I came up with a part of this during the development of my piles plus mod, but after an hour of trying to understand parts I thought I needed, I concluded that it was beyond my skill to even understand. So I thought to work it out as a suggestion.
As this piece suggests, it has to do with piles. I like piles because they are iconic ways of storing stuff of which you often have a lot, namely resources. That, and the system also has computational and aestethical (for both the player and the hearthlings) benefits.
This mechanic specifically allows the players to allocate space for pile storage, regardless of whether the resources are there or not. The hearthlings will the use this storage space as they wish. Depending on how far you can push this, it might make the inventory limit redundant, which is the real prize (this is due to the computational benefits of having 18 items packed into 1).
So how does that look concretely:
- Piles behave differently than other items. You can place them from your inventory like normal, but you don’t actually have to have any of the pile items to do it. You can place as many of them as you like in the world, and the game wont care.
- This is the players way of allocating piling space.
- When hearthlings have the resources, and don’t need them for anything else, they will pile them and place them in the player-designated spots, provided there are any.
- If there aren’t any, then the game will behave as it does currently.
- If any hearthling needs the resources which are locked up in piles, they will first try to get loose ones of course, but if there aren’t any, they will shamelessly harvest a pile.
- The player can prevent that by locking the pile. This is done through one of these buttons on the unit frame (like the character sheet for hearthlings). Locking a pile will turn off its pile-ness, so it will basically behave as it does currently, like an idle decoration which just sits somewhere.
What will this do to a town?
Consider berryfields Harbor, from the youtuber The Innkeeper. There are lots of piles there, but they suck up a lot of wood, and are of no further use. That is because currently, piles behave like decorations.
What looks like storage will actually be used for storage. This system will make hearthlings regularly travel to the harbor to add a pile or harvest one. You’ll actually see the amount of piles grow and shrink wioth the amount of resources you have.
- It would be cool if you can stack piles on top of one-another, even when they are in ghost form. I’d use it to pile wheat bale’s in a silo, going into the heights.
- Maybe you need an extra class, the Goodsmaster. He has access to all the pile recipes, and concerns himself with the automatic piling process, and making sure those piles are placed in the world.
- This might be very useful to get resources to the relevant crafters. You place a pile of resources near their shed. When they need more resources, they harvest a pile, put its contents in a crate indoors, and work further. Meanwhile the Goodsmaster comes in and replaces the pile. It is a good way to optimise your town, so I think that balances out well with the fact that you need to promote a precious hearthling to Goodsmaster for it to work