Alpha2 breaking own design principles?

Hi all,

I’m really liking what I see of Alpha2 so far, but I have a concern.

All along (at least so far) the story has been that this is not a typical RTS, that you don’t control your workers directly. You designate trees to be cut down, or berry bushes to be harvested, or walls to be built etc, and the different people in your settlement will work together to make it happen, but you don’t (and in fact CAN’T) control them directly. You can’t even control the carpenter directly, you just say what you want built and he goes ahead and does it.

Now we have the trapper, and it’s flipped that on it’s head. Now you actually tell the trapper where to move and what to do. You have to set traps directly over the heads of rabbits etc. It seems like a complete change or direction. Given how the rest of the game has been, I was expecting more that I would drag a large area out where I wanted the trapper to work, and he/she would then go ahead and hunt down animals within that area autonomously (bringing back the pelts etc when his inventory is full). That would seem more within the feel of the rest of the game to date.

What does everyone else think? Can the devs weign in with the thinking behind the decision to change the paradigm?


I actually quite like this little addition.

One of the main reasons Tom cited for this decision is to give you something to do while your workers are busy working, a “minigame” of sorts. It’s to give a bit of variety to the game and give you something new to do. If this isn’t your type of thing to do, then the easiest thing to do is to either not make a trapper or to upgrade it to a newer class (from what I heard that they will be more autonomous.)

Also the trapper is meant to be a hunter/scout unit. It’s harder to get a scout to do what you want without giving it some sort of way-point (which way-points have been confirmed for military units from the start)

I agree with you. For me it’s a good thing to add controls for some units. Because When you see your workers build a house sometimes you don’t know what to do. And there will be a part of RTS because you will have to defend your self against goblins or others ennemies.

But now we need to see how it works with a large professions tree.


bingo! :smiley:

I’m just linking that post as it sums up nicely that this is a means for them to test the mechanic and gives you an understanding as to why they have made the decision to allow control over the unit.

Right now I think the trapper is definitely a way of testing certain things, see how they pan out, see what works and what doesn’t. The trapped allows them to experiment with these types of mechanics.

I have my own concerns with the control over individual units, but if handled correctly and in specific situations I’m sure it can be a very interesting mechanic … it’s just getting that balance right which I imagine will be the hard part.

I see a lot of people refer to the RTS element of Stonehearth, and yes I admit it does mention that the game is equal parts sandbox, RTS and RPG and I’m sure we will see those elements creep in with time, but I think first and foremost it should be considered as a settlement building game.

The reason I’m drawing on this, is that I can see the individual control of units in battle being a useful ability to have, whether or not that happens I have no idea, it would probably be better to see what direction they wish to take combat.

As for the settlement building aspect I don’t have the vision to see the benefits of control over specific units … although I’m sure there are plenty.

Well, I don’t think it’s a paradigmatic shift at all, I really wouldn’t worry about there being a transition to control over each unit, I definitely think this is more of an exception than the rule.

Thanks for linking the post from Tom.

I guess I do understand his point to a degree, but here’s the thing - I don’t WANT to “have something to do while waiting for my queued up orders to be processed”. For me, it’s a game of “I want X, Y and Z, now GO!” and then I get to sit back and watch my mini civilisation develop before my eyes while I just gleefully watch and enjoy it. Having to go off and micromanage certain specific units solely for the purpose of “having something to do” breaks that enjoyment as I’ll be concentrating on him and not getting to watch the anthive of activity that is my minions trying to fulfil my wishes. If I wanted to micromanage individuals, there are a thousand other games I could be playing, I thought this one was shaping up to be breathtakingly different from all of those, and I was LOVING that. Can a dev (Tom?) maybe respond to this point, I would be really interested to hear their thoughts.



There are going to be a lot of micromanaging opportunities in the game from what the devs have said. Farming for one will be one of these.

However micromanaging won’t be something that has to be done. You can just go and slap down a farm and choose the type of crop and get a basic yeild. But if you want to get a huge yield of super pumpkins you can add irrigation and monitor the soil to gain a huge boost in production.

Like I stated earlier, if you don’t like the trapper class then you don’t have to have one. Some people like micromanagement, some don’t. This is a very happy middle ground I believe. Just a reminder, not all classes are going to be like this, they aren’t shifting the game style to this kind of control.

Plus I’m sure the team will be tweaking this class as it goes, this is an experiment for them.

Quote from announced features list:

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These are all fair comments but I would stress that I imagine the micro management of unit movement will not be the norm, what we see so far with the macro control of things is definitely the way things will progress.

I wouldn’t view this as a complete change in the design process of the game, micro control over each unit WILL not be the norm, so don’t worry about that.

There are other games that take the approach where you designate tasks to your “settlers” - Dwarf Fortress is obviously the classic example, Gnomoria is another game that does this, Spacebase DF-9, and A Game of Dwarves and Rim World I believe.

So there’s definitely a precedent for this type of thing, but obviously Stonehearth is it’s own game with its own interpretation of things.

I think this is a good point, if the Trapper was automated, with the option to take direct control if you want - the benefit being perhaps that it’s easier/ quicker to acquire loot then yer …

I have the same thing. I want to give orders and then sit back and watch them do it. But I will hold my final judgement for the moment till a later time in the game progress.

My current opinion however is that it is a very mundane task to do. So if you want to add manual micro, make it at least interesting. Scouting is fine with added waypoints later. But the trapping and skinning is very repetitive to me atm. I wish some more variation or challenge.
Maybe they run away when in front of them so you have to catch them from behind. Set a trap and lure them in. Or something else.

You gotta keep in mind that they are advertising the game as a mix of rts and rpg so adding individual control isn’t something that surprises me but I’m conflicted in regards to the actual implementation.

They added the feature cause that is how they imagined it would work and I want it to work cause of that but personally I prefer to keep everything in macromanagement.
It gives a much better feeling of taking the role of a god controlling a group of settlers compared to when I have to select and guide an individual to do some tasks.

Since it is very early still, I have a lot of “I don’t know” and “I’m not sure” in my mind as I do in my vid that will go up a bit later :smiley:

For any complaining that it’s not macromanagement, you’re right and wrong. Yes if you want super yields and all that, you have to go micro, and there will undoubtedly be people who will enjoy that. However Tom is very much aware that not all like that and has discussed several times how any micro will be beneficial but by no means necessary. So whilst super yields are great and all, you won’t need to resort to them to stay alive. It’s how you want to play. And the trapper is the same, as @Avairian mentioned, the further upgrades of the trapper are supposed to become more automated so if you don’t like a trapper for now, don’t get one, and wait til you can go pretty much straight past it.

Personally I feel giving you something to do whilst all your trees get chopped, your berries harvested and your houses half built is a really neat and thoughtful touch, but that’s just me. :stuck_out_tongue:

Good discussion. Please do keep it going! As I’ve said before, this is definitely an experiment for us and we’re looking to see how it pans out. You’re seeing the sausage getting made folks. We’re exposing you to our ideas in real time, and we’re perfectly willing to change the gameplay if a combination of us and you agree that a different idea would work better.

One thing that is for sure is that the Trapper is not going away. We love the class and his role as an early scout and food producer. We already have some ideas for how we would change the Trapper to not use direct control if that becomes necessary.


Awesome, thanks for the response Tom - remove direct control would certainly get my vote! :smile:
In the interests of keeping the discussion going, this is how I see the trapper (or how I expected him to look, I guess). I would be interested in what others think.

When you create a trapper, you would drag out two areas, like when you create your camp stockpile or the carpenters stockpile. First, you would carve out a large area which is the area the trapper has free roam in. This can be in areas you have not cleared fog-of-war yet, as one of the tings the trapper will do is scout out the entire area he has access to. Note that this doesn’t necessarily have to be a square, it could be designated by placing waypoint markers around the area you want him to cover.

Next, you drag out a smaller area, this is the trappers stockpile, analogous to the carpenters stockpile.

The trapper now goes to work. He explores the area, traps whatever he can and collects the resources. He places those in his stockpile. When/if his stockpile is ever full, or if you issue him a specific command, he will stop doing his trapping, and start carting the contents of the stockpile back to the base camp. Or maybe you can click on the stockpile to tell grunt workers to go and collect stuff, like you do with trees and berries. If he hunts out an area, you can simply designate a new one.



this is the reason why i feel the current implementation works… the class definition fits with how the unit is played… he wears two hats, one as your scout, and one as an alternate source of food collection…

given his role as the scout, a certain amount of direct control would be expected, as you would (typically) want to be on top of the unit as he reveals your surroundings… from the exploration perspective, (for me) the direct control feels right…

thats not to say variations on this design arent possible… sampling and critiquing the sausage is what we’ve all signed up for, after all… :smile:

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I would certainly agree. Automated exploration works better in TBS like Civ I think, where you want to explore swathes of land now, because you need your surroundings.In RTS you want a more refined search where you can note points of interest as you go along. Automated search kills points of interest as you’re not there at point of discovery, unless you have a pop-up showing you, which can get old fast. I would prefer it directly controlled, although I would like to see set and forget traps. After all in the real world you don’t just throw snares at bunnies :angel:

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Personally I like the idea of having a unit which you can directly control as it provides a bit more variety. However, as planned this should be an optional feature which you do not have to use in case you do not like it.

Reading this discussion rings a memory about what Tom(I believe) said back when the kickstarter was running.
Maybe that was in some AMA… it was explained that farming and such was tested in minigame style and quite some people started believing that the game would be made up of many minigames.
Some statement was made that the minigames were only for testing out concepts and that micro management will not be necessary, but could be done to optimize results.

Okay so that is what I remember and that is why I interpreted the current development like this:
the trapper is a good example on how micro management could be done in the future.
My bet was on that when the mechanism is well tested and the trapper controls work as intended, then a “go hunt” or “go explore” button would be introduced, making the micro management optional.

Maybe the trapper could be set so when supplies go below a minimum he will start hunting again until he reaches a (higher) maximum.

I believe its a good idea to develop the micro aspects first and do automation when the systems are satisfyingly integrated and wont receive any major changes to the flow and interaction.

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I think Stonehearth will need a specific gameplay (a mix of City Building, RPG and RTS) because If I want to play a god game or city building I will see other games like Gnomoria or godus, If I want a RTS I will see C&C, Dawn of War and etc.
But I think the mix of the genres is so great because when I was a kid I always want to play a RTS where I could do my own town, army and civilization.
And I think Stonehearth could make it possible.

I think It needs to have features from the three because when you play Gnomoria if you don’t speed up the game you get bored quickly.

For the final sentence I love to have a control on all when I play.
So I like the way they took to turn the trapper into a scout/hunter unit but maybe he needs some additions to please everybody^^.

For me the great thing about the proposed mix is there ability to overlap, I believe that drawing elements from those 3 genres will come up with some truly interesting things - the micro/ macro settlement aspect where you can focus on areas to gain maximum yields, but still obtaining a satisfactory output without engaging in it is just one of the really interesting possibilities.

The individual control of units seems to be rather appropriate for combat, it’ll be interesting to see how combat is handled … part of me wants it to be either similar to Final Fantasy Tactics where it’s turn based and you tell individual units what to do, or something akin to Knights of the Old Republic/ Dragon Age type thing … where combat pans out in real time, but you can stop it to dish out orders.

Yes maybe but maybe you could have the two possibilities. One will be to take the control of the trapper to harvest the critters quicker and the other will be to drag an area and let the trapper do the work. So with this mechanics you will have almost the same mechanics of the farming. And you could use the trapper at the beginning of a game you could use the trapper as a scout because you will not have enough ressources to make a swordman or other controled professions.

And maybe for the trapper you could increase the number of critters^^

we need something to conciliate the two side=P