Extending Early Game Content

The multiplayer update for the new version is now available!
  • It'd be nice to see more early game content for tech progression. I don't know if you guys have seen this channel before, but I think it'd be good inspiration.
    This is not my youtube channel. I just think the stuff in it seems relevant to what might be some good ideas for early game progression.

    That having been said, specifically, more primitive shelters, storage, and more working with clay would be good to extend gameplay early on.
    The tech progression for early game feels incredibly quick. I think there should be a bit more work to say, making a sawblade?
    Additionally, this would make getting seeds early a bit more challenging, which would reward hunting as the early game food option more rewarding-- adding fishing would improve early food options, as well as provide a meat source which does not necessarily have to be cooked over fire.
    A sling as an early weapon would be excellent in that players feel more empowered by having a ranged weapon, it wouldn't deal an amazing amount of damage, and it gives a use for the large supple of stone most players end up with while mining. (As a side note, three hits to kill a pig is unrewarding.)
    Some foods should require more preparation, (potato comes to mind) but foods which have have no need for preparing might benefit from having the option of combining. (Think salad.)

    Love the game so far! :thumbup:

  • Adding some additional ideas for early game resources:

    The roots, lower stem, and "corndog" looking flower on top (in early summer, before fully developed) are all edible, and can be eaten both cooked or raw.
    Additionally, the fibers of the fully matured cattail can be used for a number of things and it's leaves can be used as weaving material.
    (Added bonus: identifies fresh water sources!)

    Take a look at Xhosa huts:
    What Xhosa Huts are made of

    Traditionally made with mud, grass, and wood pylons.
    Mud actually has a ton of building uses when combined with portions of clay, or grass. Even better when with both!

    Here is an entire article on making mud-based mortar: Mud-Grass Mortar

    And last, I could go into vehicle tech in the bronze age, but I would much rather just post an image illustrating what I'm talking about:

  • Guess what? It's me again.
    Let's talk tools this time!

    Firstly, the immediate progression to metal tools definitely puts the player at mid-game right away.
    Let's talk alternative options for starting tools:

    Flint & Slate
    You've probably had some flint tool suggestions in the past, but beyond the versatility of the material, it introduces some extremely important (and immersive) mechanics to survival game-play: player ability to discern differences in terrain & debris. Do not underestimate debris. Beyond making the world seem more alive, it adds some room for new materials and easier (if more time consuming) ways to gathering materials you may not immediately have the tools to obtain. Additionally, as mentioned, beginning with the task of searching your surroundings reinforces the player's ability to easily notice differences in their surroundings, as well as giving a great chance for them to take in what is around them. I find this aspect somewhat lacking in the game right now; as it is simpler to turn to the nearest tree, cut it down, and jump into a cave. The is a lot to offer through exploration in this game and I feel it should be emphasized more effectively.
    Returning to the tool aspect, flint and slate can be found easily above ground and do not require complicated materials or processing to use. Flint knapping has been used, and is still used in some places as preferred method for making every day tools, because of it's durability and easy to find materials (cheap). Here's an image explaining how to make a handaxe using flint, the process is much the same for other flint/slate tools.

    As you can see, the tools for making these basically include small stones, and bits of wood. Which again ties into debris. Caves having loose stones and trees shedding branches are an everyday occurrence that provide incredibly helpful materials. A simple hatchet can be crafted from a fallen branch and some slate or flint. I won't be going into methods of making rope or cord right now, but do know that this game needs to make use of it as a material. Badly in some cases.

    Mining Techniques
    With collection of woods, one of the primary resources in this game, let's move onto rock and ores.
    Ancient mining tools were crafted from hard rock and soft metals.

    While, these tools cannot not mine extremely hard metals, they do get you on the way to iron tools. The current setup for metal smelting results in a rather large furnace to begin with.... there are some pretty cool alternatives available for early on. An extremely old way of smelting copper involved digging a dirt pit. Which may be a good alternative to collecting tons of stone to be able to smelt any ore. It will, however, require materials for bellows: ceramic and leather.
    Here is a very good video outlining this method of smelting, as well as some information about ancient copper mines:

    A good way to incorporate early metals, is to offer them through incorporating them into the debris found around veins in small quantities to be processed together into single ingots, leaving the large furnace to be used on the larger (normal) ores you receive via mining veins. Additionally, putting small debris ore on the surface may provide players with an easier way to hunt down veins they may be unable to locate easily. By keeping the matching ore debris above the general area of the vein, it allows the players to experience more of the world above ground, instead of retreating into caverns for extending mining trips to find any metals.

  • O-hey! Didn't see you there!
    Have I told you about the biggest driving force for human technology? No?
    Well, let me tell you about the weather.

    People are funny in that, despite the weather present during some seasons, they are quite intolerable to extremes in temperature. It's very hard to survive when you're dying of cold, heat, or famine as a result of a large temperature swing. Additionally, it's pretty hard to eat stuff when it's been spoiled by rain or excessive sun. Figuring out not only how to protect yourself from extreme temperatures, but to harness them as well, was a large factor in peoples' success.
    There are already biomes in place, making it rather simple to see which areas might require special preparation to traverse. If you are headed into the desert, you'll need some protection from heat and sunlight. If you want to head into an expansive frozen biome or perhaps up the side of a mountain to mine, you're going to need something to deal with the cold. Luckily, there are also many options present in the game for this: Cotton, Wool, and Leather.
    Clothing not just for looks, but as game mechanics, give players more reason to pay attention to their resources. It also gives players who would otherwise ignore aspects of the game, such as farming or animal husbandry, a reason to explore these areas as well-- or in the case of servers, a marketable use for textiles.

    Aside from clothing, weather can be a blessing or curse for growing food. Some biomes may not be acceptable places to grow certain crops. Keeping some crops or animals biome specific gives players a reason to branch out and explore certain locations in detail. While someone might normally run through a desert just to pick up some sand or maybe find a structure and leave, adding resources only attainable and reproducible within that specific biome would encourage players to find a way to deal with the heat, and create semi-permanent/permanent structures in places they would not have thought to build otherwise.
    Here is a fantastic article about desert crops: DESERT CROPS
    I'm quite sure that the team has already looked into irrigation for growing crops. So, I won't be going into that.

    What I will mention, however, is this bad boy:

    The greenhouse! It might seem hard to implement at first glance, but break it down into sections and it would be fine.
    It would broaden the options for which crops you could grow where. (Also, look at all that glass. Guess players will have to explore for some sand!)

    As a last mention, food in this game right now has been somewhat narrow and a bit easy to grow. Part of what makes a survival game interesting is the survival. There lots of thrive, but not so much survive. More difficulty in crops, or the necessity of keeping food from spoiling are both options. (I imagine there would be complaints about food spoilage regardless of how interesting a mechanic it would be. So, if you feel like taking a safer road, requiring certain biomes and some form of irrigation, even a bucket will do, to be successful in growing food would make the game a bit more immersive in this area.

    Happy holidays, you guys! Don't work yourselves too hard and drink some delicious buttered rum!

  • Hey again! I'm back!
    Let's talk about boats!

    Boats are a challenge. They may give the player the illusion of freedom while making gameplay seemingly unfairly challenging, or be too accessible to give the player a sense of achievement for having gotten to the point of water exploration. In this case, the part of the draw of a playing a survival game is the exploration aspect-- and exploration by water is going to happen regardless of whether or not its technically feasible for players to engage in...
    That having been said I have a great to some information on early boat technology. I'm going to start by giving the link to the page and then providing some "honorable mentions" below to give you an idea of the content and which part I think would be easiest to adapt into the game.

    While canoes are sturdy and some of the earliest developed methods of sailing, I would like to focus more on reed boats. More uses for grass is extremely welcome I think most people could agree, after building up chests full of the stuff. While like the name says, they were primarily constructed of reeds or long sticks, thickly bundled straw-like materials also worked for the structure of a reed boat. These boats were both useful to individuals or small groups of people.

    The next type of boat I would like to talk about is the coracle. There are not enough good uses for leather in the game just yet and I think this would be a great reason to get out there and hunt! It is made with waterproofed leather, making it much much lighter than other types of boat, meaning this was a form of transport you could carry with you over land. Much like the reed boat, these are not meant for ocean sailing. They are perfectly acceptable to coastlines, lakes, and rivers. However, don't think you'll be hitting the high seas in these. I'm assuming that the addition of rivers is an eventuality, as there are few physical features more influential in the development of human culture than rivers. Especially for transportation across inland areas! That having been said, a boat with an oar is a must for navigating inland waters. The coracle is more of a single person, perhaps even a few people, boat. So, don't expect to be making anything huge with leather that floats on water.

    (As a side mention, kayaks were also made of waterproofed leather--although much bulkier.)

    Lastly, while sailboats are also fantastic, they are a great deal more complicated. I might cover them in more depth in a later post, but for now I'm passing them over (sorry). Also, seafaring ships are a bit of a challenge in that they invariably require more than one person to operate if you want to go a significant distance from shore. I would call them mid to late tech in this game. They will be challenging to implement in a way that makes sense for single player gameplay... but I completely understand the want to sail over to another brand new continent even on your own in a survival game.

    Hope this gave you a few good ideas for new methods of transportation!

  • Guess who back? Back again? Spewny's back. Tell yo friends.
    I went to Ireland on a trip semi-recently and it made me think:

    We need some cooler ways to find lower level dungeons above ground-- ways that are unobtrusive.

    Well, guess what? I took a ton of vacation pics and I have an interesting suggestion...


    Yeah, it's not magnificent looking. Until they were excavated, they were really just big, weird looking hills with tops that were a little too flat.
    Which is kind of the point. Having some dungeons on the surface like these would add some cool options!
    You can try digging for the entrance! Or maybe use some explosives to brute force your way in! Or maybe even leave it sealed and use the wide flat hill as a building spot for a castle-- you could even dig from the top and use the dungeon as well, a dungeon!

    Here's a look from another side:

    For above ground dungeons that are a little more obtrusive, but maybe also come with added risk and reward, some examples of excavated tombs could be a good starting point for these.

    Here's a close up of some of the stone art around the sides:

    I'm always an advocate for more reasons to explore and really take notice of your surroundings.
    Looking around for these would be especially fun in multiplayer, when people want to get into the world and look around or have to go resource hunting for something.
    It's like a rare, little reward after all the wandering around for players who spend a lot of time above ground.

    Hope these are helpful for coming up with new stuff in any case.
    (Have a good weekend-- hope it's not snowing where you are as well.)

    Bonus landscape:

  • What's that I heard in the far distance? We need more tech?
    Well, how about some tech from the 1600s, and before!

    What the heck is this thing? (I hear some of you say)
    What you are looking at here is an aeolipile-- a primitive steam engine.
    This was more concept than function though.

    We want some more sophisticated-- something we can use for our new found machinery.
    The Watt Steam Engine would be a good fit for that. It's not portable, but it is functional.

    Video of the engine at work:

    Which brings us to an important piece of equipment that I think many players would like to see:
    The train.

    While it's not as sleek as the trains that come after it, it is a good beginning to basic mechanical hauling.
    Keep in mind that you need both a steady source of water and fuel. The cart will need a pipe for both steam and smoke.

    So here's just some basic ideas for steam power.
    Hope that gives you guys some ideas!

  • It's ya boi!

    Now, I've heard some people asking about more food options. So I'm gonna lay down some old tech for processing foods.
    Let's start with the windmill.

    Now when I say windmill,
    this is probably what comes to mind.
    But did you know, there are quite are
    different types of windmills...?

    I'd like to talk about horizontal windmills-- a much older windmill design.

    These vertical mindmills, while not generating quite as much power
    as the later standing mindmills, were quite effective for the production
    of grains and other food stuffs.

    The design was similar to that of their larger counterparts.
    The blades drive a shaft which is used to turn the device below.
    The added advantage of this design, is that it could
    also be used in water where wind was more scarce.

    As you can see the way in which they function is very similar.
    Additionally, it was an easier job to stack them horizontal in a smaller space
    and to repair them after storms.

    Next I'd like to talk about pickling, but before that we need to talk about vinegar.

    Let's talk about a simple vinegar base, wine. Any acidic liquid will eventually turn into vinegar,
    but a dilute wine is the simplest alcohol to produce and works fine.

    Simply leave your alcohol in an open container and....

    During the process a biofilm of acetic acid bacteria will
    form over the liquid-- what turns alcohol into vinegar!
    However for the bacteria to form, the wine cannot be
    too alcoholic or have any preserving agents added.

    Add a spigot or pour into bottles and you're ready to pickle!

    (Although it's recommended to use apple cider or white vinegar, this will do for now.)
    The most basic of examples uses just vinegar, water, and salt.

    Start by boiling your jars, you don't want any bacteria in them.
    Put your vegetables in, making sure to leave enough space for your
    pickling concoction to do its job.

    Put your pickling ingredients together by boiling them in a pot.
    Add to your jar while it is still hot, leaving some space on top
    for the mixture.

    Then to seal the jars, boil in water.
    If you aren't to the point of glass manufacture (which I'll go into at some point...)
    you can seal the jars with wax, making sure there is no-- to a little air as possible.
    If you sealed with wax, they should be consumed sooner.

    And there you have it! Some methods of food production available from an earlier point in the game!

    That having been covered, on semi-related notes...
    Would you like me to go over glass manufacture, leatherworking, or brewing alcohol next?
    Let me know!

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