I Just Blew Your Mind AMA Transcript

Looks like the last AMA question got answered about 35 minutes ago. Here’s a transcript of all the answers posted by Tom and the direct questions. The “Topic” of this thread “I Just Blew Your Mind” is my favorite answer from the AMA. Other highlights:

  1. Subterranean functionality … in the game at some point … sounds a lot more interesting than just digging holes.
  2. There will be hats.
  3. Tom and Tony’s youngest sibling asks them if they called their Mom on Mother’s day … and Tom reveals some pretty good combat details.

I might edit this later, I’ve broken all the links on purpose.


You said you and your brother set up shop in your basement, but your kickstarter video clearly shows you guys set up shop in your upstairs bedroom.


But seriously- you guys rock.


If it’s any consolation, we’ve moved out of that upstairs bedroom to my dining room after hiring our first new team member. So now even the KS video is out of date.


Control+f ‘dwarf fortress’, zero results in this thread.

I’m saddened by the lack of mentions. I know DF was a major inspiration for this, at least regarding the ‘feel’ you want the game to have (you have an entry in the FAQ about it).

What strikes me as interesting is that besides sharing the theme and feel, Toady and his brother basically did the exact same thing you and your brother are doing: live off of the game

Cheers and good luck to ya mate, I hope the game is fun. Minecraft is living proof that friendly sandbox games are viable.


Dwarf Fortress was certainly a major inspiration! Thanks for the luck.


As the $400,000 stretch goal (co-op multiplayer) appears more and more likely to happen are you feeling more anxiety or excitement? You dudes have some experience in multiplayer netcode already (clearly, shout outs to GGPO) so I expect that you know full well what that entails.

As a backer and long time fan from the FGC I’m glad to see this has blown up. Best of luck to you two.


This whole Kickstarter thing has been an equal mix of excitement and anxiety. On the plus side, it’s been incredibly validating that so many other people believe in our idea. But we also feel a lot of responsibility now to not let everyone down. This is a good thing! The pressure keeps us motivated to deliver the best game we can.

We have indeed been planning for multiplayer from the start, so I’m confident that we can have an awesome co-op experience.

Thanks for the well wishes!

[–]PanicAK 14

How do you feel about Blizzard making a game called Hearthstone?


Blizzzzzaaaaarrrrdddddd! (btw, I will play the f*ck out of their game)


Will there be physics based destruction of houses, trees, etc? I think this would add a lot to the game, especially in battles.


We would like to add physics for these kinds of things eventually.


Hi! Super excited about this game!! All the best to your kickstarter :slight_smile: Two Questions:

Have you decided on how magic will work in the game?

Have you heard Raj's music for your game? I would love to hear these tracks in game! http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5nPNEwoM4e8

***It’s all in your Discourse forums: Music and Soundtrack

Great work! We’re all rooting for you!


  1. For a while we were thinking that magic would be very rare and mysterious, but we keep coming up with awesome ideas that involve magic, like the magma smith. So stay tuned on that one.

  2. I have heard Rag’s music. It’s really good! We’re still weighing our options on music, and will hopefully have more time to spend on that after the Kickstarter.


As someone who loves the idea of creating a bustling marketplace of a city, I have to ask: Are there going to be mechanics that support this dream, or will I just have to pretend that it’s a hub of commerce?

Also, don’t be shy about adding a stretch goal for making coop a little less cooperative!


There will be opportunities to trade with seasonal caravans that will visit your town and with other neutral factions on the map.


This may be a weird question especially coming from a 3D artist but… Your game is “voxel based” does that mean it is ultimatly rendering voxels in engine or polygons? Your Dev vid showed that you would optimize the model later in polygons and the facial expressions are animated poly’s which leads me to believe that it just has a “voxel look”. Could you elaborate? Thanks.


In the end it call comes down to polygons. You are correct, the game has a “voxel look” and voxel like gameplay mechanics, but it is rendered in polygons.


For modding, will we be able to use the assets from the game to make our own game modes, with different AI, inventory systems, and things like that? Will it be open to adding our own scripts easily?


Yes. A mod that adds a new game mode or AI will need a lot of LUA scripting, but it will be possible.


Do you have Wonder Twins Power?


dafuq man…


How has fighting games influenced the project since you both are deeply involved in the FGC?

I am glad you guys had so much success :slight_smile: Good luck, the game looks fantastic.


Wow, great question.

The community aspect to Stonehearth is there directly because of the experiences we’ve had in the FGC. We wanted to build a game that people could rally around and think of as their own.


Oh wow, watching the video I was thinking “Oh wow this looks like the Cannon guy from SRK.” Then I saw your username. My brain got bodied.


I just blew your mind.


Tom, you mentioned that items can be built by developers. So I can make an ubber-sword, for example, which would defeat everything it touches. How will you handle these player-made items on multiplayer games?


Good question. For multiplayer games, the server will determine the list of mods that are in use for that game, and all players will need to have those mods installed.

So if you created a game with a certain set of “fair” mods, I can’t join your game with my uber-sword-of-whup-ass and wreck shop.

We will have some system to sync up the mods between you and the server so you don’t have to manage them manually.


If there is not going to be subterranean exploration, how will you ensure there will be adequate supplies of materials typically found underground in other games in order to build grandiose structures? Will material outcroppings generate layers below themselves of similar substances as you remove them, or will there be impenetrable layers directly below the surface?


We would like to add subterranean exploration eventually, but we’re concentrating on the above-ground game first.

We can tune the amount of supplies vs. materials in the ground pretty easily. For instance, with wood we’ve determined that 1 “block” of wood lets you build 5 blocks of wooden wall, so you don’t have to chop down every tree in the forest to build a handful of houses.

The world will be based on reality, meaning if there’s an outcropping of rock, that outcropping will extend into the ground.


im going to paraphrase a couple of questions from the campaign comments section:

  1. Anna S. wants to know if we will have a granular set of options that define a new game… basically, can we enable/disable certain types of “lethal settings” as you phrased it? e.g. keep food starvation and aggressive wild animals, while turning off aggressive faction?

  2. Felix would like to know about “the possibility of engineer/geomancer interaction”… Cannon/Rifle Golems! :smiley:


You’ve got questions. I’ve got answers.

  1. That would be very nice. I can’t promise anything but it’s a good idea.

  2. It’s very possible! We want to have synergies between the crafters whenever possible. For instance, there is a natural synergy between the Carpenter and the Weaver. The Carpenter crafts upgrades that improve the Weaver’s throughput (spinning wheel and loom), and the Weaver crafts goods like bowstrings that allow the Carpenter to produce advanced items like bows.


I’d really like to support you guys more (and I know I’m not the only one with this problem) but I’m having a hard time finding justification to raise my pledge up to $100. Physical things like posters and shirts aren’t my deal. Are there plans for a pledge between the 50-100 dollar range that could include non-physical benefits?

If you like this idea, I suggest a nod to reddit and add Snoo, the reddit alien as a companion. Alternatively (and since this is an AMA) give the players the choice between 100 duck sized horses or 1 horse sized duck to fight in a module.


We’re open to new reward ideas if you have any. The one thing we don’t want to do is create this weird division between those who can afford the higher tiers and those who can’t, which is why we placed all the pet companions in the cheaper tiers.


Many of us would pay $100 to have an Alpha in Sept, but being a software engineer myself I am afraid it could slow the project down. That said, careful management, and a small feature set in the Alpha with minimal support could have little impact on the project and let you earn more support now. Also, having to solve the “it won’t run on my machine” issues early (Alpha) makes Beta and release soooo much smoother (you’ve already solved those problems). Edit: Spelling




What languages and tools are you using in the development of Stonehearth? Any advice for business software developers looking to take the plunge and get into games?


The core engine is written in C++11 and Open GL. We write all the gameplay and AI in LUA. Finally, we use JS and HTML for the UI.

For an business software developer, my advice is to just try writing a simple game using one of the existing engines out there. Unity is great for desktop/mobile apps, and I personally like ImpactJS for web apps. For Stonehearth we wrote our own engine, which lets us do some unique things but it as also a mammoth time sink.


I’m super excited for Stonehearth, and have been following the kickstarter closely. But I’m worried about one thing: Blizzard has a card game in beta called Hearthstone.

Are you afraid they’re going to make you change the name of your game?


We’ve had the name Stonehearth since last November, and we really like it.

We can’t control what Blizzard does, but we will try to keep the name Stonehearth.


What do you see as your competitors? Minecraft? Cube World? Castle Story? Timber and Stone?


I don’t think in terms of competitors, because this is a brand new genre and there’s room for multiple games.

First, even though we use voxels, we don’t play like Minecraft or Cube World at all. Castle Story, Timber and Stone, Towns, and Gnomoria are all better comparisons.

But all these games have their own spin on the “city management with building and crafting” genre that’s developed, which is great! For Stonehearth, we’re 100% focused on building the kind of game that we want to play.


Will these questions and answers be posted somewhere? So we can easily read them afterwards?


I’ll collect the top 10 questions or so and post them to the Stonehearth discourse


On the kickstarter, the little pets like the dragon and the cat and dog, do they become ‘characters’ that wander around our town or are they something that follows a chosen avatar? Can we have all three out at once? Will there be other ‘pet’ type animals in-game?


The pets are like their own little characters that will wander around, play, etc. We’re going to try allowing all the pets at once and see how that goes.

One of our early stretch goals was a baby mammoth pet for all KS backers. I think we’re more or less done with pets now. We have a good variety and don’t want to overdo it.


Given that pathfinding has been a fun bugbear in just about any game, what options will you present to the USER when it comes to pathfinding? Waypoints, zones that are defined as low traffic/high traffic/transport only, them doing what they want?


Well, we don’t want the player to have to micro-manage most units. You sort of give the orders and your settlers figure out how to implement your plans.

For combat units, where you do exert more control, we will have the pathing options you would expect in an RTS: waypoints, patrol, etc.


As the game gets bigger and more complex as more stretch goals are met, how large of a team do you think will be required to complete the game on time. Also, can you give us some sort of idea where the money goes when creating a game like this? I am a backer and I think your game looks awesome! I also love the live video streams so please keep them coming.


We’re looking to grow the team to around 4-6 people. For a project like this, nearly all the money goes towards people and supporting people: salaries, office space, etc.

We’ll keep the live streams coming, don’t worry!


This is awesome! Being a twin myself, this gives me inspiration to do some type of project with my brother as well. We haven’t the experience you have as we’re just starting college but eventually! Here’s $30, I look forward to the final product!


Thanks! Good luck in your studies.


What is that block laying program that you are using to design your characters? How do you import that into an actually GUI for the game? What code / engine are you using to design the game?

The game looks amazing, best of luck.


I use Qubicle Constructor to model my voxels. Great program.

We wrote our own engine using C++11 and Open GL, with LUA for gameplay and AI.


Hey Tom and Tony, did you remember to call mom for Mother’s Day? Also, can you go into further detail about the combat class options that will be available?



Yes I remembered to call mom! Sheesh! For combat, you’ll be able to customize your army through class and gear. Your unit’s class will determine most of its abilities, and we’ll have all the archetypes represented: tank, melee nuker, ranged nuker, healer, etc.

Then each unit’s gear will determine some passive bonuses, and occasionally grant new abilities. For instance, you may decide that you want a strong defensive front line, so you promote 10 footmen and just 2 archers as the main damage dealers behind them, but you can choose to arm those footmen with swords, which do extra damage, or maces, which have a chance to stun on hit.

Of course, all of this is just an example of the kind of feel we’re going for. Exact mechanics are subject to change.


will you do a live stream showcasing how a scripted event might unfold (would love to see some LUA work), or elaborate on the “dungeon master” process you have mind for controlling how things flow in a game?


Maybe not a scripted story, but Tony is planning on doing a live stream showing how to take an animated model and get it into the game, including writing the AI in LUA.


we know you want to have a solid “above ground” game experience before embarking underground, but do you have any plans or ideas for the direction you want to take when/if the time presents itself? to clarify, what will mining/digging look like to the player (will the terrain go translucent, will you have to change the Z level view to see whats going on, etc.)


When we get to it, we want the underground to be just as content-dense as the above ground. Above ground there’s stuff going on all the time: trees, flowers, critters hopping around, etc.

We want the underground to have a similar density, where you don’t have to dig very far before running into something interesting, even if it’s just some fluorescent plants in a subterranean cave or whatever.


How did you guys make the decision to quit your jobs? And once you had decided, how did you actually go about it?


Truth? The big 40 was staring me in the face, and it just felt like a “now or never” moment.

Once we made the decision, the actual resigning was pretty straightforward.


Everything epic has a beard, you’re doing it right.


But…I don’t have a beard! I want to be epic too!!


You and your brother have given so much to follow your dreams, how did you find someone to hire that is as passionate about this project as you are?


She came to us! Her pitch was basically, “you’re going to hire me. here’s why you’re going to hire me.” It was very persuasive.


I’m curious about the user created models, if I designed a weird animal, will I be able to specify how it moves/attacks or you will force me to use a skeleton template and build on it?


Yes, you will be able to specify your own animations. Here is a loooong video of me animating a model: Twitch


Hey guys, just wanted to say reading your AMA and Screenshot Saturday posts on /r/gamedev helped inspire me to work on a game with my twin brother and a few friends this summer. We’re both still in college, but I plan on becoming a software engineer after I graduate and he’s going into IT. I think it’s awesome how you two quit your day jobs and gave this idea your all. I’m happy your Kickstarter is going very well and I wish you both the best of luck! I’ll be checking out the game as soon as I can! :slight_smile:


Wow thanks! I’m inspired that I’ve inspired you. Seriously, thx.


Do you have plans to add Religion? It would be interesting to have different dieties and methods of worship, from offerings of food and big celebrations to offers of blood and war.

Could be a far off patch, I’m more looking forward to subterranean stuff :slight_smile: which you’ve mentioned elsewhere.


“Plans” would be overstating it, but we’ve brainstormed a ton on this topic. We’ve thought about the different deities and different mechanics to worship each one (prayer, animal/human sacrifice?)

This is on the long list of things that we want to get into the game, but step 1 is building the core features like construction, crafting, and combat.


What about the family model? Two people have a kid and that childs traits is based on the parents and the father passively trains him/her on his.trade at home etc… also I hope you mange to.answer one of my questions today


We want your settlers to have relationships: to fall in love, mourn each other when they die, etc. Kids are tough. We’re not sure how to model kids moving from infant through childhood to adulthood. Maybe we can do something simple like have an infant to pow instantly “levels up” to a little kid then bam later becomes a full grown adult. We’ll keep thinking about it.


I just want to say that I’ve seen your kickstarter and watched you do your thing on twitch and I’m really impressed with how professionally you speak to your audience. (Both of “you”… I didn’t pay enough attention to discern which brother was speaking when.)

That kind of approach seems to be lacking in your industry lately. I feel like being “edgy” or arrogant as an “alpha male” move is too common. Asking for millions of dollars from complete strangers should be an exercise in humility, not a middle finger in the face of “haters” who said you’d never make it. Not only have you put out a great looking product at the kickstarter level, you also have found a way to connect with people and bring them into your process.

I can’t wait for this game. It looks really fun to play and I like you guys as people and would be happy to support your work.


Thanks for the compliment. I chalk this up to our kinda-stuffy business software backgrounds. For us software is serious business, even when it’s fun software like games!


What programming language are you using for the engine?


C++11 and Open GL


This is a pretty broad question, but since the KS video states the core focus of the game is crafting and building. What kind of things do you see in the crafting aspect of the game? Will there be a supply and demand type deal, like after so many items the blacksmith will require new tools / soldiers new weapons and armor?


Crafting is going to all about managing your resources. For example, let’s look at the Carpenter:

Right from the get-go, the Carpenter can craft furniture, wooden swords that let you upgrade people into soldiers, and wooden irrigation pipes that will up the productivity of your farms. So there’s lots of stuff you COULD craft, but you’re limited by the amount of wood you can chop down and more importantly your Carpenter’s time.

So you have to choose, what’s most important? Shelter, army, or food? The answer will depend on what’s going on in your game at the moment and what your long term goals are.

And we will have interdependence between the crafters. The blacksmith will need help from the mason to craft his forge, etc.


Hi, I was just wondering about the sight on the map that you’re playing on. Will you be able to see the whole of the map at once and everything that happens on it or will you be forced to like send villagers/soldiers to investigate certain parts of the map (fog of war). Keep up the good work. This game is going to be epic.


We are planning on fog of war.


Hey guys! I backed you already and am quite excited for the release of the game. My question was, what got you started into game development and what were some amusing success/failures early on that helped shape where you are now? Best of luck in the future!


Thanks for backing us!

We both really like video games and we like building things (which is why we both chose software for careers), so building a game is just a dream come true.

A lot of our early failures come from being too ambitious. For instance, we originally imagined the game as a full 3D (not voxel) game that looked more like Warcraft 3 or something. Moving to a voxel-type game immediately limited a lot of what was possible, but those limitations allowed us to focus on exactly what we were most excited about (building, crafting, and modding), and just cut off a lot of things that ended up being distractions.


How did you guys get started in the gaming industry? And when did you know that being apart of it was something you wanted to do?


We’ve been hovering around the game industry for a while, mostly involved with fighting games. 15 years ago I started a big fighting game website http://shoryuken.com, and started Evo a fighting game tournament which has grown into this mammoth thing. Tony has worked on some game tech like GGPO, network middleware for high-action games like fighting games.

We’re just life long gamers and have always been around games.


Can you replant trees?

Is mining/geomancer terrain changing permanent?


You can probably replant trees eventually. Seems like a good feature.

Terrain changes are permanent. If you dig a hole, you can always fill it in later, but the hole is a real hole and will stay there.


Will there be hats? I want hats.


How can we not have hats?!


But we also feel a lot of responsibility now to not let everyone down. This is a good thing! The pressure keeps us motivated to deliver the best game we can.

Beyond having the freedom to create the exact vision you want in a game, how is the above sentiment any different from a day job… Pressure to deliver and a lot of responsibility to not let your company down so that you still have a job.


Well, first the work is just a lot more fun. It’s way more fun to think about epic monsters and magic than IT business software. Second, we’re working for ourselves now, so the rewards are potentially much bigger. Not just financially, but the satisfaction of having built your vision and other people enjoying the thing that you built.

But your point is correct. It’s still a job.


I can’t wait for the game and especially if we get COOP. I have a couple of questions.

  1. Will there be automatic trade between cities? So can i have a friend who is focused on food output and another on raw materials while i focus on producing elite men? And we see real trade between these cities?

  2. Will everything be represented with viewable motions. For example if my crops are harvested, will they drop on the floor till someone picks them up and carries them to the store house and then will then be picked up by whoever wants it next. Instead of automatically being used when needed?

My questions are very realism focus i guess, i just love the sense of a real city with real systems that move and interact with eachother.


  1. Not right away. To do this we would have to have some kind of communication between the game you’re playing and your friends’ games. It’s a good idea and we’ve thought about it, but it’s not at the top of our list.

  2. Yes. You can see this sort of stuff in the kickstarter video, where the workers physically lift up blocks of wood from the harvested tree and carry them to be stored.


Congratulations on the new adventure, Tom! I sincerely hope you guys make it.


Thanks! Me too!


Have you thought about having kings and queens as a stretch goal? I think that might make for some interesting gameplay


We’ve thought about it, but that’s a tough one because it implies a certain kind of city. If I’m the kind of player that’s building a monastery or a trade-city, then maybe I don’t want a king or queen, so that stretch goal has no appeal.


So…GGPO support?


Ha. We will have great co-op multiplayer, but it won’t use GGPO.


I checked out your kickstarter video and I was very impressed! I get paid this Saturday and I have serious intentions of helping you out. It looks like a better version of Minecraft! I seriously hope this becomes a big thing. Good luck, guys!




Would you rather model 100 duck size horse pixel models, or 1 horse size duck pixel model?


100 duck sized horse pixel models. Do one then copy/paste!


Will there be turtles in the game?


Hadn’t thought about it, but anything is possible? Just regular turtles, or…


Can you explain to me what the games about?


Our Kickstarter video and page explain it pretty well.

Stonehearth is a game about exploration and survival in an epic fantasy setting. Your job is to help a small group of settlers survive and carve out a place for themselves in a hostile land. You’ll need to establish a food supply, build shelter, defend your peope, and find a way to grow and expand, facing challenges at every step.

Starting from procedurally generated terrain with dynamic AI encounters, Stonehearth combines city sim and good old combat with infinite building possibilities. It’s built to be moddable at every level, from your city, to the people and creatures inhabiting the world, and will ship with the tools and documentation for you to add your own customizations to the game, and share them with friends.


What’s your favorite DnD/Table-Top Role Playing story?


I really like the old Palladium TMNT and Robotech games.


I can’t wait to watch that.


sqweee!! that was one of my questions… so here is another, very appropriate, sqweee!!

oh, and thanks for the collation @CannonJunior:slight_smile:

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