Desktop Tuesday: Exploration Prototype 2


After watching this I’m sure I don’t want multiple biomes per game world, no matter how big or small they are. Being limited by what’s in your biome is quite fun, adding other biomes would ruin the immersion. Seasons would be way better. How about smaller sub-biome things like small swamps in the temperate biome and oases in the desert?

I hope we’ll get the fog of war soon. I don’t care if there’s anything to find in it at the moment, just make it exist. Monsters lurking in the dark are enough.


I have the opposite opinion.
Just imagine
After adding a desert biom, you find a small Rayya’s Children settlement and you can trade.
Adding a swamp, rock, forrest biom will add additional enemies or resources.

There could be, not like now, that enemies (camps) don’t spawn but you will discover those.

But there could also be an option which lets you select which bioms can be explored.


I’ll agree that i would PREFER this. Seasons to me is the optimal goal to have. I don’t mind unlocking sections of the map though. That’s fun.

However, I can be happy with this setup as well. It has a nice effect of making the maps a lot more interesting as well as technically fulfilling the ‘idea’ of seasons, even if it’s not implemented in the way it normally would be.


What I meant is I wouldn’t like to change the climatic setting of the world while exploring. The devs themselves left a comment in the SkyRenderer service about daytime length varying based on season (sun position must change as well, otherwise the sun would go through the sky rapidly if the day is shorter instead of making a shorter path). When I come to think of it we could keep climate and biome settings separate so the choice of biomes is limited in each climate. Season choice could also differ between biomes: 4 seasons (spring, summer, autumn, winter) in temperate climate and 2 (wet, dry) in arid climate.

Climate and weather - we need it. Add thirst (like in Cafe) and warmth (like in Frostfeast) bars into the mix. If the temperature drops below certain point warmth bar starts to deplete and Hearthlings start to seek sources of heat. If it goes above some point thirst bar depletes faster.


What do you mean by ruining the immersion? Having random small biomes like a frost biom next to a desert biome? I agree that I wouldn’t want that either, but a simple solution to that would be Rayya’s children/desert always being south, Ascendancy in the middle and Northern Alliance in the north, and maybe small “sub-biomes” in each of them i.e what groms said, maybe a swamp in the ascendancy biome.

I personally love the idea if being able to explore, find and trade with other civilizations.


I really loved this DT and the idea of exploring different biomes. They’d obviously need to create transition areas for each biome combination so when these extra areas are popped the game can draw from a pool then the next area would be the biome. That way they could nix biomes that don’t work next to each other like desert/frost, but maybe allowing desert > temperate > frost (with transitions in between). Would depend on how far out they’d allow exploration. The transition areas would give you an idea of what’s off in that direction and potentially be new areas for unique mobs/events.

First thought was that I’d have to keep a group of adventurers that I used for treasure hunting, I’d want to build small settlements with inns so my adventuring hearthlings would have a place to sleep and eat relatively close by. Maybe even stash some cabins in the woods for emergency situations lol.

I’d definitely say if this is the direction they wanna take the game to make the additional biomes optional. So if folks just wanna explore a larger area in their current biome they could choose to do so, but for those of us looking for some variety we could do that as well. Maybe even an option to meet members of other factions in their respective biomes to join. Personally I love love love this idea!! I realize it’s all an “experiment,” but here’s hoping we get this in game!! :jubilant:


Imagine you have a biome-specific weather. Unless this is somehow local (it rains here but not there, it’s hot here but not there) it makes no sense to share snowalls with a desert biome.

And if daytime length was to be made season-specific it would make absolutely no sense. On the equator the differences are barely noticeable, but near the poles they are enormous. White nights in the desert biome would make as little sense as snow.


Right now I feel like these prototypes make the area around your town too large. Like the video noted, hearthlings as is get distracted too easily to really travel well, and making them move around just moves focus away from the town.

I wanted to make a suggestion…

Suggestion Goals

  • Allow hearthlings to “explore” to create an interest in the unknown
  • Keep the player’s focus on the town as much as possible
  • Use exploration as a form of enhancement for the town
  • Prevent exploration from being based entirely on the footman class


My suggestion is to tie the exploration into two existing features: the City Tier System and the World Map that you use to start the game on. At the start of the game, keep things relatively as they are; afterall, at the start someone who just has a pile of supplies should probably be more focused on creating the basics of food and shelter than trying to wander off to the ends of the world. When the city hits tier two, or some other arbitrary level, give the player access to the world map through a menu.

At the start, keep the map mostly blank. Allow the player to create a scouting team (the menu could probably look sort of like the military party flag menus) and send them out off the edge of the map to explore various areas around the town. If they find something, then an icon would be added to the map not unlike those from a lot of older rpg’s .

Different Icons could include things like other towns or factions, lone farmsteads, random treasure, dungeons, goblin camps, phoenix empire crypts, or whatever.

Additional Points

  • Sending the scouts out could create dialog boxes and give the players choices or dilemmas, rather than moving their entire camera through a load screen to a new place. So the goblin’s might just ask you to leave, and you can either go along with it, or convince them to trade, or insult them (and have your scouts get kidnapped and need rescuing)

  • Various traits could interact with exploration. Someone with a good sense of humor or who gets along with others could be better to send off to another city as a form of trader or to convince their hearthlings to join your town.

  • At later city tiers, improvements such as a cart or a horse could allow scouts to go even further away from the city. Also I won’t lie I kinda just want to see a hearthling riding a horse or an ox or something because it sounds adorable.


  • A late game map may end up feeling too cluttered.
  • Exploration may not feel like a particularly involved process.
    – Certain Scenarios (like a dungeon) could have an actual map change attatched to it.
  • Dialogue boxes tend to feel old after the second or third time of seeing the same one.
    –Could either have certain areas lead to a map change to control the adventurers, or create multiple outcomes for different dialogue boxes. So maybe the goblin tribe you insulted declares war, or they back off, or they find it funny and talk about how much they like you.

Ah I see. That’d be difficult to work around I suppose :smiley:

Only solution that comes to mind is making the three actual continents seperated by water, where you first have to build a ship to cross them, but I figure that’d make this all a whole lot more complicated. Although it would make for interesting opportunites like explorable islands with perhaps dungeons, but its waaay to early to be talking about stuff like that I guess.

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SimCity 4 solution with map divided into sectors wouldn’t hurt. Adding interactions between them like in Anno 2205 would be possible so they are not just separate worlds.

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Here’s a possible solution to the issue of long travel distances (sort of inspired by Rim World). The same way the player can form organized military units, they could also make adventurer parties. These could be directed to a distant point on the map and the hearthlings would travel there without running back to town to sleep or eat.

This could have prerequisites, like having adequate food rations and sleeping bags for however many members are in the party. The hearthlings will eat from their rations, and sleep in the sleeping bags while they journey to their destination. Once they get there, there could be a way for the player to give them specific tasks like loot or mine or something else.

When it comes to the idea of running out of food, I see two mechanics. One, the hearthlings automatically turn back when food gets low. Two, they persevere regardless of food supplies and if they player isn’t watching they party could starve. On top of this, they could be able to do things like hunt or pick berry bushes to extend the food supply.

If NPC villages are ever a thing, the party could pass through and interact with any villages or camps that happen to be friendly.They could also buy more supplies, recruit more adventurers, or just raid it, slaughter everyone and take what they please. There’s probably no chance slavery will be a game mechanic right? We can’t raid neighboring towns, steal their valuables, and then enslave the survivors to sell or work in the mines.

I guess one of the questions remain, exactly how big can the world get this way and how many day’s travel to reach the edge?


Perhaps an option at game setup, where you set biome frequency - including being able to set a biome to “0”, so that you don’t get that one?

Then you could have a mix/match, including being able to just have one particular biome


Firstly, thanks for the constant developer updates, this game has set a standard in my mind for “early access done well”.

Related to exploration, there is a LOT of room here to do some very cool things and greatly expand upon the games core content, but care must be taken to avoid eroding the games existing strengths. Based on the videos, it’s clear that some of the downsides of exploration are already understood by the dev team.

Discovering talismans as a requirement to expand your hearthling worker pool is unappealing to me. Forcing the player to spend more attention on exploring and neglecting the town just so he can recruit the needed number of farmers to support a growing population is flat out mean, not-fun. HOWEVER, since “10000 hours” master level abilities are not yet implemented, requiring a special item to create a “master talisman” that comes with added benefits when in the hands of a sufficiently experienced craftsman would be a good addition to end game content. What these benefits are, I’m not sure, but one could imagine a number of options including special crops or crafting recipes or even entire classes (geomancer?). It would be reasonable if such an item needed to be explored for.

Keeping exploration interesting even when the player has traveled quite far seems like an unrealistic goal. Even if all the bugs related to pathfinding and sleeping and food are solved, the primary focus should be on community building. Having hearthling camps at ever increasing distances from the central community is at odds with this focus, particularly in the mid-game when players have sufficient resources to really start building neat things.

If there is significant community support for late game goals and replayability, I’d say it would be better to allow players to unlock new biomes with perhaps harder difficulties with end-game quest content. If’ i’ve hit a 40 hearthling village capable of defending against any siege, then it might be quite fun to assemble my group of 7 best hearthlings and create a new group of settlers to go even further into the wilds and face even more dangerous and challenging environments.This could be implemented with simple unlock mechanics which allow players to gain permanent access to the more difficult biomes, or something a little more sophisticated like rollover of the 7 selected hearthlings to the new biome.

I’m not a fan of multiple biomes in one map, no real comment other than personal preference.


After watching this Desktop Tuesday, I’m feeling conflicted over the idea of multiple biomes in one map – on the one hand, it’s a chance for some amazing terrain features; on the other it “stretches” the game over a massive area, and as the video (as well as a few recent conversations) pointed out, hearthlings don’t do well with long-distance travel.

I suppose one way to help them with that is to make more use of roads. The hearthlings already follow roads to a degree, although I never really build them (it’s difficult to justify the effort when I’m busy trying to provide them all with houses and workshops and defensive walls first) so I’m not sure how well the hearthlings still manage to take advantage of them. That said, I think the key thing about roads is that the player can take advantage of them for strategic purposes (e.g. speeding up the walk between the farms and the kitchens), which is what makes them interesting.

However, imagine if there were roads already on the map when you started, built by the land’s previous inhabitants (whether that’s the Pheonix Empire or simply the settlers from a generation ago who were chased out by goblins), linking up some landmarks like ruins/abandoned structures (which may turn out to actually be occupied dungeons), NPC villages or other places of interest. This would give the player an immediate hint about the most fruitful places to explore (of course they have no way of knowing how long the road actually goes for, but they know if they follow it there will be something at the end), and gives a boost to early-game exploration by making the whole process a little easier. Moving into the mid-game, I’d assume the player would have explored a couple of roads, and maybe started linking them back to their own town, so there’s the beginning of a network to connect the town with different places of interest.

If those places of interest, in turn, provided an ongoing source of engagement; then the player would have a much stronger reason to explore them. It would also make each discovery rather important – finding an abandoned mineshaft at the end of a disused cart-track means easy access to ores, or finding a well-paved ancient high road hints that there’s remnants of a powerful civilization nearby and there might just be some artifacts up for grabs.


I feel like you would need more hearthlings for this to work. Especially if you wanted a some hearthlings to stay at any outpost created.

If you could build mine cart tracks to link the outposts together, that would be cool. Speed up moving between the biomes too.

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I like the idea of expansion biomes being different as you progress through the game, but who says they have to be radically different? A tweak of a river here, an addition of a mountain spring there and add a bit more noise to the mountain generation there, and you’ve got a slightly new terrain but not overly different.

I propose there be such a thing as a secondary talisman, such as a bedroll, or other designaiton that would mark any Hearthling as an “adventurer”. The further out from town, beyond the original building area, night is actually dangerous. Setting up a campfire to keep the things that bump in the night away and provide warmth (perhaps like the Frostfeast cold mechanic) and a few comforts of home (-) happiness for number of days away from town, (–) if you don’t let them camp. There’s greater rewards out in the wilderness, but also greater risks.

Perhaps this at first would seem too artificial a constraint but it would keep people from exploring the whole map in one go. It would also make players plan expeditions ahead. More nutritious food would allow for more exploration. Buff potions and healing supplies would have to be brought if a herbalist, who could go, but is also terrible in combat isn’t brought along. Re-provisioning would thus be necessary since pack space is limited. That mineshaft is awfully tempting to go explore, but your party’s spirits are low because you only have a few berries left since your adventurers are carrying the hoard of a kobold chieftain.

You need a town to support this adventuring to be truly effective. Having walls and defenses to keep the items you’ve won from the wilderness is a must. Those trophies you bring back raise the prestige of your town, beyond just goblin tokens or varanus skins. Perhaps even into… Tier 3 or 4


seems to me there are two main ideas at odds here, much like rimworld

on the one hand some players want the starting location to be the focus of game play.
-base building mode

random trades and events and passerby come to your portion of the world and you still have maybe 2 or 3 biomes max and seasons.
the downside is the work to be put into the AI interactions and seasons

on the other hand people want the option to explore and be able to throw away a base if you find a location you like better.
-nomadic mode

you have to find your own adventure, less AI traveling around the map discover everything yourself, more biomes
the downside is world generation, figuring out where to spawn things so that they are appropriate for your current state in the game, and some items, tools and vehicles to help with the distance in late game

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I doubt someone seriously considers second option. Having the ability to move if you find a better place later is good, but having the ability to move constantly, in my opinion, goes against the spirit of SH. Unless there is a whole race that lives from this concept (a nomadic tribe), but even that

  1. Involves lots of work that is not reusable for other races
  2. Goes against the current state where “you are settlers, goblins/orcs are nomads”

I would rephrase it as “turtle base building” and “expanding”. The former including building a single huge powerful settlement, the latter involving constructing a network of settlements (a kingdom/empire).
Both can support adventuring parties if required, although the ways to do so can be different. I wholeheartedly support a suggestion about preparing rations and equipment for the organized adventuring group by @Gaddiel - this solution would look nice for a “central city” setup. The second option, with small outposts for rest and roads between them (@YetiChow) would look good for a “distributed” kingdom - controlling these outposts, however, presents certain serious challenges - you can’t do it as effectively as you do it with a single town, so maybe they should be handled “automatically” via some kind of a “mayor” system.

Overall, yes, building such an adventuring system involves a lot of preparation in form of constructing core frameworks.
Sad to hear @sdee will be away, looking forward to hearing from her again. I know I’ll miss these DTs :merry:


to me its about having the option to do so. which as I said would require a wagon or something to store your items in allow you to travel around with them or convert all your assets to gold and just buy what you need from traders. the option is entirely the players. if I found a biome I like better or I found a trading outpost I may want to move my base closer to it or farther away from enemy camps, so I would like to pick up the town flag and place it in a new location