So, I’ve been having a little think about zones, the kind of zones we want, and how they might work best in Stonehearth…
1. Overlapping Zones
Some zones clearly need to overlap other zones. For example, a military patrol route might cut through the trapper’s hunting zone, or a carpenter’s workshop zone might have a small stockpile or two in it. I do not think there should be any need to overlap the existing (non-mining) zones though - just the new ones below.
2. Merging Zones
By this, I mean the option of having identical zones adjacent to one another become one zone, rather like floor plans in the building editor. This would ensure that odd-shaped rooms etc can be properly created for a single zone.
3. Zone Menu
I’m probably jumping ahead a little bit here, but I think we can get away with just 5 new buttons in the zone creation UI: Mining zones (@Tom showed off how they’d work in a Desktop Tuesday recently), Ownership zones, Military zones, Organisation zones, and Exclusion zones. Read on for what the last 4 all do, and their sub-types…
4. Farming Zones: New Options
Rather than create a brand new type of zone, expand the regular farming zones to include the following options: orchard, plantation, and pasture . These will be used to ensure a renewable supply of fruit and wood for your settlement: berry bushes, apple trees etc could be placed in orchards, and oak or pine trees etc could be grown in plantations. The pasture option is obviously for farming various animal types. Note that under this scheme, your farmers would no longer plough up fallow fields, because that would obviously be of little use for these 3 new options.
5. New Zone: Ownership Zones
When you drag this down, you have five options: Unclaimed, Pick Hearthling, and Public Use, Barracks, and Great Hall. The first means that the first hearthling to claim the zone will own it, with the game AI determining who that ends up being. The second means you must select a hearthling from a drop-down menu (must show professions!) to own the zone and everything inside it - beds & chairs can only be used by the owner, etc. Add a check-box to permit the chosen hearthling’s family to use the zone too, if that’s ever a thing in the game. The Public Use option means that everything in the zone remains unclaimed, including things like beds etc - it’s always a “first come first served” area. The Barracks will be reserved exclusively for military hearthlings, who can claim beds etc in it, and the Great Hall becomes the preferred meeting & partying place for all your hearthlings. These options should also be given to buildings, but that’s for another topic .
6. New Zone: Military Zones
These can be created just about anywhere, and come with several options: Training Field, Patrol Route, Chokepoint, Guard Point, Bunker. Your guards will spar with each other and combat dummies at a Training Field to improve their combat abilities (combat dummies & archery targets sold separately). A Patrol Route must have a squad assigned to it by day and by night (including “no squad” if you want), and will cause that squad to alter its sleep patterns to fit (as there aren’t squads in the game yet, we can just use individual footmen). A Chokepoint area means that your soldiers will rush to defend it if an enemy attacks, and try to stop any enemies getting between the Chokepoint and any stockpiles or campfires (they can be assumed by the AI to be in the direction of the town). A Guard Point is like a stationary Patrol Route - pick squads to guard it at day & night, and they’ll hang around there all the time and keep an eye on everyone and everything. Useful to guard your bank vault from pirates, ninjas and politicians for example. Finally, the Bunker zone tells your hearthlings to hurry to this location (or the nearest bunker zone) in the event of an attack, keeping them safe and out of sight/mind/danger whilst the soldiers do their thing.
7. New Zone: Organisation Zones
This option is a sort of catch-all for all the various other zone types that you may want to pop down. For example, a hospital zone for injured units, a throne room for your leader, zones for prisons, arenas, caged beasts, and so on.
8. New Zone: Exclusion Zone
Simply put, this tells your hearthlings to not enter this area if at all possible. You can set it to allow military units or particular professions to enter, however - perhaps your trapper has permission to risk the haunted woods. Ideally it also works by making travel through the exclusion zone very expensive for the pathfinding algorithms, forcing your hearthlings to go around it as well. Ideal if you spot some monsters and don’t wish to disturb them.
Well that’s me done - would love to hear what everyone thinks, especially @sdee and the team at Radiant . I’ve tried to do a really comprehensive list of what everyone’s going to want etc, but if I’ve missed something say so !