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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?

19 Comments

  1. HannesDS HannesDS

    Beautifull, it’s nice to see that you guys put this awesome new elements in the game.
    This will give the game much more depth.

    Thank you very much!

  2. Ednex_RED Ednex_RED

    Please make sure this feature is not overused. I love the idea and complexity it brings but do not start a riot now or then just because its a part of the game.

    However I would love to see a shipping system with a non-controllable ship like a fisherman with a schedule of a bus.

    Will you be able to plan shifts? And so plan the work of the stucktures? E.g. a mine have opend like 18h 9 h shifts
    after every shift it will “close” 3h. My smeltery will work during this time and use the material.
    This way you do not need more workers or very long work times but the produktion is running.

  3. alleria.sb alleria.sb

    I love this new aspect of the game! It makes the story more believable and hints to both sides of the medal with industrial revolution.

    It appears I anticipated a little bit of it with the story contest newspaper post I had written. At the time I was referring to what I had seen/read in the novel North and South (for the ladies among the players/union members) when mentioning strikes–the novel perfectly reflects the spirit of that age so it’s good inspiration for both types of ‘masters’ in the game.

    Thank you for bringing such an interesting time in history to life with the game!

  4. chgolover1 chgolover1

    Yeah. Please consider that if working conditions are better, less hours,etc. that the workers will produce more.

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  5. Swimming-Paul Swimming-Paul

    The new work-force system is going to be GREAT. It makes a lot of sense with the way population has traditionally worked in previous Anno titles, but it´s going to take it to the next level and make it more complex and interesting!

    I specially like the work-force trading feature, and to imagine the workers boarding the ships to go to work to the neighbour islands everyday! I´m thinking it would be a great idea to have special harbour upgrade, or separate harbour building, which unlocks this feature. Maybe a “workers boarding station” or something like that!

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  6. DrTalib DrTalib

    Когда будет доступен предзаказ ?

  7. BlueBreath BlueBreath

    I wonder if you implemented also an operating costs adjustment for buildings proportional to percentage of filled work spots.

  8. palemale53 palemale53

    Will I need to satisfy the needs of my inhabitants separately on each island?

  9. palemale53 palemale53

    It sounds like working conditions will work like taxation in the other Anno games: low taxation encourages new settlement; slightly higher still allows an increase; higher still and your population freezes; and too high and people riot and leave, possibly burning down the housing.

    I can imagine unhappy workers burning down their factory!

  10. palemale53 palemale53

    Will the housing work like in earlier Anno games, where all homes are built at the lowest tier, then upgraded? Is there a proximity requirement, say that farmers and workers should live near their place of work?

  11. palemale53 palemale53

    Are the population requirements for upgrading residential tiers map wide, or applicable to each island separately? So will I always have lower tier workers on each island, even if I don’t need them for the island’s production?

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  12. olblf olblf

    There have been much talk about the production buildings, but I imagine other buildings, such as public buildings, demand workforce as well? Maybe ships too?

    By the way, I really hope there will ships not controlled by a player moving around – like in Anno 2205. It really brings the sea to life. Maybe there can (also) be actual ships moving the workforce between islands. I suggest that you would have to build a civil harbor platform and then the workforce-ships/ferries spawn by themselves. Of course another way of doing it would be to construct the ferries in a boat building-house (like other ships), but maybe this would make the early gameplay too complicated and hard? I don’t know…

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  13. banan1996.1996 banan1996.1996

    That workforce system seems to be just wonderful! It is exactly what I hoped for! I just don’t understand what benefits of keeping your people happy actually are. I will be grateful if you can explain it more precisely.

    I love that you can make people work harder only in specific production buildings. I think it just feels great when you think of it as kind of mobilising your people to produce some goods because your empire really needs it! I am rather an altruist so I won’t abuse my people but I like that I can occasionally make them work slightly harder if it’s needed.

    How transfering workforce between island work? Will ships be needed for that?

  14. BaTTaLioN_CHaoS BaTTaLioN_CHaoS

    sounds like an interesting system, but takes it into account that in the long run productivity will increase when working days are shorter?

    several studies have shown this and actual events support this. for example henry ford (yes from the T Ford) used it (for a period) and during the British energie shortage in the latter half of the 20th century a shorter work day was implemented (to conserve energie) where at the end of the shortage the financial losses due to the shortage weren’t as big as initially expected.

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