It must be hell being a ‘producer’ in the big budget triple-a games development system. The development of a video game proceeds at almost any conceivable rate other than linear. I’m sure for some games there is an immediate sprint of exciting new stuff…then a drought as bugs are fixed. In the case of Democracy 4, we have had a whole lot of under-the-hood re-coding with little to show for it visually, and now a sudden rush of cool stuff happening.

Of course a lot of this tracks from the point at which artwork and music and sfx start rolling in. I use contractors to develop music, sfx and art, so I don’t have the option of just hearing the odd new piece of music or peering over an artists shoulder to see how stuff is going. It can be hard to drill into people that “yup, you can send me new stuff EVERY DAY, its fine”. As a result, Democracy 4 seems to progress in sudden jumps and spurts when new stuff goes into the game.

When I talk to players of D3 about the new game, they are always focused on new options and content. What new policies will go in? what new events? what will they be able to do that they couldn’t do before. This is all vital stuff, and I’ve kept quiet and felt bad about discussing the games development for quite a while because we simply haven’t been working on that.

For ages, it feels like I’ve been tweaking the shape or size or color of buttons, the layout of dialogs, and jeff has been recoding the way everything gets rendered (especially text, allowing us to support Russian/Chinese when the game leaves early access rather than four years later…) This is all super-vital stuff, and i’m glad we have been giving it the attention that it definitely deserves, but its probably left an impression that D4 is a shiny re-skin rather than a proper sequel…which is not true.

I recently mentioned that we now have third party support (if people choose it), which is the first new feature. We have also discussed (and its on my personal todo list) adding support for nationalization and privatization to the game. This will make quite a difference, but we haven’t reeled off any of the new simulation data we will be adding to the game.

Today I added some new simulation values to the game: healthcare demand and Internet Speeds. These are both pretty cool. High tech means more healthcare options (operations & treatments) are possible, but also increase demand. Immigration and actual healthcare problems such as contagious diseases, alcoholism and obesity will also feed into demand. Balance this against private and public healthcare provision to work out if you have a hospital overcrowding crisis.

Internet speeds is a fun one because its a much-needed policy that allows us to make young people happy or unhappy depending on speed. I’ve also added an effect where it makes people more likely to be self employed, which is relevant to me, living in a tiny rural village where there are lots of people working from home. Internet speed is way more of an issue here politically than you would think.

Other stuff we added recently includes multinational tax avoidance (especially by tech firms, such as ones that rhyme with ‘moogle’ or ‘blapazon’), and a ‘diverted profits tax’ (also sometimes called a transfer-pricing tax) which helps to combat it. There are a LOT more to come, and yes, to avoid 99% of the replies…universal income will be one of them :D.

Because I have been a bit slack on blogging and am reducing my twitter usage, I should point out to anybody reading this that OH MY GOD, you can now get our awesome pharmaceutical cure-em-up ‘Big Pharma‘ on the Playstation, The XBox and on something called the Nintendo Switch. I think those are game ‘consoles’, which all sounds very young and hip to me. It sounds like a perfect Christmas gift to me. (but not for me thx, I’ve got a copy).

17 Responses to “Progress on Democracy 4 speeding up”

  1. David Deex says:

    Will it be possible to have Universal Services like Housing, so for example, Public and Social Housing could be for everyone including the wealthy, but won’t be the whole housing market only anywhere from 30-50% of the market. Other Universal Services could include Electricity, Banking, Internet, Transport and of course, health and Education. Also, how radical would this be? I don’t want publicly owned essential services to mean I’m suddenly very, very radical, but if I was to nationalise things like a Grocery store, I should be considered very radical and far-left. Also, will we be able to support worker owned co-operatives as an in-between of mandating complete worker ownership and not having many co-ops at all.

    • cliffski says:

      When I do the nationalization/privatization stuff we plan to have a bunch of different things that can be fully state, fully private or some mix in-between. Its funny really because the attitudes to public/private make no real objective sense. Nobody is *that* freaked out by having at least some state-provided education,health and transport, but if the state owned farms and companies manufacturing food that would be considered super radical.

      This makes little real sense, because as a mere human, I can survive without electricity or trains, or education or even a house, but I sure cannot survive without food :D

      Maybe we should have a ‘nationalize farms’ policy as an extreme left wing option :D

      • David Deex says:

        Good idea. I feel like there needs to be a balance, like, if I want completely public health, education, buses, trains and trams, plus internet, it shouldn’t be too radical. I feel like also, it would be good to be able to model UK Labour’s Internet policy. Also, I feel like not investing in something now like pensions could turn good or bad later on, depending on how things work. One other thing, why are Disability benefits so unpopular in democracy 3. I feel like they should be quite popular in general in Democracy 4, and Capitalists shouldn’t be so inflamed about it either, unless it is funded heaps.

        • Cliff Harris says:

          Disability benefits can be unpopular with people on the political right when its considered that they are being given out too easily (without sufficient testing for fraud etc). Its a big topic in certain parts of the UK, where people often complain that people are able to work but claim benefits for being too disabled to work etc. I’m not saying thats right, true or fair, but its an argument often heard. It tends not to be an opinion expressed online, but often heard in person.

      • Steven says:

        I’d love to be able to nationalize the oil industry then use the revenues from it to pay for universal income. Privatizing or nationalizing industries can be a way to manage the happiness of Capitalists or Socialists and managing economic issues.

  2. somene says:

    Will be GDP unbound? That is it could shrink or grow endlessly depending on policies.

    Will population be dynamic?
    That is grow/shrink depending on policies and simulation values.

    Will cost to implement or change policies scale depending on how much you want to change it or how much it pisses/pleases population?
    That is it should be cheaper to move slider a tiny bit than to move it on other side.
    Also if everyone is happy with policy or if it has inconsequential effects, then it should be cheap.

    Also if there is 200 policies, then each country should have 50 – 100 policies already implemented.

  3. someone says:

    Will be there expanded pollution/ecological distress/climate change mechanics too?

  4. someone says:

    Sorry for spamming it a little, but there should be proper demographics, like you shouldn’t have >50% retired, unless you lowered retirement age a lot and you had fertility rate like 1.2 child per woman.

    Also poor/middle/wealthy population should change – in democracy 3 you can see it trying to change, but then it reverts back on next turn.

    Inflation should be a thing too.

    • cliffski says:

      Would inflation make the game more fun though? I can imagine modeling the money supply, adding inflation as a negative to everyone, and allowing quantitative easing… but this extra complexity doesn’t sound that ‘fun’ to me. Its more accurate economically, for sure, but I think it might be a bit like interest rates (also not in the game): interesting to economists, but do most people, when arguing about politics, have strong views on interest rates or inflation?

      • someone says:

        Inflation should be here as side effect.
        Same with bureaucratic overload, when you have lots of policies (can be combated with high technology/digitalization level).

      • Joe says:

        I agree inflation would not be very fun. But I would want to see demographics. They play a very important role in the modern era. You should see more expensive social policies with an aging population. Increasing immigration and childcare/maternity leave/child benefits should counter it.

  5. someone says:

    Lol merge my comments.

    Voters shouldn’t have 100% support, if you have even one thing that annoys them.
    So -20% happiness from things negatively influencing happiness and +20% from positive things should get 50% happiness from that voting group.

    -10% and +100% should be high happiness but not 100%

  6. Steven says:

    Will there policies aimed at correcting discrimination on weight, hairstyle, etc?

  7. Elewa says:

    Ok, I just have 1 question: Is there any reason why LGBTQ+ people aren’t listed under the groups of interest (like Unionist, Youth, etc)? Also, will there be policies relating to LGBTQ+ people (like reassignment surgery, name change, state-funded hormone therapy), policies against discrimination, and things involving ideologies such as anti-imperialism?

    • Cliff Harris says:

      We considered it, but decided against it, in the same way that we don’t have a group for women. We just didn’t have enough policies and situations etc to make it justified to include a totally new group for people who are LGBTQ. There will be some dilemmas, and some policies that affect these issues, but they will be modeled more as a liberal v conservative issue rather than one with a new voter group. Adding too many voter groups makes the game a bit unwieldy.

      • Margaret Thatcher says:

        Personally, I don’t like feminism and the LGBTQ+’s political whining, but I think you should rethink and include these groups. At least public policies. In some countries these groups have great political force.