I really liked the dug-out town design, great aesthetics and functionality both, nice work there. Overall been very happy with the progress last year and looking forward to the new relaid foundations.
Am I correctly reading between the lines that once multiplayer, new building system, and “more content + endgame titan-like challenge” are in place, the game will be approximately “released,” or at least no longer in alpha?
If so. . I’d suggest three additional systemic additions before everything gets tied up with a bow:
Destructability of buildings. Figure out a way to let buildings take damage from attacks. I don’t know if this should be voxel by voxel or just “building collapses after X damage taken,” i don’t know if it should require seige engines or special monsters or what, but Titans are not gonna be threatening if they can’t destroy your cool buildings, and multiplayer won’t be nearly as fun if you can’t burn down your friend’s thatched-roof cottages. This will mean needing to figure out a few other things – i.e., should hearthlings take falling damage, etc., should stone have different durability than wood, etc – but it will be worth it.
Flowing, functional water, i.e., rivers and streams and springs, and water that has gameplay effects – drowning, pushing, irrigation, etc. – and can be moved with pumps and so forth.
Combat could really use another pass. It’s not bad as such – it has a decently mindless mechanic right now – but there’s very little tactical depth to it and very little player choice is involved – all equipment choices are linear quality tiers, and all combat choices boil down to “blob the enemy blob harder than they blob you first.”
Y’all did good work in the past year adding gameplay depth but even with the new building system you won’t be quite there until there’s some risk of loss. Building by itself isn’t a game, it’s just design and artistry; there has to be a chance to lose the building, a need to protect and defend. This is why SimCity has disasters and so forth. You’ve done a good job of integrating the building system with the appeal and mood system via spaciousness and so forth, but it isn’t really integrated with the combat system, combat just sortof happens around the buildings.
Similarly, flowing water is great and all but right now it’s purely aesthetic; it isn’t tied into the other game systems at all; it’s pretty, but why is it in the game?
I’ve posted elsewhere about what I’d like to see from combat (mostly different meaningful weapon and gear choices, like you see in games like Battle Brothers) but anything that adds some strategic depth beyond “have more dudes, wearing the top tier gear you can craft” would be great. Get the combat system more integrated with the crafting system (different gear choices), maybe even with the building system (make positioning matter at least a little bit).
Good luck moving forward and I’m looking forward to what’s ahead. Thanks!