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Category: Dev Blog

[Dev] Path of Glory – Confidence & Revolution

Detailed insight, explained by Sebastian Knietzsch – Senior Game Designer

Long Live the Revolution

Your Settlers will be more emotional about the state of affairs in your settlement than ever before. We introduce a system that we call “confidence” which determines how loyal your settlers in a district are. This system is the basis for our new alternative winning strategy Path of Glory.

Settler Loyalty

Each settler has a value defining how loyal they are to their faction. That value usually sits at zero which means “loyal”. The aforementioned feature Path of Glory can change that value. E.g. if a settler witnesses their Hero winning in the Arena, their confidence would change by +1. This is what we call “bolstered”. If they witness their Hero loosing, the value changes by -1. This is what we call “converted”. Converted settlers will not work anymore but walk to the district’s keep and start protesting.

Confidence

Each of your districts has a confidence value. If there are too many protesters compared to loyal settlers in a district, confidence will fall. It will also rise again, if you have enough loyal settlers in a district. You’ll be able to see a district’s confidence in the keep’s menu and at the flag of the keep itself. Depending on the ratio of protesters and loyal settlers, the confidence will fall faster or slower.

Revolution

If a district’s confidence hits zero a revolution starts. All settlers in the district, even the loyal ones, turn into protesters. One of them will go to the keep and change the flag to the color of the player that converted the most settlers in that district. In the very rare case of two players having converted the same amount of settlers, chance determines the winner.

The upside for the winner – and downside for the former owner – of this kind of district conquering is, that all buildings stay intact and all Settlers, even military units, switch sides.

Spreading Confidence

You might ask yourself: “And what do these bolstered settlers do?”

First, they will be prepared for when your enemy tries to convert them. A bolstered settler seeing their hero lose in the arena will only become a loyal settler afterwards. Second, bolstered settlers will spread their happiness among converted settlers. A bolstered settler will seek out any protester in their vicinity; they will have a sincere talk about life “n stuff” and at the end of it both will be loyal.

It may happen that a settler is furious which means they received -2 points on our loyalty scale. These settlers will still be protesters and might pass on one of these conversion points to a loyal settler that will turn into a protester as well. It needs two bolster points to make them loyal again. See some examples in the graphic below

Counter Measures

What can you do to protect your districts?

Bolster your settlers! Build e.g. statues to make your settlers forget about lost arena fights. You could also start an arena fight nearby with a friend or a foe, if you are sure enough to win.

If you have an immediate emergency and a district is already losing confidence, you can move an army there. Soldiers will always be loyal and they count towards the loyal portion of the settlers in a district. Be careful though, if there are too many converted settlers, the army might not be able to compensate this and if the district changes allegiance, so will the army.

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[Dev] Path of Glory – Recruitment, Training & Tournament

Detailed insight, explained by Sebastian Knietzsch – Senior Game Designer

Path of Glory is one of the new strategies to take over districts and as a result win games in The Settlers. You can recruit heroes, train them and send them into arena fights. For glory!

Recruitment & Training

If you want to recruit a hero, you need to build the “Heroes’ Retreat” first. Here lives, trains and eats the hero and their sparring partner. It is important to know, that your hero will arrive from the colony ship. Building the Heroes Retreat inland will mean a longer travel time for your hero, building it on a shore could mean a longer walk to the arena.

Currently heroes can be of 3 different weapon schools.

  • School of the Beak heroes fight with swords
  • School of the Pincer heroes fight with clubs and maces
  • School of the Claw heroes prefer heavy weapons like axes

If heroes have enough to eat and do not prepare for an arena fight, they can be trained. Training improves attributes which in turn affect stats, so our hero can take more hits, better evade attacks from the opponent or hit harder.

Tournament Preparation

In order to hold a tournament, you need to build an arena. This requires enough space and plenty of building materials. If you decide to follow the Path of Glory your infrastructure should be ready for it.

Here two worker will take up the job of the herald. If you wish to hold a tournament you select the arena, choose one of your heroes, if you have multiple “Heroes’ Retreats”, and then a spot in the territory of the player you want to challenge. Your hero will immediately go to the arena and will wait for their opponent to arrive.

In the meantime, one of your heralds will go to the location you selected and announce the tournament. Settlers will stop working, gather around and follow your herald to the arena, filling the ranks as spectators. So, initiating a tournament already has an impact on the economy of your opponent.

The player can decide to accept the challenge and send a hero – or to forfeit. If a hero was chosen, he or she will also join the herald. In the meantime, your other herald will announce the duel locally in your territory and idling settlers will go to the arena to cheer for your hero.

The Fight

Once all spectators and both contenders arrived, the spectacle can begin. In a series of blows, parries and counters the heroes will fight until one of them is defeated. Some spectators belonging to the winning hero will receive a confidence boost whereas some spectators supporting the loosing hero will lose confidence. Settlers with low confidence will turn into protesters, which can lead to revolutions – but more on that in the next Dev Blog.

Forfeiting

If your enemy forfeits a challenge, the trainer of your hero will join in the arena for a show fight which your hero will always win. Your herald will still bring settlers of your enemy as spectators and these will not be happy. In fact, they will find it worse than watching their own hero lose.

Friendly Tournaments

If you want, you can also invite settlers of an ally to a show fight between your hero and their trainer. All spectators will receive a confidence boost at the end of the match. This can help to make your settlers forget an earlier defeat or prepare for a future one.

Statues

Statues can be built not only to honor your heroes but are a counter measure to soothe settlers who watched their idols lose. From time to time settlers with low confidence will visit those statues to contemplate and heal.

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[Dev] The Resource Broker

Detailed insight, explained by Volker Wertich

Introduction:

The heart of the Settlers economy is the distribution of goods and their transportation. As many of these processes are automated, a complex game system is necessary to make smart decisions. We call this the “Resource Broker,” and it plays an important role since the very first game, “The Settlers.” Today, we want to give you a detailed insight into how it works!

The “Resource Broker” decides which goods are transported to which location and by what unit. For the player, it is important that the automated ruleset behind these decisions is effective on the one hand, but also predictable, as the player needs to understand what is happening in their settlement.

As hundreds, or even thousands of transports happen simultaneously without player commands, the player instead needs to be able to make decisions that influence the Resource Broker indirectly. The player does this all the time by choosing locations for buildings, deciding when to place or upgrade a building, or by ordering troops of a specific type. But we will also see that the player has control in increasing the priority for a building or by pausing specific production chains of selected buildings.

1. Piles:

A pile is a certain amount of a single good type at a specific location. There are piles in the game that either offer goods, request goods, or do both at once.

Piles that offer goods:

  • (A) Outgoing piles at resource buildings: For example, a woodcutter cuts a tree and brings home a tree trunk to his hut, which is offered as soon as it arrives on the pile.
  • (B) Outgoing piles at production buildings: For example, the smelting works turns coal and ore into iron and offers it as soon as the iron is ready.
  • (C) Currently transported pile: Even a pile which is currently being transported can be offered and redirected. E.g., if a donkey cart moves five wood units which were not needed elsewhere to a storage building, and in the meantime another new building has been placed by the player that requires these units, they will be redirected to the new building site. Anything that is currently being transported to a storage building can still be offered.

Another reason why a transported pile can turn into an offer is when a cancellation occurs. If a transport cannot be resolved anymore, for example because the player decided to cancel a build order, or the target building was destroyed by enemies, the current transport is canceled. The goods will be offered again. If there is currently no need elsewhere, the carrier looks for a nearby place to drop the goods and creates a “landscape pile.”

  • (D) Landscape piles: For different reasons, one reason described above, the player can have landscape piles in their territory. These also offer goods.

Piles requesting goods:

  • (E) Production buildings: E.g., the Smelter has input piles for both coal and ore to be able to operate.
  • (F) Recruitment buildings: E.g., the Archery yard asks for bows to be able to recruit new troops.
  • (G) Building sites: Any new building that is constructed has input piles.

Piles offering and requesting goods at once:

  • (H) Storage buildings offer and request the goods they store simultaneously. They request goods to ensure they are using additional storage capacity, and at the same time, they offer their currently stored goods.

2. Priorities

Now that the Resource Broker knows the locations and amount of offered goods as well as the locations of requested goods, priority comes into place.

If there is a substantial surplus of goods and enough transport capacity is available, priorities do not matter a lot: every request can be fulfilled. But as the player will try to optimize their economy and make the best and most efficient use of their goods, there will be a shortage of specific goods all the time and probably a shortage of transport capacity at some point, too. To ensure meaningful decisions by the Resource Broker, there are different priority levels, and within a priority level, there are sub-levels and urgencies to determine decisions.

Let us run through the priorities from the lowest to the highest level:

Priority 5: The lowest priority is level 5, which includes all requests for storage buildings. It applies to surplus production that must be stored and brought to specific storage locations, which is usually not urgent. As mentioned, all transports heading to storage can still offer their transported goods and may be redirected if there is a need.

Priority 4: The standard priority is level 4, which includes all the normal economy requests of production and recruitment buildings. This applies to the majority of all existing requests and includes all continuous goods distributions. Within this category, all decisions are taken using urgencies, which will be explained below.

Priority 3: The highest automatic priority is level 3, it includes all current orders to build or upgrade something that requests goods.

Generally, we define that anything the player wants to build-up has higher priority than the normal economy requests of priority 4. While this is, of course, questionable under certain circumstances, it is usually a good approach as the new buildings often play a key role in the player advancement and the resource requests for build-ups are one time only while all the requests of finished buildings are unlimited and happen continuously.

Within priority level 3, there are two more sub-levels which further decide the priority:

  • The first sub-level defines that buildings have priority over fortifications and fortifications have priority over roads. As above, this is a pre-defined priority which is usually, but not always, a good choice.
  • The second sub-level defines that older build orders have priority over newer build orders. This ensures that the order placement by the player matters and that the result after some time will be, e.g. 5 of 10 new buildings finished and operating instead of 10 buildings all half-finished and all non-functional.

Priority 2: To ensure that the player can overrule the Resource Broker’s decisions if needed, we grant the player a “high priority” function for finished buildings, which raises priority 4 to priority 2. This means the player can prioritize individual finished buildings higher than everything that the Resource Broker decided. This allows the player, for example, to grant a weaponsmith building highest priority because they want the deliveries for the sword production handled with highest priority.

Priority 1: The player can also use the “high priority” function for building sites, which raises their priority from 3 to 1. The sub-levels of Priority 3 work the same way here, which means if the player sets five building sites to “high priority,” the same sub-priority rules as described above are used to further differentiate between those.

3. Urgencies and distances

While the priorities already separate all the possible matches between offers and requests, within the same priority there can still be dozens or hundreds of valid offers and requests. A single building site may receive the missing boards for construction from any of the sawmills the player owns, or from any storage that contains boards, or potentially from landscape piles if they exist. Now the urgencies and distances decide which offer is matched with which request.

Urgencies go from very high to not-at-all, and work as follows:

The input pile of a building site has a higher urgency if it is empty or almost empty, as the building cannot be constructed without the goods.

The input pile of a production or recruitment building has higher urgency if it is empty or almost empty, as the building cannot operate/train without the goods. The urgency drops to zero if the pile is full.

The output pile of a resource or production building has higher urgency if the pile is full or almost full, as the building stops operating if there is no room left to store.

The landscape piles get an urgency above average, but not very high. In theory, they could remain forever, but for a better overview by the player, it is better to get rid of them sooner or later.

Distances are quite obvious: The higher the distance between a requesting and offering pile, the less effective the transport order is compared to another transport with less distance. It is important to know that the real walking distance, not the direct-line distance needs to be considered.

Distances are considered together with urgencies, and basically, the Resource Broker accepts the double distance if the overall urgency is twice as high too. As the urgency values can be balanced individually, this grants the game design team a way to control the impact of distance.

 The match: Finally, when the Resource Broker matches a request with an offer, a carrier will be assigned to execute the transport job… but we will skip the details for carriers, as we will grant more insight about different carrier types and their behavior in another article!

4. The Extended Example

Now you have heard all these rules, can we explain the impact with some examples?

Let us assume we have a woodcutter hut and a sawmill approximately 30 meters away and another sawmill approximately 60 meters away.

The first trunk the woodcutter produces will be brought to the nearby sawmill, as it is closer and shorter distance matters. Since the sawmill is fast enough to handle the input of 1 woodcutter easily, the input pile will stay empty or almost empty, and the transports only deliver to the nearby sawmill, which is fine.

Now if we assume that we place another woodcutter next to the one we already have, it will soon happen that the first sawmill has a few tree trunks in the input pile as they start to pile up, and the urgency of the request for more trunks will drop. At this point, the Settlers start to deliver tree trunks to the distant sawmill too. Usually, the input pile of the 2nd sawmill will be half as full as the first one, as it has double the distance.

Now if we place another two woodcutters closer to the 2nd sawmill, those trunks will be delivered to the 2nd sawmill instead, basically until the sawmill input piles are balanced. Because distances and urgencies balance out, the transports will now usually always go to the sawmill nearby.

If we assume that the four woodcutters produce more trunks than the two sawmills can handle, sooner or later the input piles of the sawmills run full and the output piles of the woodcutters will fill as well. At that point, they would stop working for a moment until they have room again. We may want to place another sawmill or upgrade them. But instead we do something different, we place a storage for tree trunks!

Now, but only if we have enough transport capacity (because storing goods is priority level 5 only), the carriers will pick up the trunks and bring them to the storage. This ensures that the woodcutters keep working, as their output piles are not full anymore since we increased the size of our buffer. Only after the storage is full too, the woodcutters would take a break again.

…but before the storage is full, we order five new residential buildings, which need tree trunks to be built. Depending on the distance those materials will be hauled from the storage or the woodcutters to the new building sites.

If we have a shortage of carriers, those new orders would be handled first as new building sites have priority over standard economy transports like “woodcutter => sawmill,” which means the sawmills now work with the trunks they have already stored. In the worst case, the sawmills would stop working temporarily until the carriers finished the building material deliveries.

However, if the player needs boards created by the sawmills urgently, they could grant “high priority” to one or both sawmills, lifting their economy requests above anything the Resource Broker decides on its own.

Now the sawmills will get all tree trunks available until their input is full, only the surplus available would be delivered to the building sites… in the worst case, the ordered buildings will not be finished for a long time if we insist on priority for the sawmills (which we could disable anytime).

Let us assume we now have an urgent need for a new city wall to protect us from enemies, as we just scouted the enemy and consider an imminent attack. We quickly place two towers and a connecting wall between.

As fortifications do not get priority over buildings, the Settlers would deliver the tree trunks to the residential buildings first. Since we are worried about an attack, instead we set the towers and walls to high priority, and now all tree trunks will be delivered to those first, which ensures that the towers and walls are built as fast as possible.

We hope that this detailed insight provided you with interesting information and that you can use this to your benefit when playing the game later!

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[Dev] Territory Expansion

We have built and expanded great settlements with a flourishing and lively economy. However, we’ve never talked about how we expanded our territory. In this week’s blog post we talk about just that.

In previous the “The Settlers” game we usually had to build barracks, guard towers or other military buildings, wait for a soldier to occupy it and our territory was automatically expand.

In the new The Settlers the players have more choices in territory expansion and it is visualized in more details too.

Whenever we see our frontier, marked by the border stones, we know we cannot build past that. Everything behind it is unknown, unexplored and might be dangerous.

In order to expand our territory we need to build a keep, castle or fortress. The keep is the most basic military building helping us to expand and secure the area.

Once the construction is completed, our military units will make their way to the building. If this is our first keep, our military units will move from the shoreline to the building. If we already have another keep in our settlement they will split their forces depending on the keep settings, which we can define.

Once they reach the keep they will start claiming any neutral territory nearby. Step by step by moving the border stones manually.

If we want to expand in a specific direction we can easily do this. We simply click on the keep and set a focus point. Our units will then favor the direction we choose and expand accordingly. However, each keep has an “area of influence”. This is the maximum distance they will go and expand. The same goes for castle and fortresses.

Once our units have expanded to our defined direction, they will not rest until the other areas of influence has been claimed.

In order to speed things up we can assign more units to specific keeps, castles or fortresses. Each type has an individual unit limit. The more units we have assigned, the faster we will claim the land around the keep.

In a future dev blog we will dive deeper into other military buildings, various units and different defensive options available in the game. Stay tuned.

What do you think about territory expansion? Do you like the concept of it? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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[Dev] Townhall & Upgrades

In the last few dev blogs, we sometimes mentioned that we upgraded our buildings and promised that we will talk about it in detail later. Wait no more, the day has come. In this blog we cover how we unlock new buildings and why we should upgrade them.

After we landed on an undiscovered island, we only have access to very few basic buildings. In order to change this, we need to build the very important Townhall. It is the first building that needs softwood boards produced by a sawmill. Once we have the necessary materials we can build it.

By constructing the Townhall we unlocked new buildings and the possibility to upgrade others. In addition to the very first buildings we can now build Coal & Ore Mines, Smelters, Animal & Crop Farms, Weaponsmiths, Caserns and Mints. Please keep in mind that the building list might change in the future.

In order to get access to every building in the game, we will need to upgrade the Townhall multiple times. Each upgrades unlocks new buildings and giving us the opportunity to upgrade our existing ones even further. The buildings in The Settlers are divided into several Tiers. Those upgrades unlock new Tiers. Tier 1 is called the Outpost level, Tier 2 Village level, Tier 3 Town level and Tier 4 is the City level.

Going back to the unlocked Tier 2 or Village level buildings: The Ore and Coal Mines provide us with the necessary resources to smelt iron for better military equipment.

Additionally, we also unlocked new food production buildings. In order to use the new food we need to upgrade our houses, as explained in the Food and Stamina dev blog, to have access to new recipes.

We can also upgrade all previously placed buildings, not only making them more efficient, but also granting them the ability to harvest / gatherer / produce new goods.

Let us take a look at the Gatherer, how the building evolves and what changes throughout the upgrades.

The Tier 1 Gatherer is available right from the start, has one worker and can only collect berries. This is sufficient when we start a new settlement, but with the growing needs of our workers we need herbs or mushrooms soon. Our basic gatherer cannot collect those resources. It is time to upgrade.

For this we need softwood boards. Once the construction is done our Gatherer can collect herbs and he or she gets company: A second gatherer will join to assist.

By upgrading our Gatherer Hut another time with softwood boards and stone we get third worker and the possibility to collect mushrooms. If we don’t fancy any herbs or mushrooms, we can simply turn this production / collection off in the building’s menu.

Upgrading buildings will be crucial later on: we can use more workers without consuming additional precious building space and we can harvest or produce other, better goods. We have to keep in mind that we need to provide more food as more workers occupy the building. This also means we should keep related buildings close together, reducing the transport routes. While upgrading a building the workers will stop working and don’t provide any products anymore.

Of course we want to offer you the choice to immediately place higher tier buildings, or to stay with lower tiers and upgrade them at a later point.

If we place a new Gatherer, it doesn’t have to be Tier 1, we can also build Tier 2 (or 3 respectively) directly. Sometimes, if we are short on higher tier resources for example stone, we might want to build some lower tier buildings. Tier 2 buildings only use wood, this saves us stone, which can be used somewhere else.

We may intentionally placing a lower tier building and upgrade it immediately. Why so? Here is an example:

To place a Tier 1 Gatherer we need 4 softwood logs.
To place a Tier 2 Gatherer we need 8 softwood boards.
To upgrade a Tier 1 Gatherer we need 6 softwood boards.

Upgrading only consumes 75% of the Tier 2 building costs, so you can save some materials through upgrading instead of directly building the higher tier. The downside is a longer construction time and the additional consumption of lower tier building materials. This is a nice playground for optimizer among us.

What is your stance on upgrading versus building several buildings of the same type to boost production? Do you like the evolution of the gatherer hut? Are you an optimizer or is this not your focus? Let us know and discuss it in the comments.

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[Dev] Direct Actions

Last week we talked about the population system and how you get new settlers. Sometimes those settlers are not busy and this is where Direct Actions come into place – another new feature in the new The Settlers game.

Please keep in mind that this feature is in an early stage, we are experimenting with it and there may be changes in the future.

What are Direct Actions?

Direct Actions are initiated by the player to temporarily boost production buildings or resource gathering.

In order to execute Direct Actions we will need an idle carrier and motivation points.

How do we get Motivation Points?

In a perfect The Settlers world all of your carriers are busy and have something to do. But reality is sometimes different. You probably have carriers who are idle and waiting for their next task. While they rest those idle carriers will generate motivation points automatically. These motivation points are an extra reserve, which can be used at any point needed.

If we have idle carriers and motivation points, we can perform Direct Actions to boost our economy. There are multiple ways to do so.

How to perform Direct Actions?

Resource gathering

Direct Actions can be performed on forest areas, copper, stone or coal deposits or any other area where you can harvest / mine goods. Simply click on the resource you want to gather and execute the Direct Actions. Every Direct Action will use one motivation point and requires one idle carrier.

You are low on wood? Simply click on your forest and let you carriers help your woodcutters by chopping down more trees. Forgot to build a gatherer hut and your workers are hungry? Send your carriers to collect some berries.

As long as you have enough motivation points and free carriers you can send them to do those extra little tasks for you.

By using Direct Actions you can avoid bottlenecks or ensure your production chains have additional goods.

Productions:

You can also temporarily boost your productions by using Direct Actions. Since the production of a good is divided into several stages, you can simply send carriers to help the craftsmen working at the buildings!

As an example let’s take a look at the smelter. The production is divided into several phases. One worker uses the coal to heat up the furnace and his/her colleague adds iron ore. Once this step has been completed they will make their way over to the mould. One will put the hot iron bar into the cold water, while the other one waits until it is cold enough to put it on the output pile.

If you now want to boost your production, you send your carriers over to help with the smelting process temporarily with the help Direct Actions. Since they are not trained for the main job, they will only handle the transportation phases. Meaning: They will carry the coal and iron ore to the furnace and transport the iron bar to the output pile. This makes the whole production more efficient and faster.

Each building has a different number of additional carriers who are able to help if you boost your production with Direct Actions. It is completely up to you (and of course the number of Motivation Points and idle carriers available at this time) how many carriers should help up to the allowed maximum of the specific building in this process.

So, we showed carriers are not only useful when transporting materials and goods from one place to another. Even when they are not doing anything, they will generate motivations points, which you can use to your advantage. Never underestimate the carriers 🙂

How will you use your idle carriers? Temporarily boosting your production or gathering resources? What do you think about the system? We are also considering other ways to use direct actions in the game, do you have any ideas about that too? Let us know in the comments below.

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[Dev] Population System

In the previous dev blogs we talked about food system and how your residents take care of your workers. Veterans of the series might have asked themselves if houses have a different function, how do we get new settlers?

Well, we answer this question in this week’s dev blog. We’ll talk about the “Harbor & Population System” and everything that is connected with it.

In the new The Settlers we have different types of settlers. Our workers with the blue shirts take care of constructing, gathering resources and processing materials. We also have the carriers, the girls and guys with the white shirts, transporting goods from A to B – our busy bees.

The Building:

In order to get new carriers we will need to build a harbor. This is done at the shoreline. In the first stage the harbor requires softwood logs as construction material.

Once the building has been constructed the harbormaster enters his small little skiff and leaves the island to unseen shores to convince other settlers to join our settlement.

As the boat is rather small only a handful of new settlers might join us.

While new settlers arrive as carriers on our island, those can be educated and trained to take different roles later.

The waters are rough and we need to make sure our settlers arrive safely. Our harbormaster is not only tasked to bring new settlers to our island, he / she will use hardwood logs to repair the boat as well.

Population Level:

While it is easy to attract new settlers to an adventurous new settlement on an unexplored island, it becomes harder when we already have a higher population level. We can increase the chances of people joining our settlement, if we support that idea with some coins.

So, it is time to construct a coin maker / mint. In the first stage, we can use copper ore to produce copper coins, but we decided to upgrade our mint and use silver ore to produce better coins.

If we offer higher valued coins, the chances will be higher to convince others. Upgrading your harbor should be also a priority. We will not only get better boats, which can load more people, we also have more workers to help loading and repairing them.

If we have space for it, we can build multiple harbors and get new settlers faster. The requirements stay the same. If we already have a high number of settlers in our settlement we will need to provide gold coins to ensure the boats are returning with full load.

With a simple option we can decide (by turning the building on / off) in which harbor(s) the helpers arrive and we can also choose which coin types the harbor should use to attract people.

The game will also offer other methods to gain new settlers, but it is too early to reveal them yet.

Even if we don’t need those guys yet, they are not useless. The Settlers which are able to rest will generate motivation points, but hold your donkeys – this is something for the next dev blog. 🙂

What do you think about the concept art? Do you like the harbor and the population system? Let us know what you think it in the comments below.

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[Dev] Food & Stamina System

If you follow our social channels you might have already learned about our new “Stamina and Food System”. If not, why not come and follow us on Facebook & Twitter for more info like that in the future.

Even though we covered the basics we want to dive deeper into the matter and give as much details as possible. Where do we start?

The beginning:
When we build a new settlement, we begin with the most basic buildings.

With “What you see is what you get” we learned that we see everything in the world. We see multiple forests, berries, and if we pay close attention even fish near the coast.

We started our outpost by building several woodcutter, gatherer and fisher huts. The last two buildings usually make up our basic food supply.

This will only fulfill their own needs and our woodcutters will get hungry and stop working, because they need cooked meals. It is easily visible for us: The worker sits in front of the building, waiting for food.

We need to place some houses.

Houses:

In the new The settlers the primary use of houses is to make sure to cook and deliver meals to ensure that all of our workers are fed and have full stamina.

By building some houses, we have created a “small” food production chain. The fisher will catch delicious fish and the residents can pick up this fish from the fisher hut directly. The residents will go back to their houses and start cooking a tasty meal. The cooking process is under way if you see white smoke from the chimney.

This whole process takes a bit of time, but once the cooking is done our residents will deliver the meal to different work places.

If the worker has no stamina left, they wait in front of their building. Once the residents delivers the food, they will make their way to their own little designated eating place, consume the meal, regain stamina and go back to work. In case they are still out in the field working hard, they will find the hot meal when they are coming back.

But what happens if the fisher and the gatherer get hungry themselves and do not receive any cooked meals at the moment? The fisher, the gatherer and also the hunter will eat their own collected or caught food (anyone up for sushi or carpaccio?) to ensure that they can keep working. However, since the food has not been turned into a tasty meal by a resident, it only deliver half the stamina.

Market stalls:

As we are always on the lookout to make our economy more efficient. It is time to talk about market stalls.

Market stalls are places where specific food is stored and available for the residents to collect. We will have different market stalls in the game. This will make it easier for us to plan and organize. It would not make any sense to have a fish market stall where no fish is around. Of course, we could still place it, but remember what we have learned in the transportation blog: The distance might be too long for our carriers and it could create traffic jams or bottlenecks.

We placed a market stall for our fish and for our forest products, in this case berries. Our carriers will make sure that the goods from the fisher and gatherer are transported to those stalls. This makes the walking distances for our residents shorter and they can supply food faster for our hard working craftsmen.

Mid / Late game:

How does it look when we advance further in the game?

The more we progress with our settlement the more buildings we unlock. We can also upgrade them and this includes houses. We will explain details about the upgrade system in a later blog post.

The first step would be to provide more and different food to our workers. One classic production chain consists of wheat farm, windmill and bakery. We want to use those wide and nice grasslands to have an efficient bread production, by placing enough farms.

Farms can also harvest corn and since our bread production works perfectly, we will need new market stalls, for bread and corn.

We now can provide our residents with different food, but the real deal would be to provide them with better food. Upgrading the houses will make this possible. Better houses will unlock more advanced recipes to create delicious meals that deliver more stamina, which means the citizens will need to supply each craftsmen less often. As a result, the residents can supply meals to more craftsmen.

Make sure to have houses close to major production chains as residents will not travel endlessly, to either get their ingredients or to deliver the meal to a work place.

If you think that you need food only to provide your workers with meals and keep your stamina up, this is far from it. Food will have other usages too, but we will talk about it in another dev blog.

That was our introduction to the new “Stamina and Food System”. What do you think? Do you like the change? Can you already imagine a nice and bustling marketplace with houses around? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

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[Dev] Transportation – Roads, Vehicles & Traffic Jams

Last week we talked about WYSIWYG – What you see is what you get. We learned many different things. This most important thing however was that you see where every good is in the world. This of course means you will need to transport those goods to different locations.

In early stages, carriers will transport the goods from one location to another, but they can only carry one good at the time.

In the beginning, it is important to make sure that your economy is efficient. This means, that you place buildings, which belong together in close proximity. This will make it easier for your carriers to transport the goods from one place to another. As you only have a limited amount of carriers and you want to be sure they use their time efficiently, as this enables you to train carriers you don’t need to become soldiers or craftsmen.

Below you see an early production chain. We found copper, placed a couple of copper mines around the deposit, the toolmaker and the guildhouse, to train new craftsman right next to it.

This keeps the distance for the carrier very short. They only need to pick up the copper from the mine and transport it a few meters to the toolmaker. The toolmaker will use the copper to produce tools. Which will be picked up the finished product and bring it to the guild house where we can train new craftsmen.

As you can see in the screenshots, the carriers find their way to all the production buildings without placing any roads. By simply watching them, you will know where they are going and you will find out their favorite route. If you now want to build roads, we offer three different types in our game.

As we have not found any advanced materials yet, we can only build a broad path. Roads have the advantage that our settlers will move faster. The better the road, the faster our settlers will carry their goods. Vehicles have the same speed as carriers, but they are able to carry multiple goods, which has two advantages: The first one is obvious, as you need less Settlers to transport your goods. The second advantage is an increased throughput, which means the amount of goods that can pass a location within a certain time is higher. This might be important if there is a bottleneck in your transportation route like a tight mountain pass, which limits the amount of goods you can get from one side to the other.

There will be three different kind of carts: Pull carts, donkey carts and ox carts. The donkey carts require gravel roads but they will carry up to five goods at the same time and ox carts will require paved roads but can carry up to even eight goods. In order to construct those vehicles you will need a wainwright’s and a wheelmaker.
Remember: The more carriers and vehicles you have on the road the higher the likelihood that you will have a traffic jam.
Traffic jams happen if you need to move many goods from one location to another. If there is a bottleneck on the way, people might have difficulties moving along.

This mountain path makes it difficult for our settlers to transport their goods or even to get to their destination. We could build some woodcutters to chop down the trees and build an alternatively road or we could try to upgrade the road to use ox-carts, or we could try to produce more of those missing goods on the other side of the mountain pass to avoid the need for that many transports. There are always ways to make your economy more efficient.

In order to better organize your settlement you have the option to build different resting points. Resting points will help you to manage your economy more efficiently. Rather than having all your little helpers everywhere separated on the island, make sure that your main spots – the busiest places – have enough help when you need it.

Resting points for your carriers will be a place where they meet and wait for a task in that area. Same goes for the donkey cart meeting point. They will have a place to idle and wait for the next goods to be transported. And this can happen anytime. E.g. Simply recruit multiple military units and goods will need to get moved fast.

Iron ore & coal needs to be transported to the iron smelter. The finished iron needs to be moved to the weapon smith to produce weapons and those weapons need to find their way to the casern to recruit new units.

If you have a resting point close by, your carriers have a short way to pick up those goods. Otherwise, they might come from far away and cause a delay or even add up to a traffic jam, which might already seal your fate.

There is one more interesting topic about logistics. The location of buildings also matters since some buildings have 2 input and 1 output good or the other way round. E.g. a smelter gets coal + ore to produce iron. Depending on the location, the player can influence how long those goods need to be carried and use it to reduce traffic at bottlenecks, e.g. if you produce the iron on the side where you mine the coal and ore, only the final iron (half the transports ) needs to go through the bottleneck location.

To sum it up in The Settlers you can build three different types of roads, use vehicles or set up resting points for your carriers. All three options will make your economy more efficient. Even though it seems like a small thing, once you combine everything, it will make a huge difference.

Let us know what you think in the comments. Do you prefer building roads? Do you like planning things before hand? Maybe even pause the game, look around and then start placing buildings? Or do you prefer the freedom and a more “chaotic” playstyle? Let us know. We want to hear from you.

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[Dev] WYSIWYG – What you see is what you get

After summarizing gamescom 2018 in Cologne and answering some of your most pressing questions, it is time to dive deeper. Let us jump into The Settlers universe, talk about various features or what makes a The Settlers game unique.

The Settlers have a unique DNA, which defines our game and how it plays and feels. Today we want to talk about one of the key elements of this DNA, the “WYSIWYG”-approach and how this translates into our game.

What does this actually means?

WYSIWYG stands for “What you see is what you get”.

Everything that happens in the game systems is visualized. Lets take a look at the life cycle of a tree. As a player, you see a tree grow and the tree is an object in the world. If you build a woodcutter to chop down this particular tree you can follow him. The woodcutter will go to the tree, cut it down and transport the log back to his building. The tree is gone and you have a log instead. This log will then be transported to a sawmill to produce wooden planks, or to other buildings as construction material.

You can just watch and see what happens. With this knowledge, you as a player, are able to learn and to understand the game system directly. You technically do not need any statistics and graphics to visualize anything. You could zoom in and count the logs in front of a woodcutter building. You will know, if you just have one woodcutter and no one transporting any logs, how many logs your whole settlement has.

Talking about wood all the time, does it work for other things as well? Yes. It works for everything in game. It does not matter if it is fish, grain, stone, swords or even your settlers. Every good or person is there where you currently see it, him or her.

We sat down with Lead Game Designer Christian Hagedorn. He told us, he brings WYSIWYG to the next level, but sometimes it gets hard!

Christian “Bakyra” Hagedorn: “WYSIWYG brings a very interesting challenge to the table. In modern games we have grown accustomed to the game telling us what do to. That’s why we challenge ourselves to let you play without telling you how to do it.

Christian continues: “The goal of WYSIWYG is for players to be able to understand, without indicators, what the game is about. The premise is simple, but to bring it to the game, we have to do various checks. You cannot allow interactions without explanation. For example: When the enemy army attacks, for civilians to flee, they must see the army. There is no magic happening here. They are not afraid because the keep is under attack; they are afraid and flee because they see the enemy.

This translates to everything in-game. If coal is available, you will see it in the landscape. You will see the processes of producing different goods and this presents a great challenge. How far do we go?

“You will need to find a balance between what is entertaining gameplay and what is strictly simulation.”

WYSISWYG makes it easier for a player to understand the world and everything in it. For a designer or for the art team it will increase the complexity of every design to fit this rule.

It is important to remember that we do not replicate reality. If there is no need to show the transformation, we will not show it. For example: The sawmill cutting the log into two board sets with one process. There is no need to show the removal of excess wood nor the sanding process.

This  would just grow in complexity without any real value for the player.

“We aim for the player to be able to understand everything about the game by just watching it.”

We define the information the player can access as information layers. On the first layer, you have the world you play in – WYSIWYG. You see where you can place what building, farm resources, fish, hunt, gather etc. In the other layers you find everything else, you might want to know. The second layer is the building information. You see what goods can be produced, how many of those goods are waiting to be used / transported or how many workers are working. Again: You can simply zoom in and see if the workers are waiting around or maybe in the forest cutting down wood. You can even count the logs if you want, but this second layer will give you the information as well. The third layer is a filter in a menu. Statistics how many goods you have overall, how many workers of this type etc.

There are other great things about it too. Because of WYSIWYG every resource has to be moved; because you see it in the world. This leads to lots of people living and going somewhere. This sometimes can lead to traffic jams. Organic gameplay and city livelihood are the result of our efforts, and it’s very rewarding!

Thank you very much Christian for your time and insights about “What you see is what you get”.

As Christian already teased, next week we will talk about traffics jams, road systems and vehicles, but before we do that. We want to know what you think about WYSIWYG. Do you like the level of detail? Which statistics would you like to have about your economy? Let us know in the comments down below.

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