Preview - Settlement Logistics


With the release of 1.3.3 a few days ago I feel like Bronze Age is pretty stable, and it's time to start looking towards the future. 

1.4 - Settlement Update

The goal of 1.4 is to streamline some aspects of settlement management and trade. With it I hope to iron out some pain points in managing large settlements and remove the micro-management from trade routes. It's shaping up to be a rather large chunk of work, and so will probably take awhile longer than previous updates. The key features are:

  • New Settlement Simulation - Rework the logic around handling citizens and production within settlements.
  • Pig Breeding - Dedicated structures for breeding pigs, to support an increased need for them with the other features.
  • Support for Custom Graphics Sets - Seeing the work that harry762 has done, I'm adding support for loading custom graphics sets from within the game.
  • Improved Settlement Logistics - Moving items around a settlement keeps a lot of citizens busy, this will give you tools to streamline it.
  • UI Fixes for Large Populations - Rework parts of the UI to allow for large settlement and warband sizes.
  • Caravan Trade Model - New automatic trade model based around  caravans, instead of the current manual trade routes.
  • Boats - Either manually controlled for carrying warbands and migrants, or automated traders.

Improved Settlement Logistics

Large settlements in 1.3 spend a lot of time moving items around. In 1.4 the New Settlement Simulation results in an increase in items within a settlement, and actually makes the problem worse. The goal of this feature is to give you tools to manage it. I haven't finalized the design yet but I have a few ideas, and I figured this would be a good opportunity to float them to the community for feedback.

I'm currently leaning towards Option 1, as it would be the easiest one on the player. I'm also open to any suggested names for the new structures.

Option 1

Add a new structure that produces hand-carts and wagons, citizens will travel to this structure pick one up, and then travel around the settlement picking up and delivering items. The amount of citizens doing this is controllable through the Work Settings menu. These dedicated haulers would grab items closest to them, and take them to their destination.

Pros

Easiest for players to manage, only one new structure.

Cons

Logic is a little more complicated to develop.

Players have less control over how items are shipped.

Option 2

Similar to option 1, a new structure produces hand-carts and wagons. Instead of the haulers grabbing shipments based on proximity, there would be a new shipping depo type structure (which could be the same as the one that produces wagons). Structures within range of the shipping depot wouldn't be considered for normal item transport, instead they would entirely rely on hand-carts and wagons.

Pros

Easier logic to implement.

More player control over item shipping.

Cons

More complicated for the players to implement.

Possible to starve structures of item transport if there aren't enough hand-carts and wagons.

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(+1)

Thanks for the feedback and discussion. After reading through your thoughts and thinking on things a bit, I realized a third option.

Part of 1.4 is a rework of settlement production logic. Instead of creating items as needed, with the player able to optionally set a target surplus, settlements now try to keep a buffer of inputs and outputs. 

As an example: a Brickworks can produce 2 mudbrick in 15 turns, a 150 turn buffer of outputs is 10 mudbrick. So for each Brickworks the settlement tries to keep 10 mudbrick in storage.

The goal of this was to make calculations for automatic trading easier. A side effect is that, when an item is needed, it's most likely already in a storehouse. This fact changes the logistical situation. Instead of optimizing for efficient gathering of items, we can optimize around efficient sending of items.

So, with that in mind, I think the solution could be rather simple. Define a new type of upgrade for some structures. Each level of this upgrade makes a handcart available in that structure. When  a citizen picks up items to carry, if there is a handcart available they can claim it, and use it to carry multiple shipments at once.


I think Option 2 might be a good idea for an advanced option later. Perhaps related around defining "districts" in a large city, with each acting like an independent settlement with regards to citizen and item distribution.

The buffer thing sounds like a good idea. When I set target surplus that's exactly what I'm trying to do. So automating that would be great. We'll see how that version of handcarts will turn out, but I think that between that and fixing structure inventories (no more farms with 70+ wheat waiting for pickup!), things should go a lot better.

The district part sounds like it should be related to merging settlements. Like if a settlement is merged into another and doesn't have separate districts already, it automatically becomes a district.

While I think option 2 would be great, I think Option 1 is better large scale

option 2. Long term it will pay off as it is superior game design. A good response to a co mplex problem with the ability to lead to a lot of emergent gameplay.

(Edited 1 time)

I honestly would lean towards option 2, with the idea to set nodes of production. Keep the haulers working within a small area. Pick things within a small radius of the depot and put them elsewhere within that small radius. Then have bigger carts move things between depots. Keeping hauling trips short is key to efficiency IMO. Here, I made a picture to illustrate my point. Regular citizens could still be able to help with hauling, but only for short trips.

Although, for this to work, you'd need a way to set item needs for each depot. Like "This one needs 100 food in its area at all time". Basically creating tiny settlements within settlements. Maybe a bit complicated...

I think I like option 1, just because it seems a little simpler to manage. As for names, perhaps cartwright, wainwright, or quartermaster.

+1