RE: The Discussion of Ideas for Tropico 4
As a person who lived in communist Yugoslavia, I think I am familiar with the difficulties, problems and priorities every communist system faced. So I believe the game should include these issues in itself. I think the changes should take place in few directions: island and state organization, local and world policy/economy interaction, more complicated economy system, megalomaniac megaprojects and mass transit.
1) Island and state organization: I think it will be of great significance if at the beginning of the game there is one big island and few smaller ones. On the big island, the capital of the state will be located, but it will also be divided in few provinces, each of them having its own smaller town. Different provinces/islands will have their own unique resources, offering different potential for social and economic development (different type of industries directly influences the number of people wanting to move into this region). This types of potential can be:
-natural beauty-increases the chance of successful tourist industry present on that island/province, meaning wealthier population but also more crime. Not all islands can have this potential, so that you are guided to create your own tourist Mecca.
-iron and other types of ore (iron-steel, coal for electricity and factories, silica for glass, aluminum, gold..).
-plains and fertile lands that make the construction of a food-producing center easier and more efficient.
As I said before, at the beginning of the game, the towns development and potentials will be greatly influenced by these criteria. Each of them will hold some number of citizens and you can choose which industry/province/town to develop more, according to your vision about the country.
2) Local and global political and economical interactions: Besides Tropico being a country with 5-10 provinces/towns, there should be also neighboring countries, which affect us in economical, political, scientific, militaristic ways. They are all by the influence of the great powers, competing to export more, develop faster by means of greater state wealth and scientific advance, military numbers and weapons… Besides the US and USSR, it will be nice to have other powers and options, such as maybe China, Germany and Great Britain. Also maybe option to enter neither the NATO/US or The Warsaw Pact/USSR, but the Non-aligned countries pact, which is in the middle of the previously stated blocks, trade and have friendly relationship with both.
3) Economic system: All trade should be visible in the Almanac in terms of export-import of different products, changing trade policies and numbers, choosing the source of import/export, global supply/demand pricelist. I believe it would be nice if there was an option that every 5 years you set the export/import quantities in terms of satisfying the needs of the citizens. For example, if you still don’t produce cars/buses you could import them from Ford or Lada. The quantities of import for a product not produced by Tropico will be set by a scroll that will have 25%, 50%, 75% or 100% satisfying the needs of our population, which will have effect on living standard and overall happiness. Same goes for the home produced goods, you can set this number and the rest goes for export. There should be also a wider number of industries available for development, each depended on the other. Industry will be divided into branches or chains, from the raw materials, to semi-finished products and finished products. These industries should be similar to the types of industries communist countries (tried to) develop and influenced by the natural resources each island/province has. Types of industry chains:
-Iron/metal industry: mines (raw material), steel producing plants (semi-finished product) and car parts, consumer goods, weapon factories (finished goods).
-wood, rubber and silica Industry: wood cutter camps, rubber farms, silica mines (raw materials), furniture, paper, tire, glass factories (semi-finished goods) and car factories, printing houses (for books and newspapers) , consumer goods factories (for finished goods).
-farms and food industry: first of all there should be a wider range of farms, as well as farms should be developing in a standard patterns o boxes/spaces, not randomly as it is in T3. It looks very inurbane if farms are developing in between houses and other buildings. All of this can later be processed in food factories, to meet national and international demand. Interesting and challenging problems might occur in this way, such as food-shortages, coupon system leading to general revolt, strikes and revolutions. Also there should be a option of building greater farms (like the famous KOLKHOZ in the USSR, maybe as big as 5 regular farms), which will produce more than regular farms, needing more workers as well as tractors , resulting in increased effectives of production and worker satisfaction.
-heavy industry: this is a big field for new options. Car, buses, trains and tractor factories, chemical and pharmaceutical plants, ships, heavy machines needed for constructing additional modern plants as well as computer research facilities, nuclear power plants , pre-fabricated parts for constructing communist blocks easier, cheaper and faster (also lower living quality), various types of military industry (tanks, ships, guns, airplanes)… Products can be gradually upgraded (this can be demanded by the people and result in greater overall happiness) by clicking at the National University. Than a team of scientists can work for some time on a completely new product (like computers) or upgrade already existing one (like a new, better model of car or bus). This can especially be interesting on the military part. By upgrading the existing tanks, producing new weapon types you as a country actively take part in the armament race and your domination and influence in the region grows.
-consumer goods industry: can be very dependend on farming products or raw materials, but can produce food, alcohol, clothing, furniture, radios and TVs (also needed for propaganda purposes)…
4) (Public) transport: this is an area, where great changes are needed, so that Tropico 4 is more realistic and better covers the needs of a bigger nation, made out of up to 10000 citizens, situated in different regions and growing industry and complexity of economy. Public transport was a priority number 2 (after the military) of every communist country, so Tropico 4 should make no mistake. I think that at the beginning of the game (if that is 1950), there should be very few cars (let’s say covering about 10% of the populations needs) and no public transport in the country. So El Presidente should focus on making transport within and in between regions more efficient, easy and diversified. Starting your own car industry (cars, buses and tractors are produced there), or importing from other countries, which probably on long term will be costly and inefficient. Other types of factories, covering the transport sector can be shipyards for producing passenger/freight ferries, which will connect the islands in between the Republic of Tropico, as well as country with the other countries. Train factory can produce trains, trams and underground trains for the future metro system of the capital.
-City transport can include cars, buses, trams and even possibly underground/subway networks. The player will have the opportunity to place stations as well as plan the lines of the public transport, connecting the residential areas with the industrial zones, touristic parts of the city and the port. Public transport should be prioritized over the use of cars, making the transit from A to B more efficient, fast and clean.
-Intercity transport can be provided by cars, trains and ships. The islands/regions will be connected via passenger and freight routes.
Types of transport available:
-Cars, produced in automobile factories, will be pretty hard to produce, but heavily demanded by the citizens. Will require steel, tires and glass, as well as significant number of workers and electricity. By the same factories buses and tractors can be produced on the same method. Automobile plants can even be specialized in building only cars, buses or tractors, to better meet the national and international demand, as well as El Presidentes vision for the development of the republic.
-Trains, trams and subway trains will be produced by locomotive factories (which again can be specialized), but will require greater quantities of steel, workers and electricity, making the time needed for producing longer, which is reflected by the products higher price and demand. Trains will have the primary role of connecting the regions, transferring people and goods and connecting the national biggest factories with the ports. Trams will have higher capacity for city public transport than buses, but also will be longer and heavier to construct. Even subway system can be taken in consideration for the capital of the republic, if the traffic id very heavy or the regions relief makes impossible the construction of other means of transit.
-Ships and ferries will carry passengers and goods in between the islands as well as in between the different nations. Will require huge amounts of raw materials, workers and energy, but will be very demanded good from the international market. Shipyards can also produce military ships, for the needs of the Navy of Tropico, guarding the territorial waters of the country.
-Airports can be constructed for passenger purpose (in large towns and touristic centers) or as cargo terminals, serving the needs of the industry, exporting goods. The idea of domestic air traffic sounds very cool to me, as well as a tropican national air carrier (for example Tropicanna). Also factories for producing planes (passenger, cargo and military) can be incorporated very good in the national economy, pride as well as the world market (both US/Boing or USSR/Sukhoi will be very mad if you start exporting planes or military equipment to other nations).
I think roads should be constricted gradually as every other building in Tropico, not as it is now, just by laying the road. Other types of roads should be available: streets, avenues, roads and maybe even highways, to connect the most important centers of the country. Building the railway lines should follow the same rules. This will not only cost money, but also materials (cement, wood and iron). Overpasses, tunnels and bridges I think are a very easy thing to introduce, but improve the effectives in heavy-congested places greatly.
5) Megaprojects: every communist country had its massive megaprojects, which greatly improved the national and international reputation as well as bring better life, or lead to another big breakthrough. By this I have in mind the following: construction of a whole branch of industry, which is very hard, long and money-consuming process, but leads to great economical effects (airplane industry, computer industry, pharmaceutical industry, new weapon type industry such as rocket systems). This will require serious research work done by the scientists at the University, big budget and construction effort and long construction process. Building of large power plants (water or thermo) can bring a whole new kick for the whole country, as the soaring problem of adequate power production is solved. Building dams or cooling towers can be both challenging and interesting. Developing our own peaceful nuclear program, ending by constructing a NPP brings loss of international reputation by the superpowers, but again is a huge plus for the national economy, prestige and living standard. Constructing big infrastructural projects (long bridges and tunnels, highways and railroads on heavy terrain) is as equally heavy task to complete but the benefits in terms of efficiency of the industry and increasing the export capacity of a nation are colossal.
All these projects are in a way bordered by many factors: long completion periods (5-10 years), big money and scientific investments, local or international disagreement with the project, makes this task even more challenging and interesting for the dictator of the country!
I don’t want to sound as I want to change Tropico into a communist game, but I think it will be of great benefit if these possibilities are included in the new Tropico 4, which really needs to be ritually different than the previous one, because the expectations of the fans and customers are as high as ever and the possibilities for improvement are boundless.