved innumerous times when trying desperately to fix CtP. I'll refer once again to my lint-under-the-rug analogy. You can stomp on the lump, but it'll always be there, no matter how flat you think you've gotten it.

As an aside, I think the rest of the work you've done is wonderous, and will be a significant boon toward civlike game development in the future. Kudos to you, as well as all those who have participated with you.

- Metamorph
Metamorph is offline  
Old August 14, 1999, 00:20   #6
Local Time: 03:22
Local Date: October 31, 2010
Join Date: Dec 1969
Location: Neptune Beach,Florida,USA
Posts: 806
I don't think ICS is a problem. I did a comparison game of conventional city development vs ICS, and the results early on were a wash. Same pop,science,gold etc. I can only think that later on, the ICS cities would be restricted in growth. I see no need to restrict a viable strategy that is not clearly superior. Besides, it's a pain to play.
geofelt is offline  


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:22.

Design by Vjacheslav Trushkin, color scheme by ColorizeIt!.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2010, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Apolyton Civilization Site | Copyright © The Apolyton Team