I’ve seen a few topics like this, but I find my hearthlings to be HUGELY frustrating. They offer me no insight into what their priorities are, and my influence over their priorities seems to be very clumsy.

I would very much like to see exactly what my wandering little hearthlings think they are doing as a list of visible tasks, ranked in order of importents, and if any of those tasks are blocked due to lack of resources I’d like to see that.

I would also like to re-rank my heathlings priorities, similar to how I can do so with the hearthling job/craft menu, and give SPECIFIC hearthlings, SPECIFIC commands; similar to an RTS game, rather than being an observer.

Example: If I tell my hearthlings to build a wall… they should drop everything and do THAT until they are too hungry and tired to continue. If they cannot continue, then there had better be an explicit reason why.

Until this can be done… I would like an alternate means of simply ordering the death of individual hearthlings to take out my righteous anger at their insubordination; and further I would like, instead of a grave stone… their head to be raised on a pike as an example to their fellows.

what version are you playing?

as well as I know that you can see what they are doing
you can also tell them not to do something like the job, haul, build and mine etc

as well as you can set


so you can see exactly where your hearthlings are going. here is an example of that



Yes, I’ve used this option often. My problem with it is that these seem to be mere suggestions to the hearthlings, with them deviating from the tasks I have set for them. Most frequently that comes in the form of standing idle when they’ve been commanded to do a task.


Hey there @ColdEnd, welcome to the Discourse!

As @Simica_Na showed, you can see exactly what your Hearthlings are doing (or not doing) via the citizens menu. As for the exact AI, and priority list, you would need to install Debug Tools. The devs have been very clear that they do not want the game to be micro, so I’ll be honest and say that I doubt you will ever be able to fine tune an individual Hearthling’s AI beyond the citizens menu without a mod.

Edit: Looks like you posted while I was typing. Let me respond to that. Changes made in the citizens menu should not function as suggestions. If you disable a Hearthlings ability to mine (for example) they cannot mine. If you have noticed otherwise, that would be a bug.

As for standing idle, there are so many possible reasons why that can occur. When it comes to building, the most common is that the AI cannot determine how to build the structure, and thus does not appear to do anything. If you find buildings where that occurs, please save them as a template and upload them to the thread below:

hmm could you give examples of the scenario? I know if I command my heartths to do to much, they seem to idle, so I try to limit it to 1-2 things I want done. I do agree more improvements need to be done on the ai.


If they’re just standing idle that’s usually a processor speed issue rather than an AI issue. Pause the game for a few seconds and the AI calculator will catch up with game events and start doing something (usually whatever their highest priority task is).

Past that, you can control specifically what Hearthlings are working on by only assigning the things you want worked on. Only build one building at a time; if you want them to rush out and loot stuff, pause the building; etc.

There is a certain task priority Hearthlings follow. They generally (seem to, from what I’ve seen)
do crafting first, then building, then mining/ harvesting, then hauling. So you can queue tasks by careful assignment in that order.

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Also, even higher on the priority list is self preservation tasks (run from enemy, eat, sleep).

how many hearthlings to do you have currently? possibly you may need to limit the amount you have?

I will attempt the pausing trick.

As far as the order of priority, Yes, I’ve noticed that in a very general sense; however it seems very unsatisfying to me. I say this because attempting to resume a game and know exactly what your own priorities were at the time you last played, is a bit of a stretch to demand of the player I think.

Additionally, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to have an entire town of folk, with a spectrum of roughly 10 jobs multi-task a bit.

It was 30+ or so when I gave up on them and started a new settlement.

ah ok, what are the specs of your system if I may ask? I know I am getting up there with my hearths as well, and yet to have issues. but we shall see as well, I am trying to get the max number of 50 to see how things go.

Ooohkay. That might be it. Right now you don’t want to go much above 20-25 lil dudes unless your computer is beastly. They’re still optimizing the AI code – a few months ago, my town locked up in mass idling at fifteen hearthlings, and now I can run steadily at 25 – but it’s an ongoing thing they’re still working on.

As a rule of thumb, if you’re running in double or triple speed mode and find yourself having to use the pause key frequently to let your hearthlings catch up, that’s usually a good time to stop adding hearthlings.

Another thing that will happen is that as you push the envelope on your computer’s CPU, the hearthling AI will start making more and more errors, start building things in weird ways, etc. I’ve noticed a much lower error rate on buildings (fewer people getting trapped inside them, etc.) when running at slower speeds.

Computer Information:
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SSE3: Supported
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SSE41: Supported
SSE42: Supported
AES: Unsupported
AVX: Unsupported
CMPXCHG16B: Supported
LAHF/SAHF: Supported
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Network Information:
Network Speed:

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Windows 7 (64 bit)
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thank you for posting that, that information will probably be the best info one can give when it comes to things like this. or at the very least it can help.

As much as I appreciate the interest in improving the AI… I don’t want to overlook the therapeutic/stress reliving nature of punishing the hearthlings in new and ever more draconian ways.

that may be a nice mod imo, something like a head on a pike would just be a tad to much for myself personally. and would not like to see it :sweat_smile: also I am not sure how something like that would affect the overall mature rating of the game as well. if that makes sense.

The problem I am having with the AI is that the Hearthling’s lose their purpose in life if they move far away from the “main base.” I’m in the desert and am sending Hearthlings out to get wood in far corners of the map. They will get to the tree, chop it down and then hang out in that area until they starve to death. Sometimes, to save a life, I will use the command line teleport command to bring them back home, only to see them either 1) head back out to where they were just teleported from, or 2) grab a piece of food and rather than sit down and eat it immediately to save their life, they will path to a seat far away, ignoring seats closeby.

That’s another CPU / processor problem. I had the same issue with my guys (I was scouring the whole &^&^! map for wood) and pausing the game (sometimes for a long time) will generally allow them to figure out how to path back to the food.