A Message to the Devs and the Community


#1

Hello all :merry:

Woah. I dunno how to start. Today’s announcement (click here if you somehow missed it) came as a little bit of a shock for some of us, I suppose… But the more I think about it and think about what I’ve seen and heard from @sdee on that very emotional stream - the more it makes sense.

Yes, goodbyes are always difficult - and for that reason I won’t be saying mine right now. I mean, if we’re still going until August (and then on with fixing and such until December) I guess we should do as much as we can as players (reportings, helping, etc) and devs as possible :jubilant: I’ll save my farewell message for later.

But for now I just wanted to pour down some ideas I’ve had on the heat/emotion of the moment… And, who knows? Maybe it’s something, at least I should try :merry:

I think that for many people, those words (and they were said several times :glum:) might have been the worst:

Cut from the game.

We read them a lot, this was cut, that was cut, etc… Some of them have honest, reasonable reasons (doesn’t fit the game anymore, was never really thought on, etc;) but some of them are just plainly and honestly “We won’t have the time/resources to do the necessary effort to get there”

Which is… True. And sad. But hey, this is Stonehearth! This is passion, it’s a great community and all that, right? We must do something, we have to! Is there something we can do?? Maybe…

So, here’s what I’ve come to say:
This has been a thrilling ride. I feel so sorry that I “left” for a long while after the initial years and only came back recently, but Stonehearth has always been one of those projects that I felt so proud about supporting - the idea, the team, everything always felt perfect and just right. I’ve tried getting into creating content (and mods) for many, many games but it never worked so well like it did here. Stonehearth was the first game that actually managed to inspire me to go and really try, really learn and really create more and more things, aiming to turn it into the game I wanted it to be. In other words, we have a beautiful thing here with this game, this community, these devs and the untapped potential that we will be able to (hopefully) keep alive for years to come with modding and such.

But there is something else we could try, and this is my proposal for Team Radiant :merry:

Let us help.
Yes, I’m no great modder, I barely work with Lua yet and all - but we do know there are several great modders in this community and I suppose many of them would, perhaps, be willing to help push this final line to maybe, maybe help Stonehearth be a little better than it can be when 1.0 and 1.1 comes and it’s time to head out and turn off the lights.

So… let us help! :merry:
We could organize a team of volunteers, modders, artists and such to try several things like:

  • Add more “baseline” content to the game; that is, new types of entities and creatures and such that could serve as a base for future mods;
  • Add some of the incomplete/promised features that had to be cut out for timing reasons - like the Dwarven kingdom, some of the classes, etc.
  • Enriching and improving the UI and gameplay experience; we already have many useful, nice UI mods that improve the game experience and we could work towards improving the base game experience, making it a (by default) better experience for new players and a better groundwork for future mods.

And so on. I’m talking about really mobilising people to create content for the game itself - not as mods but actual parts of the game and make it more feature-complete than the current schedules and workforce would allow it :slight_smile:

Of course, all in accordance to the game’s aesthetics and feel and such, a really organized and well thought work that I’m sure could be possible with some of the amazing people we have in this community - should they agree :slight_smile:

Anyway… This is just an idea! Of course it could - or not - be feasible. But I’d totally be willing to lend my time and effort to help Stonehearth be a better game before the end, if I can :heart: as a volunteer and enthusiast. So… this is basically my idea: Let us help :jubilant:

Thanks for everything :heart:
-Dani


ACE - Authorized Community Expansion Project
#2

The “ride” being able to follow the development, get the Tuesday updates etc etc has made it all worthwhile. Well worth the cost of admission, even if the game hasn’t lived up precisely to the original vision. No one can argue that 5 years isn’t well enough time spent on one project!

Looking forwards to playing the final product!


#3

I’m going to repost here what I just said on Steam:

I’m proud of you guys. Most of the people complaining about these stuff are not even near the game industry as devs, so they don’t know what they are even complaining about. You guys have done plenty! I’m happy with the features implemented, with your commitement (youtube videos showcasing the development, live streams and such). My only regret is that I wasn’t aware of this game on Kickstarter. I would be a proud supportter until the end!

This game and you folks, the dev team, made me dream about doing my own games, and more: made me chase that dream. I’ll finish my Cat kingdom Mod (hopefully until december) as a way to thank you and the community for everything that I’ve learn watching your beautiful journey.

I’m 100% with you, Dani.

But, I don’t know if your proposal is legally possible.

I hope it is, 'cause I would say “I volunteer”.


#4

Yes, I worry about that as well :glum:
But I honestly wouldn’t mind volunteering under the terms of forfeiting any rights to what I create and such :merry:


#5

Me neither. I’m not monetizing anything anyway. I would be very proud to have my name as a volunteer on the final update.


#6

I came here just to suggest this very thing! I used to post here … well, lurk here is probably more accurate, and I’d totally love to see an officially recognized and implemented kickstarter featureset by the community! I genuinely would love to contribute music but the music already in the game is way too good to try and make alongside, but who knows!

Having my name in the credits for the game I’ve looked forward to since middle school would be an absolute life achievement and I would gladly forfeit my rights to it for the betterment of the game.


#7

@myserval As the guy who made that music, I (for one) would love to hear what you’ve got :slight_smile:


#8

@Raj I love your music.
As for the game, when you look at the pictures at the kickstarter page.
The big city with giant castles, I feel, just isn’t possible yet.


#9

I’ve only scratched the surface, but count me in boss


#10

Wow… I’d like to help, but I don’t know what good I would be… I can’t even write a line of code :forlorn: There are some dumb things which I would miss very much or that are broken right now. Something should be done… At least, like an unofficial patch.


#11

Well, being a community effort, not everyone would need to be a great “complete package” modder;

We could - just like Team Radiant - divide our effort into specific tasks. All we need to do is organize ourselves, draw a plan and get to it. I can see something like this: organize > plan > execute then all created content could go down a “quality pipeline” by Radiant itself and should it feel adequate enough for the game’s standard they could bring it in, commitment-free. Like I said, we’d be volunteers, working towards turning what is already great into greater and it is very important that we allow it (legally) to happen should they agree :merry:

So if you can’t code a single line, @Amnaa, you can still make beautiful models nonetheless :merry: and we could try to make it work like that. For example, just a random thought: Dwarves, let’s suppose we tackle the dwarf kingdom and biome and gameplay - what if we make them slightly different than your average fantast dwarf? (just like they avoided the village destroyed by dragon trope)
We could have a more naturalistic people able to mix green and stone on beautiful, natural underground cities. And if you have no space for giant trees, what do you grow? Bonsai, of course :joy:
And you do make some beautiful bonsai models :3

So - like I said, just an idea. But if enough people are willing and Radiant gives us a “green light”, I’m sure we can get something done :slight_smile:
And like I said, no commitments - they should only “accept” and add what they feel it is right and belongs into the game. But if anything at all actually gets in, it will have already been worth it :blush:

Edit: Besides, I do agree that some things are still “broken” in a way; I do want to see some issues permanently fixed, fence tool working and a way to edit and redesign buildings, etc.
So maybe, in a way, we could even help with that if we are allowed to :smiley:


#12

I’d love to help!


#13

I guess I could try making some models if that helps :blush:


#14

The mod must go on


#15

Gotcha.
sends hugs and muffins

Anyway, to be more on-topic. While I currently has no time to invest into it, the idea is really great, and I hope to be a part of it in the future. I wonder, tho, is it possible to publish the source of the game after the official support ceases. Some features, like improving world generation, probably can’t be changed without altering the code.


#16

World gen has already been altered if iirc, the rivers mod etc


#17

Yes, but rivers change the surface. I suspect adding underground caves is a more difficult task.


#18

Good point, didn’t think of that


#19

Hey Dani and everyone! I think this is a great idea. I want to elaborate a bit on the logistics of it.

For context, I stepped in to be the Tech Lead for Stonehearth at the beginning of 2018, when the decision was made to move the release date to July. Since SH was the the only reason I stayed at Riot, I will be leaving the company at the end of July to work on my own tiny indie project, so I cannot commit the team to anything beyond that date. That said, I started my game dev career by investing 3 years of my life into modding Morrowind long after Bethesda stopped supporting it, so I know a thing or two about keeping a game alive beyond its official release date.

So. Here is my advice on how this can work out, and this is me mostly speaking as a modder, rather than a Stonehearth dev:

  • The setup that will scale best is for you guys to assume ownership of an “unofficial patch” of sorts, rather than relying on Radiant/Riot. I know we have been quite supportive (and I hope the team continues to be so for the foreseeable future), but the reality is that at some point that support will wane and won’t be sufficient. So if you rely on the devs to merge stuff in, you’ll be handicapping yourself. Plenty of games have must-have unofficial patches that feel absolutely like part of the game, and that would be the direction I would suggest going.
  • Following on the above, generally a project like this will need someone who can act as the coordinator and central hub of communication. This is a large responsibility, and the project will live or die by this person’s commitment.
  • The question of skill and usefulness has come up a bunch of time. I want to emphasize that making a game is absolutely not about just coding. Artists, writers, and testers are absolutely vital, so don’t let lack of coding know-how stop you from pursuing this. When I started modding Morrowind, I was in high school and knew absolutely nothing about coding, and still managed just fine with the community’s help.
  • On the point of what is and isn’t possible to mod, pretty much anything you can think of as a game feature (as opposed to an integration feature like a Linux port or Twitch support) is possible without altering the engine. For better or worse, all our game systems are written in Lua. Terrain generation, water physics, all AI actions, crafting, all of the building system, the concept of items, jobs, combat, encounters, etc., are all done purely in Lua. And since all the Lua source code ships with the game, you can always modify it or learn from it. It’s true that some API hooks will not be exposed by default, which means you’d need to use overrides, but for an “unofficial patch” sort of project, this is a lot more acceptable, as it can become the standard platform which other mods use.
  • On the point of open-sourcing the C++ engine. We have certainly discussed this, and the decision not to do it is not final. However, if you look at the practical aspects, it does not provide much beyond what is possible with Lua, and while game mods (Lua/JS/etc.) are well-supported by the infrastructure including multiplayer, the Steam Workshop, and so on, distributing engine mods (C++) is a much more complex problem, and opens up all kinds of legal and security concerns (since it would involve distributing executables that can do whatever they want to your system). If you run into concrete cases of features or changes that absolutely require C++, reach out to Stephanie to continue this discussion. I think if by the time 1.1 rolls around your patch proves to be a success, that will strengthen your bargaining position immensely.

I wish you all the best of luck in this, and as a player of Stonehearth, I look forward to tasting the fruits of your labor. I will remain as active as I currently am on Discourse until the end of July, but after release I’ll switch to lurk mode. That said, I will still always be happy to answer any modding questions you might have - just DM me.

Thank you for being an amazing community! I hadn’t expected to get to experience that same joy that I had modding all those years ago, now that I do this for a living.


Stonehearth goes 1.0!
#20

The only reason I would ask for this is to somewhat expose the pathfinder API to create alternate kinds of transportation. I.e. hearthlings being smart enough to use a boat, minecart, portal to get from point A to B.