I’m sorry, but… NO.
Take a look at similar games like Gnomoria and Dwarf Fortress. They handle around 80 gnomes/dwarves before lag starts to be noticeable; but their job priority systems are far more advanced/complicated and their stockpiles/storage is far more advanced/complicated, and that adds extra overhead. These games are also single-threaded (they’ll only use 1 core of your quad-core CPU). Sure Stonehearth has much better graphics, but that’s mostly done by GPU (unlike Gnomoria and Dwarf Fortress where the graphics is done by CPU) so it doesn’t make much difference.
Taking all this into account (given that Stonehearth is far simpler, and multi-threaded) Stonehearth shouldn’t have trouble with 200+ hearthlings. You think 50 is “good”? Pure nonsense.
Currently, once the game reaches about 20 hearthlings things start taking too long and the game stops bothering (in what I consider a completely misguided attempt to hide lag). The forums are full of symptoms of this - hearthings standing around idle for half a day when there’s work they should be doing, crafters not doing jobs at workbenches for no (sane) reason, scaffolding not being taken down, buildings not being completed, sending a military party to a distant target and only half doing what they’re told. All of this is the same “bug” - the game not bothering when things (path finding, finding a job, etc) takes too long
From 20 to 35 hearthlings this just gets worse. Things take too long to get done, so the player decides to get more hearthlings, so there’s more overhead, so hearthlings stop bothering even more, so things take longer to get done.
Once you go above about 35 hearthlings you start seeing lag because the “stop bothering when it takes too long” hack alone isn’t enough to hide the massive performance problem.
Basically; the game is about 10 times slower than it should be.
The reason? There’s 2 reasons actually.
The first reason is LUA. LUA is a scripting language designed for secretaries to use when they get bored with diddling with VBA in excel spreadsheets. It’s not intended for anything performance critical, it’s intended for things like quest systems that aren’t executed often enough to matter. Stonehearth uses LUA for almost everything; so almost everything is much much slower than it should be.
The other reason is the way the game handles time and threads. It’s completely broken and wrong. Normally you have a “game time” and “wall clock time” which are only loosely related. You update entities, etc and increase “game time”. If the game is running too fast (“game time” gets too far ahead of “wall clock time”) you do nothing for a while to let “wall clock time” catch up. If the game is running too slow, then too bad - “game time” is allowed to fall behind “wall clock time”; which means you can have (e.g.) a “1000x speed” and the game will just run as fast as it can without any issues. For threads, let’s just say the game is full of race conditions - 2 hearthlings will go pick up some wood on the other side of the map, the first will collect it, the other will arrive and have nothing to collect (oops); miners will mine things in a certain order to prevent things getting stuck, but due to race conditions this order won’t be followed properly and mining jobs will get stuck, etc. I’ve even seen hearthlings trying to build a simple road; where one hearthling will place a block and another (who is still mining in preparation) will remove it immediately, leading to “place block, remove it, place block again, remove it again, …” until something upsets the timing.
To fix the problems; you’d have to rewrite about 90% of the game. This is not going to happen (it’d mean “no progress” for about 2 years, which will kill the game). Also note that “multi-player” won’t ever happen either (the game can’t handle the load from one player’s hearthlings, so handling “load from 2 player’s hearthlings plus Internet lag” is a fool’s dream).
What will happen is that the performance problems will never be fixed, the developers will continue to with “20 hearthlings only” as the default limit, and will continue to disable the “only 3x the (painfully slow) normal speed” button. Then the game will be abandoned soon after it gets out of beta; because everyone that wants it would’ve already bought by then, and the performance problems will prevent the addition of new features needed to convince more people to buy it.
Again; sorry. I know it’s a nice game (and fun), and I do want it to grow and thrive, and I do wish I was wrong; but the damage has been done and it’s too late to fix it now.