Alpha 24, build 789!


#21

The only thing I agree with is the lack of stem makes them hard to distinguish as a plant. I don’t see the problem with making them glow because they are starting to make other things glow as well. This could include other plants and animals or things like fireflies. Which at that point won’t make these plants seem so different

Edit: that is assuming that they go through with the stuff we’ve seen on streams


#22

One more strictly technical thing related to the trees. While it is possible for the Herbalist to craft the seeds of smaller plants, to obtain juniper, pine and tree cactus seeds we need to chop them down. Not a problem per se, but if the seeds expire then it would be nice to be able to farm their saplings, otherwise we need to hope for the seeds to drop while chopping our last trees of certain type.


#23

Wow… there is a lot here to respond to : ). Let me start by saying that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and that I am not trying to convince anyone that I am right or they are wrong, I’m just going to try to explain my reasoning for why we went the way we did with these various assets : D.

Cheers! (And sorry for the wall of text response.)

I think the biggest thing to respond to is the dislike of varying from reality. Stonehearth is not meant to be Earth, the planet they are on is actually called “Hearth” ; ), and its meant to be a world filled with warmth, heroism, and mystery. Just because sugar comes from sugarcane in the real world doesn’t mean there will be a sugarcane in Hearth (or even that we need to make sugar). I do think some sort of ‘sticking to reality’ is better in some cases, for example we did add sugar specifically because its the most obvious ingredient for sweets which we intend to make more of in the future. The “Sugarbell” as a name came from our UI artist Nikki when I couldn’t come up for a name for the little glowing flowers from Allie’s drawings (which you all may remember from her streams), and everything kinda fell into place after that. If you look at a Varanus - it could not exist in our world (Earth), its eyes are literally in its mouth and its mouth doesn’t move… its entirely body is actually a floating tail with little detached feet and it has no legs. It also doesn’t really look like any one animal from our planet - Allie came up with it as a blend between alligators and snapping turtles. We also have undead creatures in the form of both Zombies and Skeletons, as well as random fantasy creatures like Goblins/Orcs/Kobolds/Ogres/etc. - all with floating bits. We (on the team) have actually been talking about how Hearth isn’t very interesting and needs more uniqueness to spice it up - like the Sugarbell. I’m sorry that you guys don’t agree with that decision, but hopefully you can still find some fun in our game as we continue to add more and more interesting things : ). @BrunoSupremo hit the nail on the head, the Stonehearth team believes that gameplay > realism, and we want our world to be full of fantasy - not to just mimic reality.

As for the Sugarbell model - people on the team have also commented about the base being strangely perfect, so I’m going to add some variation to the squareness of it. The floating flowers though is intentional and is meant to connect the plant world more to the animal one - as some of you pointed out, most plants don’t float while most creatures do. This feels like a point of dissonance (or consistency) that we will (very slightly and very slowly) be working on (though only with additions, we don’t currently have plans to go adjust old assets). Please do feel free to use your imagination that they are still connected by small stems (that’s how I think of them) - but part of our art style is to reduce and remove unnecessary visual information, and to exaggerate the important information. As for them radiating - its just meant to be cute, a sign of warmth in the world : ). They don’t actually radiate - there will never be radiation sickness in Stonehearth (unless someone mods it in), if you want that type of realism, I recommend playing Rimworld. I once had a radiation storm or something, and anyone who went outside would get sick. It was pretty fun, I ended up building tunnels everywhere : ).

Bees! NOT THE BEES! : D. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Anyway, bees & wax in general: the wax plants were not created for the purpose of creating wax. In fact, harvesting them only gives seeds and there is no wax asset in our manifest. That said, its a really good idea and I will likely add it in the future : ). So it wasn’t an issue of “wax plants vs bees”, it was a matter of “we had a plant that could could go into the game so we put it in” : D. Allie had a few models sitting around collecting dust (tulip cactus and wax plants) and asked that I put them into the desert while I was adding all the other seeds and stages of germination. The “wax” in the name was meant to be a reference to the texture of the leaves, though I really do like the idea of making wax from them. Not sure what I would do about getting wax in the temperate biome though.
Bees are a great idea that I would love to add… but I can tell you, we won’t be adding bees anytime soon. Bees are problematic because of two reasons: bees imply pollination and bees fly.
If we added bees to a simulation game like Stonehearth, as a player I would expect that the bees did something, especially in a world full of flowers. We haven’t discussed this point in particular, but I can guarantee what the engineers would say: too intensive a simulation to have running all the time : /. Its the same reason that trees don’t simulate unless the player plants them - and even then, they stop when they reach maturity rather than dying, dropping seeds, and starting over.
Bees flying - or things flying in general - is also a very large problem. I am a strong proponent of flying creatures, but they would require a LOT of work on the back end to get them to work believably and interestingly. Hopefully I can steal an engineer away at some point to make flying things possible… but I won’t even begin to say that flying things will be in game anytime soon. We could cheat with fliers and have them just “fly” instead of walk (which we probably will end up with should we ever do flying) but then how do we deal with walls or doors or pathing or… all the multitude of problems that come from that. Maybe someday a long ways away : ).

Tulip Cactus - not much more to say except that they currently provide herbs, but I’m thinking of removing that and adding in a “dye” material. We’ll see though, that would be a lot of work and would be part of improving the Weaver class. Which would create a problem with any Weaver in the temperate biome : /. So its just a thought for now, and I figured having some sort of reward made more sense than none like the wax plants.

@CrazyCandy We may add aloe very at some point, but currently I don’t think we really have a need for them. We already have the little pink/red flower cactus that produces herbs for healing (and now the tulips do as well), and there are lots of plants in the desert already.

@BrunoSupremo hmm… they should glow in low settings as well, i’ll ask angelo.

@Solus Fireflies are a thing we want for sure, though we keep forgetting. I’ll write it down so hopefully it happens ; ), thanks for the reminder!

@Pawel_Malecki - About tree seeds, I agree and I thought about having a chunk of wood be broken into tree seeds… but it just seemed too weird. Currently you can get most trees from a level 6 farmer - I should probably add the juniper to the ASC farmer and the cactus to the RC farmer, but that avenue will be the only one for a while - maybe I’ll figure another way to gain seeds easier.

Phew, got through it : ). Hopefully our choices make some sense to you guys even if you still disagree. Please let me know what you guys think as well, would love to discuss more and I love getting cool little ideas : D.


#24

(overemotional music in the background)
(crying in the corner): We’ve just lost with fairy tales. Enjoy your unicorns, I’d rather stick to Mr Machiavelli.
(sobbing): You may call me a stone heart, but loving StoneHearth will be much harder from now on.
(grabs a dagger)
(in breaking voice): I… don’t… know… how… much…more… I… will… handle…
(episode suddenly ends)
TO BE CONTINUED

(I thought of paraphrasing lady Olenna Tyrell’s final speech here but it ended up way too long; you can however consider me being forced to drink poisoned wine after a lost battle and all hopes failed)

Oh, good to know. I’ve always thought… Hearth - Wikipedia

This most likely means I’ll start StoneEarth total conversion modpack. I’m just scared by the scale of it.


#25

Thanks for the awesome response, @malley! I’m curious if @Allie has lore written for these plants already :smiley:


#26

hehe, that is where the name Stonehearth came from, but a while ago the team said ‘Hearth’ was the actual name of the planet. oops, maybe i wasn’t supposed to let that bit of lore out >.> <.<


#27

I don’t mean to sound so negative and harsh… but… Plants having stems is not unnecessary visual information. Without stems, they are levitating. Period. It’s magic… it’s alien technology, or whatnot. Floating pebbles and stuff. Have a look at the sugarbell… that’s not a plant, those are glowing alien eggs floating in the air!

Animals are not plants. Animals move. Plants don’t.

It’s much much much easier to imagine there are invisible limbs, because they move. It is heavily implied. They follow the movement patterns we see every day, and it is blatantly obvious that they are part of that one big main body that they follow around. Whereas, if you just have floating pebbles, it’s more like… “what the heck is that?” Absolutely nothing implies there is supposed to be a stem. They don’t follow any patterns. They just… float.

Now, take another look at the tulip, which also has floaty bits. This is a bit better than the alien eggs, because the floating isn’t visible unless zoomed in close. But this then raises another question… “Why bother skipping that one block if it isn’t even visible?”

I’m not quite sure about this… if I see a queer glowing plant, “cute” isn’t the first thing that comes to my mind. Then again, I’m one of those who definitely wouldn’t think of making sugar out of said glowing plant.

Glowing mushrooms on the other hand… now those are mesmerizing! (As long as they are connected to the ground by a visible stem, of course)


Now, all this being said… I’m not going to uninstall the game because of this, but I will definitely need a mod that adds stems to all those alien plants.

I feel like all this negativity that pours out of me is kinda undeserved, especially since the reason is so minor. But… I can’t help it, I just love when my plants have stems.

Either way, I am going to give you a “like” because you considered adding aloe vera to the game, which will hopefully help threating all the hurt my negativity shall do. (And also because you took the time to address this super-important issue… but let’s not get too attached, alright?)


#28

hehe, “like”'d back at you : D. I REALLY want mushrooms… le sigh, I will add them someday. currently working on other fun stuff ; ).


#29

Thanks to the few people who posted pictures, for those of us too scared of the unstable builds these days.

I agree that motion is what makes the disconnected limbs seem normal. Maybe adding a little animation to imply wind would help? But I guess then the static plants would look weird…


#30

hmm… perhaps if there was a particle effect flowing thru the flower to make it seem connected in some way instead?


#31

Cubemitters.

(otherwise, placeholder cubemitters.)

Was thinking the same thing. Seconded. (I don’t know if it would give the intended effect, though.)


I don’t think I have a problem with glowing plants. Bioluminecence is a thing, certain animals glow (fireflies), fungi glow (mushrooms), so why can’t plants glow? I think the main thing is that we don’t see glowing plants all that often. I don’t know wether it’s a thing or not, but it might be a thing, which i’d say is enough of an excuse to have it be in a fictional world such as hearth.
I havent seen the plants glow in the game (Humble bundle), so no comment on wether the particular glow is good or not, but for the general concept, I don’t mind it.


#32

hehe, maybe we could make bees out of cubemitters, but currently we can’t have emit colored qb files - only single color qb files, the color is replaced by the cubemitter. think we’d run into issues where the particles die and the bees would just disappear : /. Would be better if a bee were a model with animation that flew from place to place.
but i was thinking of fireflies being completely particles : D.


#33

I like the Sugarbells personally. They look like a cotton candy/thistle type of bloom on a super delicate stem. Gives the impression that the blooms are light as air.

Plus on the maps I’ve had so far all the Sugarbells have been a single plant very rare compared to the other types. I believe the last map I had, with Bruno’s map extender addon, I started with 4 on the whole map. I wanted more so I just make sure to plant any seeds I get cause they’ll make a great decorative element. I’m sure a modder could mod em out and just use something like the café mods sugarcane in recipes for those that aren’t crazy about em.

Thank you devs for adding the seed element. I tend to wipe the area surrounding my base clean so I have a better idea of what I’m workin’ with without all the clutter. Now I don’t have to feel guilty about laying waste to the biome. I can just repopulate any cleared areas I’m not using. Plus it makes it easier if ya choose a spot that isn’t surrounded by a lot of plants. As long as ya have one plant of the types ya need, you can grow your own farming area without having to spend days sending Hearthlings half way across the map to forage.

Thank Rayya (or whichever dev implemented it lol) for the undeploy function for plants!! No more tedious panning back and forth to place. I can mark a bunch of stuff for undeploy and then after they’ve been gathered I can place them all in neat rows. So much easier!!


#34

my $0.02 worth on the subject of the new plants:

I love the new desert plants, but the sugarbells seem out of place. The floaty thing is, IMO, just odd. As @CrazyCandy points out, the floating limbs on entities don’t seem so out of place since those limbs are moving; but on static flowers it makes them seem like the bulbs aren’t connected. The point about the perfectly square bases is a contributing factor as well, making the whole plant look very artificial.

Personally, I’d be inclined to simply sit the bulbs on the leafy part of the plant, which would enable it to keep that square base – they’d still look a bit different and thus stick out readily, but that would make them much more believable IMO and then the uniqueness would come from their shape and bright glow rather than the fact that they apparently levitate.

I also agree with @CrazyCandy on the point that stems are not superfluous visual clutter when it comes to plants. A simple straight stalk is easy to read, and is the oldest shorthand for “this is a plant”; a couple of leaves can really drive that point home further too. Look at the harvested versions of brightbells, frostsnaps and silkweed – they’re just stems on a rough pile of green bits; those leaves at the base only look/read like leaves because we can view them in the context of the stems.

It’s also worth pointing out that while floating parts don’t necessarily imply magic/super-tech at work, it’s a useful visual shorthand too. A case in point: in tower defence games, where it’s important to be able to recognise different towers at a glance, magic-casting towers are usually floating brightly-coloured crystals; while physical attack towers (e.g. ballistas) are dull/weathered and firmly planted on the ground. IRL there aren’t many floaty glowy things just hanging around in the world, which is why they take on a magical air when we do see them (think of glowing jellyfish in the ocean, or glowing mushrooms in a cave, or art installations making use of lightweight materials and glowing/UV paints or LEDs – all sorts of things you’d describe as “magical” to look at.)

Variety is nice, but consistency is more important. I have no issue with fantastical colours (e.g. blue cactus flowers) even when I know they’re far removed from realism; because those plants are still consistent with the fantasy setting. The colour is the only unexpected feature, everything else is “normal”, so the colour stands out as a distinguishing feature of an otherwise normal plant. Compare that to the sugarbells, where nothing is “normal” about them, and you end up with this plant that’s a mess to figure out – I can’t even decide which part to think about first, the floatyness or the bright glowy bits or the square shape… each detail distracts from the others rather than supporting them.

To put that another way: when I see the tulip catcus, I think “ok, flower -> cactus bulb -> yep, that’s a cactus… oh cool, that one has blue flowers, but it’s still obviously a cactus”; while when I first saw the sugarbell I went “bright pink things -> they float… wait, is that a green base? Wait, why is it perfectly square? Wait, those pink bits are flowers??” – and that’s after having read about the sugarbells in this thread, so I was expecting them but it still took me a moment to figure out what they were meant to be.

All of the plants in Stonehearth – from the largest trees to the smallest post-harvest flowers or freshly-planted seedlings – follow a visual language which works because of its consistency. The sugarbells simply break that consistency on pretty much every level. If there were more “steps” between the more common plants and the sugarbells it might bring the expectations more into line, but it would also mean the world of Hearth is filled with an abundance of floating, glowing and oddly-shaped plants. That runs the risk of making it look alien or supremely fantastical; not just a cozy setting but a fairyland/Faerie land where you expect the unexpected… and that cuts against the aim of a familiar and cozy setting.


#35

What @YetiChow said is a better response to this than anything I could have said. That said, I wanted to comment on the “connection” you’re talking about. For years now, and even in the beginning, that connection hasn’t been there, and was never even thought of needing to be there. So why force it now?

You’ve stated that y’all aren’t redoing older models, so this isn’t an art direction change. So to try and make an unneeded connection now feels unneeded, unwanted, and all around forced. Not to mention, breaks the look of the game.

Suggestion:
Rather than breaking the look of the game, being this takes place on Planet Hearth, why not make them more alien? Make the base a little different and give them a reason to look like they’re floating, just not floating eggs.

I’ve read and reread this statement multiple times, and it kinda bothers me. Why would you want people to imagine your game looks different than it actually looks when the majority of people have a problem with it? If I go to the car dealer and want a Maserati, and he shows me a Lincoln Town Car, I don’t want to “imagine” it’s a Maserati.

On top of that, it makes the game sound lazy. Like it was too time-consuming to make it look like it’s supposed to. @sdee asked before how y’all could make things better with the Steam , and half-assing art isn’t going to help.


#36

As stated above, everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I am not trying to convince anyone of a ‘proper opinion’ because I don’t believe there is one. That said, insulting people or their work isn’t a great way to carry on a conversation, and generally sounds like you are trying to force your opinion onto others in a rough and forceful way.

The sugarbell wasn’t ‘half-assed’ - it was very deliberately made the way it looks for very deliberate reasons. I wont restate my explanation above, but I should clarify that I’m not calling all stems unimportant, I’m saying that they were for the design of this plant. As part of stonehearth’s art style has always been, when a detail is not important (like the leg of a varanus) you simply remove it. And as stated above, I do plan on adjusting the shape of the base.

As for using your imagination, that statement was not meant to bother you @SirAstrix or anyone else, it was just to point out that the entire game has a certain look (voxels) which is only a representation of what the game looks like within a player’s mind. For example, this lovely artwork from Allie: http://www.stonehearth.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/A16background-848x445.png
Our game does not (actually) look like this, but it is the goto for my brain when I imagine what all is going on in my towns.
On the Steam Community page you can see a lot of fan art of stonehearth, some of it looks closer to Allie’s art, some of it looks closer to what the game is, but all of it was created with imagination: Steam Community :: Stonehearth


#37

I apologize that you took that as an insult as that was not my intent. I tried to make the example with the Town Car, that telling people to imagine your artistic creation to look a different way, to me at least, sounds like you didn’t put as much effort or time into it as you could, or are unable do to limitations. If that’s still an insult to you, then take it with a grain of salt as I was just stating what I see.


#38

I kinda agree with everyone else… the plant just looks like it doesnt belong… none of the other plants have floating parts so why does this one? if there was some sorta reason for it to be floating… like arcane magic or some particle effects making it look magical or something… fine… but to me it just looks rather strange if you compare it to everything else in the game… it seems out of place.


#39

I do not agree with floating looks good in mobs just because it moves. Foxlily float and looks good even when you look at an angle where you can see it is floating.
So I guess the problem is just the overall shape. Foxlily is clearly a plant, it looks like one. The sugar is just a block, I guess that is the problem. If it had petals or leaves it would be recognizable as a plant easily.
For the base, although we seek to make everything square and chubby, I think there was a missing important detail, which is rounding the edges. Remove the corner pixels, maybe the neighbor pixels too, and it will fit better with other assets.

I tried to model the changes I think are needed (man, it is hard) and it resulted in this:
image

Rounded the base, and give it a “cup” shape to the plant, although it does not match with the idea of a “root” like carrots. Oh, and made it a single plant instead of multiple bits. I think having one unique body helps too.


#40

I think it’s cool as a nectar holding pitcher plant thus it’d produce sugar to help attract and trap insects.