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Commodore Shawn

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In 1.4 the world is endless, it generates as you explore it.

The major issue is how granular the simulation is. There's only so much optimizing that can be done with hundreds of people pathing around cities. If you look at Dwarf Fortress the same problem eventually kills fortress performance.

Multithreading is... problematic. The simulation already occurs on a separate thread from the UI, which is why the frame-rate stays high even when turns take upwards of 100 ms. It causes crashes from time to time, multithreading the simulation would only make things more difficult.

I'm toying with a plan to radically change the simulation, making Bronze Age more like Sim City meets Civilization than Dwarf Fortress. I'm still unsure on it. It would mean about a month or more of rework, most art assets redone, and possible alienation of players who like the more Dwarf Fortress style. On the other hand, losing the baggage of the granular simulation would streamline a lot of neat future features.

> I feel like research and technology fits under interesting world in that it provides depth to the world and a progression in terms of production.

By "Interesting World" I mean the terrain and inhabitants of the world, thinks like Maskling tribes that the player can interact with. Research doesn't really fit that role. Research in games is typically used to control the increase of complexity of the game and to provide a sense of progression. Consider Civilization, the early game has a lot fewer options than the late game. As research progresses it unlocks more tools for the player, spacing them out to prevent overloading.

> my biggest near term desire for this game is more economic depth

That should come with the Happiness and Morale, with the addition of luxury goods to keep large cities happy. Tin wouldn't be that hard to add, actually, most of the groundwork for it was added with Copper Ore.

> I think your current focus should be on breadth instead of depth

This talk on indie game development has an interesting point on features, think of them as an inverted pyramid. A narrow foundation supporting a broad top. Work from the bottom up with a tight set of core features supporting larger and larger features on top of it. It's a risk mitigation strategy, so even if a project ends prematurely there's still a workable core to it.

There is also this interesting examination of complexity and depth. I think a key part of Bronze Age's appeal is that it's kind of like Dwarf Fortress, but not nearly as complex. That lack of complexity allows the player to manage multiple settlements without getting overwhelmed, and I'd like to build upon that. My plans for morale build upon the core mechanics of placing buildings and managing resource creation, while also reinforcing the need for multiple settlements (to acquire luxuries).

 

There's also a deeper technical problem. Some of the really interesting possibilities of  game set in this era aren't well served by Bronze Age as it is now. I like the culture mechanics that Stellaris has, where the player can shape and evolve their empire throughout the game. I think something like that would fit really well with a game set at the dawn of civilization. Bronze Age as it is, however, is held back by the core simulation of the entire population as individuals. Some really neat possibilities could be opened up by changing the scale rather dramatically, but such a drastic change might seem more like a sequel than an evolution. I don't want to alienate all of the existing players, especially those who have donated to the project.

I'm not planning on making Bronze Age my life's work like Toady is with Dwarf Fortress. It's actually the longest I've stuck with a game so far, and I've made it through a couple burnouts. Focusing on the core gameplay is a guard against future burnouts, so that there will be a playable game no matter what.

My hope is that after the next few releases it will still be flexible enough to add new features, but won't feel incomplete without them.

Architecturally that would be difficult to do. Multiplayer is a difficult thing to add on to a project, especially when there is the ability to pause or fast forward time, as in Bronze Age.

I've toyed with the idea of adding irrigation, but I don't have any hard plans.

Looks a lot better than the stock graphics, nice work!

Thanks. Got a fix for it.

It doesn't appear in the list under Graphics Mods? As long as the xml file is there it should be recognized. Are the files inside a folder in the zip file? If so, try zipping the files directly instead.

Well the world is still procedurally generated, it just isn't infinitely generated any more. There will be several options for world size, this is the medium world which is 100 chunks on a side. The current options go all the way up to 400 chunks on a side (16 times larger than shown above).

Unfortunately I don't think an infinite world will work well with the new features being added in 1.5. So it's a tradeoff between an endless world or a finite world that's more interesting to play in.

Could you send me the world file so I can investigate further?

The crash happens when the image export is running?

Is Bronze Age "installed" in a directory that needs special permissions (such as Program Files)?

Those are some nice looking towns.

Pig meat will probably be one of the first luxury items.

I won't rule it out, but it's rather low on the priority list.

(Edited 1 time)

Pigs breed as they're needed, empty pastures aren't considered a "need". A tradehouse constructing wagons would be considered a need, though.


That's a good point about the tilesheet guide, I'll try to remember to do that for the next patch.

Maskling camps will have their own admin structures. I think upgrading them could tie into Masklings getting access to more resources down the line. Masklings could get more resources by trying to steal them from your settlements, or by trading with you for them. That most likely wont be in 1.5, but I think it opens up some very interesting possibilities.

Thanks for all of the discussion. After reading it all and pondering for a bit, I present...

Proposed New Settlement System

Settlements no longer have an influence radius, instead they are associated with regions. When founding a new settlement you place a central administrative structure. That structure represents the "claim" to the region. When placing the structure, the target region will be highlighted both on the local map, and on the minimap. You cannot claim a region that is already claimed by another settlement (yours or otherwise).

At certain population thresholds a settlement can construct an additional administrative structure in an adjacent region. In the future settlements may be restructured to contain districts (mini settlements within a settlement), when/if that happens it will be based on regions (each region becomes a district).

Structures may only be placed in a claimed region, but citizens will be able to harvest trees, gather pigs, and build roads in claimed regions, as well as regions adjacent to claimed regions.

Ownership Changes

If an administrative structure is destroyed, then that region becomes unowned, any citizens will evacuate, and any structures will become useless. If another group places an administrative structure in that region they gain control over the structures and any items they contain, effectively capturing the settlement. This could potentially mean the capture of Maskling settlements, or Masklings capturing your settlements. Note that this excludes the people, they'll just flee to the remaining parts of the settlement.

If a settlement loses all of its administrative structures, and ceases to control any regions, then that settlement ceases to exist, and the population converts to immigrants. This allows you to abandon settlements by deconstructing the administrative structures.

Administrative Structures

I'm not sure what to call it yet, but the administrative structure will be heavily upgradable. Higher levels of it will provide additional features, such as attacking invaders, boosting settlement happiness, providing a bonus to research, and diplomacy.

How Big a Region?

The world generator will aim to create regions about 90 tiles on a side, roughly filling a 1920x1080 monitor. Individual regions will vary, of course.

First, I think their is some ambiguity as to what exactly constitutes a region.

Regions are a little nebulous in 1.3. During world generation a noise map is sampled to pick "biome region points". Chunks then assign themselves to the closest "biome region point", which determines the biome of the chunk as well as river placement. Multiple nearby "biome region points" can end up with an identical biome, which renders the borders between them invisible.


 In 1.5 the generator will get an overhaul, and regions will be permanent fixtures. I'm aiming to have a single region roughly fill a 1920 x 1080. Individual regions will vary, but that's the target. The regions will also be visible to some extent in the UI, probably though the region map.

 Selecting a site to settle would highlight the region claimed, making explicit any borders not already obvious from a coastline or biome change. 

That's precisely my plan, it will make things nice and obvious.

That's a good idea.

I like the idea of restricting a settlement to a biome rather than a radius. However, as you said, it might cause some problems. A possible solution is to allow certain buildings (mines, roads, 2x2 towers eventually) and activities (gather pigs, cut trees...) to be built in adjacent biomes, letting citizens gather ressources from adjacent biomes, but not live there.

I'm leaning towards that approach. Depending on the size of the regions.

would open the possibility of peaceful interactions down the line. And/or conflict between masklings.

I think, once I generate multiple Maskling tribes, that conflict between them will happen automatically. Peaceful relations will take some work, but will really expand the possibilities of Bronze Age.

Expansion should in my opinion bound to milestones allowing you to claim more regions as "core". 

I really like that idea. The UI might be a bit tricky, but I think it's worth an attempt.

I think you'd need more systems in place, like happiness or diseases, before an adequate soft-cap can really be implemented.

That's one of the plans for settlement happiness. Settlement size would decrease happiness. As settlements grow larger and larger you'll have to acquire more and more luxuries to keep the population satisfied. Diseases would be another good (and historically accurate) way to soft cap populations.

(Edited 1 time)

> I don't like tying territory to biome types, I think most or all of my cities would fail that check.

Historically borders usually follow natural boundaries. Rivers, mountains, and forests are big ones. Allowing settlements to claim a couple adjacent regions would mitigate the biome-straddling issue. But I think there's a balance to be had there.

A major benefit of settlements occupying regions, I think, is the ability to tie into the idea of territorial possession. Maskling behavior, settlement expansion, and diplomacy could all interact through that system.

> Some buildings may ignore territorial ownership, instead allocating labor by raw proximity and availability. These would possibly include roads, mines, hunting/lumber camps, towers, etc.

I've been pondering a possibility of different types of regions claimed by a settlement. One idea was a split between the "core" regions  (where anything could be built), outlying regions (where only farms, small towers, mines, and the like could be built), and harvesting regions (where settlers could cut down trees and gather pigs). That plan really depends on how large the regions end up being.

Edit: thanks for the post, some really thought provoking discussion going on in here

Deserts are already in. You can see them as large patches of sand. I like the swamp idea. I was planning on adding mountains as a mix of rocky ground and impassible cliffs.

Monsters is another good idea.

Adding biomes in 1.5 would be a good idea. I'd like to cram as much new world-gen stuff in there as possible, to prevent invalidating saves with updates.

Adjacent regions might be unlockable through population growth, but it might be simpler to have a settlements start at it's maximum territory. I'd like to move away from wealth, as it's proven hard to balance properly.

Replied to hurleyef in Bug Reports

Made a note of it, thanks!

A garrisoned soldier in a barracks will heal, as long as there is enough food.

A civilian will go to their home to heal, as long as they have a home, and there is enough food.

1.3 has an overallocation bug around pigs and tradehouses. When a group of pigs reaches the tradehouse, another batch of pigs is sent out. That's been fixed in 1.4.

There is currently a limit of 1 shepherd per settlement as well, which is why the stuck guy is preventing any other pig gathering. Could you send me the world so I could see how he's getting stuck?

Thanks for the feedback and discussion. After reading through your thoughts and thinking on things a bit, I realized a third option.

Part of 1.4 is a rework of settlement production logic. Instead of creating items as needed, with the player able to optionally set a target surplus, settlements now try to keep a buffer of inputs and outputs. 

As an example: a Brickworks can produce 2 mudbrick in 15 turns, a 150 turn buffer of outputs is 10 mudbrick. So for each Brickworks the settlement tries to keep 10 mudbrick in storage.

The goal of this was to make calculations for automatic trading easier. A side effect is that, when an item is needed, it's most likely already in a storehouse. This fact changes the logistical situation. Instead of optimizing for efficient gathering of items, we can optimize around efficient sending of items.

So, with that in mind, I think the solution could be rather simple. Define a new type of upgrade for some structures. Each level of this upgrade makes a handcart available in that structure. When  a citizen picks up items to carry, if there is a handcart available they can claim it, and use it to carry multiple shipments at once.


I think Option 2 might be a good idea for an advanced option later. Perhaps related around defining "districts" in a large city, with each acting like an independent settlement with regards to citizen and item distribution.

Made a note of it, thanks.

That's the sort of problem I think could be best fixed by trade routes and a woodcutting outpost.

Merging is another good idea.

Thanks for the suggestions, I've made a note of them.

What would you like to be able to customize about the group shortcuts?

I got a 404 trying to get that save file.

  • Abandoning settlements will be a bit tricky, but could be done while adding support for capturing and reclaiming them.
  • The generator in 1.3 creates islands from time to time, already. There will be at least one more major rework of the world generator in the future, but probably not until 1.5 at the earliest. In 1.3 the world is limitless, it will generate as you explore it (Minecraft style)
  • One of the changes coming in 1.4 is the ability to create migrant bands from anyone, not just idlers.
  • That warband behavior is currently acting as designed, but I'd like to smooth it out and give players more control warbands.
  • Good suggestions for the world generator. Mountains used to be impassable, but that ran into issues with pathing (pre 1.0). With the new pathing improvements in 1.3 they're a possibility.

Thanks for the great feedback.

I'll see what I can do.

Hi, thanks for taking the time to leave such detailed feedback.

  • Distinct Regions: you can start to see the beginnings of this in 1.3. Many resources are limited per biome, and some (like limestone and copper ore) are only present in some biomes. This will be expanded upon in the future, with tin and gold ores, and possibly other resources as well. 
  • Rare Tin: I do want to balance realism with fun, so tin probably won't be quite as rare as it was in the historical mediterranean.
  • Scouts: this could be handled by adding more functionality to warbands, I think. Patrol paths is a good idea.
  • Maritime Trade: boats are planned for 1.4, and will be able to trade between settlements. The existing generated oceans should be sufficient for forming trade routes, I think. A potential lack of navigable waterways creates the opportunity for creative solutions. Like a small port town linking a tin mine to the rest of your empire.
  • Dyes and Paint: this would be neat, but not very manageable in terms of art assets. Dyes as a luxury item could easily show up, though. 
  • Temple and Palace Complexes: Instead of defining a preset complexes, I'd rather give players the tools to create their own through statues, gardens, and temples.
  • Religion: City specific gods would be really neat and thematic, but I don't think it would be all that practical from a development standpoint.
  • Cool Gates: I think more ornamental or vanity structures are very likely.
Replied to leonardosnt in Bug Reports
(Edited 1 time)

I loaded the save and played for several minutes without crashes. It could be that whatever the problem was it has been fixed by the patch I'm working on. If the problem persists in 1.3.3 (due out today or tomorrow) let me known and I'll take another look.

Replied to Venkman427 in Game Stats

In general your citizens will produce whatever they need. Do you have a smelter? Without a smelter your citizens won't automatically mine copper ore, because they don't see a need for it.

Next to some notifications there's a small icon of Nanash's head, click on it and she'll tell you what you should do about the message.

There will be a few new structures, but 1.4 is mostly focusing around refining and streamlining production and trade.

I'm planning a devlog outlining it on friday, with some in-depth focus on moving items within a settlement.

Replied to leonardosnt in Bug Reports

I'll take a look