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DEVELOPER'S CORNER

THE VALUE OF SCHOOL
By William Westwater
May 18, 1999

note: This is the Developer's Corner, a part of the C:CTP section of Apolyton, where members of the C:CTP development team express their views on ctp-related topics. Feel free to send your comments at civilization@activision.com or post on our forums.

The temptation of business
For game makers, E3 is business, and after spending the end of last week at E3 surrounded by noise, gamers, computers, and more noise, I couldn't help think how glad I was to be in this business and not to be in school. School is after all one of the quietest, most restrictive places I've ever spent my time. School led to a job, but I never made a penny when I went there. And, unlike games, if I ever ran in the halls, I'd get a ticket straight to the principal's office.

Gold is king
Which brings me to my question of the week: why build schools at all? If you haven't discovered this already, gold is king in Call to Power. You need gold to pay your people, to support your buildings, and to fund your science. Without gold, you face destitution and ruin. Commerce is the lifeblood of a strong empire.

Misconceptions about science
Does this mean that the education buildings are worthless or that you should only build them last? No. Even though gold can be used to buy science, gold buildings have some distinct frailties when compared to science buildings.

Crime hits gold but not science
First off, in the early governments, crime bites into my gold about ten percent on average. This is minor, but adds up especially when I'm in gold-poor governments such as monarchy, communism, or fascism.

You have to pay wages and pay maintenance before contributing anything to science
Second, and much more important, I must pay for wages and for maintenance before I get to invest in science.

In poor empires, the setting reads 50% but only 10% of my gross gold goes to science
Take the example of an empire that averages only five gold per pop. If I pay out four gold per pop in wages (the center setting), then after I pay wages, I have only one gold left to split between science and savings. If my science setting is 50%, I get less than one science per pop, and my effective contribution of gold to science is about 10%, and this is without considering the costs of crime or maintenance.

In rich empires, the setting reads 50% but only 30% of my gross gold goes to science
Even if I earn fifteen gold per pop, after wages, I have nine gold left to spend on science, or a contribution of about 30% (four and a half gold out of fifteen).

How does this compare to using scientists
Enter the academy, publishing house, and university. These buildings allow you to add to science before paying wages, maintenance, or crime.

In poor empires, scientists can keep you in the game
Consider a city of size five in an civilization that averages five gold per pop. If I build a marketplace in the city and hire a merchant, I earn fifteen gold for the merchant and since the other four pop are earning twenty gold, I get an additional bonus of ten gold. Because I built the marketplace, I earned an extra twenty-five gold total. That sounds great - but remember the impact of wages and maintenance. At an effective contribution of 10%, my twenty-five gold earns just three science. In comparison, if I build an academy and hire a scientist, I earn fifteen science for the scientist plus another three science for the pop in the city. I get a lot less gold, but I earn fifteen science more.

In rich empires, scientists can help you get ahead
Even in a gold rich civilization that averages fifteen gold per pop, the academy is worthwhile. At fifteen gold per pop, I get fifteen gold for my merchant plus thirty gold as a bonus on what my other four citizens earn. That makes forty-five total, yet with an effective contribution of 30%, I only get fourteen science. This is still less than the eighteen science I earn with an academy and a scientist.

The bottom line
Bottom line is that just like reality, schools and other science buildings are the foundation of a stable economic future. Only with academies, publishing houses, and universities, I can ensure a steady flow of science. By building science buildings in cities with little gold (i.e. farm towns), I make the most of the scientists that I hire. Also, if needs be, I can run my civilization at a gold deficit, and still ensure steady scientific advancement. Since I have to micromanage my scientists to do this, school isn't as fun as business. But then, who ever said it was.

FOLLOW UPS
Follow up by William Westwater
Reply by Celestial Dawn

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