Hearthlands is a real-time strategy game in which you take a role of a king in your own medieval/fantasy realm. You can not control your subjects directly. Instead you focus on city-building, resource management, diplomacy, heroes, magic and other things a typical king deals with on a daily basis. The world of the game, maps, characters and opponents are procedurally generated.
The game is very flexible: you can create a powerful empire and rule your vassals with an iron grip, or establish a humble fishermen's village. Or build an impressive temple complex. Or found a small, bur well-defended outpost. Or be a host of a wizard's manor.
All characters, from a hauler to a hero have their own minds and behavior patterns. If you like games like The Settlers of Pharaoh you know how pleasant and interesting it is to watch people scurry about.
- Build a medieval city
- Keep your people happy by providing them with necessary resources
- Gather resources and build industries
- See reports and tune up your economy
- Build an army to protect your city from monsters
- Trade with AI rulers
- Conduct diplomacy, war and invasions
- Expand your kingdom by establishing colonies
- Explore the map, fight monsters, find artifacts and complete quest
- Hire powerful heroes and level them up
- Worship gods and get their blessings (or feel their wrath)
- Build mega-constructions
There are going to be two types of maps in the game: world map and local map. World map shows the locations of your cities in relation to your opponents. Each tile of the world map represents a separate local map which you can actually build your city on. Both types of maps are procedurally generated.
You will be able to move to a different tile and found your colony there.
The game will have a diplomacy system. Diplomacy allows you to trade with your buddies, form alliances, conquer your rivals, protect your cities from invasions etc. AI opponents are not scripted and act much like everyone else — based on their own understanding of the situation.
Local map will not just be a place where you build your city and gather resources. There can be randomly generated encounters, such as: a goblin camp, which you need to clear out to get access to a gold deposit nearby or trade with the goblins for some unique resources, or even pay them to join your army in case of an enemy attack; a hut of a hermit, who wants you to get rid of a wolf pack; a monster lair or a graveyard, which occasionally spawns skeletons. Those are just a few examples of how local maps can be enhanced.
You may not have all of the resources needed on your local map, which encourages you to find another way of getting them by trading with other cities, demanding tribute from your rivals, asking your allies for help, or setting up a colony on a tile which has this resource in abundance.
City Building and Population
One of the important parts of the game is building a prosperous medieval city.
Houses you build attract migrants and provide your citizens with a place to live. Almost every building needs a certain amount of workers, so you need to make sure you have enough houses and population to keep up with your growing economy.
You need to supply your people with food and luxuries. If all the needs of a house are satisfied it evolves to a more advanced house, which has higher capacity, pays higher taxes, but needs even more resources to evolve further.
There are 7 types of food (apples, turnips, fish, eggs, cheese, wurst and bread) each having its own nutrition value and 3 types of luxury resources (cider, furniture and pillows). Yes, pillow is a luxury resource.
Most advanced houses may also require certain appeal value for the area they are built in. While parks, statues and fountains increase the appeal, production buildings decrease it greatly. No one wants to live near sawmill or pigstry.
The game has a lot of resource types and this number will only increase.
Most of the resources can be spent on different needs. For example, grain can be turned into flour, and then into bread (food), or you can feed it to chickens to get eggs (also food) and feathers. Feathers can then be turned into pillows (luxury) or arrows (military).
The game will have several types of units which you can build your army of. Military part of the game is strongly dependant on the economy: you will need a supply of iron, wood, leather, and other resources to equip your soldiers with weapons and armor.
You will be able to attract heroes, powerful individuals, at your service by complying with their demands. This may include building a special house (for example, Wizard's Tower for a wizard type hero), achieving certain condition with your city, maintain a certain amount of resources, complete a quest etc. Heroes gain XP, level up and have their own inventory. Heroes can be used not only as warriors: for example, dwarven hero can also work in the mine.
Magic and religion is something we're definitely going to add to the game, though we aren't sure how exactly and if those two are going to combine.
Sergey "Sergio" Pershakov (29) and Alexey "Simon" Lyukshin (36) are co-founders of Artefact Games, a small indie mobile games developer company. We started working together in 2010 and created several Java/iOS/Android/Bada/Blackberry games including Disney's Duck Tales (was only available in Russia) and Pocket Martians. Making games for PC always was our ultimate goal, though.
This week I mostly focused on diplomacy improvements and various other things. Also, I decided to rebalance industries once again to make it generally easier to understand. Basically, every building produces 24 loads of a certain resource per year. Exceptions are: hunter's lodge and mines, which produce 12 loads per year. So now you know exactly how many grower's lodges you need for each bakery to maintain optimal efficiency.
Rabbits now drop wool as well as meat.
Conquered rivals now become your vassals. Vassals are more likely to fulfill your request and less likely to request goods from you. You can also become someone's vassal if you surrender to an invasion. You liege is more likely to send you requests and less likely to fulfill yours. Vassal can break free by attacking his liege. I will also make tributes for the next update.
I did some code optimizations and Hearthlands now takes up about 60% less video memory. This still needs to be tested on a few different systems, but I think it should work everywhere.
Not much in graphics-wise this week, so here's a screenshot of my second test town (the first one was destroyed rather surprisingly fast):
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Jan 13 2015, 10:49am