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This week in review...

April 12, 2013 | Dukus | 42 Comments


This week I was planning on building a really big town to test end game play. The screenshot above shows about as far as I got. Unfortunately I ran into a lot of bugs and gameplay issues that I've been ignoring for a while. So I fixed them instead.

I've been wanting an alternative fuel source to replace firewood, so mines can now result in coal as well as iron ore. This can reduce the need for so much forest area at the expense of having more miners. The people in the game can then use either coal or firewood to heat their homes. Coal can also be used in by blacksmiths to make steel tools which last longer than iron tools.

Buildings like the mine that result in large numbers of resources are no longer removable from the landscape. The upside of these buildings is that they produce massive amounts of iron, coal, and stone. The downside is that while the player can remove the wooden or stone part of the structure, they leave a heap of dirt or a pit in the ground, and the land is wasted forever.

I also did some experiments with absolutely huge maps. This led to me to see some obvious areas of the code that need optimization. The game still runs fairly well with huge maps, but I'll have to play the game to the point where 1000's of AI's are running to see if performance can be maintained over such a large area.

I also tweaked crop rotation some more - the player is dealing with so many things that not having to rotate which crops so frequently is much better.

Despite all those game changes, most the time was spent tracking and fixing bugs. I fixed stuck tool-tips, some random ui bugs, path finding bugs, and some crashes in ai code. I made a bunch of bug fixes to the video interface, especially dealing with switching between full screen and windowed mode. Not a bad week.

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42 comments on “This week in review...”

  1. *Throws money at screen.* Still no download link.
    In all seriousness though, I can't wait to get to play this game. Keep up the progress and best wishes.

  2. Looking good!

    Do the "victory" parameters change from game to game? Are they editable? For example, in Railroad Tycoon 3, each scenario sets its own timeframe and specific victory parameters; you might have to connect 50 cities in 25 years in one, and then in another you might need to increase your personal net worth over just 15 years. Will Banished have similar flexibility?

  3. For large maps and 1000s of AI, wil you be using CUDA or OpenCL? Or will the game be CPU limited?

  4. I don't have them implemented, but yes there will be different victory conditions. I'll most likely have a few scenarios, free play, or play with user selected end goals. For those that like them I'll also be having general achievements.

  5. I don't know if it's just me, but that village looks really natural, can't wait to see more 😀

  6. Thanks for the update, good to hear how the development is coming along. Very interested in seeing what comes of mining (and the larger map sizes) as development continues.

  7. Looking awesome! Can't wait to try this out!

    Quick question: can the people plant trees as well as cut them down?

  8. Thanks for the progress blogs - they are very interesting. Far too many developers don't do that and I would guess a lot of people love hearing all the techie stuff 🙂

  9. Looking great! This will be a game to remember i'm sure! Just a quick question or two. Do the farm animals need to be rotated as well? Or will it just be the cropping side of things? Also - are you able to tell us the list of animals and crops we are able to establish? I've checked out the Wiki, but it doesn't appear to be updated yet. Cheers and best of luck!

  10. Actually, what I was hoping for with big maps is an additional logistics problem for the player to solve, for example by placing important resources across a wide area which necessitates the need for long-range resource gathering infrastructure. Think mining outposts or fishing huts or herb gatherers, et cetera. Industry removed from the main population center (while leaving much of the map area unsettled), which means logistics become a factor.

    Might be out of the scope of this particular game though.

  11. Damn man, stop teasing us hehe. I seriously love how it is right now. Maybe you could make a video or a playtrough series just to show us how the game is right now.

    Keep up the good work man!

  12. I've been rolling cash into little oval tubes and trying to shove them into my USB ports, but it won't take it! Can't wait to play!!! 🙂

  13. Game looks amazing! Can't wait till it comes out or beta is available to play if that happens 🙂

  14. This is THE game form me - in Age of Empires or even Warcraft I would postpone completing mission goals just to build a believably looking settlement, as much as it was possible in an RTS 😀
    About crop rotation - perhaps this could be something you could toggle on-off, so that the farmers would do it themselves, allowing the player freedom to focus on other things? What I often miss in games is initiative on the part of the AI's, it would be great sometimes to just leave the game and see the town expand itself, kind of a "screen saver mode". 🙂

  15. @Xerotherm: CUDA or OpenCL really isn't an option. The people do too many things and access to much random code and memory. Updates are staggered anyway. The performance problem is more generic and spread out across a lot of systems. AI, rendering, animation, pathfinding etc.

    @Augwich: Yes, people can plant trees, but they take up to 7-10 years to grow back.

    @Andy: The farm animals don't have to be rotated often, but once a field develops a disease it has a higher chance of developing the same disease if the animals aren't rotated. The animal and crop list isn't finished yet. I have many more to make. However I want to keep some things about the game quiet so people that read the devlog can still be surprised. 🙂

    @BTAxis: Because all the people are simulated, there are logistical problems. When a resource is produced, people will move it to the closest storage area. It takes time to move resource from point A to B, so people will prefer going to the closest one. Market places can be used as gathering points for resources so population areas can have access to everything produced. You just need to setup the town is such a way to make this efficient.

    @Temeez: The people can fish off docks in the river, but there are no boats.

  16. maybe you could have a charcoal manufacturer located in the forest, so they charcoal the wood and maintain wood supply, the charcoal could last longer then the wood, the charcoal could also be used for tools but it makes worse tools.
    is there industries in beer and wine in this? like hops and grapes?

  17. @Dukus: Right yeah, I got that from the screenshots and videos you posted before. I'm wondering though, does the map itself dictate where resources can be gathered, thus posing an intrinsic logistical problem? I'm thinking in terms of Zeus Master of Olympus, which had predefined resource spots you had to keep in mind while planning your city.

  18. Re: crop/animal lists. Keep it simple for Version 1. Leave something for version 2+! I.e., don't subject yourself to feature creep.

    Re: resource dumps. Any way to flag them with a priority level? Wood here always! Stone and coal here always! Would be useful methinks.

    Awesome work as usual man. Look forward to your next blog.

    Take care.

  19. This game looks amazing. I can't believe you're making it on your own - wish I had the skills necessary for something like this! Keep up the great work. 🙂

  20. sounds like you need to add debug commands for testing and QA.

    everytime i've done Beta testing its been really helpful to have some cheats that bypass the intial stages that have been perfected.

    maybe just having a unlimited good wharehouse could speed up your testing heaps

  21. Will you keep working on this game yourself or perhaps start a kickstarter to gain some more support? I absolutely love this game already and would without a doubt support you.

  22. May i reccomend using Peat as a alternate firesource. By Having marches you can dig them up. Dry it then use it as a Firesource.

    The top layer of peat can be used as roofing as well. Been used here in scandinavia for ages.

  23. Every week you tease us with a little something. Please give us beta or have it on the steam early access thing. We all have been dying to play your game and can't wait to give you our money.

  24. This game looks is something that is one in a billion. I cant wait untill you release a beta (if). Will most certanly buy this game ASAP. Keep up the good work. 😀

  25. Consider lignite as fuel. In old times people used lignite much more often, as it was far easier to obtain (you don't have to build mines and risk lives down there).

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