How Land Ownership Works

September 7, 2015

How Land Ownership Works

This (now funded) stretch goal may sound unassuming, but its implications for the types of societies that will form in Eco are huge. Land ownership has been one of the most transformative concepts in human history, and in Eco it will be the same.

With this feature we will implement:

  • Buying and selling of land. Owned land will come with deeds that can be transferred between players using the existing trade and store interfaces, allowing ownership to transfer between players on terms they decide.
  • Government control of land. Tools will be added to the player-run government to allow players to decide how land is distributed to players to use, and a huge amount of flexibility will be possible there. Is land gifted upon joining the server? Is it auctioned off to the highest bidder? Can it be reclaimed for the ‘communal good’? Or perhaps all land is free, and the concept of ownership prohibited? Each of these choices will make a huge impact on the types of economies that will form, and how resources from the world are distributed, and players will make them through their government as an extension of the law system.
  • Taxation. With this feature, land can be taxed, depending on rules set by the player-run government. Different types of land can have different taxes, and the resources gathered from a specific piece of land can also be taxed accordingly.

    The revenue generated by this taxation will go into a public fund, which can be spent on public works, which will be another feature enabled by this stretch goal. Public works are projects decided by the player-run government (via voting or fiat if it’s a dictatorship) that are assigned a budget and a player agent. That player is then authorized to spend the funds towards building the project (for example, building a road connecting two sections of the city would be a good public works project). As in the real world, government waste will become an issue, and we will implement means of oversight that will hold agents accountable based on how they spend the public funds.

  • Zoning – By embedding an interactive world map in the law system, we will introduce a zoning mechanic, where players can propose and vote on zoning restrictions, allowing players to decide what kinds of buildings are allowed where. This will allow players to contain polluting buildings like refineries in specific areas to prevent them from contaminating other buildings like farms, as their pollution will spread to neighboring areas. Through zoning laws, players will be able to design their society much more efficiently as a group, allowing players to build individually still but restricted by agreed-upon zones.
  • Rent – Players will be able to rent usage rights to other players for land that they own, making real estate ownership a viable business in the Eco economy. Players renting land/buildings from another player will be given certain rights to them, such as using the facilities that are built there (a refinery could be rented to a player who then charges other customers to use the building). This provides another option for sparse-players, allowing rich economic interactions between players without large time commitments or having to be online simultaneously.

The effects of these features on the economies (and indirectly, ecosystems) of Eco will be huge, and can play out in many different ways. It could lead to more efficient resource collection and usage, contained pollution, support for burgeoning industries through rent, and many more positive effects. Or, it could lead to real-estate moguls who keep a stranglehold on the resources of the world and prevent meaningful progress. Whichever occurs will be the result of the politics and law making routes players take, and have tremendous impacts on the surrounding ecosystem.

The Eco Team is a collection of introverted and sometimes genius programmers/designers based in Seattle and Australia. We all grew up and thrive in the video game culture, so of course making them is our dream job. We look forward to continuing to put out quality games for the community of players.

5 thoughts

  • Reply
    tomcatBS

    Is there a way (intended or not) to have multiple governments, e.g. on different continents?
    The Idea would be to compare different systems and ideologies directly with each other, or have some kind of competetive teamplay amongst different Countries on the planet. 🙂

    BTW: I really like the Idea of having a dooming Meteor to prevent, as a game goal. But it is somewhat “Deus Ex Machina”. And I think you could find an even better motivator 😉

    • Reply
      Juvieus

      I totally agree with this.
      It would be nice if you could somehow declare an own independent society, and players can decide which they wanna join. Logically this will lead to a lot conflicts between those separate factions, so maybe this feature will only make sense if there is some possibility of PVP. Maybe not wild violence amongst each and every player but somehow a “War Mode” a faction can declare for 1 hour against the other. During this hour then you can raise hell upon the enemy faction and by that solve that conflict to your favor.

  • Reply
    Dudderbutt

    Are there set ways to make a dictatorship or other kind of government system? Lets say me and my friends decided to make a dictatorship for our government, is there a set way in which all of the laws, taxation, etc be controlled by only the dictator? In a government that uses popular sovereignty is there a way to make it where the side with the most votes from players gets put into action and the other side is discarded?

    • Reply
      Dudderbutt

      I apologize, you don’t need to answer this question due to the fact that I read up on the other articles and obtained my answer through them.

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