In our first TTS update we saw various comments asking for more details about the Technical Test Server development and more concrete changes to the game.
This week, we will kick off our Technical Test Server Insight with the following topic: food!
Food was always an important topic for The Settlers series.
In difference to other games food in The Settlers is not meant to help an individual Settler, but a building. In the earlier entries of the series, food was mandatory for mines to work, and in later ones, the production boost would be distributed over more economic sectors.
For The Settlers, we wanted to find the right spot that makes "Food Production" an interesting choice. Additionally, as we are classically a logistics game, food bonuses must be local and delivered, not globally.
The food system is thus designed as a support system to the economy, and to provide a feeling of a living settlement.
Enhancing The Economy - Not Blocking It
As a result, our food system works with the following clear rules:
- Players can choose which buildings get boosted with food.
- Food must be delivered to those buildings.
- The result of food being delivered is an increase in effectiveness.
The first conclusion of these rules is simply that buildings must be able to operate without food, at a lower efficiency.
If we made food mandatory, that would remove the choice for the player on whether to use the system or not.
So, what happens when "Food Boosting" is activated?
In our current balancing, this means that a building boosted by food doubles its output. This translates directly to a replacement effect, 1 input plus 1 food equals 2 times the output.
With this effect in mind, you can save up on input resources, whether by choice or due to unavailability of more supply. For example, you can choose not to build an extra furnace and still provide double the iron ingots to your blacksmith.
In the case of limited supply, like coal or stone, "Food Boosting" can break the bottleneck created by the lack of raw materials.
Since we call this system a support system and a choice, it also means that you have alternatives to solve those same issues. You could expand to claim more raw resources, or build more copies of the production building, or use trading to buy more materials. Depending on the map, some landmarks may also have as reward the goods that you are looking for.
As you can see, we want to make sure you can find your own preferred way to deal with the different problems of a growing economy and settlement.
The Housing Problem
This leads us to the housing issue. Our goals remain the same for housing, yet the current TTS version does not feel ideal to use, or impactful enough.
- Firstly, in comparison to resource buildings, settlers have a population cap, so reaching it mildly faster does not necessarily translate to efficiency.
- Secondly, the number of houses players build make it harder for the delivery of a single bread to have an impact on the population generation.
- Thirdly, the bonus provided only affects the current timer, and not the product (your unit gets generated double as fast, instead of generating two units).
With these points in mind, we are currently working to find the right spot for food and housing.
With best regards,
Your The Settlers Team
We've added answers to some of the questions that we've seen before:
Q) Why do soldiers not consume food?
A) Our soldiers have the freedom to move in every direction and go to every position. Any sort of delivery to them personally would be messy, and very micro-management heavy. Instead, we've opted to intensify the use of food in the Research feature, especially when related to soldiers' bonuses.
Q) Why no food hard requirement for mines?
A) While historically this has been the case for multiple The Settlers entry, forcing players to use food in mines would remove player options and agency. Remember still, that a player using food boosting in the weapons production chain will create EIGHT times more weapons than a player without boosts. The difference is crystal clear!
Q) Why not allow all foods in all buildings?
A) Specializing buildings gives us the opportunity to create gameplay around supply and demand per map. There can be maps where fish is readily available but not as many raw materials, while on others there are berries to increase gold production, so players can buy what they're missing.
We want you to figure out the map as much as you figure out your opponents!