Thoughts on Map Scale and Continued Development

I have been playing this wonderful game in progress since it was opened up to the general public (Kickstarter cred, aw yeah). In early builds, it wasn’t unusual for me to make it through the early stages of the game before something happened, and that was fine because alpha is alpha and I go in expecting these things. This is not a post about complaining.

The latest build, the best so far, has uncovered a new problem I long suspected would be an issue; map scale. The scale was fine when you stayed in your bubble, making basic homes and roads and not touching 70%-80% of the map but as of Alpha 8 I can really start branching out. I’m closer, now, to the giant, map-spanning city I’ve always wanted, in terms of stability, and that’s great! The issue with it thought is that Hearthlings…are slow. Especially when carrying things, which they are about three quarters of the time, even on roads which they often don’t take anyways (The nerve, right?) and even with the option to speed time up, which has just become my default time setting.

I won’t be so presumptuous as to assume that you (the devs) haven’t already considered this. Far from it, you’ve mentioned in the past that the map will likely be infinitely explorable and in your latest Alpha release video, you referred to a tree mining operation as an “outpost” so clearly it’s at least on your mind. But your mind is not my mind and I’ve got no clue what you plan on doing to make whole map occupation more feasable. That in mind, here are my thoughts on the subject.

Scaling Up by Scaling Down, the Storage-Transport Issue

One major crippling that occurs when moving over even medium distances is transport. If I have a stockpile and a building project, the length of time the project takes to complete gets exponentially longer related to how far the two are from one another. If my grand dining hall is halfway across the map from my wood and stone stockpiles (I am a rubbish city planner), then the project might be completed sometime before Ragnarok and Revelation have time to argue over who gets to end the world. There are a few potential solutions for this.

1. Stockpile Workflow
Stockpiles, as they are, are pretty basic. In a perfect world, I’d like to be able to decide exactly what items go into them, rather than just the broad category but that’s me. What I’m talking about here is less deciding what exactly goes into individual stockpiles, but having the ability to assign smaller stockpiles to pull from larger ones. This would have a number of benefits, including being able to simultaneously transport materials while other Hearthlings work on the project, pulling from the closer stockpile and letting crafters have their own, private stockpiles meaning I don’t have to keep the giant, ugly stock rooms as close to the crafting areas if I don’t want to. Hooray! It doesn’t solve our problem yet. Not entirely, anyways.

2. Condensing Stock

The problem with those mini-stockpiles is that Hearthlings use up building supplies pretty fast, but walk pretty slow. If I place my project and primary stockpile far enough away, they’ll burn through the mini-stockpile faster than my supplier Hearthlings can refill it. You could slow down building but that’s a terrible idea! A much more player-friendly solution would be to create craftable storage. Barrels, pots, pallets, chests,coffers, and so on. Turn a stockpile with eight tiles taken up into a stockpile with one tile taken up, transported either by a Hearthling directly or some sort of secondary device (more on that later) at X times the speed to our mini-stockpile where our building project is, where X is the number of items stored in our container.

With this solution, the player would be able to expand their operations without necessarily having to resort to giant, city-spanning, below ground item storage which, while cool in theory, is wildly impractical and also kind of ugly. It would also keep lower-tier crafters busy (weaver for bags, Mason for chests and jugs, Carpenter for chests and barrels) even while their cooler, more upgraded versions pump out all the high-tier stuff like fire swords and bows that shoot snakes instead of arrows. Please let that be a thing we can do, incidentally.

3. Upscaling the Transport of the Downscaled Stock (Confused Yet?)

So now let’s say that our building project is completed, but now we want to make something REALLY far away, like other side of the map away for reasons I haven’t gotten to yet. You could have Hearthlings just carry the new containers, but, I mean, sometimes they walk so slow they forget where their beds are, you really think they could take an epic walk like that? Hobbits they are not. Which is why I instead suggest BAM K. BAMmington’s patented Trails n’ Carts System™!

Step one, the cart. Pulled by animals tamed by either your hunters or shepherds, loaded with things you need transported to a faraway location, this can further condense stockpiles for transport and makes large-scale city production possible. In the interest of Frontier Tamesmanship, the cart should be able to lay a dirt trail down whenever it passes over non-constructed ground (i.e. not road or your nice wood floors), conferring a smaller-than-proper-roads speed bonus to any unit that subsequently walks over it. You could also do a cool system where trails fade over time but that’s bonus cool stuff that we won’t worry about right now. Another cool thing would be to up the rate of monster attacks along this trail because they know it’s going to be a lot of stuff that maybe won’t be super well-guarded, meaning the player will have to respond by assigning guards and…you can see where this could go.

Regardless though, there is at least one potential hangup with this cart system. What do we do when there’s a mountain or some kind of natural barrier in the way? Well, ideally go around until the player builds something more permanent to expedite the path, but if that’s not possible, the cart et al could construct a lesser version of whatever construction it needs, in the same way it builds a lesser version of roads. Rudimentary dirt ramps, cruddy stick bridges which take time for the cart to build the first time and (to encourage the player to build that permanent solution) actually slow the cart DOWN while traveling over them, as opposed to the trails, but still making the previously impassable areas passable. We’ll just call it the “rough terrain” debuff.

A Quick Aside There’s also the possibility of having wheelbarrows and the like for more medium-distance transportation within towns, but that’s really just kind of a tangential thought.

Maybe you don’t want to do that though, maybe it’ll be a programming nightmare or you think it’ll be too abusable, well that’s okay, I get that. just make it so that players HAVE to build a permanent constructable for the cart to pass. Done. Those tools are already there.

4. KNOW YOUR PLACE, PEON! Making Sure Hearthlings Work Efficiently

So now we’ve got our trail, supplies are going to our far away building project pretty consistently with our fleet of sheep-drawn carriages. Everything’s Gravy. Except…

Hearthlings that I have no need for on this project are still walking the whole way to help, rather than staying home where I actually need them. What jerks! What is a civic management-minded demigod to do? From a design standpoint, the solution is fairly simple. Take your existing party system (which is wonderful, by the way) and expand it into a boroughs system. We’ve got a red button for “ATTACK THIS THING!” and a blue button for “DEFEND THIS AREA!” so why not a green button for “STAY ROUGHLY IN THIS ZONE” Drawn with a box or series of boxes similar to how the player draws stockpiles. That way, the workers you need on that far-flung building project will go, you know, build stuff, and your super high-tier, valuable, please-oh-Cid-don’t-die Magma smith will stay right at home, smithing magma. Just make sure he has access to food and beds and stuff because…Well, I’ve killed some dwarves with this. Now all of these separate-but-connectable systems are leading up to one big thing that I would be super excited for. That thing being…


So you’ve got barrels which are shipped in carts, which are protected by guards, along the trails your carts made, which take those supplies to the area which you’ve designated a collection of Hearthlings live now. That new area is now hypothetically independent from your main town. Sure, there’s a shipping relationship, maybe that new area ships ore out while the main town ships food into the infertile hills, but in general they build for themselves, they harvest for themselves, they defend themselves, they sleep, eat, and generally live within the confines of that area, they’re functionally independent. Hooray! This is the very definition of an outpost! But wait. If we keep adding Hearthlings to that outpost, shifting new arrivals there instead of the main town, before long it’ll be a village, a town, a city, maybe even with it’s own outposts and now we’ve got an empire on our hands. This could lead to all kinds of cool things down the road such as custom banners for each of the little towns and outposts, custom insignias to go with it, tiny town governments to aid in large-scale production, coordinated military actions, armies, captains, generals, HEROES! If walls got polished off, we could even build ONE GIGANTIC SUPERPROJECT WALL around the entire thing which would take about a billion hours but you know what? This is the Internet. Somebody has that kind of time.

##Some Quick Caveats##
This isn’t a request list. This may not even be your vision for Hearthstone and that’s okay. At best, this is a smattering of suggestions for future development and I would be honored if you took any of them and gleeful if they were already in the design. This is me trying to take what I know about where you intend to take this game and trying to visualize how that would work, how I would approach making it work, and how it might work in my wildest dreams. You’re making a great game and if it never made it beyond the scale you’ve got it at currently, I would still be playing it. I would just play it until I die if I could build a gigantic Hearthstone Empire, but that’s just the kind of guy I am.

If however, I have inspired you with some of my brilliant but no doubt challenging design solutions, words of thanks are always appreciated. Just saying, guys. Everybody likes to be loved.



You have some great thoughts there :slight_smile:

This would definitely be helpful :smiley:

I think there was a lot of great thoughts about this here:

Transport carts/animals has been taken up before and is definitely a most for both larger cities and outposts :slight_smile:


all I can say is that if we are going to have carts they are only going to be pulled by yaks :grinning:


Ooh, I like the idea of storage that’s immediately recognizable and that’s definitely a problem I had in DF. One way to do that while still keeping the modality of barrels n’ such would be to use pallets, like shipping pallets. This would allow a degree of stacking, keep it in one, movable bundle, but also keep things visually identifiable.

And yeah, I figured transport systems were always coming, I just thought something that large-scale could use a lower, easier to attain tier, considering how long roads can take to make.

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I really liked your ideas about the caravan building bad bridges and such :smiley: That really made a lot of sense to me when you said it like that.


Right? And I mean it’ll probably be a coding nightmare to do it procedurally and Caravan routing and scheduling will be a whole other thing, but it provides a short-term solution (a path) while encouraging a longer-term fix (a good path, constructed by the player).

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I’ve never built a city big enough to run into the problems you mentioned, but it’s definitely something I can imagine. I really like your ideas, especially having the option to craft transportable barrels & chests that would act at storage elements. And caravans. Caravans are cool. I want to have a remote mining outpost and set up an automated caravan transporting goods from the outpost’s stockpile to my city stockpile, and assign a couple of guards to it, because of course goblins are attracted to caravan trails.

Solid thinking and good ideas in here !


I’m to the point now where I’m getting juuuuust big enough that it’s starting to be an issue. In particular, I put my smith too far from my wood and found myself thinking “Why is this taking so long? The Wood’s like five hundred feet away max and along a road, but smelting just one bar takes forever. What’s gonna happen when I’ve got a big city with a bunch of houses that my Hearthlings have to walk to? They don’t always make it to bed as-is!”

But yeah, an automated caravan system would be Amazaballs. Thinking on it now, there are two good ways I can think of making it work. 1.) set up preordained paths and have them draw from particular stockpiles and ship to other particular stockpiles It’d be extra cool if we could do multiple stocks to stockpiles on the way, meaning we could have one big wagon train dropping off food from the main city to different outposts while picking up ore, skins, wool, and other supplies as it unloaded. These caravans would run constantly to semi-constantly without heed for whatever else was happening in the world. OR 2.) A scheduled system, allowing you to set up a sort of “tax” on the outposts. Say every two days the wagon train went up there to dispense food and take supplies, same as above. The difference this time would be that, while more difficult to implement, a scheduled caravan system would allow you to set up a more refined, carefully tuned system, akin to how railway scheduling works. If, for instance, you knew that an outpost was going to produce ore at twice the rate it was going to receive food, you could schedule two supply pickups (with optional supply dropoffs for armor, clothing, and furniture, as needed) for every one food dropoff.

Guys. I might have accidentally turned Stonehearth into Railway Simulator 1000


About the caravan system, a simple yet efficient system like the one in Anno 2070 would be good. In this game, you build cities and outposts on islands, and connect them to the outside world by building a port. You can then create routes between ports. You assign a boat to a route, and give it a series of orders like “load X of that resource in this port”, “unload Y in that port”. The boat will then start looping on that route, carrying out the series of orders programmed. There could be just the same thing in Stonehearth, with ports being stockpiles and boats being caravans.

How are incidentals handled? Like what if I just want to ship in a supply of curtains to decorate my new outpost? I only have to do that once, but it sounds like the anno system is built for repeated shipments.

Yes, the Anno system is built for repeated shipments. If you want to do it just once in Anno, you just take control of a boat, load it up with whatever you want and send it somewhere else. That doesn’t really apply for Stonehearth as you don’t control direclty your hearthlings / caravans. You could however issue an order to move selected resources to another stockpile, or move a storage item (barrel, crate, etc) to another location.

…With a relatively minor addition to the stockpile workflow feature I detailed above, I gotcha.

Team Radiant, are you reading this? This is gold we’re making for you.

Would these transport/handling tools join this game in future?

hey there @st904413 … now, I know we’ve had discussions about this previously… but I cant seem to locate anything!

paging @Relyss! :smile:

as for the suggestion, yes… I could absolutely see some sort of transport mechanic implemented at some point… as the maps grow ever larger, we’ll need some means of transporting goods from outpost to outpost, etc. :+1:

well theres this topic

and heres another more in-depth idea for storing overall just two for now

but i’d like to point out Oxcart this is unacceptable it will obviously be a YAKCart!!! :stuck_out_tongue:


wow, impressive sleuthing! :smile:

I think this linked thread touches on the main point of this thread sufficiently enough (the discussion on carts, etc.)… seems merge worthy… thanks! :+1:

[quote=“SteveAdamo, post:16, topic:10141”]
wow, impressive sleuthing!
[/quote]thank you

[quote=“SteveAdamo, post:16, topic:10141”]
I think this linked thread touches on the main point of this thread sufficiently enough (the discussion on carts, etc.)… seems merge worthy… thanks!
[/quote]just doing my job :smiley:

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Thank u and apologize that disturb you.