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Salutations and welcome to my very first suggestion! This will be the first of many detailed suggestions laying out the mechanics of a deep and complex NPC presence in the worlds of Vintage Story. Please be aware, I am not entirely sure how technically feasible most of what will be covered here will be which is why I will avoid discussing extraordinarily complex systems such as Civilizations engaging in diplomacy with each-other. I will also be alluding to features/items that may not even exist in the base game. Nevertheless, I firmly believe that a rich NPC presence will make VintageStory that much more scrumptious to behold. (modders, please go fucking crazy with this stuff since it's probably not gonna happen in the base game ;v;) The Basics. NPC Civilizations (1) would be realistically generated (2) across the world with random characteristics/specializations/technologies (3) to aid them in their bid to survive the harsh and unforgiving world. Civilizations could be nomadic hunters, mercantile societies, or your run-of-the-mill agricultural societies. 1. NPC Civilizations WOULD NOT be direct and explicit representations of civilizations that have existed in the real world. They could be named via RNG with randomized banners (See JJ's Coat of Arms MC Mod.). 2. Realistically generated in the sense that civilizations would be found where food and water is, i.e. along lakes/rivers. If those resources are scarce in a region, then you'd be finding nomadic hunter/gather societies. 3. Think of the characteristics as sort of class buffs that could tie into AI behavior. Specializations would determine what technologies the civilization is using. NPC Civilizations could also be technologically diverse and different from one another. You might find a dinky little fishing village in one place and then a bustling river town in another (4). Some civilizations could be using windmills, another could be using watermills. One civilization may have nice rice patties, others might have complex irrigation channels instead (5). Over time, the less developed civilizations could catch up to neighboring civilizations, "unlocking" and using new technologies (6). 4. I'm not too keen on Ancient Warfare 2's crazy structures/civilizations existing in the game. There doesn't need to be any Kings Landing like cities, maybe a comfy lightly walled town, but nothing crazy. 5. The NPCs do not need to literally use these technologies, the implication that they are using them should exist however. Unless of course, the NPCs can get away with being very independent. NPC Civilization populations would be dynamic with generations coming and going (6). These populations would be subject to the same environmental challenges that players face; the changing seasons, eldritch abominations, and natural disasters. Challenges unique to the Civilizations include but are not limited to famines and warfare (7). If things are dire enough (or if players have a vendetta) then an entire population could be wiped off the face of the world. 6. Knowledge does not need to be passed down from generation to generation. 7. Warfare is probably going to be between Civilizations and Player Armies. Interactions between Civilizations and Players wouldn't be as shallow as "Trade this, Steal that, Kill them when done." Nay. Among the things that would deepen interactions would be a basic Player-Civilization standing system that affects what exactly a player can do within the territory of a Civilization (8). If a player gets real friendly with a Civilization, then they could possibly hire individuals of the population to do various tasks from chores to fighting (9). 8. No more mindlessly wandering into a village and ruining the food supply of the poor NPCs slaughtering them after they've unwillingly contributed to your greed. 9. The initial cost the subsequent upkeep of AI companions will be significant factors players will have to put thought into before making the investments. Eventually, primal urges for conquest may sway players to hire out a company of brigands (10) to lay poor villages to siege. In order to take and sack a village, players would have to eliminate structures or NPCs that contribute to the claim of a civilization territory. Should a Civilization be successfully dominated, the player can occupy the lands and "obtain" the populace, or just scorch the place. 10. Players really shouldn't be able to full-blown sack/destroy/capture a civilization without help of some kind.
It would be very interesting, when npcs appear, to add the ability to automate all processes by assigning residents or workers to certain actions. Such a unit could be programmed to fit your needs. For example, personally assign routes to couriers so that they transfer things from specified containers to others. Hire guards, and assign them patrol areas (you can also equip them with equipment yourself). Ask artisans a sequence of items that need to be crafted within a certain time using materials from a certain container, etc. What do you think?
As the title says a mod that adds village managment like minecolonies there is also mods like Millénaire and Ancient Warfare 2 that adds village/npc managment/building. Minecoloneies have a nifty scematics system build in and the npc are more or less automatic npc managment. Ancient Warfare 2 have research and more of a manual npc managment