DevBlog: Working Conditions
Across the long rows, your employees are a picture of focus. They are shuddering, and their breath condenses against the metal, for it is February and the pipes have frozen. The shed is so vast that they may as well be outside.
Then a whisper develops – they say you are visiting in person. Will this be the much-hoped-for closure?
The warehouse door is swung open for you. Tentatively you poke the long silver-tip of your cane over the threshold, then your white spats follow. You take your position on the prescribed rostrum.
“Fifteen percent, production has dropped. Fifteen!” you rap your cane sharply against the thin tin wall. “It is cold every winter, that’s the season! Get used to it. You will work night-after-night until the work is done, or I will tear this worthless shack down!”
With a crack of the whip, your black cab is gone again. Yes. You are a scumbag.
Workforce in detail
We briefly talked about it before in our residential introduction and this time, we want to share some more details about our workforce feature. As you already know, every residential tier in Anno 1800 provides its own workforce type. However, workforce tiers are not just allocated to production lines of said tier; instead, labor of your different residential tiers will be used for specific types of production buildings.
Agricultural buildings as an example will always require farmers to get their production going but you will unlock more of that type of production buildings in later tiers. As every workforce tier is dedicated to a specific type of production, you won’t be able to use your higher tier workforce, such as workers, in a lower tier agricultural buildings.
Every workforce tier supports a specific type of production building, which are not limited to the residential tier of your workforce.
With our new system, lower tier workforce never becomes obsolete and that increases the challenge and complexity when advancing through the tiers.
Your workforce is calculated for each isle separately, which leaves you with the option to either build small settlements to support your production, or to transfer workforce from one isle to another.
If you don’t have sufficient workforce of a given type available to keep your factories going, productivity will get partially reduced based on the percentage of workers missing.
Getting rid of the old way of progressing linearly through the tiers adds complexity and believability while it also provides more strategic freedom for the player.
But there is more to it than just providing the required amount of workforce- we also give you the option to impact the working conditions of your residents in order to influence your productivity.
Here an example for a level two production chain, including not only two types of workforce as also two types of production buildings from two tiers.
You hold the whip, working conditions
Steel beams, mass fabricated glass and modern manufacturing progresses such as the conveyer belt allowed cities to massively expand in size and height. However, while modern factories pushed productions to a level never seen before, the era became also known for its working conditions: days often longer than 12 hours under (for our modern understanding) harshest conditions.
We want to give you the freedom of choice regarding the working conditions in your company, if it is a temporary boost of your steel factories to keep up in an arms race, becoming a modern socialist rewarding your residents with short working days or even pushing your industry and your workforce to its absolute limit. Just like your manufactured modern steel, everything has its own breaking point.
We give you the tools to affect the working conditions on each of your islands. Simply speaking, you can decide to let your residents work longer and harder to compensate workforce shortage by increasing productivity or boosting your economy in general. We do not only enable you to change the working conditions for each type of workforce, you will also be able to change the conditions for each type of production building. You have a shortage of iron ore, which slows down your weapon manufacturing? Just push the working conditions of your iron miners, which will only increase the productivity of all your iron mines on that island.
Workers became a prideful new class of citizen, welded together by hard labor and a sense of community.
Pushing your working conditions at the cost of your residents has consequences, as it affects the happiness of your people negatively. It has a negative impact on the morale of the affected workforce type, while the system will also take into account if you change the conditions only for a specific production building. In the case of the boosted iron mines, it will have an impact on the happiness of all your workers based on the percentage of your workforce working in your mineshafts.
Always keep an eye on your people and interpret the signs of times early enough if you want to take appropriate actions. Your working folks will bend only that much and if you pass that mark, they might put down their tools and mobilize for a strike.
On the contrary, if you are a modernist implementing good working conditions in your factories or on your farms, your residents will show you their gratitude.
The working conditions are only one factor which impacts the happiness of your residents. The happier your residents, the better the mood in the city. A clever economist can find the right balance between bending your working conditions while pleasing your residents with other concessions while a ruthless or desperate ruler can rely on their police forces to keep things in order.
Happiness and player freedom
There are many ways how you can have an impact on the happiness of your residents and how their mood affects the gameplay. While a topic on it’s own for a future blog, we are curious to know how you see the new possibilities playing around with the working conditions. Are you already thinking about all the ways to micromanage your power economy? Are you an altruist who likes to give something back and keep your folk happy or do you just love the freedom of choice and all the small stories, which the system might tell?