Developing UI is kind of a pain, but I think in order for this game to take best advantage of some of the cooler relationships you could have between different neurons (thinking, for example, the effect of the carbon tax on GDP being proportional to the CO2 emissions without the carbon tax) you probably need a better one.
One thought I’m having is that there should be multiple tabs for each policy, one for the effects it has on other neurons (i.e. the current one), and one for its cost factors, for example. Income would make sense too, I guess.
I also think there needs to be a way to drill down on any given influence- if it is modified by something, then it’s ideally represented in some fashion.
I cannot imagine an effectively procedural visualisation of a linear equation is easy to create, but there definitely needs to be something that more clearly communicates to players, for example, why school vouchers supposedly cost nothing if private schools are at zero (at least thats why I think that happens). At present, these kinds of effects are pretty well-hidden, not being represented in any of the lines between policies, etc and only being something you will find if you are already looking at the source of the effect in the first place. The net effects might end up being the same, but the UI makes the simulation seem very haphazardly constructed, with things boosting the environment directly in the UI instead of decreasing the effects of the things they say they are making more environmentally friendly. Of course, questions like “why does banning cars in the cities improve the environment when nobody uses cars” is another matter.
I know this is a bit of a ramble, and I’ve seen you talk about the issue before, but I think this issue is a bit of an obstacle to making a really solid, interesting-to-play simulation that takes full advantage of more complex relationships.