I feel your pain! I’ve tried doing this kind of journal-thread so many times before; but I keep running into small issues (major invasions happening while I purposely haven’t built walls yet, or a bugged building, or the dreaded moment when there’s an awesome new alpha out but I’m right in the middle of a story but I also reaaaaaaaaally want to start a new game to make sure I get all the new features… wait, what do you mean those are “mostly my own fault”?), so I have a ton of aborted journal playthroughs. I really need to go clean out the remnant screenshots from a couple of different folders…
I made the choice ages ago to do the playthrough first, keeping a rough outline of the story preserved in the screenshots, and only start uploading once I’d actually “settled down” – i.e. built up my walls and planned where my major buildings would go, demolished my starting “tents”, and started working on the township quests. Otherwise, I’d also be starting a new journal every couple of days; and I really want to try and make the first one I post into a story with a bit of a conclusion.
A few things which have made my life (and my hearthlings’ lives!) easier:
I always pause the game before saving. I find that this helps to prevent the game “forgetting” anything (i.e. maxing out the processor) when I load it back up, because it’s able to load everything first without any tasks actually happening at the time. It also gives me a chance to have a quick look around and remember what was in-progress when I last played, because again, once the tasks are in-progress my own processor can max out and I end up doing silly things like forgetting that I promoted a cook just before saving and I go five days without getting them set up to cook delicious stews (and wonder the whole time why there’s so many veggies that the storage is full…)
I have a “dream team” of hearthlings to embark with, and I spend a lot of time re-rolling hearthlings before starting so that I can get something close to that dream. I want a little bit of randomness still, but I also want to know that I’ve got a solid core to get started. This usually means at least a strong footman, an herbalist, a couple of highly intelligent crafters so I can quickly unlock advanced recipes (mostly the larger storage items, since I want to be able to move my early-game camp to its final position in as few trips as possible), a dedicated worker with a reasonably high body stat, and a trapper with a fairly good mind and spirit so they can level up into a shepherd – while the shepherd may not be a great early-game class, when combined with a weaver they allow production of tons and tons of high-value items for trading purposes, and the eggs from poyos are great for feeding a large group of hearthlings easily. Now that traits are a thing, the job of picking the dream team has actually got a bit easier for me – my farmer candidate has to have Green Thumb, my guard/footman has to have a trait which makes them better at defending, and I try to get passionate professionals so that merely doing their day-to-day jobs gives a morale boost. I find that this effort invested into setting up a solid party will pay off once the story starts, since it makes them that much more resilient. I don’t have to worry about an unhappiness spiral killing productivity with slow walk speeds, or not having a defender when the world starts to fight back against my settlement., or so on.
When taking a screenshot I pause the game, line everything up nicely, and then start spamming the screenshot key (I use Steam’s F12 function for convenience) as I set the speed to “regular.” This means that during action scenes I have a choice of shots to use, so I don’t run the risk of missing the all-important moment (e.g. when a footman performs a jump attack against a stone golem.) If I ever get motivated enough to do it, then it also means I have the opportunity to make GIFs of key moments.
Those ideas may help you, or they may just make everything more complicated hahaha! Either way, I hope you can find a method to streamline your journal process – I love what you have created so far, I just want to see you get a bit further for your own happiness. I know how frustrating it is to start again and again and again lol. Remember though that we all keep coming back no matter how many times you start again… so you’re doing something right!