Unearthed #6: Improved Gatherers & Trade Interface

Last time we spoke we let you know about some of the changes coming to Project Automata and we also mentioned how there was plenty more to come, and today we’re happy to unveil one of the recently updated and newly improved systems; The Gatherer.

Gatherers come in all shapes and sizes, from the Coal Mine to the Water Pump, and today we’re going to introduce you to our whole new concept for how they’re going to work. Project Automata is still in development and as such these designs and concepts may change. We’re happy with our new iteration of the Gatherer System, but based on your feedback adjustments and alterations may be made.

Introduction to Gatherers v2.0

In the new version of Project Automata, you no longer simply build just a Lumber Yard – or any other Gatherer – and walk away. Now you’ll place your Lumber Yard that will act as a ‘Hub’, and from that Hub you will then be able to add and manage ‘Harvesters’ that trail off, and do the gathering for you.

The term ‘Gatherer’ is now being used to describe any building that handle the collection of raw resources, such as the Lumber Yard or Water Pump. Each Gatherer now comes with a Hub, and Harvesters. The Hubs allows you to fully manage and control all of the Harvesters that are attached to it. Here are some of the key points;

  • Hubs now act as a single point of contact for all of your Harvesters of that resource in a local area.
  • Managing one Hub will now allow you to manage the equivalent of multiple former gatherers.
  • You can now add Harvesters to your Gatherers’ Hub, to improve the rate of production.
  • It allows players to manage their empire in a much more meaningful manner.
  • You can now set up Trade Routes directly from your Hubs to Towns or Factories, making trade a lot easier.
GathererHubandNodeExplaination

A single Lumber Yard Gatherer Hub, with two Harvesters attached.

This is quite an overhaul, and so to avoid any confusion we’re now going to go into more fine detail about what Hubs & Harvesters are. It’s also important to remember that this system will be fully explained during the game tutorial, as well as with in-game hints that will assist the player.

Introduction to the Gatherer Hub

The Gatherer Hub is the main building that controls all the gathering process for that particular resource. The Hub itself doesn’t gather resources, it merely processes them and then dispatches them to a location of your choosing. The Hub also acts as a ‘Command Center’ for all of the attached ‘Harvesters’, allowing you to upgrade your Lumber Yard production, as well as allowing you to add more Harvesters when you’re ready to do so.

Whenever you first build your Gatherer Hub, you’ll be given a free Harvester to use. You’ll still need to pay upkeep, but it is cheaper and more efficient to add more Harvesters than it is to keep building multiple Gatherer Hubs.

Here you can see the hubs as the big buildings, and the harvesters as the small ones.

Gatherer Hubs have a maximum radius in which they can place Harvesters, so while it is more efficient to add Harvesters to pre-existing buildings, you’ll eventually find yourself needing to build more Hubs elsewhere.

Introduction to the Gatherer’s Harvester

The Harvesters do the heavy lifting of your industrial empire, gathering and collecting all of the resources within their allocated space. These wonderful buildings work tirelessly to provide you with the resources you need to ensure your production lines never cease.

Adding more Harvesters to an existing Hub will allow you to increase production, and will also lead to you being able to upgrade the Hub sooner, giving you the capability to add more Harvesters, reducing the upkeep or improving the efficiency of existing Harvesters.

WaterPumpConcept

The Water Pump Gatherer, with Hub & Harvester

The New & Improved User Interface

Last week we spoke of how cluttered and complicated our old Trade User Interface was, and how it was undergoing a major overhaul. Well we’re pleased to showcase our current work on the system.

The biggest change we took to improving this system was to allow your Gatherer Hubs to act as a means of selling the raw resources that you were gaining from your Harvesters. This will allow you as a player to spend more time in the early part of the game selling raw resources directly to towns, improving relations with them and potentially even completing Contracts. This also allowed us to totally remove the Logistics Center, which has now been replaced by Trade Depots, but more on that another time.

But it wasn’t enough to just bake some of the Logistic Center features into Hubs & Trade Depots, we also wanted to improve the User Interface that players used to manage their empire, and so we went back to the drawing board with our User Interface Designer, and our current iteration looks something like this:

NewTradeUIConcept

A “Work in Progress” concept of the new Gatherer User Interface.

The new User Interface is still being worked on, but it is a lot simpler to use and is much more user-friendly, while also allowing you to see a whole lot more information than was previously available on the older versions of the User Interface. As you may have also noticed, this trade panel is open on a Factory. Not only are Hubs able to now sell your resources, your Factories now also come with the capability to sell their products directly to nearby towns!

Next time …

We still have so much to show you, and next time we’re going to be delving into yet another system we’ve improved and updated: Factories.

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