[Water] and the use of it


Hi all :wave:,

this is my first post in the ‘Stonehearth’ forum and I hope, I am not too late for the party. I owne the game for quite a while now, followed the Dev blogs with interest, but didn’t play the game intensely so far (mainly due to the old builder, which drove me crazy, but also because I didn’t want to be burned out by the game before a decent amount of game mechanics were implemented - something that happened to me with other early access games in the past. I like ‘Stonehearth’ way too much to risk this.)
And without extensive play-testing, I didn’t feel I had to add much worthwhile to the discussion …
Well, I finally picked up the game now and spent some hours (still way less than many of you, I am sure of this) creating my own settlements.

This is a long preface just to say: please forgive me, if the topic was already discussed in length and the horse (is it a seahorse, as it’s related to water, by the way?) already beaten to death now.

Now to the main point of my topic: Water and the use of it.

For now, water is merely a nice eye candy and adds to the visual enjoyment of the game. Please don’t get me wrong here, I certainly admit that this is a value in itself for a creative game like ‘Stonehearth’!
For that reason, a decent water dynamic calculation is implemented into the game so it not only allows us to create awesome waterfalls, but also “nerdy” tricks with floating wood blocks (fascinating for some, I guess, but not necessarily a core mechanism for the game).

Other than that, water doesn’t play a major role in the game.
And this, while water is actually the most important “element” for all living beings!
Our Hearthlings need to eat (and are somehow picky about the food’s quality), they need shelter and sleep (the more comfortable the better) and they strive for company and beauty … but they don’t need to drink!

Furthermore, plants don’t need water either. From personal experience, I can assure you that just one day without watering at a hot day will make my balcony plants look very, very sad! (My girlfriend constantly manages to get hers killed …)
In addition to that, none of our animals need water to drink

To improve the situation, I want to suggest the following additions to the game in order to make water an integral part of game-play:

  1. Hearthlings should need access to water/drinkable liquids.
  • At the start of the game, the settlers could just go to a (preferably very close) natural body of water in order to drink.
  • if a player decides to found a settlement far from a natural body of water, he needs to haul and store water at his settlement. Water hauling and storage could happen in clay or stone amphorae or wooden buckets.
  • digging a well would be possible in mountainous biomes or the desert.
  • digging out (and then defining as “water storage are”?) a cistern might be worthwhile, too.
  • the newly implemented weather system might tie into the water-system as well: cisterns will fill during rainfall (especially, if some digged-out canals lead water to it), heat will make the Hearthlings need more liquid.
  • cooks could create more sophisticated drinks with water and berries/wheat/sugar (or just berries alone). As processed food does now, delicious juices and other breweries would enhance the Hearthlings’ well-being.
  1. Farm animals should need access to water, either by
  • some open water traversing their enclosures (be it digged-out canals or natural water), or
  • a dedicated drinking trough filled by the shepherd.
  1. Plants (fields) should need to be irrigated.
  • Any body of water (be it natural or canals) could have a certain radius (e.g. 5-8 tiles) around them which count as “irrigated”.
  • If there is no open water nearby, farmers would need to pour them with water from the settlemen’s water storage/well or from the further away bodies of open water.
  • the newly implemented weather system could tie into farming. Rain could satisfy the plants’ water needs for some time. Periods of hot and dry weather could increase the water needs of plants.
  1. Water and other professions/game elements
  • I know that the fisher is a profession implemented by the awesome “Archipelago biome” mod. I think, something like that could make it into the main game. (Unfortunately, I couldn’t find out how to make him actually catch fish so far …)
  • I always thought that the random dropping of clay (-> the potter) should be increased when digging near or in bodies of water.
  • New vegetation could be implemented (into the main game) that is tied to the existence of nearby water (the 5-8 tile distance mentioned above). Papyrus could be an example of this. Harvesting it could create an alternative to create the Cleric’s book and possibly allow other artifacts. Other water plants could be needed for potions.
    But even without dedicated crafting recipes, they would certainly add to the diversity and beauty of the landscape.

So, what do you guys think about the usage of water in ‘Stonehearth’?
Are my thoughts worthwhile or do you think they add too much complications to the game?
Personally, I like when creative elements are tied into and based on real game mechanics. (For example, I always dig some irrigation canals around my fields. I just whish, this would be more than just for the visual effects.)
But maybe not everybody feels like this?


yeah i agree with the general “gist” of your idea. (basicly minecraft style irrigation would be plenty imho) but the world generator isnt up to that kind of scenery currently. a case of “devs currently too busy making the builder work decently, its probably planned -somewhere-”


Great ideas. Making water more challenging and requiring it to be either gathered by hearthlings and then distributed or create canals for irrigation would add some much needed challenge to the whole food managing part of the game (which currently is place a field and stop worrying, even in the desert).

One more addition I could see that would match with this suggestion is pumps, sprinklers and pipes being craftable by the engineer, allowing for irrigation of larger areas and auto-refillable drinking spots for animals. This would allow the engineer to be more than a turret builder, and add some end-game optimisation mechanics to food and animals.


I know the devs are planning to do something with wet and dry stones related to water, so pumps specifically are probably not in the works. Wouldn’t stop you modding them in though


I Agree!!! I have a post that goes into detail about the importance of water for living beings. I really think the hearthlings need water. People wouldn’t settle in a place that didn’t have water.


that would basically “kill” rayyas children from a gameplay perspective


Why? There are little ponds scatter in the desert biome. Furthermore, I deliberately wrote about wells in my OP, in order to assure Rayyas’ Children their source of water.


No, it would make rayya’s playstyle fundamentally different from ascendancy. Currently, the desert is just a flat area to build. Put up a few walls and you have an area where you don’t have to worry about anything. Being required to either settle near water, have a hearthling constantly work with a well to generate water or buy it from traders would add a big difference between ascendancy (water is easy, hills are annoying) and rayya (land is flat, plants and water are hard). This would create a completely different gamstyle between the races, and could plobably differentiate between races even more when the northern alliance comes around (water is easy, plantable land is hard, temperature?).


But what is the problem with that. I believe the devs never meant the different nations to be the ‘same game in different scenery’. It is good if the different nations are played somewhat differently, and since rayya’s children are a trading based town, it might fit in really well.
We see evidence of the difference between playstyles in the different job hierarchies between the two nations, and in a recent stream the devs mentioned that they where thinking to make the job hierarchy different for NA as well.

Water could be a good push to set up a trading economy, where-as now you can kind-of get by without trading, and you might not discover that trading is an integral part of gameplay unless you know about RC lore. All in all, I do not see problems with it.


Or rayya’s children start with a wetstone. I suggested this elsewhere and it depends on if the wetstone is supposed to be an actual item in the world. Even if it’s rare (like not super rare, just top-level-crafter-takes-a-long-time-to-make-rare) then anyone would be crazy to make a new settlement in the dessert without one.


If a wetstone would be part of the settler’s starting equipment, we would need multiple “tiers” of wetstone for this.
One “god tier” that can not be purchased/crafted, but is used in map creation in order to set up rivers and ponds. This one would create unlimited amounts of water per tick.

The “minor wetstone” would just create limited units of water per tick. It could provide water for the basic needs, but further settlement growth would rely on additional water sources: natural ponds, wells (which shouldn’t provide unlimited water either) or traded water.

Without such a restriction, the rarety of water and the consequential gameplay would just evaporate … like water in the desert.

Edit: maybe a “well” should be equivalent to a “minor wetstone”. Dig a hole and place it in there, create a nice little fountain and gather the water in a ditch around it - it’s up to your creativity and taste. The functionality is all the same: it provides a certain and limited amount of water per time.
If you want more than this, purchase additional wetstones from traders (for a very high price) or create a new one with the powers of the (hopfully upcoming) geomancer or elemental magician.


you think you killed the sea horse? HA! consider the sea horse was already well dead. not just mostly dead.


Yeah … I know. After creating my OP, I decided to actually use the search tool and “google” for water-related posts. I did find … some.

Anyway, most of them were old and usually, forum moderators are quit sensible regarding thread necroing. So I thought, a fresh one wouldn’t harm and things like the new weather system, biomes and wetstones do affect the topic. (See the interesting debate about Rayya’s Children! :slight_smile:)
Sometimes it is good to bring things back to the table. And if it is just to show that there is still interest in the topic.

By the way, your quoted posts make things look worse than they actually are. :wink:
Not all of them are related to water. (Unless you miss-quoted.)


no they are all related to water. and there is more. the reason it looks so bad is that water only recently got an update but suggestions have been made since the beginning about water so there is quite a backlog of ideas. I already bumped some of these, hopefully newer players will read through and talk about it some more. maybe inspire someone to mod more water things.


Just a small thought for water in the dessert. Trees with deep roots and big trunks that work as natural pumps and water reserves. Install a tap on the side and you have an infinite water source, though it refills slowly so you will need more than one to keep a town going.


All that sounds interesting. Is it fun though? I’d rather see drinks be something that adds to moral, like meed from honey. Optional but not mandatory for survival. Really not much into cooking and seeing a bunch of extra ingredients to deal with. Could just be me though.

Edit: Forgot my manners. Welcome to the discussion.


thats a mod tho?


This is really the cruicial question here, isn’t it?

Personally, I like game mechanics that add new gameplay to the game. Just doubling up existing mechanics ("and “reskinning” them) doesn’t do this. I agree that new brewing recieps for the cook might be too similar to food. I still like them, as they somehow compelte the whole ‘drinking’ feature. But I like your proposal that they add to the Hearthling’s moral rather than their health in order to set them appart from food. (I still think that this should only apply to processed breweries, though. The lack of any liquid (even pure water) should definitely affect health.)

Planning your settlement layout and adding irrigation canals in order to water your fields, however, does change how the game playes imo. As I wrote above: I like, when previously mere “visual stuff” (beauty buildings) are backed up by game mechanics supporting them. I feel rewarded, if a settlement “works” - so yes, this would be fun for me.

Things get even more interesting, if a game challenge is involved - and if this challenge changes, how different “races” or biomes are played. If water wouldn’t be ubiquitous, but sparse (like in the dessert biome), getting access to it (by trading or by digging wells with slowly dripping wetstones), if this sparse water would have to be distributed among all those thursty consumers (Hearthlings, animals, fields) overcomming this challenges would be extremely rewarding for me - so yes, therefore a fun experience.

Additionally, I like when multiple game elements are interlinked. Farming and the landscape (bodies of water or the lack of them), the weather system (rain, heat), wellbeing and trade, …


you all forget something really important:
wells are made up off stone
masons are a “high tier” profession
without wells you are extremly limited in your “settlement locations”

while the idea of waterdependency might sound good… stonehearth isnt the game for that (as the devs told us again and again that this is not a banished 2.0)


A well ist just a hole in the ground and some mounting to keep it stable. Stone is optional and just a matter of durability - it could be wood just as well.

And your second argument - we have food and Hearthlings need to eat or they will die.
How is water different?

Additionally and again: The more interlinked specific game mechanics are to each other, the more consistent and interesting a game is (IMO. Always IMO, of course! :slight_smile: ).
Bodies of water are there, but they currently have no purpose.
It is raining, but other than making some Hearthlings happy or sad, it has no purpose.
People build beautiful canal systems and waterfalls, but other than looking pretty (for the player, not the Hearthlings), they have no purpose.

it’s not about making Hearthstone into a Banished clone.
It’s about meaningful decisions, interesting challenges and correlated game mechanics - and those are important in ANY game.