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Work Parties – 9.0 Update

March 17, 2020

Hey Citizens, hope everyone is staying safe with the global pandemic going around, here at Strange Loop we’re a remote team already so there’s no interruption in our development (if anything an acceleration as we all become shut-ins).  Stay safe and take care of yourselves and those you care for. Our small contribution is providing a game world where you can socialize remotely and slow down the spread.

Today I want to debut our latest update on what’s coming for 9.0, with one of the new features I’m most excited about: Work Parties.: Work Parties.

  1. New Government system: Constitution
  2. New Government system: Elections and Elected Titles
  3. New Government system: Demographics and Wages
  4. New Government system: Laws Part 1: Using the system
  5. New Government system: Laws Part 2: Taxes, Ownership, Property, and Wealth
  6. New Government system: Laws Part 3: Tour of different actions, and Executive Actions
  7. New Government system: Districts
  8. New Crafting: Work Parties (This blog)
  9. New Crafting: Labor System
  10. New Crafting: Modules and Efficiency Redesign
  11. New Crafting: New Tech Tree
  12. New Building System: Hammer and new Building Styles
  13. New Mining System: Mineral Dispersion and Drill Usage
  14. New Mining System: New Processing Path and Pollution Info
  15. New Animal System: Attacking Animals
  16. New Ecopedia System
  17. New UI
  18. New Audio
  19. New Hosted Worlds System

One of the biggest factors behind designing the economy of Eco is that I wanted there to be a very rich market for both goods and services. That means a labor market that easy to use, super-helpful for the success in the game, and fun to boot. They should be the game’s quests, but unlike typical quests in game, they are not artificial (added by designers for NPCs to give endlessly), but actually arise from other citizens with real needs in the game.

Let’s take a look at how they work.

Work Parties

Work Parties are similar to contracts (which already exist in Eco) but are expanded in a lot of ways to make them fit the game better (eventually, contracts and work parties will likely be merged together, but for 9.0 they’ll both exist).

  • A work party can accept any number of workers, paying based on how much they contribute.
  • Payment can take many forms.
  • ‘Research’ (crafting skill books) has special support to share the gained knowledge.

To use them, first start some work orders you want help with, and then post a Work Party. The work needed will automatically be populated:

Here on the Work Party you can see clearly everything in three sections: the laborers attached to the party (currently just me), the work to be done, and the payment that will be given.

Before posting you can customize this if you want.  Because I checked the setting ‘expand slots when full’, extra open slots will become available as people join.  We can also make slots for a limited group if that’s preferred. Let’s make a special slot for workers who have the mining skill, since that’s needed to perform the labor:

This restriction could be anything: members of a demographic, holders of a title, non-admins, people who have chopped 5 trees in the last week, whatever. It uses the same logic system we created for laws, so there’s tons of flexibility there to design who can join your team.

Down in the payment section, it defaults to 100 of my currency, and 10 reputation from me. We can have other types of payment too:

Payment can grant a title to a user upon performing some percentage of work, or grant knowledge as well.

Granting knowledge is especially useful, as a citizen can setup a project to create a skillbook and then get contributions from the whole village, and when the skillbook is complete they will automatically receive the knowledge.

Note that you can grant knowledge of either a skillbook in your possession, or a skillbook that is being crafted.  This can become a really powerful work-for-knowledge tradeoff that will let newer players work for older players in a meaningful exchange.

Once set, you can post the work order, locking its settings into place.  Any work party you’ve joined will show on the right side of the screen in a pull out menu:

This gives a quick reference as to the work left to be done and who the other laborers are. A world marker is also created in game showing what you need to do:

If another player comes along they can see this work party in the economy viewer, and if they travel to the contract board join the team, even if I’m not online.

Being part of the work party, they’ll get special access to contribute to the project even if they don’t have permissions on the object:

Then as they contribute to the work party, it will increase their percentage worked:

Notice the weights along the right, this lets you designate some jobs as more important than others and give them higher rate of pay.

Once all the work items are satisfied, payment is disbursed based on how much work each person did:

Here Dennis did 100% of the work so he gets 100% of the rewards. Nice job Dennis. You can also configure it to pay as-you-work, instead of a lump sum at the end.

And now I’ve got some nice Geology Research Papers to enjoy, waiting for me when I come back:

Using Work Parties

One of the cool things about this system is how it interacts with our new labor system which I’ll be talking about in a future blog.  Basically, many craft recipes will now require specialized labor, and the citizen performing them will have to possess the specialty to do it.  This means that having the ingredients isn’t enough, you’ll also need someone skilled to do to the work, and this will create a great need for other people’s help. One can imagine a top level laborer coming online and traveling around the world taking jobs for labor they can perform, collecting payment, and then using that payment to setup work parties of their own for ingredients and specialized labor they don’t have.  The citizens and economy both grow richer, and an interesting game dynamic is added.

Work Parties can also work quite well with the government system, allowing for government contractors. Say a village has collected a lot of money in taxes, and wants to put it to good use. They can create work parties that pay out of the town coffers to fund research that will benefit all citizens, and citizens from around the globe (inside the town and out) will be drawn to help contribute by the prize.  

This is the first iteration of Work Parties, and we’re planning to expand it to many other types of work: building roads, farming, constructing houses, mining, and basically everything else you could want to hire people for in your world.

Thanks to our community playtesters who have been putting this through the ringer and looking forward to seeing what kinds of cool projects your citizens and governments will fund. I’ll give a live stream demo of this on Tuesday, drop by our Discord to get details if you’d like to watch. 

Cheers and as always thanks for the support from our awesome community, one of the most positive and helpful communities I’ve seen in an online game! Keep the feedback coming and thanks for your support. 

– John K, Eco Designer, CEO Strange Loop Games

The Eco Team is a collection of introverted and sometimes genius programmers/designers based in Seattle and Australia. We all grew up and thrive in the video game culture, so of course making them is our dream job. We look forward to continuing to put out quality games for the community of players.

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