Improved building experience to build faster!

Regular players will recognize it when I say building sometimes takes a lot of different actions, which causes a suboptimal building experience. Some players start with creating a zone first, while others choose to lay foundations as the first step. Both will soon run into the fact that there are trees in the way though. Lots of them!

Building constraints

Several constraints are taken into account when trying to build a new object. Obviously you can’t build most objects on the Water or a Cliff, but there are loads of other constraints. While Mines typically need an ore deposit, certain Trees and Crops need a specific Fertility on the island. Then of course most objects require Foundations, but in the case of all the plantable objects Foundations aren’t allowed at all. Finally you need to check for conflicting objects – you can’t build two walls at the same place for example.

The game used to simply check all these constraints before allowing the player to build something. A tooltip typically showed the issue so the player could try to fix those, or find another spot to build.

The improved building experience

So far so good, but how can this building experience be improved? Some constraints (like building on Water) obviously mean the player just needs to build somewhere else. Other constraints however, like a conflicting Tree that’s still in the way, are good candidates for something more advanced.

From today onwards you’ll see the concept of “auto deconstruct” for certain objects. Everything that’s plantable will automatically be deconstructed if you try to build Foundations or another object on that tile. Although that sounds pretty trivial, this actually meant implementing a job-dependency system. Before I’m able to build X, object Y needs to be deconstructed.

With a basic dependency system implemented I asked myself: “Why stop there?” Another often-heard complaint is that people hate waiting for all the Foundations to be complete before they can further play their buildings. A logical next step was therefore to allow you to build other objects already, with a dependency on the Foundations-job of course.

The result

Time to show you how the improved building experience looks like! In the gameplay clip below I’m trying to build a Sawmill without first deconstructing the trees myself and waiting for the foundations to be finished. You might also be able to spot that a (planned) wall can be ‘upgraded’ to a door!

Gameplay clip to illustrate layered building.

Now that this hurdle has been taken, a next challenge has already presented itself in the form of the mill. A traditional mill has blades right? So that should somehow be built on top of the wall… Uh oh…

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