Population Growth

Teleros
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Population Growth

Postby Teleros » Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:26 pm

Had an idea whilst responding to the shared production thread here... namely population growth in a sci-fi setting.

1. Planets can support lots of people
Contrary to popular belief, planets like Earth can support a lot more people than a measly 7 billion or so, it just depends on their quality of life: basically, the better it is, the more people we can cram onto any particular planet. Highly efficient farms (not to mention mines etc) plus high-density cities mean that places that were once literally treeless due to the need for land are once again covered in trees (eg parts of New England / Hampshire in the US - once covered in colonists' farms, are now pretty wild). The entire world population could fit into an area about the size of Texas if we all wanted to live in a giant mega-city with New York City's population density.

2. People can live in space
But planets have lots of other things to worry about. Climate, other lifeforms, tectonic activity... and of course all that interior space used as nothing more than a pretty crummy foundation for the lithosphere. So let's start building in space instead. O'Neill cylinders and the like can be scattered around the Lagrange points, and if you're willing to build station-keeping thrusters (perhaps even solar sails could do this) there's no reason you couldn't build colonies everywhere. The ultimate colony-filled system is of course a classic Dyson Sphere (perhaps Dyson Swarm would be a better name, given MORE's plans though). How about a billion trillion humans as a lower limit in that case?

3. Industrial farming
But who'll feed all these people? Well that's where high-tech farming comes in. Hydroponics farms need little more than just water + energy: two of the most abundant things in the universe, meaning you can build them more or less wherever you like, and then build as many as you like. So whilst your Dyson Swarm inhabitants will likely never get the chance to wander through fields of corn, they won't go hungry either.


4. So how does this relate to MORE?
Put simply, it comes down to 3 ideas:

4a. No farmer pops. I don't know what you want to use instead (soldier pops? Commercial pops?), but farming really shouldn't be something an advanced civilisation needs to dedicate more than about 1% of its population to. The UK for example employs about 1.5% of its workforce in agriculture, and whilst it's got a pretty efficient farming sector, there are surely more efficiencies to be made between now and "MORE turn 1 tech level" :P .

4b. Huge max populations. Going by human standards, a decent starting population for MORE might be around 10-15 billion people on the homeworld. But as research progresses, so the max population of a planet should rocket up. By the end of the game, 10-15 billion should be a small village or hamlet compared to the ecumenopolises that dominate your empire.
Oh, and when I say "huge" max populations, I mean that most colonies should never reach the max population unless you're playing a REALLY long, drawn-out game. People just keep building more O'Neill cylinders and ever-taller skyscrapers, whilst actual, honest-to-god Dyson Spheres (as opposed to colony-management-UI-Dyson-Spheres) just laugh at any attempt to fill them in any timeframe not measured in millennia.

4c. Beauty vs industry. Suppose you don't want to cover every planet in tarmac and concrete though... what about bonuses for keeping them looking pretty? Not covered much (AFAIK) on these forums is the population morale system that MoO2 had, and which I assume MORE will have too... so why not allow players who prefer ticking a check-box to force a world to remain low-pop to get bonuses? Morale boosts, maybe research and monetary boosts (eg tourism) could all be used to offset the advantage of turning every colony into Coruscant.

There is also potentially a 4th idea - the scale of warfare - but the only way MORE is going to be able to handle billion-strong fleets of warships is by representing 10 million warships with a single icon or something, or even reducing combat to something more like Europa Universalis 3 or Victoria 2 :P .
Clear ether!

Tel
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Re: Population Growth

Postby Tel » Fri Jun 14, 2013 6:35 pm

I don't know if the developers will go with the MoOII model on this (Farmers - Workers - Scientists)
BUT those are abstractions for wide areas of a planet's development.
You neither could have 3 billion scientists...
So farmers represent the wider civil economic sector including transportation, trade and communications, workers the ability for construction, industry and energy capacity and and scientists the educational and higher social achievements, including administration and governance.
Gameplay-wise those were proven good.
I agree on the limit of population but this better be in accordance with gameplay mechanics and not a simulator.
(Unless they can make a simulator that good).

Teleros
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Re: Population Growth

Postby Teleros » Sat Jun 15, 2013 11:49 am

Tel wrote:So farmers represent the wider civil economic sector including transportation, trade and communications

That's why I wondered if they should be called "commercial pops" or something instead :) . Commercial / industrial / scientific sounds more plausible for a post-mid-20th Century setting than farmer / industrial / scientific IMHO.
Clear ether!

Tel
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Re: Population Growth

Postby Tel » Sat Jun 15, 2013 4:22 pm

Modern mega-cities, cannot last a week without energy/transportation/utilities. Why? because FOOD cannot get there in the colossal quantities needed each day. So maybe they used "farmers" to emphasize the food production and distribution capability.
I remember a strike of truck-drivers in a big western capital, after a week everything started to go to hell (trucks move gas too, so nobody could even get away from the city, not to mention garbage and waste removal), the army started to bring in food and gas but that was less than 1/10th of what's needed... Then the government was forced to draft the truck-drivers by force. Also I remember last year I think in New York they had a power problem and if they couldn't fix it in time the SUBWAY would be UNDER WATER in 24hours because the machinery required to pump-out the underground water stopped.

VenomStorm
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Re: Population Growth

Postby VenomStorm » Sat Jun 15, 2013 11:51 pm

I definently agree with the population cap idea. Populations in the quadrillions should be expected. This is even more true in some of the non-humanoid races. I'd imagine the smaller races, races who have simpler survival needs, or better survival adaptations will have even higher population numbers. Quintillion or sextillion members of a species should not be unimaginable.

Teleros
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Re: Population Growth

Postby Teleros » Sun Jun 16, 2013 1:03 am

Tel wrote:Modern mega-cities, cannot last a week without energy/transportation/utilities. Why? because FOOD cannot get there in the colossal quantities needed each day. So maybe they used "farmers" to emphasize the food production and distribution capability.

Oh sure, but as a % of the population, agriculture is extraordinarily efficient. Under a commercial / worker / scientist pop system, the farmers would probably be counted as either industrial workers (hydroponics FTW) or commercial workers (organic farming?).

VenomStorm wrote:I definently agree with the population cap idea. Populations in the quadrillions should be expected. This is even more true in some of the non-humanoid races. I'd imagine the smaller races, races who have simpler survival needs, or better survival adaptations will have even higher population numbers. Quintillion or sextillion members of a species should not be unimaginable.

Yeah - the problem is that whilst I like it, it means stupidly large warfleets. Most Western countries have about 0.4% of their population in the armed forces. Scale that up to quadrillions of sapients, add in powerful AIs and automation, and of course sci-fi manufacturing techniques, and you're looking at, well, more than 1500 ships in a fleet.

That's not a problem per se, but it could strain MORE's engine (and lead to tactical battles so long you have to save the game during them :P ). So whilst like you I want to see it, I'm also wary from a gameplay & development perspective. Would love to hear from the devs about this though ;) .
Clear ether!

VenomStorm
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Re: Population Growth

Postby VenomStorm » Sun Jun 16, 2013 4:26 pm

True. I mean we can't really expect to control an entire galaxy with only a few hundred ships. There has to be some point where we suspend disbelief. I don't think we can be all too realistic in every phase of the game.

MetalKid
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Re: Population Growth

Postby MetalKid » Mon Jun 17, 2013 4:16 am

My guess will be that instead of the worker assignment in Moo2, it'll have more like the sliders in Pax Imperia 2. You just assign percentages to each and however much population you have will be split that way.

While having no population cap would be reality, this game is still a simulation. They would have to scale everything between all the races or the game would become unplayable. These 1 foot tall guys can reproduce 5x faster, but their ships take 5x the people to be on the same scale as humans, for instance.

To make the game seem more realistic, all they have to do is say each population unit represents 10 or 100 billion or something and then the space used on the planet makes sense. You could let people build in space to increase housing and such, but it should take considerable resources to do so. Also, when those start getting destroyed in battles, it is going to get... messy. Planets should be allowed unlimited, but then disease should start taking over and the amount of workers you need to bring food to everyone should exponentially increase to the point that you pretty much have to assign everyone to produce food to not allow starvation. Though, then you could have a single planet like this and siphon all the excess population to other planets, I suppose. Might make for an interesting dynamic. :)

Teleros
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Re: Population Growth

Postby Teleros » Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:47 pm

MetalKid wrote:Also, when those start getting destroyed in battles, it is going to get... messy.

Sounds good TBH :P . Expand into orbital cities, then watch them get blown up by stray fire in battle :D .

MetalKid wrote:Planets should be allowed unlimited, but then disease should start taking over

Get the population big enough & there'll be enough people going into bioscience jobs that disease won't be a problem :P .

MetalKid wrote:the amount of workers you need to bring food to everyone should exponentially increase to the point that you pretty much have to assign everyone to produce food to not allow starvation.

From: Galactic Overlord
To: Auto-hydroponic-farm #165763
Subject: Make me a sammich
...

Problem solved :P .
Clear ether!

VenomStorm
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Re: Population Growth

Postby VenomStorm » Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:19 am

The only thing I disagree with you, Metal, is about feeding a massive population. As technology improves, we find more efficient ways to feed larger numbers of people. That is what has allowed us to specialize in jobs beyond hunting and gathering. By the time we can safely and easily cruise through space, I imagine we will have all but eliminated the need for farmers. Even today, a very small percent of our population are farmers.


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