I agree that its open to improvement, but what you are proposing is a reduction in abstraction, an increase in complexity, and a change to mechanics and gameplay for what is no gain.
Why does smelter just straight produce iron, and not steel? Iron is a useless resource. Why does the steel factory need coal when you can also use oil IRL, or any other carbon material. So now we also have to mine the useless material coal, which is only useful for one thing, when we already have access to the technology to just make the resource we could be using instead out of farms and bio fuel refinery, in order to make the thing another useless building made useful. If there is no off branching of the product, ex: if theres nothing that needs iron or iron ore, then whatever it is youre dealing with is just a waste of time. This is an entire rework of all buildings, the economy, unit production costs, and changes to the world gen to add a few extra steps to doing the same thing for no functional gameplay change other then "more clicks"
That is just the gameplay example of how this harms gameplay. It also harms the believability of the game. Why is aluminium, IRL the much more complex material to work with and produce, so much easier and less steps than steel? the IRL ancient metal that is much easier and cheaper to produce. "rare metals" in game includes a lot more than just gold and silver, which arent exactly rare metals. Given how they are used in game, we are talking industrial rare metals, which gold and silver arent exactly.
Which brings me to re-iterate my previous point, because i think you missed it. For how massive of a change to the games code adding in your suggestion would be, it doesnt add enough to the gameplay to be worth it. The benefits you seek from this increase in complexity would require it be even further complex, and most importantly: adaptive. Your system is equally as abstract as the games current systems, but makes less sense logically. In order to make it logical, and less abstract, would require dozens of new buildings and unit assets. Aluminum armor that costs no steel, plastics industries, etc.
Reducing abstraction and a better economy would be fantastic, but this is a deep dive level change and would take at the dead minimum if everything went perfect, a month or two of full time work. For the full level of complexity it would probably take in the range of 4 to 6 months. However, making the changes and improvement youve proposed doesnt mean the full upgrade later will be any easier. So if the dev commits months to one, it should be the final version not a bandaid or toe in the water.
Personally, i would rate shadow empire as being one of the best empire builders ive played. I absolutely dont play this game like a wargame and if there was an "automate the armies, but with specific directives" option, i would click that thing real fast.
Edit: or i could have just used your analogy and spared myself some words. Why pay the price for a slight improvement on the gearbox, that might actually cause problems with an already working car, when a brand new one thats much less likely to cause problems just costs twice as much?
< Message edited by Nexira -- 3/12/2021 9:14:04 PM >