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How will aging of people work?

As the title says, will people age at the precise pace of passing playing time? After one year in the game a 20 years old guy will be 21 or like other city builders people will age by 2 or 3 years every passing year?

I always found very disturbing that after a couple of years newborns turn into “adults”.


This still has to be fine tuned and to some extend defined.
At this moment 1 year is 1 year, but it do not work pretty well unless years become too short, and that make years generic, repetitive an uninteresting.
If years last enough so every year can be an adventure, then you don’t want one year to be one year or you will finish the game in less than one generation.

This is an interesting discussion.
What do you think people?


At what age do we classify a person “adult” however? Age of majority is variable. Although most countries have it defined as the age of 18, it does vary between <15 - 21. And in earlier days these ages have been known to be even younger.

And age of majority is really nothing more than a legal concept.

If we take a look at human physiology, age of majority is all but the same from truly being through initial development. Reproductive maturity comes earlier, as most will be aware. Skeletal maturity however does not come till a much later point in time, with the last bones (medial clavicular epiphysis) being fused in all in the early third decade of life.

So rather than asking ourselves, at which age do we label our citizens as adult (is there actually any evidence that in the neolithic age the concept of adulthood was used to begin with?), but rather at what age are people comfortable with of seeing citizens become childbearing? At what age are people comfortable with of seeing citizens do full-time labour? Etcetera?

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I completely agree with you, my question wasn’t aiming to suggest at what age a child will be able to do the work of an adult person, but only to know how aging and gameplay time will be related.

As I yet said in the first post, in other city builder games childs become adults at very young age, in Forest Village for example they turn in full operating adults at the age of 7 (!!) and to get there it only take them a couple of in game years (never liked that but maybe it’s just my problem).

Thank you for the reply!

It give us a couple of hints about the time in game, at this stage seems pretty slow flow, and I personally like that.

What I do not like in available city building games is that, to quote you almost to the letter: “years are too short, and that make years generic, repetitive an uninteresting”. If you add to that the crazy fast rate at which people age, after 12 years you have a huge village with nothing interesting left to do.

I’m glad to hear that probably one of the two “problems” will be gone in your amazing game.


The years in Life is Feudal take relatively long though. And when labeled as baby or child the characters serve no purpose in that game. They do not participate in employment. You can bypass that with heavy micromanagement (first person view to do the labour manually through the child characters), but this is far from entertainable.

Meanwhile, they do consume food.

Having people do nothing else than stand around in a house, doing nothing than consuming food, is acceptable when you’re a baby. But once you become older you’ll be expected to do more. This is school in modern times. But in the past that’d be labour in some shape or form.

A label of adult attached to that perhaps is best to avoid. Just classify age groups “behind the scenes”, and only give the player an age indication on the characters instead when selected.

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Villagers will have their own motivation, according to the developers. A possible way to expand this is to give every person a strength and energy parameter. Skills could have similar level requirements to perform. Thus, a 5 year old might have level 1 strength (carry object) and level 1 energy (for 30 min) and help with level 1 skills (carry water, wood, food, leather, etc.) This would allow for more natural progression instead of a binary “adult” flag. Even better if the progression would vary so not every adult could reach max level, improve at the same rate, acquire the same skills, or even lose proficiency (job change).


The way I see it this basicly boils down to how we want to handle time in AC…
Most similar games accelerate time so that a year in the game become maby a couple of hours IRL.

For me, that approach causes a lot of immersion issues.
One solution would be to allow us to somehow “skip” uneventful parts of time.
Im not entirely sure how that would work, it could be as simple as only letting us play our tribes during certain periods of time with specific goals in mind.

For example: Summer is turning to fall. The tribe needs guidance to ensure that they have enough food stored for the fall and Winter ahead. They also need weapons as they will become more Reliant on hunting.

This could be our “goal” for that period. And when we feel we have completed it good enough (or when we run out of time) then we are not allowed to play that period anymore and instead are presented with a summary on how the tribe fared that fall. If we did good, then their chances increases, if we did bad then they decrease. The next period we play will be the switch from fall to Winter where we have to choose wether to dig in and prepare for the Cold harsh Winter months or gather enough supplies and migrate to a new location.

This would allow us to treat time normally, a Child might take 13 years to grow into someone useful to society (that sounded harsh :S ), but for us players that might be equal to 52 periods. How long these periods will take (IRL hours) could of course be debatable.

This could also have Another interesting effect:
Planning Buildings. Constructing a building takes time, and in most games this is done in mere seconds (shivers). Also very immersion-breaking. With this way of playing we could allow the Buildings to take a “normal” amount of time to be built. Especially complex Buildings might have several steps and might even take a year (ingame year) to be built. During our playable season-switches we could see the Buildings different stages of Construction.

There we go, wall of text has now concluded :stuck_out_tongue:


I imagine being able to warp time would be enough. Turning this into something akin to Ceasar or a mini-game with checklist goals sounds even less immersive (albeit still fun) for a game that’s attempting to be a civilization builder.

I think it depends on the intended timescale for each map. So if a 3 km map can be depleted in 100 years and you can accelerate time to 12 min/year, that’s 20 hours of gameplay per map, so it would require at least 4 months of gameplay to span 5,000 years. I’ve probably accomplished less playing SimCity and still had a great time!

I see Ancient Cities as more of an immersion into an historical experience than a race-to-the-end kind of game. I created a YouTube series of Banished with the Colonial Charter mod and got 100 episodes out of it. I’d like to be able to do the same with Ancient Cities. That being said, while a game pace of one year per one year of aging would enhance immersion, it would also limit appeal as only a few would have the patience to continue playing or watching. As well, offsetting that with too fast-paced of a year breaks the immersion we are hoping the game will create.

I think the best way to satisfy most would be an option to choose how many years the population ages per game year, say a range of 1 to 5 years per cycle. This way a year (4-season cycle) can still be long enough to satisfy, but the player can choose how much age progression occurs based on their patience level and attention span.

Adding to this, I’d like to see this type of setting replace the concept of “speeding up the game.” Rather than hit 10-speed and little tribals start running around the scene like they’ve all had too much sugar, how about a constant game speed altered by choosing (in the Options menu) the number of years each cycle will represent? This way the game will always be played as it was intended, with all the animations looking realistic, yet the generations can go by at the pace the player is comfortable.

Any thoughts?


Hi Noble, nice to see you around here :wink:

We have something like this in our minds.
Still need to try it in the game and see how it works. Right now years are long, but I would like then even a bit longer, so you can really have that “winter is coming” feeling or running out of supplies and praying for an early spring.
That means that a year cant be a year if we want to play with different generations.

The game works with xN speeds, though. Playing every day at real time can take a while only watching people walking and doing stuff. Real time IS real time and it would end being boring. Of course nobody forces you to speed up, so you can go real time if you want. But we are building fast speed in a way that it feels like those beautiful and relaxing time lapses videos where you look the clouds shadows and lighting changing along the day. That’s the goal, and that is why we are embracing the day night cycle too. Let’s see how much we can move towards that goal for the first release.


Unfortunately the best compromise might be to divorce the aging of the citizens and the cycle of seasons. So… have one year of seasons represent 4-5 years of game time? It’s not the ideal solution, but it enables the kind of “get ready for the winter” gameplay that you guys seem to want, while not forcing the town to develop at a incredibly slow rate.

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@Dernwine In a game everything is a balance between realism and gameplay. When the two collide a choice must be done and 99% of the time the gameplay win and it is a good thing. This is a game with high realism intention but it is still a game. Never sacrifice gameplay to realism if it hurt your game playbility (and it hurt me to say that…).

In the end it will hurt your project too. Less engaging game meam less player which meam less money hence less good historical expansions. So it is important to balance correctly.


I just want to add some references to my previous comment. Enjoy !:wink:



Think it will depend on several factors.
How much self-initiative will the NPCs develop? What will they do themselves, without instruction by the player. Or, alternatively, the player can pretend what to do in the empties …?
As detailed, e.g. The fall of a tree can be observed, the construction of a hut, a hunting scene etc …

As the game progresses and more complex scenarios, the micromanagement becomes easily annoying. Here, perhaps, a deliberately balanced time-advance helps?

When dialogues, diplomacy, trade, and war take place, there is a time-lag for life’s continuation, but not too much change. Particularly annoying if the player would have intervened, but he was not offered any opportunity because he was at that time on a 2-day hunting or a battle.

for @Sargon :wink:
Denke, es wird auf mehrere Faktoren ankommen.
Wieviel Eigeninitiative werden die NPC´s entwickeln? Was werden sie selbst tun, ohne Anweisung durch den Spieler. Oder, alternativ, der Spieler kann vorgeben, was sie in den Leerzeiten tun sollen…?
Wie detailiert soll z.B. das fällen eines Baumes zu beobachten sein, der Bau einer Hütte, eine Jagd-szene etc…

Mit fortschreitendem Spiel und komplexeren Szenarien wird das micromanagement leicht lästig. Hier hilft vielleicht ein fein ausbalancierter Zeitvorlauf?

Wenn Dialoge, Diplomatie, Handel und Krieg stattfinden sorgt umgekehrt eine Zeitbremse dafür, dass zwar das Leben weitergeht, aber nicht zu große Veränderungen stattfanden. Besonders ärgerlich, wenn der Spieler hätte eingreifen wollen, aber er keine Möglichkeit geboten bekam, weil er zu dieser Zeit auf einer 2-Tages-Jagd oder einer Schlacht war.

Spannendes Thema.

For the first release at least player will not be able to leave the city map.
The game will notify you events. If some event is important the game will also force x1 time speed by itself. This way you will not miss important opportunities.


I happen to know for a fact that Sargon doesn’t speak German. :stuck_out_tongue:
I think what is important to note as well is that there won’t be an first person control view (what I think you refer to as Egoperspecitve). Which means that hunting will probably be a lot more automated than in something like Forest Village.

That does not, but he will perhaps translate my bad English again :grin:[quote=“Dernwine, post:18, topic:1050”]
Which means that hunting will probably be a lot more automated than in something like Forest Village.
Have something feared, but the hope dies last …
By some thing the player wants to shine in the group, Age of Empire was yesterday …

Sag das noch mahl auf Deustch, das englische macht kein sinn.

Hey out of interest does anyone have any idea how many generations the average game will last?