Feedback after first few games

Hi @cliffski , and the D4 community.

Nice to see the latest addition to the series. I’ve been playing these since Democracy 1, so it’s great to see you’re still going strong after all these years.

So, onto the feedback- I’ll split this into sections:

Game-play feedback-
I like the warnings that you now get before a situation is going to start, but I’m not sure that every possible situation should be listed on the policy ideas page- knowing what situations you might trigger down the road seems a little too prescient- perhaps they should only be listed when the situation is imminent.

Game balance- Things seem a little off in a few areas- a number of things seem too easy to max out with little effort, and others are almost impossible to shift, even with concerted effort. GDP seems to react much more wildly than in D3, and gets pegged against the top of the range fairly easily, so the global economic cycle ceases to matter. This was fairly well balanced ion D3, with maxing out GDP possible but unlikely during the course of a game. Crime, CO2, and immigration also seem to peg against the extremes fairly easily. On the other hand, Respiratory disease, uncompetitive economy and anti-social behaviour are difficult to get below their off triggers without taking extreme actions.

Obesity and food prices just seem broken. Wealthy countries will have this pegged at the top of the range despite no agriculture subsidies, top of the range health care, and all the targeted policies to bring it down. And high food prices don’t seem to annoy anyone, when in the real world they can cause riots.

The plant based diets statistic should probably be dropped. It moves far too quickly in response to various policies (human food culture not changing overnight and all that), and its tiny impact on CO2 emissions just makes it pointless.

Rail transport needs looking at again- if anything the D3 system for this was better. In both the UK and US, there are currently subsidies to a largely privately run rail system, which is in line with the D3 system, but here, your only option for control is to nationalise the entire thing, then start subsidising it. This doesn’t seem all that accurate, given that in the UK, the infrastructure is already nationalised, and you could just award the franchises to BR2.0 for zero cost. To fix this, I’d bring back the D3 rail subsidies slider, but when nationalised, replace it with the current slider. Also, the balance is way off. Running the system at neutral cost currently counts as a massive reduction in rail usage.

Self-driving cars- this situation seems to have odd effects- any legalisation of self driving cars just maxes out this scenario, and pushes a whole load of traffic onto the roads- the suddenness of the swich-over seems off, and as does the assumption that driverless cars would cause more rather than less traffic- perhaps you need policies to promote driverless car sharing or restrictions on passengerless driving to counteract this.

Childcare and the shared parental leave dilemma currently have no impact on gender equality- that doesn’t seem right. Also, the labels on the “gender discrimination law” policy slider should probably change. At the moment you are implementing more gender inequality at the top of the scale.

Suggested Features
Political parties- It’s been an oddity of the game ever since D3, that you can have a party called “The Radical Socialists”, but the RNG generates a load of religious capitalists for your ministers. I think your choice of party at the beginning should have some sort of impact on the type of ministers you get in your minister pool.

Some policy features should be locked behind other policies- For example- not being able to research human cloning until stem cell research is legalised, or enabling

Coalitions- If you ignore the suggestions of a coalition party too often, it can cause an early election.

Hope you find this brain dump of feedback useful. As ever, keep up the good work!

Hello, welcome to the forum and thanks for your feedback, its super-helpful.

Yup, the situations preview is removed in the next patch, it wasn’t intentional :smiley:
Difficulty and wild swings are also definitely improved in the upcoming version 1.09…

The assumption with driverless cars is that without drivers, the cost of a taxi drops to very very little, and so everyone in cities switches from public transport to cars instead.

Good point about childcare & gender equality, I’ll add it to my todo list.

We have always assumed that party names are irrelevant, mostly because a lot of players will type in their own, silly names, so extrapolating anything from the party name seems impossible :smiley:

Thing is there is no reason as to why busses or trains couldn’t be driverless themselves. In fact, driverless underground trains have been around for a while. ALL of those things would be cheaper without staffing.

Also: Trucks, at least for deliveries from point A to point B. Navigating safely on a building lot or something is gonna be more difficult. But otherwise, trucks are gonna be cheap. Especially with the rather strong restrictions placed on truck drivers today vis-a-vis laws on mandated pauses etc.

1 Like

More unorganised thoughts on the latest version:

  1. If you’re thinking of having the UK scenario as the first scenario on the list, then perhaps it shouldn’t be the most difficult one to work with. You’re testing population is mostly experienced Democracy players, so your calibration for difficulty might be getting odd feedback.

  2. The base level of organised crime is now far too high. On some playthroughs I have eliminated all crime and violent crime, and still not been able to get the situation below the cut-off. The level it was at in D3 makes more sense.

  3. It’s possible to get stuck in an unrecoverable situation- One example is with the rare earths crisis. The only two remedies both cost a lot of political capital, so a displeased cabinet can lock you out from solving the problem completely.

  4. After playing the Germany scenario, I can see there’s a missing factor that’s skewing the balance between private/public services. High housing, private education and private healthcare costs are not reducing disposable income or causing unhappiness amongst the low and middle earnings, so there’s a perverse incentive to offload all these costs. Also, the game treats private and public services as just perfectly substituting for each other when that’s not really the case.Take a look at America, where a big thing about the whole “obamacare” debate was expanding health coverage to people who couldn’t afford it.

  5. The tax and spending balance is out of whack- it now takes extra taxes and large tax increases just to break even, even when GDP is maxed out.

  6. The environment is now practically impossible to manage. you can have zero CO2 produced, and all the environmental initiatives going full blast, but with a healthy economy, the environment is only ever about half way.

  7. Congestion seems very sensitive to changes in policy- it can max out very easily, and congestion charging seems to act like a silver bullet.

  8. Immigration is still broken- it’s sky-high all the time, and the population invariably ends up being almost entirely composed of ethnic minorities. The effects were exaggerated in D3, and this time round they’re even stronger.

  9. Dilemmas still let you see the impact they have on situations that don’t exist.

  10. A few other connections that the model should perhaps have:

  • Right to privacy- lowering internet crime
  • Road building should be a negative impact on the environment
  • Prison regime seems to impact crime twice- is this expected?
  • Intellectual property rights / technology connection should have its sign flipped. You can’t innovate if other people “own” all the ideas.
  • State broadcaster should increase “everyone” happiness. Making entertainment for the public.
  • Gambling laws should be a trade off of revenue / GDP - or perhaps this should be a separate gambling tax.
  • Empty homes tax should counteract real estate bubble
  • Narcotics law / drug addiction interaction should flip sign. See Portugal as an example.
  • Free parenting classes have much too large an effect on population.
  • Compulsory school sports should be unpopular with the Youth demographic
  • GDP shouldn’t automatically decrease equality.

New ideas / policies:

  • Community Broadband- method of increasing internet speed without taking the larger step of nationalising the whole telecoms industry.
  • Network neutrality (dilemma) - choose between boost to the telecoms industry and capitalists, or internet speed and equality.
1 Like

I think this one ought to play into monopoly generation that has been discussed in another thread. Extreme copyright means extremely long protection times means less competition, especially of the type that would require building off each others’ ideas.

1 Like

I do disagree on the copyright point. (the feedback is generally very welcome though, and super-helpful).
I think the idea that copyright stifles innovation is valid to an extent, but can you imagine how awful tech-investment would be for countries that totally ignore copyright as a concept? Its telling how countries rapidly start caring about copyright once they realize their own tech sector needs to protect its investments.

The two prison effects are deliberate. Note that one is short term, the other is long term.

Good point on picking the order of scenarios. I’ll make the US #1.

Would it be feasible to have a policy slider where effects didn’t all max out at one end of the scale or the other- for instance, in the copy restrictions policy that we’re talking about- the effect on capitalists and Youth would max out at either end of the scale, but technology, foreign investment, and foreign relations would peak at different points in the middle- so the level if restrictions that would maximise innovation is one thing, the level that would please multinationals is another, and the level that would please other countries who want to trade with you is different again.

You’d need to model these as polynomial curves rather than linear expressions, but it could bring a subtlety and multiple trade offs to some policies.

Another couple of sliders that could use a system like this would be the gender equality law one I mentioned up-thread, and the school selection policy, where either extreme should harm education but please different interest groups, while education is maxed somewhere in the middle (Where the optimum should be is as always, down to politics).

I think it’s an issue of other countries having that protection. If none of them did, it’d be fine. In fact, that’s what the fashion industry goes through, and their rate of innovation, as a result, is actually quite insane.
But yeah, stuff like this doesn’t happen in a vacuum and as the world at large has chosen to implement copyright protection, it’d be rather hard for individual countries not to have some form of it in place.
Still, high amounts will have negative effects on innovation, even as low amounts are better than no amounts. And the reason is that it fuels monopolies and reduces crosspollination where ideas of two different copyright holders could be combined to do something great, but getting the rights to both is gonna be prohibitively expensive to anybody but big companies or perhaps states.

So imo, either the effect ought to have some sort of U-shape to reflect these things, or, if you intend to add the monopoly idea, this should play into that and you can cover the detrimental effects through that mechanic instead.