On Multiplayer Mode

This is going to be a long one. You have been warned. :slight_smile:

This whole thing is tied up to what is Stonehearth, at least what its creator thinks it should be. Is it a sandbox build game/toy with party combat/RPG elements? Is it an RTS/RPG hybrid with a heavy dose of build components?

The distinction is important from both technical and aesthetic reasons. With the game heavily geared toward one over the other, taking the game into the opposite direction would mean a stronger feeling of multiplayer features being a bolt-on, meaning less fun. Not to mention a major rework of the technical undercarriage.

Stonehearth geared toward its build side is going to feel a bit contrived if the multiplayer mode focus on multiplayer competitive combats and vice versa.

At the moment, I would say the build side predominates. This means any form of competitive combats are out. This leaves collaborative build and combat options being significantly more promising.

Between the two, I would say collaborative build looks more in line with the existing feature set. There are a total of 4 combat classes vs 10 build/support classes not counting the worker. Combat commands are limited to go, fight, and defend location.

Now the game is still in alpha. The current feature sets might not be where the game will end up or what its creator has envisioned. If Radiant introduces 4 new combat classes tomorrow together with lots of combat options, then maybe the head-to-head combat might be viable.

I have not touched the RPG side, since it’s a lot less developed in my view. As it is, the RPG side is there mostly to add a bit of replay value. Play with different party mix with stats and traits, that sort of things. It also serves as a choose-your-own-challenge mechanic. Try playing hard mode with 1 mind 1 body 1 spirit toons and all pessimist trait. Finally it provides a narrative illusion about playing with distinct toons rather than nameless automatons.

Personally though, I’d like Radiant to go into the multiplayer RPG dirrction. Not because it is easier, but because it is the only

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Whoops… hit create by mistake. The ligic for taking into RPG is for diffentiation reason. Minecraft reins supreme in collaborative build category. Lots of MOBA and RTS already exist there is no need for another one. That leaves RPG. Though I’ll admit that it would feel even more bolt-on.

Hum, I can see what you’re say. (currently have a cat in my lap. So, apologies for any mistakes) It looks to be leaning towards a co-op experience rather than head to head, like say ‘Total War’. Though as time goes on, and more combat classes are added. (Slingers, Cavalry, Grenadiers?) It might get a bit more in the middle. Also, Goblin wolf and Orc boar Cav! :smiley: (Yes, I like Warhammer Fantasy. So, sue me)

Really the only way I could see a PvP version would be if they released monster factions. The playable kingdoms all seem to be led by paragons of honor, compassion, inventiveness, etc. It would be counter to fundamental ideals of the factions themselves, just my opinion. So that would leave co-op mode.

I’ve said it before, but I would be tickled to death if they released some form of multiplayer where you played a single hearthling living in your factions major city. Minor quests/missions to get you started with some gold at which point you could purchase a tool to start plying your trade, purchase an empty plot of land to build a shop or home, and complete a series of trade requests to advance your craft. Visit other players shops to purchase supplies or decorations you’re not able to make yourself. Combat classes could form parties, head out to help fledgling towns get their feet under them, explore dungeons, and raid large monster camps. (Kinda like a reverse version of the current system where the monsters are building a population hub while you and your fellow hearthlings attempt to keep them from progressing.) Combat classes would still need to have gear upgrades and repairs which could help new crafters. Perhaps once you felt like you’d achieved what you wanted on that particular character you would have the option to retire the character which would then allow them to be placed into an embarking crew to serve as the head of a new settlement where they could…well, settle down.

I realize that would take new systems and could technically be it’s own game in and of itself with a tie in for retirement. A Stonehearth MMO with a class system similar to FFXIV just sounds like it would be so much fun lol.

I really like the sound of that. I can agree with your thoughts about enemy factions as well. However, I can say that a multiplayer mode with the current factions… Would be possible. Picture this, 2, 3 or 4 players appear in a world and start there settlements. Two of them for an alliance to protect themselves from goblins. While this is going on the other players in the game decide to build an Empire and start working on an army. They declare war and charge with quick strike. While the factions are honorable, those under there banner don’t have to be. XD On a side note with the mmo, I would join the goblins as a spy. :smiley:

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One thing I’d tack on is in reference to the Team’s request for “Gameplay Goals and Reasons” rather than just “Features” And “Why” rather than “What”. For me we need Multiplayer for these to over-arching reasons: We want to see Player Collaboration, and we want to see Player Competition. Player Collaboration adds the ability for friends to play off of each others’ strengths and adds significantly to the social elements of the game. This ensures that you have a richly organic way for the community to grow. Player Competition adds incentive to explore and experiment to find more optimized strategies for your settlement beyond the minimum requirement to complete the end game content. This also means that you have an effectively infinitely scaling difficulty for those that desire the challenge, as other players will always find new ways to challenge each other.

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I can agree with those points. Now, for some cheese! :slight_smile: begins to eat On another note. Boar cav. o o

Now that I think about it. What the map need to be bigger for multiplayer? Would it scale up, depending on how many are in the game. What would the cap be? I can see political options, even a Diplomat Class strictly for multiplayer. Used to deliver trade deals, warnings against trespassing and declaring war (or begging for peace). I could see building of defenses, marching of armies, settling of siege equipment… Ah, to be medieval again. XD

It would be awesome though if you could have different villages with friends and help eachother.
And with random people you could make alliances or attack them. You can make trading roads, helping eachother, or burn them down :imp:

We did “turn-based multiplayer” a couple of times here by passing a save file around. There’s plenty of space for more than one large city even on the current map.

When i looked at the game Albion online and their system, i thought that something like that could be cool in Stonehearth.
Basiclly it has a worldmap with different tier zones (pve,both and pvp) then there are some npc cities where players can set up a shop to trade with other players. And the player can purchace their own little island where they can do what they want.
At least the system seems to work so everyone can be in the same world even though they prefer different playstyles.
I would suggest @Brackhar to maybe take a look at their system?

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I never played that game. Though, a few of my friends have. So the map size is fine, but what could be done to help the multiplayer experience along? Again a diplomatic class, more classes? More building options? Archer towers, over looking territory, line of sight, fog of war? …

lol, I keep making it sound like StoneHearth: Total War.

Before any of this happens a massive overhaul to performance has to be done. The game gets sluggish on very well built machines. That’s around the 35ish people spot. With multiplayer your talking at least double that. When your in the map selection, do you limit where you can spawn? Do you make it to where you can spawn anywhere? What about NPCs? If they are spawning there’s more lag. If they figure out a way I’m all for it, but me personally, I’d rather see them wait on multiplayer till the technology is there to run it rather than ruin the game trying to satisfy a few people who feel they are “owed” that because of the kickstarter.


I’m with yah on that. However, coming up with these ideas are just that, ideas. After all, its fun to brain storm this stuff. Asking questions to a community is a way to get things refined. If the techs not there, cool. Just can’t stop thinking on it though. So, on with more brain storming.

On the map spawn. Might work to have each player color coded. That way when the world is first formed. As well as new ones login or rejoin they can get back to there plot. That actually brings up another point. What happens when one player goes away. Their hearthlings would keep going if someone is still on, right? o o

Personally I wonder if Multiplayer wouldn’t be best served almost by the inclusion of a “Persistant world”. As in, not just have the player choose where they want to spawn in the region generated for them, but also choosing a specific geographic region on a greater world map(instead of limiting this to a simple menu of X or Y biome).

By doing this, multiplayer could be both direct and indirect.

For indirect MP, you could see stuff like setting up “trade routes” between settlements that could be traveller by merchants manualy sent to each others with selections of wares each players specifically want to sell.

More direct gameplay could be achieved by the sending of troops to each others… be it as a “support expeditionary force” meant to help another player deal with monster raids… or a more direct hostile PvP gameplay “raid” where combat units selected for the mission would thus be used to try to raid the other settlement and steal ressources/etc. Assuming PvP is disrable in the first place(though it might be if “hostile” factions become playable someday).

Another option for “direct multiplayer” action would be to take another leaf from Dwarf Fortress and to add in a direct control “adventure mode” where a player control not a party of settler but a lone adventurer or very small party of such(where the RTS-like control of Stonehearth might be a good blend for western-RPG style gameplay if you control a whole party) and thus wander the world itself doing, well, adventure in a quest for fame and glory.

This could tie very nicely in an assymetric multiplayer experience if the “Settlers” can build stuff like weapon shops and Inns/Tavers that could be frequented by both PC and NPC(for PC to recruits) adventurers and implemented the support to give adventurer “Quests” if your own where you set the material rewards(whereas difficulty of the objecitve might automatically award a set amount of “Fame” for the adventurer player).

Missions could include stuff pertaining to both the direct environment of the settler or stuff out in the greater world. For example:
-A goblin camp is close to my town on this map! Destroy it! You’ll get shiny gold
-The goblins from this camp come from a nearby goblin village in the greater world. Please deal with them so they stop sending these camps of raiders! You’ll even get a shiny masterwork sword crafted by our smiths!
-Our town’s guard is underarmed and our traders keep getting assaulted by bandits on the routes here! We’ll give you Xgold for each pieces of Y ore you bring us back!
-We’ve managed to make a really nice piece of armor, we’d gift it for you to equip on one of your party if you can deal with those bandits harassing our traders preventing us from contactin other settlements.
-Settlement B is a bunch of gobflanged jerks who keep raiding our stuff. Please deal with them, awesomerRank adventurer?
-We heard there’s a magic relic out there in the world which give all nearby workers a productivity boost. We’d be ready to give you gold and even let one of our own guardsmen permanently join you if you bring it back to this town!

That kind of stuff, I feel a “wider, permanent world” and adventure mode could lead to a LOT of interesting stories in a multiplayer context(And it’s not even going into stuff like the ability to revisit fallen settlements as an adventurer to try and clear the monsters or eldritch Titan who now haunt the place)

That WOULD be awesome to have a constant world, but the problem (in my mind) with that is destruction of the world it’s self. A bigger world means more places to build, more room for cities. One the flip side of that, less respect for the world you’re in. After all, resources would be scarce in a small world. So planning is needed. Where in a large constant. Few would care for such things and simply build upon another’s ‘turf’. Prefer the current size for the map simply because it gets people thinking more.

I’m not thinking of a “singular zone” world as we currently have. I’m thinking of a large “world map” where you select a square/hex/whatever that your “region” would then generate from.

Thus two settlement would rarely if ever be played on the same singular map, but you could then “zoom out” to a “world map” scale and then order, say, a move order to another hex/square region of the map that would be generated as a separate instance only active for you if people are around in it.

A persistent world will be nice but currently impractical given the technology constraints of stonehearth. The game bogs down with high hearthling count in a single player game. In a persistent world multiplayer game, the number of hearthlings go up linearly with the number of concurrent players, which in itself is already a problem. But hearthling AI requires individual hearthling to evaluate what to do next. As objects in the world scale up along with hearthling count, the AI calculation should scale up exponentially.

While a contiguous persistent world seems like a logical progression, I just don’t think that it will be particularly easy as of now. Maybe Radiant can optimize its hearthling AI enough in time to make the idea feasible. But you must see vast improvement in single player game performance as a precursor of the the persistent world multiplayer mode.

I’m specifically talking about one separated into “instances”, not contiguous. An in-game map as we currently have in the game would be only akin to a single “hex” of the map, with all hex being separate instances… instances that would be only active(in term of actual processing) if players are actually in them.

Otherwise their only impact might be “Well, X hex right next to your settlement’s hex is supposed to have a goblin camp, therefore it increase your chance of goblins-related events by Y% for your settlement as long as X hex features a goblin village”. This wouldn’t need to process the singular movement of goblin units within their own hex of the map because that would take way too much processing prowess… but the proximity of the goblin village’s hex would increase the likehood of goblins events on your hex.

Even if the world is “larger” the only part of it the game would consider for most of the processing is the ones in which players are into. And only in a separate player basis so you wouldn’t have to try and process what’s going in another player’s hex if they are hundred of hexes away from you on the “world” map and you have no hearthling there.

But the world map could detect a “X hex has a presence of Y player’s hearthling” to track the world-map movement of unit(through their presence, rather than processing the individual action for every players out there) so that it could detect that another player’s trade caravan is heading your way… and thus process/computer their action for you only when they enter your own hexe.

That’s what I mean by worldmap.
Not one contiguous map where everything must be processed all at once for everyone in the server at all time, but instead a set of hexes each representing separate instances that are only loaded and processed if players actively have a settlement in there, and only for the related player(similarly an “Adventure” player would only ever be concerned by the one hexe in which they currently moved into).

Thus the impact of the rest of the world’s hexe rather than be actions constantly processed on a minute hearthling basis would be more of a buff/debuff kind of deal where say proximity to a Goblin Village’s hexe would do something like give you a “+50% chances of goblin events in your village” debuff or something like that?

I’m not sure if anything I say make sense.

But the idea is that I know a contiguous world would never make sense which is why I’m talking of one separated into instances-based hexes that could be loaded only when you’re actively “in” there?