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Making Game Indepth - Political/Cultural Progression

Hey there,

I had a thought, it would be really interesting for added in-depth to progression of building games if politics begins to grow, progress and adapt. For example, having part of the tribe break away into a new tribe that you could trade, alliance, battle or co-exist with. You could also develop what kind of political system you use whether it be religiously driven, or mystical, if you got to develop your religion, whether they used sacrifices or how they appeased their god, etc or even if that isn’t part of their system. How their hierarchy develops from just a few members living together to a fully recognised system. I know that migration is an option so would be cool to see how that can develop with politics.

I find building games are really interesting but have no late game function or much depth like Banished for example. I find that perhaps having a tribe turn into a culture would be a great and undiscovered strategy that any game uses. Anyone have any thoughts on that?

Kind regards,

Natura Wolf

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I feel the philosophy of the old games like Caesar III, Pharaoh, Zeus: Master of Olympus, Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom, and Children of the Nile, fits very well. You have your city, and the land surrounding it, your basic map on which you play. Every resource you can use, and all the space your city can expand upon, is this map. However, with a click of a button, one jumps to the “world map”, or “region map”, or whichever works best. On this map, you see other cities and sites and possibilities. Some are accessible only by sea, some only by land. Some are powerful rivals, others humble villages. Some are friendly, some hostile. Some will gladly trade with you, other rather invade you.

It all offers immense opportunities for your city, since there is always so much more out there. You may lack a certain resource, but thanks to a trade agreement with a friendly city, you can import a ware, say, weapons. Or, rather, import the metal itself instead, build workshops to turn it into weapons yourself, and then export your surplus. Or turn the metal to something else, maybe tools? Don’t we need a new port to trade with them? All of this behoves you to expand your city, build more houses and farms, open up more trade to import what you lack, or export what you have… but what if a enemy threatens you? Or your trade friends? Your allies? Maybe your ally request your support? Maybe the colony you founded needs help? Endless opportunities!

I have such fond memories of hours upon hours spent building up some Grecian city from nothingness, becoming a trade hub, turning my city to a glittering capital, and sending out emissaries and armies to make all of Greece unite under my banner^^ That is exactly what was lacking in Banished. It is a marvellous game, until you have hundreds of granaries full, huge supplies of steel tools and woollen clothing, and every seed and animal around your city. There just… wasn’t more. No impressive monument, no glorious edifices, no joy of seeing merchants from all over the world crowding your trade districts, no triumphant sons of the city returning from the successful rescue of an allied city… I truly hope that Ancient Cities will contain such a dynamic between the city and the world map, with all those possibilities…

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In an adaption of the first post ideas I’d love the idea of leading a group of villagers forming a more micro managed tribe like taking part of the game flow of mount and blade… Or warband where the player builds up an empire within empires and striving to rule over all others if I’m honest I’d like to know more about the level of management there will be in this game, will there be a form of leadership or hierarchy…? If so tribe specific or across a whole region or will that be something that develops over time and research. [quote=“NaturaWolf, post:1, topic:2282”]
How their hierarchy develops from just a few members living together to a fully recognised system
[/quote]

As mentioned here it’s a great part of a realistic culture and something I’d very much look forward too.

Can we directly control the very minor direction of the villagers or is there a mixture of Ai and direction

For example the player places a wall piece but there isn’t enough wood does this prompt the Ai to instruct idle villages to gather more and the same with gathering food or other resources?

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I’d rather have no empire-building system since I think empires did not start to exist until later. Other tribes should probs just be raided, used to get knowledge and traded with.

It would certainly add some feel of progress aside from just surviving the ages.

Problem there is then you lose depth to the game, what your describing is basically banished with a dash of stronghold.

I’d argue that artistic liberties would need to be used to make changes and not always be consistent with reality. It could be possible but it would be rather dull and after about 5-10 hours you’d be done. Not impossible mind, but there should always be a question of what makes players come back to the game and continue the game, for card games the term would be ‘late game’, so what late game functions would the game have to keep the players invested.

To me the obvious although not simplistic answer is progression of society, which can be from development of culture, law & religion, which can be effected or dependable on things such as raids, trading, environment and player choices

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Empire-level of politics would only come to the game at a much later point anyway, with planned (but still only potential) Bronze Age expansions. Just saying so we don’t get ahead of ourselves; such things won’t be in the game as first released (and then other expansions follow first).

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Ja, I had not seen the Bronze age expansion under your topic. I thought you were talking about building empires in the neolithic.

Sorry!:sweat_smile:

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hehe it’s ok, but like Civ i think Late game is important to these games otherwise they become pretty shallow gameplay wise and after a day or two become repetitive and dull or non-challenging.

Honestly, I don’t think not having empire building in the first version (for Neolithic) won’t be a real trouble concerning late game.
Just imagine we’ll have to work on establishing a decent society with political hierarchy, a religion (and maybe a “clergy”), manage a few hundreds or thousands of people in a town without any administrative tool, work to keep your ever-decaying resources sufficient in stock for allowing building nice sanctuaries, and amidst all of that repelling raids, concluding trade and diplomatic alliances…

I’m even wondering if the first steps in the Bronze Age won’t be easier than the last ones in the first release :wink:

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I would imagine that the foundation and construction of the settlement will be very entertaining for a few hours. Later on, the population will eventually reach the point at which the surrounding area no longer meets demand. It would be realistic if groups from time to time made their way to new areas. Let us remember the situation “heritage” - firstborn, 2nd - 3rd - born. And from this the 2nd and 3rd generation. If we combine different life plans, talents and temperament, there seems to be only the possibility for expansion as a solution. Or NPCs disappear for unexplained reasons. (Do not hope that this is solved with plague …)
Can only remind me of Caesar III, since there was a task for each city. If they were fulfilled, they went to the next one.
Personally I would find expansion exciting. To see how from a small group first families, then clans, a tribe and later a whole people with several settlements emerges. Presumably “law”, “religion” and trade - between and outside - will really make sense. Automatically, hirarchies will evolve, and the importance and reputation of families and clans will play an increasingly important role …

… and then, we wait patiently for the enlargement Bronce period :relieved:

I’ve been watching Extra History (The game crew who do Extra Credits) and they did a feature on the collapse of the bronze age:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkMP328eU5Q
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMBM1qazAXE
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-8uv4D7cOE
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HaqpSPVhW8
  5. (Alphabet) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPrcfawo9UM

It would be really interesting to see how our tribes expanding into these complex civilisations in the Bronze age, and maybe be interesting to go through into the dark ages in how the systems collapse back into the many tribes.

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I guess it depends on the technological level of our tribe. If we do indulge in agriculture, as well as hunting and gathering, I see no reason the city map should not be able to sustain at the very least several hundred, inhabitants, if not thousands, all grouped together in a village surrounded by a strong palisade, guarded by good men. I should think it would take more than a few hours to reach that level.

I agree though that migration would play a important role, like in Banished or Tropico. Newcomers come to our town, with new knowledge and views. Some of them would even be quite exotic. Traders would be similar. In the beginning of the game, traders would probably only come from the nearest villages and tribes, with a backpack or so, full of stuff to trade. Later, we would have several traders at once, from further away, maybe even hand-drawn carts on the worn paths through the forests. With the domestication of horses would come bigger carts, more trade… and more migrations…

Sure, Caesar III had certain goals for every city, but some goals were difficult enough to last you tens of hours, especially when balancing economy and war. In the later games of that series, Zeus: Master of Olympus, and Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom, you also have a complete strategic level, in which matters outside of your city play a much greater role. Establishing colonies, defending allies so that they can trade you food, conquering enemy cities to open up new supply routes, pacifying the region…

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(Nice intertwining of posts and thoughts here :slight_smile:)

I think the collapse of a civilization or of a settlement is probably the part of the game being the least difficult to modelize.
Without speaking of a defeat in a raid, or the death of all citizens by hunger (either due to plagues, hunger, climate…) resulting in a game-over, I think historical examples are sufficient to show how a settlement may collapse.

Taking the example of the Empire carved by the Third Dynasty of Ur in Southern Mesopotamia, you’ll probably recognize slow descent to hell in any game you ever played (any Civilization, Paradox games, maybe Total War, etc.). The first cause was that the administration was probably over developed, with a strict organization of the space in the whole Empire: each region was far too much centered around one production, meaning the loss of any of those region created a lack of this resource into the surviving territories, and a difficulty to adapt instantly to this loss. This may happen e.g. in Civilization, if you overspecialize one of your cities (in science, or religion, or industry).

To this may be added probably a solidified society. The difficulty to give their place to recent immigrants (Elamits or Akkadians, coming from East or North in Ur-III case), while it was relied heavily on them for armies or specialized productions, drove them to progressively maintain relations more favorable with their native regions instead of the centralized power. It may be important here to note that the great wall built to keep any invader away didn’t worked – all other examples in history gave the same results, even if currently one US and some EU presidents seem to don’t have any knowledge in history.
This progressive froze of society partly explains why some societies progressively lost all vitality, which should be a very important thing in A.C. given what’s currently known of the gameplay, notably technical discovery as it has been explained so far. Clearly, refusing any migration should lead to a progressive backwardness that (hopefully) tech discovery though war should not be able to catch up.

To those issues, evidently, may be added the fact that this froze in society and the worsening of the situation is prone to cause unrest and distrust towards the centralized power, in those society where the ruler is the father for his people, holding most of the power against the promise he will allow them to live safely and peacefully (no invasions) in good conditions (no hunger, no hunger, no drought, etc.). When the situation is growing too bad, provinces/regions/districts progressively grow reluctant to any order given by the central power, meaning then more unrest, political troubles, revolts, etc.

All in all, if A.C. gameplay is well thought out (I have no doubt on that), well implemented (let’s hope!) and well tested (it will be our job next year), this should promise quite a few interesting collapses alongside the most obvious ones related to any survival game.

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An important point. I’m not sure if migration or trade is more important for technical progress.
Migration: Somewhere, every migrant comes. What caused him to do this? Let us move into the society from which he comes. Would you let your best people just leave? You need it yourself …
and then there would be the betrayal of technical secrets, which would benefit the tribe from his point of view. So, what kind of migrants will come?
Would be a stroke of luck if the best came. Probably, however, the greatest value will lie in a medium-term improvement of the immune system.
Trade: Traders travel a great radius of the map, learn a lot of news, bring in unknown merchandise (and maybe tell where they are from). One could then then “look” there … Either one sends a few “migrants”, or one looks immediately with an army … of course only, in order to achieve a better result for a trade contract. :wink:

Well, there were lot of exchanges as soon as the Neolithic and even far before that.

There were long-range trade for rare goods like stones or shells, which were asked to prove the greatness of some bigmen or other people. The stones from Stonehenge traveled something like 200 or 250 km before being set in place, etc. So that’s less a question of unknown goods that of availability.

As for “migrants”, there’s a least the reasons that someone may be the lone survivor of this own tribe, or he got lost, or he got married, or got exchanged against another member, or even against some rare goods, etc.

All in all, there were probably far more migrations from one tribe to another than we probably may see. And there’s not doubt that as soon as someone got integrated, he had very few reasons to keep “secrets” hiden: if he knew a better way to make a bow, or a more efficient way to work a field, then he could either show his importance or just help his new people.

Also, as I know you’re German: I know illegal downloading is far more frowned upon in Germany than in France, but maybe you’ll find this in streaming: https://www.wunschliste.de/episode/634604/die-spur-der-steine-der-erste-dorfbewohner (“Sur nos traces”/“Die Spur der Steine”, season 4 episode 2).
At 17:00, you’ll find an interview with a German archaeologist in Halle, that shows the case of women having been killed by their own tribe after having had children in another tribe something like 80 km from their home. That’s a clear case of migration, although it’s difficult to know if they were there because of a rapt, by exchange, by love or anything else we may imagine.

About the series: even if centered essentially on France, it’s really worth the watch. Quite up-to-date for everything I’ve seen so far, no fancy 3D simulation being half false, most of the content being interviews with archaeologists, filming of the actual locations, views of the pieces in the museums commented by specialists, etc. In case anybody would want to try, there’ a Youtube chain about it, although when not understanding French English auto-translation is quite… strange, to say the least. But for ex. in episode 3, season 2 the middle part shows an archeologist working on a weaving loom which could be of interest for @lotus253 and the final part the Belgian silex mines in Spiennes, commented by archaeologists also, in case this would be of interest for @UncasualGames

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Thank you, good tip! I am not only German but also too stupid to stream. :smirk: But remember to have seen some episodes years ago (arte)
Ahh, found it on Youtube …
… and many other things on this topic, unfortunately everything in German without English translation for you.

… we should think about this topic. Was that already there? In which form? Monogamy?
Harem? Jealousy? Adultery? Incest? Vendetta? Marriage policy? Dowry?
How is this going to play a role in the game?

@Elfryc, I should be very careful to mix in our modern notions on migration, including its politics, into a discussion about the place of migration in Ancient Cities. Whether or not Sweden or Germany or Hungary choose to shut its borders to large-scale migrations in 2015, or whether or not Trump wants to extend an existing wall, has very little to do with migrations of tribes more than seven thousand years ago.

I also reject your notion that "the great wall built to keep any invader away didn’t worked ". Not to mention that the Great Wall of China worked for very effectively for centuries, millennia, at its task. That it has been superseded doesn’t prove anything. A wall is simply one brick atop another, and is useless and worthless in itself. If anything, the cultural wall set up by Qin Shi Huangdi over two thousand years ago, still stands. Whether Huns, Mongols or other invaders, they are gone, and China still stands, a unified nation and culture, apart from any nomads or other foreign domination. Another example: while the Roman limes was manned and supported, mankind thrived through the pax romana. When corruption and self-interest took over, and the emperors squabbled and wasted, so did the limes fall, and a scourge swept through much of Europe, one of the greatest disasters in the history of our civilisation. When looking at several historic examples, like when the Normans threw out Islam and Orthodox Christianity from the Mezzogiorno, or the American push westwards, practically exterminating all that was foreign, it led to everything but “progressive backwardness” or loss of “vitality”.

I’m not trying to paint a picture saying that migration is bad, and that building walls is good, but rather: migration is a very complicated concept, it can be very good, very right, and very bad, and very wrong. It completely depends on thousands of variables. The same is true of walls. No black and white. Would France have been better off if the Franks were kept out of Gaul? No Mérovée, no Clovis, no Hugues Capet? God knows quality of life and levels of technology fell with the collapse of Roman rule. How about the Visigoths in Spain? How about invasion of Islam? And then the reconquista? The expulsion of the Moors and Jews? It’s all very complicated. The US started encouraging immigration after the civil war, but then shut its gates almost completely before WWI. They didn’t really reopen till the 1970s, and seem to be closing them again now. Sweden prided itself in the 1950s with not having any ethnic problems, while in the recent Norwegian election, Sweden’s widespread ethnic problems featured heavily. It’s all endlessly complicated. So let’s not even mention politics at all, let’s keep politics far away. A bit like the recent discussion on religion: let’s not bring up stuff that are either irrelevant or might offend. Let’s keep to ancient times.

With all that said:

I agree that migration should be an important part of the game. Like you say, the Akkadians and other Semitic or even Indo-european peoples could serve as an important model, in their contacts with the Sumerians. Maybe the Sea Peoples, the Doric invasion of Greece? In older city-building games, the city is completely build on migration, since no children are born: any population increase is because more people move in from outside. That might be a overdoing it a bit, but I do believe that migrants will make up a sizeable portion of the inhabitants of our city, natural increase would be limited. Some will be of our own people, only from other sites. Others will be similar to ourselves, another branch of the tree as it were. A few will be completely foreign, in language, religion, clothing (@lotus253!) and other matters. There might be tension, or not, depending on the differences, but also the society, and the leadership (the player). If anything, imagine the richness of the market squares, the multitude of languages!

At its most basic level there should be some note in the “info card” of each tribe member, about where they were born. This already exists in Tropico, where both tourists and foreign hired educated workers may hail from all sorts of places. It has no effect on game play though. We could also connect this with “clans” and “greater family groups” or similar, by having some family tree information available, a light version of Crusader Kings. You know, to see “which line” they are a part of, a bit like the (if you would allow me to use your nationality) Spanish Borbónes are a branch of the Bourbons of Louis XIV, in turn a line of the Capets of Saint Louis (IX), in turn a line of the Robertians of Hugues Capet. The ancient Romans of higher rank would use three names, sometimes even more, to denote their own personal name, the name of the immediate family, but also the name of the extended family, the “clan” if you will. Maybe some of our villagers, mindful of their origins, would have something similar? “Ugga-bugga, son of Og, of the Hoktoks”? :wink:

I’m assuming that when we start, all of the the tribe members we start with would be of the same clan, the same extended family. I’m guessing then that the player would be… associated with that group? That the player, although not a person walking around in the game, would “be” a part of that clan? The original clan? And any other clan encountered in the game, let alone tribe or people, would be different, apart, foreign? Or… maybe the player has no clan, no loyalty but to the city, meaning… clans may come and go, even tribes, peoples…? Kind of like a “ruler of Paris” would start out with, maybe, some Celtic tribe, the Parisii, on a little island in the river, which in time become Latin speaking Gallic Romans of Lutetia, who are then conquered by the Franks and slowly become French in Paris? Both options would be fun…

I must though say that I am a bit hesitant regarding the role of migration and trade when it comes to technology, as you both imply, @tschuschi and @Elfryc. We know from history that many technologies and discoveries were only made once or twice, and then slowly spread across the world, from the places where a discovery was likely, to places where a discovery would never occur (but once made, it could be used). The focus on this spreading of ideas, through either trade or migration, does though undermine any possibility for the player’s tribe to single-handedly discover agriculture, metallurgy, husbandry, domestication, and so forth. Surely, over a few generations, our tribe would both learn of discoveries and inventions from afar, as well as discover and invent on its own, just like it would surely establish its own norms and culture?

Looking forward also to using tradesmen as spies, fighting to keep competent and specialised tribe members from moving away, and fearing disease in every foreigner :stuck_out_tongue:

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That was a wall of text :blush: I’ll answer in several post, just by fear that it becomes unreadable.

[quote=“Grigor, post:19, topic:2282, full:true”]@Elfryc, I should be very careful to mix in our modern notions on migration, including its politics, into a discussion about the place of migration in Ancient Cities. Whether or not Sweden or Germany or Hungary choose to shut its borders to large-scale migrations in 2015, or whether or not Trump wants to extend an existing wall, has very little to do with migrations of tribes more than seven thousand years ago.

I also reject your notion that "the great wall built to keep any invader away didn’t worked ". Not to mention that the Great Wall of China worked for very effectively for centuries, millennia, at its task. That it has been superseded doesn’t prove anything. A wall is simply one brick atop another, and is useless and worthless in itself. If anything, the cultural wall set up by Qin Shi Huangdi over two thousand years ago, still stands. Whether Huns, Mongols or other invaders, they are gone, and China still stands, a unified nation and culture, apart from any nomads or other foreign domination. Another example: while the Roman limes was manned and supported, mankind thrived through the pax romana. When corruption and self-interest took over, and the emperors squabbled and wasted, so did the limes fall, and a scourge swept through much of Europe, one of the greatest disasters in the history of our civilisation. When looking at several historic examples, like when the Normans threw out Islam and Orthodox Christianity from the Mezzogiorno, or the American push westwards, practically exterminating all that was foreign, it led to everything but “progressive backwardness” or loss of “vitality”.

I’m not trying to paint a picture saying that migration is bad, and that building walls is good, but rather: migration is a very complicated concept, it can be very good, very right, and very bad, and very wrong. It completely depends on thousands of variables. The same is true of walls. No black and white. Would France have been better off if the Franks were kept out of Gaul? No Mérovée, no Clovis, no Hugues Capet? God knows quality of life and levels of technology fell with the collapse of Roman rule. How about the Visigoths in Spain? How about invasion of Islam? And then the reconquista? The expulsion of the Moors and Jews? It’s all very complicated. The US started encouraging immigration after the civil war, but then shut its gates almost completely before WWI. They didn’t really reopen till the 1970s, and seem to be closing them again now. Sweden prided itself in the 1950s with not having any ethnic problems, while in the recent Norwegian election, Sweden’s widespread ethnic problems featured heavily. It’s all endlessly complicated. So let’s not even mention politics at all, let’s keep politics far away. A bit like the recent discussion on religion: let’s not bring up stuff that are either irrelevant or might offend. Let’s keep to ancient times.[/quote]

As a preliminary, I have to say I wrote about the great wall build by Shu-Sîn of the Third Dynasty of Ur. In the official calendar, the 4th year of his reign was named "Year Shu-Sîn the king of Ur built the wall against the Amurrites called “Holding back the Tidanum”.

But please forgive me if I ever give the impression I’m meddling any emotion and history – that’s clearly not the case. In fact, I just need one example of any wall having been successful to prevent either any migration or invasion, given I don’t know any, either ancient (Ur III, the Great Wall of China, the Roman limes) or contemporary that managed to do that.

But you’re totally right saying that a wall is a wall, and an unmanned wall is clearly not worth anything. However, I really think that the fact China was ruled for centuries by Mongols and Mandchus, and that the Roman Empire left the Franks enter their territories to protect them is clearly an evidence those two societies erected wall to protect themselves, trying to froze on their current states and finally were enforced the changes they refused. As a French, I know that any wall, as modern as it may seem, is until proven otherwise unable to prevent any invasion.

So, to be clear: I think those long walls trying to prevent any form of invasion or migration just doesn’t work – which don’t mean in any way I’m for or against migration. Thinking a society is more dynamic and vitalized by migration is not an opinion, it’s just a fact.

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