Hello and welcome to this weeks Dev Diary!
Today I will be talking about some examples of the building and advancement related mechanics of the RTS title and some trivia about the history of the location, where the first map will be based on.
Also note that this Dev Diary contains an Easter Egg, if you'd like to go for a information hunt.
Building With Purpose
One of the easiest way to add more depth to tactics and strategy, is to build a more comprehensive building variety and varied options for how the player can improve them over time. One of my personal favorite activities in RTS games is building a base, which makes this a particular interest of mine. Today's examples are going to be Walls and Societal Synergy.
Suitable for ancient times, the first type of "walls" the player can make is fences, which offer very limited defense against enemies and wildlife. Depending on materials around your first village, it can be build from rubble or sticks - or from sticks and stones, for added rigidity. Ancient building methods also include dirt and sand slopes, which are mostly just to make the terrain more advantageous for the defender. Another, more advanced type of wall is sand or dirt filled wooden wall, which is harder to break when built right.
The point of the above examples is granularity - a slight advancement in building techniques, dependent on what is lying around your starting location and how skilled your builders are. Current plan is to make every starter unit have just rudimentary skills to survive, something that was common for most of the people those days. By crafting stuff and depending on other attributes of your starting character, he/she will figure out new ways to improve upon what they build, making even the starter structures they build more durable and practical to use even later in the game. Which brings us to...
Building synergy is a term used for buildings that complement each other in some way. a Modern real life example would be a raw material extraction site, that is close to the factory, that is close to the warehouse that has mass distribution capabilities, making the production and commercial cycle more efficient.
Similarly, Societal Synergy means societal structures that complement each other. For example, at first the player will have the ability to build only simple structures - every character knows how to make a simple hut and every character will be able to build their own home initially. You are able to increase the skills of everyone to maximize the overall advancement of the society as a whole, or just some certain characters, so that you don't need to speed grind the surroundings of your village bare of natural resources. These learned characters can then pass this knowledge to one apprentice at a time at first and as the teaching characters skills increase, they can have multiple apprentices and eventually even schools for their trade.
The most important skill for your character early on, is what foods to gather and how to track and hunt wildlife better. Ancient Northern Fenno-Scandia was a really inhospitable place, with relatively little indigenous variety in food, which consisted mostly of various berries, herbs, Water caltrop, fish and game. Agriculture was possible in some areas, but hard due to short summers and long winters. Hunting skill is one of the most important ones, as it benefits the character's military skills also and provides food for the whole unit on long marches, making the supply line more efficient.
In short, my aim is to make technological advancement feel and function as organic and entertaining as possible and give the player a feeling of how their society is advancing through time. Technology trees might play a part in the bigger picture, but the progression is mainly character by character based. Only units defined by the player will have a shared XP pool, like military units or builder groups, that consist of multiple characters. There is also no plans in making storage houses or service buildings to serve just the immediate surrounding of the building, but the inhabitants will use the closest building available to fulfill their needs, even if it is straight from the hunters lodge, if the player allows it.
The title of this Dev Diary is a hint of where the height map of last weeks Dev Diary was taken from and will be the initial area for the game. The size of the height map area is 60 square kilometers.
Thank you for tuning in, and I'll see you on the next one!
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