A possible method for building the society stages


This post may well be unhelpful at this point but I’ve been thinking about it for a while and would like to write it down so I can forget about it.

I think it would make life easy if the late awakening, society, industrial and space stages all had a single set of mechanics. That way we only need to build one system and we can spend the effort on deepening it. Here is a suggestion for that.

Each population center is a node, and population centers which are neighbors are connected by an edge. This is how Crusader Kings 2, Stellaris and The Total War games are structured, at an abstract level.

Trade can be calculated using something like a gravity trade model. Each population center can have multiple pops in it which can each have cultural traits. Cultural traits can spread between pops inside a city and can spread along edges to neighboring cities. These are things we have been talking about quite a lot.

What I think will make things pretty easy is this. At several points ten population centers get merged together to form one new, larger, population center. So hamlets get merged into villages -> towns -> cities -> conurbations -> states -> planets -> star systems -> star sectors. When centers are merged the pops inside them are merged with the cultural traits of the pops being averaged out.

What this means is that the trade model, for example, once built will work for all these stages. The culture model also will work all the way through without modification. It makes one single framework from which all the other mechanics can hang. It means the game can scale easily from having 100 tribes fighting over 10 square miles to having massive star empires duking it out over the galactic core without needing more than one set of trade, culture and control mechanics.

It also means the map will stay a reasonable size / complexity all the way through. So you start knowing about the 30 closest villages and by the time you have discovered 300 villages and the game has become unmanageably complex there is a merge and you are back to worrying about 30 towns, which is reasonable. For example Stellaris has this problem with there being too many planets to control in the late game and basically gets you to merge them into a sector, but doesn’t go all the way.

Another advantage is that it makes a simple algorithm for generating the population centers. For each area divide it in to 10 areas and call the divide function again. That way we can layout planets very easily, only generating detail in areas the player can see.

One question I have about doing things this way is about control. If you control 4/10 villages when they are merged into a town do you get no control of the town? Can you get partial control of the town? Do you get full control of the town? Do you get a 40% chance of being in control of the town? Clearly quite a lot of factions will need to be lost along the way (as you might have lots of neighboring factions in villages but when you are a state they are all subsumed). I think this can be sorted out though.

Anyway all feedback welcome. As I say I imagine it’s not particularly helpful at the moment as we are a long way off working on this but I wanted to write it down in case it’s useful and then I don’t need to keep thinking about it!


I think it would be easier for only the villages you control to be able to merge under your control. Say for example you have two small kingdoms beside each other in the awakening stage with a third nearby. It would make sense to me that the two under your control would join and not the third wheel unless you usurped their throne, took them over, bought them, converted them, the point is there are a lot of ways one could get them to merge with yours. A real world example is with several small towns and a river separating some of them from the whole. Due to the physical barrier the separate towns never merge with the new city when it develops into one on the other side, thus forming a separate town when the outliers merge. The sector mechanic in stellaris works through separating your own territory under a separate ruler like the roman empire with one primary emperor. This kind of mechanic you came up with would be a huge boon starting even in the tribal portion of societal developments, I don’t see it being much an aspect when you’re forming packs but it could as well.

What would happen unfortunately if the joining areas were large enough is those not under the player control could have a rebellion or start a civil war. At the point where you’re essentially merging decent areas of land into your own control there would be differing factions that could start in-fighting. What would happen then would probably be a diplomatic, hostile, enslavement, it would ironically increase the adaptive play style the player could choose to control their growing society.

I like what you came up with. These are just my views on how it could work out as a benefit even with that dilemma of 4/10 controlled.


I guess in terms of merging there’s several different situations to think about.

What if the villages are laid out in a line, A - B - A where I control the A’s and I don’t control B. It’s not really possible for the A’s to merge without B at that point. There could be lots of situations like this, where you control villages which are scattered.

What if you aren’t doing a lot of warfare and only control one village. Is it possible to focus on religion and try to play that way? How does the merging work if you only have 1/10 villages.

As you say having different ways of gaining power could be an interesting solution. One path might be that if after a merge you have only partial control then you are forced into a different government type for that settlement.

For example if I have autocratic control of 6 villages then I can make any decision and no one can stop me. If these are merged with 4 more I don’t control then maybe I am forced into a new government system, where the 4 other villages can block me. If they had their own autocrats then maybe now the town has an aristocracy where I am the most powerful noble but the other nobles can resist my power and stop me from doing certain actions.

If I control one village which is a democracy and this merges with 9 neighbors maybe the new city becomes a democracy and you have to work around that, as the leader you would have a very small amount of control and mostly have to do what the others wanted.

Not sure, it’s interesting to think about :slight_smile:


We can look a bit at ancient rome for an example with this situation you brought up. Back then things were a bit more concrete of conquired or not, but they often times assimilated the traditions and beliefs of the places they captured or gained territory over. So in this situation I think the players government type would be the one on top, you would just need to deal with the new influx of culture from the area that could be dealt with like how factions are treated in Stellaris where you can promote them, leave them alone, or suppress them. Over time these factions could grow problematic and maybe even cause a civil war if the right conditions are met.
Displease enough people and you get a riot, basically.

Now as for having 1/10 villages or scattered you would be under constant threat of those around you and the world until certain techs were achieved. Again drawing from historical examples traveling from A>B could be harmful and take days to months depending on distance, it wasn’t until the inclusion of transport that was powered by fuels and not drawn around where things became safer. Plus medicines and improved knowledge helped remove diseases and injury a bit as an issue. So if we took a similar approach where distance could become a penalty then it would incentivize the player to have villages be closer together instead of far apart.
In Civ games and other 4X things I’ve played there has always been a penalty in play the further you place a city or colony from your territory so doing so with say some sort of threat or penalty to an income or degredation of that further village’s willingness or desire to be apart of the player base could be a fun thing to mess with.
In short, Distance from village to village = penalty (bandits, loss in population, getting lost, etc)

Dealing with villages merging together would simply be a matter of adapting certain governing traits or pressing your own government onto the acquired area whether peacefully taken or violently. Change would still have to come unless things operate like city-states (the Greeks and the Vatican are examples here)


I think these are great ideas, i like the comparison between stellaris and our game aswell. Also its alway snice to keep things modular, so we donthave to write whole new systems for each stage, this is very akin to my reasoning behind how bacteria work in the microbe stage (it easily supports a prokaryotic stage without changes)


So if you control surrounding nodes, they can combine into larger nodes.
I think they should combine as available, instead of at fixed intervals. (to avoid the jump from several hundred nodes to a few dozen)

Like how a bunch of villages connect to form a city, once that happens, you don’t really stop being a city, unless its totally abandoned (like Babylon).

If development falls below a lower threshold, the single node could break up into more nodes. Such as depopulation making cities no longer viable, downgrading to villages.


Yeah I guess having a system where nodes were combined continually might be quite interesting. Maybe it makes sense for some nodes to spread out and absorb their neighbours.


Maybe section them out to sort of limit the size of nodes on a single scale. So we don’t get a situation where an entire planet is a single node before space travel. It would destroy global trade. Maybe max them out on a continent basis?
Like a single node can grow as big as the continent it is one.