My suggestions for a possible Democracy 2

Discuss the game here, strategy, opinions on policies, and tech support issues.
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Glinka
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Postby Glinka » Wed Jun 27, 2007 1:03 pm

Rissen wrote:I've played Hidden Agenda - it was quite fun, but I didn't like the fact that your choices were so limited in terms of who you could choose as a minister. Also I think that if you have to pander to your ministers then the skill should be choosing ministers which are most like you, not in letting other people (apart from voters) dictate your policies.


But that's the point of the game, isn't it? Achieving something concrete while making compromises. In a pretty accurate representation of a polarized Central American "republic," you have very angry and armed factions on the left and right. In Hidden Agenda, if you give it all to either side, the other stages a revolt and you are out of office: you lose. One way to build street cred with opposing factions (whichever side you may take) is to include its representatives in government. You don't have to do this, but then winning the game--completing your term in office--becomes much, much harder. And if you do put a member of some group you don't belong to in power, of course they're going to expect the implementation of some policies they favor. That's very realworld, and adds a nice element of strategic balancing.

Being realworld, yet fun to play, was what the game designer tried to achieve. He really wanted to make Hidden Agenda reflective of the extreme cultural tensions present in an unstable Central American government. He's told me that he then went to several companies with the idea of doing a Middle Eastern version of the title, but was fobbed off ironically enough with the answer that nobody was interested in the Middle East. :roll: Of course, that was back in the late 1980s, but still.
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Postby Rissen » Wed Jun 27, 2007 2:40 pm

I understand that's was the style of the game, and it was enjoyable, I just felt that it was impossible to do things the way you wanted to. There seemed to be only one way to win. Maybe I didn't play it long enough, but that's the impression I got.
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Postby Glinka » Thu Jun 28, 2007 8:09 pm

Rissen wrote:I understand that's was the style of the game, and it was enjoyable, I just felt that it was impossible to do things the way you wanted to. There seemed to be only one way to win. Maybe I didn't play it long enough, but that's the impression I got.


I did manage to win the game with a mixed cabinet, but never without. However, I usually marginalized the opposition (typically the far right--I'm such a socialist) by giving them the foreign ministry, and allowing them to regularly vote as they wished on those issues.
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Postby Skafsgaard » Sat Jul 07, 2007 11:27 am

Hi there.

First off, let me start by saying: cliffski, you do an amazing job. I'm a big fan of your work. And the recent announcement of a sequel has ofcourse gotten me excited.
So, I would like to add some suggestions that you can use if you find them worthy.

First, it has already been suggested that you make the political system more complex, such as adding govenors (if one is playing as the US), and even getting to play a such yourself. This is generally a good idea, which I believe could be carried out very well if you were to introduce a geographical aspect to the game. This could include features such as being able to see a map of the country in question, as well as being able to select specific administrative divisions of the country (such as individual states in the US). It would be swell if one was able to see how big a political grouping is on a nation-wide scale, as well as in specific regions or states. Perhaps there would be more conservatives in the southern states of the US, and more liberals in the north? And if one was able to introduce laws and ruling specific to one region, that'd make things really interesting.

Secondly, if you are going to introduce specific people, such as ministers and what not, it may be a good idea to have a way of measuring their political position more accurately than just "far left", "center" or "far right". A good option here, is to use something along the lines of the political compass in order to measure them. Maybe the player could click on an individual minister, and then being shown a graph of his political position, such as left/right: +3, libertarian/authoritarian: -7.
Here's the link to the site of the political compass, if you're not already familiar with it: http://politicalcompass.org/

In any case, these are just suggestions, and may be hard to implement. Or they may not be desirable, or fit your visions for Democracy II. That's up to you. Whatever you decide, I'm sure it'll be an excelent game! :-)
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Postby Reaganomics » Sun Jul 08, 2007 6:37 pm

ChrisH wrote:I have figured out one way (the way?) to win.

*** Spoiler Alert ***

In the beginning, I raise taxes, create an import tarriff, cut a lot of spending, and start new programs with long-term positive effects on GDP and productivity. Once the deficit/debt is under control, I lower taxes and create a lot of new programs to make almost everyone (except capitalists and the wealthy) happy.

This way of winning seems to fit left/socialist ideas (which fits my personal taste, hehe). But I think that there should be more than one way to win. Has anyone been able to win consistently with right-wing strategies -- i.e., pleasing capitalists, wealthy, conservatives, patriots, and religious? Success in the long run seems to consist of more government programs, but in the real world, parties that advocate less government win elections at least some of the time.


Spoilers here, too.

I always slash taxes at the beginning. In a lot of the countries, the corporate tax is insanely high. Maybe I cut the personal income tax a little. I usually lower fuel tax too. If they aren't there, I introduce tobacco and alcohol taxes, but to reasonable levels. I use the car taxes sometimes too.

I also cut a lot of spending. Maybe a little bit from the military. I usually cut roads to "maintenance only". But I put in the tax shelters (moderate level), technology grants, rural development grants, etc. I usually put the car emissions tax on to a lower level too. That usually raises the air quality by, like, 80% and its not too expensive. I put tariffs on too, put to a moderate-low level. I lower maternity leave, too and introduce labor laws that lean pro-employer.

The first quarter revenue plummets and costs usually go up a little bit, too. After that, income soars, unemployment falls and your spending goes down. I always wind up with a surplus and can barely find ways to spend the money.

Poor people always love me because poverty falls. I usually have the state pensions way up, so the retirees are loyal. Farmers like me because of the rural development grants. Wealthy people are at least satisfied because of the lower income tax and the tax shelters. Middle class is satisfied too. Environmentalists are usually pretty happy because I put on the car emissions testing and pollution controls. My air quality usually goes up about 130% in my first term. The religious, for some reason, tend to have problems with me. I usually put on faith school subsidies to help that out. Patriots like the border controls, so I put that on too. I have a lot of problems with motorists, though. They're always against me. Capitalists appreciate the lower taxes and the toll roads (I use them, too).

So far, I think my record is 92% voting to reelect me. I run into problems after a while because I sometimes wind up failing on my campaign promises after three or four elections. Its hard to make air quality better after its been improved 150%.

I've tried going more restrictive on the economy, but I've never had any luck with it at all. My strategy does have some problems when you run a country with short terms and poorer countries, though. It works very well in Australia and especially the United States.
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Postby RVALLANT » Tue Jul 31, 2007 7:38 pm

I think Democracy 2 needs to be flexible rather than fixed, example: Eliminate car usage by raising the taxes and boosting public transport = not neccessarily true.

The effects on people with your policies are too for lack of better word, restrictive, it needs to be modified to be more flexible for the situations.

Dilemmas need to be spread out and there needs to be over several hundred rather than the limited amounts avaiable at the moment. This is a difficult task for one person, but getting the community to help out with ideas and suggestions is a good way to getting a better game, a minimum of 5-6 dilemmas need to be unique to the country at hand "Royal scandal" for example is a brilliant one for the U.K.
In terms of a "New country" scenario that I believe was brought up way back when, "unique" dilemmas could be the borrowed by selecting your governance and history in the "options" before setting up such a country, for example, stating that your country is run by Prime Minister with a Monarch would enable you to borrow the UK's dilemmas as well as all the standard ones.

Policies also need an overhaul, more policies for each section, a minimum of 20-50 policies in each section of the government would allow for a more complex immersive game. The easy way out is to cut down on blanket-policies by breaking them down into several mini policies, but the better option would be to brainstorm and think outside of the box when it comes to each "department".

If a "party cabinet" is to be added, choosing members a la Hidden Agenda or a la Kudoes Rock Star is also a decent idea. Members should have a loyalty rating and personality traits "backstabber", "Charismatic", "Industrious", "Patriotic", "liberalist" et al that influence how they are in enforcing your policies and suggesting them, for example a Minister of Foreign Affairs who was Patriotic would fight tooth and nail to ensure that the country got the better end of the deal while an "appeasive" minister would probably be welcomed more by foreign powers but would get your country in a worst state. Industrious ministers could perhaps cut the time a policy takes to get enforced by 25-50%, while Charismatic ones could get out of any scandal and/or increase the votes coming your way. A "Financial" minster would ensure his department runs at or near profitability not by cutting corners but by actually making sure that none of the money goes to waste.

Foreign Affairs is an area of the game that could be expanded on dramatically, it would of course be difficult to incorporate every single country in the game, so by doing a representive area the affairs could be dealt with neatly. For example a "European bloc" headed by France and Germany, an "North America" bloc influenced by the United States and a "British bloc" covered by the UK (I suggest this as I think personally the UK has bugger all to do with Europe). Your foreign minister could improve or destabilise relations, policies of free trade, alliances, cold war or even just a "pressure" option to pressure countries into changing their way of rule (i.e. The Government of Britain is putting pressure on this country to improve their human rights etc etc)

War is a viable option that would require a set of rules to determine it, and the U.N would have to be incorporated some how, I'd like to see an influence rating allowing countries to become more powerful or less powerful over time depending on their actions and relations in foreign affairs or militarily.

Obviously, I understand that all those ideas and suggestions are incredibly difficult for a one man job, but to be brutally honest I'd rather Democracy 2 attempted to do a jump from it's simplicy to become a large true game in it's own right, I do fear that Democracy 2 will just be a slightly updated polished version of the original with one or two new features, it would be more interesting I think if the game was rewritten from the ground up with a much larger database, policies, dilemmas, countries/create country mode, in-depth foriegn affairs, in-depth economic affairs and ministers/cabinet members, with the option to continue for election even after being voted out and a lot less of the "you pissed us off so we're going to bomb you" which, I really don't see as a viable occurance -_-;;

A big project? Sure, bit too big? Possibly, but I'd sure as damn well pay for that and I mean no disrepect when I say Democracy is too restrictive and standard, it's a good game but the potential for the second one to be a gem in it's own right is there and I'd really really like to see Cliff pull it off =)
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Postby keltic07 » Tue Jul 31, 2007 8:34 pm

agreed
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Glinka
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Postby Glinka » Wed Aug 15, 2007 2:10 pm

If you do add ministers, please give them names, features, and a bit of background (which might provide clues to behavior). The one problem I have with a lot of sim games is that they're too impersonal. You buy, sell, expand, etc, but it all feels like a well-oiled engine. The success of the SimCity series, IMO, was in part due to Wright's understanding that people wanted to play with livng toys. They wanted to feel like they were affecting independent entities, though we all know that's nonsense. Too many games throw the mechanics directly into our faces. Just a thought. :)

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Postby cliffski » Wed Aug 15, 2007 3:25 pm

so far each minister has a name, and will have a portrait, and different capabilities, loyalty etc. But some background Bio would be nice. Struggling with save game nonsense at the moment.
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Postby Glinka » Wed Aug 15, 2007 4:05 pm

cliffski wrote:so far each minister has a name, and will have a portrait, and different capabilities, loyalty etc. But some background Bio would be nice. Struggling with save game nonsense at the moment.


What sort of savegame problems, if you don't mind me asking?
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Postby cliffski » Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:04 pm

Nothing dramatic. If you look at democracys save files they are basically ini files, whereas Kudos and KRL used XML. XML is just better and more flexible, so I'm switching over to using that instead. It's about 2 days work basically.
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Postby noachian » Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:45 pm

For Democracy 2 or even extensive modding to Democracy 1, I think for UK they should involve the monarchy more.
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Postby keltic07 » Mon Aug 27, 2007 4:37 pm

Democracy 2 isn't going to have you play existing nations like the UK, it's going to feel more nationstatesy (http://www.nationstates.org)
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Postby alexmack » Thu Sep 20, 2007 2:54 pm

This is a great game.

I have had 100% in 4 consecutive elections. I'm not sure if that's a fluke.

What I would say is in Democracy you can be very aggressive with some of the changes you make. I always come straight in and throw money at things and don't get in too much trouble, as the GDP usually grows rapidly with technology grants, certain subsidies, the rise of tourism etc. Basically what I'm saying is it could be a little more difficult.

Also, rather than just a bar for GDP you could make the economic model more complicated, and expand the way the world market works a bit. Have more detailed information on currency market and resources markets, see how your country's economy is comprised (manufacturing, technology, services etc) and lots of other things like that. Basically (if you have time) you could make the game alot deeper.

Immigration would a nice problem to have too. You could control numbers into the country, and face trouble from right wingers/patriots but have economic benefits. You might have higher crime if you do it too fast depending on the country because of integration problems or basically very provincialist opinions in the country. Also other very contemporary issues (in the U.K.) like anti social behaviour, house prices and in particular specific cases of foreign policy would be great. I have no idea about programming, but a more sophisticated economic system would make the game even better, quite hard to do though I'd imagine.

Keep up the good work.

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Postby Rissen » Thu Sep 20, 2007 5:05 pm

Alex - try raising the difficulty settings?

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