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Tag: WYSIWYG

[Building] Quarry

The construction of our settlement cannot run on wood and wooden boards forever, eventually we will need stone to construct more advanced and bigger buildings, roads and improved walls.

This means we will need to build a Quarry somewhere close to a stone deposit.

The Quarry requires a finished Townhall and therefore Tier 2 – Village-Level. It can be upgraded once.

At Village-Level, two Quarriers are gathering regular stone.

Town-Level supports three workers and unlocks access to another good: Limestone – which has its own deposit on the map.

While regular stone is needed for the construction of all buildings at town level and for stone wall fortifications, it also can be further processed. Stones can be crushed into gravel by the Stonebreakers Yard or made into cobblestone by the Stonemason. We’re going to introduce both buildings in detail at a later date.

Gravel is used to build gravel roads, which are needed to use donkey carts. If we instead want to use ox carts, which can carry the most goods at once, we will need to build paved roads with cobblestone.
Limestone itself cannot be used, but has to be processed by Stonebreakers Yard and made into cement, which is then used for the construction of most buildings at city level.

Together with the Woodcutter and the Sawmill these three buildings will soon become a central part of the resource production for our growing settlement; especially since advanced roads in combination with carriages allow for much faster transportation of goods across your realm.

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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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