Continuing the discussion from Waypoint and “Find” System for the Trapper:
I have been busy these last few weeks so I apologize if I am repeating anything already discussed. I did try and catch up before posting.
First I want to start by stating that I am a very big fan of this project. I think that team Radiant are an example of what we need more of in the games industry.
My concern is regarding @Tom’s comments above. I do think that the current design of the Trapper is counter to the game’s design as has been discussed fully already. My concern specifically is the apparent reasons for the current trappers design.
Firstly, @Tom mentioned the difficulty in coding the trapper to be automated. This is one of my concerns. Again I will re-confirm that I am a big fan, and this post is meant to be constructive criticism. I truly believe in one pinnacle of software design.
Program based on design - Not design based on a program
I have seen so much software (games included) whose design was clearly driven by how it was programmed. This is a very abstract concept so let me see if I can explain it a bit. Every program does something, using Stonehearth as the example and the thing it’s doing specifically as trapping. Radiant needs to design a way to have a worker trap animals for pets and food. It seems the current design was influenced by what was the easiest to program. In other-words the design of the Trapper character was driven by the program not by it’s concept or design. As a programmer myself I recognized this dilemma early on in my education. I realized very early the merits in having a designer who wasn’t a programmer to keep the software design focused on it’s function and not on how it is programmed. I could write a book on this subject alone so I will leave it there for the purposes of this post.
I believe that part of the problem here is the current pressure to continuously improve the alpha for us. While I enjoy seeing these improvements, anxiously awaiting news of a new update, I think that it can be detrimental to the games final design.
The need to have something to do while the workers are busy is extremely distorted right now as the game in such a primitive state. I’m sure once there is a full cast of character classes, resources, mob’s, blueprints, terrain features, and more in play there will be plenty to keep you busy without having to resort to giving you more micromanagement to take care of. In fact I think that having to click on individual tree’s and berry bushes will be too much micromanagement once the game is more complete.
I know that @Tom and @Ponder have fleshed out conceptually an awesome game. But I also know that during the development of a game a concept can morph and change quite a bit because of pressures from many area’s. The one mentioned earlier is one, but in the case of Stonehearth we have a relatively unique pressure, and that is of the widely distributed alpha. Normally alpha testers are part of the of the development team and / or privy to design and concept information. I know we as a community have quite a bit of information regarding this but nothing like we would if we were all employees of Radiant.
Now I am not suggesting that Radiant should stop adding content to the Alpha, only that they should keep the final design of the game in mind when adding this content. It would seem very counter productive to introduce content that makes the current version of the game more playable, but the final version of the game less playable. I know everything can be changed but once something is seen in one way it can be hard to see it another way. Hard to see the forest for the trees.
I know it’s easy for some (myself included) to praise anything that is done by a team like Radiant who we are fans of. This does not however help Radiant improve their game, or help it be the best it possibly could be. We need to think about the complete game when commenting on each small piece being added, and not just how it improves the current alpha version.
Just my 2 cents.