This might be a long post.
There are some things wrong with the design of government, and I'm not doing any mroe code without fixing them mentally first.
The frst problem is that you cant change the makeup of yuour population in opinion terms. So people who are socialists will always be socialists. They can be happy or unhappy at different periods, but you will never change their views by making capitalist policies work and showing them working. Ditto every other type of voter.
So you will never achieve your aim of cutting the number of motoroists or racist in your cou8ntry down to a lower level, you can just make them unhappy.
Because you cant change the opinion-profile of the electorate you cant really achieve your aims (whatever you set them to be, free-market paradise or communist utopia.
Secondly given a fixed voter opinion makeup, ther will be a single 'sweet-spot' of policies that will work the best (barring random events). This would let the gameplay stagnate, and I can't have that.
I want people to sit down with the game and decide they will make a success of their country, that they will outlaw smoking, encourage home ownership and bicycle use, arm the police and nationalise the railways.
In other words, you should be able to win the way you want to win, not the way the model has been set up.
So i've beent hinking about rejigging the simulation.
One idea Im toying with is preventing the policies themselves affecting voter directly. hey can only effect varaiables in the simulation, and the simulation will influence the voters.
So income tax will not offend capitalists directly. It will just raise the average %tage taxation.( a sim varaiable).
There will be voters who have their own opinions on what is a fair tax rate, and that sim value will affect their happiness modulated by their view of fair taxes.
Rather than an individual voter being "socialist" he will just be somebody with a high ideal tax rate.
because he is no longer in a fixed discrete group, his views can now change.
So as time goes on, and taxes remain high, providing everything else is ok (his general happiness is ok), a voter will tend to get used to minor differentials in his ideal tax rate and the current tax rate.
In other words, over time people tend to accept whats working, rather than what they believe.
I think this will be more realistic. It will allow you to start off with a country like the UK(for example) with high tax rates, and by reducing taxes gradually (slightly offending the more socialist minded in the short run), as long as you can mitigate the bad effects of this (ensure good public service provision), then as time goes on, people will come to accept lower taxes as desirable.
So you can gradually shift your population towards your own views.
Ofcourse its wont be that easy. If there is a health crisis and your low taxes and low public spending cause a plague or something, then there might be a backlash effect.
But i think this will allow for a far more flexible and believeable system.
Of course this all sounds horribly complex, my challeneg is to make it seem obvious and intuitive to the player. The last thing I want is a game that seems hard work. I want people who have their own views on politics to sit down with the game, tweak things the way they like, and watch the public react in believeable ways.
It wont be easy ;)