Hey everyone, welcome to a very early version of Alpha 23 on Steam Unstable! This alpha is about making objects in the world appealing to hearthlings, so that they can finally appreciate all the hard work you’ve put into making them fancy dressers and beautiful rugs. It also includes a systematic update to our AI, and some of the foundational infrastructure changes required for multiplayer, though multiplayer itself will not be playable in this alpha or for some alphas yet.
A23 is Appealing!
Hearthlings love well-made items. Many craftable items now have an appeal score, visible from the crafting menu and a hover tooltip. When hearthlings are in areas that are appealing, they will get a happy thought. When they’re in areas that are full of rotting food and haphazard stockpiles, they will get a mild unhappy thought. You can see a hearthling’s opinion of their current surroundings in their character sheet.
Hearthlings also have likes, loves, and dislikes, which they must discover by interacting with objects in the world, and which can be viewed on the character sheet. Hearthlings who are surrounded by things they love will be happier and more productive. Hearthlings who aren’t…
To make sure that you still have aesthetic freedom to decorate as you like, we’ve added three levels of appeal to items and separated appeal from the concept of “fine.” High level crafters will occasionally make better versions of items that are visually identical to the normal item, but that are more appealing. To distinguish these better items, they are flagged with gems in the inventory menu and in their tooltips. This system, however, is not complete, and in the future item quality will affect more than just appeal and price. The existing “fine” items have been deprecated, and are no longer attainable, but they will return in later builds as new tiers.
AI & MP Infrastructure Changes
We have made a ton of foundational changes to our AI and its prioritization. To that end, please make crafters and buildings, mine, harvest, and loot, and see if stuff feels different to you! We’ll be looking for your feedback on our forums on Steam and on discourse.stonehearth.net.
If you see weird errors, please report those also! Most functions in the game were touched in the process of making the game safer to play in a multiplayer environment, so please let us know if you get a surprise message.
A Warning about Steam Unstable
One more thing! Are you on the Steam Unstable branch right now? That’s the branch on which we traditionally release versions of the game that are still incomplete, so that we can get feedback and bug reports from you before we go to the Stable Branch.
As a team, we’ve gotten into a bad habit: we tend to wait till the game is PRETTY stable before we release to our unstable branch. This means that you don’t get to give us early feedback, and it means that our progress is slowed worrying about things like finalizing the UX flows, art, and save compatibility. Starting with A23, we need to break this bad habit… together. So what does that mean? Well…
Steam Unstable is going to get VERY UNSTABLE.
If you’re not comfortable with bugs and janky in-progress features, that’s totally OK, and we strongly recommend you get back onto the stable branch. You can do this through Steam by right clicking on Stonehearth, choosing Properties, selecting the Betas tab, and then picking NONE from the dropdown.
For those brave among you, who want to see super early features and don’t mind dealing with all the buggy cruft around them, you can expect the following things from updates to the Steam Unstable branch:
- Updates will expose and stress some player facing feature. This can include “I touched all the AI, please make sure it still works as well as before or better”.
- UIs & flows are reviewed, but may not be finalized.
- Art, like much of the appeal UI tab, may be placeholder.
- Engine errors will happen. To help us debug, send us your savegame or a screenshot of the error!
- Unstable builds may not be able to load savegames from earlier versions of the game, and savegames made on an Unstable version may not load on future Stable or Unstable versions. For the time being, however, each Stable version will still be able to load savegames from earlier Stable versions, and this particular unstable build will be able to load saves from A22.5 and earlier.
Instability and inconsistent save compatibility is a huge pain, we know, but every time we make a new version of the game, maintaining save compatibility with every previous version takes us longer and longer. With this change, we should be able to use the branch as it has always been intended: to get good feedback from all of you.
Looking forward to all your feedback!