Author Topic: Rebalancing Colonial Charter. Making a Balance Patch/Mod.  (Read 2345 times)

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Offline smurphys7

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Rebalancing Colonial Charter. Making a Balance Patch/Mod.
« on: November 10, 2019, 04:31:25 AM »
I got into a discussion with a Colonial Charter developer.  I intend to create a Balance Patch/Mod for Colonial Charter that ONLY edits the costs, quantity, and value of goods and buildings.  My goal is to achieve a better balanced Colonial Charter.  I don't want to touch the aesthetics.  I don't want to create new content.

Colonial Charter is imbalanced.  The mod creators support this imbalance.  I strongly disagree with the concept that "imbalance is good" and I strongly disagree with "imbalance creates options."

I took this quote from an article on game balance:

Quote
Gameplay is all about making choices and in a poorly-balanced game, many of the choices available to the player are essentially rendered useless. And this, in a nutshell, is why game balance is so important -- it preserves your game elements from irrelevance. In an imbalanced game, one or more "dominant strategies" quickly emerge, limiting other strategies useless except for some un-intended purpose (such as getting used as a handicap mechanism, or comedic reasons).

First, I would like input on the objectives.  What objectives do I want?  What should the goals be for a better balanced Colonial Charter?

1) All production facilities increase quantity and/or increase trade value, uneducated and educated.

2) Reducing the difference between "optimal" producers of goods and "less optimal" producers of goods.

These first two are pretty set in stone.  I no longer want to go through the spreadsheets on Colonial Charter to compare productivity.  Everything works.  Everything is viable.  Make what you want.  These other goals I am not sure about...

3) Trading rebalanced. 

In Banished, ordered goods cost 25% more, rounded down.  This rounding means that any good that costs 3 or less is "free" to order.  A super simple solution is to increase the value of every good by 10.  This changes nothing and it changes everything.  The comparable value of goods is still the same.  Four Logs are still worth One Iron Tool.  The difference is now that you can't "Order" logs and get endless shipments of them without paying the 25% ordering penalty. 

I would also be rebalancing the value of goods.  The goal being that every production option is similar in the creation of trade value.

4) Change costs of some buildings.

This would potentially be a large change.  I could make something like technology tiers.  I intend on putting this on hold and doing simple things first.

5) Change effectiveness of higher tier buildings.

I could have "higher tier" buildings be more effective.  For example "Blacksmith" could produce tools more slowly than the more expensive and fancier looking "City Blacksmith".  I could have the Large Fuel Refinery more effective than the Small.  I intend to put this on hold as well. 

What should the objectives of balance be?  What should be the scope of rebalancing Colonial Charter?

Offline Goblin Girl

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Re: Rebalancing Colonial Charter. Making a Balance Patch/Mod.
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2019, 05:33:36 AM »
I think this is a great idea. 

I'd like to see charcoal, firewood, and all other processed fuels that heat houses have the same numbers.  As it stands, it makes no sense to heat with anything other than charcoal, and for that matter, to trade with it too.

I'd like to see food processing buildings all have the same input and output values.  So, 100 flour, beef, milk, etc = X number of bread, steaks, cheese, etc.  Should it be a 100% increase like Red does?  I'm leaning toward no.  I think a 50% increase would be the sweet spot.  I do wonder about processed goods that have more than one item as inputs.  So for instance, should herb bread (flour & herbs) have a higher output than hardtack or plain bread? What about products that have three items input?  I do think they should yield more with each additional input, but I can't give you a formula.

I have a question about point 2 and point 5.  Are these not contradictory?  I'm ok with more primitive methods of manufacture being slower (saw pit vs waterwheel sawmill, eg).  Or are you saying you want to continue to have the lower tier buildings produce more slowly, but just tweak the numbers and standardize them?

This is a huge project.  Thanks for tackling it!

Offline smurphys7

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Re: Rebalancing Colonial Charter. Making a Balance Patch/Mod.
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2019, 05:45:59 AM »
Great points.  I don't the goal will be "perfect balance."  Simply "improved balance."  There is so much room for improvement I think the goal can be achieved with little difficult but with much tedium.

I don't think 2 and 5 are contradictory.  I just need to be clear with the language used: "Reducing the difference between optimal and suboptimal" rather than "perfect balance."

For example: Firewood verse Charcoal

In Vanilla and Colonial Charter:

Woodcutter: 1 Log --> 4 Firewood. (5 Logs into 20 Firewood)

Stacks Burner: 5 Logs --> 55 Charcoal (which is used like Firewood).

I would be reducing the quantity of Charcoal produced. "Work Time" and the cost of the building are also factors. Perfect balance is not necessary. Better balance is the goal.

Perhaps 5 --> 30 or 5 --> 40 for Logs into Charcoal is a better balanced experience when compared to Vanillas/Colonial Charters 5 --> 20 for Firewood.

Exact balance (assuming work and other factors are the same) would be 5 --> 20 and 5 --> 20.  I don't want to strive for perfect balance.  Simply improving the balance.  When two things will have different balance I will have the option with more inputs, higher cost of building, or higher technology be the "slightly more effective option."  So, for example, Charcoal will still be better than Firewood.  Charcoal will be less better than it is now.

I hadn't considered the multiple input goods.  Thanks for bringing that up.  I also want to change the values of things so Firewood isn't valued at 4 and Charcoal at 3. 

I'm not sure how much value I will have everything create.  I will try to keep on par with vanilla.  I also want uneducated worker to still create some value, but not a lot of value.  I will look at the vanilla numbers some more and try to figure out my "target" balance.

Offline brads3

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Re: Rebalancing Colonial Charter. Making a Balance Patch/Mod.
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2019, 06:43:36 AM »
how do i put this? CC does have a balance but it is set toward trade values. where i think most players have an issue with this is how that works with food processing. the trade value goes up but the quantity  goes down. the CC balance does nothing to help the bannies or the survival aspects of the game.

    increasig all TV's by10. what happens when you add a mod that wasn't chaged?  if that mod is above the CC,it will override your changes. also did you consider the work time in your balance equations?

  this is a huge progect.not sure how you could do it without changing every building. good luck with it.

Offline smurphys7

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Re: Rebalancing Colonial Charter. Making a Balance Patch/Mod.
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2019, 07:38:54 AM »
how do i put this? CC does have a balance but it is set toward trade values.

If it is balanced around trade values then the balance is terrible.  My goal isn't to achieve perfect balance but merely "less terrible" balance.

One example of a GOOD change in Colonial Charter is the value of Venison went from 3 in unmodded to 1 in CC.  No longer can a person trade 1 Venison for 3 Fish and essentially "triple" production from Hunting Cabins.

Colonial Charter does NOT follow this concept through all goods.  Firewood has a value of 4.  Coke Fuel and Charcoal have a value of 3.  You can trade all your Firewood for Coke Fuel or Charcoal and increase production.  The Trade Value balance is terrible.

Some goods, like Rope and Rugs decrease in value due to production.  Rope turns 150 Reeds into 2 Ropes worth a total of 70.  It is better to trade for Ropes than to make them yourself.

Industrial Fuel is similarly terrible balanced in terms of Trade Value.  Every form of Industrial Fuel production loses Trade Value.  It is always better to trade for Industrial Fuel.

Ropes, Rugs, and Industrial Fuel could all be corrected by simply increasing the value of those products.

Quote
increasig all TV's by10. what happens when you add a mod that wasn't chaged?

This is a very good point.  I will hold off on changing that.

Offline Nilla

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Re: Rebalancing Colonial Charter. Making a Balance Patch/Mod.
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2019, 11:21:35 AM »
WOW, that´s something!

It sounds very interesting! CC has a lot of nice buildings and good ideas but I don't like playing it, just like you mentioned; because of the bad balancing. The overpowered sites annoy me same as the "value destroyer" and the fun is gone. Yes, a better balanced CC would be great!

It's been a long time since I played CC so I can't give you some detailed advice to specific buildings. But as you say, I find that every production building should make some sense. Not everything needs to give a huge profit, that too takes away the fun but a worker must at least be able to support himself and one unproductive (child, student, trader, vendor, teacher...). Otherwise,  the site is meaningless and it's better to buy what you need. I like some "historically correctness", also when it comes to trade. Have anyone heard of a society becoming rich exporting firewood? So, leaning on vanilla values doesn't automatically give a well-balanced game.

As you say; processing something should somehow add value and I agree; more complex chains with several steps and/or several input materials should add more value than simple production. CC has so many goods suitable for export, so I find food processing should primarily increase the amount, not the value. Maybe with a few logical exceptions; like salted or smoked meat, that could be suitable for export but I see no sense in giving lambchops a higher value than mutton or vegetable stew a higher value than simple vegetables.

You have a huge work in front of you. Maybe it's wise to start with the worse imbalanced sites, some of them already mentioned. Anyway; I wish you luck. You're a good Banished player and I'm sure you have the necessary skill to make CC an enjoyable mod, even for players like me who care about the production numbers!

Offline Goblin Girl

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Re: Rebalancing Colonial Charter. Making a Balance Patch/Mod.
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2019, 11:31:25 AM »
I'd propose something like this: 100 wheat = 150 flour.  100 flour = 150 bread.  100 herbs + 100 flour = 300 herb bread...or perhaps just boost the trade value of herb bread so it would be more likely to be traded away than eaten?  Either one would work.  The key would be that *all* two ingredient foods have the same formulae, and all three ingredient foods do so as well.

And if you look at building supplies & homewares, lordy.  They're all over the place. 

Standardization would make the game more interesting (to me) because as it stands there are certain products I will *never* manufacture.  And I think that's too bad. 

Offline Navigator Black

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Re: Rebalancing Colonial Charter. Making a Balance Patch/Mod.
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2019, 05:08:18 AM »
I like this idea, more game balance is always welcomed.

Goods with detailed production chains should have higher trade value, that only makes sense to me. While it's certainly plausible for some resources to have higher trade value than a processed good, Banished's lack of currency economy doesn't support marketplace demand and associated supply and demand format. So placing higher values on chain produced goods is a fair interpretation.

That being said, the randomness of what trade goods are available feels like a factor, though it could be that I just don't properly understand the trade order and purchase system in the game. Using Brads' example of venison and fish, that does feel like an exploitation of poor balance but only if a player can control what goods are delivered regularly. 

I wonder, too, how trade value rebalancing would affect all stages of the game. It's the earlier game where these things feel like they matter most, but once a town is fairly large one tends to be rolling in goods and values feel largely irrelevant. Should values change based on population size?
Perhaps this is built into the values derived from different tier buildings? That'd be a great UI addition, too, a clear indicator of tiers...

As far as mods go, might it just be a matter of requiring CC Rebalanced to be first in load order?

Offline The Pilgrim

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Re: Rebalancing Colonial Charter. Making a Balance Patch/Mod.
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2019, 01:02:37 PM »
A few years ago I wrote up a proposal for a rebalance to CC when I was still working with them. I'll see if I can find it and I'll forward it to you to see if there are any useful tidbits there.

Offline smurphys7

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Re: Rebalancing Colonial Charter. Making a Balance Patch/Mod.
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2019, 06:17:50 PM »
That would be amazing and helpful.

Offline smurphys7

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Re: Rebalancing Colonial Charter. Making a Balance Patch/Mod.
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2019, 09:25:22 AM »
I am going very slowly.  I am not in a hurry.

Lots of things to keep in mind.  Adjusting some numbers might affect several things in several different ways.  Some things I want to change value, some how many produced, some work time... etc.

Here is where I am so far.  You can read, but not edit.  I am very open to suggestions.

Generally, I am just going tab to tab on the CC Production sheet.  I haven't gotten off the food tab yet.

My plan is 1: Make list of changes.  2: Figure out how to make them into a mod that works. 3: Test and see that the numbers aren't stupid.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2019, 09:40:26 AM by smurphys7 »

Offline smurphys7

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Re: Rebalancing Colonial Charter. Making a Balance Patch/Mod.
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2019, 05:12:17 AM »
I have access to lots of the Colonial Charter files.  I can edit and change the numbers now :) :) :) :)

I have been playing with numbers solely on spreadsheets for now.  Link to Google Sheets Document.  You can make a copy and edit your copy.

Next Steps:
1) Make the Spreadsheet better.  Fix all the typos and stupid numbers I typed into the Spreadsheet.  I probably missed a few obvious things too.
2) Edit all the files so they have the spreadsheet's numbers.
3) Get the mod to actually work
4) Test the mod and numbers
5) Rebalance and change things
6) Consider adding more things to the scope of the project

Copy/Pasting from Intro page on sheets document:

Goal:
A better balance, not a perfect balance.
Make anything you want and don't bother look at spreadsheets: everything is viable and fairly similar
More complex or expensive should be more productive
Try to leave base/vanilla things alone: Hunting/Gathering/Farming

Highlighted Examples:
         
0.88 Profit per worktime.  Rug made with Cotton at a Weaver.
-10.00 Profit per worktime.  Rug made with 18 Cured Leather.
0.75 Profit per worktime.  Rug made with 1! Cured Leather.

5.0! Profit per worktime with Charcoal.  Made in batches of 55.
0.85 Profit per worktime with Charcoal.  Made in batches of 18.

Thoughts
I am very open to suggestions and changes.

NOT in Scope
Changing cost of buildings

Food:
All food and food refiners should increase quantity and increase value

Fuel            
Code: [Select]
                  Old New
                Fuel/T Value/T Fuel/T Value/Time
Firewood 0.50   0.88 0.50   0.50
Firebundle 0.20   0.10 0.44   0.28
Charcoal 1.72   5.00 0.56   0.97
Coke Fuel 1.72   4.22 0.75   0.56


Refined Resources
Most things are more productive

Mining
Greatly increased Mining productivity
Some jerk of a mayor was out there forcing people to Mine and trading the goods to you.
Now you can be that jerk

Trade Buildings
Chartered/Bootlegger/Smuggler produce goods very fast, but slightly lose value.  Like constantly trading with orders
Native trader somewhat productive.  Uses 2 goods

Military Buildings
Productive!

Concerned about.  Will want to test.
Result? Overall many things are buffed.  Game too easy?  Slight 10-20% nerf across the board?
Egg, Milk and Chicken Pens.  Where are they in files
Flour: Too low?  Too many mills needed?

Base Game Bugs
House Building Tailor can't hold Misc for Survival Coats
« Last Edit: December 15, 2019, 05:16:55 AM by smurphys7 »

Offline Nilla

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Re: Rebalancing Colonial Charter. Making a Balance Patch/Mod.
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2019, 06:21:22 AM »
Your thoughts sound very good to me. Only, it´s hard to say how it works in-game only looking at theoretical values on a spreadsheet. There are other hard to estimate components; like how much time is really production? How much time is going and get/get rid of some materials? If the raw material is heavy the actual production time is less than if the materials are light. But you need to start somewhere and setting reasonable theoretical production numbers is a good way.


Offline Tom Sawyer

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Re: Rebalancing Colonial Charter. Making a Balance Patch/Mod.
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2019, 07:54:37 AM »
Re-balancing CC sounds ambitious.. it's so huge. I did some overwriting of way smaller mods to make them work in North and found it always laborious. In current version I reduced the set of mods to adapt and it cleaned up my template folder a lot. You will also easily come to a point where you want to remove an item or to add one and so on. I guess I would start this step by step focusing on certain chains like grain processing, then making it work in game to get a feeling if you actually want to deal with the modding part and then go to next chain. When you need some help about how to do such patch mods, just say.

Offline smurphys7

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Re: Rebalancing Colonial Charter. Making a Balance Patch/Mod.
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2019, 08:20:26 AM »
I pretty much agree with you both:  we should test the changes in game. 

I have tried virtually all the production chains in Colonial Charter and most of them were so uselessly terrible.

Mills and Bakeries are unproductive.  Mines are all unproductive.  Digging for almost everything is a complete waste of time.  Butchers were unproductive.  The steps after were nice but not so productive that it warranted an essentially empty step.  Building Supplies and Homewares had half the recipes be unproductive, a quarter lose value, and a quarter be great.

Getting to a super expensive late game item like a Wharf and Ship and getting virtually no production whatsoever?!

Furnace Fuel always loses value being made?!

Why does Coke Fuel make 55?!

So many numbers were just so outrageous that I sort of started everywhere.  I pushed everything closer to the middle.

As Nilla says, spreadsheet is one thing but the game is something else.  In Colonial Charter the numbers are SOOO far out there that the spreadsheet ones are certainly better.  Ideal?  Probably not, but it is a good first step.

Right now I am going to see if I made any obvious mistakes or missed anything obvious in the spreadsheets.  Then I will start going through the files and putting in the changes so we can start playing them.