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…. 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.