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One of the major features of Vintage Story is its climate system, where different sorts of biomes are arranged according to latitude, which both improves verisimilitude and allows players seeking to obtain new biological resources to be able to predict where to travel to find them. Unfortunately, the same verisimilitude does not appear to exist for geological resources, at least not to the same degree, and likewise a major roadblock for many players is being able to locate new ores or types of stone. Additionally, many roadmap features are blocked by the lack of a realistic hydrological model, such as waterwheels, which depend on flowing rivers, and sailing ships, which depend on oceans; moreover the simplistic hydrology again detracts from verisimilitude and limits the ability of players to locate resources dependent on rainfall. I propose that an elegant solution to all of these issues would be thus. In the same manner as players travelling north or south will move from polar to boreal to temperate to equatorial climates, I propose that players travelling east or east will move from oceanic to coastal to inland to mountainous landforms, with players typically starting inland. I will not attempt to exhaustively map out the design, as I'm sure the VS team is more than capable of doing that themselves, but as a rough sketch, I would posit a design where a prevailing wind is determined by an area's latitude, and terrain height as determined by longitude produces dry or wet areas according to the rain shadow for that latitude. Stone types, and thus the possible ores, would be generated according to the geological type of the area, combined with erosion patterns derived from the patterns of wind and rain. The existence of this sort of slope from mountain to coast allows for the implementation of flowing rivers, though I am not prepared to offer a technical solution in that regard. The new system, then, of realistic geology and hydrology, could be crossed into biome generation for additional verisimilitude, and the existence of oceans would allow for both age-of-sail gameplay and game elements specifically tied to exploring or even crossing the ocean e.g. ores or loot needed for the final progression to the Steam Age that are found only undersea.
Vintage Story covering implemented and unimplemented features taken from the roadmap. Vintage Story, as planned, is a progression farming simulator. It doesn’t have much focus on combat both in terms of a combat system and combatants. It isn’t really a survival game because the player doesn’t overcome a lot of environmental dangers. There’s hunger, fall damage, and … beasts? It does have a tech progression and different ways of getting enough to eat. There are even difficulties such as soil depletion to make farming more difficult. There’s nothing wrong with being a progression based farming simulator, however, some things like a dungeon boss don’t quite fit with that theme. Here are some suggestions that I think will make Vintage Story better. Abstract the NPCs in Vintage Story from creatures IRL. Don’t add oceans for a long long time. Stretch progression from stone age to the age of steam. Turn Vintage Story into a Progression City builder by adding humanoid NPC’s. At this point I assume people know what the uncanny valley is, and if you don’t, look it up. Basically the more something looks like a real-life animal, the more it is expected to behave like a real-life animal. By abstracting the creatures in a video game, you relax those expectations. Something that looks exactly like a chicken, people expect to behave exactly like a chicken. Something that looks kind of like a chicken, people will expect to sort of act like a chicken. This cuts down on disappointment from failed expectations and cuts down on criticism. There are many ways to create geological separations and oceans are one of the more difficult ones. They take a number of creatures, plants, biomes, transportation, and mechanics. Oceans have so much stuff they can be games on their own. It’s much better to add vast barren sand dunes than large empty oceans if the goal is to separate things by distance. Starting at the stone age and progressing to the age of steam makes for a great core. Starting with the stone age is important because it helps to keep things simple at the start. Stopping at the age of steam is good because it gives modders a great place to take off for creating end game content. They could go steampunk, heavy automation, etc. Don’t have to worry as much about balance if the mod is intended for endgame as well. To pull this off though, each age needs plenty to do. Farming, herding, and building was done way before metal and would be good things to focus on in the stone age. Players will naturally work toward metal production because that’s what they are use to doing. To extend the ages this needs to be slowed down by making mining and refining more difficult. There are many ways to do this from environmental hazards to transportation. Each age should also upgrade existing technologies, not completely replace. Bronze and steel cut through flesh and blood equally as well. A progression city builder encompasses many elements already in the game but expands on it in a well-rounded way. Villages have farming, smiths, combat, and trade. The idea would be to start humanoid NPCs out as a hindrance to the player and by the age of steam, a necessary ally. The reason for them to be humanoids but not necessarily anything we are familiar with is for the reason stated above about abstraction. These NPC’s would provide the player with a lively environment, potential allies/enemies, job flexibility, source of goals, competition, difficulty options, and resource consumers. At the beginning, the NPCs would have basic gather behaviors. They would run around eating whatever they could find during the day and huddle up at night. As time progresses they develop hunter behaviors where they will group up to start hunting down animals. During this time they might also construct tents. Next development would be to start planting crops in the general area. Not really farms per say but expanding the food plants in the general area. Over time those would turn into farm and villages. Villages would start developing professions. Villages might have a chance to get into conflict with other villages. The villages would expand fracture and eventually turn into towns. I know that sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but you’d be surprised how complex systems develop from simplistic behaviors. The player would not be able to interact with the NPCs at first. They would be competing with the player over food. As the NPCs developed the player would be able to start trading a limited amount of goods. When the NPC’s develop tribes the player would then be able to start earning reputation. This would be done through successful trading and killing tribe enemies within sight of a tribesman. As professions develop the player can start performing tasks for those NPCs. A shaman may need medical herbs or a chieftain might want a hunting trophy, etc. At the same time if the player didn’t want to do something they could trade for the goods. The village would adapt to the player based on the village needs. For instance, if the player was always trading them wood, the village might not have any lumberjacks because that need is fulfilled already. Though if the player kept the price of wood too high for too long a villager may turn into a lumberjack and start a tree farm. None of this could be possible without time-based approach. Meaning like in TFC if you wander off and come back later, the crops will have progressed. It also means a lot of background calculations. When the player comes back should this still be wilderness or a town? What should various creature populations be? Etc. This doesn’t work so well with ways to speed up or slow down time like beds. Beds are in my opinion one of the worst things that happened to Minecraft. They remove the challenge of the night, they cause player conflict when some people want to sleep and others don’t. In TFC servers they make predicting how much time will pass when you log back on a server impossible leading to ruined crops. Minecraft would be much better off if the fast-forward function of them were removed and they added more things to do at night. Anyway, at this point this is long enough half won’t read all of it and if it gets too much longer no one will read it so please leave some feedback.