Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Changing the voters opinions (long term changes)

So…democracy 3…

There are a whole bunch of voter groups. here is a nice shiny image showing what they are.


My current dilemma is adding enough effects that determine the changes over time in the membership of these groups. Some are pretty obvious, as in the three income groups membership is determined by the underlying economic simulation regarding income / redistribution / your policies on tax etc. But many are more subtle. For example, what would increase the number of liberals in your country? I already have a bunch of ‘membership’ effects, but I think it would be cool to add more, without it requiring adding tons and tons of new policies. Here are my current ideas, and I welcome more, or criticisms of my reasoning:

  1. motorists should be increased/decreased by traffic congestion (more pleasant way to travel)
  2. commuters increased by bus subsidies and rail subsidies (presumably making it cheaper / nicer)
  3. liberals increased by race discrimination act and community policing? Also boosted by teaching evolution.
  4. Environmentalists boosted by recycling, hybrid cars and micro generation grants. (daily routine or economic benefits to being green)
  5. Retired boosted by pensions (afford to quit early)
  6. State schools and childcare provision should boost parents membership (having kids less expensive or hassle)
  7. Vigilante mobs should boost conservative membership (fear of the mob!)
  8. Winter fuel subsidy should slightly boost the retired, as they live longer!

Like I say, I’m looking for long term effects on membership of a group, not just happiness of existing members. For example, car tax pleases environmentalists, but I doubt it persuades anyone to take up the green cause who wasn’t already persuaded.

20 thoughts on Changing the voters opinions (long term changes)

  1. Maybe instead of (or at least on the side of) asking which ppl become eg. liberal, you should ask “Why are there more (or less) liberal people voting in this current election?”. I think this issue is far more important than who becomes what. Because I do not think that people generally change their convictions. They just react to election promises or vote for an other party due to cynisism.

    But I don’t think that you will base your game on a multiple party system where you (can) form a coalition to remain in power?

  2. Whatever you do, please don’t make another annoying event similar to “Contagious disease” which only has one “non-free market” solution and would get solved fast under different ingame conditions.

    Example: People in my country pay very low taxes, unemployment is low, GDP is high, yet the poverty line refuses to drop and it miraculously produces a permanently sick population which hates the government. What?

  3. Long term I think a lot of people are affected by their parents political beliefs. Some people will rebel against their parents beliefs (especially I’d say when thinks are going okay and they’ve got the luxury of making such a choice based on a selfish emotion), others will inherit their parents beliefs (especially when thinks aren’t going great and the ‘other side’ are in power). So a generation of people are very anti-tory because they saw their parents suffer under Thatcher.

    To expand on your thinking for 6, and make it perhaps a bit more real world, is that the better the economy is doing and the cheaper it is to raise a kid, the more likely that a couple that gets pregnant is going to keep the baby. Under those same situations the more likely women might think they can go it alone as a single parent and not be forced into a shotgun marriage.

    Levels of Commuter’s/Motorists likely affected by how much the jobs are concentrated in the big cities. Not sure if you have such a measure or not in the game.

  4. We really don’t want a double back situation.
    “The below sentence is true”
    “The above sentence is a lie”

    We wouldn’t want a situation where taking public transit decreases accidents, therefore there’s more commuters / motorists. However, because there’s a spike in commuters now there’s more accidents.

  5. Yeah, I like that different events change the membership groups, but do you think there should be any policies that you could implement that changes for example conservatives or trade unionists? Liberals clearly can be changed, but something that changes conservatives, motorists, capitalists, and patriots trade unions are some that didn’t grow a lot in Democracy 2. Capitalist and self employed grew a little when you gave out small buissnis grants, patriots grew a little when you gave citizenship tests or if there was an event like terrorist attack.

    What I think you could also do to change the voter groups membership:

    Capitalists and self-employed grow more by low taxes and by private sector
    Conservatives and patriots grow more with a lot of immigration
    Trade unionists grow when there is poor concern for the workers.

    These are just suggestions of course. What you’ve done so far makes sense and it works if you ask me, but I really do think that there should be more ways to please the capitalists as there are so many ways to please the socialists

  6. I’m curious how many of the policies you’re modeling will have large enough effects in the timeframe of a single game. Education policy, for instance, could have profound effects on the population, but those effects would probably be delayed by 20 or more years from their implementation (it takes time for children to grow up and become a significant part of the electorate).

    But this gives me an idea: Have you given any thought to making a long-term campaign option for Democracy 3? That is, you wouldn’t just play a single administration, but several in sequence, within the same country. Or, if you don’t think a player could be trusted to honestly play the “opposition” when he loses an election, perhaps you could have them play every other administration, with some simulation being done by the computer for the interim governments. It could make long-term strategies quite interesting.

    For instance, a major education and secularization policy could dramatically change a backwards, theologically governed country. Or conversely, a degenerate liberal democracy could be dramatically reformed by strict conservatives. Unfortunately, neither of those kinds of changes are likely to have their greatest effects in less than a decade, which make them somewhat irrelevant given the shorter time limits of a regular game of Democracy.

  7. IS there any way you can make the overall population grow? In Democracy 2, this stayed the same, even with immigration etc. You could have several situations/events linked to this.

  8. It’s true that many policies are really only going to have very long term effects, and I’ve deliberately made such effects ‘faster’ in democracy 3 than they really would be, so you do see some effect. Also, you can play multiple terms so even long term changes to the number of religious people or conservatives should hopefully show up over time. I must remember to include a ‘no term limit’ option.

  9. lol Why is liberalism boosted by teaching Evolution and Conservatism boosted by Vigilante mobs? Surely there are other variables that could constitute conservative growth. Home schooling? Church/synagogue/mosk Attendance? Creationism being taught in schools? Nascar? Hunting? Something that won’t potentially demonize half of you game playing audience.

  10. A policy that just quickly changed Union membership in Sweden was removing tax deductability of Union membership fees. The same is lobbied in Finland by businesses

  11. Wow!!
    The game is very good shaped!
    You introduced a large number of interesting variables.

    I would like to know if you are going to use crowdfunding of other marketing plattform (like steam greenlight) to gain visibility. Will be very beautiful see a great positive feedback by users and maybe see a Democracy 4 too… or not?

  12. Lol, I only just noticed that you can see the membership of each group by the grey background on the voter group bar.

  13. Some groups (parents, motorists, trade unionists) are pretty straightforward, but for various reasons (including some given above), I think that in general the more ideology-oriented groups should be much more dramatically affected by situations and events than by policies. I mean, maybe you’ll see a few more patriots after an extended period of very nationalistic policies, but (speaking as an American here :-/ ) nothing changes public opinion quite like a well-timed terrorist attack.

    Maybe you could even do something where, say, the economic ideology group (socialist/capitalist) that is currently happiest with your policies gains members if the economy is doing really well, but loses members if it’s doing poorly.

  14. I’m wondering, will you add the possibility of lies ?
    By lies, I mean all the promises politicians make, and once they get into office they “forget” about it ?
    Or targeting an uneducated group with lies, to foul them to vote for you or something ?

  15. It’s a good point that events should shape membership as much as policies. I should clarify that I am certainly not demonising any groups.
    Teaching evolution in schools is definitely something associated with liberals, as opposed to conservatives, so I assume that a society with a long history of teaching evolution will result in a more liberal society 9for good or bad). Also, people tend to be more conservative under fear of crime or a breakdown in society, so vigilante mobs are likely to frighten people into supporting conservative policies such as armed police, curfews etc. I wasn’t implying conservatives *are* the mobs, certainly not :D

    1. Of course it’s the school that makes people liberal :P

      Is there any social policy to make the conservative group grow as well as some events that shape liberals? And if I fix the crime problems, will all the conservative membership decrease or will it go back a little, but some people are still going to be conservative?

  16. Can I just enquire as to why it is in the current game that your vote can completely collapse? For instance in Democracy 2 if you have overspent and have a big debt and then proceed to make cuts and take away some of the schemes you have implemented- your vote can literally just go from about 63% to 0%. I find this unrealistic that for 2-3-4 elections you have been given a huge amount of support and then every single voter just decides to turn away from you in one quarter of a year. I don’t object to unpopularity but surely your vote would collapse more gradually than that.

  17. Also, it may be complicated but is there any way we can improve foreign affairs section by maybe having wars or responding to conflicts and international situations? Possibly you could have a tab at the top where you can see different countries and then you can respond accordingly?

    Another idea or two I have had for democracy 3 is the idea/theme ‘work must pay.’ One thing I have noticed with democracy 2 is that if you give people maximum welfare- so you spend the max you can on housing, pensions, winter fuel, child ben, unemployment benefit & childcare provision you see a big rise in the amount of pensioners and those who can afford to retire, you see a big rise in equality but you don’t see a rise in unemployment or long term unemployment. So when the economic conditions are strong and GDP is high despite the fact there is a huge welfare state for people to live off and to fall into, 100% of citizens decide to keep working. I find this highly unlikely. Although I agree with welfare myself, welfare states will always find a small minority of people taking the piss and trying to bleed the system dry and trying to live off a lifestyle of luxury. I think there needs to be far more around the idea that work needs to pay, possibly have one of your dilemas or problems created when too many people are living off the welfare state at the cost of the taxpayer??

    Also what are you views about including different types of tax credits and income support as well as cold weather payments?

    Am I right in thinking the debt ceiling will be abolished? That is a much better idea in my opinion. The debt ceiling was a bit unfair and unrealistic to modern countries a d have growth, gdp and credit ratings is a better way of assessing.

    Another idea that i have is to do with effects of economic policy. We all know and can judge how bad a recession and economic storm is by how badly our high street and banks are hit. For instance we see small businesses close, then we see poorer chains like Woolworths in the UK close etc. It would be nice to see some effects of economic policy in the game. So for instance if we have debt and economic problems, you may get a news flash that several businesses have closed down and caused lots of unemploymemt. If you have huge amounts of debt, a deficit undealt with, high levels of unemployments and cuts, you may see some big name chains and businesses closing down like ASDA/Walmart for instance. My idea is that you create a range of companies and businesses and show on one of the tabs (like where you have the pressure groups) how well the company is doing. How many people it employs, profit, how many stories nationwide etc. Then you can manage your economic conditions against how well these businesses are doing and how much people are feeling the pinch. Basically this and any ideas where you can see the effects of money and policy would be a great step forward for this game.

    Possibly a local form of taxation- community charge or council tax? Possibly some options to devolve powers or manage local politics?

    Equality legislation for law and order?

    Where possible for sliding bar policies. An example of this on democracy 2 is University Grants. You had about 6 or more options of where you could slide the bar along towards and this told you what you were spending and on what. So for instance Partial Grants cost £15bn, full grants £20 bn. Something like this, but only where possible so we can see the effects of what our policy is rather than just simply spending £5bn on child benefit and not really knowing or seeing how this would affect people and their families. Some categories for child benefit could be= Generous and Universal £20bn, Moderate and universal, £14bn, Means tested for middle and poor income groups £10bn, Means tested for lower income parents £5bn and Just the absolute bare minimum to cover essential child costs for the lowest paid £1.3bn.’ This is obviously just an example but you understand what I mean, I hope.

    Finally, a cabinet reshuffle where you can move ministers, an option to name them yourself?

    Hope I have explained all this well enough and cannot wait for Democracy 3/

    1. Geese you write alot :S I only understood like half of what you said…

      Keep in mind that Cliff is only one guy and can’t do all those things alone, even though they are great ideas.

      But the thing about foreign affairs I agree on. There is too little you can do with foreign affairs and responding to other countries rather than a hole generalization of the whole world would be cool. But perhaps instead of countries you responded to regions. Neighbouring countries often tend to be quite simmilar, so we have the Nordic countries, The British Isles, Southern Europe, North America, Arab states, Non-developed Asian states, Westernised Asian states (South Korea and Japan), and so on.

      Responding to international conflicts I also think is a great idea. Things like the middle eastern conflict, North- and South Korea conflict, minority conflicts in other countries and etc. That would have been pretty cool if you ask me, but I doubt Cliff’s gonna do it. Not because he’s lazy, but because he has so much else to do and it would take a lot of work, which would make it take a long time to be done with. But I do think it would be pretty cool.

      Also you could perhaps if you were a European country, you could be a member of the EU or if you already were, try to leave it. The point is that I think foreign affairs needs to be expanded. There’s too little things to do there.

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