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Children of the Nile info


Buildings, housing and businesses

The people in your city, both the rich and the poor, need to live and work somewhere too. The quotes below are related to the buildings, the housing and the businesses in Children of the Nile.


Placing shops

Thursday, August 12, 2004

EmperorJay summarizes on the Tilted Mill forums how shops are built:

You "place" a marker for a specific shop, e.g. a potter or a cosmetician. Then, in time someone moves in and builds the shop you want on the specified place. If you place a marker for a pottery shop nothing but a pottery shop will be built there.

Ken Parker's reply on that:

Actually, and just for the record, you place either a common or a luxury household wares shop. You can then right-click to define it, or you can leave it undefined for the occupying family to choose.

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Resource costs

Monday, August 09, 2004

Chris Beatrice tells about 'building' structures in his design article from August 10:

How other games handle it:

Save up your resources so you can build more structures and produce more "units."

How it works in CotN:

Ok, I don't want to scare anyone, but a whole lot of buildings in CotN are "free" - even the important ones! You can just place as many of them as you want. at no cost to you. And the future occupants will build these homes themselves - you don't need to employ or pay builders. And the people - farmers, jewelers, perfumers, nobles, cosmeticians, furniture makers, potters, mat makers, weavers, entertainers, servants - heck, you don't have to "produce" them, you don't have to pay them a dime to join your team, and you don't have to pay anything to support them subsequently! Free, free, free, it's all free!!!!! So what's the catch? There's gotta be a catch...

The main one is, if you lure these content local villagers to become part of urban Egyptian society, when there aren't yet enough customers for their jewelry shops, or enough estates to organize their farms, well, you'll find your streets clogged with beggars and criminals! You'll have valuable farmers wasting their time as useless shopkeepers. You'll never get more nobles to come live in the crappy city, and you may even lose some of those you already have. Then the city's estates can't support all its farms, so you lose more farmers. Then you can't pay your government workers. Oy ,so much for the "freebie."

No resource costs for privately-owned buildings. No builders to construct private homes. No cost to acquire or support private citizens.

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Workers and the interface

Monday, August 02, 2004

Chris Beatrice said at the Tilted Mill forums, in reply to a question about the numbers at the bottom of this screenshot:

The numbers, separated by a slash, indicate occupied homes vs. unoccupied homes. The first number is basically the number of families in the category; the second is the number of homes. So yes, the second number does represent a "limit", but it's one you can increase by building more homes.

Of course, many citizens require supervision, so merely getting another farmer or laborer family, for example, doesn't mean it's actually going to produce anything for the city.

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Production of the common crafts

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Chris Beatrice on the Tilted Mill forums, in reply to a thread about the productivity of the craftsmen:

As in ancient Egypt (and probably most ancient civilizations), in CotN the most humble crafts are not dependent on, nor do they benefit from any mass-harvesting operations, or from having workers dedicated solely to providing raw materials. In fact, in ancient Egypt the common crafts we've chosen (linen weaving, pottery, mat and basket making) were generally carried out as "side businesses" by peasant women, who were really farmers. We have separated all occupations for playability and clarity, but still these common shopkeepers can really be thought of as entrepreneurial peasants. The way to boost their production, as it were, is to make the craftwoman's life easy. Make sure she doesn't get sick a lot, and if she does there's a medical facility nearby; make sure she can get her shopping done easily, etc. As Tony pointed out, a lot of emphasis and concern in this thread has been placed on these humble folks. Yes, your city is dependent on them and yes this would make it difficult to build a prosperous city hundreds of miles away from the Nile - but that's why the Egyptions historically and in CotN didn't/don't live far away from the Nile.

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"Building" houses, and priests

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Chris Beatrice at the Tilted Mill forums in reply to a thread about housing:

"Placing housing" or "building houses" would more accurately be thought of as "designating what you want to happen at a particular spot." While for a purely historical sim it would be somewhat unrealistic for the mighty Pharaoh to say "I decree that there will be a mat shop right here on this corner!", nevertheless, these are the types of choices that matter a lot. Houses, like other buildings are actually built by people in the game. If, for example, no one wants to become a laborer at that time (because you've been treating your existing laborers poorly), then those laborers' huts you just designated won't actually be built!

CotN is *not* about amassing enough resources (building materials) to build things. No, no, no, no. It's not about having enough crappy mudbrick to build umpteen laborers' huts, shops and farmhouses. There's plenty of mudbrick for everyone!! CotN is about having in place the things necessary for all the families you want to live and prosper. Everyone in the city is connected to and dependent on everyone else in some way.

The question about "the only way you can have a priest is to build a house for one" is misleading. The only way an educated worker can work as a priest is if you tell him to do so, and support him as one, according to his level. This is done by designating a new priest apartment in a location you think will suit his needs. You don't "make priests" with a priest apartment any more than you "make farmers" with farmhouses. Aside from births, and small amounts of immigration, all the people in the area already exist, and you direct them to serve in different roles based on the numbers, types and locations of houses you designate. To "make a priest", though, you do need to provide a student with appropriate education.

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Shops and industries

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Chris Beatrice on the Tilted Mill forums, in reply to a thread about the people's occupations:

Shops are the most complex building/occupation in the city, and they were the first Jeff and I worked out oh so many years ago. The shopkeeper family alone encompasses almost all aspects of life in the city. Common shops have an additional burden in that the wife both works and shops. With two family members gathering raw materials (dad and kid), it is true that proximity to raw materials is the least of the common shopkeeper's concerns. Being close to other shops (so mom can get shopping done quickly) and customers (so the family can survive) are paramount.

As for setting up industries and leaving them running, first, material needs for 90% of the city's families don't change over time. Material needs are mainly based on social class, so this is pretty stable. However, if customers are removed, the shop's situation can change. Shops aren't really "industry" though. Anything you might term "industry" (brick making, papyrus making, weapons making, etc.) are carried out by government craftsmen who are paid directly by you, and therefore don't rely on having customers.

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Building houses

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Jaguar asked the following question on the Tilted Mill forum, concerning how houses get built:

If it's being said that the houses get built, wouldn't the bricklayers be building these houses? Then someone else would move in to occupy it and start their own business.

Tony Leier answered:

Depends on the home. If it's a private residence, like a farmhouse or pottery shop, then the future residents build it from materials on hand. If it's the residence for a government worker, like a Scribe or Weaponsmith, then the government (that's you) pre-builds the home from good quaility bricks (that you make) and a bricklayer. It's one of the ways the government entices people to work for them.

As a geographical/historical note, you can build things out of pretty low quality mud bricks in Egypt, since it basically never rains. Though a high flood can come around and do a lot of damage.

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Housing and employment: CotN vs. Pharaoh/Zeus

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Tony Leier in response to a thread comparing the housing and employment system from Zeus, Pharaoh and Children of the Nile:

Lots of discussion in this thread. I was finding the Pharaoh vs. Zeus housing discussion fascinating too, since I worked on that back then.

Anyway, back to CotN. I think I'll just throw out some info quickly (I'm a bit busy) for you all. Overall, the housing and employment system is quite different from prior titles, so it's a little hard for me to compare the two for you.

  • There are no market ladies. People shop for what they need themselves. And they go get services they need themselves. There isn't any 'access' walker or concept.
  • As far as types of housing, if you take a look at the Characters info, you might notice how all of the people live in buildings associated with their jobs or social class. Homes are of all different sizes and qualities, with higher social classes living in better homes.
  • Depending on profession, people work in their homes, or go work at harvesting some resource, or work at a government building (like a School, or Hospital), for example.
  • Most homes don't 'evolve' in the classical sense, though they do change in appearance and quality as the fortunes of the homeowners wax and wane.
  • Townhouses, the homes of the nobles, have a more detailed system of evolution (not exactly evolution like you're used to, but similar in concept.) As a noble's income and savings increase, they can improve their home in a variety of ways. As they improve their home, they are able to secure more income, and that builds upon itself.
  • Among the many homes, you can classify them into 3 basic categories. The townhouses like I describe above, private family homes- like shopkeepers or farmhouses- that are made of simple mudbrick by the residents, and homes for government workers, built by government employees out of higher quality bricks.
  • As far as how you build all this, again it's a different approach from prior title, and one of those things it's much easier to demonstrate than talk about. You basically place a building foundation for a type of worker or profession that you want, and someone will build the home and move in. Assuming that people are willing to become that profession. People migrate between professions and homes based on their own happiness in their current one, the relative social classes of the profession, and a couple of other factors to create a nice migration web.

There's probably more to say, but I've got to get back to work.

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Constructing buildings

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Tony Leier on June 6 at the Tilted Mill forums:

You do place individual buildings, or rather you designate where you want a building to go. Assuming you have the workers and materials you may need for the building, and assuming that your people aren't angry at you, someone in your city will do the construction.

That's not all the details on the dynamic, but that should give a better idea on the gameplay you were asking about. Bradius' 'guess' is pretty accurate too.

Bradius' guess was the following:

My guess is that it will be different than both the old city builders and SimCity, but exactly how, we will have to wait for more information. However, things like families living above shops will blur the line between residential and retail (and probably some manufacturing) in a way that didn't exist before. They have stated that distance between needed resources and housing can be important for productivity if both parents work. My guess is wealthy people will have servants do most of this work/shopping for them (so Merepatra has more time to saunter around - which is FINE by me)

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Shanties and vagrants

Thursday, June 03, 2004

From the IGN E3 preview:

But whatever happens with the economy, things are bound to go bad for at least some individuals trying to survive in the city. When it does, they'll actually go out and create a little shanty of their own. They set these up wherever they like and players will have very little say over it. The main concern here is that if too many of them start popping up, those shunned from society could turn to a life of crime. Nobody really likes to deal with gangs of thugs, even if they're video game characters. These people could end up having a bad effect on the city as a whole.

At the Tilted Mill forum, Chris Beatrice clarifies above quote:

Oh, and one quick comment about the "shanties." Vagrants are a specific class of citizen, essentially the urban unemployed. They are people who have entered your society, moved up through the ranks, but then found themselves without a livelihood, and unable to return to "the wild" because they have become too specialized in their occupations to do so. They are then forced to leave their homes for a life on the streets, setting up mats, tents etc. in good begging spots, and basically becoming a nuisance to the rest of society (but they can re-enter society when jobs become available). These vagrant mats are the only types of "homes" whose locations you do not have direct control over. This is something we came up with very early on as a more dynamic, gratifying and realistic way of modeling the down and out members of society (vs. housing simply devolving, and/or emigration from the city). Part of the idea with the society builder as a whole is you are largely organizing the exact same group of people throughout the life span of the city and scenario.

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Houses and businesses

Thursday, June 03, 2004

From the IGN E3 preview:

Many of the businesses in cities like these actually doubled as residences. So the carpet making family will actually make and sell carpets in the same building where they sleep. This will hopefully make city planning a bit more realistic. Now, as in real life, families will have to go out and shop for their foods and find the items they need to survive and grow. Along these lines, the degradation of property will happen over a longer period of time now. Those that played Pharaoh will probably remember that strange behavior of neighborhoods and their quick change from crappy hovels to nice houses and vice versa depending on their access to goods. Now players will have more time to react and change the flow of goods a bit.

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Housing and services

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Chris on April 1, in reply to a thorough 'screenshot examination' by EmperorJay:

CotN was conceived entirely "from scratch" as its own thing. We asked ourselves, "what do city building gamers want and expect, what would represent the evolutionary apex of the genre, and how can we bring all of our inspiration, design and technological expertise to bear to deliver that?" The resulting game is profoundly different from prior city building games, yet at the same time very familiar. So I had a little chuckle when I read the thing about "low level housing." And as far as using a radius of influence vs. buildings sending out walkers - we are doing neither!! We have some surprises in store for you!!

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