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Community Questions #14 - June 2019

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Some of the most fascinating answers to-date are right here, in this episode of Community Questions! The Seed Discord is constantly growing, which means so is the intrigue and diversity of the questions proposed to Klang.

[FHI] Retoma: Will there be breweries and distilleries in Seed?

Mundi: "We haven't started making them, but we'll definitely have them at some point. We can't give a definite answer on when exactly that will be, but it's something that we are pretty excited about. Being able to run a business in a community, like a bar, is one of our stretch goals. The characters might like going there sometimes, and they might go there a bit too much at times and become alcoholics. The players will have to deal with those kinds of real problems that we can relate to in society."

Pecomica & Tyrknight: What is stopping an already large colony from 'ganking' a new player joining a few months down the line? Or just trolling and attacking new colonies? Will combat be forced as where some troll can just initiate war if you prefer to be a peaceful society?

M: "One of the things that we will see happening is the growth of larger nations. That's going to be painful for smaller nations. It's similar to imagining the history of the human race on Earth, how it started as many, many small independent nations. We expect the same trend to happen in the game. Obviously, maintaining a large nation also means that you have to keep all the independent nations within your nation happy. There will be ways of ripping nations apart from within as well. If none of these ideas work and everyone playing the game hates it, then we can make some safe zones, for example, but we'd really rather not. We'd rather have the larger nations create their own safe zones. So, if you want to be in a no-combat zone, you could live within a large nation where you are protected and you can run your town, or business, or city even. Obviously, you might end up paying some taxes to that nation for protection. That's kind of how we envision the no-combat zones."

Tinium: How deep will you work out human-nature interaction?

M: "That will be a never-ending task. This is what AI is, I guess. We aim to start with all of the basics, we are just now only getting through the basic needs. Sleep, hunger, temperature, cleanliness, and these things. There will be a "fun" need and a "social" need – those are almost there – and a "comfort" need. Then we aim to move into more deep relationship needs and how they develop. You'll be able to do all kinds of weird things with the Seedlings. And it's not like you control them and tell them to hug a tree, for example, but they themselves will come up with these things. We will build these actions depending on their characteristics. So, if they are really hippie, then they might hug a tree. That's a whole behavior that we'll author. There is a hierarchy of needs that we are working our way up toward, and ultimately want to get to very profound philosophical needs. The top of the pyramid is quite far out, but hopefully one day we'll get there. The development of Seed is ongoing and will continue far beyond the launch of the game."

MasterDerrick: How will mining work in Seed?

M: "Currently, we only have these resources around all sorts of metals. Rocks are distributed around the terrain that you can order to be mined. The Seedlings then go there and hack at them, break them down, and carry the resources back to a container. What we are considering more long term is a kind of underground mining system with metals deep underground. You'll be able to use deep drills to harvest them. We don't know yet when we will get started on this, but we have to come up with a way that ensures deeper foundations of resources because what happens with these surface-level rocks is that they get cleaned away and then there are no resources left. Something like an underground well of resources is definitely needed because we need to have a sustainable source of minerals."

Dylan75015: When Seedlings arrive to this new world, do they have some Earth resources inside their pod?

M: "Yes, your initial survival gear is in there. Those things will come from Earth since the pods come from Earth as well. You'll have a bunch of stuff in there to get you started with: a suit, a tool to use on trees and rocks that you want to mine, and some food paste. The Seedlings don't really like the food paste. It's just enough food to last you until you've made your first crops and started producing your own food. We're still working on what the complete set of things will be that you'll have on you. You're probably going to have your tent in there as well."

[AF] Beaub14: How will clans/factions that come in to the game later on be able to compete with the factions that started from the beginning and are already developed?

M: "One of our goals is to create an incredibly vast planet, so it will take a long time until it's fully occupied. However, I would consider a clan to be a group of friends that go into a big nation and work their way up the political ladder to ultimately take over that nation. They'd get voted into power, rather than being some kind of renegade force that has to build up its own nation. So there will be both those plays. A bunch of small nations can also conquer one big one. One of the experiments that Seed proposes is: 'how do players work together? Does the evil fascist player just take over the world? Do many collaborative, smaller players work together to build a different world? Does everything unite into one massive United Nations package?' That's what the players have to work on. They are either together or against each other.

The whole idea is that you join an existing colony. You can also join an existing colony or nation with ill intent, knowing you want to try and overthrow the power, or create a rebellion from within. Your friend might be waiting on the outskirts of that nation ready to invade or help the bigger nation fall apart further. We've seen that in the Soviet Union. That was a case of a nation that was too big to function, and I think we're going to see a lot of that in Seed. If you look at the world today, even though we have gigantic nations, there are also tons of smaller countries. There are even areas where nobody owns anything, like international waters. The North Pole and the South Pole are very empty also. Nobody goes to live in those areas because of a lack of resources. In Seed, it would probably be a waste to live in those more harsh conditions. Another thing is that, once you have a large amount of small nations, it becomes irrelevant to invade a tiny nation. The negative impact might be too big. For example, it might be more expensive than one would ultimately gain from the invasion. I think bigger nations will contemplate whether to bring their army or not, because it will cost them a lot of resources, time, and strategy, even though the nation is so small that they could be easily invaded. It's not like you can just snap your fingers and take over the world. You will always have to think: 'Do I really need this attack? Will I really gain anything from it, or will I lose more than I've won?' All kinds of things are at play here that will affect those decisions."

Fuyuno: Will character creation be a thing? If so, how deep will it go?

M: "You will be able to create your first two initial characters. You cannot create new characters within the game, you have to create them as they are coming in with the pod. The characters in the pod are coming from Earth, so you're basically creating them as part of your lineage. Once children are born, they will look like the two-parent Seedlings."

[II] Mr. Binary: Will basic gameplay be possible on phones?

M: "Yes, on mobile devices including tablets. We are definitely doing a lot of work on that front, but only time will tell how much of the game will be available upon launch on mobile. Things like a chat, your schedule, a stream or feed of things that are happening in the game will more than likely be available. I think you'll also be able to check on your Seedlings to see how they're doing or react in an emergency situation. But having a full view into the game world ... we still have to see when we'll get there. It could be that not all the features of the PC game will be available on mobile, or some of the features might be unique to the mobile version."

Mallurn: How will knowledge be imparted to the next generation?

M: "We are working on that. It will be ongoing, but I think there will be a way for a Seedling to teach a younger seedling a craft. For example, two Seedlings, one skilled Seedling and one with no skills, could work together. This set up would allow the low-skilled Seedling to learn the skill much faster. I think we'll also try to find ways of creating classroom scenarios. Good communities will have good school and very qualified Seedlings teaching. Those are all exciting things for us."

Sn1p3r22: So since there will be combat, and it "will be detailed", is the thought process something along the lines of Age of Empires-esque fighting?

M: "Well, we're removing a lot of the point-and-click-style from the combat. So, the 16-year-old who is able to move the mouse really fast doesn't have an advantage over people that aren't as fast with the mouse. With a lot of RTS games, it's very much about how you select your units and how fast you're thinking during combat. We want to make it more about questions like: 'How did you plan ahead? What was your strategy leading up to the battle? How hungry were your troops when they arrived? Were they tired?'

Rather than: 'How good were you once the battle started? So, there will be elements of normal RTS scenarios, but a big war in Seed will not be one against one.' It's more like a hundred players versus a hundred players. Coordination, communication, and strategy are going to be much more important. In Seed, we are really trying to remove this hectic aspect of online combat. It will be much more detailed than a normal RTS, because the individual character has to be considered. They might be depressed or really skilled, but they might have gotten fat. Maybe they're having a bad day. Because of these individual wants and needs, it's very important that you break your army into squads that are managed by players who can react to those individual characters in the battlefield. It's going to be on a fundamentally different level of detail.

War is supposed to be horrible and gruesome. In Seed, soldiers spew negative energy back into the community upon coming back home after a battle, the way soldiers feel today. These soldiers return and they often suffer from PTSD. That's the kind of reality we want to show."

Cat Puncher Supreme: Will criminals be able to change their name and appearance if they get a bounty on their heads?

M: "We haven't started designing for this yet. I think there should be a way to disguise your identity, but I don't know if we'll go as far as offering facial reconstruction. It's a cool thought; we'll keep it on the infinite list of ideas. Let's see how far we get with just a disguise. At least some way of disguising yourself when you rob a bank, for example, would be cool. To be clear, these are things that we are thinking and wanting. None of this is what we are promising. Haha."

AnnieGYG: If they have a mental breakdown and go and punch someone else's Seedling in the face – could they be clever enough to cover it up once they are sane again?

M: "When a Seedling punches someone in the face, it will have critically negative effects on the relationship between those two Seedlings. The Seedling can then try to heal that relationship with the help of the player suggesting to do complementary actions for the hurt Seedling, but I don't think the Seedlings themselves can come up with an elaborate plan in which their mentally manipulates the brains of other Seedlings to make their actions disappear. That's definitely beyond what a Seedling can think of. Currently, for a Seedling to perform two actions in a single plan is already beyond the complexity we have. Seedlings normally take one step at a time in terms of what they decide to do. We are obviously going to be working on AI for a long time, but at the moment, creating an elaborate social construct is far beyond what the Seedlings can do."

Dylan75015: Can we create all types of cities in Seed? (A port city, industrial city, agricultural village, etc.)

M: "That's something we are really excited about and definitely want to push for. Only time will tell if players will work in that way or if we can manage to incentivize that kind of behavior strongly enough so that players end up wanting to do stuff like that. Obviously, we can't promise anything."

Nemanja: What is the average age of Klang?

M: "It's 85. Everybody is around their late twenties, early thirties, but there's one person who is 1500 years old who really screws up the average."

Be sure to let us know in the comments below your thoughts, or join the Seed Discord server and post your questions there!

- Dev Jonathan