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Romulus

The Centurion: Countermeasures Against Infinite Farming

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I thought The Centurion is a great title for articles relating to strategy :)

Anyways straight to the point, to best of my knowledge infinite farming started in Alpha 15, which means the cost of farming has zeroed making them an extremely valuable source of income, rendering wood, iron and stone mines obsolete.

But this isn't entirely the case if one analyzes a means in which to combat this, to effectively starve an enemy.

Such a modification on the farms, greatly impacts various Roman strategies, where the effect of starving an enemy encased in wooden palisades seems to have gone out the Window, imitating an Empire Earth II scenario of infinite resources which proved to be a total fail. We can only hope 0 A.D. Does not follow in the foot steps of failure and the team members reconcile with this argument and either rectify this, or implement a system which balances this.

For now, this strategy cannot justify the continuation of infinite farming, but only to the perils of the players struggling to ward off a fantasy of a pressing enemy appearing from absolutely nowhere.

With that said, I shall discuss a viable strategy.


First off the enemy needs a market in order to benefit from infinite farming in order to exchange food for the other three essentials. Not withstanding the fact, that early on the enemy starts exchanging resources so early in the game it defeats this object entirely, but we approach from a surgical preemptive standpoint, we become aware the enemies options and therefore we can stop him in his tracks.

The Method?

Farms cost wood

Markets cost wood

So does every building!


Keep demolishing these structures will render a depletion of wood stocks, that is assuming your scouts and cavalry monitor the enemies wood supply chains wherever they might be.

How to eliminate these structures?

A group of suicide divisions of at least 20 men to attack ONLY these structures will result in a slow trickle of depletion.

Conclusion?

We can how silly and stupid this infinite farming is, but there ways to counter this. Let's hope something gets done about it.

Ave

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Or, we could keep the farming as is (you can't starve cities in real life if they still have enough farming ground either), but fix the market "regenerating" resources too fast.

Currently, if you buy something, the price of the thing you bought rises, while the price of the thing you sold drops, as it should be. But if you wait a few seconds, it's back to the original price, which is way too fast. And I even wonder if it ever should restore prices, instead of just depending on the global market.

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Yeah that would be great. And yes these are early days, but balancing is one of the important tasks. Infinite farming as is, has no balance whatsoever

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Farming doesn't require wood...

How do I know? I live on a farm.

Building the farmhouse, making tools, etc. necessitates resource, but sustaining a farm once it has those doesn't cost. (not true anymore, dependency upon seed manufacturers)

The main problem is space, farms require lots and lots of space. That's why you didn't have (a lot of) them within the city/castle walls. That's how you could starve the enemy.

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If you don't have much land inside your walls to farm, then you won't produce enough food to survive the attacks even with infinite farms. If you do have a lot of land, then you should be able to last for awhile. It's really the gather speed that matters most for balance purposes.

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Typically cities right from AOE have been made unrealistically. You do not get a farm right on your CC/towncenter/whatever

door step? Relly wtf? Final Fantasy?

Farms and food cultivation are built outside the boundaries of a city's premises. Once an army lays siege to a town, farmlands and food chains are ceased. Period. And in this situation, there's always going to be space for a farm in city walls, which is total the opposite of reality.

This is also something I'd gladly see rectified.

A radius, a 40-50 meter circle around your CC that stops you from building farms. This would solve this problem.

Edited by Romulous

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It's a bit forced but perhaps we could bonus the gathering rate in relation with the distance to the first CC?

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Walled monasteries, oppida and large castles did own farm(s) inside their defensive structure when affordable. It could be roughly equivalent to one farm field and one slowly regenerating berry bush/tree.Not enough to feed a full-pop besieged city for a year but enough to help when the corn had been stored in the granary, cattle protected and proper provisions had been made. Indeed, the "lower court" of a castle was akin to a farm (and a village) in many cases.

In case you decide against AoE to put a minimal distance between the CC and the fields/farms, you could also let at least one field to be build near the CC and give one regenerating berry bush near it too.

Edited by Rodmar

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Maybe we shouldn't be focusing on giving penalties on building farms near civ-centers, but give bonusses to building other building close to civ-centers... e.g. a market gains value if it's build close to a civ-center, a barracks trains units with a little xp or at a faster rate (could depend on civ), houses near civ-centers could be a little higher (apartments) and have an extra +1 pop ...

That is far more realistic. There are no penalties on having a farm in the city (once you own the land), but as a center it is beneficial for trade, recruitment and there is a big demand for housing.

So my bonus-instead-of-penalty proposition:

Barracks:

-Increased training rate (easier to find new recruits in a city)

Blacksmith:

-Decreased cost for tech (cities attract merchants)

Dock:

-Trade value bonus (cities attract merchants)

House:

-A +x pop (apartments)

Market:

-Trade value bonus (cities attract merchants)

Temple:

-no bonus?

Corral, Farmstead, Field, Fortress, Wonder, Defense buildings & Special buildings:

-no bonus

This would be much more realistic and have the same effect. If you want to have protected fields, that's fine, but you could've used that space for better things.

The bonus could be shown when placing a building.

When very close it would show (+10% value) a bit further it might say (+5% value). Maybe the building could color green if it would get a bonus.

Edited by idanwin
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That certainly looks good. It would indeed be more realistic to give combo bonuses and it gives an extra level of planning and building. Wouldn't it be implemented in vanilla then certainly it should be tested in a mod.

Regarding to the bonus shown: you already get range bonuses, in the same way you could display other bonuses.

Edited by niektb
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House:

-A +x pop (apartments)

Oh right, nice bonus. I'll make it technology modifiable right away.

The bonus could be shown when placing a building.

When very close it would show (+10% value) a bit further it might say (+5% value). Maybe the building could color green if it would get a bonus.

We can have range-based bonuses now, but they're on-off bonuses. Not something like more bonus for closer entities. Because to would just be too difficult to constantly check those ranges and send messages around everywhere.

That said, I'd more prefer just de-bonusing farms near the CC, just for the sake of simplicity.

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Oh right, nice bonus. I'll make it technology modifiable right away.

We can have range-based bonuses now, but they're on-off bonuses. Not something like more bonus for closer entities. Because to would just be too difficult to constantly check those ranges and send messages around everywhere.

That said, I'd more prefer just de-bonusing farms near the CC, just for the sake of simplicity.

It could still be on/off, the main idea is after all to make the area around the CC valuable for other things than farms, not to make it more valuable just right next to it. :)

Though to me the easiest way to do things would be to increase the size of farms considerably. That would both make it less beneficial to build right next to the CC and make raiding them easier as it would be harder to fully protect them with walls/towers/fortresses.

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I like the fact that they overlap, maybe increase the footprint a little, but still let them overlap a bit ( now the footprint is really small compared to their actual size) or we could just increase the actual size ...

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I think you both mean the obstruction size. Increasing that would work, but currently, workers only walk to the obstruction size of the resource (which is nice for all other resources), so enlarging the obstruction size without enlarging the model might make it look silly (the units would never come actually on the field they're working on).

We could enlarge the obstruction size together with the decal tough. If the obstruction size is the size of the plants, the units would walk right to the plants, while standing on the farm ground. Overlapping decals would still be possible (so you get a nice uniform underground), but overlapping plants wouldn't be possible.

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I think you both mean the obstruction size. Increasing that would work, but currently, workers only walk to the obstruction size of the resource (which is nice for all other resources), so enlarging the obstruction size without enlarging the model might make it look silly (the units would never come actually on the field they're working on).

We could enlarge the obstruction size together with the decal tough. If the obstruction size is the size of the plants, the units would walk right to the plants, while standing on the farm ground. Overlapping decals would still be possible (so you get a nice uniform underground), but overlapping plants wouldn't be possible.

Maybe you could make an other type of obstruction. One that prevents user from building but not units from walking. This way you would also get a starting point for units on walls.

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You can walk over the farm obstruction, but the resource gather code picks the best gather location, which is right at the edge of the obstruction. Going any further isn't economical.

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Infinite farming is a completely sensible mechanic. The gather rate is lower than other resources and trading through the market is inefficient (though the rate change might need some balance as suggested above, that needs playtesting to decide). If two people are playing and one controls the whole map and the other is just farming and buying resources at the market the one controlling the map will have massively superior income (at least 1.5 times). This means they can easily win the game because they will be able to train more troops.

There is an argument that it is too easy to cluster the farms very close to the CC currently. I think that increasing the obstruction size a little more is better, maybe so they barely overlap. Having ton place them a long way from the CC makes them very vulnerable early on.

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It could still be on/off, the main idea is after all to make the area around the CC valuable for other things than farms, not to make it more valuable just right next to it. :)

Though to me the easiest way to do things would be to increase the size of farms considerably. That would both make it less beneficial to build right next to the CC and make raiding them easier as it would be harder to fully protect them with walls/towers/fortresses.

Out of all the possible changes or alterations proposed here, this one has the greatest level of realism. And indeed logical.

Farms were indeed "BIG" compared to city space. So this suggestion makes sense.

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Infinite farming is a completely sensible mechanic. The gather rate is lower than other resources and trading through the market is inefficient (though the rate change might need some balance as suggested above, that needs playtesting to decide). If two people are playing and one controls the whole map and the other is just farming and buying resources at the market the one controlling the map will have massively superior income (at least 1.5 times). This means they can easily win the game because they will be able to train more troops.

There is an argument that it is too easy to cluster the farms very close to the CC currently. I think that increasing the obstruction size a little more is better, maybe so they barely overlap. Having ton place them a long way from the CC makes them very vulnerable early on.

I completely agree with this. It might not be the most realistic, but I would argue that it is still a good mechanic to have.

Other than just the rate of trading there is also the rate at which prices change from trading that could be adjusted. Making it steeper would punish players for trading one resource heavily much more.

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quantumstate, on 13 Jan 2014 - 9:09 PM,

said:

Infinite farming is a completely sensible mechanic.

The gather rate is lower than other resources and

trading through the market is inefficient (though the

rate change might need some balance as suggested

above, that needs playtesting to decide). If two

people are playing and one controls the whole map

and the other is just farming and buying resources

at the market the one controlling the map will have

massively superior income (at least 1.5 times). This

means they can easily win the game because they

will be able to train more troops.

There is an argument that it is too easy to cluster

the farms very close to the CC currently. I think that

increasing the obstruction size a little more is

better, maybe so they barely overlap. Having ton

place them a long way from the CC makes them

very vulnerable early on.

I completely agree with this. It might not be the most realistic, but I would argue that it is still a good mechanic to have.

Other than just the rate of trading there is also the rate at which prices change from trading that could be adjusted. Making it steeper would punish players for trading one resource heavily much more.

What both of you are failing to acknowledge, is the point of this thread and argument.

The point laymans terms, is the way we interact in a strategic way against either AI or humans.

The whole nature of "logical" strategy, (i.e. logical meaning relative to reality, and not fantasy), becomes totally flipped on its head and doesn't represent realism that an "historical" RTS is supposed to.

The line between fantasy and reality pivots on such mechanics, and the 0 A.D. team has to be aware of this, that it doesn't taint the game with unrealistic elements which destroys gameplay and the whole theme in general.

You yourselves need to better assess what's been said before commenting and encouraging such unrealistic methods of game play.

Edited by Romulous

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Hi all! First (as this is my 1st post here) thanks to everyone involved in the development of this great game. I am not normally a gamer but 0AD is a true pleasure.

And my suggestion against infinite farming near СCs is the concept of land fertility (different areas of land have different levels of fertility determining harvesting speed).

This is a bit similar to de-bonusing but is this case land quality is a "primary" factor. You don't normally build a CC or something on fertile lands if their amount is limited. Land could also lose its fertility near some types of buildings.

Now we can farm on almost any flat land with equal success but on some maps (desert/snowy) this looks a bit strange. Making good lands more limited resource could also add more realism to these maps.

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