I’ve been wanting to write this down for the past few days but this killer heat has stopped me time and time again lol. figured I might as well write it down now.
as the game is right now, we start off with a few hearthlings who have nowhere to stay, nothing to live off of, a couple tools, a campfire and a few blocks of wood. should they do nothing, they don’t move back to where they were before, they die. so survival is important for the hearthlings, more important that silly ideas like “private property” or “working for money”. as the settlement is small, we also only get 1 hearthling every day immigrating to our new town, which is not so much a town as it is a few stockpiles and beds out in the open. eventually, we get the stone mason, the farmer, the shepherd, the blacksmith, and so on. our town defends itself with footmen, archers, horsemen, crossbowmen (maybe) and the like. and that’s fine, as our tiny settlement is now able to sustain itself. Eventually we construct mighty buildings and erect enormous walls and towers to keep the wilderness out and to make clear once and for all who owns this patch of land. and that’s fine. but, as was made clear before, we’ll eventually want to make multiple of these towns, not just one. the fact that people who are not at risk of dying are still working for free doing slave labour is odd. the fact that only 1 hearthling wants to move into your mighty fortress is odd. constructing walls is not end-game, it’s early-game. there will be more than controlling a single small population. but in order to be able to do this, we’ll also have to move away from micro-managing and towards macromanaging. we can’t keep telling our hearthlings to tear down THIS tree and to construct THAT building RIGHT THERE. when having 3-4 settlements, that’s too much to keep track of, especially when they are biomes apart. and at this point, we should not be getting 1 hearthling a day between all 4 of our settlements, nor should we be getting 4 hearthlings, 1 for each settlement. there needs to be a steady but large change somewhere in the middle of the game where gameplay shifts from keeping a few people alive to making your kingdom thrive. and here are a few suggestions of mine to suggest how to do this.
first of all, our only indicator of city strength is “net worth”, and buildings are worth a lot more than manufactured goods. however, I feel that some of my suggested ideas should be locked to “city sizes” - basically, combining the size of nearby houses with the number of those houses - if I build 50 small huts, then my city would be a “village”, but I could get the same from building 20 large 2-3 story houses, complete with 3 rooms, a bathroom, attic, basement, living room, front room, and kitchen. building 50 of those houses would upgrade it to “town”, and even more would upgrade it to “small city”. at certain city sizes, we get an increase in immigration. upon reaching the status of town, we should be getting a good 10 hearthlings coming every day, with a random variation. also, many jobs would be limited to the town size - a blacksmith would not want to move into a settlement, but would gladly move into a budding town (I know it’s promoted, but still). of course I’m thinking it might be better to keep the base-class locking down to a minimum, and so blacksmith might only be locked to small village, whereas weaponsmith and armoursmith would require a larger town in order to be promoted. the town size can be determined by looking at “buildings” (walls surrounding an area with a roof covering it) and seeing how close they are to each other - too far apart and they won’t be considered as being part of the same town. basically, each building would gain an “area of influence”, and the more buildings you pack together, the stronger that “area of influence” becomes. basically, if I build 1 hut, the area of influence is, what, 3 tiles away? a large house’s area of influence would be 6 tiles away. however, 4 huts close by (taking the same x-z area as a large house) would have an area of influence of 5 tiles away (this is from each house, so the total area “claimed” by the 4 houses would be only slightly smaller than the area a single large house would “claim”). this way, with a large enough city, you can build across rivers without splitting your city, as the area of influence that spreads from each building increases as the density of buildings increases. the effect increases greatly by surrounding your town with “town walls”, with large stone walls having a greater effect than pallisades. pallisades are temporary, though, and can be torn down easily, while stone walls are rather permanent, and take a lot of work to tear down. walls and wall-types will also be limited to city size, so no huge stone walls surrounding your settlement! only villages and up may construct walls, and villages can only construct pallisades. this also brings in the factor of multiple cities, but I’ll touch on that in a bit.
apart from normal labour jobs, there should be another class of jobs called the “management” class. jobs relating to micromanaging and macromanaging would be located here. there would also be a few labour classes in here as well (the mint, the stockpiler, etc), but those labour classes would focus on management (stockpiler organizes and moves goods from one stockpile to another, important for something another management job does. the minter creates coins, and upon promotion of a minter, hearthlings will demand pay). the first management class would be something like the secretary, who would pretty much stay at a desk for the most part, writing on papers. the secretary is required for every other management class (not upgrading from secretary to other classes, but you need to have a secretary in your town to be able to make the other classes, this continues higher up the management tree). the secretary would actually add more micromanaging options to the player, instead of less. it would add “private property” - you can set an area to be “owned” by certain individuals, entire groups, and entire jobs. by setting each plot of land to be “owned” by a different farmer, the farmers will all work on their own plots of land and not their neighbors (optionally it could be that if farmers have completed all of their own tasks and have nothing to do yet, they can help neighboring plots of land as well, but that’s entirely optional). this would have the added benefit of making it so they will only look for stuff inside of stockpiles/containers within their “private property” - farmers will drop their crops off in crates near their farms, carpenters will grab wood from their wood chest, etc. the stockpiler will move stuff around from one place to another based on priority of items, but as this has already been discussed in other threads I’ll leave that be for now. another neat feature of private property would be military-wise - by setting a militant group’s “private property” to being a path on the wall, those troops will patrol those areas. this would fulfill the need for a better patrol system, and allowing for there to be guard posts without setting attack flags which ignore a hearthlings hunger and sleepiness. in addition, we would be able to mark certain public properties - a stockpile (anything located in a chest with a lower priority than, say, 5 gets moved from that chest to the stockpile by the stockpiler), a diner (hearthlings will go here looking for food and places to sit), a barracks (as militant groups have a different public property setting, they can’t use private property to claim a place to sleep, as militant groups default to using private property as a patrol route. they need a separate option for sleeping and, in the case of troops outside town in a camp or outpost, food storage. also, this only pertains to militant groups, such as “all archers” and “all footmen” or “archer group 1” and “footman group b”, and not for regular groups or certain individuals which just so happen to be soldiers), and maybe even things like markets and whatnot.
as you go higher up the management tree, you’ll gain other abilities, such as the ability to found multiple towns. If you set up several buildings close to each other, an unclassified, unnamed “town” will automatically be created, with its area being the area of influence. you can later reclassify that “town”, so that if your buildings are actually a lookout tower, you can reclassify it to “outpost” (no population gain), or if they’re defenses you can reclassify it to “castle”. you can also manually set up an area as a new town, classify what kind of territory it is, and name it, but until you place several buildings within that “territory”, it will remain invisible to everyone else and not actually be claimed by you. so in MP, if I “claim” territory manually, but don’t build anything there, player 2 will not see that that territory is claimed, and can build in that territory or even claim it him/herself. once someone builds several buildings in that area, it is claimed by that person, and your manual claim is removed. also, if both you AND the other player build buildings in close proximity to each other, neither of you claim it, and neither of you lose your claim - instead, the claim will turn red and it will be “disputed territory”. this can be resolved either militarily (defeat the other players forces, destroy his buildings, etc) or peacefully (build a ton of buildings so that your area of influence far overpowers their area of influence, and you absorb their buildings into your own town). each town will keep track of its own population, net worth, etc. the higher up the management tree you go (IN EACH TOWN, the management in your huge town has no effect on the small settlement you just created, you will need to build up the other settlement into a town and hire management positions as well in order to receive management bonuses), the more jobs are handles autonomously - houses within the area of influence will be handled by the town automatically (you can set up certain areas to be only housing and the AI will select houses that you’ve saved that fit within that area as best as possible), although houses will not be set up outside town walls (if you want to expand your city further, you will need to do it manually and build ANOTHER wall further out so that the AI may take over again and construct your town automatically). positions will either be hired based off of demand or (in case of troops) a ratio that is set by the player (ex. 10% of citizens become troops, 20% of those are archers, 30% are footmen, etc). while jobs requested by the player in these large towns will require money, all automatic jobs are done by the hearthlings themselves without money coming from your pocket (except for management jobs, those you pay for every day/week/month). that also means that if you want to expand your town, there needs to be a demand for houses - if there is no demand for houses, no houses will be built unless you specifically order them to be built. this will also be dependent upon your town’s economy - a poor economy means a slower automatic progression, and a crashed economy means no progression at all. if you want your town to construct something but they have a crashed economy (and you will want to construct with the economy being crashed, in order to revive the economy), you will need to pay from pocket. that said, by this point you should also have a tax collector anyway, and should be earning money based on the economy and the number of hearthlings within a given town. this means if one town is thriving but another town is struggling, the money earned from the one town can be spent in the other town to make that town thriving as well, giving you 2 towns that are now providing you a large amount of capital.
troops can still be controlled manually, and so with your thriving towns surviving on their own, you now have the free time to wage war. select the troops from the population panel and move them into your new offensive group, and make them gather in a location. these troops will then leave the towns while still leaving your towns protected by the rest of the troops, and gather in the location specified awaiting further orders. your troops will require food and, while in an offensive group, will have a higher cost to maintain. they will also require a sort of mobile shelter in order to sleep at night, although there will still be patrols, so your entire army won’t be caught with their pants down when being attacked by the undead. offensive groups will also have their own area of influence, and will automatically embargo anything within their area of influence (more troops means greater area). this means that, if you surround an enemy town and station troops at all of their gates, that town is shut off from the world and cannot trade. the economy will start to suffer in towns that rely on trade, the food gained from farms will decrease as access to farmland located outside the town walls is now inaccessible, and in towns located within unfavourable terrains (such as bases stationed in wasteland biomes) will suffer major attrition maluses. that said, offensive troops stationed outside of such wasteland towns will ALSO suffer major attrition maluses - in arctic biomes, defenders have the home advantage and can deal with the cold because, as they were stationed there to begin wtih, they are equipped to deal with the cold. an ill-prepared army will face total annihilation even against the smallest armed forces in such a terrain, often long before the two armies even meet. general winter is a fearsome foe, after all. likewise, in the desert, your troops will become dehydrated standing vigilant out in the sun, and will begin to freeze as soon as the sun sets. if you don’t provide methods of staving off both the heat and the cold, your army will lose morale at a hefty rate, and may even suffer casualties from hypothermia, hyperthermia, and dehydration. even though it is hard to survive in such unfavourable terrains, the home advantage of such terrains makes them very easy to defend - once you manage to survive the problems yourself. the issues with such terrible terrains will make it so you may end up marching your army a long ways away simply to avoid these terrains, as the penalties of making your army march through the sun and the cold are huge, and can often be too much for one to handle. as such, a town may not need to place defenses in areas that are facing terrible terrain simply because the enemy will most likely not attack from that direction - it acts as a natural barrier, and the resources may be better spent elsewhere. this will also make it so an army that is well-prepared may want to strike from terrible terrain simply because your enemies defenses are weak in that area due to depending on the natural barrier. after all, mountains may keep humans from walking into your town, but a dwarf will be able to easily waltz right into your town through a mountain. a natural barrier to one person is a weak spot to another. what’s more, with sieging, any town that has trade blocked off also cannot provide taxes (unless it is the ONLY town that person owns. if you own more than 1 town, only the towns that are not embargoed may provide taxes. if all towns are embargoed, you may only receive taxes from a single town, most likely your largest town).
I also think there should be research in this game in multiple fields, and that researchers would also be located within the management classes. research will be conducted as a whole, regardless of towns, much like your taxes (and will be blocked if any of your towns have all exits embargoed by sieges, just like taxes). certain research fields will provide new jobs/classes, as well. for example, if guns/cannons are added to the game, they would be very late-gate techs, but would allow you to hire arquebusiers, brass cannons, and the like. while inaccurate, these are very powerful and can be trained at a very low level in the military tree (effectively they would be at the same level as footman, whereas crossbowman would be a tier 2 troop). now, based on this game’s time period, there won’t be much use for guns, and someone who bases their entire forces on guns will NOT overpower a civilization that uses entirely medieval weapons or magic (or both). in fact, early renaissance weapons would suffer from a lack of specialization/improvement. a diverse late-game army made up of mages, crossbowmen, longbowmen, knights, trebuchets, and the like, may be more powerful than the equivalent in arquebusiers and cannons. the downside is that it takes a lot of training for mages, crossbowmen, longbowmen and knights to be made, and trebuchets are expensive and take a long time to craft/prepare. arquebusiers and cannons can be made from the get-go (once researched) and require base materials, unlike knights who would require steel. powerful, yet simple vs strong yet complex.
other non-militant research can be related to magic (which could be militant), economy, agriculture, construction, etc. you may need to research the ability to make specialized classes, such as the bowyer, weaponsmith, armoursmith and leatherworker, jobs that craft better weapons and armour than the carpenter, blacksmith, or clothier. of course that is still military. sorry, I’m more knowledgeable about military than most other aspects, so if others could add to this, it’d help a lot.
I also mentioned trade. some towns, no matter how much you work on them, just will not survive on their own (wastelands). in order for these towns to survive, they must act in trade, which provides some resource in exchange for basic materials such as food, clothes, wood, or even water. bases such as those in the arctic (in the case of research) may not be able to provide any resources at all, and thus survive solely on player-enforced trade. players pay from pocket to have trade caravans provide necessities to hearthlings stationed in important areas that don’t provide physical materials. some towns will thrive on trade, and will provide you a huge amount of money. these will be based on position and resources available, as well as number of other civilizations. even if it’s something like a desert, setting up a trade town in the desert will allow your city to thrive more than a town located in fertile plains, solely because of the number of goods going in and out, raising the wealth of hearthlings in such places such cities are a good idea to classify as “city-states”, autonomous cities that you relinquish any and all control over - you can no longer manually construct anything, you cannot control the troops stationed and trained there, you cannot control the production of the cities, the only thing you gain from city-states is money (and trade goods, of course, but only if they trade it out to you). everything else is entirely controlled by AI. the reason you would want to turn it into a city-state? it will provide you with far more money than a normal town would, and the lack of control over the economics of the city would mean that trade would drastically increase as well. city-states are your money-makers and goods-providers when you don’t have certain goods. if you don’t have silk, and another empire does, the city state may be able to trade something you have for the silk, and then trade the silk to you, giving you access to these new resources. of course, city-states cannot trade for resources that do not exist. if no one that you know of has silk, there’s no way for them to get silk. if you place them too far away from the kingdom that has silk, once again you will likely not gain any silk. as towns that thrive off of trade, it is important that you place them in such a location that they will see a lot of traffic, and it is important you keep them from being conquered by any hostile neighbors.
if anyone could build on this in a discussion, I’d be happy. for now, I’m gonna go sit in front of an AC, I’m dying here. curse san diegan weather.