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

Here come the french!

It”s amazing the extent to which your finely honed and perfect game completely falls to pieces when you introduce more than one level isn’t it? I’ve just been adding France as a playable nation to Democracy 3.


Part of that involves a few hours searching for french surnames and looking up how many croissants they eat (50 million/week), and part of it involves reading the odd article and lots of wikipedia/CIA factbook to get the population / tax rates and so on roughly correct. The thing is, it will *never* be correct. I cannot make any vague promise that France in Democracy 3 is an accurate model of France in the real world. it is a close-ish kinda guess. I’m sure French gamers will let me know what I got wrong, but writing a  simulation that applies equally to the UK and France is kinda mad, so things are bound to be rough. For the record, here are some of the simulation differences in the game for France:

  1. French people are generally more likely to strike.
  2. French people are less prone to antisocial behavior and alcohol abuse from the same level of alcohol intake
  3. They have less farmers and and less patriotic than the UK. they also have less smokers.
  4. They are more Religious than the UK
  5. They have a boost to tourism, compared to the UK.

The UK is basically my ‘base’ country and other countries are defined as adjustments to that. You never need to know it works that way as a player :D

19 thoughts on Here come the french!

  1. Any plans to introduce Scotland as a playable nation, Cliffski?

    After all if the Nats get their way then the UK (as we know it) may disappear in a puff of hot air at about the same time as D3 is due for release. And I’d guess that the rump post-seccession UK would be a different place from your ‘baseline’ UK.

    I shudder to think what the list of simulation differences for Scotland would look like.

    You probably don’t want to answer this just now of course, but you might want to keep it in mind. A possible DLC depending on how the referendum goes?

    (in Glasgow)

  2. You could add that drivers are more likely to get into car accidents for the same level of frustration

  3. As a french, I would very much like to know your source for the croissant consumption.
    50 million a week is A LOT for something that is after all quite expensive and non nutritive.
    It’s not like it’s the base of our diet like the bread stick can be.

    Unless it’s an intended pun/cliché…

  4. As someone living over here, these are the points that struck me:

    * +1 to the strikes – unions are still pretty powerful, and they’ll strike at the drop of a hat. Sometimes they’ll strike because it’s their right to strike
    * I wouldn’t say they’re more religious – there’s a big separation of church and state, but I guess I’ll defer to your research
    * They’re generally more interested in politics, but they’re as likely to vote against someone as vote for them (see the current president)
    * It’s a very socialist country. Taxes are really high, but you also get a lot of state benefits – unemployment, for example, pays ~60% of whatever your salary was, for a year or two. It can lead to gaming the system.
    * Keeping on taxes, if you’re a business, you’re generally paying an employee’s salary worth for that person
    * Housing is very expensive in Paris – ~€700pm for a 20m2 apartment – outside it drops pretty drastically
    * There’s no drink culture compared to the UK, but they can still sink a couple bottles of wine over dinner
    * Inflation is marked by the price of a baguette
    * It’s probably the country with the biggest Muslim population in Europe – it’s a bit hard to be certain, as since WW2, they’ve made a point not to keep statistics on race/ethnicity

    Some of these are probably a bit specific to where I am, but feel free to fire over any specific questions.

  5. That said, less than 700 croissants per day for an entire country seems suspiciously low.

  6. Cliffski’s estimate seems entirely reasonable to me. The population of France is ~65 million. Assuming that the average French person eats one croissant per week (as a ballpark estimate with no research backing it), then that’s 65 million croissants per week.

  7. I suppose an interesting issue is which of these ‘modifiers’ should be hardcoded. Let’s assume that the French strike more often. But what makes them strike more often? I would guess that one reason that they strike more often would be because they might have better laws protecting strikers. But of course, you have to draw the line somewhere between a game and a simulation.

  8. Actually this is modeled :D *smug grin*, in that labor laws that are set to be pro-union (which they are in the french level) actually make workers more likely to strikes (because their right to strike is more protected), so in this case the french are benefiting both from a genera social disposition towards industrial action AND pro-union laws, so yes you *could* mitigate that by moving the labor laws slider to the pro-employer position. (That will upset the socialists though!)

  9. The 75% income tax for top bracket should tell you they are imune to high taxes :-)
    And yeah, French farmers are notorious in Europe: I often see them fighting military police on television :-)

  10. [q]They have less farmers and and less patriotic than the UK. they also have less smokers. – See more at: [/q]

    This is Fundamentaly wrong.
    The French smoke a lot more than the English. Where the English drink a lot more beer vs French wine.

    check this:
    Also check this for a nice item about health:

  11. While having done no research on it myself, I heard on the radio these days (I’m from Germany), that the British were able to keep their EU rebate in the last EU-summit-discussions, because they continue to receive less agriculture subsidies from Brussels – at least that seems to be the common wisdom of the average german journalist… – so I would doubt, that the UK has more farmers than France (- it is probably the other way round – even on a percentage basis).

  12. I’m curious on your number on religion I’m french and here’s the one I got

    2012 CSA (serious french market studies and survey group) : 58 % Christian 32 % Irreligious
    2011 Ifop (ONe of the first french institution of marketing and surveying) : 65 % Christian 25 % Irreligious
    2008-2009 on the 18-50 of age INED (The National Institute on Demographic Studies) : 45,5 % Chritian 45 % Irreligious

    Those are all done by french people rather than the americans. I’m not saying they’re more true, but you might want to mitigate your view that we are more religious than the British.

  13. Also HOLY SHIT 88 percent Roman Catholic?! Where did the CIA get these numbers seriously? I’ve lived in France all my life and only met 1 person that went to church once in his life.

  14. My aim is to represent people who are quite actively religious, rather than just ticking a box on a form, so I’ve been using church attendance records as a closer guide to what I’m trying to represent.

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