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.