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When farms run out...

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How is this realistic? Farms do run out of food in real life and require farmers to replant them every season. Farms are not "infinite."

In real life farms are planted with seed in spring, then you wait a while and harvest the whole lot at once. This is pretty unlike the current system. In 0 AD a farm is built then workers can gather food from it as fast as they like until it runs out. An infinite farm would have a limited number of workers and would be modeling a farmer working a farm to produce food, and farmers normally replanted their fields. The only difference from real life would be that the food gathered is spread out over time as an average rather than all gathered at harvest time. So I think that this is actually more realistic, though the realism is lost by the constant income.

The main factor we should be considering is game play since realism is bad either way. I actually like WhiteTreePaladin's idea of being able to research an infinite farm. This allows for cheap farms near the start of the game and a lack of annoying micro later in the game. Or maybe just cheap infinite farms with a slower gather rate.

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Going a realistic route would't be too bad:

Your unit tends the farm for 5 minutes, building up a good healthy harvest, then harvests it for 1 minute for a large BURST of food into your treasury over that minute.

Whatever way we end up doing it, I see this as very very low priority. lol Right now the Farms aren't ideal, but they work in an intuitive manner: Build field; harvest field; repeat. Very simple and gets the job done. Same way with the discussion on unit training elsewhere. The existing methods work intuitively, so let's focus on getting new features like trading, bartering, trample damage, running/charging, paper-rock-scissors, etc. into the game.

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Going a realistic route would't be too bad:

Your unit tends the farm for 5 minutes, building up a good healthy harvest, then harvests it for 1 minute for a large BURST of food into your treasury over that minute.

This could also increase corral usage early in the game - corrals producing an almost instant burst of food compared to farms where it only arrives after 5 minutes.

I prefer reseeding or harvesting, I don't like the idea of infinite farms at all - free food for very little effort. Infinite farms could possibly work after researching an expensive technology like proposed by WhiteTreePaladin.

And yes agree this is low priority, farms function sufficiently well as they are.

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I would like to see a combination of aoks farms, warrior kings windmills (and sawmills!) and rise of nations farms, (i.e 5 farms per settlement, which would make it so you need to expand and if you want to maximise efficiency you gotta make industry!)

This'd be cool for mines too, like smelters and stonesmiths.

oh i forgot to explain for those whovenever played either of said games.

Its a simple tree; Gather resource, drop it off at industry building i.e windmill, it is now refined and now you drop it on a town center and it drops more resources. Example: without windmill its 10 with windmill its 11. Small bonus but still a bonus.

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If 100 % realistic is what your going for, then do it. But I think it's silly. Playing a -game- is for entertainment, and of course the realism is a big part of that. But good games usually combine realism with playability.

The main reason I hate the idea of having to look after your farms all the time, is that, realisticly, which lord\king\president\whatever had to do that? The slave or subject or whatever did that without any looking after. Why not unlimited? Why is it more unrealistic? If it matters that much, why not make animations of the farm? From planting, growing, harvesting. Dont really matter, but there is no point in making the player have to do these things. Unlimited just means, leave it to the game.

But unlimited isnt the only option, just make it A LOT more than now, and more expensive. And make some sort of AoK system, cause it is one of the most annoying things in the RTS genre, when youve been off to war, recruiting soldiers and all that, and then 15 minutes later you have no food. Because as you went off to war, your farms ran out. And the dumb subjects\slaves whatever, stood there looking dumb because they have no mind of their own ^^ :D

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Have any of you actually done any research on ancient farming techniques? I don't really know a lot about ancient farming but what i do know is that the techniques varied greatly with each civilization, Greek citizens were very independent and somewhat removed from the direct authority of the Government when it came to running their farms. In other words the Greek citizens owned and ran their own farms, nobody bossed them around. This lead to farms being much more sustainable as the farmers were able to invest capital into their own farms and thus the farms were able to produce a continues, steady and sustainable amount of food. Other civilizations used a very different approach, farmers were strictly controlled by the bureaucracy, instructed when to fertilize, plant and harvest the crops. I am not so sure that peoples idea that the farms were planted then harvested is entirely correct, at least not in all cases. I am wondering if things like rotational cropping and *gradual planting* - not sure what the technical term for that is but i am talking about sowing small patches of crops at different times to ensure there is a steady supply of food instead of getting a big harvest at one time, were in use by any civilizations during the time of o ad, has anyone done any research on this sort of stuff? Anyway i hope i have provided some food for thought.

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Personally, I'd rather have each field have a very large amount of food than go the infinite route. I'm not really comfortable with spending 50 Wood and getting infinite Food return, unless we increase the cost of a farm substantially.
We could do unlimited, but only after researching an expensive technology.

Well guys what I think has been left out a bit in this discussion is that infinite farms are not OP per se just because they have the word 'infinite' in them :D. The caveat for infinite farms in AoM/AoE3/AoEO was that their gather rates were substantially lower than those of hunting/fishing. This way you'd always go for the latter if you had the option. Only later on in the game, when these resources were depleted and the player was confronted with more important decisions, the game designers would let you 'settle down' in exchange for lower gather rates. So infinite farms are quite a smart solution actually: They force you to do micro-intensive hunting etc. early on in the game, while letting you concentrate on military micro in late game. (In my opinion they're also consistent with reality because agriculture is a renewable resource while game, fish etc. is not.) Finally, in order to force the player to build more than just one farm, AoM/AoE3/AoEO also restricted the number of max gatherers (1 in AoM, 10 in AoE3).

In addition, infinite farms can be implemented quickly if desired: Just let them hold 999999999999999999999 units of food (= an amount that is virtually infinite) and decrease the gather rates a bit. (Optionally you could hide the amount from the player if a programmer finds the time to implement that. Technically that's exactly the way it was done in AoM I think. Same with AoM's Greek temples; they held a large amount of 'favour' that could be gathered by villagers, but the number was hidden from the player or replaced by 'Inf.' if I recall correctly.) In the long run a number of max gatherers should be considered as well.

Do it; it'll improve the alphas for now and we can still discuss farms again on the way to the final game :).

Edited by Android_

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I think it would be interesting to have this in the Alpha to see what it is like, but I am not in charge of stuff like that. Implementing it as you said would be pretty easy, it should be about 2 lines of code to make it display inf. A key difference to the AoE series is that with 0AD there isn't a restriction on the number of units gathering from a farm, so the resource cost for construction is much lower.

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As Edward said, there should be some research about it. We are researching too much about military and forgetting about the economic aspects of the game. Indeed some farmers were controlled by the government, as even the bible says it about the egyptians (See Joseph of the Egypt's story). But crop rotation was discovered amidst medieval age, Edward, so not likely it'll be featured in the game, i guess. I really think this could add even more dynamic to the game, as this changes the gameplay.

For example, egyptians would rather farm than hunt, animals were not easy to find all the year, plus they traveled in groups and the sun was very strong there. Meanwhile, greeks preferred to hunt and herd, as theiy had a more friendly climate and a richier fauna. Egyptians should (if they were in-game) have farms that produced long amounts of food, but they take a while to grow the food, while the greeks should have a steady, but very low, income of food from the farms, plus they were infinite.

I don't know how long it has been this way, but italians were very good with wine, so romans should have a farming bonus too, like infinite farms & average income?

Anyways, we have to investigate it further, even though it is with very low priority.

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I'd agree with farms having infinite food only if:

1:They cost a lot of food or wood

2:They had a gatherer restriction

3:They offer a low income

Because it would make hunting and animal corralling useless. In the other hand, it would be more pleasant if we would have no concern over farms late in game because in that part of the game players are focused on military actions. This was a big problem of AoE1,2 that you had to look after your farms even if you are fighting battles. In the other hand, farms in AoM were very cheap. Players could build a lot of them and enjoy an income of steady food supply. In AoE3, Mills cost very much and they were mostly useless early in game compared to livestock pens, berry bushes and hunting. Their only use was later when you needed to concentrate on battles without needing to worry about economical aspects of the game very much. This made the game play of AoE3 much more pleasant than AoE1,2 and much better than AoM.

Infinite recourses can be implemented into the game easily. I changed my Alpha-5 source some months ago and implemented them by checking if there was an "Inf" value for the "Amount" parameter ust like AoM and AoE3 to check if I still remember Java and C++ (And to have a nice time building fields with Infinite food :P) . This method is much cleaner than putting a 9999999999999 value for the amount of resources.

In the other hand auto replanting could take a lot of time to be done but shouldn't need any wood or even food (I mean how many sseds do you use to replant a farm in reality? A wheat farm can grow again from the few seeds that were scattered on the ground during harvest. And you have built the farmhouse already so there is no need for wood.). But it could take time for a farm to be "ready" for another harvest. This way the game is much more realistic and we don't need to check if our farms still exist after a disastrous battle.

And sorry for my poor English.

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Hi, I am new to this forum and reading this thread was very interesting. So please allow me to add my thoughts!

Actually a farm is a converter, it converts wood to food over time by a specific factor. Having unlimited farms means reducing this factor to zero, in the long term. But it requires other ressources, too. One is 'management efforts' in form of regular rebuilding. Unlimited farms render this cost aspect to zero, too. Setting both to zero seems to be unbalanced.

It is necessary to distinguish whether you are trying to lower the conversion factor or the management efforts. My proposal is to do only the latter: The farm rebuilds itself from time to time. Hence the management effort becomes zero, while the conversion factor remains untouched.

This behavior is quite realistic and intuitive: The farm is operated autonomously by the farmer, but from time to time he requires some ressources to accomplish his job. Repairing the plow, fixing the barn floor.. stuff like that.

Of course the player should be able to toggle that behaviour, for example during a wood shortage: An auto-rebuild-button is needed.

Researching doesn't change that principle, but its parameters: The speed of converting wood to food (conversion per time) and the ratio between wood and food (conversion factor).

What do you think?

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Basically my thoughts as well Mumie, except you were able to articulate it better. Another aspect about unlimited farms that I don't like is that we'd have to limit the number of gatherers. I hate hard coded limits like this unless they're for a very good reason (pop limit, etc.), but it would be necessary here because all you'd need to do is build one unlimited farm and task 20 gatherers to it. Yes, we could add some diminishing return feature for number of gatherers, but the fact remains that you'd only have to put in a minimal amount of wood and get infinite Food in return. I see nothing wrong with putting in some kind of auto-seed button or building up reseedings at the Farmstead like in AOK:TC.

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I tend to agree with Spahbod. Mumie and Michael: Again, having farms hold infinite food does not make them overpowered per se. Because of their low gather rates they are a worse option than any other source of food. This is why their construction costs are irrelevant; the mistake you guys are making is that you think in absolute instead of opportunity costs! I will put it this way: From your own experience, would you say that post-AoK farms felt 'unbalanced' or 'overpowered'?

Michael, on the number of gatherers: I am against any arbitrary limits as well and AoE3 farms might fall into this category (maximum of ten gatherers per farm). However, having one worker per farm (AoM and AoEO) does seem quite intuitive to me. At least it feels way more intuitive than the alternative (the current implementation in 0AD) which is to have as many gatherers as you like crammed on one field. Consequently I would say you won't get around a maximum number of gatherers anyway (regardless of the amount of food a field can hold).

To sum up, 'infinite' does not equal 'OP' and Spahbod is correct when addressing the annoying late-game issues with finite farms:

This was a big problem of AoE1,2 that you had to look after your farms even if you are fighting battles.

There were good reasons why Ensemble/Robot decided never to go back to the AoK system. Let's move on from there and think of better ways of making the economy a fun part of 0AD :). I am sure this community has the potential to do just that.

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My point, taking Mumie's lead, is that you have to identify what you want to accomplish by simplifying farms. I'm assuming you want to minimize management, while cost is not really an issue with you. Cost is an issue for me and others. So, if that's the case, then I can see some compromise here by implementing an auto-seeder mechanism. It would act like AOM's auto-queue with one click of the button, rather than like AOK's method of having to continuously queue up batches of reseedings.

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Regarding farms, how about making differences for different factions, somewhat aligned to their historical use?

Example:

- Greek farms have a large amount of food and medium gather rate, but can only be worked by one farmer (individualism).

- Farms in Persia can be worked by several gatherers with a lower gathering rate (state property), but a mediocre amount of food before reseed.

The farms could also be balanced in cost to outweigh this, but it would emphasise that the player needs to build up farms over some time before they actually get useful, and resort to corrals and hunting/fishing early.

(I am sort of making this suggestion to counter the strategies of AoK/C, where farms would be built as early as possible in vast numbers, and remain the prime food source forever. Not that it's bad in any way, I just think 0 AD needs to be different).

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(I am sort of making this suggestion to counter the strategies of AoK/C, where farms would be built as early as possible in vast numbers, and remain the prime food source forever. Not that it's bad in any way, I just think 0 AD needs to be different).

Yes, that's because AoK featured the feudal age, where farms were the base of the economies, but 0 A.D. takes place in an early time, so wouldn't make sense to emphasize farming instead of hunting.

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As soon as cities developed, i think it was somewhere around 7000 Bc, farming was the main source of food, farming was no less important in 500 bc to 500 ad than it was in the feudal age. I think it was something like 80% or 90% of people were farmers, as appose to today where something like 2% or 3% of the population in fully developed nations are farmers. So your a bit of if your saying that hunting supplied even as much as 1% of the food during the o ad time unless your talking about the Americas which obviously we are not, Even if you include fishing as a form of hunting, its still makes up a very small amount of the overall food available.

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As soon as cities developed, i think it was somewhere around 7000 Bc, farming was the main source of food, farming was no less important in 500 bc to 500 ad than it was in the feudal age. I think it was something like 80% or 90% of people were farmers, as appose to today where something like 2% or 3% of the population in fully developed nations are farmers. So your a bit of if your saying that hunting supplied even as much as 1% of the food during the o ad time unless your talking about the Americas which obviously we are not, Even if you include fishing as a form of hunting, its still makes up a very small amount of the overall food available.

True, but you didn't got my point. Not saying there weren't farms neither that they weren't necessary, just saying that the economy back in ancient times wasn't as linked to farms as it was during feudal age. Sorry for my bad expressing.

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Hunting was a very very small part of the economy, even back then. I'd say 80% of all food was grain-based at the time. The rest made up with fruits and vegetables and some fish and meat (on festival days).

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My point, taking Mumie's lead, is that you have to identify what you want to accomplish by simplifying farms. I'm assuming you want to minimize management, while cost is not really an issue with you. Cost is an issue for me and others. So, if that's the case, then I can see some compromise here by implementing an auto-seeder mechanism. It would act like AOM's auto-queue with one click of the button, rather than like AOK's method of having to continuously queue up batches of reseedings.

Well costs do indeed matter for me. There are two types of costs involved: 1.) The actual construction costs (probably wood and man hours) and 2.) opportunity costs, as farms have to be slower than other sources of food (otherwise other sources of food would be superfluous, right). Opportunity costs are the losses suffered from the player's decision to have his units gather from slower sources than from faster ones. (E.g. in 60 seconds a farmer can gather, say, 50 units of food, while a hunter can gather 90. Opportunity costs for farming compared to hunting during the same time = 40 food.) You have to consider both of these costs.

I hope this will make you understand that I did not say 'make farms as cheap as possible' or 'costs don't matter'. I didn't make any statements on how much the overall costs of farms should be. In the end we will be able to balance their costs easily by adjusting their gather rates (raising/lowering opportunity costs). (In fact this is why I said 'infinite farms are not overpowered per se'.)

However, what I did say is that you should minimize their construction costs and get rid of reseeding because these are just no fun. This is for two reasons: 1.) High construction costs make the player less flexible when they have to restructure their economy (e.g. when you need a lot of food very quickly but you can't afford a sufficient number of farms nowhere as quickly) and 2.) reseeding requires a sort of micro-management that is annoying and therefore died out with good reason in any post-AoK Age game.

Edited by Android_

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Corrals can improve farming. It is a source of fertilizer, and some farm animals greatly increase the manpower. On the other hand, corrals may need farms to feed the animals, when the land doesn't give enough naturally.

Choosing between fields and animals depends mostly on terrain; including water availability. Farms don't like slopes, while animals don't mind. Farms don't like rocks while goats find something to eat there. Farms don't like forests, while the semi-domesticated boars of the Gauls were happy there. Some farms like flooded areas, whereas animals prefer solid ground. These are just a few examples, but it's clear to me that each map, with its particulars. is the main factor in the tactical choice for food production. In a forest covered map for instance, it would take some serious woodcutting before fields could be planted.

Early farming was of course not as sophisticated as Iron Age farming. It was something between gathering and cultivating, a transition state. The gain was lower but, the methods not being forgotten, that's something you can also use in game: a natural field with no cost and low gain, infinite with low reseeding cost. but with a dormant period between reuses. It can be transformed in a real farm at any time. The dormant period can also be used for auto-reseeding fields, if you're looking for cons for that option. As a side note, you can also investigate on fish farming; Romans used it, but I don't remember when, so it could be too late for the game period.

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True, but you didn't got my point. Not saying there weren't farms neither that they weren't necessary, just saying that the economy back in ancient times wasn't as linked to farms as it was during feudal age. Sorry for my bad expressing.

Unfortunately, you are still wrong. :)

Farming was the main food and income source for all of our represented factions, and should thus be the most important in-game as well. Hunting is more appropiate for nomad factions, but their main food source was often household livestock, such as cattle or sheep.

Also, I don't see how farming in this timeframe was any less sophisticated, as they both had technology to transport water upwards and access to and knowledge of fertilizers, to some extent.

Edited by Alpha of the Eagles

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My point, taking Mumie's lead, is that you have to identify what you want to accomplish by simplifying farms. I'm assuming you want to minimize management, while cost is not really an issue with you. Cost is an issue for me and others. So, if that's the case, then I can see some compromise here by implementing an auto-seeder mechanism. It would act like AOM's auto-queue with one click of the button, rather than like AOK's method of having to continuously queue up batches of reseedings.

I like that. Something that, as long as you have the resources, ensures you have at least one "queued" farm for reseeding.

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