The Problem with Faction Camps and Companions

So, I’ve been trying the latest stable (G) lately and it feels like the development goal is to discourage the godly MC that does everything theirself, or at least make NPCs more competitive. Unfortunately, the greatest hindrance here is the interface and lack automation; it’s simply more trouble than it’s worth trying to gather a bunch of NPC and keep them alive.

I’ve tried to lay out my experience with this below, along with possible solutions. I’m sure they’re not unique, but hopefully someone will find the brainstorming useful!

  1. There are no search or filtering options for the faction camp board; scrolling through all the options to have your follower craft a recipe that might not even be there is very frustrating and it’s usually easier to just make it yourself.

  2. Accessing the faction camp menu is tedious, either requiring the notice board or going through the dialogue tree of a companion.

  3. Faction camp upgrades/crafting seem to have a low search range for ingredients and tools- at least, I was having to juggle piles of soil around my house before I managed to build my compacted earth expansion.

  4. It’s not entirely clear what a new expansion will let the player do, like the “cottage industry” and other fabrication workshop- what’s the functional difference? Is it recipes or something else? Without spending the time to fully build and stock one I don’t really know what I’m getting.

  5. There are multiple lines of dialogue to pass through if you want to have your companion read a book or chop some wood; if they get interrupted or fail the task it often doesn’t tell you why and you have to do it all over again. Directing more than a few companions to actually be ‘productive’ takes longer than doing it yourself. I usually end up getting annoyed and sending the companions on pointless missions just to get them out of the way.

Naturally I’ve also put some thought into possible improvments:

  1. Has some fairly obvious remediations: rework the camp interface to allow searching, ‘advanced’ seach features, favourites and bulk hide/show (I did notice there is a hide feature but it can only be used on one entry at a time). As a stretch goal it’d be nice to allow automatic crafting of missing ingredients but that seems a lot more ambitious…

  2. A hotkey for camp management.

  3. Expand the search radius, possibly something like X tiles plus any basecamp storage zones in the camp. Another possibility is having some kind of dynamic stockpile/job the player can “feed” with resources until they have enough for the full build.

  4. Aside from more detailed descriptions about how recipes are generated and what the upgrades do/contain I can’t think of anything that wouldn’t require a drastic overhaul…

  5. This is the big one. I think that rather than having to individually order each companion around it’d be a lot more streamlined to assign them tasks via roles and a specific interface: camp resource goals and jobs to maintain them. Say you want a bowyer- by default the role would have them read books, acquire tools and train proficiencies until they can perform any relevant tasks. If you set a global request to maintain X arrows, they’ll craft to maintain X arrows in your stockpile. Task priority is determined by the the order of their roles and the priority of the request.

Conceptually, it’s quite a flexible system. Rather than the player individually training, equipping or commanding new companions it’d all be handled by the roles they are assigned and their gear could be sourced via requests or ‘next best’ fallbacks. Without so much micromanagement it’d also be more feasible to have them puttering around the base performing these tasks instead of being abstracted away as they currently are, assuming performance can be maintained…

All that said, I realise this is probably quite a lot more complex to implement than it ‘sounds’ and may not align with current development goals. For better or worse it’d also reduce the personal investment in NPCs and make players more willing to risk/lose them.

  1. It’s a result of using the primiive ui_list for the UI. It would have to be replaced by whatever the more capable UIs use to be possible. However, a comparatively recent change (which may not be in the stable version) is to order a companion to craft items via the chat menus, either through the individual dialog tree or a group option. This is typically easier than using the faction camp, although it has drawbacks in the form of a standard 6 tile search radius for materials (as opposed to everything in the Storage zones), and the companion doesn’t disappear into the void to work on the task until completed, but rather remains an being susceptible to interruptions (such as darkness and sleep), so you have to resume the construction the next day.

  2. As far as I know everything in a Storage zone is considered, as opposed to direct actions which only has a 6 tile search radius. In addition, the reality bubble (60 tile radius around the PC) is a restriction, so something in a remote end of a Storage zone outside the bubble won’t be found.

  3. The current UI format doesn’t really allow for a long descriptive text. The main thing added is new recipes, though, although they’re now also available via the dialog companion crafting functionality, with the exception of a handful of companion only workshop recipes using a drop hammer (which is faster than the normal recipes).

  4. There’s a new (possibly not in G stable) functionality to order companions to read books in sequence (as opposed to just until the next level up), and this functionality is also available as a group chat order (so you can order several companions around in one order).

  5. Yes. Please rework the UI. I added the hide functionality, but I don’t know how to replace the ui_list with something that supports multiple selections.

  6. That sort of exists, as you can place orders via radio. I’ve never used it, though, so I don’t know how it works.

  7. See 3. above.

  8. It would be rather tricky to design and maintain the “role” templates, but you’re free to take a shot at it.

Note that is is a community project with no employed staff. Thus, what’s done is done because someone felt it was needed to be done, and the best way to make sure something gets done is to do it yourself. You can try to convince others that your suggestion is a good one, but that’s often not successful enough for others to put in the work to implement it.

Yea reality bubble is a huge limitation on faction camps, I guess until personal reality bubbles are allowed for select NPCs we are stuck with random limitations and glitches that only make sense if you know how the games internals work.

Yeah, I’m not entirely sure about the storage thing, it seemed kind of inconsistent- will have to check I didn’t fudge the zoning or get bubbled.

The radio orders technically allow this, the issue is more of unneccessary actions. Instead of directly accessing the camp menu you have to open the faction menu, tab to followers, select a follower and then ask them about the camp.

So far as I can tell there’s nothing to have companions read books in the stable version. I tried tutoring someone but it got interrupted and kind of… broke?

The idea of the default templates was that they’d work off skill/recipe/proficiency requirements and tool qualities rather than static values, hopefully not requiring manual updates. That said, idk how difficult it’d be to implement in the game engine.

And yeah, I don’t expect people to jump up and do this stuff just 'cuz it sounds neat. I think just discussing the problem and working out viable improvements is a good first step.

Discussion is good, and good suggestions are good as well. As long as you don’t have too high expectations I think this will be a good discussion.

You can definitely have companions read books in the stable version, as it’s been present since at least version F, and probably version E. If you don’t have access to the group Chat order, you’ll have to go about it the long way:

  • Chat to X
  • There is something I want you to do.
  • Ask about the current activity.
  • Order to read a book (which will last until interrupted or one level has been gained, while the new order has them read until interrupted, continuing after gaining a level and switch to other books carried when done with a previous one, although I haven’t made use of it with more than one book at a time).
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