Questions, Answers, Stonehearth Information Thread [Updated 31st July 2014]

Modding ========================
  • “Modding tools looking strong. Are they that strong that the community could even create a sci-fi Version of the Game?”

    " All the major game features like building, farming, the classes, AIs, etc are built and ship as “mods” that we just happened to write. So modding will be VERY powerful. It would be a huge effort to do a total conversion to sci-fi or whatever, but it will be possible".

  • Can we start modding with the Beta?

“Yes, modding support will be there right from the start of the beta. It’s so baked into the game that honestly it would be hard to turn it off. The fancy editors will be a little immature, but if you don’t mind rolling up your sleeves and writing some LUA and JSON, you’ll be able to write mods yourself from day 1.”

  • Are they primarily aesthetic items & stats or is there a scripting component?

There’s definitely scripting. We’re trying to build as many gameplay systems as possible using our own modding tools. Ideally, anything you see in the game you can replicate and put your own twist on using the modding tools. So you can add your own item, give it a cool animation, and make it do something unique with scripts. Want a pair of magic boots that make your worker run 3x as fast? No problem!

  • Can I add a new item in a mod? What is moddable?

*"Yes, you can make a new item as a mod. We’re working very hard to make everything as moddable as possible. Basically we’re writing all of the game systems and content using the same tools that we will make available to you guys as modders. Here are some of the things you can do in a mod:

  • Make new items
  • Add new monsters
  • Add new classes and abilities
  • Add new RPG-like scripted adventures
  • Reskin or add to the UI
  • Tweak the AI of your settlers or the monsters"

  • Can we, besides creating custom items, also create a custom supply chain? For example - Custom armour made from Giant beetles which will need to be hunted and then processed?

“Yes, that was one of our first design goals for the crafting system. In fact, the trees you see in the concept video, the wood they generate, and the fact that wood is a raw material to make the house are all driven by the mod system. Making items which require beetle carapaces which must be looted from giant beetles you’ve slain in the field (or even harvested from the exoskeletons your pet beetles have outgrown) is definitely possible.”

  • What’s the art process?

“We use Qubicle for all the voxel art. Stonehearth comsumes .qb files natively and our resource file format is just JSON, so it’s really easy to get new art assets into the game. We’re using 3DSMax for rigging and animation, but the animation file format is, again, just JSON.”

“I [Tom] use the Master Edition of this program, because I need to export data both to get the model into Stonehearth and to animate using 3DS Max. The Master Edition is $79. Apparently at some point I said that you could use the free version of the program to make mods for Stonehearth, but if I did that is NOT correct. You can use the free version to play around with voxels, but the free version does not support exporting data.”
We are in the very early stages of defining tools, and will let you know more when we’ve nailed down some plans. We would like to find a way for you to use Qubicle Constructor, maybe with a special Stonehearth edition. Such a program would probably not be free, since the people at minddesk need to eat too!

“I [Tom] use 3DS Max to animate. That is a very expensive program. I can tell you 100% that we will not require 3DS Max for animation! Our animations are stored in simple text files in a very straight-forward file format. It should be very easy for someone familiar with an open-source tool like Blender to write a script that exports Stonehearth animations.”

  • Will there be a World editor at some point?

“No world editor out of the box, but it would be possible to write one if someone was super ambitious”

“That’s a very good question … we don’t know, that’s very hard for a lot of reasons … we don’t wanna take advantage of anyone, or make anyone feel that way, It’s so early it’s hard to say.”

“The idea is that … the way that we handle variations is that we layer on changes, so there’s a file that says ‘this is what it means to be a person’, and it’s just the name of all the matrices, and that’s the base definition. Now we can enhance that, by saying that, for this piece use one of these things, so use either head 1,2,3 or 4. And you can do that either in the datafile, or through the script. So if that means if you want to add a mod that’s 50 different heads, then that’s easy for you to do that … this is more than just heads of course, it goes for all body parts.”

“We have two things that seem to compete, one is that we want RPG like adventuring elements, but the other is that it’s a city building game … we do want the focus of the game to be you building your city, so the action is focussed there, but at the same time want story driven things. The way we will handle that is …a lot of the story driven mods, not all but a lot, will be about stuff that happens to your town … you can imagine a plague, a zombie invasion, a goblin invasion party, they’re a bit dramatic examples, but also things like a caravan. That way it focusses on your city and allows us a lot of room for story telling.”

“We’re gonna have some sort of built-in functionality to highlight mods which are particularly awesome to install them, but keeping some sort of mod marketplace with things you’d expect with ratings, reviews, etc … whatever we’ll do it will work as well for none-steam customers.”

Yes! The modding tools you are getting are literally the tools we used to make the entire game. So if you want to go in, and I mean like really go in, and make something super complicated and extensive, like a total conversion where people are settling on the moon and you have to build moon buggies and spacesuits and you have to mine gas, you can. It’s going to be a ton of work but you can do it … Now there is a tiny bit of difference; you won’t have access to the engine source, but the engine is as small as we can possible make it. It handles tasks like rendering to the screen, handling keystrokes and mouse input, and pathfinding. However we give you access to the pathfinder in Lua. You could say here’s this piece of wood now make a path to it.

“Yes, of course”

“You will probably be able to change the size of the GUI. Definitely make it smaller, make it bigger, maybe. We’ll think about it”

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