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Official Modding Support is Essential to Tropico 6's Success and it Needs to be Comprehensive

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    Official Modding Support is Essential to Tropico 6's Success and it Needs to be Comprehensive

    I am a very long term fan of the Tropico series, own every game, and have been part of the beta since it originally began in November. I have enjoyed seeing the game improve and a lot of great feedback turning into positive changes and improvements in the game. I am grateful to the devs for making such a great game and giving us another installment of my favorite video game franchise .But there is one thing that I feel will be the most important for the Tropico 6's success and long term viability, mod support.

    I understand that right now Devs are finishing the game and working out bugs and other concerns, I also can guess that close to release is when the post release schedule is largely decided. This is when the community really needs to make clear that mod support is essential to Tropico, and it needs to be as comprehensive as possible.

    Tropico 5 received official "modding" support for adding new maps and a way of adding new events (although only to those maps). This was largely a flop and almost no mods were made through that official channel. Tropico 5 did have an unofficial modding scene with great mods like "Citizen Overhaul Mod," "Corruption Mod," Dictatorship Unleashed," "Expanded Citizen Actions," "Mass Upgrader," "Real Estate Agent," and more. But these were by a relatively small group, many came out years later, and it was a shadow of what it could have been, on top of the game making it somewhat difficult to install mods once you have them. Modders also fixed issues and balance with the game like with "Almanac Fix," "Amendment Fixed," and "Cap Crusher." All in all the game lacked real modding support, access, or tools, which crippled any real potential for modding to revitalize the game or extend its longevity.

    Tropico 6 needs mods desperately, as they greatly improve the value proposition of the game and allow increased variety, customization, and fleshing out of the simulation and gameplay. While obviously in the past tropico DLC has been a mixed bag with small single building DLCs competing with what mods would bring, that doesn't need to be the case. For example Stellaris, a space simulation game from Paradox Interactive, along with other games like Hearts of Iron, have substantial mod support and lean into the work that modders do. Even small DLCs add in specific new assets and system mechanics that allow modders completely new tools to work with, thus making the DLC essential to the mod and encouraging players to pick it up. This has magnified the value of Paradox games and new DLCs sell quite well even when the base game is on sale, because players want to chase that extra depth and the new mechanics their favorite mods are making use of. Mods like Kaisserich, a total conversion mod that also adds in new mechanics and systems, for Hoi4 are so popular they have created their own sub-communities online and have millions of downloads. It helps to keep players around longer, allows fixes to niche issues that bug players, allows for players to choose tweaks for the game that can't necessarily make it into the official game, and helps fuel a longer more vibrant development cycle.

    Tropico absolutely has as much or more potential for modding greatness as those games. There are so many resources and values in the game for players to tweak, and even more room for objects like resources and buildings to be added, game elements like nations or citizen actions to be augmented, and an underlying system that could be tinkered with in so many ways to make them deeper or more suited to player preferences. It has been frustrating to see games like Civilization or Hearts of Iron see substantial mod development that fostered communities around the game, but not my favorite IP of Tropico.

    In order to reach its potential, Tropico 6 needs to allow or not discourage, within its internal systems and to a lesser degree official modding tools, for players to add, change, and remove the following:

    • Buildings of all types
    • Resources and Goods
    • Mission and Event Chains

    Game Elements:
    • Edicts
    • Research
    • Raids
    • Broker Items
    • Factions/Nations
    • Diplomatic Actions
    • Citizen Actions
    • Constitution Articles and Options

    And especially underlying systems that allow new game elements to also be new game mechanics, and to change aspects of the simulation to tweak, customize, and add depth to the game:
    • UI Additions and Changes from new metrics and graphs, to new tabs in the almanac
    • Citizen needs
    • Mechanical changes (like adding a possibilty for a tourist to be a forigen spy, with modifiers)
    • Calculation of game values like happiness, liberty, lifespan, and so on
    • Citizen Traits that have an effect
    • New Eras
    • GUI modding like a button on the main screen that you can click to perform a new action, a graph showing the status of an invasion and your forces, or a list of all criminals/rebels outside the almanac.

    It's not that these things have to be simply developed almost to completion and handed over to the community, it's that these things need to be locked down or hard coded as little as possible, there needs to be a steam workshop to greatly facilitate modding, and the game needs to accept and allow mods to interfere with underlying systems. Kalypso should absolutely reach out to the biggest Tropico 5 and 4 modders and ask them what they need most to facilitate mod development and compatibility. For Tropico 6 to truly be the best game of the series and become one of the best city builders and simulation games on the market, true modding support will be essential.

    Examples for mods that should be possible/not hardlocked out before the game finishes its full development cycle.
    • Choose your starting spot on a map.
    • An edict for a Basic Income that increases support among lower class citizens but lowers productivity and angers the capitalists.
    • New raid buildings that offer a factional choice like a "Guerilla camp" in the cold war or a "protest center" in the modern era (both to export these rabble rousers to other countries)
    • New raids like "election interference," which prevents negative actions by a major power and generates trade deals. Or "immigration campaign," which makes immigrants more likely to be members of a faction of choice.
    • Adding a "loyalist" faction that wants presidente to allow as little democracy as possible, after falling beneath 50 happiness only loses members instead of voter support, and based on the number of members generate militia divisions in an uprising.
    • Adding a value for "political particpation" that influences whether voters simply don't vote, with more media increasing turnout of all citizens or one faction.
    • Tweaks the constitution so that "wealthy citizens vote" makes it so after the world wars only the rich and filthy rich citizens can vote, not the well off.
    • Tweaks to buildings that increase wages after each era so that only a small number of buildings have workers who are "poor" by the late game
    • Weighted voting systems where richer citizens just get more multiple votes.
    • Being able to change wealth or education requirements for buildings to increase their revenue or proiductivity.
    • New customization options for Presidente like a "background," multiple traits, and a modifier based on how he came to power.
    • Have only certain economic classes of citizens stop at toll roads.
    • (This may be unrealisitic) Allow for setting the exact dollar wage, fee, and rent of buildings.
    • Reducation in dungeons, making the inmates move towards a faction of choice.
    • "Upgrade all" and "rebuild all" options
    • Have police hang around watchtowers and arrest any rebels, or arrest a certain numbers of unemployed citizens per month.
    • Have police and watchtowers prevent shacks from sprouting up in their radius
    • Building upgrades that increase education requirement and power consumption but reduce number of workers and increase productivity.
    • Have buildings that need raw resources automatically queue imports for them without needing a trade deal.
    • Allow the player to start a map with research points.
    • Allow entertainment buildings to take in resources to operate at higher capacity, or at all (rum in taverns, sugar in candy shops, etc).
    • Add building upgrades or blueprints that are unlocked with research.
    • Make event chains that can randomly fire based on conditions in sandbox mode.
    • Add additional buses to bus station routes.
    • Change the modifiers that make people join factions (having an education makes you join intellectuals, having parent or spouse in the army makes you militarist, etc.
    • Add in new values to affect happiness like high crime areas make citizens gain a chance to be robbed or murdered, affecting their happiness and making them join the militarists or conservatives. Or having unemployed and low paid workers move towards communists.
    • Have immigrants gain or lose respect based on your relations to their country of origin.
    • Random conditions like an early dominant faction, extra resource deposits, and high level trade routes.
    • Randomly chosen techs for each era that change game rules, like allowing you to send you troops off to fight as mercenaries for pay (or swiss bank pay) with a random chance for each to survive the trip, a secret police mechanic allowing you to convert churches and bars into buildings that arrest rebels, cloning of citizens to make new ones with the same faction and education, or allowing the palace to launch airstrikes.
    • (This may be unrealisitic) Allow for setting the exact dollar wage, fee, and rent of buildings.