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Developer Diary: Citizens and Their Newfangled Stats!

The Ara: History Untold key art, featuring three leaders made up of different eras of history standing side by side.

It’s your friendly neighborhood system designer, Tylar Allinder here! Now that you’ve taken a peek into our prototyping process, let’s talk about more specific systems we’re iterating on. As we continued through development for Ara, we started to realize that Provinces had no reflection of the living world of citizens that inhabit them. Additionally, we were a bit short on meaningful abilities for Improvements. Come with me on a journey to discover the wonderful world of Citizen Stats!

What Are Citizen Stats?

Citizen Stats are a measure of how Citizens in a Province feel about your rule. There are various ways to impact Citizen Stats: If you pack them in like sardines, they become unhappy. If you clog up your Province with industrial buildings, their Health will drop. However, if you provide them with more space by merging additional Regions to the Province, they become a little happier. If you provide them with schools and educational opportunities, their Education rises. And obviously, if you keep your pollution low, your Citizens will be MUCH better off in all categories.

The Citizen Stats that are tracked per Province are:

  • Happiness: Obvious one here! How happy is the populace?
  • Health: How attached to their longevity of life the population is.
  • Prosperity: How monetarily safe does the population feel?
  • Education: Does your population know that the cylinder goes in the square hole?
  • Aesthetics: How pretty does the Province look?

Each of these stats has seven different thresholds to them. Obviously, the living world will react depending on which threshold each citizen stat is at, yelling at you or celebrating your successes.

Why Should You Care?

So your people can be happy or sad in various ways, but why does that matter? For starters, each of these Citizen Stats affect your citizens in different ways. While having neutral Citizen Stats does nothing, high or low Citizen Stats will affect the Province in many ways, scaling up or down depending on how high or low the Citizen Stat is:

  • Happiness: A positive and higher amount adds Production, Immigration, and the Province is resistant to Sieges from your foes. Go low, however, and these stats are reduced instead. Additionally, if Happiness ever reaches the lowest tier, the Province will revolt, being susceptible to being easily capturable by other nations!
  • Health: Having a healthy population results in faster population growth and resistance to diseases (yes! Ara has diseases!). Lower Health sees your Province population rapidly dying off and opens the doors wider to being infected by diseases!
  • Prosperity: Grants additional money and Taxes from the population, dramatically increasing your rate of gaining Coin, a core resource in Ara. Staying on trend, going negative Prosperity results in a less giving Province, netting you less Coin. Additionally, Improvements will regenerate (or degrade, if negative) HP depending on your Prosperity stat.
  • Education: The more clever and sharp the Province is overall, the faster you will gain Research, enabling you to gain Technologies even faster! Beware, however, negative Education will lower your amount of Research from the Province. The smarter your Province is, the more they may ask you for favors, aka present you with Quests to complete as well.
  • Aesthetics: While positive, Aesthetics affects ALL the other Citizen Stats, raising them! Your religion will also spread faster from the Province. While having negative Aesthetics won’t diminish your other Citizen Stats, your religion spread will be lowered.

Additionally, there is yet another system that is driven by Citizen Stats: Golden Ages!

Gilded Ages

Golden Ages in Ara represent the pinnacle of your Nation’s success. Golden Ages were born from a need to bring Citizen Stats to the front of not only the UI, but the game itself. Additionally, we needed a system unique enough to balance between playing wide (many Provinces) vs. playing tall (limited number of Provinces). This is where Golden Ages began.

The Niceties of Thriving

How do these two systems tie together? Each turn, the level that each category of citizen stats for all your Provinces are averaged (Happiness, Health, Prosperity, etc.).


These averages are then added to a Golden Age bar. If you have negative values for the average, obviously this can take points away from your Golden Age bar, so treating your citizens right eventually pays!


And what does it pay? While in a Golden Age, you receive a constant flow of Prestige each turn. Additionally, if you ever gain Prestige from other sources, the amount gained is multiplied by an additional amount! So, it’s always good to try and time those Prestige generators for when you are in a Golden Age, to take full advantage of your citizen’s happiness of your successful rule.

Golden Ages ended up being short and sweet and not only fulfilled the original issues, but also found a way to favor players who build tall rather than wide.

Your Feedback!

Thanks to all the feedback we received in our first Technical Alpha, we can be more informed and confident in the direction with Citizen Stats. So far, we’ve gleaned that players don’t yet know exactly how and why they should keep their citizens happy (besides the obvious moral reasons). That paints a clear picture of what we should work on next. We currently have the following in the works:

  • Clearly informing you how and why that Province has the level of each stat that it has.
  • Having the living world react to the different levels of each stat, whether positive or negative!
  • Being clearer with how you can fix a low Citizen Stat or bolster a mediocre one, whether through improvements, advisors, or more!

In the end, we want to make Ara a unique experience that celebrates your achievements, positive or negative, and give you a front row seat to watch your nation and people evolve.

For now, be sure to pay attention to your citizens, and don’t forget: a happy Bonfire is a Boppenfire!

-The Ara: History Untold Team


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