Ndemic Creations Forum

Full Version: More realistic evolution/devolution
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
Outstanding game -- I do think it could be improved by adding a bit more realism with respect to how plagues evolve/devolve. Broadly speaking, it is unrealistic that once a symptom, ability or transmission bonus is evolved/devolved, the change occurs in 100% of the infected population worldwide. I think it would not only add realism, but improve gameplay if the change occurred in only a percentage of the population. I realize this would involve a lot of work, but it's worth throwing out there. Here is an overly detailed description of how I would implement it -- this applies at least to every type of plague short of the nano-virus level:

1. Have three colors of dots for infected populations. People infected with non-symptomatic strains are marked in green. People infected with symptomatic but not fatal strains are marked in yellow. People infected with fatal strains are marked in red.

2. Scale the color within each population. For the green, yellow and red infected populations, the color of the dot is darker depending on how evolved the strain is. A light green dot indicates the initial state of the plague. A darker green dot indicates a strain that has evolved more abilities or transmission bonuses. A light yellow dot indicates that the strain produces symptoms, and darker yellow dots indicate more symptoms. Red dots are fatal strains, and darker red dots are more deadly.

3. Evolution/Devolution takes place in a percentage of the worldwide population. If I've infected the entire world with a virus, and then develop a new symptom, realistically, that symptom will not occur in the entire infected population. For the sake of gameplay, we can imagine that the adaptation could evolve simultaneously in many infected people; but it wouldn't be like flipping a switch and suddenly having everyone be infected with a new strain. Let's say a new strain affects something like 5-15% of the infected population. The rest of the population retains the old strain, and the new strain needs to infect them anew. (Of course, anyone who is not yet infected acquires the most evolved strain of the virus whenever they do become infected.)

4. New abilities affect re-infection. By default, a person who has been infected with an early strain of a virus could be more resistant to subsequent strains. New ability perks could be added allowing players to spend DNA points to (Level 1) eliminate this resistance and (Level 2) make previously infected people more susceptible to reinfection with a new strain.

5. Devolution works the same way. If a new trait is evolved and occurs in a percentage of the infected population, devolving that trait affects only a percentage of the infected population. Basically, we treat the trait as having been maladaptive, and the strain with that trait begins to die out; however, there is a window of time before the trait completely dies out where a percentage of the population continues to be infected with the maladapted strain (and in the case of symptoms, this means that the disease could be discovered before the symptomatic strain has a chance to die out).

6. Each evolution/devolution turns back the clock on finding a cure. Making the plague re-infect portions of the population certainly adds a degree of difficulty. To counter that, any change to the plague should have at least a small impact on cure research, setting it back, say 1-2%.

Would love to hear others' thoughts on this. I think it adds not only realism, but improved playability. It forces a more nuanced approach than the basic strategy of (a) stay non-symptomatic, (b) infect entire world, © flip the switch on symptoms and kill everyone.
How would you keep track of all these different infection profiles? Like, if you've evolved 30 traits, then you would have 30 different groups of people, each displaying a different sets of traits. How could you keep track of all of that? In fact come to think of it, if you took the approach of infecting the whole world before evolving any symptoms, then you would never be able to kill anyone at all -- if evolutions only apply to new infections, but there aren't any, then the lethality you've added wouldn't apply to anyone.

Have you tried playing with different strategies? The a,b,c strategy you've described is, as you say, not very nuanced, but it's not the only way to play. If you want more variety out of the game, why not try playing it in a different way? For example, try an aggressive strategy -- add at least 6 symptoms right at the start, so that the disease is spotted early. Then the challenge is to balance lethality, so that you kill fast enough to impede the cure, but not so fast that you kill all your hosts.

Or try some of the custom scenarios. There are some really wild and radical ones out there that behave completely unlike normal diseases, forcing you to throw conventional strategies out of the window and try something different.
(26-12-2014 03:33 PM)emg22a Wrote: [ -> ]Outstanding game -- I do think it could be improved by adding a bit more realism with respect to how plagues evolve/devolve. Broadly speaking, it is unrealistic that once a symptom, ability or transmission bonus is evolved/devolved, the change occurs in 100% of the infected population worldwide. I think it would not only add realism, but improve gameplay if the change occurred in only a percentage of the population. I realize this would involve a lot of work, but it's worth throwing out there. Here is an overly detailed description of how I would implement it -- this applies at least to every type of plague short of the nano-virus level:

1. Have three colors of dots for infected populations. People infected with non-symptomatic strains are marked in green. People infected with symptomatic but not fatal strains are marked in yellow. People infected with fatal strains are marked in red.

2. Scale the color within each population. For the green, yellow and red infected populations, the color of the dot is darker depending on how evolved the strain is. A light green dot indicates the initial state of the plague. A darker green dot indicates a strain that has evolved more abilities or transmission bonuses. A light yellow dot indicates that the strain produces symptoms, and darker yellow dots indicate more symptoms. Red dots are fatal strains, and darker red dots are more deadly.

3. Evolution/Devolution takes place in a percentage of the worldwide population. If I've infected the entire world with a virus, and then develop a new symptom, realistically, that symptom will not occur in the entire infected population. For the sake of gameplay, we can imagine that the adaptation could evolve simultaneously in many infected people; but it wouldn't be like flipping a switch and suddenly having everyone be infected with a new strain. Let's say a new strain affects something like 5-15% of the infected population. The rest of the population retains the old strain, and the new strain needs to infect them anew. (Of course, anyone who is not yet infected acquires the most evolved strain of the virus whenever they do become infected.)

4. New abilities affect re-infection. By default, a person who has been infected with an early strain of a virus could be more resistant to subsequent strains. New ability perks could be added allowing players to spend DNA points to (Level 1) eliminate this resistance and (Level 2) make previously infected people more susceptible to reinfection with a new strain.

5. Devolution works the same way. If a new trait is evolved and occurs in a percentage of the infected population, devolving that trait affects only a percentage of the infected population. Basically, we treat the trait as having been maladaptive, and the strain with that trait begins to die out; however, there is a window of time before the trait completely dies out where a percentage of the population continues to be infected with the maladapted strain (and in the case of symptoms, this means that the disease could be discovered before the symptomatic strain has a chance to die out).

6. Each evolution/devolution turns back the clock on finding a cure. Making the plague re-infect portions of the population certainly adds a degree of difficulty. To counter that, any change to the plague should have at least a small impact on cure research, setting it back, say 1-2%.

Would love to hear others' thoughts on this. I think it adds not only realism, but improved playability. It forces a more nuanced approach than the basic strategy of (a) stay non-symptomatic, (b) infect entire world, © flip the switch on symptoms and kill everyone.

I think you're idea should be made in a special "realistic" gamemode/scenario, but not in the normal game. Just a special gamemode/scenario.
It will turn the game more into a simulator from its current arcade state... But - hey, this is pretty awesome concept! Like it!
Would be nice to see it on "Brutal" and/or "Mega-Brutal" difficulty, or even as completely different switcher.
Reference URL's