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So I tried building one and it worked fine but... I'm not so certain that it's an actual ingame benefit.

The 5° on temperature is a neat idea but when it's winter it's too cold anyway so whatever.

In the screenshot I have a pretty well-irrigated farm with all tiles between 50 and 75% moisture. (water spots under the walls)
"High moisture now gives a small growth speed bonus." so while I potentially increase the seasonal window for farming, I lose out on the speed bonus because the glass roof keeps the rain out. Rain is common and keeps a farm nice and moist.
Harvest less often over a longer period of time or harvest more often over a shorter period?

That looks like a whole lot of effort to build a clunky farm that is hard to move around in, just to achieve a zero sum game.

vintagestory 2020-08-25 07-52-51.jpg

Edited by Gazz
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Depends entirely on your area and climate, right? I'm sure there are areas where the greenhouse as-is makes the difference between keeping the farm going in winter, and having your crops freeze. It is not meant to be a magical solution for all temperature problems. There will be areas too cold for farming in winter no matter what you do, and this is intentional. The game wants you to live off of preserved food during winter.

That said, the greenhouse is a new addition, and its effects may not yet be set up perfectly. What would you change if you could, given the design intents above? And what would your reasons be for those changes?

Edited by Streetwind
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I am aware that this is a first implementation and the balancing is probably "in the general ballpark area".
That's the whole "alpha" thing. 😃

All I did was set up in a green-ish biome with medium fertile dirt (so can't be too harsh) and a decent flat area to build on. Definitely not a permafrost place and winter temperatures went as low as -15 or so.
I don't have any tables on what biomes have what temperature modifiers nor insight into how exactly seasons affect temperature so I'm in no position to make any useful suggestions on the balancing of the numbers.

Going by what I can see ingame and read from the change log, it's simply a toss-up. A regular farm would have a (somewhat?) shorter growth season but a greenhouse will get less(?) of a moisture bonus because it doesn't rain inside.

 

The really important question is:  What is the design and how does the player (who can not know all these details) make sense of it?
By what metric can a player tell if building a greenhouse will be a positive or a negative for farming?

For instance:
"A greenhouse increases the temperature by 5°C and will not let the temperature fall below -5°C regardless of outside temperature."
As a player, that would be a statement I can work with.
Crops would grow at minimum speed but I would know for a fact that it will work.

How slow this minimum growth speed is? That's a matter of balancing.

What you are describing is a rule of "It kinda sorta works in some places and maybe just some of the time. Or it may not."
That's not something a game can communicate to the player. 😃

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Because we do have a room-based system with the cellar and greenhouse, we could try artificial heating via a firepit, heater, etc which would raise the ambient temperature and possibly enable faster crop growth? Of course this would utilize fuel unless we unlock other power methods at some point. Just food for thought.

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I would vote for a greenhouse that doesn't go below minimum growing temperature regardless of the outside temperature.  Or perhaps the plants go dormant, but aren't damaged, when the outdoor temperature goes below the minimum.  

It's not overpowered, because the maximum size and glass roof are already limiting factors--maybe the walls need to be glass, too.  Glass requires the bloomery.

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I think when it comes to greenhouses there are a couple issues mechanically with a voxel world (I also haven't tried to actually make one in-game yet!), but continuing on..

Greenhouses would likely not allow you to grow crops during winter unless artificially heated (sounds like a cool steam-power project where you finely balance moisture and temperature! I'm game.) or you happen to live in a very warm climate to begin with. Obviously a greenhouse should protect against frost burn (not necessarily the cold),  high wind or overly damp environments for plants that ordinarily would not survive these conditions.

Perhaps later on we could get a visible tag system on plant types that show what environments they do not thrive in so we could build appropriately without a wikipedia. Plant types with the frost weakness tag could be damaged or outright destroyed by frost burn (during semi-random cold snap weathers) where we would be required to either light fires during the night or enclose the plants for the night (or more reliably just build a permanent glass house). Plants with a wind fragile tag would need nearby walls or windbreaks to survive reliably (or a glass house again, or require wooden stakes). Plants that require all-day sun might be opposite to these and require they have to have no solid walls (or again, glass walls if they also needed to protected from the wind as well as having all-day sun).

So yes, with greenhouses being implemented, I'm keen to see a bit more depth and variety on crops and exotic plants that require a bit of babysitting.

As it stands, I think greenhouses should be adapted to allow you to grow fruit and vegetables that normally are a little too cold for your climate (if this isn't already the case), or perhaps boost productivity of every third plant or something to this effect if they are not already. edit: I think these particular effects should be communicated in the game either on the glass block or when looking at plants, otherwise players are oblivious to temperature mechanics and their effects on plants.

Also I think greenhouses probably should factor in the direction of the sun in some fashion (perhaps +1c per wall of glass exposed to the outside), as I feel an overhead glass house doesn't look like it gets much sun!

Edited by Magitex
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12 hours ago, Magitex said:

As it stands, I think greenhouses should be adapted to allow you to grow fruit and vegetables that normally are a little too cold for your climate (if this isn't already the case)

This is supposed to be the case already.  The bonus they give is a +5C to effective temperature of the soil blocks (and hence the plants) in the greenhouse.   When you have a properly constructed greenhouse, looking at a tilled farmland block should tell you that it is getting this +5C bonus. 

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Well as Gazz mentioned the benefits are a little vague, under what situation can the +5C allow you to grow another crop here? Do we have to go another chunk north for +1C and all of a sudden our plant grows?

I almost feel like it needs to allow arbitrary growth of fruit/veg of a higher temperature class or provide some minor produce bonus, rather than trying to get into detail and simulate it with actual degrees because it's rather methodical and gamey to add a fixed number here. The plant simulation itself is not accurate enough right now to warrant digging too much into balancing numbers I feel.

It's good to hear it's mentioned on the farmland block already though, the more transparency in these game mechanics the better; although I'm not sure players would intuitively work out they could put glass above crops in a sealed room for a 5c bonus (I guess that is similar to cellars anyway, which is its own problem).

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A greenhouse is pretty intuitive, people used to build them all the time even before there was a mechanic.  However what's not intuitive is the size limit.   It's possible the size could expand if the algorithms get optimized, or it just generally does not impede the game much.  But there will always be *some* size limit.  It's unavoidable.

Greenhouses are not a free pass to grow anything at any time irl, which is why the game is not making it a free pass (we ain't Stardew Valley).   The idea, essentially, is that it lets you expand your growable window for your climate zone.  If you're already pretty close to the southern climates, and you just barely get freezes, well this might allow you to grow year ground without fear of frost. If you're temperate zones, maybe it lets you grow an extra month.  Maybe that's enough to squeeze in a second round of the right crop.  It's not meant to let you do the same thing everywhere.   A large part should be learning what crops work in your location, and which ones benefit from the greenhouse.  Basically like irl.  It's still a system in progress, and plant growth is intended to become more detailed down the road.

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My point is:
If a greenhouse is not a tangible and undeniable benefit then it is a lot of extra effort to create a more cumbersome farm (small walled-in sections that are hard to navigate) for a might-be gain.

In my current game I started a farm early and kept it going when I swung by the base.
It's not winter, yet, and I have almost 50 stacks of grain and maybe half that in veggies. Also some 25 stacks of charcoal because trees will not grow in winter, either.

If you work on food / coal at the start of the game then a greenhouse - that you can not build at this point - is irrelevant.

In the current situation / implementation, the greenhouse is a late game luxury or creative building item.
Something you build for showing it off, not because there is a gameplay reason to.

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13 hours ago, redram said:

A greenhouse is pretty intuitive, people used to build them all the time even before there was a mechanic.  However what's not intuitive is the size limit.   It's possible the size could expand if the algorithms get optimized, or it just generally does not impede the game much.  But there will always be *some* size limit.  It's unavoidable.

It was intuitive in the sense you could always build a greenhouse, but it's not intuitive mechanically because it's not built anything like a real greenhouse (you could of course argue that everything in VS is built in such a fashion but I digress..), nor does it operate like one. The properties of light, glass and crops in Vintage Story are a little too abstract for this to be anything intuitive.

As for the greenhouse/cellar size limit, that is debatable because I don't see why it has to have a size limit any more than the world has to have limits. If the day comes where we can have sprinklers or drifters watering our plants, then I'd definitely want to see it revised either way. I'd also like to have players forced to clean/repair the glass every month for maintenance ;)

If I got into greenhouse size on the technical side I'd be here all night, but I don't think calculating room size is a technical hurdle in the scheme of things, it is however, another task on the plate. I do think it is nasty when you make something one block too big and all of a sudden things some things just don't work. As you said, not intuitive in the slightest for greenhouses and I would argue cellars to some degree as well. I imagine these hard size limitations are semi-temporary and will possibly be revised someday. They're not huge issues but they greatly affect food and farming mechanics.

13 hours ago, redram said:

Greenhouses are not a free pass to grow anything at any time irl, which is why the game is not making it a free pass (we ain't Stardew Valley).   The idea, essentially, is that it lets you expand your growable window for your climate zone.  If you're already pretty close to the southern climates, and you just barely get freezes, well this might allow you to grow year ground without fear of frost. If you're temperate zones, maybe it lets you grow an extra month.  Maybe that's enough to squeeze in a second round of the right crop.  It's not meant to let you do the same thing everywhere.   A large part should be learning what crops work in your location, and which ones benefit from the greenhouse.  Basically like irl.  It's still a system in progress, and plant growth is intended to become more detailed down the road.

Which is why I thought a mechanic where you could be allowed to grow the next tier of warmer crops (or frost immunity) may be a more beneficial and clear-to-the-player game mechanic than going with a fixed value which is every bit as unrealistic in the first place. It would then always have a clear impact on gameplay, regardless of your biome and everyone can make use of it and identify with (similar to getting access to a new metal, a new level of civilization literally). If you're arguing that adding +5C is more realistic than Stardew Valley, well, it is every bit as unrealistic anyway; My point is not about realism so much as it is that greenhouses sound a little unintuitive and questionable in execution as Gazz found out, and I'd like to see a bit more to them than fixed numbers and sizes.

Edited by Magitex
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6 hours ago, Magitex said:

 it's not intuitive mechanically because it's not built anything like a real greenhouse

It requires a 50% clear roof.  That's not really how real greenhouses are built, but if a player builds one with walls and ceiling of all glass, what they built will work.  It's fine to err on the side of letting what the player built work, imo.  In case they want to have some 'decorative' solid areas, such as a rib in the center.   The mechanic is such that if a player builds a greenhouse built like a real one (within the volume limit), it will work.  What's wrong with that?  

I'm not a coder so I can't really comment much on the code limitations specific to room calculations.  I just know what Tyron said.  I know enough to feel comfortable saying that the world having no limits and a structure having no limits are very different things, because your world will never be loaded all at once.

6 hours ago, Magitex said:

Which is why I thought a mechanic where you could be allowed to grow the next tier of warmer crops (or frost immunity)

There is no such thing as 'tiers' of crop warmth, any more than there are 'tiers' of climatic temperature.  It's a sliding scale.   The game also doesn't track the climatic conditions necessary to form frost irl, so it's really just about temperature.  Which is why a simple temperature bonus makes sense.  I don't know why you say this is 'unrealistic'.  It's more realistic than what you're proposing, and far more realistic than what Stardew Valley does, as I understand it (never played it, but I gather you don't have to heat that greenhouse).  Unless Stardew Valley is set in a climate like Georgia maybe.


It's true we don't require the venting of the greenhouse in the summer to avoid having a +20C temperature rise during the daytime.   Just a uniform +5C winter or summer.  But that is frankly a boon to the player and falls in line with a more consistent positive benefit for the player.  It's also not really 'realistic' that what would presumably be a single-pane glass greenhouse maintains a +5C temperature at night in the dead of winter, but again, that errs towards making it of more consistent and better use for the player.  It's also true that we don't require constant air circulation to avoid extreme problems of fungal infections, and aphids (yet?).  But again, better/easier for the player.  And yes, we do not currently require active heating to maintain the benefits.  Again, easier for the player to work with.  So by my count we have four instances of divergence from 'real' greenhouses, all erring on the side of easing the gameplay for the player. 


I'm honestly quite curious how you think it is that (pre-20th century) greenhouses 'really work' vs what we're representing, and what reasonable improvement you think we could make, that would be simple for the player to understand and execute.

Finally, it's important to realize that a big part of gameplay is the prepping for hard times.   A greenhouse that just provides year-round growing would do a lot to negate that aspect of gameplay.  So I wouldn't expect greenhouses to be an easy-peasy mechanic, ever.   Down the road, if glass becomes more difficult to make, maybe things get re-balanced.  Right now glass is very easy (and unrealistic) to make.  In general it's still a relatively recent addition to the game, and may indeed be rebalanced.  So I want to be clear I'm not trying to dissuade from criticism or suggestion.   But I just want to make clear that the building restrictions were not arbitrary, as I understand it, and we're taking a conservative approach to start.   But at the same time I'd also like to hear a bit more clear criticism on the 'realism' end, because I have more than a passing video game familiarity with greenhouses, and disagree pretty strongly with calling our mechanic just as unrealistic as Stardew's.

edit: oh, and as far as the water issue Gazz mentioned, that merely requires addition of some automation to address.  Work in progress and all.  There is still the option of watering can, for now.

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8 hours ago, Gazz said:

My point is:
If a greenhouse is not a tangible and undeniable benefit then it is a lot of extra effort to create a more cumbersome farm (small walled-in sections that are hard to navigate) for a might-be gain.

In my current game I started a farm early and kept it going when I swung by the base.
It's not winter, yet, and I have almost 50 stacks of grain and maybe half that in veggies. Also some 25 stacks of charcoal because trees will not grow in winter, either.

If you work on food / coal at the start of the game then a greenhouse - that you can not build at this point - is irrelevant.

In the current situation / implementation, the greenhouse is a late game luxury or creative building item.
Something you build for showing it off, not because there is a gameplay reason to.

Yeah it's maybe a little unfortunate, but perhaps in the future we will have more uses for exotic food beyond feeding ourselves (trading for goods otherwise unobtainable perhaps?) and then it could have more desirability in the late game; or perhaps worsening weather patterns as the game progresses forcing us to use them (past the first winter etc). It could even produce superior versions of crops just by being in a greenhouse, even if only in name or trading for a coin higher.

There's a fair few ideas I can think of that could be done to make it more attractive to players beyond just temperatures; it'd be cool having a late game 'glass' age instead of focusing just on metals (different types of glass could have different effects on rooms, even temporal in nature).

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It could have something in addition to those +5°.

A greater chance to get bonus seeds would make the greenhouse viable to kickstart a new type of crop.

A grow speed bonus (high enough to outweigh the lack of the "rain bonus") would probably not be game-breaking.

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