Time again for one of my poorly written, way-too-long, doesn’t make sense, what are you trying to say topics! WHOO!!!
Haha, no, but I wanted to take a second here and once again write about what I think, or rather, where I think Stonehearth should go in terms of gameplay direction. I bring up this topic because of one of the latest streams on Twitch, where I believe it was Stephanie who started discussing the ideas behind that question, and in one instance, the idea of having Stonehearth be a game where you create a central city, and then can build off of that by adding additional towns and cities to other maps and in the end, combine them of all to form a massive empire.
I’ve said something like this from the start.
But! To add to this, here’s my little list of ideas to expand off that main concept.
The first thing I’d argue is that I’d say the game, in terms of map expansion or moving to another map, should work somewhat close to Sim City 4.
For those that don’t know about Sim City 4 or don’t know what I mean - when first choosing where to build in Sim City 4, you where given this huge map, the map divided into a huge number of sections, large, medium, and small squares, expressed here in the image below.http://lazarus.elte.hu/hun/digkonyv/szakdolg/katona/image/pc_game/037_01_sim_city_4_map.jpg
In this form, you had this the ‘world map’, and then once you chose a tile to build in, well, let’s just say that was the ‘city map’.
From there, once in your selected tile, you could build as you please. If you backed out to the World Map, and then started building in the tile adjacent to the one you just built in, you could connect roads, establish essentially trade routes and deals, and share resources.
Anyway! I think Stonehearth should work something close to this. For one, there’s talk about the edge of the map. I can get behind the idea of the map edge behind an open book. It actually sounds really cute. However, what about off in the distance? What does the player see then? I’m going off topic here, I know… But I’d say that it’d be cool to have the map edge be representative of the next tile over. So for example, if you’re in the forests, your starting tile is mostly just flat lands and dense forests. To the North, you have a large lake and to the West you have a bunch of medium-sized mountains.
In this case, what does the player see? I think it’d be asking too much to actually get a photo-copy of what the tile looks like. Rather, I think it should be some large cartoon, hand-drawn image in the background, so that if you’re looking North, you’ll see some cartoon trees and a lake in the distance. And if you look to the West, you’d see essentially just construction-paper mountains.
Furthermore, to answer how you could combine both the book-border idea and the cartoon image background idea, I’d argue having some clouds in the mix to add a type of buffer zone if you will.
Alright… totally went off topic there, but you get the point!
ANYWAY! Back to it - Sim City 4, tiles, Stonehearth Empire - all that stuff.
I think the player should start off choosing from a huge map where he wants to settle down. After a while of playing, if the player decides the location is really great and wants to keep it, they could decide to make that location the central city, or tile, of their empire.http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18m6g2ol2to1wjpg/original.jpg
From there they can send out more scouting expeditions. There are many options with this, but for now, since I talk too much as it is, let’s just say this expedition is to build a new settlement. Let’s say you want to go build a mining town since your central tile has no mountains to mine from, for example.
You create a new roster from your available Hearthlings, and then tell them which direction to head out.
A couple things here - For simplicity, let’s use an example and say you tell your scouting party to head out West.
You head West, it unlocks that new tile. It’s clear of enemy encampments and all that stuff and has plenty of resources. So, you can claim that land, setup a trade route with your central tile to start taking what you mine from that town and ship it over to your main city - this would be an excellent reason to finally include horse-drawn wagons and carts, and maybe even small supply boats… Just saying… Hint, hint, wink, wink, nudge, nudge, kiss, kiss… What?
You head West, but it’s full of enemy camps. You decide to move to the next tile over and build there instead. You don’t clear out those enemies and two things happen. One, since this new tile you built on is one tile further away from your central one, it’ll take even longer to get shipments from that mining town. And two, because of the enemies, you open yourself up to attack and possible robbery of your resource shipment. This creating an opportunity for the player to decide if they wish to create a small army of footmen and handle the problem, or just pay ransom.
And overall, that’s the gist of things. Now expand this idea further with a huge selection of built-on tiles and multiple trade routes setup and everything.
Now, there is one thing. I remember when I last brought up this idea, the question was asked on what exactly would happen if you left your central tile let’s say and went over to a new town. What happens in that central tile while you’re away? I think for gameplay sake, your central tile would essentially be on ‘Pause’ until you return. You could take this a little further and say that if you were building something, leave to another tile and were gone long enough, I’d say it would be perfectly fine to allow that construction to finish-up while you were away. So basically, if you had the right resources, whatever the cost of the building, the game would automatically deduct it from your storage and just have the building finished when you came back. If you didn’t have the right amount of resources then the building wouldn’t be completed. Pretty standard.
Additionally, the question I’m referring to also asked about Goblin attacks and what have you. Like I said, I think largely overall, while you’re away, your other tiles are essentially on ‘Pause’. Can’t have 18 different maps / tiles / towns / cities, what have you all working and computer-processing at the same time… That’d be crazy!
But, I like the idea of Goblin attacks. I’d say as a toggle-able option for the player, while you’re away you can potentially get alerts that another tile is being attacked by raiders or Goblins, and that alert could give you the option to immediately save your progress and load you into that conflict.http://img03.deviantart.net/4c8b/i/2015/223/f/c/stonehearth_village_raid_by_pandemictyler-d9590rk.png
Finally! There’s the idea of re-playability. Because, what happens after you build your empire? What happens when essentially you’re too strong? A common problem in a lot of games.
Well, a few things. One, I think this is where Titans make an excellent addition to Stonehearth! Once you’ve made massive cities and armies, the next best challenge isn’t just some Goblin camp, but rather this massively powerful, huge boss-type monster.
Second, now that you’ve made an impact in your world map, you’ve disturbed the peace, and created an empire - I think in terms of singleplayer, this creates an opportunity for any enemy types, an example being the Goblins, to want to strike back with force. What I’m getting at here is the idea of having very large-scale battles between the player and an enemy empire. Moreover, you could make these battles in two different fashions. One being just a battle, period. Literally no reason for it other than just battling. Two though, being a fight for land. You win the battle, you keep your tile. You lose the battle, you lose your tile.
— To avoid going another huge rant here, I’m starting to get a bunch of ideas here for battles and multiplayer, but I’ll spare you guys from that. Overall though, you get the picture!
Anyway, third and finally, in terms of re-playability, I’d say another addition to keep the player going would be to have quests. First, allow the player to choose which Hearthling they want to be their ‘Hero’. Attach a group of archers and footmen (and maybe some cavalry units COUGH COUGH) and whatnot, and send them out on a quest.
Quests I think should be small, tiny little maps - inside a cave, in a swamp, mountain hills, whatever it may be - just specific locations to fight through. Story-wise, this not only allows for the development of the portals Team Radiant mentioned they wanted to include in their game, but also allows for the community to get involved and create maps themselves to share with everyone!http://www.technobuffalo.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Stonehearth.jpg
HUH! Okay… That’s it.
Now, let’s have a discussion! What do you guys think? Let me know what’s wrong with my idea, and what you think would be an even cooler way of going about all of this!
Let me know!