The Origin of Tactics: The Defend Menu

Hello, everyone! Today’s post is in regards to the new details on tactics and combat in Stonehearth; specifically, the “Defend” menu! You can see it in action in this week’s Desktop Tuesday video (see Alpha 4 Progress Update!).

Personally, I’m thrilled at the progress of Alpha 4–even the new details and sounds from the “Red Alert” action have really begun to flesh out the world of Stonehearth. We’re seriously beginning to see the construction and combat elements of the game taking shape.

So then, here’s my thoughts so far on this new system, the “Defend” menu.

First, I feel that having a menu on the main toolbar is an excellent idea–commands and actions can be activated easily and quickly. Though the system really only includes one action so far, I believe that it will ultimately work best for wide-scale, even worldwide, commands. Unless additional dropdown menus or options are added (which could then possibly muddle the menu up), these actions will be very simple and general.

In the case of the “Red Alert”, which currently throws the whole civilian population into “Impending Doom Mode”, I would like to see the possibility to select the degree of the command either by selecting the area affected or the settlers called to action. I’m not entirely sure which would be the best way to do this, though. I’m leaning towards the “area” choice, as it goes along with the hands-off theme and comes off more defensively and city-builder-oriented instead of conquest (Defend this area! vs. Send these units in to attack!).

If the Defend menu continues to develop as the predominate means of directing your units in the game, I would be interested in seeing user icons and buttons in order to enact specific actions or select/go to the player’s different unit squads and give them orders (or choose from the abilities and commands of the squad’s leader, as discussed in my previous topic with the concept of the Tactician class: Expanding the Future of Combat: Enter the Tactician!)

Obviously, it’s a little early to be thinking so in-depth of this new feature, but strategy has quickly become a major attraction to me in Stonehearth. What do you think of combat and the menu so far, and what possible uses or features would you like to see in game tactics (both in and out of combat) in the future?

I can see three main variations of the alarm system you could use in Stonehearth (talking just about civilian / militia defence BTW, not actual military defence):

  1. Alpha 4 Red Alert: All your villagers everywhere drop everything and prepare to fight. Military units wake up too.

  2. Defend This Point: All villagers within distance X of the targeted point act as if under the effects of #1. Could also be “Defend This Campfire” if we can have multiple ones later in the game.

  3. Defend This Area: First, you make a zone, like a stockpile or farm. Then you either select the zone & click its “Defend Me” button, or click a “Defend Zone” button elsewhere and THEN click the zone. These defensive zones can overlay other zones. Units to guard it are picked like they are in #2 above.

I can see all of them being used offensively (even the first: select trees near goblin camp for harvesting, let workers run out, hit red alert), but TBH I’m okay with that - units turned into militia are units not being productive workers after all, so that’s some balance right there.

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Hello! So, recent discussion on the prospect of structural recognition (see Building/Wall/Fence Damage: Structural Recognition System?) led to some new concepts regarding the “Defend” tab and I figured I would revive this older thread as a suggestion post instead of a gameplay one. Currently, the tab only contains the “Red Alert” mode, but the eventual features of structural damage and combat fortification might offer some new commands, as well as some deeper organizational methods for your people.

So perhaps the “Defend” options could have different units set to them in the case of hostile engagements (as well as the option to throw all units into one command or another, such as “Red Alert” or a later “Retreat!” command, if faced with desperate enough situations). This could possibly be streamlined using squads of people, where people could be put into different squads for the different commands (for example, Arianna could be in a lumberjack or mining team of three during peaceful times, but she’s in a wall-repairing team of five during conflict, and they could be different people).