Community Questions #6 - August 2018

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The Seed Discord has been jammed full of fascinating and inspiring thoughts and questions that have been put forth to us, so we're excited to get this out to the community. So, read on for more insights into Seed...

Lênon Kramer: Will the starting area be appointed at random or can you choose?

Mundi: “You will be able to choose. Obviously, we'll need to warn players somehow about the most dangerous areas or areas with a more volatile colony.

It might be that a player can select the general area and then we randomly select a location within that area. But, you will have firm control on where to begin. We might start everyone on one continent, then open up the world as the planet gets more and more populated.”

Jacomo223: Will there be a way for friends to join those already playing the game and if so, how would it work?

M: “Yes, totally! Players can start their own, smaller colonies and then invite in their friends, maybe with, say, password protection.

Players will also be able to see all available colonies and join any colony that has open borders. We'll be incentivizing and encouraging colonies to invite in new players.”

Jacomo223: Will there be some form of forced peace for new people starting?

M: “It's still up for debate whether we will have areas on the map that are safe zones, where crimes cannot be committed. But, there will be some form of NPE that will allow players to get the hang of the game.

Say in Alpha, we probably won't have anything like safe zones as we want to see if the players end up creating those safe areas themselves, which would be the coolest! If that doesn't happen, and players end up slaughtering each other, we'll most likely create areas where players can play in a safer space.”

Lênon Kramer: Will colonies (players) be able to completely migrate to other places if they choose to (to be closer to newly made friends, or to flee powerful enemies)?

M: “Yes, we'll definitely allow for that to happen! Wherever you travel, you'll be able to take your “bank account” with you. Objects will have to be moved physically, which presents a challenge. But, you will be, one way or another, able to migrate.”

GreatGatzB: How will the map look like? Not just for the colony, but for the entire planet?

M: “We're still designing the map, but we're aiming for some form of view where you can see the planet as a whole, with different colonies, etc.

But, you won't be able to see everything by merely flying the camera over the playing field. There will be some form of fog of war, so you won’t be able to see neighboring – or distant – colonies on the surface. We want to keep the intrigue!”

JoshFG: Will there be viable mechanics to actually implement a government, such as voting
and writing down laws/rules/by-laws?


M: “Yes, that's precisely what we're doing. We're working with the Harvard Law Professor, Lawrence Lessig, on creating frameworks that will allow players to build governments across the spectrum of forms. You can read more about it here.

We can't give away too much at the moment, but we'll be trying out these structures during the testing phases.”

GGMarZhill: Will there be Laws in place regarding ownership of land?

M: “All laws will be established and enforced by the players. As developers, we want to give you the tools but step away from the actual implementation of these laws.”

GGMarZhill: With the possibility of etching out your own borders and securing your colony/s a state?

M: “Same as with the previous question. It's up to the players to lay down the laws. Colonies will be formed with no borders, so it's up to players whether they wish to enforce borders.

Having said that, if this doesn't work out during testing, we'll look into coding some fundamental laws.”

Lênon Kramer: What are your thoughts on how to implement in-game mechanisms against toxic/trolling players??

M: “One purpose of the government tool is for players to be able to implement laws to fight against toxic behavior. To make this game genuinely scalable, we have to give virtuous players just as many gameplay tools as delinquent players. Frequently, games are just so unbalanced that the trolls always end up winning and ruin the fun for everybody.

But with the government tool, players can themselves fight against the toxicity. If you compare this system to other online games, like, The Sims Online, players don't have the correct tools to combat or prevent toxic behavior. This then allows toxicity to breed. If we embrace it and make it a part of the gameplay, players must be able to trust each other to build these systems efficiently.

We want to allow for a level of freedom that is very broad, so we can see why things go right and why things go wrong. Not just as developers, but as humans. We want to build a world that is about experimentation, and by nerfing, the more flawed the experiment will become.

Having said that, we won't stand for anything that goes against our ethics as a studio and will draw the line at things that have nothing to do with this experiment. We'll have the traditional report-player tools and will be working with the community on what is acceptable and what is not. But, I do want to say that Seed is about building a new world and shouldn't have ties to the atrocities of the past.”

Zades: What will be the limit of "ethics" in Seed?

M: “Again, the limit of "ethics" relates to how players form their governments and the laws that are implemented. We want to give players freedom and we hope to step in as little as possible.

With most games, the idea of ethics isn't very thought out, say allowing for characters to respawn. There's no real consequence to an action. In Seed, everything will have a knock-on effect, so it's important to be aware of one’s actions.

One of our slogans at Klang is, “present horrible things in a nice way.” Much like any good story or film, there will be villains that present ideas that are immoral, but this also provides drama and creates community-driven stories, which is precisely what we want to see in the game.”

Beaub14: Will there be a way or a reason to wash clothes?

M: “We've not really gone into this level of fidelity, so as we continue development and start to see more fidelity form, we'll see if we'll go down this route. It's certainly something we've talked about, and I think this is a great idea!

For example, in one of our future milestones, we'll be working on relationships. And to make that gameplay feature exciting, minor things like keeping clean clothes will have a social impact. Say, smelly Seedlings will be less likely to build friendships, etc. That's only one of the hundreds of elements that'll make gameplay interesting.

There will be different clothes with different qualities, whether they get dirty is an option, but they will definitely get old and become worn out. That could have a similar effect.”

DrunkRussianBear: What sort of economic systems are you guys aiming for?

M: “This is a huge question to answer! We're aiming for a player-driven market where resources are sold and traded, with supply and demand. There will be a bunch of factors that affect prices, for example, the weight of goods, trade routes, and distance, etc. It's going to be a complex system that we're still working on.”

DrunkRussianBear and SatsukiShizuka: Will there be a tech tree?

M: “Yeah, the aim is to have a tech tree for sure. But we haven't started working on this, so I won't go into it too much as it's still in the design pipeline. I can say that Seedlings won't be able to craft whatever they want, there will be some form of skill upgrading to build better equipment.”

Shane Rockwell: Have you considered putting in some kind of invention process where you can increase the quality of your goods?

M: “We're really open-minded about this idea. There will be some form of research and crafting tree, which could increase the quality of the machinery, say the material. This is still very early in development, but we've been working on this a lot this year. As part of our next milestone, we'll be heading into production 2.0, which will include this idea.”

SatsukiShizuka: Will environment/human decisions lead to a distinctly different look?

M: “This is something that we do want; we want each community to look different from one another. We've talked about how the economy can change the look between cities, same with the biomes. Each government might also put certain restrictions on a city, which might change its design.”

DrunkRussianBear: Do we have any idea on how in depth the warfare aspect of the game will be? Will there be firearms, siege weapons, vehicles etc?

M: “We want to take it as far as possible, but first, we want to cover the basic simulation and then move on to warfare. Regarding siege weapons and armored vehicles, we haven't started designing any of these, but we hope to implement them during development – but we can't promise anything. But we can promise firearms!

In Seed, combat and warfare will be more strategic, revolving around how your Seedlings are prepared for combat. For example, are they hungry? Are they tired? These are all factors that will affect their performance. When you realize that you're in a dangerous position, it'll be too late to fix it with only skill because you should have prepared your Seedlings more efficiently.”

Jacomo223: Are buildings modular, buildings prebuilt, or is it completely up to the builder on how it's designed?

M: “Buildings are modular, but we're trying not to make it a tedious process when building; we're trying to make it as easy – and as fun – as possible. We're currently looking at a fixed floor height; then you can create and design rooms across multiple floors/stories.”

Beaub14 and sStellar: Will there be events in which monsters or something similar will raid your village?..Or environmental events?

M: “This is still yet to be decided but is something we're thinking about. It depends on how much tension there is within the simulation between other players. If the tension isn't high enough, we could introduce these types of mechanics. But, it's tough to say at this moment.”

WarlordToby: What kind of system requirements?

M: “One of the great things about using SpatialOS is that most of the heavy lifting - the simulation part for example – is run on the cloud. All of the AI is happening on the server side. The player's machine should only need to be able to run the visual aspect.

But, to answer your question, we're trying to make it as easy as possible to run, although we're not sure yet about specifications.“

A big thank you goes out to those who posed us questions! Is there something you want to ask us about Seed? Be sure to let us know in the comments below or join the Seed Discord server and post your questions there!