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Farming Post-Seasons


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Imagine crops and berries can only be grown once per year. How many real life hours should a year in Vintage Story last by default for a singleplayer world? The longer a year will take, the more crop drops you'd get. In any case we'll make the year length configurable. Does not include skipping nights with sleeping, which would shorten the wait notably.

The above text quoted came from a poll by Tyron, and maybe I'm worried about nothing, but it got me thinking. Crops being only harvestable once a year would be... pretty unreasonable for most things. Sure, some crops can only be harvested once- onions, potatoes, corn, and naturally, most grains, but there are a lot of perennial crops out there that don't only produce one harvest a year. Tomatoes, peppers, peas, chard, zucchini (and most summer squash), okra, and probably quite a few more that I don't remember all take a while to grow- and then will happily grow more as long as they live, usually until the first frost.

It'd be nice if crops in Vintage Story worked like that, for a few reasons I'll go over:

1. Excessively long crop growth times make starting a new world painful. The time before the first harvest is already tense as-is.

2. Right now, the only practical difference between crops is N/P/K- it would make your choice of what to plant a little more meaningful if different plants had significantly different growing behaviors.

3. Most crops that don't take very long to grow also don't store very well without extra work; tomatoes will turn to mush in a matter of weeks, chard wilts, and even peppers and squash will go bad over time. This means that not only do you have crops that are basically only available during certain seasons, you also have an incentive to split gardening space between food for long-term storage and right now.

Of course, there's still nothing preventing you from being an absolute overachiever, growing way too much stuff and never worrying about anything; but that's kind of an unsolvable problem. Plus, I really don't think there's anything wrong with stockpiling food you grow anyway, just like there's no problem with you mining out a whole ore vein at once to avoid going into a cave.

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On 7/18/2020 at 4:48 PM, Tiktalik said:

It'd be nice if crops in Vintage Story worked like that

The poll wording was very generic.  It is in fact intended that eventually crops will vary greatly in their habits and characteristics, including some 'extended harvest window' crops, amongst other things.  Even with an extended harvest window though, you still won't be able to harvest for most of the year (in temperate climates).   At least 3 of the devs are RL gardeners, so expect VS crops in the end to have a pretty good variety of characterstics, and fidelity to RL when possible and conducive to gameplay.

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I see lots of people moving to the tropics:) as well as collecting Preta LOL.

I have been harvesting Swiss chard almost daily in my own garden and can have green beans daily if I wish right now. Swiss Chard is amazing as well as asparagus they grow well into and beyond the first frost and will both come up the next year if tented and the winter is mild. Kid you not.  Ive got a row of chard about 20 foot in length and I can pick a packed plastic grocery bag full every two days right now. its yummmmmmy! Summer squash and zuchini is another amazing vegatable keeps growing all sumer long and has incredible yields. tomatoes some diced oinions and summer squash and or zuchini in a pan with some olive oil salt and pepper and you have a ragu to die for by mid summer I can walk outside and harvest enough of this daily to put on the table for a family of 6 with very little effort, an ocasional hour or so of weeding every week is all taht is required. I raise goats for milk and meat as well and there manure added to my garden every year means that I never have to worry about soil degradation. People seem to believe that gardening for food crops is some how difficult. IT IS NOT HARD OR really all that time consuming. The hardest part for most people is having the land or space to locate the garden and to provide water to the crops. If you think about it it is harder to work for the money to buy the gas to pay for a vehical to go to the store than it is to grow your own lettus tomatoes and vegtables and I'd argue takes more time as well when you add it all up.

I would agree that certain crops that only yield anualy are more of a problem but it should not be all that difficult to feed ones self with delicouse produce in real life or this game. Some things Id like to see are the addition of ways to render fat, vegatables, olives seeds, for oil and fruit for vinagar and maybe the ability to tin preserved foods that would have a much longer shelf life. I have a pantry/celler with mason jars of canned vegtables that are 12 years old and still as good as the day I canned them.

The art of preserving foods is an old one and its amazing today how little people understand about how this is accomplished. It is remarkably easy to maintain at least 1 to 2 years of tinned and preserved or canned meats vetables and dry goods. It is crazy how many people in this world would literaly be dead in 60 days from starvation if the stores were no longer able to stock because nobody I know accualy does thease things anymore. 

Heres another one we have two plum trees and two peach trees and between them both about  two days out of the year we can harvest and can about 60 to 70 jars of preserved peaches and pulms, its insane. and every year at christmas we send jars to friends and family and they ask for them every year there that good.

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Limited growing seasons would make sense, but the volume of harvest, and to some extent the decay time, will need to be adjusted to balance them. Unreal World and the oft-compared TerraFirmaCraft had season systems.

In many climates, there's a planting season, growing season, harvest season, and idle season. If you do everything at more or less the right time, and the weather cooperates, then you can harvest and store enough food to last you through until the next harvest season, but you won't have fresh foods of all kinds all year long. I think that would be a positive change.

Each climate (each biome in the game) would have its own seasonal rhythm.  It might make sense to plant fruit trees in a warmer biome, cabbages in a cooler biome, and them migrate from camp to camp to plant and harvest.

I'd also like to see NPC villages or farms where we can buy/trade for food if starving, or sell food if we have a surplus.  The current traders have truly bizarre buy and sell requests.


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Seasonal limitations on crops, however that would be exactly accomplished, would be awesome, probably some min-max temperature system. I feel like the player needs to get exact data about the time of year a plant can be grown in the current location provided on the tooltip. A "can't be grown here right now" when it is too cold/hot and an indication how long (days) it can be grown till it is too cold/hot if not. Since the temperature curve is deterministic, this should be easily possible.

Obviously the whole system needs to be tied in closely with the food preservation mechanic, which seems to be already made with it in mind. Spring to autumn, food should be somewhat easily and very regularly obtainable by farming. Some food should be harvestable often and some less often or even only yearly. It should generally be balanced, so that the longer a food takes to grow, the longer it can be preserved.

The player preparing for winter is of course rewarded with him getting the nutritional benefits of eating from multiple food sources rather than just one. While even an unprepared player can survive the winter by hunting, only those who farmed and preserved food will be able to eat meals that provide every nutrient. The foods are already balanced that they are harder or easier to preserve depending on the nutrient type. Meat, while also freshly obtainable in any season, can be cured with a bit of salt and will last for years. Grains, while already lasting longer than most preserved food, can be turned into flour simply by grinding it, making it last for over a year. Vegetables can be pickled when having access to salt, but even then won't last too long. Fruits, while easily obtainable during fertile seasons, decay extremely quickly and are hard to preserve by creating jam, requiring hard to obtain honey, but lasts for years if stored in sealed crocks.

So with this in mind, looking at growth times and other factors, grain should take the most time to grow, probably a full season. The other foods like vegetables and fruits should however be much faster to obtain. Something I would like to see with fruits are the plants taking longer to grow, but the fruits growing rather quickly once the plant is mature, allowing harvesting the plant multiple times for the rest of the season, example plants being tomatoes. Some unique farming I would also like to see are hops and grapes, which are slowly grown on crop sticks and ropes, dying down to just a root in autumn but automatically regrowing from it in spring.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Much of the discussion so far parallels the real world agricultural design concept called permaculture.  When it was originally conceived in the mid 1970s the goal was to create a way to feed, cloth, house, and protect from the elements a family of 4 on a plot no greater than 5 acres, across a wide range of climate zones.  Since then the primary change to this concept has been to add that the same 5 acres must also produce enough excess to provide a meaningful income year round.  A quick search of permaculture guides will produce a number of charts for each climate zone that describe the associated planting/maturation cycle, as well as, the necessary animal husbandry to sustain the farm. 

As this is a worldwide phenomena, I recommend anyone interested to visit a permaculture site to learn more.

In the briefest sense, their concept outlines the thought process to develop each farm depending on the limits of the surrounding climate.  As example:

  1. Start with good maps and an understanding of your local climate
  2. Develop Water Supply First
    1. Water Storage
    2. Water Harvesting
    3. Reticulation of Water
  3. Define Access Points
  4. Restore existing buildings and introduce new structures
  5. Subdivide your farm with fencing
  6. Improve your soil
  7. Plant trees and crops
  8. Introduce animals
  9. Develop farm economy

Obviously, the available permaculture documentation would be overwhelming implement let alone just review.  However, the existence of this documentation may prove useful for those wanting to developing an agricultural architecture that mimics the real world.

As always, thank you for your time and consideration.

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