Experimental Update – Villager Routines
In this Experimental Update (Early Access v0.27.5E), we want to try out something new with villager routines and the way need fulfillment works. This isn’t a massive change, but we believe it could breathe new life into player settlements and introduce a new gameplay layer.
HOW NEED FULFILLMENT WORKED
Until now, villagers always returned to the Hearth to rest and fulfill their needs. They have never really gone to their homes to do anything, and houses were mostly stats-oriented buildings (boosting Resolve and mitigating some Forest Mysteries). This design choice was the result of two main factors:
- we wanted the settlement to feel alive by having its inhabitants gather in one place (the Hearth),
- and we wanted to avoid weird logistical issues that might pop up when workers start taking longer routes every time they need to rest.
Although this direction streamlined some aspects of the game and was working pretty ok, it was a bit boring and limiting, so we decided to try out something different.
WHAT WE CHANGED
From now on, villagers will return to their homes during breaks. There they will rest, eat, and satisfy their needs. The only exception are homeless people – they will still gather around the Hearth. The time required to rest will not change, but it will become much more important to create housing hubs near production and gathering buildings.
We also changed the way villagers are assigned to houses. From now on, the game will try to allocate housing spots based on the nearest workplace. This means that if you build a Shelter near a Lumber Mill with two Beavers in it, the Beavers will move into the Shelters (and their previous housing spots will be free for other villagers to take). The same goes for when you build a Smithy near an existing hub of houses, and assign two workers to it. The housing spots will be shuffled around to accommodate the new smiths, so they have the shortest possible path from their workshop to their home.
There’s also one additional rule – villagers will always want to live in the best available house, so if there is a species-specific accommodation somewhere in the settlement, they will choose it over a Shelter that is closer to their workplace.
Additionally, it is now possible to move all houses in your settlement. We decided on this because our initial tests showed that there was some sort of a decision paralysis when placing houses and workshops in the early stages of the game. It’s impossible to predict how the late-game layout and blueprint roster will look like, so forcing players to commit to a permanent house placement early on felt wrong.
We hope that with these changes the houses will finally have a more clearly defined role and that this will lead to more natural and aesthetically pleasing towns (no more building houses in the middle of the forest).
WHAT WE’RE INTERESTED IN
Our main goal with this change is to strengthen the city builder core of the game (by creating new gameplay around housing areas), better define the role of houses, encourage players to build more aesthetically pleasing settlements, and breathe more life into the towns in general. The questions we are mostly interested in, are:
- How do you feel about this new approach? Are the new gameplay elements fun?
- How does this change affect your playstyle and settlement layout?
- How do you feel about the balance? Has the production output of your settlements changed significantly? Are there any problems with logistics or rest times?
- Is this new approach easily understandable? Are there any issues with the user experience?
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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