Stonehearth Development vs DF vs Rimworld

I saw this game very early in its development and have been watching since. I was impressed with the brothers early interview and even more impressed with the concept art, modding and multiplayer as core features and the seeming level of professionalism in all aspects of the project as far as I could see.

Ive been catching up lately and have read a few posts that seem knowledgeable and suggest the game is a long way from finished (which is also my own opinion) and going slow. Its come a long way it seems but I think it has a long way to go, which is no bad thing if the developers actually finish, which…

I think they will. I just have a slight fear they will run out of money due to slower than expected development. But they couldn’t have been more transparent, communicative or professional about the whole thing. As usual with business dealings a representative making promises has no weight whatsoever and sometimes the official line suggests everything is fine even as the business goes to the wall, but…

Theres nothing you can do about that except have faith and keep ur money in ur pocket.

What im wondering, and I asked Tynan Sylvester the developer of rimworld the same question, this (and that) are essentially copies of dwarf fortress. Copies that add something but copies nonetheless. Will this (and that) simulate the world the way DF does and is building towards. If not I cant see that this (or that) will have any lasting appeal to me, whereas I know ill still be playing DF in 10 years if development continues.

Stonehearth looks fantastic. But its dwarf fortress minus all the creatures, minus all the items, minus all the mechanics, minus many years of development time.

Initially I felt building in a modding API from the start would mean this game wouldn’t need to ‘catch up’ with dwarf fortress, the right arrangement of starting content and the right framework for modding might (hopefully would/will) make up for that difference. I still think this is possible.

With all that said I watched a lets play of alpha 10 on youtube and it made me wonder, whats the point to a site? Do I have a parent civ. Can I conquer land ? Can I play adventure mode ? Can I play multiplayer adventure mode or fort mode? Does the rest of the world matter when im playing in my site ? Will there be multisites ? How well will this scale up to simulating a full world ? DF seems to be doing very well with all these questions even though despite many years of development IT has a long way to go.

Im a bit scared about the answers to those questions as I was when I asked Tynan Sylvester. He seems like a clever guy, I think he likely took onboard some of what Im saying. I have high hopes for this game. I think this game with the right game mode(s) could replace minecraft and possibly DF in my mind and heart.

Looking at the slow pace of development im scared it wont come anywhere close to realising its full potential. That will be sad because as far as I can see this is the best game currently in development with the most potential.

So anyone with an opinion on anything ive said, any tidbit of info I might have missed and haven’t turned up chip in just please take what Ive said in the spirit its intended (I love this game, want the best for its developers and hope to see it fulfil its potential)

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You have to understand that Dwarf Fortress has been in development for more than a decade and, as a result, has considerably more content and features than Stonehearth does. As far as I can tell, Stonehearth has never had world simulation or an adventure mode equivalent as planned features. The “Persistent, Connected World” stretch goal (that wasn’t achieved) was not about world simulation but is instead about expanding multiplayer functionality.

What’s the point to a site? Do I have a parent civ? Can I conquer land? Can I play adventure mode?

Think of the game as you would Cities: Skylines. The ‘world’ is a bubble of reality that the player can see and interact with, everything outside the bubble is abstracted (e.g. merchants). The goal is to thrive (at the moment at least).

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They stream development on Twitch here every Tuesday and Thursday [except for rare occasions like tonight] at 6PM PST, and sometimes on Wednesday mornings. That’s enough transparency and communication for me.

DF-inspired games almost never live up to DF’s depth. It’s a sacrifice they make for better graphics and more usability.

[quote=“sirdave79, post:1, topic:12695”]
Looking at the slow pace of development im scared it wont come anywhere close to realising its full potential.
[/quote]It’s still in Alpha, yes. There are a lot of base systems that still need to be implemented, and some game-breaking bugs that need to be squashed. Once it hits beta (no clue what the timeline on that will be) content should come out much faster, and saves won’t be made incompatible as often.

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Thanks for the replies guys,

Coasterpaul, I do say couldn’t have, as in “could NOT have been MORE transparent communicative…”, as in they HAVE been MORE transparent communicative professional than we might have expected.

I agree their streaming and weekly dev blogs are plenty, theres apart of me that wants them to spend less time talking to us and more time making the game (theres no pleasing some people !)

NobodyPro, I do reference DFs many years of current under the belt development. And realistically a game isn’t going to come along and do everything DF does and more in a fraction of the time. But as I say I don’t think stonehearth needs to with the right framework and mod API.

The fact that stonehearth is listing multiplayer as a feature is a big plus over dwarf fortress and having watched the vids of alpha 10 I can imagine playing this first person solo, ie minecraft/dwarf fortress adventure mode. Adventure mode would be the easiest way I could imagine doing multiplayer, and since I hadn’t been able to find any info relating to persistent world or not I thought id ask on here.

The class archetype info listed on approved features made me think that one might be able to dungeon crawl with friends, rather than those party RPG archetypes being utilised more in the sense of DF fortress mode/RTS mode. Makes more sense - at least in my head.

And a final point (from me) with regards to a persistent world/full world simulation (I note that a stretch goal was not obtained) is that I don’t think this game will reach its full potential sales/adoption wise or longevity wise without a plan to go to a full world simulation. I love DF but when I finally realised nothing that happened inside your site in fort mode made any difference to the world outside and vice versa it made me feel like there was no point. Ive played a lot of games, im not stupid I just could help how I felt or get past it.

After I discovered rimworld I felt exactly the same about it.

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The way I see it, Stonehearth doesn’t need to do everything DF does. SH is doing several things that DF does not and graphics, multiplayer, modding and a full settler simulation campaign to play through are only some of them.

The way in which multiplayer would work was talked about in the original Kickstarter. Here are some direct quotes about the multiplayer stretch goals that were reached:

Player vs. Player City Raids:

Select a party of adventurers to storm a copy of another player’s city and bring home their treasures. Leaderboards will rank and track the deadliest fighters and most impenetrable fortresses.

“Stormloft47 has demolished 208 raiding parties.”

Co-op Multiplayer:

Share a living world with your friends and family! Build sprawling empires of towns, cities and castles, and unite in mutual defense against the towering threat of ancient titans.

To expand on the Player vs Player City Raids thing, I remember that it was not meant to be straight-up PVP, but rather one player getting to go against an AI run copy of another players city to see if they can crack it open and get some bragging rights. In some respects, that is already pretty close to a dungeon crawl event.

With the co-op multiplayer and mods, there will probably be some campaigns made that are essentially multiplayer dungeon crawls with levelling and loot and stuff.


Totally agree with the first part, but disagree with the second. I feel like (Compared to other kickstarter games I have backed) that Stonehearth makes great improvements on a far more regular and consistent basis than most. Almost weekly updates and close to monthly alphas? Not bad.

According to:

Q: How is your funding? Are you doing this so you can continue to develop the game?

A: Stonehearth funding is in great shape. We’ll share more information regarding funding in a future update, but we are sufficiently funded to finish the game.

Indeed, lots of these are true. After watching DF grow for the last 6 years (That’s when i started playing it), I have this to say about.

It’s also a DF that plays friendlier, looks nicer, and doesn’t require the insane amount of micromanagement and complexity and awful UI navigating. (Don’t get me wrong, I love playing DF once a year for about a month straight before I curl up into a ball of depression and a dwarf induced rage :stuck_out_tongue: )

“What’s the point of my site?”

I guess that can be said of just about any true sandbox game. Thankfully, Stonehearth has a Dungeon Master mechanic that will take your choices during the campaign it spawns and apply it to later campaign spawns.

Meaning that if you choose non-violent routes to handle things, future encounters will be reflective upon those earlier decisions.

And like dwarf fortress, the narrative of what happens in your town builds it’s own story. (As you know from DF and stories like Boatmurdered)

Throw in modding like you mentioned earlier, and there should be plenty of goals to give you a reason to play.

I guess the last bit of good news is the developers have said they don’t plan on just dropping Stonehearth at version 1.0 and leaving it alone, they want to continue to add content, so yay!

I have faith Radiant will continue to be transparent, finish the game, and will keep true to their original intentions for it, which is a lot more than I can say for more than few other games i’m watching. :wink:


Awesome, read, thanks for all the indulgence.

Heres to version 2.0 !!! (im encourageable)

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In terms of performance, I’m somewhat sure that Stonehearth won’t reach Dwarf Fortress or similar games due to its nature. It’s very, very difficult to combine modding and acceptable performance. Radiant’s (design) choices are limiting it somewhat in that area.

So you have almost no limitations on modding, but pay for it by having severe limitations on the dimension a single game/session/whatever you may call it can be.

The very worst case would therefore be that we end up in some sort of glorified sandbox game for modding that has a little campaign/gameplay around the edges. Therefore, as with the general concept of “none to little micromanaging”, I would dare say that Stonehearth can’t be a copy of Dwarf Fortress - because we can have either depth or width, and we’re kinda opting in for width.


I think in the end it really is about faith, isn’t it? People email us all the time asking how we know we’ll finish the game for sure, and with features X, Y and Z, and we spend a lot of time thinking about our answer, because let me tell you, as relevant as the question may be to you, it is of existential relevance to us. :wink: And who can really see the future? What I do know is that we the devs have faith in each other–that we’ll write solid code, that we’ll implement features not just because they’re cool but for the benefit of the whole game, that we’ll communicate, that we’ll cover for each other when life gets complicated, that we’ll see the project through–and faith that you our community will play our game fairly, mod our game richly, and give us the critical perspective we need so that Stonehearth gets to the place where we all want it to be.

We’re all taking the same risk (time, money, emotional investment), but I know that for us, our faith is justified by each others’ past performance and achievement, and the risk is mitigated by the joy of incremental development.

Certainly we couldn’t ask for a better community than you all. Thanks!


I buy a lot of fort-like games and this is in my top 3. I would suggest buying it if you have an interest as it helps the devs and it gives you hands on exp for offering suggestions. Also I’ve got more than my money’s worth just testing builds. It would be hard for me to pick Stonehearth, Rimworld, or Gnomoria over each other as these three are the core of my fortlike play right now and no game that has come out since has surpassed these nor do I think they can. The Spatials came close based just on theme but it’s really shallow and too easy.

To me it’s rather difficult to judge a game in its alpha stage. I have owned Stonehearth since Alpha 9 and Rimworld since Alpha 3 I think. While the development of Rimworld seems to be faster, it is also a wholly different game. Rimworld is a 2D game that just needs flat art assets with coding to back it up, while Stonehearth has to contend with 3D models, and the effects that come with them. It makes things a fair bit more difficult. Not making excuses for Stonehearths development, but I felt it was important to point out the differences. I would compare Rimworld with Prison Architect when it comes to implementation of features since they are both using virtually the same model. In addition to all this Rimworld didn’t really see a huge leap of features until some of the later alpha builds. If Stonehearth stays on track I expect to see some of the major features added in after the foundation is sound.

Sorry for Wall o’ text.

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and more indulgence, thanks guys.

With regards to 3D it is my understanding that toady ditched it so he didn’t have to bother with all that jazz, no doubt contributing to faster (ho ho) development. I totally appreciate (as much as a non coder can) how much work that is and I see that stonehearth has an awesome looking game (compared to df) and the UI will make people want to play (unlike df).

Ive not really looked at prison architect, only seen screenies and the art style as far as I can see does seem similar. EDIT to rimworld.

Im not meaning to run down stonehearth development, ive already had to clarify that I think Radiant are doing a bette job than almost anyone else I know of.

I would pay for stonehearth now … but I totally disagree with kickstarter and paying for something that isnt finished on a promise. Id rather not get into that here. I would like to say however that given the track record of delivering if I was going to pay for a game before its finished it would be stonehearth number 1.

With regards to performance ive always banged onto my brother (like I know what im talkng about) about ‘abstracting game elements that are too costly’ when I discuss ‘my perfect game’ with him. I think its only recently that I feel DF has really started to bite into that apple for real and now im just getting greedy and excited about stonehearth.
I demand (beg) width and breadth ! I must have it ! EDIT Depth - obviously !!

thanks for the input sdee, I couldn’t have said it better, I am a pretty faithless person however and I look forward to the day when I can pay you. Sound like you’ve got a pretty good team spirit going there.

Thanks to all who have posted here.

Final EDIT thanks to those who dug out info from the kickstarter and spoon fed it to me (I thought id read it but it must have been early days and it makes me shudder)

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[quote=“sirdave79, post:1, topic:12695, full:true”]What im wondering, and I asked Tynan Sylvester the developer of rimworld the same question, this (and that) are essentially copies of dwarf fortress. Copies that add something but copies nonetheless. Will this (and that) simulate the world the way DF does and is building towards. If not I cant see that this (or that) will have any lasting appeal to me, whereas I know ill still be playing DF in 10 years if development continues.

Stonehearth looks fantastic. But its dwarf fortress minus all the creatures, minus all the items, minus all the mechanics, minus many years of development time.[/quote]
It… is definitely a similar kind of game to Dwarf Fortress, Gnomoria & the like (note: I can’t speak for Rimworld as I’ve no experience of it). However, let’s be honest: Dwarf Fortress has a cult following, but it’s about as easy to get into as quantum mechanics.

Based on the work to date (cute graphics, no blood, etc), I would be very surprised if you get the insane level of detail (and violence :stuck_out_tongue: ) seen in DF in the finished version of Stonehearth. Un-modded Stonehearth will be much easier to play and all that. On the other hand, it’ll sell a heck of a lot more than DF, which means many more fans & players.

Definitely. I for one would love to see a DF-style professions system in the game etc, and ditto for randomly generated item names / properties etc. I’m exaggerating a bit, but the Stonehearth engine is little more than “run all these .lua files, kkthxbai” - now I know I probably made the devs physically wince at that, but compared to most games the freedom you have in SH to mod things is ridiculously good.

Proximity to resources etc, like in DF.

Yes - the three human civs mentioned on the Kickstarter page, and dwarves in the future etc.

No plans for either as far as I’m aware. I mean… well you can utterly dominate the “fortress mode” map in the same way that you can in DF, but don’t expect Civ-style borders or DF-style adventure mode (outside of a mod).

There will be multiplayer in Stonehearth, as per the Kickstarter.

I’d love to see a lot of this, but at this stage it’s just too early to tell. There is a constant stream of optimisations coming out for SH at the moment - hopefully it’ll be optimised enough that they can do stuff like this, but that’s a long way off if so.

Don’t forget Minecraft has a very different way of having huge worlds. In Minecraft, only the stuff near the player(s) is loaded. In Stonehearth, everything has to be, because unloading any part of the map means in effect freezing it in time (why do you think Minecraft mods love their world anchors?). So getting to play as Mer Burlyhands may will require some radically different code.


A great question. One that really highlights the differences between strategy/sim players and more action orientated gamers.
I could never imagine someone buying Far Cry 4 saying "This is quite a lot like Quake… and Battlefield… And Call of Duty and… (ad almost infinitum)"
It’s accepted that one genre (even a relatively tight one) spawns many games.
A squint at my Steam folder and HDD might reveal my passion for city builder games. DF, Gnomoria, Timber and Stone, Castle Story, Banished, Stonehearth, Rimworld, Towns, Clockwork Empires, Creativerse, Folk Take, Craft The World and quite a few more.

For many the idea of an approachable and better looking DF is the driving force for both looking at these games and probably (I’m guessing) developing them.
A rich, deep and rewarding building experience that allows almost infinite elaboration. A creative experience that has optional challenge for me DF, Gnomoria et al are creative first, challenge while important is a secondary consideration).

I can see Stonehearth appealing to deep simmers over time. I think the extra challenge will be welcome and UI is about the best I’ve seen (perhaps Rimworld’s is getting there as it seems to get better with each major release)

All subtly different, all scratching a slightly different itch. Mostly brilliant. From these multitude of ideas we are more likely to get
a) The game we each individually want - or something closer to it
b) A better iteration of game in the future as the process is refined, interfaces improved, mechanics smoothed out, graphics sharpened, economic modelling hones, mood modelling more detailed…

Great question OP :slight_smile:

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