Discussion about calenders

Just going to drop this in here for those who wish to become ‘experts’:

Everyone who has watched these video’s will probably agree that, to think about calenders is to think about a lot of basic consistency within the world you’re building. Especially as lots of astonomical and cultural facts are not yet solidified, we can design a calender that is useful and cosistent, and build the astronomical/cultural facts around it.

I think the approach should be to first consider the astronomical system (year length/month length/other important astonomical events), and then decide how different cultures might devide up the calender, since the astronomical facts need to line up for all the cultures.

So for the astronomical facts, I thought it would be good to have a 68 day year. 8 months of 8 days.

  • Why 8 months per year? twelve also works, 8 is divisible by 4, which is what you need to devide the seasons nicely.
  • Why 8 days per month? One day for each of the moon’s phases (which could be displayed in the moons picture in the top right of the screen): new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, third quarter, waning crescent and back to full moon.
  • Why 68 days per year? I wanted a short year, because in a game where there date-related seasons and festivals exist, you’d want to experience more than one of them each playtrough, so the HTSpP (Hearthian Time Spend per Playthough) is an important quantity. Assuming a current HTSpP of one year, changing to a 68 day year pushes that up to around 5.5 years. A 12 month year will have a HTSpP of around 3.5 years.
    *Wait, 8x8 =/= 68, what’s up. This total has 4 extra days in a year. The idea is that they are scheduled at the start of each season, to mark the seasonal change for the player. Maybe the hearthlings will use them as intercolary days, where festivals are held, or other important rituals are done (mourning the dead, maybe.) Adding these day’s also has the effect of adding drift, however you look at it. You can actually approach this in different ways, (by messing with the length of the month a bit, or not), giving the hearthian system different flavours.

And now, the cultural stuff:

  • Ascendancy: seeing as they are an agrarian culture in the temparate zone, they’re likely to use a solar calender emphasising the years and seasons. Therefore they might have 8-day weeks, where they say things like the the first week of summer.
  • Rayya’s children: live in the desert, and presumably a lot closer to the equator than the Ascendancy. That might merit a lunar calander, because why track the seasons if the seaons don’t have that much sway over you . The moon, though, is a clock which always shows you what time it is (moon phases). Rayya’s children, having a lunar calender, might put an emphasis more on the months, giving them the 8 month names and calling them months instead of weeks. Maybe they don’t even care about the extra 4 days, although depending on whether you messed with the month length, you might need this extra day every season as a leap day.
  • The Northern Alliance:, I assume, will see a full blown winter night and summer day. Maybe their calender will be devided up by those phenomenon: month of midnight, month of the rising sun, month of midday, month of the setting sun, and back. Or maybe they rip off the terminology for the moons phases. Or maybe something in between: New year, rising sun, full year, setting sun.
  • The dwarves: probably don’t care much about the light of day anyway, so they might have a societal construct calander.

Even after that, there are lot’s of things to think about, when does a day start, the month, the year, what are the seasons like in each kingdom, where do the kingdoms plan festivals, and what kind of festival. Are there other important astronomical events.


love, love, LOVE this idea. It’s a subtle but super meaningful bit of narrative which can add a ton of lore to the game.

It also gives the potential for a lot of gameplay-centric decisions backed up by a consistent (if not immediately apparent) logic, so optimiser/min-maxer players have more to discover and work with.

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Very well thought out, but I would hate clock work seasons in any game I think if this something you implement there should be the potential for long/short, winters/summers and viceversa. Moon cycles are cyclical but you could add eclipses offering different bonuses and hindrances to gameplay.

You mean it shouldn’t be that predictable? There are ways to do that:

  • Messing with the month length: to make the cycles match up again after 1 year, two years, 4 years etc. You can try to make the matchup cycle longer than the HTSpP, making every year feel different.
  • Add lot’s of interesting phenomenon: as you suggested, eclipses (special new moons), but also bloodmoons (special full moons), meteor showers etc, all having buff/hindrances.
  • How deterministic is physics even: You can decide that eclipses do not have to occur at a new moon. We can’t see the sky, so you can do alot of physicsally shaky stuff without lot’s of people noticing.
  • Take lot’s of small parameters into account when explaining what happens: eccentric orbits make sure sometimes eclipses don’t happen, because the right alignment isn’t there. Again, we can’t see the sky, so things like this can be excuses for things not being exactly like clockwork.

Also, what would maybe be cool in the bonus astronomical events category, would be a horseshoe moon.
See video for reference. (@8:43) Basically it’s a moon who comes out of the dark twice a year, comes to a full stop, and then recedes back into the dark. Of course this moon in stonehearth whould have some magic associated with it, and that could have sway over the hearthlings.

Whereas I understand completely where you’re coming from and what you’re trying to achieve, I feel speeding things up this much is a little drastic.

Let me share a little about where I live in real life. I live in Michigan, United States. I also like 7 miles from the water. That said, we get what’s called “Lake Effect Weather”, which just means that we get as much snow as Canada because it starts in Chicago and builds up over the lake before it dumps on us. So being it snows 4 - 6 months out of the year for us, as well as the fact that our cities are hours apart from each other and only have little towns (the town I live in has a pop of 600) in between that, are still half an hour apart from each other, our little towns have almost non-stop festivals when it’s not snowing.

The town next door has an Art festival, Music festival, boat parades, local business festivals, and I’m sure half a dozen others that I don’t know of. My town has a Fall festival, local business festival, and a Goose Festival (yeah…they celebrate when the geese leave).

Now the reason I bring all this up is that my point is that holidays aren’t the only celebrations people can have. On top of that, a two and a half week season doesn’t give you the challenge of that season.

  • Spring brings flowers and is when you plant your crops. It also brings flooding (snow melting) and animals from the winter (from the south). With only 2 weeks (17 days) of this, you won’t get the challenge of dealing with the flooding, and will basically be spending all your time making sure your crops are planted. Plus, are you really going to limit how long the Bunny god’s day of celebration lasts?

  • Summer brings the heat. This is when the flooding turns to drought, as well as when most of your beach and parties take place. It’s a time of fun. This is also the perfect time to focus on building and getting $#!+ done.

  • Fall is all about festivals. Your farmers are gathering their crops, so you’ve got All Hallows’ Eve, Thanksgiving, and any other feastful festivals you want to throw in there. Again, my town has the Goose Festival during this time, so what could the Hearthlings have? Limiting that to two weeks kills the festivity of that.

  • And finally winter. Winter is when everyone rests, relaxes, and spends time with families. Why? Because it’s too damn cold outside, that’s why! This is when you have christmahannukwanzadan to celebrate family and love. Then you celebrate the new year, to hope for a good one and be thankful that the goblins didn’t get you in the last one.

And these are just the ones I have in my area as a 'Merican. I’m sure there are others “across the pond”.

So with all that said, as I know it’s a lot, my point is that instead of shortening the year just to get through them faster, you should be filling them with more events and celebrations. Give the Hearthling birthdays, have a goblin festival, have the goblins have birthdays, just anything. And make the seasons long and challenging. Add risk and reward to it. A good story isn’t an easy, cutesy, thing. It has challenges to it, and even for a game, that’s what makes it fun.

I understand where you are coming from, but having frostfeast only once a playthrough, (and even then if you make it that far), is a little underwelming for me. So how long were you thinking seasons should last? My template year could easily be extended with another 4 to 8 months (@8 days). Having 12 8day months will still let you experience about 3.6 years in stonehearth. For 16 months (132 days) we get 2.8 years per playthrough.

Maybe the loss in the HTSpP could be recovered by having interesting seasons and festivals, like you suggest, to increase the amount of time you’d spend IRL with one playthrough.

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What if festivals like Frostfeast were done every two years using your shortened year structure. Think Olympics, that way every winter wasn’t a Frostfeast. It would allow you the opportunity to have multiple seasonal feasts/events for the same season. Also, there could be a cost to trigger the event, I recently read a topic about late game gold use, it would be cool to have to save food, supplies, and gold just to trigger said event.

honestly I like the length of the years at the moment; and we’ve already had fruitful discussions about their potential meanings and associated festivals, so I reckon the best place to start is to stick with the existing month structure.

From there, 2-3 festivals a month means one every week and a half, i.e. 10 in-game days which is about every 20 minutes on the fastest speed IIRC. On normal speed I believe that equates to one every half hour or so.

I think that’s the right balance to keep festivals interesting without making them too common or too major of a focus. There can be a mix of big and small festivals – one large one each season (spring celebration, summer party, Candledark, Frostfeast) and then a minor celebration or two either side of each major one.

Most of the minor festivals would really just be like a super-happy conversation the whole town takes part in; the major ones could require preparation (specific food stocks, decorations, a day off to celebrate and socialise) and reward more happiness based on how well the player provides for the celebration. But I think that having a ton of festivals each with their own traditions and decorations and so on would make them feel a bit trivial; perhaps there could be special traders or events which happen on minor festivals but I feel that they should mostly be down to the hearthlings celebrating the world around them rather than the player getting deeply involved in each one.

Of course, there’s nothing stopping players from getting involved – decorate the town for the upcoming festival, cook up appropriate food and gather everyone in the town square for a feast… but that should be an option, not something which feels like a necessity. That provides a best-of-both-worlds situation where narrative players get lots of festivals to play with, while people less interested in that aspect don’t have to fuss around with all the festival traditions and so on.

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Ok, but think about your timeline for a second. Cycling the year fast is going to hurt you as much as you think taking it slow will. With the calendar, the way it is now, Frostfeast (as that seems to be your main focus) could last 90 days long rather than 17. It’d give you more time to enjoy it. With your calendar, you’d just get started then have it leave and have to wait 3/4 a year again. This is where more festivals and season things will need to come in. On top of that, @YetiChow makes an amazing point.

If all you want is Frostfeast, then I’d recommend just running that mod non-stop.

A festival of 90 days! That sounds a little excessive to me. in your context, you suggest that you have a festival that takes as long as a season, I don’t think that’s very realistic. I understand where it may come from: you currently only have snow when you have frostfeast mod installed ==> winter=frostfeast. I honestly think, whether you have a year as current year or not, I think 17 days is more appropriate.

Well, this is kind of how yearly rituals work, right.

It’s an example of a festival, nothing more.

Maybe there is just a difference in the way we percieve how festivals (or holidays in general) take place. I thought it would be sometimes single-day events. For the bigger festivals, you might anticipate it in the week in front, or have it take a week (or month, if you have short month lengths). Good examples would be frostfeast, which I imagined would take a week, leading up to new year. Or Maybe a ramadan-style month where RC thank rayya for the wealth they inherited, where they only eat at night, and do other approproate things. I never imagined season long festivals and holidays.