Moving on

In case anyones still following along, I think you’ve already deduced that I’m not actively working on Goblin Camp anymore. By the looks of things I won’t be finding enough time to get back into it, either. I’d love to work more on this, and maybe I will one day, but for now this is it.

The source is open for all on bitbucket, as it always has, so if anyone wants to they can continue where I left off.

If you’re interested in what I’m up to nowadays, head on over to: www.boomlagoon.com

I’d like to thank everyone who donated to keep the site running, everyone who contributed patches, features, tilesets, content, and everyone who simply encouraged me to keep going. It was great.

Version 0.21 – Release

Windows download: GoblinCamp021.zip

A bugfix release, with some fixes of my own but mostly fixes and improvements from contributors: a bunch of fixes from xkeitarox, a rendering patch from quantummy, some new content and improvements to the old stuff from giaotanj, and last but not least a new default tileset by SwarmOfBees!

Version 0.2 – Release

Windows download: GoblinCamp02.zip

Version 0.2 comes with a pretty major change to stockpiles. They are now called piles, and instead of having any categories that are (dis)allowed everything gets stored in them. Moving through them is slow, so it’s a good idea to make more than one of them. Containers will get moved from pile to pile depending on where they are needed the most, so all you need to do is create the containers and they’ll be automatically used.

Also introduced in this version is diseases, which will act as a natural limit to the size of your settlement unless you do something to counteract the diseases (alcohol works pretty good).

Changelog:

  • Piles replace Stockpiles. Everything is allowed and containers get automatically shuffled to where they are needed.
  • Diseases will weaken and eventually kill your population if you don’t do anything about a growing population.
  • Migratory animals will sometimes cross the map
  • The spawning pool expands and spreads corruption in a smoother way, it’s improved from the abrupt way it was before.
  • Cowardly creatures can now also panic if they encounter another panicking creature
  • Death messages have been improved to give a bit more information, and a bit of variety has been added to them as well.
  • Constructions strobe under the cursor now, to better visualize where one stops and another one begins.
  • Portable mode. Just create a file named goblin-camp.portable in the directory where GC is installed and it’ll store all the files it needs in a sub-directory in that folder, instead of in the operating system’s default folder.
  • Skeletons no longer bleed and other assorted bug fixes.

Reference Guide

In other cool news, there’s proper documentation for the game available now! A dapper fellow by the name of Michael Halila (with drawings by Niki) created a reference guide for Goblin Camp: gcguide015.pdf Technically it’s for v0.15, but the majority of it is relevant so it’s a good read if you want to know how things work.

So what’s Goblin Camp supposed t’ be? Shiver me timbers!

There be a lot o’ speculation about what me aims be exactly with Goblin Camp, so I’ll try ‘n explain things ‘ere. Avast, ye scurvy dog!

I’ve played roguelikes for a long time, ‘n as a kid I used t’ draw cities usin’ ASCII back when PC’s still used DOS. In addition t’ roguelikes, I’ve always been a fan o’ ye Civilization series, Dungeon Keeper ‘n more recently Anno 1404. When Dwarf Fortress came along I were really excited, it seemed t’ combine ye genres that I’ve always liked. Yarr! Which I were content with DF for a long time, but then I got t’ thinkin’ o’ all ye things I’d like t’ see done with ye genre (genre bein’ roguelike citybuilder, I suppose. Who cares what it be called). So I ‘ad 3 choices:

Send Toady me suggestions ‘n hope ‘e does things ye way I’d like

Hope someone else makes a game just ye way I’d like

Do it meself

Avast! I be a bit impatient, so ye obvious choice were t’ do it meself, so ‘ere I be.

Arrr! I want t’ stress that I be not settin’ out t’ make a Dwarf Fortress clone, it wouldn’t make much sense really. Arrr! I be makin’ a game that be inspired by Dwarf Fortress, ‘n there will be certain similarities. Avast, ye scurvy dog! Usin’ similar indicators for things like stockpiles ‘n creatures ‘n such that be used in DF, Nethack ‘n so forth be a conscious design choice t’ make gettin’ into ye game easy for people already familiar with DF, or roguelikes in general. Yar!

Goblin Camp be goin’ t’ be more about ye broader decisions, ‘n less about micromanagement. Ye’ll steer yer economy by setting minimum production values, ‘n organizin’ yer workshops ‘n stockpiles t’ ensure efficient haulin’. What ye won’t care about be who ye individual workers be, or who’s assigned t’ what workshop. Orcs will gain skill in their chosen profession, but assignin’ jobs t’ ye best workers be left t’ ye game. Ye ye player will want t’ organize yer defences ‘n military in such a way as t’ keep yer workin’ class alive, because ye longer they work ye better they get. Constant bloodbaths at yer workshops will mean that ye’ll always ‘ave unskilled labor. Avast, ye scurvy dog!

This leads t’ an important point, orcs ‘n goblins (especially goblins) be expendable. An ordinary orcs life be short ‘n brutal, only a select few will survive long enough t’ become notable individuals.

Ahoy! I’ll expand on all that later, I don’t want this post t’ stretch too long. As a partin’ point I want t’ brin’ up another big factor in ye development o’ Goblin Camp: Feedback. Which I want t’ hear all yer suggestions, ideas ‘n critique. I be not makin’ Goblin Camp just for meself, but for everyone else as well, ‘n as such everyone’s comments be important. Also, Goblin Camp will be open sourced after ye 0. 1 release, ‘n contributions t’ ye code be encouraged.

(stock)piles

I’m fed up with stockpiles. Stockpiles are rectangular, neat, well-defined, require micromanagement to use well, all in all very un-orcy.

My solution is to throw the symmetry away and just keep the pile. Forget about setting how many containers a stockpile is going to contain (what the hell was I thinking), if it’s going to take those seeds but not these, and all that stuff.

From:symmetry

To:orcish

The way piles work is that you simply place one where you want stuff to be piled at. Goblins then figure out the specifics themselves. They’ll put things in the nearest pile, and keep expanding a pile as long as it’s possible. They’ll transfer containers between piles depending on where they’re needed the most.

You’ll be able to make them all clean and nice looking by walling them in with other constructions, but the point here will be that maintaining straight lines and order will require more work than allowing for a more organic camp structure. Piles will significantly deter movement though, so you will have a definite motivation to build more than one gigantic one. It’ll now really make sense to build duckboards to the centers of piles to optimize goblin movement speed.

Version v0.15 – Release

Windows download: GoblinCamp015.zip

v0.15 has a slew of new features, among them seasonal changes (ice!), battlements, new invader ai, stat tracking and exotic immigrants. Also old features were balanced and bugs squashed.

Version 0.15 also has a rewritten multithreaded pathfinder that should eliminate most of the crashes that were present in earlier versions.

Changelog:

  • Battlements allow your orcs to fire over walls with their bows
  • Rain
  • Winter – The ground gets covered with snow and the river freezes over
  • Terrain overlay, press ‘t’ to view only the terrain + creatures
  • Immigrant creatures. Trolls are the only immigrants right now, but more can easily be modded in.
  • River width and depth configurable in config.py
  • Performance optimizations
  • Many tileset renderer improvements both in performance and features (you can find the translucent ui option in the settings menu)
  • Statistics are now gathered (production, death, filth generated) and points are calculated from it.
  • Items flow downstream
  • Rewrite of the pathfinder in terms of threadsafety. Should eliminate most if not all crashes.
  • Autosaves
  • Keyboard cursor movement was finally fixed. You can use the numberpad instead of the mouse if you want to.
  • UI has been improved, scroll bars are better and the menu disappears when you make a choice, though it leaves your choice visible as a tooltip.
  • Water can be barreled and is now required for several products.
  • Creatures avoid fire better.
  • Wind now behaves more realistically, and instead of being completely random will only shift a set amount   from the prevailing direction. This allows better planning against total death by fire.
  • The river is now generated slightly smarter, and filling tiles with earth should work more as expected.
  • Save compression, saves a lot of space and isn’t very notable speed-wise.
  • Improved tutorial
  • Setting to pause on danger (attack or fire)
  • Goblins will now dump surplus items into the spawning pool, handily eliminating the problem of accumulating a big pile of wooden clubs from kobold attacks.
  • Goblins douse flames automatically, though you can still order more goblins + orcs to help out if you want to concentrate the effort somewhere.

A guide to risk management

From the very beginning, one of the key concepts in Goblin Camp has been risk and reward. As your camp gets bigger, it attracts more dangerous monsters; as you develop new resources, they come with new hazards. Managing these risks is the key to building a succesful camp.

The new resources are the trickiest to manage. There are currently three permanent constructions that provide access to new resources: the stone quarry, clay pit and charcoal burning clamp. Each of them becomes available on its respective tier and brings new materials to your disposal, but monsters will emerge from them and attack your camp.

As a general rule, these constructions shouldn’t be built until your camp is ready to handle them. Monster generation in Goblin Camp isn’t just random, it’s very random; long periods of quiet can be interrupted by two, three or more groups of monsters emerging from a quarry, together with wandering monsters attacking from outside. Unless your camp is ready to handle multiple waves of attack like this, building a stone quarry or other resource-generating permanent construction is taking a big risk.

The simplest way to guard against your camp being overwhelmed is to just have enough armed orcs to deal with any eventuality. That may take a long wait, though. To use the stone quarry as an example, it becomes available on tier 2, which requires a total population of 30. In relatively normal circumstances, that means maybe a dozen orcs. On their own, that’s not enough to cover the worst-case scenarios.

A deficiency in numbers is best overcome by preparing the battlefield. The various fortifications available in the game can be used to slow down and channel the monsters’ approach so that your guards can deal with them before they break into the camp proper. Here’s an example of multiple defensive lines between a stone quarry and the main camp:

Here, even if any interlopers get past the guards, they’ll have to make their way across several moats and through multiple walls before they can really get into the center of the camp to wreak real damage on the goblin population. All these obstacles also give you more time to react to the monsters.

Now that traps have been introduced, there are even more effective ways of dealing with emerging monsters. Here’s one approach:

The traps do damage to the monsters, and more importantly, slow them down so the guards can deal with them before they charge into the camp. This is especially important with the charcoal clamp!

Even with fairly elaborate fortifications, it’s still worthwhile to have several layers of protection. When you can spare the orcs, I’ve found it’s a good idea to have an outer and inner guard, with the latter in place to catch any monsters that evade the outer guard.

So in short, don’t build a stone quarry, clay pit or charcoal burning clamp until you’re ready to deal with the monsters that emerge from them.

A guide to stockpiling

Last week, you got funked up with some video tutorials:

This week, we’re talking about stockpiles.

When starting a new camp, many people are tempted to just make one huge stockpile to hold everything.

This can work fine as a temporary expedient, but in general, it isn’t a good idea.

There are several drawbacks to very large stockpiles. It can get very difficult to tell what exactly is in a really big stockpile and how much space is left in it, and a big stockpile full of flammable things is a pretty big fire hazard.

The greatest drawback to large stockpiles is inefficiency. If possible, goblins and orcs will avoid walking on stockpiles, so whenever a goblin needs to get something out of a large stockpile, they have to spend some of their time walking around it. With a really big stockpile, this will take some time, and, worse, the ground around the stockpile will become more and more muddy. As the mud gets worse, the goblins end up taking longer and longer detours to get to things in the stockpile, increasing hauling time greatly. In the worst-case scenario of a single huge stockpile, there will also be a permanent traffic jam of goblins around it, especially at planting or harvesting time. Whenever two goblins have to move through the same square, they’re slowed down, so hauling times grow even more.

So having only a couple of huge stockpiles is an easy solution, it isn’t a particularly good one. Goblin Camp is a resource management game, and one key area of management is logistics. For greatest efficiency, you’ll want to have the raw material stockpile, the workshop and the finished product stockpile as close to one another as possible, to minimize time spent hauling things around. The stockpiles can’t be too big, either, so that the goblins can get to things in them easily.

Another consideration is items that are used, like food or drink; they need to be where the orcs and goblins that need them can get at them. This needs to be balanced with the other requirements, and the different production flows all need to fit into the same camp and be somewhat defensible, too.

When I lay out my camps, I usually end up with a grid pattern:

Very SimCity, don’t you think? In that particular example, the food stockpile is close to the totem pole and the fields, and the seed stockpile is right next to them. The blueleaf bolls go into a stockpile that’s right next to the weavers, and as bolls and cloth both go into crates, the finished product ends up in the same stockpile. The drinks stockpile is far from the river and close to my main gate, so the guards don’t have to go all the way down to the river to drink.

Here’s an extreme example of an economy in logistics:

I’ve outlined the farm plot in red so you can tell it apart from the filth around it. When I laid out the fields in this particular camp, there were a couple of squares of stone in the middle of them. I made those into one- or two-square stockpiles, made sacks for them and then designated them as seed stockpiles. Makes planting really quick!

As I said, that’s an extreme example, but on the whole I’d rather have a lot of small stockpiles than a few really big ones. They’re easier to keep track of, there are less inefficiencies and they’re even better for fire safety.

Whatever approach you take, managing your stockpiles is one of the key areas of the game. If your stockpiles are too big and the distances goblins have to haul things are too long, the entire camp will simply bog down. On the other hand, if your farm plots and stockpiles are well placed, even the most labor-intensive hauling jobs like planting and harvesting will be easy as your goblins just breeze in and out.

So think about your stockpiles!

Video tutorial!

Here’s a nifty video tutorial for Goblin Camp, by forum member DrFunkenstein!