Good day everyone! Just like everyone here I am super looking forward to DW2. I would say that DW series in general has a lot of what I’ve always looked for in a game but there's something that I have felt is generally lacking, especially with DW1: lack of tall play via improving planets other than non-unique buildings here and there. From what Ive read in FAQ, it seems they've increased facility amounts but since we dont know what effect they'll have its hard to know whether this will be all that significant. The idea of not being forced into an indefinite wide expansion to cement my existence in these games allows for a wider range of roleplay than otherwise would be capable. So I wondered, what would allow for tall play in DW that would make use of the game’s systems to make it fun to play with, a choice to make, and not a chore?
So the suggestion/feature I have considered and felt would best fit for the ability of playing tall is quite simple but versatile. The ability to slowly convert planets into an Ecumenopolis. Imagine eventually turning your planet into something resembling Coruscant from Star Wars with a population of over three trillion, or the hive worlds from WH40k with populations of 10-100billion.
To start with, the status of a planet as an ecumenopolis would be measured as index ranging from 0,I imagine something like an Earth with no cities/minimal which a quick google search shows 3% of the Earth is covered in urban areas of course this would not be in the realm of what we would imagine in an ecumenopolis. With 100 the end being Coruscant-like. Any habitable planet could or would be capable of this. Furthermore, this would be locked behind its own tech tree where most will start with no techs, a planet cannot begin construction or maybe minimally to 5% to model high density urbanization/cities at no tech’s.
The construction rate itself would be based on the planet’s population, so a planet with 5 million population would not have anywhere near the rate of construction of a planet with max pop of 10b. Furthermore, the rate of construction will determine the rate of materials consumption, which itself should be modifiable to allow for players/AI to not destroy/overburden their economies in pursuit of this. Construction rate itself could also be modified with the Economopoulos tech tree as the game progresses to allow for more-rapid construction as resource stockpile/supply increases. Construction demands should be substantial, enough that even if you intend on playing tall you will have to go wide to be able to sustain construction or engage in inter-empire trade while also having enough left-over to perform other tasks, such as building ships/stations. Maintenance materials should also be required and related to the index level, of course not as much as what's required to construct. This would have the nice effect of increasing trade between empires and planets to keep things looking lively for a good reason.
Now to what end would you be doing this? What are the bonuses? Just increasing the max pop of the planet? I think this would be largely too simplistic and boring and pointless for such a system. Theres a lot to be gained from centralizing your population vs having it days/weeks apart via the FTL systems available in game. As you increase the index, of course population capacity would increase in-line with it along with increased consumer good demands but we could also add other nifty bonuses, such as increased science capacity limits compared to non-economopoulos planets, bonuses to station size orbiting the planet, which will be important to maintain the required throughput of resource trade for the construction/maintenance of these planet-types. At certain index levels you could add in static bonuses. For example, parallel unit training,instead of one ground unit being built at a time, you can recruit two ground units at a time instead. To be honest, there are many bonuses that could be reasonably attached to this to make it a decent alternative to just purely wide. Whats even more alluring is the idea that these bonuses could themselves be specific/better/lower to certain race types. Such as the insectoid races having higher population cap bonuses but lower science gains in comparison to say the Securan who would gain more science than population and so on so forth. Every race could have their own set of bonuses/mechanics behind how their planets develop into these types of worlds and has many possibilities.
I am aware though that this runs into the problem that tall empires would not be the only ones that could benefit from this since a wide empire may in fact be better at it and thus would grow even stronger in comparison. Its hard to think of ways to balance it that wouldn't be arbitrary and whether its even necessary. But the core idea of creating city worlds could be an intriguing mechanic to give players another goal for growing their empires that is not just going wide.
Tl;dr Give the ability in DW2 to make City Worlds akin to something like Coruscant for tall play as its lacking in DW1
Thanks for reading!