Desktop Tuesday: Roadmap Part 2!

##Other Announcements
It’s time for our quarterly morning update stream, for those of you in Europe! That is tomorrow, Wednesday 5/10, and 8:30am PST. Malley and Richard will take your questions and feedback about how the game is going, so come prepped with stuff to ask them. :slightly_smiling_face:

Regular Thursday stream should happen at 6:00pm PST on Thursday 5/11. We’ll see how life is going with Engineer Angelo, in his very first stream debut.


In the DT, @sdee asks for feedback around what we as players are looking for multiplayer to provide us in terms of gameplay and overall feel.

My personal preferences:

  • I want to play collaboratively with my friends to build and manage our budding metropolis. Perhaps that means each player owns a nearby colony and we partner up to build and defend a network between them? I don’t have much of a preference. But I do want to be able to trade goods between players. I want to be able to send Hearthlings to come help other players finish building, finish mining, fend off hostile mobs, rescue other towns in crisis, and so on.

  • That said, I equally like the idea of everyone working in the same town sharing the same pool of basic resources, skills, buildings, traits, etc. Thinking out loud a bit here, perhaps each player can specialize in certain classes… like one player controls the combat classes, another controls the food production, another controls blacksmith and carpentry, and so on, yet everyone can design and build buildings, place objects, etc. Maybe the players become Guild masters, so to speak. This could scale pretty well too: At lower player counts (2 or 3 players) people could control more than one discipline, but as more players come in and out, players can reassign classes and specialize more. Downside here is that large quantities of players on one server would be tough without allowing new groups to found new cities. Perhaps a blend of both concepts is the sweet spot? Hmm.

  • I would love a persistent, dedicated server (linux-based, preferably), where players can log in and work on their towns independent of any particular host player. Server owners should be able to designate PvP or PvE.

  • I’d really enjoy a blueprint sharing capability, either via Steam Workshop or some other means, so long as it’s available directly in game so that I don’t need to tab out to download blueprints and stage them where my client can find them. The ability for one player in a multiplayer setting to design something amazing, and other player be able to come grab a blueprint of it, either in game as an asset a Hearthling hauls, or via an abstracted client interface, both sound fine to me.

  • I’m sure I’ll think of more as we go… :slight_smile:


I see two ways that I would like multiplayer to go.

The first is cooperatively. The players work together to build a village with a faster ramping difficulty - there’s two people so there should be more progress made in the same amount of time. Additional villagers being provided at the start would definitely be needed for such balance.

The other is competitively. The players working against each other to reach a specific goal first. For example, defeating a boss, reaching a location, or finding an item. This may lead players to attempt to sabotage the other player by stealing resources from the other. Players might also be threatened by monster attacks that if properly bribed would attack their opponent instead.


So, long time since I’ve been active on the forums… but I’ll toss my viewpoint in on multiplayer.

I think as far as one city vs many villages goes, it’s best left up to the players; everybody gets their own group of Hearthlings, and how much you cooperate is up to you. You might decide one person will handle defense while another focuses on raw resources and a third goes all-in on crafting and construction. Or maybe everyone works independently to a common goal. Or whatever works for you in that game session. You can choose a peaceful game, or you can involve NPCs that can be dealt with per the single player campaign options.

The biggest change to this that I could see would be shareable storage and trade. Sharable storage would be things like a stockpile you can add other players’ names to, in order to allow their Hearthlings access (I’d assume ‘take from’ being the only permission granted, to avoid someone setting up a ‘give only’ stockpile near someone’s resource gatherers to grief them, or maybe ‘take only’ and ‘give and take’ as the two options), while trade would be a missive sent to another player setting up a trade negotiation, and then when both parties agree to it, Hearthling workers travel towards each other to wave, converse, and swap inventories.

You could also use shared storage to modify early NPC options- if you have three players and the goblins demand tribute, perhaps in multiplayer the goblins demand tribute multiplied by the number of players, and expect it delivered to a shared storage. Or something similar.

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Well, time to pull up an late-nighter, the original wensday stream was at midnight, or even later, so…

Late niiiight
Time to ask animation questions for me :merry:

I’d imagin Multiplayer being a game with Two or more players controling their own towns

If we get to a scale of Kingdoms(optimization and such) we could have it be a game where two or more players live in one kingdom and all contribute to creating one MASSIVE Kingdom by each contributing to it’s expansion in their own ways

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I have a question as to why so many of the hearthlings in the shown village are so very unhappy? :merry:

Maybe no cooked food? Or no private beds or rooms?

As for the rest, I like it, but hope that the stating of it taking years to finish the game doesn’t prove true.

looking forward to catching a stream, so i guess thats 16.30 GMT right? :merry:
EDIT: I guess not, i looked at a CET converter and it says 17.30… well a bit of stonehearth in the waittime wont hurt :jubilant:

The way I see multiplayer each player would have his own independent town, either in the same map or different ones, connected one with each other via roads. They could trade, cooperate and help each other, ally or they could attack their neighbours. Up to them. A new trader class may be needed for this and the possibility to attack other player’s caravans.
I don’t see players building the same town together as they would step on each others toes quite often.
Another thing is that players don’t play at the same time. Only those active would be open to interaction. Any message to inactives must be “on hold” until they log on.
If a town is defeated or abandoned by the player (inactive for long enough) it could turn into a ruin. Hearthlings would abandon it and buildings decay. A perfect place for exploration and dungeon-ing.

I have to say I never considered this type of games very suitable for multiplayer but who knows it may work.

Have fun, Kyth.

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Lots of interesting points raised in that video – and it’s great to see that hard “background work” coming into the light. It’s a common part of all game development, but we as players rarely get to see or hear anything about it (and that leads into its own issues with alpha/indev/Early Access games and the expectations they create vs the reality they inhabit…) So a big thumbs up for putting the focus on the “how” and “why” of this choice!

As for how I see multiplayer, what I like to envision is every player getting their own starting party, with the possibility to build entirely separate settlements/kingdoms. Early on in the job tree (perhaps a low-level recipe for the carpenter) you’d get access to some kind of diplomatic representative (envoy, mayor, or what have you) through a workstation, so you do have to delegate a hearthling to do that job if you want to interact with the other settlements. From there, you gain access to a new diplomacy GUI, where you can interact with other players and potentially even NPC factions.

These interactions can include alliances, ceasefires, declaring hostility, giving gifts or tributes, sending requests, and that kind of thing. Beyond forming an alliance (where two separate groups agree to help each other, share info or possibly resources, and generally work together), there would also be an option to “merge”; unifying the two groups into a single kingdom.

So, this system is based around choice and letting the players interact how they like. I therefore see multiplayer as an extension of the freeform narrative simulator which Stonehearth is shaping up to be – currently there are plenty of actors (hearthlings) and one director, I want to see a multiplayer with multiple directors, and multiple groups of actors which each have different loyalties to the various directors.

That has the potential to become chaotic… and, I love that! However, I also understand that it’s a lot of work and a lot to create and has a hell of a lot of pitfalls. But I think it’s ultimately worth it. I want to have the option to work together with another player, but I also want to have the option to take our stories in whatever direction seems logical. If that means conflict, or going separate ways, or building a giant wall to separate the two kingdoms, or creating two far-flung outposts which rely on each other through trade and assistance to both survive… whatever the story, I want to be able to play it out and not be pigeon-holed into a certain style of multiplayer.

So, it’s a big ask, but that’s how I see multiplayer (and kind of why I see it that way, too) – an extension of our single-player stories which takes them to the next level. We probably lose a little bit of the granularity in the process, with more to focus on and thus less close-in zoom on specific stories… but under this system, it should also be possible for any kind of story to play out; even if that’s one person taking care of the big stuff while another chronicles the development of the kingdom.

Very interesting update! a lot of people have addressed multiplayer so I want to provide some feedback on why fishing and other water features might be requested. I believe the devs may wrongly see this as merely a cosmetic request. Its just another way of getting food that looks different, right? I disagree.

I believe that players want water to count, whether for fishing, irrigation, cooking or engineering, because the game needs another resource that impacts where you start or expand your town. Right now I start every game next to a mountain for access to ore. All the other plant resources can be moved or farmed easily enough but walking a long way to get ore is pretty tedious. This makes new games start to feel too similar and repetitive but there is just no incentive to build anywhere else on the map. I often pass over other interesting potential building spots because of this.

In real life nearly every town developed around a water source because it is just so crucial. So it makes intuitive sense that water could be as important as ore in developing your town. So I hope this gives some insight into why some players want more uses for water. And yes, we want fishing because it looks cool :wink:


Hi !

Since i’ve posted this already in the comments directly under the ‘article’, i’ll just quote and build up on the quote a bit underneath.

I am pretty sure that with how SH works right now, the main multiplayer would be more of a rivalry of economies than anything else. Maps are big enough to fit 2 or 4 villages on them and still have enough space to build and expant to full population capacity of each player, while still having enough space to have monsters spawning etc.

This would be a great opportuniy to have trading stalls (can’t remember how that is called :P) used in actual interaction with each player having an opportunity to change a regular laborer into a trader that would have to have a cart that he would take and trade with other players. This way each player can have a different zone with one having a limited supply of wood, other having not enough land to feed a larger population or maybe a climate not suitable for growing some kinds of plants.

This way the ultimate goal of multiplayer would be winning by reaching a certain growth and development level by out-trading the other players who are doing their best to also reach that same kind of goal.

Additional features? I would still allow monsters to spawn, so that they attack “caravans” and players are forced to assign soldiers for protection, or so that they have to actually attack these monsters (together or as rivals) in some sort of a mo mans land areas that divide their villages.

But I don’t know if I’m the only one who enjoys the whole economy and production chain ecosystem in SH, or do other players enjoy that just as much. :slight_smile:

So now a little bit about my idea of a fun multiplayer game and why I’d go down that path.

First of all SH is not a a game that would ever do well in a hardcore competetive RTS kind of gameplay. Combat, even if made into a simplified RTS (like Settlers 3 for an example) would most likely not work that well, as hearthlings are not made to work like a well organised squad. Fighting is more or less random and just having good unit composition is most likely enough to deal with enemies. This means that ay combat units would only be an addition to other, more important mechanics.

So… what IS Stonehearth good at? Most of all, production chains, resource management etc. - having a production chain with your villagers perfrming certain tasks within that production chain is the bread and butter of this game, so multiplayer will have to mess with that in some way. Above I mentioned having limited resources in different areas that would lead players to trade in the end. Of course, if one player has a LOT of wood and another has more stone, most likely they will also prefer to build out of that material they have in abundance, but there is a point where we all just NEED to get this and that and those materials and that is where the trade kicks in.

A player having a lot of fertile terain would be able to trade food with a player mining a mountain that was enerated in his area, while somebody else would have great hunting grounds or plenty of land that trees can be gron on. The thing is that this wuld also require adding some features to the land in general, like fertility, ore availability etc. We will not have any trade if the world generator will just spread resources evenly and create a landscape that more or less has every resource in every tile.

Another thing is time - since multiplayer games can’t drag on for 10 of 5 hours (well, they could, but there would be barely any game ever played till the end), some aspects of building would probably have to be changed to make the game paced well enough for a multiplayer game. As much as I enjoy watching my hearthlings build a large building for an hour, I am not that sure if other players would enjoy that as much ;). What could be an option is to add a “quick build” tool that automatically places walls and windows along with the floor and just like there is a simple button to select the roof slopes, adding a simple button to select where doors go etc. could be a game changer and could allow players to focus on trade deals and so on.

And when it comes to trade deals and trade itself? Well, that’s borrowed from all PC games that adapt certain aspects of board game mechanics into them, so that players can have a fun way of interacting. Have fixed exchange ratios, just to simplify the rules and make the game more accesible (would probably require some tuning for balance reasons), add a risk of loosing a caravan in a goblin attack in “the no mans land” if you don’t add enough soldiers for escort and make it optional to hunt these “bandits” to gain some extra resources or items. These are the three basic principles of every good board game that involves competetive actions:

  1. Player interaction (trade)
  2. Spending resources for certainty (soldiers protecting caravans are not building up resources)
  3. Risk-reward system (soldiers DO NOT protect traders, but MAY or may not bing in some nice loot)

Plus of course what any game has:

  • Failure states (loss of caravan stock, loss of soldiers on raids etc.)

That’s just from the top of my head, based on games I’ve played in the past (both board and PC games), so there will be a LOT of polish needed to turn this into a reasonable model of multiplayer rule set, but I am pretty sure that is one of the ways to start thiking about Stonehearth multiplayer.

Another way is of course going “full Factorio”, but prodution chains in SH are not nearly long enough to have multiple players focus on individual branches (as: X deals with mining, Y with ore processing, Z with production, Q with monsters). It could be doable, but that would probably require adding another “layer” of proffesions etc.

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Hey there @Przemyslaw_Majkowski, welcome to the Discourse :smiley:!

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