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Victoria 3 - Dev Diary #3 - Buildings

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Hello again everyone! It’s Thursday again, and that means that it’s time to talk about Buildings. Buildings are a core mechanic of Victoria 3, as it is where the Pops work to produce resources such as Goods. Buildings represent a wide range of industries, businesses and government functions, from humble subsistence farms to complex motor industries and sprawling financial districts. In this dev diary, we’re going to broadly cover the main types of buildings and their function in Victoria 3.

To talk about buildings though, I first have to mention states! States are a concept that should be generally familiar to anyone who’s played some of our other games such as Victoria II or Hearts of Iron IV - a geographic unit of varying size in which much of Victoria 3’s gameplay takes place. States are where Pops live and (more importantly for our subject matter) where Buildings are located and built.

The State of Götaland in Sweden
dd3_1.png

We will return to states more in later dev diaries, but for now let’s keep talking about Buildings!

Before we start on Buildings, something that’s important to note is that Buildings are just places where Pops can work and generally do not represent a single building - a single level of Government Administration, for example, represents the necessary buildings and infrastructure to support a certain number of Bureaucrats. Buildings always need qualified pops to work in them to yield any benefit, and an empty building is just that - empty and completely useless. This holds true even for buildings like Railroads and Ports that did not need Pops to work in them in Victoria 2.

Most buildings are directly constructed, but some (like the Subsistence Buildings below) will appear automatically based on certain conditions. When Buildings are constructed, the construction uses Pop labor and goods, and the costs involved will be subject to market forces.

But onto the different building types! First out, we have Subsistence Buildings. These are a special type of highly inefficient Buildings that cannot manually be built or destroyed, but rather will appear anywhere in the world where there is Arable Land that isn’t being used for another type of building. The vast majority of the world’s population starts the game ‘working’ in subsistence buildings as Peasants, and much of the game’s industrialization process is about finding more productive employment for your Peasants.


Peasants eke out a meager living in these Subsistence Farms, contributing little to GDP and taxes per capita
dd3_2.png

Another special type of building is Urban Centers. Like Subsistence Buildings, these are automatically created rather than built, with the level of Urban Center in a State being tied to the amount of Urbanization generated by its other buildings. Urban Centers primarily employ Shopkeepers and provide a number of important local functions that we will get into at a later point.


The Urban Center is where you’ll find most of your middle-class Shopkeepers
dd3_3.png

Next up we have Government Buildings. These are buildings that are fully funded by the state (ie, you!) and provide crucial civil services required for the smooth running of a Victorian nation. Examples include Government Administrations where Bureaucrats produce Bureaucracy for the administration of incorporated states and funding of Institutions, and Universities where Academics produce Innovation for technological progression.


Bureaucrats work in Government Administrations to provide Bureaucracy - the lifeblood of the government
dd3_4.png

The counterpart to Government Buildings is Private Industries. The vast majority of Buildings in Victoria 3 fall under this category, which includes a broad range of industries such as (non-subsistence!) farms, plantations, mines and factories. Unlike Government Buildings, Private Industries are not owned by the state but rather by Pops such as Capitalists and Aristocrats, who reap the profits they bring in and pay wages to the other Pops working there (usually at least - under certain economic systems the ownership of buildings may be radically different!).

Many of these buildings are limited by locally available resources such as Arable Land for agriculture and simply how much iron is available in the state for Iron Mines. Urban Buildings such as Factories however, are only limited by how many people you can cram into the state, simulating the more densely populated nature of cities. In short, there is no system of building ‘slots’ or anything like that, as we want limitations on buildings to function in a sensible and realistic way.


Several different types of Private Industries are shown below
dd3_5.png

Finally there are Development Buildings. These are often (but not always!) government buildings that distinguish themselves by providing vital state-level functions. A couple examples are Barracks that recruit and train soldiers from the local population and Railways that provide the Infrastructure other buildings need to bring their goods to the Market.


From left to right: Barracks, Port, Naval Bases and Railway
dd3_6.png

To finish up this dev diary I just want to mention that building up your country is meant to be more of a hands-on experience in Victoria 3, as this is absolutely core to the society-building aspect of the game and forms a major part of the game’s core loop. This naturally also means that we need to give the player the necessary tools to manage their buildings in a large empire, which may involve some form of autonomous building construction, though we haven’t yet nailed down exactly what form that would take (and whether it will involve decision making on the part of the investor class). Ultimately though, we want the player, not the AI to be the one primarily in charge of the development of their own country.

Well, there you have it. There is of course a lot in here (such as Production Methods) that will receive further explanation in the many more dev diaries we have planned, so be sure to tune in next week as I talk about Goods. See you then!
 
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So if the 'Spirit of the Country' can tell capitalists what factories to build, why can't the 'Spirit of the Country' tell POPs what Interest Groups to support and what values to hold?
yuo can, yuo just have to achieve it via next level social engenering
 

Axe99

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Cheers for the DD Wizzington and the extra info Iachek :) Lots and lots to be happy about here - the design decisions look spot-on, and it feels like it will work well in terms of an engaging and interesting gameplay experience.

One thought (as others have alluded to) is perhaps in a free market country where much (usually not all) of "productive activity" (even aside from the fact that bureaucratic work is still very much productive - it's just feeding into the system at a much higher and more-complex-to-understand level) is privatised could have some kind of push-and-pull factor from the capitalist class - so maybe players still build the buildings, but capitalists have preferences that reward or penalise players if they're followed/not-followed?

Pops are not obliged to take jobs and can leave a building to take a higher paying job elsewhere (which is one of the ways you can actually have standard of living go up in a state, as buildings hike wages to compete for labor).

This sounds wonderful :)

I like this idea and may in fact end up stealing it.

As best I understand it, computerisation as a paper-saver didn't happen until well, well after the Victorian timeframe. Even the WW2-era electronic computers were primarily used for war-related problems (and were often programmed using paper punch-cards) that hadn't been effectively solved previously, rather than as substitutes for existing bureaucratic activities. Even in the 1950s and 1960s, all government reports, non-telephone/telegram communication, etc., was done using paper, with typing pools existing well past the Second World War. Telephones will have enabled marginally less use of paper for informal communication, but anything formal was still done in "circulated memo" form, on paper, until well after the timeframe of the game. Going from very sketchy memory, but even the introduction of desktops into the office (and now we're well past Vicky's timeframe) didn't actually see a reduction in paper - this only occurred much later (maybe even this century)). Unless you can find solid evidence of an actual reduction in paper use in bureaucracies in the Victorian period (which I don't expect you will), I'd strongly suggest not going down this path.

Even in an alt-history were Babbage's Analytical Engine is produced, it would be inefficient in terms of production techniques for it to be a paper save. Early computers tended to produce more information for us, which I expected created greater paper use - but also enabled more efficient activities (sailing, naval gunfire, scientific calculations).

On the other hand, increasing the use of radio/telephone equipment (but not computers, outside of areas that deal with tide measurement, complex mathematics or similar) - to have an impact on bureaucratic functioning is a good idea, although I'm not sure how far this should go. It could reduce the impact of "nation sprawl" on bureaucratic inefficiency, for example, but enabling better communications. The work still needs to happen, but it can be better targeted, and turned around more quickly. At a basic level, the radio/telephone equipment probably would, in and of itself, make bureaucratic work more efficient for a large nation, but unless something odd was going on, I'd expect other bureaucratic needs to far more than offset these benefits.

Edit: I got so carried away talking about computers I forgot a naval-themed pic. Here's a pic of part of by far the most important building of the period (nay, of any period!) - a shipyard (this is HMAS Australia fitting out at Clydebank):

Australia at Clydebank small.jpg
 
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I like this idea and may in fact end up stealing it.
It seems pretty odd, to say the least, for the cost of stationery to be a non-negligible percentage of the cost of running a bureaucracy. Though maybe it is negligible.
 
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I hope the difference between "Farm" and "Plantation" buildings attempts to simulate the difference between small-scale and large-scale commercialization/industrialization of agriculture. Farmer versus Junker path.
 
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Can we remove ports and rebuild them?

Victoria 2 had an issue where AI would build ports in weird and nonsensical locations (tiny, uninhabited Heligoland was UK's biggest harbour in one game), but because there was only one port allowed per state, you could never fix it.
The only way was to cheat, i.e. use console commands to give that area to someone else, and then declare war on them using the disarmament casus belli.
 
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It seems pretty odd, to say the least, for the cost of stationery to be a non-negligible percentage of the cost of running a bureaucracy. Though maybe it is negligible.
 
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2. Incentives. In markets economies, most workers and firms have substantially greater incentives to be productive. This leads to added productivity as a result of increased effort in routine tasks or increased motivation to create a more efficient process. Could this be modeled by game mechanics? Absolutely!!! I'm sure the devs could come up with many ways to do this- but I'll give a couple examples: 1. "Private Buildings" that really were created from private investment (as opposed to state-owned "private buildings") could have a productivity boost (e.g. +20%) to simulate extra effort. 2. Each "Private Building" that really was created from private investment could add to innovation/technological progress for that industry. This would simulate the private buildings actually having an incentive to make their production more efficient. These boosts could make up for the fact that that the AI is unlikely to make decisions as capably as the player.
Strong, strong disagreement from me on this one, especially the technology side. Technological growth is often driven either by states (see the development of early computers during wartime) or by monopolies that don't really face competitive pressure anymore (see the development of the transistor by Bell Labs back when AT&T had a government sanctioned monopoly in the 40s).
 
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For the middling income icon, I'm guessing the object in the foreground is supposed to be some sausage links, but what about the object behind it. Is it rice?
 

alexti

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Maybe @Wizzington could make sure there is some scripting hook which pulses monthly per-state, and then the community can mod an event on that hook which examines the investment pool money and picks an economic building at random to create (if that state belongs to a polity which has a "pure liberalism" law enacted, or on some other equivalent flag). This way we can have the hard-liner Liberals use that mod and explore if there is some way to create an acceptable algorithm for choosing which industries are created (I don't think there is, but I won't begrudge other people the chance to try it out).
That might satisfy people who want it for the realism sake, but it will do nothing for those who want deeper/more varied gameplay. That would require giving player more tools, such as various taxation policies, subsidies (possibly in different forms), selecting tariffs and so on. Not saying that it can't be done in a mod, but that would be more of a large overhaul mod rather than anything simple. Vic2 was lacking those tools, but hopefully Vic3 could include some of those giving the player agency in how the economy works on a macro level.
 
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Honestly, while AI is of course a challenge the main reason for this is that which buildings are built in your country is so fundamental to the both the economic gameplay and society building aspect of Victoria 3 that we don't think it makes sense to not let the player interact with it. We don't want the game to play itself, so to speak.
How would a compromise like this work. The Capitalists don't build the factories themselves, for the reasons you stated. However, if you're a free market economy, you can't just build whatever you want with the investment pool, instead the capitalists should have a list of things they would most like you to build, with some buildings being unavailable for the player to build if it's widely unpopular with the capitalists. If the player builds the most popular buildings for the capitalists, it can result in them liking the government more, but may result in the player building a less optimal building to achieve this.
 
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Strong, strong disagreement from me on this one, especially the technology side. Technological growth is often driven either by states (see the development of early computers during wartime) or by monopolies that don't really face competitive pressure anymore (see the development of the transistor by Bell Labs back when AT&T had a government sanctioned monopoly in the 40s).

In my experience/reading, the evidence in support of the monopoly side of this argument is pretty limited. The wartime side has more heft to it, but it's worth keeping in mind most wartime innovations are actually initially developed pre-war (all weapons systems take time to make into reliable "production systems" - so, for example, jet engines and radar, two key innovations that were first used operationally in WW2, began development before war broke out (but there's no question the war accelerated the pace of development).

Monopolies though - for every monopoly that uses it's privileged position to come up with something novel, there are ten that sit their extracting rents and not moving their processes forward because they don't have to. Competitive pressure (necessity is the mother of all invention and all that) is by far the most important element in innovation, and a monopoly, by definition, does not involve competitive pressure (war, though, very much does!)
 
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In my experience/reading, the evidence in support of the monopoly side of this argument is pretty limited. The wartime side has more heft to it, but it's worth keeping in mind most wartime innovations are actually initially developed pre-war (all weapons systems take time to make into reliable "production systems" - so, for example, jet engines and radar, two key innovations that were first used operationally in WW2, began development before war broke out (but there's no question the war accelerated the pace of development).

Monopolies though - for every monopoly that uses it's privileged position to come up with something novel, there are ten that sit their extracting rents and not moving their processes forward because they don't have to. Competitive pressure (necessity is the mother of all invention and all that) is by far the most important element in innovation, and a monopoly, by definition, does not involve competitive pressure (war, though, very much does!)
And for every example of a private inventor coming up with a breakthrough invention and capitalizing it, there are thirty of a firm cutting R&D because they’re focused on short term profit and the next quarterly earnings report.
 
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Buildings represent a wide range of industries, businesses and government functions, from humble subsistence farms to complex motor industries and sprawling financial districts.
@Wizzington I’m absolutely thrilled with this behemoth of a DD, and especially want to know more about financial districts! The Pop Demand Mod for V2 had two “clerk only factory types”, banks and stock exchanges. The banks produced “financial services” and the stock exchanges produced “shares”.

It was a bit simplistic since those two items were were just another good that pops bought, but it was an improvement nonetheless. I’d personally like to see the financial services offered by Vic3 financial districts be somehow tied to the wider economy, perhaps as another type of “capacity” where the larger your economy becomes, the more financial services would be needed to operate efficiently.

I’m also curious as to whether land forts will be considered development buildings or not.
 
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How would a compromise like this work. The Capitalists don't build the factories themselves, for the reasons you stated. However, if you're a free market economy, you can't just build whatever you want with the investment pool, instead the capitalists should have a list of things they would most like you to build, with some buildings being unavailable for the player to build if it's widely unpopular with the capitalists. If the player builds the most popular buildings for the capitalists, it can result in them liking the government more, but may result in the player building a less optimal building to achieve this.
Similar approach is to allow player to throw red tape (possibly produced by bureaucrats) on capitalist's proposal. For example, capitalists present a list (in order of preference) of industries they want to develop:
1. Liquor industry
2. Mining industry
3. Furniture industry
The player who really wants mining industry can introduce some (abstracted) regulations on liquor industry that will effectively veto it. This might either make capitalists a bit less happy or it might costs some bureaucratic capacity (or both), but as a result mining industry will get built.
 
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How will provinces work in terms of buildings if they can be pulled away from states like in the example when taking treaty ports from China? Will they get their own set of buildings and then be automatically demolished if they are reincorporated to the original state? What if the imperial power takes more provinces from the state?
 
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Honestly, while AI is of course a challenge the main reason for this is that which buildings are built in your country is so fundamental to the both the economic gameplay and society building aspect of Victoria 3 that we don't think it makes sense to not let the player interact with it. We don't want the game to play itself, so to speak.
I do want the game to play itself

images (1).jpg
 
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I was hoping pops, or at the verly least urban centers requre some construction constantly. Boom and bust is par for the course in the construction bussiness butit would be nice if it didn't just totaly die if you didn't build something for a while.
I could easily see there being a consistent need for construction, even if just simulated as "maintenance" or something like that, that could account for abstracting new housing as well as building upkeep/reconstruction.
 
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You can have a system that's complex and detailed and involves a lot of player decisions while also giving players the proper tools to manipulate those systems to make them manageable. It can be done!

I agree with this. Micromanagement assistance is still necessary even if it's just for people running more command economies in V3.
 
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@Wizzington I’m absolutely thrilled with this behemoth of a DD, and especially want to know more about financial districts! The Pop Demand Mod for V2 had two “clerk only factory types”, banks and stock exchanges. The banks produced “financial services” and the stock exchanges produced “shares”.

It was a bit simplistic since those two items were were just another good that pops bought, but it was an improvement nonetheless. I’d personally like to see the financial services offered by Vic3 financial districts be somehow tied to the wider economy, perhaps as another type of “capacity” where the larger your economy becomes, the more financial services would be needed to operate efficiently.

I’m also curious as to whether land forts will be considered development buildings or not.

I missed this part, if there is a proper financial sector in this one it is big news. The absence of finance is perhaps the biggest problem with Vicky 2's economy. Banks don't loan out money to POPs, they only take deposits, which leads to many money traps in the game, leading to the late game crash.
 
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