On accumulators

I think Democracy 4 should have accumulators. Which is to say, nodes that use their value last turn as their primary determinant, and rise or fall over time based on other nodes rather than having their value determined by the current values of other nodes.

There’s quite a few simulations that would benefit from the engine supporting this:

  • Development: Should rise based on GDP, health, and education, and have broad effects across the board.
  • Inflation: Accumulates fast with money printing polices, drops slowly
  • Corruption: Easier to get than root out (like a situation) but should be more gradual going up and down to represent its nature as an entrenched problem
  • Natural Habitat/Forests: Easy to reduce, but can recover naturally over time.
  • Global temperature: For obvious reasons.
  • Minority Population: If you have high immigration that then stops, most the people that moved in are still going to stick around.
  • Citizen savings: Affected by the economy and especially inflation. Contributes directly to citizen wealth and probably to government interest rates. Also useful for setting up countries like Japan that are in really rough economic shape from earlier mismanagement.

It would also make it easier to differentiate countries, as with accumulators different scenarios can be made with similar policies.

Now, Cliff your primary objection to engine changes has been not wanting to make the game more inaccessible to new players. But this is already how deficit/debt works, and most strategy games have mechanics that work like this. Still, accumulators should be clearly distinguished from normal simulation values. I had first thought about color, but the only primary color left is yellow, and that might be confusing with negative situations. So, I think accumulators should be distinguished by shape, being diamonds rather than circles. This also allows simulation and situation accumulators to exist.

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Things like this could also support very different countries with very different current problems and needs in the same system. Most of the current countries would already start out with quite high development. But if we got, say, Sierra Leone, development would be quite low.
There should also be policies that, in principle, you could do in either country, but some would not make sense for more developed ones (the problems they try to address are already part of development) while others are simply too expensive to implement in developing ones.
This could also mean that, eventually, it’d make sense to actually phase out policies. Stuff you added to, effectively, speed up development, but once it did its job, its effects barely even matter to the current situation and you can save money with very little consequence by getting rid of it again.

(This would perhaps be accomplished by simply scaling its effects inversely with development.)

I already made an earlier thread for accumulators so yeah, I’m fully on board with this idea!

Current GDP sim could be GDP Growth sim effect them - it does double job now.
Then GDP would be an accumulator.
There is already accumulator-like variable: Total debt/savings.

Stuff, that currently is input and output of GDP sim would be moved around.
Some being GDP Input (events/dillemas), other output (could be scaled by population, so it acts as GDP per capita).
Lots of policies would affect GDP Growth and be affected by it.
Middling GDP and GDP Growth rate would represent today GDP size, and no size change respectively.
Min/max would be 50x smaller/bigger economy, and -5%/5% quarterly growth, if there would be min and max at all.


Population sim would be split into Population accumulator sim and population growth sim.
Youth and Retired voter membership would change in realistic way, currently Youth group size doesn’t change at all.
What qualifies as Retired group could be changed by Retirement Age policy.
Stuff changing Retired membership could affect life expectancy instead.

Middling values would be current population size, and fertility rate of 2.0.
Min/max would be 100x smaller/bigger population, and fertility between 0 and 4, if there would be min and max at all.

Mission structure would change
population - maybe that would be demographic pyramid instead from age 0 to 100?
Or be current population, and demographic pyramid would be generated as all other sims eventually stabilize.
max_income - affected by GDP per capita
min_gdp - would be 0 or removed.
max_gdp - change that to current GDP size.
wealth_mod - affected by population and GDP.

Voter size would be simply amount of people above 18 years divided by 2000.

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Population dynamics could also add more interesting consequences to wars, say. From what I saw there is a very minimal simulation of that concept so far. But if you choose to, for instance, defend oil reserves with troops or what ever, that will have a negative impact on adult population. (I’m guessing that one would be fairly minimal though)

Countries with different demographic makeup face wildly different challenges so that would be a great way to make different countries feel different to play.

Another benefit of accumulators would be possibility of sustainable deficit spending.
That is you could safely increase total debt by 3%, if GDP growth is 4% for entire time, since its debt/GDP ratio, that matters.

Policies would increase cost and income as wealth_mod increases.
If Canada grows population and economy to size of USA, then wealth_mod would be same as USA.
Tax income modifiers would be correlated with GDP/capita.

Higher GDP/capita would slow down GDP growth rate - large and advanced economies grow slower,
Demographics also would play role in GDP growth.
If 60% of population is kids or grandpas, then economy may be unable to grow.

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Honestly, I’d probably represent demography with simulation values. Birthrate and average age. Birthrate and immigration lower average age (the latter more quickly) health raises it. Average age ties into youth and senior population, and can trigger a situation with economic consequences if average age gets too high.