One of the things I’m most excited about for Stonehearth is the engineer class. I’m going under the impression that we’ll be able to make machines/mechanisms (turrets, giant gates, trains, etc) and be able to have some sort of power grid to control all of these things as such (wires with levers/buttons/etc). However, one cool thing I’ve thought of is the ability to make these in-game “templates” that the engineer can install in to a circuit that will perform a certain logic gate, depending on how you arranged the template. The best part about it is that you would actually have to make the logic gate in order for it to function as such.
For example, say you told your engineer that you want to make a new template. It could bring you to this new UI that shows a dot matrix or something, with a “-” sign on the far left and “+” sign on the far right. Then, you would have things like wires, inverters, diodes, etc off to the side, and it would be up to you to connect the “-” to the “+” using those things. If you can successfully send a signal through, then you’ve made a template, but as I’ve said, what the template actually does is defined as how you wired the circuitry. From there, the template is now a physical object the engineer can place in the world’s circuitry and will function as it is defined. The best example I could think of is something like a 3-way switch to a door. As long as you could make an xor gate template and install it in to the wiring with the 2 inputs leading to it, you’d have a 3-way switch in-game.
You wouldn’t have to do this every time tho, because once you make the template once, your engineer could “remember” it and could quickly make it again if need be. Thus, not making this process too tedious and will add a lot more depth to the engineer by not adding a lot to him/her. You could also allow the templates to be installed right to your game and have the engineer take time to “research” them instead, if you don’t want to make them yourself, but this way you could allow the player to make their own logic gates to be used for the machines they make and just add on to the laundry list of moddability to the game.