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Village specialization (gameplay)

This topic was a bit talked about in several other topics (Bronze Age Expansion or

However the purpose of this topic is to gather the different ideas at the same place and talk about gameplay mechanics and possible implementation as historical realism has already been address in other topics.

So my point of view:
Village specialization is something that can really add flavor and replay ability to the game.
The idea is simple: each field (farming, hunting, fishing, livestock, metal working, pottery, weaving, building, etc…) have levels (hidden) and the more your tribe practice a field the better they become in that field. Each level can either unlock a new building, increase yield or trade value.
Example livestock: level 1 small herd, level 2 selective breeding (more meat), level 3 cheese (new building), level 4 less aggressive herd (medium herd size), level 5 selective breeding (trade value of living livestock increased), etc…
The effect of a level can also be chosen randomly among several options.

That way the player can take advantage of the environment: flood plain near river => farming specialization, clay area => pottery, sea or large water body => fishing and boat building, etc…

As the surrounding villages also specialized it can be interesting to trade with them (or loot/conquer) because even if you have the same goods, the quality is different. You can have basic farming and livestock but high level pottery or metal that you trade for food.

That way, with each play-through you can choose a different specialization and increase the lifespan of the game.

A bonus: migrants could randomly arrived and improve a specific field by several levels (ex: skilled potters)

I also think it should apply to construction as well. It would be weird to be able to erect a huge menhir if you never done it before (start small).

As time pass the level of all fields could slowly increase.


The idea of levels to allow specializations depending on where your people live is very interesting. However, I have a feeling that would need to be something that’s added by modders or as part(if not it’s own) dlc.

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I really like this idea of involving actual usage with tech progression. In a system like this, it would need to tie into tech progression, so having industries unlock “Theories” associated with their hidden levels which could then be researched by either a “researcher” or someone who is experienced in the field that can have an “implementation” meter where they keep trying to utilize the improvement. How successful they are can then depend on their “intelligence” stat along with the associated field stat.

However I disagree with limiting a village to a specific specialization, I would go about implementing “districts” which can specialize and add performance bonuses for “unity” in the district. i.e Having a majority of building tie into a specific production flow or industry type.

This would then afford the opportunity to dynamically decal districts based on their specialization. (As was seen in Sim Citiy: Societies)


My initial thought was not to limit the number of specialization but to boost or slow down the progress of each specialization depending on the land around the village. You still can develop agriculture in the montain or metal working in an area without metal but it will be harder.

Your idea of district is good as it can allow easier monitoring of each specialization and is historical (like tanner district for exemple)

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The challenge would be to not have the user designate the districts, but rather have them develop organically based on concentration of industry predominance. But I agree with your premise that terrain should impact performance, but I would limit those to raw resource generation, as secondary or tertiary production is usually based on raw resource availability rather than terrain. But can imagine for things that utilize specific terrain features (watermill powered) that it would still have an impact.


To help this it could be a good idea to implement an adjacency bonus or any other benefit between building of the same specialization. Hence the player will naturally form districts


Levels seems a bit gamey. Real life doesn’t have levels, and I never really thought of Ancient Cities having them either.

And I thought skills in the game are meant to be tied to people, not settlements. That way, your villagers matter, and it really affects you if your best (or only) potter or crafter dies before they’ve been able to train a replacement.


Indeed, that why I specify hidden levels. I try to find gameplay mechanics to represent specialization without been too gamey.

It is that the devs said but could be good to talk about others element. Some progress are not link to people : for example better animals breed or new crops could be link to some think else because they do not disappear if the farmer die.

The idea is to give a framework and probabilities for your village in order to determine how likely someone is to specialize in a field. Which game mechanics (hidden or not) could be use to represent this is the purpose of this topic so I apologize in advance it could be a bit gamey :sweat_smile:.

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It could work. Rimworld does this pretty well by using the level to determine a chance of different qualities of items being produced. That way it’s not like your character suddenly levels up and produces awesome items nonstop. Instead, if the levels are small enough, over time the person would, on average, produce better items or work more efficiently, which does mimic real life. I too would prefer the levels to be hidden, or, if not, at least be named and not numbered. ("Proficient worker sounds better than “Crafter level 3”).

I didn’t mean all progress should be tied to villagers, just that they should be tied to something physical, not an abstract idea of the community. So villagers, animals, farmland, could all have their own unique characteristics. It’s not that specialization shouldn’t exist, just that it should come through having better land or more skilled villagers than other settlements, not just clicking a button to make your settlement focus on agriculture and suddenly get bonuses to getting better at farming. (I’m not implying that’s what you thought, by the way). It’s just, I think the devs have already figured this part out based on what I’ve seen of their posts over time, and I think we’ll be happy with the results.