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Author Topic: Improved Farming  (Read 78573 times)

Impaler[WrG]

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Improved Farming
« on: July 31, 2008, 06:18:18 am »

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This Is Idea is currently a high (10th place at last update) ranked suggestion on the Eternal Suggestions, if you agree with the idea please vote for it and provide feedback in this discussion thread, criticism is also welcome.



This idea covers two core principles.  First re balancing of the farming system and food supply by increasing the difficulty of it in straightforward raw numbers nerfing ways.  Second adding new mechanics and rules which make farming more interesting and help to achieve the first goal.


Balance Goals:
Most players agrees that farming is currently too easy, its possible to feed and liquor-up an entire Fortress with one or two planters working a 5x5 farm.  Once the player gets an understanding of the farming UI and tools all the challenge is gone.  Food and liquor derive from three sources, farming, trading and gathering, of these farming is the most under the players control and the only truly scalable source and will be the focus of this thread.

Balance Baseline:
Though their is agreement that the productivity of farms should go down the degree is not.  First the based line situation, as of 0.28.181.XX versions of the game (ware I started playing) its estimated that each dwarf requires the productivity of between 1/4 and 1/2 tile of farmland for food and liquor when high skilled planters and fast growing Plump Helmets are used.  Likewise a fort will require between 1% and 5% of its population to be employed as Planters depending mostly on the walking distance necessary to get seeds.

Balance Goal:
I'd like to throw out some ideas to make it a bit harder.  First off let me explain what I see as the goal.  First goal, 30% on average of the Forts population is needed for food/alcohol production, this includes the whole production 'chain' of Planter, Thresher, Miller, Brewer, Milker, Chesses, Cook, Herb, Butcher etc.  Depending on climate and play emphasis Farming might be all of that or none of it but would typically be 2/3 in a mature Fort so we would be looking at 20% of Population as farmers. Second goal, the area of farm plots needed to feed a single dwarf would be around 12 if its the sole source or when using the 2/3 goal 8 plots (all other food production would be more space intensive then this).  This would give me a believable agrarian base to the Fort and sustain the perception of a medieval level of technology while increasing difficulty.


The population goal can be partially archived by modifying the Raw's as many people already do, by increasing grow duration to 800-1200 (roughly a full season and double the default) range for all my plants.  A number of handicaps could be added, for example...

Many seeds fail to germinate (lower chance for higher skill Planters)
Pests and Vermin eat the crops (perhaps scarecrows can mitigate this)
Above ground crops can be harmed by weather events like frost
Crops require their soil be 'moist' necessitating irrigation with buckets or planting within a few tiles of water
Below ground crops require 'fertilized soil' before they can grow (this is presumably what Potash is for but doesn't currently work)
Underground stone that's been muddied dries out yearly or seasonally and needs re-watering


To get to the farming area goal the per tile productivity needs to drop by an order of magnitude independently of the per farmer output.  One very simple way to do that would be to make a Farm plots 3x3.  The Planters would still use one unit of seeds to plant the now larger plot and one or more plants would appear in it randomly if growth was successful.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2009, 11:48:19 pm by Impaler[WrG] »
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Othob Rithol

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Re: Improved Farming
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2008, 09:25:21 am »

First off, if I ramble, forgive me...awake 43.5 hours at this point.

I'm right there with you. In my version, I leave the cluster size at normal, but I have the grow time a little higher than you...I usually get to harvest roughly a season and a half after planting. I'm real tempted to try for the 2 season+ to get some satisfaction.

I talked about farming a bit back in http://www.bay12games.com/forum/index.php?topic=6224.0

Not trying to hijack your suggestion, but the glory of hyperlink must be utilized.

Decreasing the yielded stack size will make barrels a bit of a pain, since 1 plump helmet (5 drinks)and a stack 5 plump helmets (25 drinks) both make one barrel of wine. Perhaps when stack handling/combining is implemented that can be avoided. I think I am going to set mine to 3 and see how that works.

I see where you are going with the 3x3 plot idea: I assume you intend for the farmer to have to work all 9 tiles (thus 9x the labor to plant one seed). My only objection is I like neat little gardens made of single rows.

As you can see up in the linked thread, I am for increased need for water. In synopsis I think the planting task should require the planter to irrigate the plot with water (via bucket). This makes in necessary to have water close at hand in order to complete the task efficiently. Further, to even reduce the yields more, the farmer may have to continue to tend the crops at set regular intervals (water it again or complete a tend task on the tile), otherwise the plant will die or yield less.

My approach does away with mud all together, and lacks that old skool flood farming feel, but with a little tinkering even that is compatible.

penguinofhonor

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Re: Improved Farming
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2008, 10:18:56 am »

insane stuff

20% of the population? 8 plots per dwarf? Just so you know, 200 dwarves times 8 means you need 1600 plots with a large fortress. And 56 squares just for your starting seven.

It seems that you want the main challenge of the game to be farming. With this system, it would be unbelievably difficult to feed your dwarves. This means that nobody gets any time to do anything except farm.

I agree that farming needs to be made a little harder, but this is just extreme.
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Granite26

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Re: Improved Farming
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2008, 10:43:02 am »

growing just rice, it takes half an acre devoted full time to farming to feed a person for a year.  Say we call one square an acre of farmland as an abstraction.  So one square feeds two dwarves?

A full fort requires 100 squares of farmland?  That's about what we see now.

Anyway, setting up an extremely small portion of your population as food production and then forgeting about it seems a little too easy.  Why impliment it if it's just something that eats up cycles?

Cavalcadeofcats

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Re: Improved Farming
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2008, 10:44:06 am »

Note that hunting and fishing would become much more important in this system, if the map allowed it, and would probably help a lot to reduce the estimates of plot/farmer sprawl suggested. Otherwise... yeah, if you look at medieval tech, the suggestion is (if anything) too generous. I approve.
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korora

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Re: Improved Farming
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2008, 11:14:03 am »

growing just rice, it takes half an acre devoted full time to farming to feed a person for a year.  Say we call one square an acre of farmland as an abstraction.  So one square feeds two dwarves?

A full fort requires 100 squares of farmland?  That's about what we see now.

Anyway, setting up an extremely small portion of your population as food production and then forgeting about it seems a little too easy.  Why impliment it if it's just something that eats up cycles?

I just want to note that an acre is far bigger than one tile by anyone's estimate.  An acre is about 44,000 square feet.  Estimates I've seen put one tile around 36 square ft, so this is about 1200 tiles for an acre, or 600 tiles for one dwarf for a year.  This is pretty absurdly large, though.
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penguinofhonor

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Re: Improved Farming
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2008, 11:26:52 am »

Farming in real life isn't fun. Farming in real life takes acres upon acres of land per person per year.

Farming in DF shouldn't be incredibly hard and horribly annoying just because farming in real life isn't fun. Remember, we're playing a game.

But farming is a bit too easy now. I do support the idea of having seeds fail to germinate sometimes if the farmer is inexperienced.
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Jamuk

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Re: Improved Farming
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2008, 11:32:02 am »

I think the problem is that too much of farming is based on the skill of the grower, and not on how long it takes to grow them.  If you have a few growers and brewers at the start, they'll keep gaining skill and be able to feed more and more dwarves.  In reality there isn't that much you can do besides crop rotation, watering them, and keeping pests away.  You spend a lot of your time waiting for them to grow.  How it is set up now, a legendary dwarf can work pretty much nonstop collecting and planting food, with no slowdown waiting for them to grow.

<edit>
And I don't think more difficulty at the start is necessary, at the beginning usually you will need a couple dwarves to grow plump helmets.  That is a decent portion of your starting group.  Later on, however, those same 2 dwarves can still feed the entire fortress.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2008, 11:34:38 am by Jamuk »
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PTTG??

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Re: Improved Farming
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2008, 11:49:05 am »

I agree with the OP. I did the math, and it turns out that a realistic area in which to grow the amount of food represented by a normal stack of (5) plump helmets is 25 squares. I did a hardcore modded game with humans and modded plants, and I mandated that for every 1 square of farms, I had a 5x5 area of dirt roads that had to be maintained. Now THAT was a challenge. but also painful to regulate.

Something that I think would make a big difference without too much tediousness would be to have fields require upkeep- they need farmer dwarves to come over and check on it, bring over water, and so on. Perhaps if fields also worked as singular entities instead of groupings of tiles, so that you plant one whole crop of plump helmets, for instance, and get back a proportional amount depending on how well it grew, instead of having success/failure rates for each individual plant.
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Granite26

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Re: Improved Farming
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2008, 12:21:03 pm »

Quote
Farming in real life isn't fun. Farming in real life takes acres upon acres of land per person per year.

http://www.idrc.ca/en/ev-30610-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html

I'll find some more if you want...

Quote
I just want to note that an acre is far bigger than one tile by anyone's estimate

Yes yes, I know that 1 tile =/= 1 acre,  but unless we want to spend all our time digging up farmland, it makes a reasonable game aproximation.

penguinofhonor

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Re: Improved Farming
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2008, 01:39:15 pm »

Quote
Farming in real life isn't fun. Farming in real life takes acres upon acres of land per person per year.

http://www.idrc.ca/en/ev-30610-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html

I'll find some more if you want...

What's that prove? To me, that just seems like you're saying that all ways of producing food are incredibly laborious in real life and not fun at all. That's more of an argument to not have food production be horribly grueling in DF.
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korora

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Re: Improved Farming
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2008, 02:18:45 pm »

Quote
Farming in real life isn't fun. Farming in real life takes acres upon acres of land per person per year.

http://www.idrc.ca/en/ev-30610-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html

I'll find some more if you want...

Quote
I just want to note that an acre is far bigger than one tile by anyone's estimate

Yes yes, I know that 1 tile =/= 1 acre,  but unless we want to spend all our time digging up farmland, it makes a reasonable game aproximation.

My point is not that 1 tile =/= 1 acre, but that 1 tile << 1 acre.  I'm all for striking a careful balance between realism and fun, but I think 1 tile/acre is a bit on the easy side, since (as I posted above) an acre is more like 1200 tiles.  While 8-12 tiles/dwarf may be on the high side, I certainly wouldn't mind 2 or 4 tiles/dwarf.  That, combined with regular irrigation requirements and maybe longer gestation, would go a long way toward making farming more of a challenge.

An interesting point in the article is that apple trees are apparently way more productive than wheat fields.  If we could cultivate various kinds of orchards, that could potentially help a lot (and allow a closer approximation of RL food requirements).  They'd have longer time to start up (and increase food production only gradually) but wouldn't be as much work to maintain.

Also, Toady says in the devs somewhere that he's copied down tables of plant nutrients to inflict upon us.
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Granite26

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Re: Improved Farming
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2008, 02:28:37 pm »

Quote
What's that prove? To me, that just seems like you're saying that all ways of producing food are incredibly laborious in real life and not fun at all. That's more of an argument to not have food production be horribly grueling in DF.

I'm providing documentation for my half acre claim to refute your unsubstantiated acres and acres comment.  Cause, ya know, I did some research before I started talking.

As for the not fun bit, try digging a hole in the ground.   Try working a forge.  It's all of it not actually fun, but it is fun to watch the little dwarflets suffer through it all, and set up a system that actually meets their needs.

Anyway, it doesn't look like anybody has said 'make it harder to do'.  I'm getting a lot of 'take a more period appropriate proportion of the population to sustain.' and 'require more than a football field to feed 200 people every year.'

Align

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Re: Improved Farming
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2008, 02:31:51 pm »

Isn't rice inefficient as a crop? In area-to-food ratio, that is.
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ivegotgoodabs

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Re: Improved Farming
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2008, 02:38:23 pm »

You should be able to buy food from neighboring settlements.
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