As i've said, the thing i object to is the limited range
effect of the new "farming" thing. Since it requires bunches of little overlapping food distribution ranges, there's no easy way to at a glance see which planets are supporting which, or to see what the results of changing a planet to or from farming. I don't think an easy-to-use overlay GUI is possible to show what's going on. The annoyingness of the current system is not yet fully evident, since the farming focus is entirely optional bonus, there are not yet any bad effects from getting a planet cut off from food.
It seems Geoff's main goals are:a)
to avoid food stockpilesb)
to avoid food distribution decisions.
I'm totally on board with "a", and OK, with "b" as long as usability/understandability are not sacrificed.
There are however, other ways to achieve "b" that don't involve limited range. This is a brainstorming post, so i'm going to list some without going into too much detail.1)
Ratios not Resources
Farming provides a target population bonus based on the number of farming planets to non-farming planets. So if you have 5 farming colonies in connected system of 20 colonies, the ratio is 1-to-4. All connected colonies would get a certain bonus to target population. If the empire founded 5 new non-farming colonies, the ratio would then be 1-to-5, and the population bonus to all connected colonies would be significantly reduced. The population tooltip would announce the ratio, so you don't need to count all the planets to see what's happening. Farming/Growth/Food technologies would adjust the amount of the population bonus for any given ratio.Elaboration:
Perhaps the farming focus on a Tundra planet can only benefit species with the Tundra EP.2)
Resources but Shared Alike
Food would be a resource again, but there's no stockpiles, health or fancy distribution rules.
You take all the food generated that turn, in a connected group of planets. You subtract the total population of that group from the total food. If the number is negative, the population of all planets in that group goes down by the same amount. If it is positive, the population goes up by the same amount on all planets.Example:
9 citizens each -- total 90 citizens
95 food generated
that makes 5 more food than citizens,
so 5 new citizens are divided among 10 planets,
= 9.5 citizens each -- total 95 citizens
The maximum rate of growth could be capped, though that's probably not necessary, as food production won't rapidly increase.
I maybe have some more i need to process...
Is there any reason we can't have a negative
target population? If we can, then we can make many of these population-related effects simpler, and sort of simulate health, without a health meter. I.E. give a -2 to target population for a health-hurting special without worrying weather that went below zero would be much simpler than what we have currently.