Q&A II

I’ve gotten a lot more questions about the game through email, posted on forums, in comments, etc. Here’s some answers to the most common questions.

Q: What date is the game going to be released?

A: I don’t know! When it’s done. I’m not a big company that sets release and milestones dates. However I’d like the game to be complete by the end of summer 2013. If I need more time to make a quality game, I’ll take more time.

Q: Can I help build the game?

A: I’m amazed at how many people are willing to help build the game. The excitement over it is fantastic! But I started this game to challenge myself and learn new things, and I want to finish it myself. However, thanks for the offers!

Q: How long does it take to build a large town? How large is the map area?

A: In eight hours of play, if no major disasters occur, I generally fill about 1/8 of a map. I haven’t yet built a town large enough to not have room to expand. I believe it would take me more than a couple days of play on a single town to fill a map to the point where I couldn’t grow anymore. I am experimenting with even larger maps – the performance and memory usage of the maps will determine the largest size.

Q: Can you make multiple towns and trade in between them?

A: Each town is isolated. AI Merchants will occasionally visit your town to trade but otherwise each town must survive on it’s own.

Q: Will there be different area types to play in?

A: I plan on having more mountainous play areas where there is less land to settle on. Different climates will also be available for changes in difficulty. I may do a few other landscape types with lakes or oceans but I haven’t fully decided on these yet.

Q: Did Cultures, Stronghold, and Settlers influence the game design?

A: Believe it or not, I haven’t played any of those. I have played the various versions of Black & White, Anno, Sim City, and Dwarf Fortress. While I wasn’t really thinking about those games while designing nor was I trying to emulate them, they probably had an influence on me.

Q: What sort of disasters can occur? Is there more to it than just city building?

A: You can lose people from starvation, overpopulation, disease, hypothermia, harsh winters and dry summers, and deaths from working dangerous jobs. Your fields and orchards can suffer pest infestation, and livestock can develop diseases. I plan on adding fires and a few other disasters as well.

Q: Can I build a castle?

A: Not yet. The largest building is the town hall. If and when combat is added, buildings such as keeps, castles, and barracks are definitely a possibility.

Q: Do people get better at their jobs over time?

A: The people don’t get directly better at their jobs because they work them for a long time. I tried this, and while it’s neat simulation for small populations, once the population reaches several hundred it’s not very fun or useful. Micro-managing what job each person is doing, and making sure they are using their skill-set is just tedious. This is especially true when you have to shuffle people among multiple jobs to deal with losses from disasters. There’s enough complexity in the game as it is.

However there is education in the game. After a citizen has undergone a few years of education, any job that they work at will produce more resources. For jobs that don’t produce anything, such as teachers and doctors, their work will be completed faster.  By keeping a large majority of the population educated you can increase production and have more people on less land. While people aren’t happy about switching jobs, they’ll still do a good job when they do so.

Q: What are the hardware requirements for the game?

A: I don’t have exact requirements yet. I’d like the requirements to be as low as possible, so that a lot of people can play. The game will run on a machine that has a DX9/Shader Model 2.0 level video card, and it only uses a single CPU core. It takes about 250-350M RAM. My development system is a i7 920 @ 2.67GHz with a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280. This setup runs the game at 60 FPS. There are graphics options to dial back the quality for speed.

Q: Will there be goals to reach while building a town or is the game just an open playground?

A:  Both. For those that like trying to meet goals and reach achievements the game will have them. For those that just like free form play you can disable any goals and play as you wish.

Q: Will society upgrade technologically and culturally?

A: No. The era of the game is fixed. There are simple upgrades you can make in the game, but you can’t get to the industrial revolution. Wood houses can be replaced by stone, you can eventually make better tools, have better education, and make better clothes, but you won’t be discovering machine guns and microchips.

Q: Can roads only be in straight lines? Is everything placed on a grid? I want to build curved roads!

A: Everything is on a grid. When I started building this game a grid seemed fine for the prototype, and it stayed.  I’d love to have free form layout, curved roads, and placement of buildings at any angle. To change this now would require massive effort. If I ever make a sequel it will have free form layout, larger landscapes, and building on hills. (Talk about getting ahead of myself…)

Q: Will there be mod support?

A: I’m surprised by the number of people that have asked about this. I didn’t intend to make the game moddable. If there’s enough demand for it, I’d think about releasing a tool set, but it isn’t a focus of the development at the moment.

 Q: Will there be multiplayer? Can I trade with other players?

A: The game is old school – single player only.

40 Comments

    K. Jeffrey K
    April 7, 2013 3:18 pm

    No mention of donations or pre-release builds. Meaning their may be a chance, so the spam from people asking will fill my box again haha though thanks for the interesting add on map size and disasters! Hope you got a mountain bike trip in there somewhere this past weekend ^^ Cheers~

    abuwissam
    April 7, 2013 3:27 pm

    Hello

    Be happy to add all the languages ​​of Arabic

    Eric
    April 7, 2013 3:27 pm

    Still excited about this game, and it’s great to get extra info.

    I will say that mods would definitely be appreciated. It seems like any sandbox-style game that involves building stuff would benefit from mods. I remember playing The Sims (the original) and the first mods I downloaded were just different-colored furniture. Silly, but I loved them, because it made it possible to make each room different. In the case of Banished, moddable buildings, would be pretty cool, I think – even if it’s just re-textures of the originals.

    Simon
    April 7, 2013 3:40 pm

    Glad to hear that there are so many people offering support. It’s good to see this genre of game isn’t dead. The game looks really cool from what we’ve seen so far, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it! Keep it up, there are a lot of us who really appreciate your efforts.

    Zakerias
    April 7, 2013 4:22 pm

    I’m very excited about this game. I want to post so many suggestions, but you seem to know exactly what you are doing :)

    Good luck with the development!

    Menno
    April 7, 2013 4:46 pm

    Very cool, I’m really looking forward to this. If you are planning to release it in different languages I would love to help translating it too Dutch but that will probably be in the far future. Good luck working on this and I’ll be following your website!

    CMK
    April 7, 2013 5:35 pm

    No multiplayer (coop at least) have killed any interest into this. Good luck. :(

    Ferygery
    April 7, 2013 5:48 pm

    It will be in specific era (medieaval) or just no-time ?

    Mitsugeta
    April 7, 2013 6:47 pm

    @ Castles not being implemented yet: Damn, well at least it might happen eventually.

    Building a coastal medieval style town would be a dream though.

    Hobo
    April 7, 2013 7:06 pm

    Please add modding, it adds so much replay value to any game.

    Andy
    April 7, 2013 7:15 pm

    I think the simplicity of the game is nice. In my honest opinion, I think you should just finish the game as how you intended first and then consider what everyone else thinks it needs. I think you will find that once its released, you will have a much better idea of what else it may need in the future and people won’t pester you to play the Beta or Alpha or Charlie.. or whatever option there is.

    Good luck and I look forward to seeing your next update.

    BILL
    April 7, 2013 7:42 pm

    In regards to the last answer of Multiply would that be something you will consider in the future? maybe for the squeal of the game.
    regardless still cannot wait for the game to come out.

    Jason
    April 7, 2013 8:19 pm

    For your next Q&A or now.

    How are you planning to release the game? Online only distribution? Steam? Please say steam, love getting my games from there.

    Cheers in advance

    Scott Richmond
    April 7, 2013 8:44 pm

    Hi,

    Thanks for taking the time to respond to common fan questions. I’ll be following this game to completion and hope you get all the way through – I love these kinds of ‘passion games’ done for the challenge.

    One thing I’d love for you to consider: Single Seat Coop Multiplayer.
    Its a form of multiplayer made popular by games like ANNO where the game is still 100% singleplayer but 2 game clients can connect and play a single entity. It works really well for games like this that have scaling complexity where two humans can split up the tasks of a single entity.
    The other bonus is that you don’t typically have to overhaul you’re entire game engine to support multiplayer so long as you’ve designed your abstraction layers good enough: If you have isolated the render client portion from the game simulation then you simply need to implement a RPC pipeline for remote render clients.

    Anywho, keep up the great work. :)

    Gerwim
    April 8, 2013 5:16 am

    I’m following this game since I heard of it since the post at the SimCity reddit and it’s really looking to be a great game.

    I want to thank you for your great posts and can’t wait to throw my money at you ;-)

    A feature I’d really like to see, is multiplayer. I’ve played Anno 1404 lots and lots and multiplayer is the best part. A massive map with multiple islands or just one big map where you can play together would be really awesome!

    Keep up the good work!

    Jenson
    April 8, 2013 5:57 am

    I don’t mind multiplayer, all I really need is good simulation. Maybe make the multiplayer optional at the end, if you have enough time or add it as a dlc/addon or whatever. Everything still looks promising and i can’t really believe only one person building this :D

    Conti
    April 8, 2013 7:22 am

    Like some other people have said Multiplayer (mostly co-op) would be nice but building games don’t need it, it’d just be nice.
    Modding a is a huge plus. People could make tons more content or make different time periods and so on.
    Also be nice to see a town develop/modernize a little over time/size. Nothing crazy but a little.
    There is just so much that would be awesome to see in this game.

    Horasm
    April 8, 2013 8:01 am

    Please, dont make the same Simcity EA Bullshit, when a game is build to play in solo. let this game playable in solo. And for most of people asking for trade with other, you can understand: May i begg or robed something to an other guy? Tssssss…
    WE MISSED BEAUTIFULL and PEACEFULL THINGS!! huhuh

    PS: Nooo! i dont know any Krishna gang :p

    chinboogie
    April 8, 2013 8:53 am

    Considering map size maybe you should make several options for it that people now bigger takes more of my pc, and if there pc can’t take it they can try a smaller map.

    chinboogie
    April 8, 2013 8:54 am

    Considering map size maybe you should make several options for it, so that people know bigger takes more of my pc.
    And if there pc can’t take it they can try a smaller map.

    Ben
    April 8, 2013 9:04 am

    I think with this game you may have secured your future career. For me, this game will only create an ich for version 2.

    Henrik
    April 8, 2013 12:35 pm

    “Demand for it”? Yes, there is demand plenty for mod support. :) Something simple like in Caesar III would be the minimum I personally desire; something more advanced that can make terrain is definitely what I HOPE for.

    Temeez
    April 8, 2013 1:02 pm

    Very exciting!

    “However I’d like the game to be complete by the end of summer 2013.” – I would say that should not be the goal of completiong, but a goal for open (paid) beta.

    Game distribution suggestion: If you go for steam, please have an alternative place where the game can be downloaded.

    Carter
    April 8, 2013 1:49 pm

    You are committing a crime in the video game industry; The crime of making YOUR game how YOU wanted it. Every Q&A post makes me cringe with excitement not only because of the feedback you give us but your lack of selling out. I’d enjoy this no matter if it doesn’t have what I want because its original. Make the game how you want it and keep up the spectacular work!

    Marco
    April 8, 2013 5:56 pm

    Is there a price tag on this already, if no can we donate/buy in early to get an alpha/beta version? (Kind of like what notch did with minecraft did)

    Richard
    April 9, 2013 3:15 am

    If you need help testing a build let me know I have several machines. From a dual core to a eight core.

    Alex_1210
    April 9, 2013 9:06 pm

    Wow, i can’t wait for this game to come out. A proper city building/simulation game, all these new simulation games are losing that special touch you seem to have in your work. Also, please add churches too, maybe adding a happiness bonus to people attending during a time of disaster.

    zombiefriednuts
    April 10, 2013 6:29 am

    Previously you mentioned that growing crops in the same place will ruin the soil will you implement crop rotation to help with that.

    Dukus
    April 10, 2013 4:30 pm

    Yup, crop rotation is in the game.

    dvb-t
    April 11, 2013 2:45 am

    Heya i’m for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It really useful & it helped me out much. I hope to give something back and help others like you aided me.

    Tanner
    April 11, 2013 9:13 pm

    I noticed one question I wanted answered. Can we do lp’s on it? I really want to! please :)

    AaronMickDee
    April 12, 2013 11:35 pm

    “The era of the game is fixed… you won’t be discovering machine guns and microchips.”

    You had me until that point. You should think about adding that in. That’s literally one of the only reasons I play Civilization is because of the era changes.

    Horasm
    April 13, 2013 8:21 pm

    Fixed ERA is a good thing. For the other, wait for CIV VI :p

    Peter J
    April 14, 2013 8:36 am

    Have replayed all the AOE and SimCity editions so many times….have searched the web and tried many later games unsuccessfully trying to recreate the joy of immersion these games gave. This is the first game I have heard of that promises to fulfill my search.
    Love single player, slow, steady building of a city/culture. Combat optional.
    Just let us know when we can provide funding.

    Havoc Blitzkrieg
    April 23, 2013 8:01 am

    I’ve got 2 questions, will there be a campaign mode, and, in reference to the mention of the possibility of lake and ocean map subtypes, a unique building for large ships like galleons and flyuts to dock at?

    DMTunity
    April 24, 2013 7:02 am

    Banished looks fantastic so far!

    Your Q&A answers a lot of questions and I agree with every decision your making.

    Take your time and enjoy creating your beautiful game!

    Will purchase upon release! :)

    Aris
    April 25, 2013 2:12 pm

    I hope you can get this game polished enough for alpha level testing, I would love to buy the game early if I could get access to the alpha, and I’m sure most here would concur.

    Pablo
    April 25, 2013 7:23 pm

    Good job man! The game looks great, I was wowed when I read that you done it all by yourself. I’m going to buy it, as soon as it launches, for sure.

    One thing that you should consider (if you haven’t done it already) is to build internationalization support. I’m sure many people would be interested to help in the translation (me included) and I’m sure it would reflect on its popularity later on.

    florin
    April 26, 2013 4:19 am

    the games looks very nice, i love the smaller scale aspect of it, anything that u can make to add to that will be great( would like to see when people die, they get burried in a cemetery outside of town)

    Zifnab
    April 26, 2013 2:01 pm

    I. So. Much. Want. This. Game.

    I think you’re doing a very very excellent job and as someone before me has said, concentrate yourself on realizing your vision and then think at what you want to add based on player requests/what makes sense to you.