Pathfinding/ Road Discussion

The question was already asked nearly a year ago in the first couple of weeks of the Kickstarter whether or not there would be roads. A response to this at the time was:

"We want our pathfinder to take into account the type of terrain, so there’ll be a cost, maybe the cost of traversing a road is half the cost of traversing grass which is half the cost of traversing rocky terrain. "

A year on and with some discussion on roads re-emerging I think it’d be interesting to open a new thread pertaining to how people imagine roads/ paths to work, what use they will have, and how they are constructed.

Following on from the discussion around the Stonemason:

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On the topic of roads, I think there will be multiple tiers, much as the idea to have multiple tiers of buildings and classes.

First is simple paths, which I’d say anyone can build. these speed up movement slightly.
Then you’ve got, say packed dirt/clay, again, anyone can do those, but they take a bit more time than paths, and they speed up movement a bit more.
When you get to “roads” in the real sense of the word, the first I would call roads, and they would be like the walls and such your talking about above.
While highways, larger, broader, and yet again giving a bigger boost to speed, requiring only mason (or whatever class ends up being the requirement) workers to make, because by the time you’re making some of these higher level buildings, you’re going to have a lot more workers.

My general thought is that, the more complex or high level the building, think of it in terms of much larger populations, as you probably won’t be building them to later, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility to have only stonemasons or only carpenters or the like working on something, as you’ll have a bunch by that time.

An interesting comment from the original thread was:

It would definitely be interesting if paths/ roads developed on their own - the most frequently trodden areas turning initially into dirt paths, which are then through more use upgraded into the packed dirt/clay you suggested @Lomico, then again depending on the thoroughfare can be upgraded into either arterial roads or collector roads (yes I’ve just been on Wikipedia and am amazed at the classification of roads).

Essentially I’d like Stonehearth to become Road Simulator 2K14.

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Quick idea- how about road disintegration? The most frequently trodden roads could eventually fall into disrepair, forcing you to fix it.

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the “problem” with paths developing on their own without your input is you get lots of straight lines radiating out of a central point, and as you build things, many of your paths get blocked or built over. There would need to be some way to designate where the paths are going if they develop themselves.
So, if paths slowly upgrade, and that’s how you create roads, maybe you should be able to lay down or designate paths, and then they can upgrade as they’re used (which seems like roughly what that post from the original thread was saying)

On the other hand, I’m thinking that, in the vein of all of these other aspects that are macro/micro manageable, in that you can either just glance over and they work, or dive deeper to get more out of it, roads should be the same, as it’s a core part of infrastructure.
I.E. You lay paths, and then they slowly upgrade over time naturally. However, you have the option of upgrading them yourself with workers (or stonemasons, etc.) and possibly also designating main roads for people to use.
Another thought of mine was dealing with other transportation means. We’re for sure having riding wolves, and I assume horses will be along as well. on the topic of resource moving, what about carts and such? this could be another way to micro manage your resource/road use, as you can designate/build carts for certain gatherers, and the like.

so, just a bunch of random thoughts, probably have more eventually lol. Now parse away!

Edit: @Swift_Cube interesting. could be something worth looking into depending on how roads work in the first place.

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This is a good idea. I would like to see that heavily used roads would need to be upgrade to cobblestone or brick. I also like the idea that roads naturally appear based on how often the path is used, but we would still have the option to make paths if we choose.

I also think that if roads are created by use that paths that stop being used would be reclaimed by nature. IE grass would eventually cover the path back up. That way you will not have random paths everywhere that are no longer being used.

That’s just what I was coming here to contribute. I’d like it to be somewhat realistic, though: only natural paths develop on their own from people walking on them a lot (less undergrowth etc.), but bricks and asphalt and such would need to be built by actual settlers. That would be my preference, anyway.

The above distinction could somewhat solve this problem too. There’d just be some natural quasi-paths here and there, but you’d still be able to make proper roads the way you want them to be. Whether you make use of the natural paths that developed automatically would be up to you.

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I think that natural paths would come up on there own and once you have i miner you can take the gravel and other leftover stuff from the mines and make gravel roads, once you have that you might went to use some of the stone you get from your quarry to cower the roads in stone, this way, the people that don’t want to focus on roads can get paths and those willing to can get high-end roads.

The gravel roads can be made by workers because all that is needed is covering it with gravel.
And the stone brick road would at least the mason to make the bricks and either a stone workman or workers to place them.

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Brilliant. That’s exactly how I would like it to be done.

I like the auto development of roads when you walk somewhere often. I imagine something like settlers 3.

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When will we have access to roads? Would be nice to have different types of roads, like the first one would be created when people walk on a line for a many times, the second one would be cobble stone and the third would be something more smooth like a slab? the first one would be like the one in timber and stone.

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If anyone has played timber and stone I like how you draw where you would like paths to be and the Ai prefers to walk on that path. Over time that auto turns to dirt. I like the idea of those paths being upgradeable with gravel/stone/cobble/planks. I think if the path option was in the building screen and then if the path was selectable the same way as a stockpile which would then give you upgrade options so that you can do a whole section at once and they could also be named like stockpiles can this potentially allow for street signs(Which I only just though of could be cool, if there was a generic sign option which took on the street name of which ever street it was on and lamps could go atop as well ). This way it would not be such a hassle and would not require too much micro managing. Otherwise I think the paths could devolpe naturally overtime if the player isn’t interested in doing it themselves.

I think we could use both options personally. Perhaps something like this:

  1. Game start: your people walk between buildings regularly etc, causing mud paths to form. They don’t provide any bonuses though (come on, it’s just mud).

  2. Early game: your stonecutter / mason can start replacing the above mud roads with gravel & stone. Grants a moderate (20%?) boost to movement.

  3. Mid/Late game: you start placing down high quality cobble/paved stone roads, pavements and the like. Provides a hefty (50%?) boost to movement, and lets you make pretty towns like the Kickstarter video showed.

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I think in Settlers 3, paths were actually created by “heavy” use. I don’t think they had any influence though, other than showing you where your workers were heading to/from.

Also, the path finder should allow for manual linkage of nodes, which might be difficult. I’m thinking of a variety of mods that could (or rather, need) profit from such a pathfinder. For example, a portal mod would require two places to be at the same (i.e. “there is a node between portalA and portalB using portalHandler that has a cost of 0”), a railway would require less costs (“from stationA to stationB, the cost is (amountOfTracks)*0.25”), airports too (airDistance * 0.2)…

However, this requires messing around with the internals of the path finder. I assume they are using something graph based, so we would need to be able to insert, modify and remove edges from that graph in lua.

Just implementing something for roads doesn’t go far enough in my opinion.

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Here is a mockup of what I think the road designer could look like. Forgive my mediocre Photoshop work…

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Please tell me squirrel roads are made out of actual squirrels.

Alas it appears to simply be made of their skulls :(.

I do like the mockup though @douglas_bright it is definitely the tried and tested formula, and seemingly the option that is most straightforward and makes the most sense, especially for the whole “make the settlement look how you want it to look” approach.

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Love the mock up by @douglas_bright !

I would be nice to see the ideas of multiple types of path and road come true from cheap gravel to wooden or stone paths and stone roads. Perhaps brick roads one day too.

Nice mockup there :smiley: .

I’ll take what I can get.

We can see a prototype for roads in the old trailer video:

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