Melendwyr Posted November 25, 2012 Share Posted November 25, 2012 In this thread I'd like to explore the proposed concept of Seasons and the implications for gameplay and design in Don't Starve.Year and Season LengthFirst, it's worth noting that putting in a full-length year of three hundred and sixty five days is probably not worth it. Even highly skilled players are unlikely to live long enough to see a year pass. Therefore, I would suggest that a 'year' be a much smaller cycle of days, with each season taking up about a fourth of this year. What if each season lasted fifteen days, and a year was sixty? (Or ten and forty, something like that.) A 'season' lasting seven days and a 'year' lasting 28 would be a nice reference to how this world is different from ours. Things would be speeded up from a week and month, respectively.Season Significance and ReproductionIn the real world, the seasons control or influence the lifecycles of many organisms. Many creatures breed and bear offspring only in certain seasons, or they DON'T do those things in particular seasons. The details depend heavily on the nature of the organism in question. My proposals:Beefalo should calve in spring, and the calves should take three seasons to grow to full size. (Once a year, one calf is produced.)Rabbits should have litters in spring and summer.Birds should replenish their numbers in summer.Berry bushes should fruit only in season (summer and fall?).Grass regrows, but it takes a season to do so - and doesn't regrow in winter.Tallbirds are... well, weird. They shouldn't produce eggs in winter. Other seasons? Perhaps.Outside of those seasons, the population should remain more-or-less constant. Mimicking a real ecosystem would be too complicated for this sort of game, of course, but it could be convincingly faked. So, there's a 'carrying capacity' for each type of creature, and once the population had risen to that value, no new creatures would be born. The generation of new creatures would depend on the existing population numbers, though, so sufficient overharvesting could lead to extinction. Some creatures would respawn very rapidly (especially rabbits) while beefalo would take a long, long time to replenish their numbers.TreesTrees currently grow very rapidly. This strikes me as unrealistic to the extreme, even a game that eschews 'realism' as much as DS. I would suggest the following changes:Trees keep the basic life cycle they have now, slowly growing from seedlinghood to maturity to death to regeneration. But the length of time they spend in each stage should be longer - a season, or maybe even a year. A season would be less real, but probably better for gameplay.Before turning into a young tree, a planted pinecone should be a mound of dirt or smudged location on the ground - essentially an extra growth stage. Regrowing trees should be a long-term endeavor, and harvesting wood would rapidly turn a forest into a wasteland of stumps if care is not taken.Trees in the mature stage should have a small chance of dropping a pinecone each day. These pinecones would persist, and slowly decay. Only a limited number can exist in any given area before they stop dropping, regardless of tree status. (See also my thread on torches for an explanation of why I think these drops are desirable.)Night LengthDue to axial tilt, in the Northern Hemisphere Summer has long periods of day with only a few hours of night and Winter long hours of night with a few hours of day. I would suggest that the dark/light cycle of DS change with the seasons. At present, the game world seems to be in a summer mode - long periods of daylight and a little dark. I would make this characteristic of summer only; spring and autumn would have roughly equal amounts of day and night, and winter nights would dominate.The implications for survival are, I think, obvious and profound. But interesting! (Losing is fun!)GardeningThis is a tricky issue. I would suggest first that gardening plots should not function in winter. Other seasons, sure. I would also propose that crops can currently be grown far too quickly with fertilization, but that it's too hard to grow a reasonable number of plants because of the expense of resources and space required.So: planted seeds go through a single 'growth stage' each day, and spend an initial day as mere planted seeds. During this initial stage they are vulnerable to being removed by birds unless the player stays nearby to chase them off (or possibly a scarecrow is built). Once they've sprouted, they can be hasted one stage per day by addition of fertilizer - no more. They would also be vulnerable to being eaten by rabbits or beefalo, who would find the plants attractive. Possibly a fence would be required.But I would also suggest that more than one plant be possible in a prepared area. Four, perhaps even nine. And when the crop is harvested, there should be a chance of a seed being produced as well - not every time, or there'd be no need to gather them, but often enough that replanting a collection of fields isn't an impossible burden. Just a soul-crushing one. :cD***Taken together, it should be difficult to maintain the local population of plants and animals, and relatively easy to decimate them by incautious use. Imagine the world turned into a barren wasteland, populated only by hordes of ravenous spiders! This could be the fate of Don't Starve if players don't balance the need for survival with the need to maintain the world.Thoughts, anyone? Feedback? Further suggestions would be appreciated. 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