Let's Talk Exploration

Hey guys, while I was reading @theFipmip’s topic about the world border specifically regarding exploration, I realized that the entire topic of exploration needs discussion. The first thing I did was what any good discourse member should do: I searched ‘exploration.’ I found that this very matter had been discussed several times in the past, however they were posted a long time ago, and I don’t feel they fully dealt with the issue. So now it is my turn to take a stab at it.

There are three major problems ( from how I see it)

Problem number one is that nothing (currently) is hidden from the view of the player. Even the fog of war or underground of the map do not mask areas from the players sight.

Problem two if the fact that you cannot control your hearthlings directly. Even if caverns or abandoned castles were added you could not explore them properly.

Problem number three is time… Specifically, the ratio between how much time it takes to make one exploration event and how much time it takes to play that event is terribly disproportionate. The team could spend a week or more making a simple event, and a player could play it in five minutes.

In order to get exploration in the game one needs to deal with these three problems. By Implementing the node concept discussed in the Kickstarter video, the team could some these three problems(Although this may be very time consuming, it is a one time task.) Here’s how it will work.

The first problem is nullified because you’d be able to see the nodes on the map but not the event itself, since they would either be “shrouded” in darkness or just an icon on a map.

The second problem is solved by adding a new type of party command called “exploration” or perhaps “interact with node” this will allow the hearthlings to switch their pathfinding to an appropriate exploration mode.

The third problem is dealt with in a slightly risky way, but I think it can work. The team builds a tool or prototype to make nodes, then the community can supply the nodes. This would take the workload off the team, and allow for the community to literally change the game. The team could designate trusted community members (yes this is is inspired by @Relyss’s recent promotion) to screen the nodes before they are included in the game. ( Even if they don’t appoint community members, making sure the nodes are good will take much less time then making them from scratch)

This idea will take a lot of work from the team, but if it is implemented it will really add many of the much desired features to the game. For example it would add excitement, infinite content, community involvement, and obviously exploration itself. Best of all this idea has already been suggested by the team itself, this post is more of a reminder then anything else.

If you think my idea didn’t cover “all the bases” or perhaps you have a better idea(s) on how to solve the three issues mentioned above, please share them below. I’d love to read what you guys think.


excellent topic… :thumbsup:

I know I’ve been unplugged for quite some time, so forgive me if this particular suggestion has been discussed/addressed previously… procedural generation governs the landscape, but is something similar being used to create events/points of interest for the player?


“procedural generation governs the landscape,” I’m not a hundred percent sure what this means. Perhaps you could explain a little better?

sorry, meaning the world we play in is not hand crafted, but generated (using science!) randomly each time a new game is started …

this random (procedural) generation could also potentially be applied to generating random events or “points of interest” about the landscape…


I don’t see why not.

Edit: does anyone know if the team has discussed nodes at any point recently?

Great post! Now is the perfect time to start a conversation on content because it seems like a lot of the work the team is focusing on, like rigs, is really essential for community content. They’re making the tools for faster, better, and easier content creation which will really allow modders to pick up some slack for something like exploration nodes.

I really like your idea of having an “exploration” mode for Hearthlings. Part of my game-complete fantasy is having different parties of Hearthlings that can leave my town to go on adventures through dungeons or explore interesting points on the map. You’d create your party, let them loose, and check on them as they got stronger through battles or finding cool items in ruins.

Community content as the random map events is a good idea too, even if it’s something you’d have to opt in to. It would be great to have a really wide pool of content to encounter and i’m sure a lot of people would jump to make self contained little modules or encounters. As long as the team checks events to be in line with the game’s tone and style, i’d be happy. Perhaps if the community is free to make side quest style content, the team could focus solely on Stonehearth’s plot quests that can lead up to (maybe!) encountering Titans. This would make the game feel much more fleshed out than just an A --> B plot line.

Lastly, I believe last week’s DT talked a bit about the fog of war and making it more obscure or stylized. The issue is just that there isn’t much to hide except the landscape at this point. Once there are reasons for your Hearthlings to go beyond the walls of your city, the fog really must be changed to hide the map more effectively. That alone will make exploration much more satisfying.

I’d like fog of war outside your city.

Kinda like Age of Empires style where you can see the terrain(trees, mountains, etc) as it was generated. But when you actually reveal the place it can be changed(by possible lumberjacking npc’s?).

Adds a sense of exploration, and in the possible future of maybe other NPC towns, when you’d discover them it goes from that patch of trees in the darkness to a bustling village! What a delight!


What @Aviex is saying alone would add an automatic new level of exploration.

I really think is crucial that the team make fog of war actually conceal the terrain.


When I explain the game STONEHEARTH to friends I tell them it’s a voxel RTS in the vein of The Sims mixed with games like Age of Empires and I realized what Stonehearth is missing that I really remember from Age of Empire.

That feeling of exploration, when you took a scout(in age of empires sense) and explored areas and suddenly in an open coastline is a giant bustling city of another civilization. Now obviously these are 2 very different games, but this alone would make npc’s in Stonehearth and even possibly future multiplayer a ton better. It’ll add a sense of wonder. “What’s beyond that Canyon over yonder?”, “What could be lurker under that mountain?”.

You would have to send a “scout” to find out. Could be a nest of foes! Could be a friendly dwarf settlement. Who knows. It’s the exploration and the excitement that comes with finding out!


Just my thoughts but if exploration was greatly developed, then we could have an adventure class. Much like a Soldier, just not as strong just more survivability than a regular Hearthling. Maybe adding a fifth group flag, although I don’t think I have every used all four of the ones already present. At least it would open up some modding opportunities.

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A scout? Adventurer sounds like an upgrade to a scout. Possibly with a bow.

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That sound cool.

There has been some mention before on possible adventure classes. I am almost sure I saw something awhile back about one of the proposed races being explorer types. I don’t think there has been much movement on it, due to the current constraints that have been mention in this post. As the developers continue to improve the game I think it will become a more feasible topic and generate much discussion.

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I’m going to give this topic a bump. I feel like the team should see my idea, if only to get them thinking about the idea of exploration (and the importance of it) more.

I think to tie in to this could be having a small explorer party (similar to combat parties). You could only have one at a time, perhaps until they find a spot and begin a new sub-settlement, if you will. The you could have multiple “cities” you are working on at once.

So for example, you create an exploration party (call it 3 hearthlings: 1 Explorer, 2 workers). Upon finding a new spot you like, you set a settlement plot down (smaller fire pit and a smaller banner, perhaps?). Once the plot is selected, the Explorer turns into a carpenter…or could go right back to a worker. and then you select who gets the promotion (potter for those RC die-hards out there). Once down, it could act like a town of its own and allow new citizens to show, but still allow some interaction between the main town…phasing may be needed though to keep the engine from bogging down too much, but that is for folks much smarter at programming than I :stuck_out_tongue:

Edit: I type faster than my brain can manage at times…clarification and English structure corrections.

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@FlervaFlerv your point is a natural continuation from mine. Although I don’t see why you should limit to only one exploration party.

In other news, @Allie confirmed that she thinks that the fog of war should conceal the landscape.


Good news about the fog of war.

I say only one Exploration party from the stand-point of early game…maybe the number of explorers could be based on the population as a whole. Ideally, my thought process includes the fact that you still want some population back at “home base” and not leave them with no one.

Just a thought though :slight_smile:

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Tell her to take a loot at the classic age of empires fog of war!!!

Have three states for it “unknown”, “out of range” and “visible range”.

  • Unknown is pitch black, you have NO CLUE AT ALL what is out there.
  • Out of Range is land that has been explored but currently there are no unit there to see what’s going on. A goblin encampment could have spawned and you don’t know cause clearly you’re not there to see it.
  • Visible Range is pretty self explanatory, you see everything. Any units moving, any and all action in the area(basically what the default is now).

Please consier this @Allie(also @Sweet if you think this would make a good user experience)! It’d make the game a lot more immersive and would totally open the possibilities to a class like me and @Geokhan mentioned that fills a scout-like role. Also possible reasons for “sentry-like” structures, or turrets. Also those little pets you have from the trapper would fill even more of a role as they’d be your “first line of vision” for what’s going on outside with their wondering around.


I’m with you @Aviex the three tier system is a must in my books.

i support this, but than id want a UNLIMITED map size…

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Bigger map sizes are a plan for them. Just need more things going on in those giant maps first