Neutral thoughts

The idea stems from an observation in the “Slept in a shared room” shouldn’t be a thing thread.

In that thread, the idea was floated that the negative thought for sleeping in the same room because it didn’t make sense, and that the heartlings should only enjoy the positive thought related to sleeping.
@Brackhar objected that the reason for the negative thought was to hint at the player that it is something the player can improve upon to make it better for his/her hearthlings.

It is about the existence of a thought that the hearthling slept in a shared room, and if it didn’t exist, the player would not so easily find out that it could improve that point.

Now in that thread, ideas have come up to fix that, but the concept is still there: a situation were the negative thought doesn’t make sense to exist, but needs to be there to hint to the player that it can be better.

This is where neutral thoughts would come in. It is a way to show what hearthlings think, even when these thoughts aren’t that important to them. This way, the player can see what the hearthlings notice.

So in the case of the shared rooms, to make it so that the hearthlings won’t be sad about a shared room, while also being happy when the get their on room, you simply mimic that in the thoughts system. Sleeping in a shared room has a neutral thought, while sleeping in the hearthlings own room will get a happy thought.

With this suggestion, I trying to fix the current systems flaw that the game can’t communicate to the player that it cares about aspects unless the current circumstances of those aspects have an impact on the gameplay.


We already have some simple quests to push progression in the game. What if the player could receive a lower tier of quests, with for example: “name of hearthling” dreams of a private room. (might need to be a bit more elaborated)

And then there could be some points that needs to be fullfilled? A bed (maybe of some special kind?) A table, a window, a certain size of the room and so forth?

The “prize” for completion could then be a constant happyness bonus to that hearthling or just some gold?

That could be tied in with all kinds of quests and give the player a better indication and relationship with each hearthling?

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We considered neutral thoughts, but ultimately passed on it for clutter reasons. If we add neutral thoughts, and use them regularly, there will be times when the hearthling thought display will be cluttered with a bunch of entries that are not having an immediate impact on their happiness.


Then how about a new thing called “wishes” which then would be separate from thoughts and would serve as a guideline on things upon which the player can improve for the Hearthlings to feel better.

Like little icons on the bottom of the thoughts page…

A few such wishes could be:

  • “I wish I had my own room.” (and so the negative thought, which makes little sense, can go or stay with loners only)
  • “I wish we had chairs and tables.”
  • “I wish my room was more decorated.” (this would trigger if the hearthling had his/her own room, and then a decorated room would also be a +)

and so on…


I don’t know if there is going to be progression in the needs of hearthlings at some point, but the neutral thought/wishes system could in that case be used to anticipate the player on things hearthlings will not yet experience as negative thoughts. The negative scenario could then result into a wish (I wish I had this, but its no big deal that I don’t have it.), whilst the positive scenario could end up in a very positive thought (or maybe a “priviliged” thought.).

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For the sake of my curiousness, how do you mean it would be cluttered?

I see multiple ways (UI layouts) in which you could have considered neutral thoughts.

Did you mean having normal positive/negative thoughts with zero effect, a third column for neutral thoughts or a separate section or something different.

Currently the system only bubbles up negative thoughts (things the player should act on) and positive thoughts (things that reinforce positive player choices). This limits the display of things to stuff the player should actively be caring about. If we include neutral thoughts in that display, what are neutral thoughts representing? Probably just information that may or may not be of use to the player at the given point. That is new information, and wouldn’t replace or reduce the need/number of negative/positive thoughts in the game. As a result, more info will be regularly displayed in the thoughts dialog, thus making the list longer, causing the UI to take more space, and/or obscuring the positive/negative thoughts that design wise we want the player to pay more attention to. That’s what I mean by cluttered.

This isn’t a bad approach, but I wonder what this does that the current thought system doesn’t allow us to do?

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