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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsCastle Steward: Castle Construction & Management (Kickstarter)
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SKGoldsmith
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« on: March 17, 2015, 06:48:04 PM »


Castle Steward is a game devoted to allowing you to fulfill all those dreams we nourished as children wanting to construct our own castles. So sit back in the comfort of your home as you design the perfect castle. Your peasants will toil in your fields and haul stones to construct your defenses. Righteous knights will arrive and pledge you their swords as your renown grows. Raise the prestige of your royal household by fending off sieges by rival Kings and holding feasts for honorable lords and ladies.


Castle Steward is a castle management/RTS hybrid in the spirit of Prison Architect, Rimworld, and Stronghold series. Can you build and manage a thriving castle and the village that surrounds it?


  • Day/Night and seasonal cycles. Be sure to plant your crops before winter arrives or your peasantry will be without food.
    Everyone from your lowliest peasant to your king and queen have needs. It's your job to supply them with beds, food, and warmth.
  • Create a thriving industry. Surround your castle with a bustling village of peasant hovels, taverns, chapels, farms, and blacksmiths.
  • Defend your King and Queen! Rival kingdoms will not only trade with you but will sometimes attack in a quest to expand their own domain. Repel the invaders from your walls with your retinue of knights, archers, and armed levies.


I've been working on the game for awhile now in my spare-time and felt it was appropriate to begin getting feedback from the community. I still have a laundry list of features to implement and some of the artwork is still placeholder. Basic combat has been implemented and the beginning parts of sieges are fully underway. Suffice to say Battering Rams are a little overpowered at the moment.  Evil
*More screenshots to come this Saturday for Screenshot Saturday.

I've also been trying to do a fair bit of reading to make some historically accurate castles and siege tactics.

Thought a chart showing current features would be helpful.

*Green=Completed
**Yellow=Currently working on
***White = Future feature
« Last Edit: May 17, 2015, 01:13:07 PM by SKGoldsmith » Logged

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SKGoldsmith
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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2015, 11:12:07 AM »

Small update today as I've been recovering from food poisoning over the week and knocking out a game that I have a deadline on.

The below image shows the construction AI previously (top) and new and improved (below the red line).


Before this most recent AI upgrade some peasants would wander and be unaware that something needed to be built. My latest fix puts the peasants to work quite quickly and efficiently. My next goal is to perfect units walking on the battlements. Walls are used to block movement in the game but can also be used to garrison troops on top so you can repel invaders. Figuring out how to allow both simultaneous as been daunting.
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Chris Koźmik
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« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2015, 12:43:16 AM »

Heh, reading the title I thought it would be a game where you are dealing with feeding people (Steward) that live in a castle Smiley Maybe rename it to something like "Castle Architect", "Castle Chancellor", "Royal Architect", etc?

Something is very wrong with the graphics (but I can't explain what). I like the gfx of people.

Peasants should not build stuff, they should just tend to the fields. Make a dedicated class of labourers/builders. Overall, comparing DF/Gnomoria with Prison Architect the clearly defined classes (warrior, builder, servant) system is much better for gameplay & fun.
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SKGoldsmith
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« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2015, 11:11:27 AM »

I like your suggestion to have one specific builder class. I'll have to dream something up for that. The walls are a little off at the moment, I think what's throwing you off is that it's one uniform wall sprite throughout. Hoping to post an update later today or tomorrow. Lots of little changes that don't look like much visually but add gameplay mechanics.
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Chris Koźmik
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« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2015, 12:30:30 PM »

Classes suggestions:
* Builder/Labourer - construct stuff
* Peasant - gathers stuff (stone, wood, food)
* Craftsman - sits in workshop anbd make stuff (blacksmith and the like)
* Maid - delives food to other units and cleans their rooms/beds (bonus to efficiency for that unit), does not service peasants
* Guard (warrior class) - can fight, patrol, escort, etc
* Knight (warrior class) - stronger than Guard but can only fight (no patrol and other mundane tasks), when not fighting sitting in the hall and eat and party
* Bard - bonus to nearby units (tend te reside in the hall and play for the knights)
* Monk/Priest - similar to bard but services the whole population
* Jester - similar to bard but follows the king all the time
* Noble - does nothing, just wanders around, but nearby people get +25% to efficiency; a special case of a noble is the King which wanders only inside throne room and losing this unit means game over.
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« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2015, 03:18:13 PM »

I think you should worry about the art a little later on.  I love the concept of this and I'm looking forward to seeing how it develops!
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SKGoldsmith
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« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2015, 07:57:56 PM »

The past few days have seen additional bug squashing. I've also added trees. They're randomly generated at the start of the game and eventually you'll need to cut them down for lumber. I've also been working on perfecting combat (knights, spearmen, and archers all function as RTS units unless one of their "needs" aren't met (sleep, hunger) in which case they'll leave their post to fulfill that need). I also have the King only moving about a certain distance from his throne. I plan on having him spend a good portion of each day holding court and only venturing from his throne if he's escorted by knights.

I'm hoping to display more videos in the coming months. In the meantime, here's a quick one of planting some wheat and the peasants going to plant it. There will be a few different types of crop, wheat for making bread, hops for beer, corn to feed cattle and horses.

https://d1wst0behutosd.cloudfront.net/videos/1542940.mp4?Expires=1428382040&Signature=C0oLF~AoJM9wDECsq~mleyneBGEtuz~MhWHYQfVUfYOT1vp1PgrSb7CHE2S1w9ubZaAeRtD9WAY6gwc0WoWGjwvXZhUmrWWJilRmhdhg-hU8Y5wdh~Fj-Uj8Dm85fU1IV8O1Ew4JxcYImQlOSw84SJRZU643N3SKc2rj5jDJ3yGGc1EZLDLDxIV8-Wh3h4gCXdt3v3h0UeVpvxeWpq560TFR~yGnIUJRvzN5egM9KlRt30wMhON2DsDm2SXC-giL8GGfbxar6Ys3u2wtgfA1DvjrDzP5ud0-Wzs75HKQ~iksKUsdhmK2RyxU6BQaxk7ahoiNqphOX1iKmUPBnvgvHg__&Key-Pair-Id=APKAJJ6WELAPEP47UKWQ

I also have an image of my newly created "noble" class. They're just as demanding in terms of "upkeep" as your King but less useful. It's a real sign of prestige if you can keep several nobles in your castle's Court as they're not easy to please and will leave at the first sign of trouble or poverty.



Here's the progression of the Peasant over the last few months as well.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2015, 08:04:01 PM by SKGoldsmith » Logged

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SKGoldsmith
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« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2015, 07:48:11 PM »

A few quick updates again. I've managed to get a basic framework in place to assign one knight to guard the King. I've included a video at the link below. The King is in the bottom right hand corner and a knight comes to escort him from the left side of the screen.

This escort system is still far from perfect but I'm happy with it for now. In the future I'd like to allow you to assign 0-4 knights to escort any noble. Currently it just picks from a random knight and assigns them to the king. However, I'd like to assign a "King's Guard" of exclusive knights that are of a superior cloth that guard the king.

http://scottgoldsmithdev.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Escort-the-King.gif

I've also included a tax system which is currently the only way to make money in the game. This is a slider that allows you to set the tax rate at 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%. Every three(3) minutes this percentage is multiplied against a set value(still playing with that number) and multiplied by the total number of peasants. Eventually I'll include a "quality of life" indicator. You'll have to provide peasants with certain standards to be able to tax them or face their revolution as they attack you and try to overthrow you for a rival noble.



You'll also notice a timer on the far right hand side. This counts down and resets every six(6) minutes. Every time this counter strikes 0 it'll bring in a random number of peasants or take away a random number of peasants depending on their Quality of Life (peasants are either attracted to your Kingdom or attempt to flee it).
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SKGoldsmith
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« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2015, 10:20:14 AM »

I tried to get some things done this week. I'm standing up in a very good friend's wedding so there won't be any screenshots for Screenshot Saturday (something I always try to do). However, I was very happy to be able to get in a name generator (first and last names are separately assigned) and "dossier" for each character. It was actually much more involved than I thought it would be. Now whenever you click on any in-game character a panel pops up on screen. It currently only displays a handful of things but I plan on using it to show what job each character is currently doing and to use this panel to assign knights to escort duty etc. Maybe I'll move the tax counter to the King's dossier as well.


The feature that I'm most proud of with the dossier is that you can move it around on the screen. It'll pop-up in the center but then you can slide it off to the side or top and always have a dossier up. I'd like to also add a "next" feature, so you can rotate through each character without having to click on them. Heavily inspired by this system in Startopia (now I'm really showing my age). Needless to say it's far from finished but I'm happy to have each character's info displaying here and random names assigned each game without duplicates.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2015, 09:47:36 PM by SKGoldsmith » Logged

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SKGoldsmith
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« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2015, 08:23:05 PM »

Despite my frantic weekend I was able to improve a few things. I have some moderately better looking grass, although it's still far from done. I've also implemented an auto-tile wall feature. Now I just need to adjust my sprites to get it to work for all wall types.

I've also implemented a "grave marker" system. Whenever someone dies a cross is left behind where they die and their name is displayed. Eventually I hope this to expand to include how they died. I imagine long games having little stories of how peasant uprisings failed by the markers of these graves.

I've also implemented a new feature. You can now assign as many knights/guards as you'd like to escort your king or minor nobles. Simply click on your king and hit the + sign. Each time you click + a new guard is assigned to follow your king. Hitting - removes a guard from escort duty. Now I just need to make a tick-box for the guards so you can assign who is eligible to be an escort.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2015, 09:47:56 PM by SKGoldsmith » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2015, 10:15:52 AM »

Another crazy week for me but I didn't let it go by without contributing something to the game. I'm hoping to have at least one other feature not mentioned here that I can show for Screenshot Saturday. Below is my latest progress. It took me awhile to have units easily transition from walking on the ground to walking on the battlements. Once that was sorted it I had to find a way for archers to shoot with walls hindering them but not the very walls they stood on. I think I found a decent solution and the archers are "smart" enough to know which enemy is close enough to hit but not blocked from view.

(Please pardon the lack of knight heads at the moment. I was too pre-occupied with getting the systems to work that I had completely forgotten to set code to spawn those into the game.)



I've also added a feature that allows the user to cycle through all of the characters in the game. When this happens the screen will move to wherever the newly selected character is. Clicking on a knight now also shows "Sir" before their name in the character log pop-up.

I also have a new "builder class" the masons. They do all of the physical construction of things while the peasants plant crops, cook, clean, and gather things from one place to another. The sprite is based off the peasant but literally has his sleeves "rolled-up".
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« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2015, 05:38:46 PM »

A couple further updates this weekend. I've finally implemented the Jester into the game. He makes peasants and nobles more happy (necessary to ensure peasants don't rebel).


I've also implemented a new promotions system. I've been very conflicted since the beginning as to how new units will come into the game. Peasants are by far the "lowest" of all the units in the game. However, just like in feudal times, they're absolutely essential to getting things done. I've decided that peasants will randomly "arrive" at your kingdom over time. Peasants can then be promoted to various positions.

Promotions occur in the following order:
1. Peasant
2. Mason
3. Spearman or Blacksmith
4. Archer
5. Knight

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« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2015, 06:37:16 PM »

I've decided to do something a little different. I've finally got the build of the game to the point where you can play it for awhile without it crashing and most components are playable. So below is my first TRUE play-through of the game. The question is, how long can I go before game over? I've set up a separate screen, so I'll be writing the below as I play.

Start

The level starts with 3 peasants and 1 mason. I've been play-testing with about 25,000 Gold starting which allows me to build most things. For this play-through I've only given myself 5,000 gold.

I only have five minutes until my king arrives. He requires a throne room and a bed. Not to mention peasants will starve in about 5 minutes unless you start a wheat production going. So first things first I purchased a few wheat fields, an oven, and a table (which is where the food get sent to once it's cooked so it can be consumed).

Once these things were set up I had to quickly make some beds (peasants get upset without a place to sleep). So I had to purchase a few of those, this left me with very little to put down a solid foundation for a throne room for the king. I quickly promoted one of my three peasants to a mason so I could finish production of a basic structure for the throne room. I also built it with the cheapest material (wood instead of stone).

My king didn't have long to rule his kingdom. With my lack of funds I was scrambling to hire an archer (250 gold). However, my wheat farms had already run out and needed to be re-planted. I was in a dilemma. Hire an archer to defend me from an attack I knew must be coming in the next few minutes (I have enemy spawning set to a random 5 minute ranged interval after your king arrives) or replant. Without replanting my wheat fields my peasants might begin to go hungry and revolt. So in either light I faced armed enemies. I opted to re-plant the wheat and hope my peasants would prove a sufficient force to hold back any attack.

Sadly, my peasants proved too little against the three knights which showed up to wipe out my tiny kingdom. Running through a play-through like this really shed light on my development goals. It's one thing to add and tweak individual features, but really trying to play through as a complete game makes it so much more clear what needs to be worked on.

Suffice to say the 5,000 gold really made me cut it close on producing everything at the beginning. So at least it seems my initial monetary limits are decent. I still need to make some requirements (you shouldn't be able to place beds outdoors for example).

Enemies appeared way too soon given the lack of funds. I was able to get the basic built, just barely. However, definitely not enough money left over to defend the kingdom from attack. There are also so issues I need to iron out with how feeding the peasants is handled, so I'll have to re-visit that old coding.


[/center]

As you can see in the above photo one of my peasants also died, trapped between the walls of the keep where he starved to death. Here's to you, Keith Sterling. Beer!
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« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2015, 04:25:05 PM »

Lots of optimizing code and addressing gameplay issues this week. However, I finally switched out the old wood tile(singular) for a 47 set of auto-tiling. Now the stone walls and wooden walls are similar and auto-tile correctly (a feat I greatly under appreciated in so many games now). You can see the results of the auto-tiling below. Somehow my peasants continue to occasionally die building (they get trapped in the walls). I'll have to address that issue next, as it's probably the single largest AI issue remaining. I also reworked a lot of the bread/food system as something's just "off" about that when it comes to gameplay.
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SKGoldsmith
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« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2015, 05:25:03 PM »

I made a short promo video so everyone can see some gameplay.





Also created a Steam Greenlight page to get some feedback.

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=434023890
« Last Edit: May 08, 2015, 05:36:52 PM by SKGoldsmith » Logged

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Chris Koźmik
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« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2015, 05:02:49 AM »

Also created a Steam Greenlight page to get some feedback.

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=434023890
You realize you have only 30 days? After that the game is removed from the "show greenlight games queue" and it might be very hard to get greenlit.
I would advise to drop everything and try to market your game within that frame so it passes... Unless you don't care on being on Steam.

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« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2015, 01:29:03 PM »

My newest update includes siege engines that terrorize your castle. They're much harder than enemy troubles to deter, however they can't kill your troops either. I'm hoping to add the ability to use flaming arrows to make it easier to take them down.



I've also decided to launch a Kickstarter with the hopes of getting some funds to allow me to work on this project full-time as well as add some much needed music and additional graphics.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1543869596/castle-steward
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