Getting there…

Just a quick update to alert those of you in the testing group that there’s a new build up for testing. You guys know what to do. And a huge thank you to those testers, your help is immensely valuable and appreciated.

I’d also like to mention a desire of mine to re-factor the game’s graphics, and art style in particular. This is not something I’ve talked about before, but I feel it’s time for a change. Not just a change, but what will be (in my opinion) an upgrade. In the coming weeks, after the next public release, I’ll be posting more updated game art, more sneak peaks at what I’m referring to here, and more front page updates in general. So stay tuned for that.

What’s going on?

Lotta questions and emails regarding whether or not Timber and Stone is still being developed, and of course; it definitely is. We’ve been hard at work doing yet another major rewrite. This time something vitally important to how development will progress moving forward, and the longterm goals for Timber and Stone. Specifically, we’re reworking how tasks are gathered, queued, accomplished and failed. Every task a settler can perform: from walking, to mining, to hunting, to sleeping, to crafting, to inventory management even, has been completely re-factored with the goals of efficiency and cohesion. This is absolutely necessary if multiplayer, additional races, and modding are to be implemented. Where, previously, most tasks (work tasks specifically) were brute forced through, there is now an intricate system of stacking, blacklisting, and performing these tasks in a way that allows not only the player to acquire and fulfill, but also enemies, competing factions, animals, merchants, and eventually other players. While this has been an important necessary rewrite, it’s also taken far longer than planned.

We’re pushing towards a release at the end of January, unfortunately this release might not have a whole lot of new content. The upside is that we’re experiencing higher frame-rates, elimination of stutter, and less micromanagement of broken settlers. The game is performing much more efficiently as a whole.

If you’re interested in reading more about these changes, I invite you to check the development log forum here.

1.43 Update

More bug fixing, and reports are becoming fewer and far between which I’m trying hard to view as a good thing.. While these were getting fixed, there’s also been a large rewrite to the path-finding algorithms, settlers can now path twice as far and find those paths in half the time of previous versions. You might also notice that they tend to find the least complex path to storage and beds, especially if there are multiple choices for them to use, and at varying distances. There have been a few more minor and decorative additions, but I’ll leave those for the change-log:

Change Log for 1.43:

  • Major Path Finding rewrites.
  • The water filling animations have been re-worked, the result is much more fluid.
  • New Door Structure – Dungeon Door.
  • Both wooden doors have a new design to match the detail in newer structures.
  • There are now differing models for each type of pickax.
  • New models for each bow type have been added as well.
  • New feature: Mouse Hover. Holding ‘Q’ (by default) will display information about the block (or entity) that the cursor is hovering over. This is useful for distinguishing metal ore types.
  • When hovering over enemies, the above tool-tip also provides information on the target’s health once the enemy has been spotted by your settlers.
  • “Empty Inventory” button added to settlers inventory menu.
  • Archers can now operate siege equipment.
  • The preferences for operating siege equipment and for (archery & combat) training can now be accessed via the Military Controls menus for Archers and Infantry.
  • The invasion rates have been adjusted to be more forgiving. It now requires much more wealth to allow Necromancers and Goblins Wolf Rider invasions.
  • Many structure properties menus can now be accessed via left clicking, in addition to right clicking.
  • Access points for workshops and storage structures are now displayed when the structure is selected or while it’s in “blueprint mode”. This shows the positions your settlers must be standing on in order to access/operate/build the structure.
  • Line of Sight has been changed greatly, it is now much more accurate while finding moving units and their targets. Settlers, enemies, animals, and structures no longer block line of sight.
  • When maps are loaded, their mesh data is being built from the bottom up. This increases map loading speed.
  • Crates and Hay Bails can now be walked (and built) upon.
  • Fixed a bug that occurred when leaving first-person adventurer mode while the equip adventurer window is open.
  • Fixed another Adventurer bug that broke their behaviors at night when a torch is present in their spare inventory.
  • Archers no longer take an extra shot at 0 arrow count, they should now look for storage to equip the next best arrow type.
  • Loading your game no longer supplies you with extra “free” arrows for every type equipped.
  • Fixed an error where Necromancers would repeatedly spawn several minions, especially when saving/loading the game. There is now a cap on how many they can control.
  • Remedied another instance of Merchants not being able to leave the map.
  • Wells can now be removed.
  • Fixed an error where having multiple military units training could result in multiple training structures being rebuilt at the same position.

 

1.42 Update

Version 1.42 is now available for download. Again, this is primarily a bug fixing update, but there are a few new additions as well. This is also the first update that Z903 and Ethrel have been involved in, they are a couple of very talented coders and extremely smart people. With their continued help, Timber and Stone’s development might be able to go in directions I’d previously not thought possible, but I’ll not get into detail here. For now, here are the change logs:

Change Log for 1.42:

  • New block: Scaffolding -  a cheap building material useful for climbing onto houses or into/out-of holes. Very quick to build, and can be removed via the dig/mine menu, although it does not require a miner. 2 wood and 1 rope makes 8 scaffolding blocks.
  • Torches are back, and can be used by any profession. Simply add a torch to the settler’s spare inventory, and they will automatically be used during the night hours.
  • New Decor – Hedge, Shrubbery, and Statue.
  • Ore blocks now provide more ore.
  • Settlers can now mine and build one block above their head.
  • Settlers experience is now being saved, rather than just their levels.

 Bug Fixes:

  • Fixed several pathing errors brought on by the changes in 1.41, most importantly: settlers sinking into the ground or floating while walking to their destinations.
  • Remedied another walking error that resulted in workers becoming stuck, unable to move until the game was re-loaded.
  • Workers should no longer become confused while trying to work around water (builder/miner professions especially).
  • Fixed a skeleton bug where they would not accurately target new enemies.
  • Necromancers should now be spawning again.
  • Depth-scrolling after placing minetracks should no longer break the function.
  • Fixed an occurrence where the forge could eat all of your wood/coal while being used.
  • Workers can now return to work after sitting, without requiring a re-load.
  • The ‘Guard Position’ command no longer slows the game down.
  • Builders should be less confused when trying to build with multiple materials across varying heights.
  • Fixed an error with Merchants that prevented them from leaving the map.
  • Fixed another Merchant error that prevented them from arriving altogether.
  • Adventurers can now use bow & arrow correctly.
  • Rebuilding Training Dummies & Archery Targets is no longer free.
  • Training Dummies & Archery Targets set to rebuild are now saving/loading correctly.
  • Builder Carts now have 4 access points, up from 1.
  • Mining world-edge blocks that are adjacent to water no longer crashes the game.
  • Fence blocks now align and connect with all adjacent blocks, rather than just other fences.
  • Fixed an issue of settlers not always using unoccupied beds.
  • Sleeping wolves no longer appear to fall beneath ground.
  • Spider collision box is now more inline with the size of the spider’s legs, making them easier to hit with arrows.
  • Multiple herders should no longer be working on the same tasks.
  • Fisherman should no longer go idle in error.
  • Archers using Longbows should no longer be shooting at enemies before they are spotted.
  • Builders will now empty their inventory when switching from mining build materials to regular build materials, and vice versa.
  • Fixed a bug in the Design menu that could cause a crash.
  • Removed several delays produced after settlers would finish working.

Still here.

There are two purposes for this update, the first is to address my lack of presence the last few weeks, to reassure those still interested in Timber & Stone’s development that I’m still here, and haven’t run away.

Call it burnout, lack of inspiration or motivation, whatever it was, it’s run it’s course. I’m currently working on settling the legal matters of getting help with programming; bug fixing, restructuring, performance enhancements, & other possibilities that could lead to exciting changes to Timber & Stone.

In the meantime, and for the second purpose of this update; 1.41 is released. This is solely a bug fixing update, remedying the more game-breaking issues, such as unit cloning, builder work-finding, and profession level influences.

1.41 Change-Log:

  • Builders should no longer be able to fall asleep on ladders.
  • Settlers should no longer be falling asleep inside benches and chairs.
  • Fixed a few instances where a worker’s current task was being reported incorrectly.
  • Fixed an issue where choosing maps when starting a new game could result in duplicate wagons.
  • Migrants should no longer be cloned due to a bug produced during saving while visitors are present on the map.
  • Reduced stutter brought on by builders who cannot reach unpathable building zones.
  • Archery training targets should now be deteriorating properly when used.
  • Fixed an error where it was possible to place structures inside of player-placed trees.
  • It’s now possible to cancel a tree-sapling-structure before it’s been “built”.
  • Goblins should no longer be able to build campfires inside trees/bushes or on water.
  • Fixed a few errors regarding builder ladders and how they are allowed to be placed. Consequently this also remedies issues where those blocks used to be unwalkable.
  • Fixed an issue where all worker professions levels weren’t correctly influencing the worker. This created unintentional difficulty; farmers/foragers/herders/fishermen weren’t producing the correct amounts of food, miners/builders/wood choppers were working far too slow, etc.
  • Builder work-finding should be more reliable, as a few instances of looped loading/unloading of materials have been fixed.
  • Fixed an issue that prevented mining beneath, or building inside, deconstructed doors.
  • 1×1 farm zones should no longer break farmers.
  • Fixed an error where spiders would follow wolves, this generally resulted in spiders re-burrowing and creating far too many holes.
  • Farmers shouldn’t become stuck while walking from food barrel to farm zone, previously this resulted in a immobile farmer playing the walking animation.
  • An Archer’s “Guard Position” & “Patrol” commands will no longer become interrupted by archery targets.
  • Wolf colors (and other attributes) are now properly being saved/loaded.
  • Goblin Archers will no longer target not-yet-built structure “blueprints”.
  • Miner laddering should now be working correctly.

 

1.4 Finally Released!

My last post described what I’ve been working on with 1.4, so I’ll jump right into the change-log: (this might get editted a few times, I’m terrible at logging this stuff)

Change Log for 1.4:
 - Settler Inventory. Each settler now carries their own items separate from the global inventory counts. They work from and gather into this inventory.
- Storage Structures. There are 10 new structures used by your settlers to access (and stockpile into) your global inventory. These structures also add to your storage capacities, a total of your available resource mass divided into nine categories. Nine of these structures are craftable, the last is a large wagon and is provided when starting a new game. The UI tooltips have changed to add descriptions for all structures.
- When idle, settlers will equip their own tools and weapons. Some of their preferences can be influenced ( Infantry preferring polearms, or Foragers using bow & arrow ). This is done by clicking on the weapon slots. Spare inventory can also be assigned, to provide spare tools or for allowing quick profession changes without requiring a trip back to storage.
- Resource Mass. Every resource now has a mass that gets used to determine a settler’s carrying encumbrance and in storage structure capacities.
- A settler’s encumbrance affects their walk speed. How much they carry before stockpiling can be adjusted via a slider in their inventory menus. The base walk speed is substantially faster than in previous versions.
- Profession changing no longer penalizes morale and previous professions experience counts.
- Metal ore and coal are now visible in the top layers of the map. Digging further into the ground will uncover the ore hidden on the layer beneath. Generally, there is more ore below the top layers.
-When placing a build structure, it’s required resources are used immediately when placed, similar to most RTS games. If the resources aren’t available, the structure will turn yellow and take the needed resources when they are available. This allows you to still place multiple structures ahead of time, but prevents structure building ‘failures’ due to insufficient resources.
-Structure crafting time has been lengthened. The trade-off is that when a crafter is interrupted, the building progress is retained, and a different crafter can even start up where the previous left off.
-Metal ore now requires a pickaxe quality comparable to it’s own quality. Check the pickaxe descriptions for details on their capablities.
- Ladders have been completely re-worked. Allowing a spare ladder in a builders inventory will allow them to set it aside walls and build while standing on the ladder. This can allow the builder to build up to 8 blocks before climbing down, provided he’s carrying the materials.
- Military units who are guarding other settlers now get a slightly increased walk speed to help them keep up.
- When walking on roads, movement speed is increased.
- There is now an toggle in the options for opaque or transparent GUI windows.
- The resource recipe menu has been changed a bit to allow for more ingredients in recipes and to display mass of the selected resource.
- Unit tabbing and re-selecting units no longer closes the unit menu.
- Enemy swim speeds have been decreased.
- Skeletons now walk underwater.
- Holding shift while placing structures allows you to keep placing them. This is useful for placing several trees or benches.
-The unit menu, watched resources, and storage cap windows can now be dragged and moved.
- The amount of Animal Hair & Hide provided by both hunting and herding has been drastically increased.
- The gray and darker brown wolves are now 25% weaker.
- Non-mounted melee goblins now deal 30% less damage.
- New armor: Cloth Tunic & Leather Tunic. Wearable by all settler types. Provides minimal chest protection.

From here, I’ll be spending 90% of my time on bug fixes. This has been neglected in the past weeks, so the goal will be many iterations of 1.4, each including more bug fixes. The remaining 10% will be spent on new decor, morale functionality, additional enemy types, and slight adjustments to the combat mechanics. Mostly changes that should not introduce more bugs. I’m starting fresh with the bug reports, so if you’ve posted an error previously, and it persisted into this version, please re-report it.

“a massively daunting task…”

A quote from steveadamo, my forum admin and one of my favorite people.

With 1.4 I had wonderfully selfish plans to make the core mechanics of the game more complex and give purpose to what was, in my opinion, lacking. The most basic example is wood chopping, and axes in particular. Previously, there was very little reason to equip a bronze axe instead of stone. The differences in breaking rates were negligible at best, and even if those were greater contrasted, you could make several stone axes, turn “auto-reequip” on, and there’d be no apparent difference. The obvious solution is to allow axes to affect chopping speed, and that’s quite realistic, a woodsman with a tempered steel woodaxe is going to be much more efficient than a guy using a sharpened rock lashed onto a stick. The same problem existed with mining and pickaxes, but I felt the remedy needed to be different. The quality of the pickaxe needs to dictate what can be mined. This forces a progression, something that was also deficient.

Stockpiling and storage is another area that I felt needed development. I’ve chosen to implement a stockpiling method that requires a unit to deposit and retrieve resources through a storage structure in order to access the virtual inventory. I’m not really in favor of a 1 to 1 system of stockpiling, but I’ve also never been fond of the current implementation of your resources simply materializing when and where they are needed, so I feel this system is a fair compromise. This meant personal inventory and work finding had to become much more robust, which required a complete overhaul of the current systems… and of course, there needed to be several new storage structures to allow units to access the resources they require. Nine of ‘em, in fact. I also have some ideas for capping your resources based on how much actual storage you have built. For example, if you have 4 wood piles, you can collect 80 wood, in order to gather more (and thus have ‘room’ for storage) you’d have to place more wood piles, which itself, costs wood… it’s a very interesting concept, I think, and it adds another layer of complexity. Also, the scenario might arise where you are capped, and when a goblin burns a few of your wood piles, you dropped from 80 wood down to 60…. :D This is something that will be played with during the testing phase.

I used the term personal inventory to describe the items and equipment that the unit itself is carrying, not counted in the resource totals available to the entire settlement. Previously, you micromanaged equipment, which became especially tedious if you frequently changed professions. In 1.4, your units will equip themselves based on a few preferences you can set at any time. You still have your five slots for equipment (main hand, off hand, helmet, chest-piece, & boots), which are equipped automatically based on what’s available, but there are also 6 additional slots, which can be used to carry extra tools, weapons, armor, torches, or even food. The slots that you leave empty will be used for stockpiling, useful for gathering professions and crafters. This leaves a bit of room for strategy; your protected underground miners should have more empty inventory slots to quickly gather stone and ore. The miners above ground however, who are less protected, should have spare weapons and armor, so they can quickly be changed to military professions to fight off potential threats, the trade-off being that they are travelling to the mining stockpile more often to offload their stone.

There is still far too much that is work-in-progress here, but I am frantically hurrying to get a build to the testing group before Monday. And I expect there to be many iterations thereafter, as much of the base mechanics have been re-written. After 1.4, there are going to be several bug fixing updates. (1.41, 1.42 etc..) 1.5 will need to be a stable release.

I’ll close with a few other minor additions for 1.4, and a rendering of a few of the new structures.

- Cloth and Leather tunics are available as armor for non-military units.
- Tool breaking has been drastically lowered across the board. Iron, however is still quite brittle in comparison to other materials.
- The unit menu & watched resources windows can now be dragged and moved.
- Enemy swim speeds have been lowered.
- Skeletons now walk underwater.
-  Holding shift while placing structures allows you to keep placing them. This is useful for placing several trees and benches and such.
- There is now an toggle in the options for opaque or transparent GUI windows.
- The resource recipe menu has been changed a bit to allow for more ingredients in recipes.
- Unit tabbing and re-selecting units no longer closes the unit menu.

 

Timber and Stone OST

The very talented mastermind behind Timber and Stone’s music, Joseph “Voobr” Toscano, has put the OST for the game up on Bandcamp. If you like the game’s music, please support him by buying a copy of the digital OST album. You can take a listen (and name your price) using the link below.

http://musicbyjt.com/album/timber-and-stone-ost

As for an update with 1.3:
A testing build will be uploaded for the testing group in the next few hours. From there, it should only take a few days up to a week for 1.3 to be ready for everyone else. In the meantime, it’s back to bug fixes and remedying anything the ‘blue names’ find.

Some goblins just want to watch the world burn.

Wanted to report on what’s been done in the last couple weeks.

The wolf upgrades described in the last update have been implemented. The pack behavior is also more evident with this update.
Goblins, wolves, and spiders can now swim in water. Ideally, this should only be exhibited when they have a target. Enemies shouldn’t just ‘go for a swim’. Player units and goblins can now fight while swimming.

The majority of the workload has been brought on by implementing fire. I’ll go ahead and describe the role fire will play in Timber and Stone, so you know what to expect. I’ve always planned for fire to be one of the greatest weapons that the player, or your enemies, can wield. Fire should be extremely destructive, and if you don’t jump when you see a flaming arrow strike the fence surrounding your farmland, then I’ve not done fire the justice it deserves. Every block and structure in the game has a flammability value, which is checked (after being randomly adjusted, of course) to determine if fire can spread to it. Things like trees, bushes, grass (to a degree), and even wild animals will be much more susceptible to igniting when touching adjacent fire blocks. Units lit on (or touching) fire will take damage, as you’d expect, but the real damage must come from it’s destructive nature, the landscape will become charred and barren, while wooden buildings and structures can be destroyed completely.

1.3 will also see the first real boss type enemy, meaning the first enemy intended to outlast a couple fully plated infantry units. These boss types will be rare and usually have circumstantial requirements to spawn. I shouldn’t call this first one a new enemy however, because she’s already been shown in an old screenshot. That clue should be enough to give it away, so I’ll not go into further detail.

This title of this post is due to the Goblin Firestarter enemy I’m currently designing. He’s going to be a pyromaniac goblin type with the sole goal of griefing and generally breaking your map. A very dangerous enemy, unless he kills himself in the process.

Other additions to the change log:
New raw material: Seedlings. Used to plant trees and create decorative plant structures. Low chance drop from felled trees and bushes.
New weapon: Fire Arrows. Giving these to low level archers, or those shooting at archery targets isn’t advised.
“Zzzz’s” are now displayed above the heads of sleeping units.
Triple game speed. This isn’t anything new to those of you who are in the testing group, but now you can ‘fast foward’ during slower bits of the game.
There’s now a Pause/Play/Triple Speed indicator displayed next to the time & day counter.Several bug fixes including mysterious block removal issues and frozen units.

Other plans for 1.3 include an option to display a grid across the terrain, mounted goblin marauders and ravagers, and polearm weapons for infantry. And of course, as many bug fixes as I can squeeze in. The changes to both unit and virtual inventory will have to wait until a subsequent update.

Line of smell.

I’ve kept it no secret that I was much more fond of Timber and Stone around version 0.1b, those were the days where simply surviving to day 4 was a difficult accomplishment. Surely having enemies making b-lines straight to your dudes wasn’t all that complex or even interesting, but I’d argue all day long that it was more fun.

And the challenge comes from avoiding those behaviors, instead finding ways to make enemies smarter, and have a generally more complex enemy AI in order to achieve that goal of difficulty.

The target for wolves in 1.3 will be to make them act more realistically, driven by the smell of livestock and animal blood. Wolves should be lured by the smell of a fresh hunt, or several penned up sheep. When it comes to wolf attacks, Herders and Foragers should be the first to go. While hiding behind trees, bushes, and fencing should no longer be an option. This should be possible by replacing the current line-of-sight checks with distance checks and simplified pathing to emulate smell finding.

I also like the idea of allowing goblins to tame wolves. Mostly because I have the strong desire to see wolf mounted goblins in Timber and Stone, but also to simply give goblins more to do. I see them amassing small armies and structures in the future of the game, thus becoming even deadlier enemies.