I was wondering how the function of a building is determined, how the game and the Settlers know its supposed to be a simple house for dewlling, a community hall, an armoury, a kitchen, a forge, or a combination of all those. If you guys haven’t figured out something already, I would suggest the following: Let the player be able to place predetermined zones with defined functions. This could work similar to placing a stockpile zone as seen in one of the pre-alpha videos.
Examples of Zones and how they could work:
Settlers go here to rest. If there are beds placed within this zone, Settlers will use them. Better beds give better resting bonus. If the zone remains empty or has no beds placed in them, Settlers will unroll a sort of sleeping bag, giving the impression of impromptu solutions during the early game before there is a proper economy established that produces beds.
This zone can be placed both inside and outside of buildings, so we can have both private family kitchens, huge public dining halls as well as benches and tables outside (I really want to have a German style outdoors Biergarten supplied by the brewmaster for my Settlers to socialize during Spring and Summer).
Work Place Zone
One generic Work Zone which functionality is determined by the furniture/assets/equipment placed inside. So the Work Place Zone with a forge becomes usable by the blacksmith, the Work Place Zone with the mortar and pestle by the herbalist.
This zone could be placed for example on turrets, watchtowers or castle towers, ramparts and walls. In the event of an attack, archers would go to their designated Archer Zone and rain arrows on the enemy,
Rally Point Zone
All military personnel designated to this zone would gather here in case of an attack, ready to be grouped by the player and send whereever they’re needed.
Many Other Zones I didn’t mention or think of yet
The idea is that players can designate the function of a building themselves by placing the desired zones within the building’s walls. So the same building template can be used to house a family of four or a single alchemist with his workspace. Players could mix and match different zones according to their own preferences.
Functional equipment and assets, such as beds, workbenches, forges and such, would need to be placed in the proper zone to be usable, thus determining the function of the workplace. The Work Place Zone can support only one functionality, so either the blacksmith or the herbalist have their equipment placed and work there, not both at the same time. Assets and tools need a minimum of tiles to be zoned, some more than others.
Also Settlers would need to be designated to certain zones, so Settlers would know which house is theirs and don’t wander about, randomly sleeping in a different bed every night. Same with workplaces, so blacksmith A and B have their own seperate houses and forges.