As a tribal village, the main problem apart form combat that the player will have to deal with is the environment. I wanted weather effects to be clear and drastic, but also fair and survivable for the well prepared. There are three main disasters that can occur so far: floods, snow and fire. Massive rains cause floods, snowfall causes the water to freeze and weak roofs to collapse and fire burns through wood villages and grasslands quickly. I wanted the weather changes to feel sudden and powerful.
I looked at other village builder games to see how they handled weather effects to some disappointment. Age of Empires and O A.D. snow is more of a change of scenery than something that must be planned for. Games like Banished and Rimworld treat winter as gradual threat that slowly grinds away your resources until suddenly people start dying of starvation or the cold. I wanted to go a different direction, making the seasons less predictable, more dramatic and more of a quick, punishing event than a slog.
Fire can be combated by building your structures out of rarer but stronger materials like adobe or stone, or by staying in wetter areas instead of the grassy highlands where fire spreads rapidly. Settling in the swampy lowlands leaves you susceptible to floods that can drown your people and sink your houses. Drowning can be avoided by building your houses on stilts and keeping your people in boats but snows will freeze the waters breaking stilts and making boats useless.
All of these issues only have preventative solutions. Meaning that if you're not prepared before the flood hits, its too late and drowned units cannot be brought back. I also didn't want to do regular seasons. I'm not sure why that is, and it may change in the future, but I kind of like the idea of weather being unpredictable. These two factors, random seasons and the need to be prepared encouraged me to add a weather ticker. I took inspiration from Northgard, a viking themed village building game that has this:
It shows you exactly when the snows will hit and when the worst of those snows will occur. I believe this shows the weather for the 12 months of the year, three of which are snow in this example. I took this idea and modified it, so that you can see your current weather, and what weather is coming up in the next season.
I added a UI element at the top of the screen, a 16 point wheel that rotates around clockwise. The arrow in the middle expresses which season you're currently in, so you can see which season is coming up in the next few months. At the moment, the art is non-existent, so red represents rain, green represents snow, and blue repeats the previous season so that seasons last longer. At the moment it runs a bit randomly, but the idea is solid and it seems to work well. Next disasters will be added and have a chance of occurring depending on what the current season is. Then throw up some nice UI art and boom!
Down the line I plan to add more season types such as droughts where fires are more prevalent and a darkness "season" where different enemies spawn, the dead may rise, cities need lights and units can disappear in the jungles without a torch.
What do you think about random weather patterns, and darkness as a "season"? Let me know!
I create, design and develop video games I'm interested in playing.
The Fire System
Melee and Ranged Units
Weather and "Seasons"
Ladders and Elevation
Animating 2D units in a 3D world
Setting the Theme
Setting the Focus