Bureaucracy

Bureaucrats are NPCs who do special jobs to help you manage your colony. For large colonies, they can automate tasks that might become tedious, like assigning appropriate shift activities to your workers or making sure that each colonist has access to their favorite foods.

bureaucracy_interface

A view of the bureaucracy management interface, assigning a minster of labor.

Summary

  • You can assign colonists to serve in a variety of bureaucratic positions.
  • Bureaucrats do their jobs in office spaces. Office spaces are like normal area designations, but with a few special requirements.
  • Bureaucrats do all sorts of different things, depending on the position they fill.
  • Bureaucrats will work once per day, if an available work station in an office space is available. When they finish their work shift, whatever their function is will be performed.
  • Be careful when assigning workers to bureaucratic duties! Treacherous bureaucrats can abuse their positions and create undesirable orders.

Assigning Workers to Bureaucratic Posts

bureaucracy_menu_option

The menu item for opening the bureaucracy management interface.

Assigning a worker to a bureaucratic position is a simple process. From the menu bar at the top of the main UI, open the colony configuration menu and click the bureaucracy management option. This will load the bureaucracy management interface. It presents a drop-down box of all the bureaucratic positions at the top, followed by a list of eligible personnel beneath it. Pick the bureaucratic position you want to fill from the drop-down box, select the person you want to fill the position, and click the assign button to make the assignment.  The clear assignment button is used to remove the existing bureaucrat from his position, leaving the post vacant.

Bureaucrat Work Requirements & Office Space

office_space

An ideal office space. Luxurious tables and chairs, opulent furnishing, and many work stations.

In order for a bureaucrat to perform his duties, he needs an open work station in an office space area. An office space area is a normal area designation, just like any other. A bureaucrat needs more than just an office space, though. The office space must be contained within a room, and that room needs to contain an open work station. A work station is an open chair that’s adjacent to a table. You’ll want to position a bunch of table / chair work stations in your office space in order to accommodate all the bureaucrats you appoint.

So long as these criteria are met, bureaucrats will prioritize their bureaucratic duties above all other orders, and will perform their jobs at the start of their work shifts. They’ll usually occupy a work station for several hours, and at the end of this process, their specific function (described below) will be served.

Bureaucratic Positions

Each bureaucratic position is responsible for something different. In my experience, some positions are much more valuable than others for player expeditions. Some positions are intended mostly for non-player expeditions, but I make them available to players in case they’d be considered useful.

Minister of Agriculture

The minister of agriculture automatically issues orders to plant crops in agriculture zones. I very rarely use this position, because he’ll almost invariably choose to plant the easiest-to-grow, lowest-risk crops. It’s also pretty easy to issue crop planting orders, even for huge colonies. He’s more useful for non-player expeditions, where he governs much of Quar’thanid bee shamanism and is needed to keep these colonies fed.

Minister of Diplomacy

Currently, the minister of diplomacy does nothing for a player colony. For non-player colonies, he issues orders to teach secret skills and abilities to friendly player colonies.

Minister of Labor

The minister of labor is the greatest minister of all. He automatically prioritizes work shift activities for your population, based on their calculated aptitudes. He’ll make sure that your smart, compassionate people are working as doctors, while your strong, high-endurance people are mining and cutting down trees. For very large colonies, I’ve found him to be borderline essential. Admittedly, it’s very time consuming to try to set up activity configurations on 100+ people, but once a day, this guy will rebalance everyone’s settings for you.

Minister of Leisure

The minister of leisure tries to supply people with items that they really like. If you’ve got an NPC with a strong preference for slick audio systems, and you have one such item available and unused in a stockpile, the minister of leisure will create an order to place that item in the NPC’s room. Once your colony becomes large, he’s a big help in outfitting people’s rooms according to their particular tastes.

Keep an eye on him and his personal dwelling, though, as his position is extremely tempting to abuse. You’ll want to make sure that you only entrust this position to a loyal NPC.

Minister of Sustenance

The minister of sustenance is another big help. This minister issues food manufacturing orders according to your population’s preferences. It’s this minster’s goal to make sure that everyone has access to some sort of food and drink that they’ll find agreeable.

Minister of War

The minister of war automatically fills military units that are operating under full strength. If you’ve got a fire team that recently lost a grenadier, this minister will automatically draft someone new into the role. This minister performs a variety of other duties for non-player colonies, but I find that I rarely use this post with colonies of my own.

Warden

This warden is basically an essential bureaucrat if you have any kind of prison population. He’s runs the logic to figure out which prisoners are eligible for release and releasing them from custody. Without a warden, anyone who goes to prison will remain a prisoner forever, even if their sentence was served and they’ve met all the release criteria.

Minister of Culture, Minister of Education, Minister of Housing, Minister of Propaganda

These positions used to serve various functions, but I’ve disabled them for now, as they were getting in the way more than anything. Culture policy, propaganda policy, and education policy used to only have meaning if these bureaucrats had recently performed a work shift. The minister of housing used to auto-create and auto-assign rooms within new structures, but I never got him to quite perform the way I wanted. These positions might come back at some point, so they’re still in the game as place holders.

Final Note

Bureaucrats have been one of my favorite aspects of Outer Colony to develop. They constitute an interesting sort of meta-AI that helps you manage the rest of your NPCs’ AI, while running on that same sort of AI themselves. I sorta’ love these guys, and I’m always proud of them when they do a good job. If time would allow for it, I’d like to push their capabilities even further to help players focus on the strategic aspects of Outer Colony as much as possible.

Posted in Game Design, NPCs