Experimental Update – Hubs System
In the last Experimental Update, we attempted to give houses more meaning by changing the way villagers fulfill their needs. The feature turned quite controversial but we believed that after some tweaks it would result in fun and interesting gameplay. However, additional brainstorms and your feedback showed that villagers fulfilling their needs in houses goes against one of the fundamental principles of Against the Storm – being concerned with the settlement as a whole and not with individual villagers. This resulted in a higher than usual amount of micromanagement which you promptly noticed (for which we are thankful!).
In this Experimental Update (Early Access v0.28.09E), we want to approach the same problem, but in a bit different manner. Instead of focusing on individual villagers, we decided to direct your attention toward HUBs.
HOW HUBS/HOUSING WORKED
After the last update, villagers would go back to their houses to fulfill needs (instead of going to the Hearth, as in previous versions). We implemented this change to give houses more meaning and add a new layer of decision-making to the city builder portion of the game. And this seemed to work to an extent – towns started to look more organic and house placement finally mattered. But this also resulted in a weird necessity to micromanage workers and shuffle houses around constantly. It which wasn’t really fun and broke the fundamental rules of the game’s design (as mentioned above).
We realized that we needed to approach the complex problem of housing, hearths, and aesthetics in a different way. That’s why today we bring you a new hub system.
WHAT WE CHANGED
From now on, villagers no longer fulfill their needs at home. Instead, during each break, they go back to the Hearth to rest, eat, get clothing, etc. At the same time, Hearths now become important town centers around which you build your infrastructure and get special rewards for meeting certain milestones.
Hub panel in the Hearth.
Each Hearth has a radius that basically indicates the area of its hub. Within this area, you need to build houses, decorations, and service buildings to progress the hub level of a given Hearth. Each hub level gives special global bonuses (resolve, production speed, etc.).
At the same time, villagers will not move into houses that are outside of a Hearth’s reach, and other Hearths’ radiuses can not intersect. Each Heart essentially creates its own hub that needs to be progressed, and the bonuses of these hubs stack.
Additionally, decorations now play a much bigger part in a settlement’s development (as they help progress a hub to higher levels). We decided to go even one step further and divided them into three categories: Comfort, Aesthetics, and Harmony. Each category has a different resource cost and each hub level requires a growing amount of decorations from different categories to be placed within a Hearth’s radius.
4 Decorations built (Comfort type)
8 Decorations built (Comfort type)
4 Decorations built (Aesthetics type)
1 Institution built
16 Decorations built (Comfort type)
8 Decorations built (Aesthetics type)
4 Decorations built (Harmony type)
Bonuses from previous levels
Bonuses from previous levels
WHAT WE’RE INTERESTED IN
Our main goal with this change is to accomplish the same things as with the previous Experimental Update, but without the micromanagement and mental load attached to it. We wanted to strengthen the city builder core of the game, introduce more meaning to housing and hub placement, and encourage players to build more aesthetically pleasing settlements. The questions we are primarily interested in, are:
- How do you feel about this new feature? Are the new gameplay elements fun?
- How does this change affect your playstyle and settlement layout?
- If you played the previous version (villagers fulfilling needs in houses), is this new approach better or worse in your opinion?
- Is this new approach easily understandable? Are there any issues with the user experience?
If you want to test these changes with a fully leveled up profile and all content/upgrades unlocked, feel free to use the “meta.addAll” command in the console when you are on the World Map. You can open the console by pressing the ~ key on your keyboard.
Thank you for your constant support and may the Storm be gentle on you!
HOW TO PLAY EXPERIMENTAL UPDATES
Experimental Updates are kept on a separate branch. In order to play it, you need to install Against the Storm – Experimental Branch.
The Experimental Updates will in many cases be in a very raw state. Changes are not localized, there can be bugs, and the balance might feel way off. It has a separate save file from the main version and your progress can’t be transferred from the Experimental Branch to the main version.
You can also use the developer console on the Experimental Branch. Discover the developer commands here: Experimental Branch.
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