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  3. Settlement Survival Devlog #1 - Happiness and Health Mechanism Overhaul

Settlement Survival Devlog #1 - Happiness and Health Mechanism Overhaul

It has been a long time since we last time reported our developing ideas to those players who would care about what we are doing. So, in the following passage I will list out the adjustment plan and direction about the happiness and health mechanism and output buffs of resource points.
From the earliest stage of designing Settlement Survival, the happiness and health mechanism has always been one of our challenges.

Our earliest happiness and health mechanism was similar to "Banished", which is just one of the key factors for us to pay attention to and measure whether the citizens are well cared for, and population pressure --- our subsequently added mechanism will also be greatly affected by these two values. With the enrichment of our item types and production and processing, as well as the increase in the upper limit of the population that can be supported in the game, the original mechanism of happiness and health can no longer meet our needs.

Currently, the main issue of the happiness/health mechanism is its continuously deducting/recovering mechanism, which means that the citizens during the normal game process would never stop increase/decrease their status until the players find a way to supplement those gap causing deduction by producing and consuming all kinds of items.

Through the discussion about the game design and players' complaints, we confirmed that there are some fatal issues caused by this mechanism:

  1. Players can never know what causes the happiness/health drain/increase since all of the citizens would be influenced by the same factor. So they don't know in what way they can increase the happiness and health.
  2. The recovery mechanism would be triggered when citizens are in low happiness/heath, leading them stay in an unstable status (happiness and health keep decreasing). And once some important consumables are running out, the happiness and health values will greatly change.
  3. In order to deal with extreme cases, under the design of the deduction-recovery mechanism, we designed an additional set of mechanisms to enforce non-deduction through buildings, resulting in two completely different logics running in one module (deduction-recovery, mandatory non-deduction), which is not conducive to players' understanding.
  4. There is a single recovery path. For example, happiness is overly dependent on alcohol. Once the lack of alcohol causes some citizens to start murdering, at the same time, the murdered family members will reduce happiness, thus forming a vicious circle that was called Gotham Town by players.

For these problems, we have made some modifications. For example, the food diversity mechanism has been replaced by food grading, and adding a variety of choices such as soaps, drinks, and consumables, and transforming the decline in health caused by work into sprains, fractures, and so on.

However, these are essentially patch-type modifications, which can only alleviate the problems caused by the mechanism under limited premise, and can never provide players with a satisfactory experience. After a long discussion, we decided to completely redo the happiness/health mechanism.
  1. Overhaul Direction:
  2. Players can clearly see the composition of health and happiness after overhaul.
  3. Avoid significant happiness/health fluctuations in the game.
  4. Make sure that things like food, equipment, buildings, character status, etc. follow the same rules for happiness and health.
  5. Improve the diversity of paths to happiness and health, and reduce the proportion of the impact of a single path.
  • First of all, in order to be able to clearly see the composition of health/happiness, we made a block-wise processing of happiness/health, from a previous value that was continuously changing to a relatively fixed value in multiple blocks. At the same time, we also adjusted the display details of happiness/health. It is divided into two parts, one is the average happiness/health of all the citizens in the town displayed in the top bar, and the other is individual happiness/health showed in the citizen interface. We wanted it to be as intuitive and easy to understand as possible, and hopefully we have.

    Brand New Happiness/Heath Statistics Interface
  • We designed the block-wise processing roughly through buildings, tools, character status, daily consumables and hidden approaches. For example, there is a block designed for health - buildings, which contains housing, medical care, bathhouses and public toilets. When the dwelling is occupied, dry feces of unknown origin may appear in the nearby area, which can be a major health threat. When there was a public toilet nearby, health improved significantly.

    Medieval public toilet
  • The second is to avoid obvious fluctuations in the game. Under the premise of block-wise design, citizens will satisfy their own happiness/health from all aspects. When there is a relatively large gap in a certain aspect, there will be no continuous happiness/health decrease. Instead, it continues to move lower until there are gaps in all aspects, leading to the empty happiness/health.
  • In addition, in order to ensure that food, equipment, buildings, character status and other content follow the same rules to affect happiness/health, we removed the deduction-recovery mechanism and changed it to a satisfaction mechanism, which completely avoided the deduction of happiness/health in game. If all citizens meet the needs of the corresponding module, they will get the happiness/health value corresponding to the module. If they don't meet the needs, then they will not get it.
  • Finally, it is about the multi-dimensional adjustment of happiness/health. When players want to improve happiness/health, it is no longer through the way of expanding the consumables industry chain, but more choices. For example, when you want to increase the happiness, you can provide better food, clothes, shoes, etc. for the citizens, or even increase the happiness in the designated buildings by consuming different items.
Lots of Consumables Production Buildings
The above are the key adjustment points of the happiness/health overhaul plan. Of course, we have more adjustments for the original content, such as: positioning of consumables, technology adjustment, industry chain optimization, building function adjustment and new buildings.

Apart from the overhaul of happiness/health mechanism, we also made some optimization and addition for the content of map resource points.
    They are:
  1. Added respawning and disappearing mechanism of Fertile Soil and Farmland.
  2. Added building buff on plants, animals in the range.
  3. Added resource point for producing Gold and Jade.
  4. Respawning of Hunting Point and Seeds Point.
  5. The recovery of Fishing Point.

  • The first is the visual display optimization of fertile soil points and grassland points. At present, these two resource points in the game have no special visual display. The range of resource point will be highlighted only when the player selects a building with a corresponding bonus, which also makes it difficult for player to notice. Therefore, we will strengthen the visual display effect for these two types of resource points to distinguish them from normal ground, so that players can more easily perceive them when observing the map.
  • At the same time, in order to be more in line with the loss of fertile soil and grassland in reality, we also added the disappearance mechanism of fertile soil and grassland points. There two resources points will gradually decrease with the increase of in-game time until they completely disappear.
  • We've added new effects to the Compost Plant, Mill, and Water Mill for the disappearance mechanism of the two resource points above. When the Compost Plant is on, the surrounding land will have the same effect as the fertile soil point, while the Mill and the Water Mill will make the surrounding land have the same effect as the Grassland point. This is not only a supplementary mechanism for fertile soil points and grass points, but also helps players to better plan their construction, without having to worry about scattered resource points.
    Fertie Soil Fertie Grassand
  • On the basis of the original resource points, we will also add two new resource points, gold ore points and jade points. Players can build corresponding buildings on resource points for production, so as to obtain additional output. In addition to enriching the content of the game, it also increases the way for players to obtain advanced materials in the early stage.
  • It is also worth noting that when the earthquake disaster occurs, these two resource points will disappear permanently.
    New resource points
  • For the remaining three resource points, we have also made some corresponding adjustments. Refreshment mechanism has been added for hunting points and seeds points. Under the condition that the upper limit of the number of these two resource points is not exceeded, new points will be refreshed every once in a while, which will help players to obtain new animal cubs and seeds faster and more. Fishing points will disappear after drought, and now they have a certain chance to recover after rainstorm and flood.

The above are all adjustments related to optimization. We will complete the adjustment as soon as possible, and will also actively collect suggestions and feedback from various channels to actively improve the problems in the game.

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