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Better Villages


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Okay, let me begin by saying that the following is going to be an equal mix of half-baked ideas and overly developed concepts. This is intended to be a kind of throwing out of ideas for the future. Additionally, this is being designed three types of adventures: a Jack of all Trades Explorer, a Specialized Worker, and a Mage. Additionally, I'm looking at the different play styles as a sort of easy, normal, and hardcore mode. Also, I plan to post more of these crackpot idea pots; if you would prefer I didn't just say so. And now that the disclaimer that used additionally twice is over... villages.

I was scanning over the list of old Minecraft mods and stumbled across the Millenaire Mod. An awesome little mod which added randomly spawned villages which would slowly expand on their own and could be helped by the player to make them grow faster and possibly further than they would be able to on their own. Because giving credit for ideas where credit was due.

Main Minecraft problem: Villages are static boring places where a player can do nothing but trade a very rare resource for items which can be easily obtained other ways, and get some cheap food. Solution? Make them work for it!

Also warning: a lot of text lies below. 

Special items only available from villagers.


One of the most striking things about Millenaire was that villagers knew how to craft things that the player did not. And if the player gave them enough items to get in their good graces they would offer to teach the player how to make said resources. This seems like a brilliant mechanic in an RPG system, making some types of items racially locked and you have to get in the good graces of a village and have them teach you how to make the resources.

For example, an Orc race could teach a player how to temper weapons to deal more damage or an elf race could provide special spell books. This is something kind of half-baked because I have no idea what/if any kind of races VintageStory is going to feature.


Finding a village.


The story fragment implies that the player is going to be a mad one. Whose purpose is to fight the night, save others from the night, and possibly share your madness with them? Well, it seems like if you stumble upon a village its inhabitants would be in hiding. Afraid to stray outside of their pathetic holes in the ground anytime but when the sun is brightest. And logically they would be just as afraid of a player; for all they know it could be another trick of the night to kill them.

In less fluffy words, I propose that when a player first finds a village all of the villagers would be hiding in large holes in the ground, hidden under grass or leaves (which would make villages rather difficult to find and valuable when you do find them. Once you have unearthed a few villagers they will be cowering from you and at that point, you can either unearth them and leave them for the night to devour or give them resources to build a shelter.


Once a village has been found.



Once you decide to help a village they will create a shelter for themselves, but they will continue to hide in their little burrows. After a few days of their shack being left alone (in no part due to the player's protection) one of them will become the village's leader and they will move into the shelter, From that point they will furtively start exploring the world around them for the precious resources they will need to create a society. 

From now on the leader will decide on a project  And will ask the player whenever spoken to for the resources they are missing. Once enough resources are gathered, which will require quite a bit of player intervention at the beginning; either in the form of proper tools or actual resources, the structure will be completed and someone will be assigned to it and do the job associated with the building.

Be it searching for lumber, mining, farming, building/upgrading buildings, creating better clothes for more protection, or even some more specialized tasks.


Growing the village.


From time to time villagers will find themselves with nothing to do, or just wanting a bit of a break from their constant struggle for survival. Instead, they will chat amongst themselves for a short time. During these conversations, they will begin to form friendships with one another and as time goes by it may become slightly more than friends.

Whey a villager is in this chatty state a player can join in on the conversation, providing comments, insults, advice, etc... depending on what the player says it will change his relationship status with that villager. Nice things will of course slightly raise it and rude things will of course slightly lower it. A player beings with a relationship of .25 with each villager and will gain/lose 1 relationship point multiplied by their current relationship, having a relationship of 3 will make you gain/lose 3 points. And you can only move the bar once when a villager is feeling chatty. Also what things that would be considered nice/rude might not be taken as such, it depends on the villager's personality so these conversations become a bit of a dance where you will actually learn about your villagers and what they like/dislike. Villagers also have a chance of raising/lowering their reputation with each other as well, this chance is increased as they get higher in the ranks. 

Whenever a player/villager gets 10 relationship points with another villager, starting at 20, everyone else above 10 will drop down to the nearest multiple of 10 (15 becomes 10, 32 becomes 30, 4 stays a 4). Once someone reaches 100 relationship points with someone the point holder will lose their position and will instead become a spouse and move into their new mates home. Villagers of the same gender can only get up to 20 relationship points, to add some difficulty and to help keep people in their positions. In addition, a villager can only have one spouse at a time, so that the whole town doesn't wind up falling apart. A spouse becomes a bit of a protector for their mate, basically a bodyguard role; for both the player and other villagers. However, your spouse until maddened will be more of a liability than an asset during the night.  

This, of course, could lead to some problems if the town's miner decided to move in with the town's weaponsmith. So the player has the ability to join in the relationship race and knock down the weaponsmith's relationship, Giving the player a way to try and fix problems that might be caused by a computer trying to play lovemaker.

Once two villagers are married whenever they sleep close to each other there will be a chance for there to be a little baby villager when they wake up in the morning. The same is true for a player and their spouse. Additionally, a player can no longer influence the relationships of other villagers in a town while they have a spouse. Everything is a trade off.

The town will continue to be built possibly creating vacant buildings, which once new youngsters grow up will become occupied by them and the new villager will take on the profession of their new home.


Village tiers and expansion.


Not every village is the same, each race will have three of four different villages each providing different buildings. Taking orcs as an example: they have an outpost village which doesn't produce much except for food it is designed to be a defensible place which is hard for the night to invade. A production village designed to create hight quality weapons and armor. And a market village with buildings for trading between villages.

Every race should have a market village for trading, and these villages have a very limited range... how far can a villager travel during the day? Until they are granted madness and then they can go further, allowing players to cultivate empires of villages.

Villages buildings are made of # theirs, in the beginning, they are simple dirt huts, which then become thatch, then wood, then stone, and finally a material which is unique to each race. Taking the orcs as an example they may be able to create reinforced metal plates which give blocks a shield so that they have to be broken twice (once for the plate, once for the block) but only if broken from the side the plate is on.

These tiers also have an effect on the village's town hall, at dirt tier the village can only be built in a very small area, and villagers will look for resources in an area about twice as big. At each tier of the Town Hall, these values increase allowing for bigger and bigger villages, and for villagers to search farther and farther for resources as they become more and more secure in their defender against the night.

Once a village has reached its final tier you can chat with villagers and share your madness with them. At which point they will lose fear in the night and build a watch tower on top of their town hall allowing new villagers to become guards. Once a village has built all of the buildings it can fit at once there will slowly start to be an unemployment problem as more youngsters grow up and don't have buildings to move into. Once enough of them have piled up they will decide to go off and form a new village close by, however, this village will start as a wood tier village.


Player control over a village.


A player also has the ability to influence the village more directly. If a player gives the village an item which they find to be useful, they will try to create that type of item themselves. Giving them food will make them try to make farms, giving them tools will make them try to make a weaponsmith, giving them spells will make them try to create a library where they can create their own.

Once a village has been granted madness the player who granted it will be approached by the village leader and offered leadership of the village. Once that happens the player will then be able to directly control what buildings are added and upgraded as well assigning unemployed villagers to specific structures. This will be the only way to have more than one family living in a house. A player will also be able to assign smithies and cook a queue of items to create. Or you can just tell the village leader to use his or her best judgment. 


Village playstyles


As for the playstyle system, I have a few suggestions as to how these ideas could be tweaked. For the rest of this section, I will refer to Survive and Automate as easy mode, Survive and Build as normal mode, and Wilderness Survival as hard mode. Additionally, the above ideas were designed for normal mode. I use additionally a lot, don't I?

In easy mode simply removing villager genders would remove a level complexity from the system, as well as making villages grow a bit faster. Also having villages be found with a townhall and 1 or 2 other buildings already built would remove the difficulty of finding them and convincing you that you aren't a monster. 

In hard mode, villagers could have a pregnancy system, kind of the opposite of the easy mode tweaks. A female villager would only be able to become pregnant in a pattern of twenty days off two days on. And the chance from sleeping can only occur on the two days on. Additionally, a new baby villager isn't spawned immediately, instead the villager goes through stages where they become slower and weaker (applies to a player as well) until one morning they wake up and a new baby villager is spawned, but this one is actually a baby, who can't move around or really defend itself in any way. It would need to be taken care of by its mother. This would make it harder for to create new villagers, as well as removing one villager from the town while a new one is created. Forcing players to help the town out more in its early stages.

Another possible system for hard mode is a disease system. Different diseases could be acquired in a villager's normal day to day work. And once acquired could be spread to other villagers by proximity. Medicine isn't very good at this point, so the only thing that could save a diseased village is being a quarantine or a healing mage. This would add a new purpose to a field of magic people don't usually ever use. As well as adding to the hardcore feeling that this mode is supposed to induce. The only way to prevent a villager from getting diseased is to share your madness with them. 


You may have noticed that I was using a lot of concepts from a Tolenisitic High Fantasy setting. This is because based on the information available about the game, that is its setting. You may also have noticed that I omitted a few things like buildings are exact racial village abilities, that is because the post was intended to be more of a food for thought- think about this and maybe add it into the game in the future... I think it would be cool- than a please do X, Y, and Z.

Anyways... I tried to categorize things a bit so that they would be easier to respond to. Not sure how well I succeded... Thank you for taking a look at my long drawn out rambly suggestion!

P.S. you have a weird thing in you WYSIWYG editor where it will sometimes remove the paragraph you just typed when you press enter. Not sure what that is about.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Yea I hope i can get to the villages component soon. There's sooo much we could add to it :-)

I'm a bit unsure about the growing villages part though. It's a bit tricky to do elegantly from a technical point of view and villages expanding might not always be interest of the player.  It's also kind of a empowerment kind of thing, when only the players may build stuff and not any other ingame entity.

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