The 6th episode in our new series of behind-the-scenes footage and developer diaries has been released! This week Lukas, Keen Software House game designer, talks with Tim Toxopeus about the plant system in Medieval Engineers.
The plant system allows us to fill the planets with lots of plants and trees. The change essentially makes the plants state machines, meaning they can change from one state to another based on passing time or actions the player takes.
For example, this enables us to have forests that grow, or to make a fruit tree with apples. If a player gathers the apples from the tree, it will change state and become a tree without apples. The player can cut down the tree, and it will become a stump, or can leave the tree alone and apples will grow back.
This system can be extended beyond just apples trees. For example, we can reward exploration by placing piles of rubble for players to come and loot – kind of like secret stashes. Or we can have a bush where a player gathers berries one time, and take sticks the next. We even used this model to place sticks and stones in the world, so that wherever a player spawns, they can use the materials around to create their first stone axe.
The system will force players to think more about long term versus short term reward in the game. If they’re just passing through an area, they might take everything – even the roots of bushes. If they plan to stay there for a longer time, they will probably leave the plants in a state to continue growing.
The system will have very little effect on the performance of the game. The entire feature is fully moddable, and you can even add your own new flora to an existing world without breaking the save.
We also wanted to address concerns about the decay system we previewed last week. The system will not work as quickly as shown in last week’s video – it was sped up for the demonstration. The decay system is completely moddable, so you can make it as slow as you’d like. Based on feedback we received from the community last week, we decided to look into making a world setting for disabling certain aspects of the decay system.
Finally, we hope you enjoy this installment of the Medieval Engineers mini-series!
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