ACE Tuesday #05 "Going on an Adventure"

Hello everyone, and welcome to the fifth installment of the ACE Tuesday! (and the second in a row with a Tolkien pun in the name… yeah… sorry :flushed: )

For today’s episode we have our friendly lore-master (that still has his job - no worries) Duncan talking about a really cool and exciting feature that we hope to be able to flesh out and introduce in the game in a nice, dynamic way! Should it work, the possibilities for everyone and new mods would be awesome and with very little effort!

So we hope you’ll like it and feel free to say anything :3
Without further ado, here it is!

A little recap from the video :merry:

  • Hello everyone, my name is Duncan and welcome to Ace Tuesday episode 5.
    Today, I want to talk about something new we want to add to the game. Something I’m personally very much looking forward to, as it opens up an entirely new realm of possibilities for modders of all kinds. It is something you may have seen being named from time to time within our Discord or even the forums.

  • This thing is something what we call Stellaris Style questing. It’s a new style of questing we want to introduce, to be able to bring more life and events into the worlds, without having to go through the trouble of having to make a hundred new models, and code in entire new worlds and features.

  • Now, what is Stellaris Style Questing?
    Stellaris Style Questing is simple put, the questing style of Stellaris. Stellaris is this space strategy game where you try to expand your empire through any means you seem necessary… which in my case usually means war, destruction, and total annihilation… But it also has a certain style of questing that we within Ace really liked the idea of.

  • Basically, what happens is that at some point in the game, normally due to some trigger such as finding a specific world, finding a black hole, encountering a specific monster, or you’re just doing absolutely terrible and your citizens are starting an galactic rebellion. Once this trigger triggered, the game pauses and the player is met with a section of text, often telling in a story-like way of an event that happened, and then giving the player several options as responses.

  • This style of questing allows us to add features to the game, to add stories to the game and give more life to the game itself, without having to spend hours upon hours of writing code, designing models and testing worlds for it to work. Rather, you just need one person with a good idea and the ability to write well and you can take people to world they never even dreamed of before.

  • Now, how are we going to do it?
    Simply put, in a very similar way. We have a trigger, the game pauses, and the player is met with a screen that shows the text, followed by the different option they can choose from. I personally will be using this style at the end of the Order of Applied Equivocation Campaign, where the player sends a hearthling into the ancient Tomb of Three, and as well throughout all the alternate plane campaigns, where the player through his decisions can explore the Alternate Planes of existence.

  • Now, I haven’t quite finished… or started on the Tomb of Three yet, but I can show you an example of the Alternate Plane of Arkhos, one of the Alternate Planes I will spend another video on later explaining what that is. This event happens after the player chooses to send a single hearthling through the portal to the other plane.

  • As you can see, the player can read the story of what happens. With a bit of imagination, the player can envision what it looks like, and after the player can choose how to respond.
    During all of this, the game would naturally be paused, to prevent other events from happening whilst the player reads what is happening. You don’t want to be busy with this whilst Ogo goes around bunking some skulls in the background.
    With this, I hope to have explained what Stellaris Style Questing is, and how we are going to implement this. I hope you enjoyed this episode, and hopefully I’ll see you in another one. Bye~

I’m in.

I’ve always thought the current quests were lacking, but I contented myself with the knowledge that the game was unfinished. Hearing that the game was soon to be finished, I lost hope. Thank you so much for exploring ways to make the quests in Stonehearth more enriching and varied ^_^.

You guys (and gals) are amazing!


Sounds like an excellent way I could add viking raids or something to my nordlings too, awesome!


Awesome this is exactly what I have been doing to make the encounters feel more focused on player choices while telling and explain the story and lore. This also gives the play much of a choice of how they wish to act in the world. Keep it up!


This sound so amazing i am so ready for this

1 Like

Sounds awesome! :smiley: I love those Stellaris stories. :slight_smile:

Be sure to test out any auto-pause behavior in multiplayer to make sure the game still behaves the way you want! We actually removed all the existing auto-pause (from the options menu for example) so that the other players wouldn’t get stalled, but perhaps this is something that is worthy of calling everyones’ attention to,


This is an interesting addition, and I personally love that style of game events in Stellaris and in many other games (e.g. almost every roguelike nowadays), but I would caution you to be wary of feature creep. It’s a great way to spread the team too thin and end up with too complex a system to debug in the end. I know you’re trying to follow Stonehearth’s traditions in most things, but perhaps feature creep is a feature of Stonehearth’s development approach which would be best left out of ACE.

All that said, though, rock on, dudes!

EDIT: For auto-pausing events in multiplayer, some games resolve dialog choice disagreements by voting (e.g. Moon Hunters), which is often very annoying because (1) each player has to wait for everyone to choose and can’t progress, (2) players feel pressured to choose quickly to not slow others down, and (3) it often requires coordination IRL or in voice chat. Other games (e.g. Divinity: Original Sin) have unique outcomes for different combinations of players’ choices, which feels great to the player but requires a TON of content work. I’m mentioning this mainly to discourage you from taking either of these approaches, and maybe reconsider the need to actually pause the game. Things don’t have to be 100% realistic - even if what seems like immediate choices are made delayed, Stonehearth has already accustomed players to suspend disbelief for that. And then you can just make the quests purely single-player, and save yourselves a ton of coding and debugging.


I actually quite like that thought.

Besides, disbelief is already there if you think why would you (“the governor” of your town) decide the choices of people venturing elsewhere - there’s definitely no instantaneous communication means nor anything so it’s not like pausing would add any sort of realism to enhance the sense of urgency of a decision.
I suppose that maybe they could work on a timer - a strict one but a timer nonetheless (like 6 hours in-game) and as such each player could progress through their stories without stalling the others :slight_smile:

Also, I love Divine Divinity: Original Sin :smiley:
Just a random comment.