How to Improve Nature in Stonehearth

Hello. It is I, Sir Zilla, and I have come with some suggestions to make nature feel more alive in Stonehearth. To make it feel more like the biodiverse ecosystem it’s supposed to be. To make you sometimes feel something for having to destroy it in the name of progress. I have suggestions on…
Warning, I know nothing about game design, and these are just my opinions, so please don’t burn me.
##How to Improve Nature in Stonehearth
Note, this is mainly going to be talking about the forest biome. If this gets a positive enough reception, than maybe I’ll do one on the desert biome!
Ah, nature. The inevitable thing we will always encounter when playing the great game that is Stonehearth. The place where we get all of the resources to progress our small band of Hearthlings towards greatness. Sadly, I feel like nature in Stonehearth is just a mess of the same looking trees. Here are some things I think Team Radiant could add to make their game world feel more alive

One thing that I feel like should be added is more variants of trees. All the trees, when at the same height, look exactly the same, and this breaks my immersive. I’m supposed to feel like that this is some wild, untamed forest, when I honestly feel like a band of friendly hedge trimmers came in and polished up all the leaves on the trees for us. I think each size of tree should have multiple different leaf variations to be randomly generated into the world. Some trees will have more leaves, some with less leaves, some trees will be dead and not have any leaves at all. I know this is really small, but it would really help immerse people into the idea that this place is untamed. More trees in general would be nice to have. Maybe some birch trees or something to spice things up?

Another addition for plants would be more plants on the grounds of the forest. Right now, the ground looks too leveled to be untamed forest. My Hearthlings should feel scared to walk around in the woods, not knowing what’s in the grass, and not just flat bare green voxels. There should be variants of different grass heights (think like how in Minecraft they have the tall grass scattered about). There should be more types of flowers around. Maybe small stones every now and then. Heck, maybe even add fallen trees or branches to make the player question what weather they may encounter in the journey ahead. It would be nice to have different types of berry bushes, and maybe even bushes without berries at all, just bushes.

The idea of having stumps after you chop down a tree would also be neat. The stumps would stay there until you built something on top of them like a farm or house, and then the Hearthlings would remove them. I know that seems little, but it would give you a broader perspective on how much of the forest you’re destroying in the name of progress.

If there’s one thing that takes me out of the immersion of being in the untamed wilderness the most, that’s the lack of animals running about. When I look into the dense forest, I should see animals reigning supreme, and not just trees. Adding more animals would give the forest a stronger sense of character, and it would make the player feel even worse as they chop more of the trees down. The idea of having to destroy someone’s home in order to build yours for survival hits home for some people. It makes you realize why the forest ents are attacking you in the first place. You’re destroying their homes. Seeing a bustling forest full of wildlife became a barren field of stumps will make the player wonder how much will they have to sacrifice in the name of progress.

Birds would be a nice thing to have added to the game. Having all these birds with different colors flying about. Letting them be able to land on the roofs of your houses, trees, and even on the ground as they look for food. Have bird nests in some trees, not even having birds flying to them, would at least add some nice detail.

Forest critters would be nice to have. And more character for the already existing ones. I sometimes want to see a squirrel run out of a tree as it’s being chopped down. I want to see deer walking peacefully in their forest homes. Rabbits making burrows to live in. Foxes hunting rabbits for food. Little things that would make the world feel more alive.

Fish, man would I love to see fish. Right now the lakes feel so empty an useless. They just feel like thinks to block you from building normal structures. But if fish were added, you could actually get some enjoyment out of watching them swim about in their underwater homes. That in hand could lead to the creation of a fisherman class, and that in hand can lead to the creation of fish pikes. Everyone wants a fish pike.

As I said before when talking about fish, the lakes are really boring right now. It’s just a big mesh of blue voxels. It would be neat to add rocks and undersea plants to the bottom of the water. Something to make the lakes not look so barren. I feel the generation for water on maps in general should be improved. I don’t want just lakes, I want flowing rivers, streams coming down from the mountains, etc…

Thank you for reading my suggestions! Have a comment? Want to add something? Post away!


Birds, fish, deer, squirrels falling out of trees, rabbits borrowing (1 voxel sized holes ??), foxes hunting rabbits: I really like all your suggestions, and I hope birds get added soon.
Birds will add so much to the forests. There should be poyos and sheep wandering the forest. Currently, it isn’t clear where and how the shepherd finds them. And it would be great to have little blue birds and red birds hopping around the forest and town. They don’t even need to fly.
It would be good to have tree stumps (and Hearthlings chop up the fallen trees), water plants, different types of berry bushes, trees and more flowers.
If we have fish, can we have frogs?
It would be nice to have rivers and streams, but I understand there is a lot of work involved in implementing flowing water mechanics.

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Have trees spawn squirrels from time to time, which will (unless they spot bait) run to another tree to climb and then disappear (so you don’t need a lot of them at once). Birds’ nests that can be harvested for eggs now and then which occasionally spawn birds that fly around a bit, visiting nearby plants and the like.

Have poyos and sheep spawn in grassland - a small clearing could spawn poyos, but sheep only spawn in very large areas. Base this on distance to nearest major feature (buildings or trees). Have goats spawn on mountains in the same way. Fish that spawn in different sized bodies of water, with fish spawning in smaller bodies (where you can go from one coast to another in 12 or so voxels) being river fish that travel up and down their body of water a bit before disappearing, and fish spawning in areas where it’s 20+ voxels to a coast in any direction being lake fish that don’t visit close to the coast. Assign hunting zones dynamically - a hunting zone that touches water is an area where fishermen will go, whereas ones with trees will get traps. In this way you could implement a fisherman job without adding more UI complexity.

Stumps and natural treefalls would make the forest itself feel more alive, to which more tree variations would also help.


I would love to see animal dens as a solution to spawning those animals which don’t conveniently live in trees already. At the same time, that would add an excuse to have some of the deadfall wood, but doing more than just decorative duty. When players go to clear fallen logs, they might discover a den of foxes living inside, or a raccoon with a comfortable nest inside a hollow stump.

Of course, such locations would make excellent trapping grounds too; so it would be great if these animal dens and the biodiversity of the area had a serious impact on how many animals visited the trapper’s zones. I can imagine that creating nature preserves, transplanting wild herbs, encouraging biodiversity, and then gaining rewards from that would be a very satisfying gameplay loop for those who want to play more in-tune with nature rather than clear-cutting forests for farmland.

As for rivers and streams, I think that they wouldn’t need to have properly flowing water; as long as they were long enough to give a sense that they go somewhere. An easy way to fake rivers is to simply have a bezier curve which goes from one side of the map to the other, and avoids any hills/mountains along the way. The terrain elevation system could probably handle most of that already – make it so that rivers are only able to spawn on the lowest elevation level in order to prevent tricky situations involving waterfalls and mountain springs. Streams, on the other hand, could spawn at higher elevations but have to stay on that elevation; if they cross to a lower elevation they simply get cut off with a pond. That should lead to some nice cliffside ponds which players can easily turn into a waterfall if they wish, or use them as natural irrigation dams. Eventually, when we get pumps and so on, we could even use such natural ponds as reservoirs to make simple water features :smiley:

I would also love to see the trapper upgraded/improved to take more advantage of the biodiversity in the forest (probably at higher levels – a novice might know nothing about the local flora and fauna, but after months or years they’d learn which plants are edible and which are useful). If there are berry bushes, natural herbs or other useful plants (e.g. wild mushrooms, or even just pretty flowers with no use beyond decoration), they should forage those resources along their route. This would provide a late-game option to automate a lot of the early-game “wilderness survival” strategies, so again it’s about learning to live in turn with nature rather than having to cultivate everything you don’t want to manually harvest.

There’s a lot of potential for Stonehearth to really play around with these ideas and create a world that’s much more alive than is possible in other titles in this genre. I’ve messed around with modding similar features into similar titles, but Stonehearth has a distinct advantage since the hearthlings are much more “aware” of their surroundings, and more capable of combining different tasks together.


Definitely agree on many of these points. I believe in the stream they mentioned breaking up the uniform green ground texture, so there’s that.

The solution for tree stumps from Don’t Starve could work here; the stump is left behind, but can itself be harvested (with a separate tool, in DS’s case). Just run the Harvest drag-and-click over a second time to clear stumps and all should be well.

I absolutely concur on random bushes… when I’m playing as Rayya’s, I’ll harvest all the coarse-fiber plants, cacti, and rocks I can find, and relocate silkweed and flowers for harvesting… and soon enough, the ground will be utterly barren. Some dirt color breakups and small terrain bumps on the plains would help here, but so too would decorative bushes or variants on existing types.