Right now it’s quite hard to save a certain amount of certain food for a scheduled trade. Say, a trader asks you for 10 carrots. Right now your best bet is to create tons of fields seeded with carrots and hope for the best. You can’t guarantee your cook won’t use them. You can’t guarantee your hearthlings won’t eat them. So your only option is to raise its production and fit the time.
While it’s certainly challenging, it’s not exactly what I would call “clever” or “controlled”. It’s not the case with crafters (you can manually order them to craft/maintain a number of items), but with “resource gatherers” like miners, farmers or hunters.
I don’t know how best to improve the situation and give players more control while not making the task trivial. But I have some ideas. Feel free to voice your suggestions and opinion below!
- “Protected containers”.
Give the player an option to manually switch certain containers to “accumulate only”, so no hearthlings will use the stored things unless you switch this off. The same goes for stockpiles.
Note: since food can rot, hearthlings should still be able to automatically notice and destroy rotten food to guarantee that your stock is fresh.
- “Scheduled load”.
Give the player an option to define what kind of things should be “maintained” within container/stockpile. Something like “maintain x things in inventory” for crafters, but for gatherers. Combined with 1 it mostly addresses the issue (I think). But doesn’t this make things too easy? What do you think?
- New instrument item: "Trading reserve"
Allow the player to create (craft?) a special stockpile/container, then manually define its contents. This container should take max priority over simple containers/stockpiles so it always gets filled first.
You can also make the trade more cool in the future: you can make a trader actually appear on the map, take the said container and pull it away on a cart thanking you for your hard work! Or make goblins want to raid it first (Oooh shiny!), forcing you to make prioritized defences (walls, traps, guard patrols) to protect it.