Some early thoughts

Hi Cliff, apologies for starting a new thread, but I wasn’t sure really where is the best place to share these thoughts with you (that is the point of the Alpha, isn’t it? To give you some early feedback before wider release…)

This is coming from a huge fan of D3 & D3 Africa - over 520 hours played on them; so, I totally love your work and THANK YOU. Based on my early play-throughs of D4, I’m enjoying it and still getting used to the differences.

Where I’m coming from is that I was really happy with D3 and I might get frustrated if D4 ends up being way more difficult. What can I say; I enjoy being successful at things (we all like to ‘win’, right) and I’m less likely to spend my leisure time fighting losing battles if it gets too hard. As you say in the videos, the game has to be fun. (I really appreciated your comment in your blog a while back about the importance to life generally of enjoying doing something that you are good at.)

Having said that, it only took me two play-throughs on 200% difficulty (in which I ended up being a liberal capitalist, despite being a soft socialist in real life) to win 100% of the vote in elections in the USA, so maybe it does need to be made a bit harder. (I moved up to version 1.10 mid-way through my last play-through, but mostly I’ve been on 1.09.)

But where I think you’ve gone too far already is on the environment. I get that you’re an Environmentalist yourself, and that you probably think that it is the most important issue in world politics/government today, which overrides all other issues; but the game feels a bit limited when the player is continually pestered by negative environmental situations that feel extremely difficult and way too time-consuming to get rid of (if one ever succeeds). It’s spoiling it for me a little. Unless I’ve missed something, it is way too hard to get rid of the Respiratory Illness situation, even with extensive limits on cars and pretty much every environmental policy going. (The fact that subsidising trains is so much more expensive in D4 - not least because one has to nationalise them first - doesn’t help.) I get that respiratory illnesses are a big issue in real life, but a red-icon crisis is surely supposed to be when a problem gets out of control.

So could we please de-emphasise the environmental disasters a little bit? It just makes a game about every aspect of government feel unbalanced and skewed towards one set of issues.

Now, some specific suggestions, starting with green policies:

  • Reforestation should improve The Environment

  • Environmentalist Protests (which are also too difficult to get rid of) should be linked to Environmentalist Happiness, rather than The Environment itself. I’ve had one situation where I’ve had extremely happy Environmentalists (group approval at or near maximum, and literally all of them individually on the ‘will vote for me’ side of the line), but they were still protesting!

  • Why are Liberals bothered by Limits on Automated Trading?

  • Some of the Minister icons disappear on the main screen sometimes - particularly after a re-shuffle

  • Last but not at all least: Clicking on Estimated Effect of a policy not introduced yet should link to that Effect - e.g., if I’m looking at Helicopter Money in the potential Policy screen and it says Inflation might go up, I should be able to click on Inflation from that screen, to check how Inflation is doing at the moment, then be able to click your lovely new Back button and implement the policy.

That’s all for now. I’ll write more as more thoughts occur to me. Thanks again!

Unfortunately that’s kinda realistic. The environment doesn’t improve on non-action. But also, it doesn’t actually take that long. If anything I’d argue it’s way too fast. You can apparently stop temperature growth and even reverse it in stupidly short time.
What’s silly to me about The Environment right now is just how insanely quickly it fluctuates. Either I don’t understand what it is actually meant to represent, or it just simply makes no sense what so ever. Almost all effects on The Environment ought to come with quite a hefty delay (be it positive or negative) - The exception would be something like an oil spill event, say, where the damage is immediate, and only its decay is delayed.

That being said I haven’t yet had time to really test the semi-recent rebalancing. It may well be that these things need tweaking now that those big balance changes are in.

Respiratory Disease, though, I kinda agree is weirdly easy to trigger / hard to solve.

Because it’s a limit on what you are allowed to do, which is kinda against the definition of liberalism.
Although the game isn’t always clear on when it sticks to the philosophical definition vs. when it’s more about what people who tend to identify as such a position actually want. So this point could certainly be argued.

Other missing links: Whenever you are looking at a multiplier or membership. Those should still link to the thing they are relevant to.

Yeah, I get that making environmental problems painfully difficult to solve is more realistic. I’m advocating for a tad less realism on that particular front - on the basis that the game should be (and generally is) a balance between fun and simulation. I don’t come to the game to get more depressed about the world; I play it for enjoyment. It would be less fun, I think, if we are lumbered with problems that we cannot solve (e.g., in a case where we are limited to two terms and it will take 20 years at best to trigger the Stop-condition).

Re Liberals opposing Limits on Automated Trading: You might well be able to think of counter-examples to this, but Liberals in the game are, as I understand it, broadly speaking social liberals (as opposed to economic liberals). The economic liberals are the Capitalists. Sure, Liberals don’t like bans, but for in-game consistency, surely that’s to be understood as restrictions on people’s everyday social / religious / civil rights, as opposed to state economic intervention. In the same way that Liberals are not angered by tax rises / work safety laws etc.

Liberals are just liberals. The socialist/capitalist spectrum is independently modelled by the game. Or at least that what it means to do. Whether it’s always successful is a different matter.

We straddle a very difficult line of trying to mix liberalism with libertarianism. The liberals in the game advocate for some stuff liberals often do not, such as the right to own guns etc. Limiting automated trading would REALLY annoy libertarians, and its that which we are nodding to with that effect. It might be a bit strong…

Regarding the environment, yes the effects should likely take longer. Its actually REALY easy to make enviornmentalists happy right now, so Ive rebalanced it. I agree that the respiratry disease situation can be pretty tough to fix, depending on the country. You need to fight smoking, car ownership and pollution from factories all at once, and do some reforestation :smiley:

Totally agreed that being able to click through from an effect preview should be a thing. This is easy and I’ll do it tommorow.

Also yes, the game is too easy right now. I keep trying to make it harder! I think a lot of elections are being won because voter perceptions (trustworthy etc), are way too generous, and I tweaked that today ready for an upcoming patch.

Thanks for the reply. :slight_smile: It made sense to me that Liberals would oppose restrictions on gun ownership (inconvenient as that may be!), because that’s not an economic policy as such. But I hear what you’re saying about libertarianism.

I appreciate the tip re smoking and Respiratory Disease. I wondered whether I’d been missing something and I probably should have put 2 and 2 together with the change of name of that one…

Great stuff with making it possible to click through from an effect preview!

I’m really liking how hard the environment is to balance because economic growth does involve a ton of production. Here are some small tweaks that could help, though:

  • Climate change adaption should improve the environment, esp at higher levels

  • End of life recycling should improve the environment

  • Plastic Bag tax could have a small impact

  • Perhaps a policy requiring recyclable materials, putting onus on the manufactures

  • Education could arguably make waste reduction stronger, thus helping the environment

One element I don’t understand is why car use, even if you’ve nailed CO2s and the cars are electric, sill hurt the environment. if its because car manufacturing is inheritance bad for the environment, then I am all in!

And Reforestation should improve The Environment too! (Maybe as a compromise it wouldn’t help with Pollution directly.)

I love all of that