Discussion: Gameplay Altering Town Progression

This thread is for discussions on Gamplay altering town progression. To come up with idea’s, criticise (other) peoples idea’s (constructively of course), and combine ideas to solve problems. Feel free to do any of those.

What is Gameplay Altering Town Progression?

GATP is the idea where your town progression choices change the gamplay to a different style, which is connected to your choices. For example, let’s say you chose an economic town. Then, getting net worth requirements (a difficulty for other towns) is easy for you because of buffs and stuff like that. However, other things are harder, like fending off attacks or keeping people happy. The basic idea is that you use the strengths of your town to overcome your weaknesses. An example of that might be a deal with a patrol of a nearby military town to guard the other rims of your map, so less invaders trickle through. This is in reward for money, of course. The net effect of this is that no town type has an easier game, but all town types play differently by putting emphasis on different gamplay aspects.

This is the origin of the idea.

The case for GATP

It answers what thriving means in the surviving-thriving concept

So the dev’s have had this concept of your town struggling to survive, only to thrive when basic obstacles have been overwon. We know prettty much what surviving means early game, the basic needs, start-up problems and goblins who think they can get a little loot of off your puny little encampment. However, GATP asnwers the question about what gameplay is when you thrive. The answer is: you draw from your strengths to overcome your shortcomings, so you keep afloat in a wider world that takes you seriously.

It solves the question: how do we balance the player attention of all the different gamplay elements

How much attention should combat draw from the player, seeing as some players want to be engaged in it, but others don’t, and would much rather be building buildings. The same is true for the building system as well. Those are good questions.
GATP can answer these questions by saying: maximum engagement!
You see, if you chose a military town, you chose for your attention to be drawn more to combat, so you will. If you didn’t choose a military town, you still have to deal with a maximally engaging combat system, but by design, you have options to use your strengths to avoid combat, and thus avoid having to put attention into it.
Basically, you get to see the depth of the gamplay systems you chose to focus on in town progression, so you know how to balance things as devs.

It accomodates the many different playstyles that the stonehearth player base has.

This is an aspect of previous argument, but it is important so I call this one out explicitly.

Is solves the progression balancing problem

Over at the A24 feedback thread, there was this problem where the buffs your town gets are wanted by other town types, thus creating buffs that were better overall than others. This of course interfered with the players choice and vision of what type of town they were going to create. With GATP, that problem is solved, since you can give bonuses that are in line with the type of town to create the strengths that the town needs to combat it’s weaknesses. A religious town gets happyness buffs, a military town gets combat buffs, and an economic town gets monetary buffs.
By design, these buffs/town strengths should be able to solve all problems the world trows at you. So by design, no one buff is better than the others, they are just different.

What we can discuss

How can cities use their strengths to overcome their shortcomings, what kind of quests and events do you get, and how do they help you. What should certain cities be good at?
And anything else you think about the topic, really.


I love this idea!!

A town that has increased happiness and crop growth could use the extra crops to build troughs around the perimeter of their town to attract packs of animals that are pacified and protect the town as long as they’re being fed. Or use the extra growth to supply ents with saplings in exchange for protection. On the flip side they can already sell off surplus food to merchants to help shore up their economy.

Military towns could send a squad off on expeditions a la Final Fantasy Tactics (Stonehearth Dev Stream 271: Hanging out with Richard and Malley around the 18:40 mark). Basically picking up contracts/bounties for money. Maybe once in a while an especially strong monster will spawn on the map and if your military can take them out it sparks off a celebratory parade that boosts the towns happiness or at least gives a buff like the Rallying Cry of the Dragonslayer buff that ya get in WoW when ya turn in the head of Onyxia or Nefarian.

Trade towns could post contracts to attract mercenaries for extra combat strength. Perhaps the fact that it’s a prosperous trade town means it attracts entertainment in the form of dancers, bards, acrobats to boost the towns happiness. Maybe you’re required to provide them with accommodations that have a certain approval rating before they’ll even deign to grace your city with their presence.


I would love to see a system where you do stuff like build a big building with a purpose that becomes the signature piece of your town and your town score gets connected to how much effort you put into it.
Building you town around a specific feature makes it more memorable.
It could either be that you can accept a task from the capital or more dynamically that the game recognizes that you put effort into something and tell you that you’re getting a reputation for it and start to get requests and tasks associated to it.
For example:

  1. A dessert or coastal town could get tasked with building a lighthouse. You get the recipe for a strong lantern (or several recipes of different quality) and you should place it as high up as possible. You might need special resources to keep it burning and it might attract some enemy that want to extinguish it.
  2. Cultists might ask you to gold-plate the bunny statues, add temple equipment around them, plant trees around them to hide them and provide a steady supply of carrots.
  3. Get tasked with building a temple/monastery/library/observatory/theater. Preferably not just a template building (although you could get a couple of suggestions of different sizes), but rather by having specific things in the same room or house. People will arrive to work there or visit. They don’t help out with other things but needs to be taken care of (beds, food, likes and dislikes, resources for their work and so on).
  4. If you have skilled craftsmen you might be tasked to build a school so student can come to visit and learn from them. Again, not helping out with other things but you need to take care of their needs. You might be able to use or sell the things they build though.
  5. If you have skilled fighters you might be tasked to build barracks to train visiting recruits. Need food and a bed. Less need of luxury. Helps out with enemies. Can be sent on away missions for practice and rewards.
  6. If you have a skilled herbalist you might be tasked to build a hospital.
  7. If your town has a high appeal you might be tasked with building a palace for visiting nobles or royals.
  8. Build an arena for sport events. A few times each year you will have a lot of visitors for a few days. Stock up on food. Sell if with profit. Different sports may require different equipment and resources.
  9. Build a zoo. Tame, capture or buy as many different animals and monsters as you can. Send people to far away lands to get more exotic once. Take care of visitors.
  10. Mine out a large vain of some rare metal that stretches across the map. Make each block require a lot of hits to make it last longer.

You’re going for the more fine-grained stuff I see. I imagined it to go along the lines of the new town progression system myself, but these quests also seem fun. :smiley:.

Now I think about it, onece your town starts to become really big, it would be fun if you get some sort of specialising role in the country as a whole, like a very skilled hospital, as you mentioned.


So, I’ve done some pondering on what tyoe of quests certain towns could import and export. This is assuming that there are three types of cities:

  • economic towns: strong in crafting, and getting rich quickly, weak in happyness and military strength.
  • military towns: strong in combat, weak in gold, crafting and happyness.
  • religious town, or towns which are one with nature, or towns with just a high living standard: strong in happyness, weak in military strength and money/crafting. I will call these town religious towns, but know that they can be all of these.

These assumptions come from the recent town progression feature from stonehearth’s devs.

Military towns:

  • could send a defending patrol to an economic town in return for gold. For the towns recieving it, it means dealing with less monsters, which is good for them since they don’t have the military strength that you have.
    • Economic town pay with gold
    • Religious towns pay with hospitality, and because of the high living standards, the soldiers coming back are very happy, and share stories with your other villagers, making them happier.
  • could also send a defending escort to people of other cities.
    • economic cities could request a caravan escort
    • religios cities could request an escort for pilgrims.
    • the types of cities pay the same way as earlier.

Economic towns could

  • export crafter expertise. In this case, a few good crafters leave the city to repair other cities stuff, or help with rebuilding after a particulaly big army attack.

Religious towns could

  • export happyness. This means sending out priests to preach or entertainers to amuse people.

For non-religious towns, you see where their happyness comes from: economic towns need happyness from luxuriously fine items. Military towns see their happyness come mainly from their sense of military pride.

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Hmmmm I really like the idea of choosing a certain path offering the player means to cover the “other” paths.

For example if you choose a mercantile town that prioritises money and crafting, you could then have options to cover the “combat” and “happiness” paths you did not take.

-Paying mercenaries to come and defend your town, either for lots of gold or having to give them precious items.

-Paying a travelling show to come and entertain/cheer up your town.

This way the player is still “interacting” with those parts of the gameplay, but in a way that fits their chosen path. There might need to be some more solid caps to encourage this kind of gameplay, for example a hard cap on the number of military hearthlings you’re allowed if you don’t choose military.

And some players might hate having to choose a path at all, and just want to do a little bit of everything unhindered.

I think overall the type of town a player makes will benefit greatly if ever the devs choose to include friendly NPCs who visit your town. I’d REALLY like to see the end-game objective to have an RPG style town where various NPCs come in and out of the map and visit your town for their needs (adventurers buying gear, traders buying goods, tourists coming to visit)