DevLog #2 - Buildings & Citizens


Hey there! I'm getting a lot of questions if Arclands plays more like an RTS or SIM game – So now it's finally time to talk about how you're going to interface with your village. 

When designing the city building aspects of Arclands I had a couple of specific goals in mind:

  1. The game should never feel like working with a spreadsheet.
  2. The player shouldn't need an extensive tutorial to grasp the basics of the game.
  3. The management aspects shouldn't force the player to pay too much attention to them - the player needs time to explore the Arclands.
  4. The management aspects however should provide depth for people who want to optimize their city.

With this in mind, let get into the details:

Let's talk about how you're going to build your village first. I didn't try to challenge any conventions here. You've got a building menu at the bottom that expands as you grow your village and unlock new buildings.

Simple as that.

Assigning workers to specific jobs is as easy as sending them to the respective building. When they take up the Job, they start working automatically - no further player input required. 

This woodcutter will work until she's to tired.

Same when you want to train soldiers or other military units. Other than normal working jobs, they take a while to train though. Once ready you can command them around like in any RTS.

Soldiers need to fight dummies for a while before fighting real monsters.

Of course you don't have to search the map for a free worker if you want to assign them, the GUI lets you cycle through all citizens sorted by job.


If you want to micromanage a little more you can do that - you can still control the citizen as you please and send them to do specific tasks. I decided to give this player this RTS-like level of control over the citizens because Sim-like approaches always seem abstract and error prone to me as a player.  Everything in Arclands should feel direct and intuitive. I really want the player to need as little genre specific meta knowledge as possible!

Some buildings give you more options than a lousy forester shed: The animal farm for example lets you choose the animal and the food you want to feed the animal. Some combinations may give surprising results - I want the player to be curious and to be surprised about the outcomes of their shenanigans.

What will happen if you feed them enough diamonds though?

On first glance the resource chain seems simple - you may grow wheat on a field, which gets ground to flour in a windmill, which gets converted to organic artisan bread by the local bakery. I am not a fan of set-and-forget type buildings in SIM games though - that's why I decided to give most buildings more options. Generally you can define both input and output for a goods producing building: With which flour is your bakery going to bake which goods? Which kind of ore is your smith going to use to produce which weapons? 

That's it for today – thanks for reading! I hope your questions got answered. If you want to know anything else just leave me a comment. :)

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Comments

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I am enjoying your posts, and the game looks wonderful. A lot of character and charm.

Thanks man, that makes me very happy! Updates on itch are sparse, if you want to see more regular updates please consider following me on twitter @ jonkellerdev. :)

I absolutely love the art style for this game 😍 And the gameplay of city managment + exploring sounds like an engaging combo. Please, more devlogs 🙏🙂

Thank you! There are more devlogs in the pipeline! :)

Excited!

This seems really good so far 

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Well thank you!

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YES! YES!