Posted by on July 13, 2017

A lot of players have asked about farming in the last couple of weeks. Are we going to have it or not? Some have even suggested that if the player marries Emily, he/she will inherit the entire farm next door. While that’s wishful thinking, we can tell some players are very passionate about this subject. So, we’ll talk about it today. First these shots:

Yes, the above shots are from the game. Yes, we actually had most of the farming code done. Yes, it actually worked! But then we took it out. Before you start throwing things at the monitor, let me explain why. Over the past year, we’ve been tweaking the gameplay constantly. Sometimes we added in too much story and it felt like being dragged around by the nose, then we let loose too much and the player became directionless. We also saw a conflict between workshop gameplay and farming gameplay. On one hand, players had to spend a fair amount of time and energy to attend to their crops every morning, on the other hand, we were encouraging players to go outside and explore new things by having a very rich map. The balance and the rhythm just wasn’t there, and it was causing the game to be not fun.

We had a bunch of meetings this spring in which we decided to have a workshop over a farm, the main reason was by that time the world and backstory that we were setting up with the Abandoned and Hazardous Ruins and all the various areas was a better fit for a workshop, you just didn’t need all the area and all the resources if you’re just making a farm. We put farming on the back-burner and concentrated on the core of the game.

Which brings us back to now. We know we’ll need to bring back farming, there’s just way too much demand, but we need to figure out a better way to implement it in our game. We’re going to try something different with farming this time, unlike most of the farming games where you have to take care of your crops everyday, consuming lots of time and energy, we’ll try to make the farming more industrialized, more modern, such as using a planting box or semi-automatic irrigation systems. We want to keep the essential part of farming, such as planting your own crops and watching it grow, while taking out much of the daily routine associated with it. We’re aiming to have this function in game in the next few builds. So, what do you think? Are we going in the right direction, at least on paper?

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Comments

  1. Dorian
    July 14, 2017

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    And what about keeping both, farm and workshop ? Maybe the semi-auto systems is the best idea. Just don’t force us to farm give us the choice ! It can be a lil’ extra money / energy !
    Why don’t you hide some seeds on the ruins ? Then you keep the exploration and it reward us with rare seed etc..
    Nevermind, if you don’t want to get farming on your game don’t ! It’s your game make it on your feelings

    Have a nice day,
    Dorian.

    Ps : Sorry for my bad English i’m French i’m still learning it at school ! 🙂

  2. Nox
    July 15, 2017

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    I think having it more industrialized would certainly help especially if you don’t want the game to be about farming. An idea I had is maybe have it so that you have to buy an upgrade which gives you a greenhouse that you plant in. That gives a more limited space which would naturally limit the time & resources needed to maintain it. It could either default with things like a sprinkler system for watering or maybe you could upgrade or build them.
    I’m so excited for this game and can not wait to see what you end up going with!

  3. Fatikis
    July 15, 2017

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    An easy solution is to slow down the ingame time. This will allow players extra time to do what they want. Honestly the day/night cycle feels very rushed. If players want to go through time faster they can always sleep.

  4. jamie
    July 15, 2017

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    I think the analysis was very clear and good; as you want exploring and fighting to be the main core of the game, farming needs to take less time. I find farming a little tedious; I’m willing to do a little of it but by it’s nature it’s slow and repetitive and that’s not something I want to do a lot so I agree you are heading in the right direction.

    As the protagonist is an inventor, why not let him invent automations for the farm? As in, an automated sprinkler, an automated weeder, an automated crop defence (if you have bugs or critters that attack the crops) and an automatic harvester…but you can *only* build these with “ancient parts” you discover from exploring/looting. (Can’t buy them in the shops .) That way people are encouraged to explore, which then allows them to build automations that speed up farming, which gives them more time to explore…a virtuous cycle.

    Perhaps the farm itself might give special benefits that can then be used to help explore…IE special food items or drops from harvesting that cannot be bought in the store and give you speed or health or defence buffs…otherwise people might just skip farming altogether….perhaps make food a necessity; if you sleep without it you only get very low amounts of stamina back?

  5. Ministerdave
    July 15, 2017

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    I think farming in a game like this is essential. The reasons you outlined above are all valid. How to balance the tedium of the farm tasks especially in the early part of the game when resources to restore energy aren’t limitless. Being an inventor by nature, ie the core of the game in my opinion, the only plausible option is to let your avatar invent items. The initial planting of the crops should be done by hand obviously, but once you get it down you can build a bronze watering system that waters all your crops in the typical 3×3 pattern. It requires a few copper pipes, several rare parts from the Mines too. Then further on, the next upgraded one could be 9×9 and so on. It doesn’t fully automate the process, but it does let you skip the morning tedium. I also like where Jamie was going with a defense system to fight insects/crows extremely that could eat your crop. Overall, having a crop system would allow you to gather extra items to restore energy and allow you to have like a farmers market like event once a week to sell the excess crops. I would stay away from the “Oh look a Dropbox where I put everything to get paid the next day”. A weekly market like event where the player can make more by selling there or just whole sell it to the restaurant would be enjoyable.

  6. Cytek
    July 17, 2017

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    I think There should be farming in this game…. however I do like where your headed with introducing it more as a part of the workshop and not having the tedium of caring for the crops. Maybe creating a buildable garden that can be upgraded to allow for more valuable rare plants with the seeds for such coming from exploration. I could see it starting as a raised garden bed and upgrading all the way to an indoor green house which could be an expansion of the workshop. The later upgrades allowing for the larger more rare plants/fruits/vegetables that were found when exploring.

  7. Yumi
    July 20, 2017

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    Industrialized farming would fit very well with this game. I think it’s very different as well in comparison to any other farming game. I would love to be able to raise some farm animals as well, just because I love animals but I don’t know if that would fit the farming direction you guys are trying to come up with. I do think though, farming in this type of game is very crucial and would feel more like a small town with farming. Just “finished” the alpha and I can’t wait to see what you guys decide to add.

  8. SnailobsterLv99
    July 22, 2017

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    This game has a lore based on a struggle between technology and nature. For farming, it would be interesting to see how other factions react to your method of farming. Yes, you grow more food but the Church of Light will hate you if you rely on too much technology. If you don’t use sprinklers or other automated mechanisms, you grow less crop but certain people will like you more.

    I would also like to see Sophie and Emily teach the player about operating a farm (and Qiwa teach the player about fishing). The player may also discover new methods like befriending monsters (cave trolls?) and recruiting them as farm helpers (or just pay other human helpers as usual).

    There’s the matter of time management and farming, which can relate to player’s choice . Some players like efficient farming and some others don’t. If players choose to have no technology involved, naturally more time is spent on tending the farm but there should be unique reward. Time will always be scarce for early farming anyway which forces the player to prioritize objectives (and it’s a good thing). Personally though, I like to just have time run slower to have more things to be done per day, but if time stays as 1 min/sec, it is also fine.

    I am also expecting pedigree methods to create new breed of crops, like better versions of the same crop. Emily grows her Mr. Melon so I won’t be surprised if this is already planned.

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