Just watched the stream with Tony, and had a thought about towns growing to cities. The number of Hearthlings directly relates to game performance, and currently the optimizing goal will be between 30-50 (from what I understand) towards the end. So what if we had “dumb” Hearthlings?
“Dumb” Hearthlings would basically be bodies that can’t be used, controlled, or have a purpose more than filler. They would just walk around your town’s roads, sleep in beds, eat (less than normal Hearthlings) food, ect. Essentially, you could have 30 Hearthlings that all have jobs or you can tell to go build something, ect, and say another 50 “dumb” lings that just walk around your town, thus giving it the look of an active city that would have a population of 80. Think of the NPC villagers in Minecraft and how they work.
This leads me to my next suggestion. Instead of getting one Hearthling at a time per day, what if it were spaced out a little more, and they arrived in small groups? Like you didn’t get a daily report, and instead got a weekly report, but upon meeting the requirements, you got 3 new Hearthlings and 5 new “dumblings” at the end of that week. With that group though, they might bring something with them, like a little bit of food, a weapon or two, or other random things.
The reason I thought of this, is because of how hostile the world has become in Stonehearth. If there’s Goblins, Titans, and Undead wandering around, and my guys set up camp 20 clicks from a city, who’s really going to want to traverse that 20 clicks without anything, through all that?