Welcome to the official thread of ACE! The Authorized Community Expansion for Stonehearth!
Please note that the name ACE is possibly temporary and depends on the future of this mod. Should it be approved and “endorsed” by Team Radiant it might keep this name and should it not get there, it will still exist anyway but then as the “Unofficial Community Expansion”
Now let’s get started! I’ll try to keep it simple at first and then this thread shall be updated over time.
ACE was born out of the desire of creating an even better and richer Stonehearth 1.0 experience. It’s not about the future of the game after 1.0 but about adding more to the content that will exist as a base for that future, both for new and experienced players. The main focuses of ACE are:
- Enhancing and adding to the standard Stonehearth Experience wherever it feels a bit lacking;
- Attempt to achieve a base experience closer to the one imagined through content promises and ideas that didn’t make it into the final game;
- Improving the default user experience without compromising the game’s desired clarity of the interface nor adding unecessary depth or complexity.
The Final Goal™ of the mod is to be completely ready, tested and finished by the end of the year, near the release of Stonehearth 1.1, when it will - if all goes well according to the possibie scenario pointed out by@sdee - be pretty much an officially endorsed mod and complete its mission of enriching the default Stonehearth experience
As of now, I’m designing a general outline of all the different things that could be covered by ACE. This part of the thread shall be updated in the coming days with more information as the ideas start to develop - at the moment I’m mostly busy setting up the project’s infrastructure.
Once things are up and running, everything that is here may change. Nothing is set on stone nor final, names are placeholders, etc. - it is a community project, after all. But I’m taking up the responsibility of bringing these ideas as a starting point.
Regardless of all that, however, there are three golden rules that will always be part of the ultimate decision-making and design challenges of ACE - and these are not negotiable. They are:
- All the content must be no more complex nor require more micromanagement and gameplay depth than anything else already present in Stonehearth.
- All the content must look, feel and blend inside Stonehearth’s estabilished lore, aesthetics and soundscape seamlessly. From color palettes to models’ scale and detailing, everything must look like it was created by Team Radiant itself. (challenging!)
- All the content must be designed horizontally, aiming for expansion rather than complexity - and feel more like a foundation for modding (as the game does) rather than a mod itself.
As of now, ACE is divided into two major mods: the Main Mod (
stonehearth_ace) and a mod for a new Kingdom within it, The Mountain Folk. (
Content & Ideas
The overall user experience can be improved without compromising the game’s simplicity nor the interface. This can either happen through changes and tweaks but also by collaborating with already estabilished and very important mods; i.e: AutoHarvest, Box Selection and Smart Crafter are possibilites.
There are things that sometimes feel like they’re missing from the game - and new, basic features could be created as a base for future modding. For example, the Engineer feels lacking, in a way. Adding a couple more contraptions that work differently from the ones already in could not only enrich the experience but also create new “templates” that work in new ways and that modders can learn from in the future.
Additional features from the list of cut promises or incomplete content could be considered should we come up with viable ways to introduce them without disrespecting the rules mentioned above. For example, classes like the Animal Trainer or the Architect or Kickstarter promises like the “Pirates, Ninjas & Politicians” - The Order of Applied Equivocation (and anything else that is seemingly not fit into the game anymore) can perhaps be explored in the form of new and special campaigns, adding variety and fulfilling content promises.
New Biome: The Highlands
The Highlands are the home of the new playable kingdom, The Mountain Folk. Imaginatively set between the arctic lands of the Northern Alliance and the forested regions of the Ascendancy, the Highlands are a rough, mountainous region.
With a pale green terrain and imposing white ridges - a beautiful and mostly clear landscape with more boulders than trees. Wood will be more common near rivers and lakes, the only places where vegetation really thrives. Exclusive content includes the Birch Tree, Marblesprout Flowers and Moonbells - a fancy, glowing flower. Other common species from both the temperate forests or the cold north can be found albeit more rarely.
The Mountain Folk
Content & Ideas
The Mountain Folk are stalwart, resolute dwarves.
Coming up with an idea for a truly interesting and unique Dwarf people - but without straying too far from the “tropes” that makes them dwarves - was challenging and cool. In the end I reached a point where I can say I’m pretty much happy and albeit nothing is final, I’d really like to push through this route:
The Dwarves of Stonehearth, following its trope-breaking tradition, will not be that much into rocks. They will indeed be great metalworkers and an industrious people, something that feels right for dwarves regardless of the lore - but in this case they’ll be also a nature-embracing folk. Think… elves and dwarves as one. Doesn’t sound like it fits? Well, it doesn’t.
The Dwarves will be a “struggling” people. And it’s up to the player to follow the path their heart tells them to be the right one. The basic three-choice from other factions (Vitality, Military, Trading…) shall be somewhat replaced by Nature, Balance and Industry for the Dwarves. Albeit the gameplay effects shall be generally the same, the cultural aspects shall be reflected through the campaign’s message and the benefits of each choice.
Dwarves will thrive from military mighty through metal and engineering should they follow the path of industry and the power of nature and geomancy should they follow the path of nature.
That said, considering the new additions to the game, there’s a lot of potential for the Dwarves to have some itneresting, exclusive gameplay mechanics - as originally intended. So a couple of pointers:
Workers as Miners
The Dwarven workers will be - unlike the other factions - actual professionals; miners. They’ll even level up, becoming better workers (miners) the more they remain as such. They’ll also mine better than other races.
Initial Tool: The Blacksmith’s Hammer
The Dwarves will start with the Blacksmith’s Hammer and will, of course, have several exclusive blacksmith’s recipes for their early needs for 3 basic reasons: Exclusivity and early access to metal; limitations to building (encouraing digging and tunneling) and access to the Artificer’s Rod.
The Artificer represents the Dwarven relationship between nature and industry. The Artificer is basically a Geomancer and an Engineer merged together. That means that dwarves, unlike other factions, can access features from the Geomancer (like golems) earlier but it also has limitations compared to the Geomancer as provided by the Clan Amberstone. The importance of this profession in a faction that will supposedly live inside naturally dug spaces is great and necessary. In terms of Lore, this happens because the Dwarves - as another subterranean folk - have their own special relationship with…
The Dwarves will have a special relationship with the rabbit-folk. They know each other and they… Well, let’s just say they not always got along so well. Both of them can wield the power of the Hearth - but the Dwarves strayed away from the more natural and pure essence of it - hence why their relationship can be so dramatic. This special relationship also means they’ll have a special campaign for the rabbit-folk - and one that will be changed by their Nature-Balance-Industry (township) choices. All in all, it will never get to the point of actual conflict as we’ll keep the Stonehearth’s signature of not putting one “good” race against the other - BUT it might get really close to that before friendship wins at the end!
Metal golems; basically. Possibly combat golems should you go down the path of Industry (exclusive recipes).
A merging of the Herbalist and the Farmer, reducing the “Importance” of the farmer as a role in the Dwarven society. The Grower will be both the one responsible for the herbalist’s consumables and crafting but also the plant-tender of the Dwarves. Dwarves shall be able to cultivate several types of greenery to match their pale stone walls: from decorative Bonsai to useful vines that grow down or up and can be used as ladders or underground crops like mushrooms!
Mostly a reskin/re-color with a different name, the Druid will be the Dwarven cleric, swapping “divine” magic for “natural” (green) magic.
And finally, just like the improvements for the Geomancer (Artificer) will be the Dwarven “rewards” for the path of Nature, it needs an edge on the metalworking side to both estabilish themselves as the true masters of smithing and fulfill another content promise. The Magmasmith can be a special, uniquely obtained (through quests/campaign) level-less class. Requiring a level 6 Blacksmith, it shouldn’t have levels itself. The role of the Magmasmith would basically be upgrading existing equipment to special, legendary tiers of magma-imbued equipment. Other goods can also exist (magma lanterns, etc.) but most importantly, this gives an interesting and unique edge to the Dwarves.
There’s a reason it is called a community expansion! And that reason is you!
ACE aims to tackle several fronts at once and a relatively large amount of content and ideas - something that can only get better and achieve higher quality the more interested and creative people we can get together!
It is about volunteering; giving back to the game and the community itself that we’re all part of - it’s about getting all the different skills, opinions and ideas together to actually try to help the brilliant Team Radiant on their endeavour of delivering the best experience they can before the lights are out and the door is closed.
It doesn’t matter if you’re not a proficient coder; or maybe you can code but can’t tell a color from a tree - if you can contribute with something; anything, chances are that you can contribute with ACE!
We are always looking for the support of designers, voxel artists, 2D artists, animators, coders and perhaps even composers for new music and/or effects. And maybe you can’t do any of that but you still want to help? Chances are that there’s something you can do - be it testing, evaluating quality (making sure everything looks and feels “Stonehearth-y” or even just organizing information and our communication channels - help will always be appreciated!
So if you want to be a part of, just read below!
For volunteering purposes or if you’d just like to follow the project closely, help with testing or maybe just lurk, please join our Official Discord Server!
Other than that, progress and roadmap shall be able to be followed through a Trello board and the mod shall be hosted and kept on github - all of which are being set up and shall be up and running in the coming days!
This is the list of ACE volunteers in alphabetical order!
Amnaa, Atikin, BrunoSupremo, DaniAngione, JayCarr, MaddyGrand, megashub, Michael.aka.Cypher, Moai, No_Name, PaulTheGreat, quwface, SnorrLaxZ, Spell_Blade, Stmpnk, TheDarthDuncan, Thundersmack/stonemonkey
(Last update: July 9th)
Thank you all so much for being part of it!
Why just one mod? Why not a bunch of good mods?
For organization’s sake, mostly. Not only for it to be easier both for Team Radiant (more clean and professional) but also for the users, since being (possibly) part of the default experience, it wouldn’t be nice to already clutter the screens of players with a bunch of mods. That doesn’t mean that other great mods that feel like they belong here are immediately discarded - of course not! We can definitely see about getting it all together in one place!
Is being a part of the last release even possible? What if the idea fails?
As confirmed by the devs, some sort of official endorsement is possible indeed. This will be our main goal - but it is also a mod, regardless of getting there or not. If everything fails, we’ll just remain as a common Workshop mod and no one’s work will be lost!
Why can "Idea A" be part of this and "Idea B" can't? Why is "Idea A" so simple when compared to "idea A-2"?
ACE is proposed and idealized under very strict concepts that aim to keep it as grounded and close to the default Stonehearth experience as possible. It is not meant to increase the game’s depth nor add new, revolutionary systems or revamps - but fulfill the planned feature’s and promises and enrich the baseline systems. It doesn’t mean Idea B is bad and Idea A is better - it just means that Idea B might not fit here and would be better off as a mod of its own. Unlike many mods that “change” over default Stonehearth assets (classes, new objects, etc.), ACE is meant to be additional base content to be later expanded upon by modders as they please instead of being a rework itself. It’s like a second half of the game, provided by the community.
Ok, I need to ask... Why you?!
I know, right?! There are many people - modders, especially - that I look up to as true masters in this community. Many of which that have been helpful and inspiring on my short journey as a modder. There’s no answer to that question, it’s not me. I want it to be everyone! The more people joining, the better it will be I don’t want this to have any kind of strict hierarchy or anything like that. For all matters, we’re all the same volunteers!
I am indeed starting this thread and this idea, however - but I mean no more than setting off a spark that will start off the fires of revolu-- I mean, to get things started. I’m bringing my initiative and my ideas as a starting point and offering myself as the public link between developers<->community for this effort, doesn’t mean it has to be my way
Is this the only way of doing that?
Probably not. I also do not mean to claim any “ownership” of any rights of doing this. In the end, it will be Team Radiant’s decision and - who knows - maybe other community projects might arise and be more meaningful; maybe not. Maybe there will be a couple alongside this one or maybe just this one. It’s not possible to know yet - What I do know, however, is that we should work together! Bringing different views and ideas is definitely encouraged so this shouldn’t feel like a split way. Let’s make it work!