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House balancing issues
8 replies to this topic - Started By ghaskamin, Oct 13 2014 03:15 AM

#1 ghaskamin

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 03:15 AM

Hi, this game is looking awesome and I already enjoy playing it even though it's still so early in development. However, I'd like to help with anything I can to bring issues to light and give some suggestions.

First off, I'd just like to say that I'm perfectly aware that the game is still early in development and balancing is not a very big focus right now. I'm writing this more for the sake of demonstration and reference rather than saying it's a big issue. If anything, other people can use this as a tip when playing themselves to avoid the "big" dwellings to save resources and space.

Anyway, I noticed the cost and "reward" for the dwellings do not scale very well between small shack and small hovel. Let me break it down to show what I mean:

Small shack (current small house)
Cost: 35 wood and 10 stone
Space requirement: 4x4 (16 tiles)
Occupants: 8 (0.5 occupants per tile)
Food storage: 24 (3 per occupant)

 

Small hovel (current big house)
Cost: 70 wood and 20 stone
Space requirement: 5x5 (25 tiles)
Occupants: 12 (0.48 occupants per tile)
Food storage: 36 (3 per occupant)

As you can see, the price is double, but the occupant space is only 50% bigger. I'm not saying you should get twice as many occupants for paying more, but if you look at the occupant per tile-ratio, it's also (slightly) higher in the big house compared to the small one, thus making the bigger houses not only more expensive, but also less space effective. Food storage seems to be even on both houses in relation to the number of people living in the house, so that's fine.

To give you an example of why this is an issue; Let's say you have an area of 20x20 tiles and fill it with houses. Let's break it down and see how big of a difference it actually makes.

Small shack (current small house)
One house takes up 4x4 tiles, so you would fit 5x5 houses in a 20x20 area, that's 25 houses.
Cost: 875 stone (35 wood x 25) and 250 stone (10 stone x 25)
Total occupant space: 200 (8 x 25)

Small hovel (current big house)
One house takes up 5x5 tiles, so you would fit 4x4 houses in a 20x20 area; that's 16 houses.
Cost: 1120 wood (70 x 16) and 320 stone (20 x 16)
Total occupant space: 192 (12 x 16)

A suggestion to a more balanced ratio would be something like 14 or 15 occupants in the Small hovel (big house), which is less than double compared to the smaller house, but would still make it much more space efficient and that way also worth the higher price per occupant.

Another solution would be to reduce the price to make it more cost-effective per occupant that way, but in my opinion a bigger house should be more space efficient and thus worth a higher price.

I'll keep doing some comparisons between other buildings later on as well and try to continue giving feedback like this if appreciated. Right now there's not much to do for me other than analysing the game's mechanics ;)


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#2 Luka

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 04:49 AM

I never realized this. Interesting, thanks for the temporary tip ;)
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#3 zblu64

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 07:12 AM

ghaskamin, thank you for the feedback.

 

You can also look at it as people with bigger houses are usually well off and want more space per person.  (Think apartment vs mansion.)   So while a bigger house may be more expensive, the occupants may gain more happiness for that cost.  

 

I don't know if that's what Ray is planning on with it, but it sounds reasonable.


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#4 ghaskamin

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 07:34 AM

Good point, zblu64. I was thinking about that too, but to me it just doesn't seem reasonable since resources are finite (at least stone will continue to be). If they want more space, why not use the extra material to build two stories high instead of wider? ;) Nah, just kidding, it could very well be a reason for balancing it like this. I actually also thought about the opposite, that a smaller house would be better suited to a couple and might raise repopulation rates (and thus happiness), because they would get more privacy, right? Kind of funny how many angles you can look at it from and what possible perks can come from each type of dwelling.

 

I still doubt it was a planned decision, however, because if small things like that are in place, the game will become too complex. Especially since there will be many more buildings to come and both of these still have "small" in the name. It would also be hard to display all the information to the player if there were even more differences between the houses.

 

At least that's what I'm thinking, but I still think it's good to take the discussion up. I'm sure Ray has been thinking and planning around these types of things that we don't know about. There's also a possibility he has not thought of all that we bring up, so let's keep the discussion going!


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#5 zblu64

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 07:45 AM

There should be some advantage to building the bigger houses vs a lot of smaller ones right?  You could look at it from the bigger houses can cram more people, but in real life that is not always better.  (Apartment complex vs mansion.)

 

I think it is along the same lines of in the real world you often have a lot of people stuffed into a small house so having more room is sometimes a luxury.  It may make some sense to have the "higher end" homes cost more resources (not just double) to indicate it is a better home, thus forcing you to decide if the bigger house with more happiness (or whatever the advantage is) is worth the extra cost of materials.

 

You may be correct about the complexity, but then again, look at games like Minecraft where people have figured out how doing things one way is more efficient than a different way.  :)


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#6 Warfang

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 01:38 PM

I also got to say...

As much as farmers do have better AI now, fewer houses means less places to deliver food to. Now this really only matters when hunger begins to set in, a house that has more people living in it is easier to gather to. This is sort of a bad example, but it kinda is relevent.

 

I have a feeling that in the future this balancing issue will be resolved through other means. 

For example, Ray mentioned in the future villagers could store wood/coal in their houses for heat (Assumed during winter). Perhaps since the size of the house will not matter for heating perposes, it will be much cheaper to have less houses to heat.

See where I'm going with this? It could apply to many other things added in the future.

 

 


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#7 Luka

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 02:30 PM

There should be some advantage to building the bigger houses vs a lot of smaller ones right?  You could look at it from the bigger houses can cram more people, but in real life that is not always better.  (Apartment complex vs mansion.)

 

I think it is along the same lines of in the real world you often have a lot of people stuffed into a small house so having more room is sometimes a luxury.  It may make some sense to have the "higher end" homes cost more resources (not just double) to indicate it is a better home, thus forcing you to decide if the bigger house with more happiness (or whatever the advantage is) is worth the extra cost of materials.

 

You may be correct about the complexity, but then again, look at games like Minecraft where people have figured out how doing things one way is more efficient than a different way.  :)

Hmm, Small hovel increases happiness but lower occupation? 


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#8 ghaskamin

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 01:39 AM

As much as farmers do have better AI now, fewer houses means less places to deliver food to. Now this really only matters when hunger begins to set in, a house that has more people living in it is easier to gather to. This is sort of a bad example, but it kinda is relevent.
 
I have a feeling that in the future this balancing issue will be resolved through other means. 
For example, Ray mentioned in the future villagers could store wood/coal in their houses for heat (Assumed during winter). Perhaps since the size of the house will not matter for heating perposes, it will be much cheaper to have less houses to heat.
See where I'm going with this? It could apply to many other things added in the future.


Those are some very good points there, I didn't even think about the food issue. What you mentioned about wood/coal is also something I didn't know about, but makes very good sense. Both of those things are something that doesn't need visual representation as well, I like that!

It's very interesting to see how much thought can be brought into a seemingly simple thing like housing.

Now when I think about it, wouldn't a bigger house also provide better protection against monsters? That actually seems like a very good reason for having a higher cost, especially with more advanced types of houses. A stone house would obviously withstand more of a beating than a wooden hut.

Even though it's not really worth the extra cost at the moment, I still end up building the big houses because they make my village look nicer over all. The only problem is that after a certain point, I can't build houses fast enough to sustain the exponentially growing population, but that's for another thread/time.
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#9 Rayvolution

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 01:52 AM

I like all of your suggestions/comments (way too many to go into!). I agree, house balancing is out of whack at the moment.

 

Since the game is in such an early phase of development, truth be told, balance wasn't a consideration when deciding the mats costs and villager occupancy, I just made them higher than the shacks and moved on. Mainly because of the future plans for things like heating sources and what not. I have to wait for more of the game to be completed before I can correctly balance the houses, so instead of wasting time trying to make them work flawlessly now, I just shot from the hip and went with it. :)

 

But I may make an effort soon to rebalance them a bit for the current mechanics making them a little more worthwhile, because so many more people are planning RPC now.


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