Desktop Tuesday: Exploration Prototype 1

Hey everyone, welcome to another Stonehearth Desktop Tuesday! A22.5 is now on Steam Stable, and the team continues to move forward on A23, which is focused on crafting. In the meantime, for the last couple weeks, we’ve talked about building prototypes, and how sometimes, there are so many possible answers to a design question that it’s more efficient to find the answer by writing multiple janky prototypes to test out possible solutions, than it is to write one beautiful final version that you’ll know you have to fix later.


I want to say, that even if all this goes to waste and you end up not needing the fog for anything, please add the fog anyway, it looks so cool!


I want prettier fog of war. :wink:

Also, thank YOU @BrunoSupremo for the canyon biome we borrowed for the prototype. More on this next week. :slight_smile: We also used Winter Biome from @Froggy and @RepeatPan, and Anorien from @Vargbane. You guys all rock! :smiley:


My first thought about sending out your footmen to explore is that your town is left woefully unprotected, especially early on in the game.

If this were to be incorporated, or at least something similar to this, could we introduce a scout class? Maybe they can’t get more than leather armor and a dagger as a weapon. They run around the map, exploring and if they run into enemies they instinctively retreat back to town, instead of engaging like footmen do. Then a player can send footmen out to clear out enemies and retrieve the tokens, what ever those tokens happen to be.

Maybe at higher levels they could get get a farther sight range than other hearthlings, or even the ability to camouflage themselves allowing them to keep an eye on enemies without being seen themselves.


That’s the natural evolution of this idea, and one we discussed doing if this ended up being a worthwhile design path.


That was a nice surprise of a DT! Thanks, team. Love the fog of war!

I love almost everything shown and share the team’s worry about too much divided attention.

A few games have what is called an ‘Explore’ toggle that sets a person (or in this case, hearthling) loose to auto explore the map.

Priority could be given that they will gravitate towards ‘treasure’ and that the game will alert when they run across enemies/points of interest. Thus they can explore and point out things (You found an odd looking statue, or ZOMBIES!!) while you can still focus on your town building.

Reiterating that i’m still not a huge fan of finding the basic talisman’s for your town. I think it should be reserved for the more deep level classes if at all.

Thanks for the update and keep on truckin!


I love the fog of war, as well as the vision bubbles shown. I think that will really add to the feeling of defending your town from an unknown enemy, thus adding to that excitement. I also wanted to ask, with the map generation that’s shown, could this possibly be expanded to allow infinite terrain (similar to Minecraft) that was taken off the table back in Tom’s days?

My absolute HATE of this though is @Brackhar’s talisman idea. As I had stated before in one of Fornjotr’s post, having to wait on getting a carpenter or a potter would kill the look and feel I go for. I have already addressed my concern with the building UX, to which adding this to it, would feel like it’s limiting the player’s allowed styles even more.

To add to this, we had discussed when comparing this game to Rimworld that we didn’t want to find new ways to make the player rage-quit. In this Desktop Tuesday, @sdee pretty much called out the biggest problem with this, when you not only need more footmen to get footmen but what happens when they all die?

Regardless if you believe this sounds good on paper or not, I feel that this answer to those two questions was a little too direct. I also think that by shifting the spotlight from the carpenter to the footman in the way shown here, that it becomes more RPG than City Builder, rather than having an equal balance.


Can I play that prototype?!! It looks awesome! Suspense and excitement is something that stonehearth has been missing for long time players, I so hope some form of this makes it into the actual game. Maybe in some form of hardcore gamemode! Or even in a less game changing way. But honestly it looks like you have just found a way to make everything in the game be worth SO MUCH MORE to the player and that is great! For a game that one play though can last into the hundreds of hours, an emphasis on weight behind each action and value of each game changing item needs to be carefully considered.

Keep up the awesome work!!


I like the chest Icon for unexplored loot :slight_smile: and the whole exploration idea is a really aweseome idea.

But what I would like to suggest is, that the environment should not change after six days but after a random time or if you unlock something or after a series of quests or or or
Maybe something as addition to this discussion

I think this would feel more lively.


I do not really know what it was with this Desktop Tuesday, but just. yes. I really enjoyed it, great job guys!


Really cool episode today!

Maybe building can give hearthlings a sense of security or satisfaction that allows them to explore further. For instance when you first start your footmen can only travel so far from the firepit before they get scared and have to return. Building a bunkhouse would allow them to travel a little further and as you construct a whole town the whole map opens up maybe even new areas appear.

Building so that monsters cannot find a direct path to the town flag or firepit could give further security boost simulating town walls.

Along side this maybe there could be an explorer class or talisman that boosts a hearthling’s ability to travel away from home allowing them to travel further but watch out the footmen might not want to go out all the way to protect him!


Yeah the talisman idea was not one I am fond of BUT how about a different type of approach?
Basic classes are as they are now, you can craft the item and promote the your hearthlings.
But for advanced classes you need to find the talisman(idea/blueprint) first and after that you are able to build the tools for that class.

Oh Oh Oh Oh … an Idea … HEUREKA


The “fog of war” ideas from the lighting dev stream with Angelo and Allie (272) were gorgeous!


Not so much just random enemies waiting in the middle of a field. I would rather encounter structures filled with enemies that mad sense, like a wolf den, or a crypt, or a gobo camp.


This would probably be how it’d work at some level. For the sake of the prototype we needed things out in the fog of war that players would be incentivized to find, and talismans were the closest proxy we had in the game currently that could fit that role.


How a game could beginn - Idea

After choosing the game type, the nation, the enviroment, your hearthlings rooster,the starting resources and the starting location,
your hearthlings wake up at an unknown location with no memories of what happened and what they did(job, life … ) before arriving here.
They have enough materials to build a community house, with beds, chairs and tables(maybe able to choose the starting building(s)) and they have the starting resources which you did select before.

From here on you have to explore the world.

The talisman you can find gives you ideas / memories back / templates / (advanced)class items that you can reproduce after / loot / new Hearthlings / craftable items / dungeon portal stones :smiley:

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I really like what you presented in this DT. An idea: if you decide to add fog of war to the game, this would be a great opportunity to make structures like watchtowers or forts more significant, as they would give you much needed vision of your surroundings, also acting as outposts to stop wandering nearby enemies. The taller the structure, the further the vision?


One thing that always bothered me in Civilization was that scout unit. It’s fast, it has good vision, but in the mid-game it becomes essentially useless. And you can’t upgrade it to anything worthy. So even if it feels a waste of resources in Civilization (where we operate lots of disposable units) will it have worth for Stonehearth?
It is an interesting idea, but if it gets implemented, I guess we need more functions (and/or alternatives) for this class. I once suggested “watchposts” crated by an engineer where you could assign some of your guards to a spyglass so they could keep this area “visible”. Or even modify it, creating “watchtowers” with “patrolling” lines of sight - like the lines of sight from “Commandos”, focusing on specific area when they detect an enemy:

I’ve also suggested using pets (in particular, trapper’s pets) to “scout” the area while avoiding fight (since pets now do not participate in combat).

Only if this function is cleverly implemented and uses a good AI. It feels natural for Stonehearth to have some kind of “auto-scouting” functionality (it suits the overall “indirect control” concept) but in most games I’ve seen AI is fairly stupid, so even if there is a “auto-exploring” function (Civilization), it’s pretty much useless.

Very much yes.
It is perfectly logical to have crafted talismans. More rare things, maybe profession upgrades, recipes, collectables, though - these I would like to see as a treasure. That would also add to the late-game functionality. From my experience, the player “turtles up” at first, trying to get the economy running. But later in the game there is little motivation to actively try and reach from your settlement, since all you need is mostly at your fingertips. Such additions could change that.


What about this:
The crafting classes remain the same, allowing them to still craft their talismans and such so that the city builder part of it isn’t hurt. But the soldier classes can only gain new skills and experience / levels by finding talismans from exploring?

Add to that, have them find other things in the wild too, such as seeds, blueprints, equipment, etc.

Just to make sure I understand, my concerns of hindering building design and such wouldn’t be effected then, as the talismans for crafting classes were just a place holder?

Why not make it a pre-job of the footman? When you’re done with them being scouts, they come back to the town to work defense, thus becoming footman, archers, knights, whatever.


Speaking about how fog of war could be made prettier. I understand in its current form it is mostly a proof of concept. Still, since this was mentioned… Aside from making it, well, prettier - I’m not a designer, so I trust you can make something as awesome as Allie’s concepts - it, from my opinion, needs some technical improvements:

  1. Recognition of obstacles and relief

If a hearthling stands in front of a mountain he won’t see what’s on the other side. Heartlings standing on the edge of a dark well probably won’t see what’s at the bottom. Dense forest also limits vision.

  1. Recognition of elevation

Can be used in tandem with the previous point. Hearthlings on top of the hill have greater range of vision. Or obstacles are less effective to impede their vision.

  1. Understanding of “estimates”.

Something that I like in Allie’s concepts is their sketchy nature. That gives me an idea that, to my understanding, was never implemented in any game but is quite realistic. Estimates.
Example 1: A hearthling is surrounded by obstacles impeding his view. However there is a very big mountain nearby. Makes sense that he would see something that big even through all the trees.
Example 2: The farther hearthling is from the viewed object (and the smaller the object), the lesser details he gets. In other words, accuracy of vision is proportional to the size of the object and reverse proportional to the distance. So, say, he can see a mountain and that something is growing on the top, but he won’t identify the exact herb unless he gets closer. That could possibly lead to very interesting situations, like “Wow, this mountain it taller than I imagined!” or "Sweet Monkey, I though it was only a pair of wolves!"
Example 3: A hearthling detects an interesting object (a ruin, a lone tower, a goblin camp). The closer he gets, the more details he gathers, the less sketchy the object gets. From “it’s a tall structure with some skeletons around it” to “It’s a half-ruined necromancer tower, and the master seems to be home!” At close range he can make out the exact number of hostiles/friendlies and even make assumptions about the possible treasure.

The main problem I see here is, I don’t know how to visually show this “growing of details” on the map.