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Alpha 20: In Which We Put the Heart in Hearthlings

“Happiness is a Warm Poyo”

Welcome to Stonehearth Alpha 20! This release brings a new Happiness system to Stonehearth and takes a first step into deepening the impact of hearthlings’ interaction with their world and each other. It also introduces a couple of new combat mechanisms — a rising morale buff to help noncombatants oppressed by the enemy and a new option to rescue hearthlings defeated in combat, assuming you have the resources available to devote to this.

Happiness and Morale: Don’t Worry, Be Happy

With this Alpha we are laying the groundwork for a replacement to the Morale system. Morale for a while has been a fairly simple system whose responsibility was to track three different things for the “morale” section of the daily update — hearthlings’ feelings about the food they’ve eaten, about their safety, and about their sense of shelter.

While serviceable, we wanted to start building a richer system for tracking hearthling happiness, one that more concretely reflects hearthlings’ feelings about the details of the world around them. The goal is to provide a framework for greater interdependence of all the varied systems in Stonehearth, so that players can have many more pathways of optimizing their town.

Some features you’ll find in this initial release:

  • Hearthlings can now experience five different moods – Forlorn, Glum, Content, Merry, and Jubilant. The mood of a hearthling will affect his or her ability to work in small ways, with sadder hearthlings being slower to complete tasks and happier hearthlings being faster and more focused. A hearthling’s mood is visible both from her animations, the unit frame, their character sheet, and the town citizen pane. The town’s aggregate happiness can be found in the town overview and in the daily update.
  • The mood of a hearthling is a product of his “thoughts.” Thoughts are a new gameplay system, visible on the character inspection window, that allows hearthlings to have and hold opinions of the world around them and what is going on with the town. Thoughts will come and go as the game progresses, with some thoughts being fleeting while others are more long lasting. A hearthling’s current happiness reflects the positive and negative thoughts at the moment, so check the character sheet regularly for suggestions as to how to improve the functioning of your village. Right now we’ve implemented a limited number of thoughts concerning things like settling, tiers, food, safety, beds, and spaciousness. We plan to add many more thoughts in the alphas to come as we tie each system into happiness, so expect the impact of this system to grow with time.
  • Awareness of narrow spaces! Hearthlings now maintain a constant awareness of the space around them. Being in cramped spaces for long periods of time will make them unhappy; spacious interiors make them happy, and everyone enjoys having a window beside their bed.
  • More meals! Hearthlings will now eat twice a day instead of only once. As we said, this is only the very first step in a long path towards a more harmonious interaction of hearthlings and their world; stay tuned for updates to this feature as we revisit the other systems in the game. And tell us how you’d like to see this develop over time on our forum discourse.stonehearth.net.

Hearthlings to the rescue!

Don’t you hate it when a valiant hearthling encounters a wave of enemies, and despite being overmatched, battles valiantly only to fall upon the field of battle? Yeah, we don’t like it either. This is a game about a small group of people struggling to survive — with the emphasis on survive. We want you to feel attachment to your hearthlings. That’s why we’re introducing a sparkly new rescue feature, which allows you to choose whether you’d like to assume the responsibility of rescuing that hearthling and nursing her back to health!

  • If a hearthling falls in combat, you now may click on his prone form and choose to rescue him. This causes another hearthling to go out and carry him back to camp, ideally to a bed (you’ll want to do this, if for nothing else than to see the awesome rescue animation).
  • A hearthling will slowly recover in the bed, and can recover faster with help from an herbalist.

Rising Courage! WE. ARE. HEARTHLINGS.

Those goblins can be a real pain… and don’t even get us started on The Mountain, right? As you may know by now, in this game it is possible for a large group of hearthlings to be defeated by a single enemy, if that enemy is sufficiently threatening and powerful, and your non-combat hearthlings are cowering before their might. This makes for nasty, long, hopeless fights with ugly conclusions.

Wouldn’t it be better if a hearthling, seeing friends attacked, could gain the courage to run in and strike a blow for her town?

With Alpha 20, hearthlings in town defense mode now gain a buff called Rising Courage, which builds their courage slowly, until they are next attacked. This should give them a chance to attack back even when they’re otherwise frightened. You are welcome to scream your own battle cry as your newly-buffed hearthlings stand up for themselves.

Other stuff of interest

  • Lots of improved and new animations
  • Performance updates to cubemitter
  • Hearthlings will occasionally interact with your town’s pasture animals and pets
  • Clear command will ignore building-related entities
  • Building fixes related to roofs

And now… an important message from your Dev Team

Google Chromium Embedded, which we (and many games) use for our UI, stopped supporting Microsoft Vista in September — and for us to manage Stonehearth development effectively we need to stay on a recent (and supported) version of Chromium Embedded. This means that as of A20, Stonehearth no longer can support Vista as an OS. We have created a legacy branch for Vista players, so that while you are on Vista, you can still play Stonehearth — though we won’t be updating there version there past A19.

You can get to that branch by right-clicking on Stonehearth in your Steam Library, going to Properties, selecting “Betas” and then choosing legacy_vista as your branch. (You don’t need a password to do this.) If you purchased the game through Humble, simply keep playing A19. Since Microsoft will also stop supporting Vista in April, we will not be able to keep this branch up-to-date; future updates to your graphics cards, etc, may eventually cause the game on this branch to stop working on your Vista machine. However, when you do upgrade your OS, you can switch back to the main branch, and Stonehearth will once again update as usual.

Also: Chromium Embedded uses libegl.dll which some antivirus software (notably Webroot) may mark as malware. It is not malware! If this happens to you, please whitelist the file.

Feedback!

As always, please give us any and all feedback you may have on our forums at discourse.stonehearth.net. Since this patch in particular has the start of some major system changes in it, we’d especially benefit from feedback on:

  • With the changes we’ve done, we’re hoping that the increased number of meals shouldn’t severely strain your food economy. That said, it is likely the food consumption of your town will be higher than it was before. We think the current tuning should be alright, but we’d really gain a lot of value from knowing how it feels across all different town sizes.
  • Thoughts will be an ever expanding system as we move forward. If any of the current thoughts are unclear, or there’s something you’d really like to see, let us know! This build only represents a small slice of what we’re hoping the system will represent over time.
  • Does it feel like about the right amount of time for hearthlings to recover after being rescued, both with and without an herbalist treating them?

Thank you once again to all of you that help us test and improve our game!