I've been toying with the idea for a long time - since I heard that villages were coming out - of being able to gear, organize and generally support an NPC population. Whether Mojang or an aspiring modder gets to this first, I don't mind; if any of you are willing to take the challenge of constructing content on this scale, you're welcome to it. I would love nothing more than for the game to have a mode where survival isn't just fighting off monsters and terrorist greenies in order to build and mine. Vanilla Minecraft is awesome. But a system like this would make it incredible.
All future edits to the original post will be placed in the bottom of the post under the 'edit' section there.
Edit: Please bear with the massive, unwieldy wall of text. There's a lot of small details mixed in with the general idea; the main points for each part are in the first paragraph under the bolded title in each paragraph.
The first thing you may think of when reading this is Millenaire - this has some aspects of what I'm getting to, but not all.
The concept of the mod I have in mind is this: Villagers do stuff on their own, organize their towns, etc, etc. Players can hire villagers for tasks, have them build for them, live in constructs they've made, so on so forth. Combat would be the main focus of the mod, however; imagine a Minecraft-style Age of Empires game, where you have several game days to organize an effective gathering, crafting, building and fighting society before hostile NPCs begin invading your land.
The hostile NPCs come in small groups to begin with, with poor gear (wood/stone swords, little or no armour) and poor coordination. They are easily defeated, even without villager assistance, for the first couple of waves. However, as successive waves occur (randomly interspersed over a period of days, after which the player gets a small reprieve to recover), the hostile tribes gradually become stronger, smarter and more aggressive in their methods. When a computer clan reaches the peak of its technological and military advancement, you can expect large armies of troops coming into your land packing diamond gear and bows, sapping your walls, digging in through your floors and even building and using TNT cannons to bring your clan down. Your eventual goal is to wipe out all opposing villages and take over your local area, making your town into an impregnable fortress to fend off your attackers, human and otherwise, while still maintaining the basic systems that society relies on to survive.
NPCs have hunger bars, just like you. It goes up and down the same ways, and if a villager is deprived of food, they will die. They are just as weak to monster and weapon damage as you are. Essentially, the only difference between you and them is that you, the player, have free will - you decide what they do, what they wear, whether they live or die. Their lives are in your hands, and it is up to you to make the best you possibly can of those in your care.
The NPCs on the player's side can be organized into four groups: gatherers, crafters, builders and soldiers. To determine the category a NPC belongs to, the player must right click them with a block, which disappears on use. This can only occur, however, once you have either ingratiated yourself with an existing village somewhere on the map (the easier option), or actually gone and built housing for them yourself, which you would then lead them to for occupation.
The system would work as follows:
Survive and thrive. Your village will work for you and help you, but you must, in return, help and guide them. Do well by them, help them to survive the assaults by their neighbours and eventually subdue them, and together you will rise to dominate the land on which you find yourself.
- Village chunks for a large area around the player would remain active at any given time; the player's village would remain active for so long as the player is within 1,000 blocks of it, and any nearby villages would remain active as long as at least one of their buildings is within 750 blocks of the player. Any villages beyond that area that the player has discovered in their travels will not be active, but will still send troops of their level to assault the player's village or location from time to time.
- Villages would spawn within 250-500 blocks of each other in small clusters. All progress simultaneously and fight for dominance of their local area and, if left alone, will gradually advance. If a single faction takes over an area, they will turn on the player with whatever technological advantages they have gained over the course of their contest. If you set up shop near a village cluster with no intention of joining or creating a village, you'd better be pretty well prepared for what's coming.
There would possibly be a memory issue here; I'm aware of that. However, for the system to be workable, there would have to be at least one hostile village loaded at any given time.
- All villagers spawn with slightly less health than the player and deal just as much damage with hands and any given weapon.
- Villages can and will build Nether portals to continue their progression. Villages that have portals will gain a steady revenue of Nether materials whether the player is in the Nether or not; if the player is in the Nether and another village in their near vicinity has a Nether portal, the nearest fortress to the portal will be guarded by NPCs belonging to that faction, and likely have an outpost with several guards on each blaze spawner and nether wart plantation.
- Villages beyond yours will progress without your assistance; however, for your villagers to progress, you must take an active role in purchasing upgrades and bringing order to their efforts to find the materials they need to reach their maximum potential.
- Villages seeking to eradicate you will do whatever is necessary to find your buildings and destroy them. If need be, they can and will dig through obsidian and other such blocks with their bare hands to get to you; they will build stairs to sky bases to reach you, and break open walls if no connected path reaches your location inside your base. TNT cannons and tamed creepers will be utilized by advanced towns for this purpose.
- The ultimate goal of a hostile village is to destroy every building you own, and to steal your materials. They will raid you, attack your villagers and buildings, and retreat if they are losing to lick their wounds - basically, behaving exactly as a rival tribe would in their efforts to get the advantage over you, or yours. While other villages may fight amongst themselves, they will never forget you; your village will be their primary focus, so you must be diligent in organizing its growth and security.
- Hostile villages will be slightly slower to upgrade and develop than yours, in order to compensate for the stupidly accurate micromanaging AI are capable of.
- Trading and alliances could be made possible, but difficult to organize; the time it takes to raise the resources required to forge a solid alliance would provide the limiting factor for alliances, allowing only for one or two alliances maximum.
- Command system for soldiers would require some kind of interface. Players would manually group soldiers together into small units, then command them via button commands for basic commands; more advanced commands could be added if they're codeable.
- This game system could be added as a seperate game mode (conquest), or laid over survival.
Same kind of concept for becoming part of a village in Millenaire for simply joining one. You have little control over how the town reacts to assaults, but can gradually work your way up the rank ladder to become the leader of a village, expanding it and advancing it as you go. Training of specific groups, once the player reaches the appropriate level, would still require the aforementioned items, and these items will be consumed from the town stores to create specialized civilians.
Recruiting villagers for your own village simply requires that you take a block of dirt and right-click them with it. They will then follow you for a small period of time - this is the first half of the process. Lead them to a structure you've built (it can be dirt, wood, stone, whatever - but must be at least 5x5x2 inside), then right-click them with a piece of sand. The villager will then occupy that house or room. All villagers, once recruited, start out as gatherers. If male and female villagers share housing, they will breed over time, though the children will take time and resources to grow up. To limit breeding, female villagers and children will be somewhat rare in the early stages of a game.
Tools and armour equipped by villagers never lose durability, but are consumed when they die to prevent abuse.
Gatherers are created by giving a villager a single wood plank.
- The most basic NPC role, they gather whatever block you place in the centre of their house. The limiter on this is that if the block they've been told to gather isn't something within easy reach, they will actually have to search it out - they won't stray beyond the loaded range of your village, and this can take some time, especially with items such as diamonds, which require a fair bit of time to find.
- Items gathered by your villagers will be stored in whatever chests they have in their housing until you construct a storage room, or vault. Villagers will only gather for so long as there is space in the vault, their home chests, or their inventories. Once these are full, all gatherer units will stand outside their doors until the respective chests are emptied so they can continue work.
- Gatherers can equip leather armour and stone swords, and any tool up to diamond. They can also equip unenchanted bows and arrows for hunting purposes, which they will use in place of their swords once they recieve them. Villagers, however, cannot fully draw bows, and can only bring to bear roughly half the damage a fully drawn bow shot would do. This renders them somewhat useless as archers in combat.
- Gatherers attached to a military unit carry additional food, armour and potions for the soldiers, hanging around the rear of the group to avoid combat. Well-coordinated enemy units will target gatherers if they can reach them before engaging.
Crafters are created by giving a villager a crafting table.
- Crafters will smelt and craft if the appropriate devices are placed in their workshop, and the appropriate materials can be found in the vault. To designate a certain item to be mass-produced, you need simply give the crafter the block you wish them to make and have a block in a vault chest with the same block inside. If given iron ore, a crafter will make ingots; give them ingots, they'll go and turn all your iron, gold or diamond into blocks. Blocks given to a crafter in this manner do not disappear as other blocks do. If you wish a crafter to make a complex device in large quantities, right-click them and place the item in its appropriate crafting pattern in the slots provided (crafting table interface). For brewing, you would simply need to place the appropriate stage potion and the requisite item for brewing the potion you wish them to make, and they will craft the potion as soon as it is made by another crafter, or if those items are present in your vault or brewery.
- Crafters can be given the same gear as gatherers, minus bows.
- Crafters, when fully upgraded and attached to a military unit, will gather the appropriate materials, if present in the vault, for TNT cannons or just general TNT use against enemy structures or large groups of enemy soldiers.
- If assigned to a military unit including tamed creepers, the creepers will gain the electrified effect. The effect remains for a period of five minutes after a crafter is removed from the unit, and is permanent while the crafter remains in the unit.
- Crafters can also be stationed by minor redstone contraptions such as door buttons or plates to operate them.
Builders are created by giving a villager a cobblestone block.
- Builders, obviously, build template buildings for the player. To give a builder a task, have them follow you, then place a sign with the appropriate building name in the middle of the area you want it built, along with the dimensions; the builder will then work on the building they're assigned to for as long as it takes to complete, or until they run out of materials, in which case they will stand idle outside the project as a gatherer does his or her house until materials are available. Up to three builders can work on one project at any given time regardless of size (changeable). To have additional builders work on a building in progress, simply have them follow you and right-click the building sign. If you destroy the sign in a building, complete or not, with a builder following you, they will begin deconstructing the building for you.
- Builders can be equipped with leather armour, stone swords, and all other tools except for bows. Successive upgrades to a builder increase his building speed, and enable him to build larger constructs.
In all honesty, you shouldn't need more than three of these. One is technically enough; more just allows you to build more at once as you progress through the mod content.
Soldiers are created by giving a villager an iron ingot.
- Soldiers have by far the most customizability among villagers, being the most actively useful in the later stages of the game. They are an absolute necessity to your village even in the early stages of the game, for they protect it from monsters and hostile clan forces in the area.
- Soldiers, once created, can be upgraded to either footmen or archers by giving them a stone sword or a bow. The item is removed from your inventory and equipped by the soldier. From that point, you must fully gear them in the respective level of armour before you can upgrade them further. For footmen, standard upgrades consist of higher quality weapons; for archers, upgrades consist of a certain number of arrows or arrow stacks. Enchanted weapons and armour provide their effects as per normal for that NPC, but are replaced by higher quality items when the player upgrades them to the next tier.
- Footmen gain movement speed, attack strength and armour value as they are upgraded with their standard upgrades. After reaching a certain level of advancement, footmen can also be given iron or diamond to further upgrade their armour quality (this is respective to what they are wearing), redstone to increase their health, glowstone to increase their damage, or obsidian to increase their critical strike chance.
- Archers gain movement speed (more than footmen), fire rate, and armour piercing as they are upgraded. Each level of armour piercing above the target's armour quality increases their damage against it; monsters suffer mightily at the hands of well-geared archers. Advanced upgrades include firing range from iron ingots, more health from redstone, higher speed from glowstone, additional critical strike chance from obsidian, and poisoned arrows from diamonds. Giving an archer a bone with a tamed wolf following you transfers ownership to the archer, whom the wolf will follow and defend. (The collar of an archer's wolf would change to a dark green colour). Archers may only have one wolf, and their wolf gains basic upgrades as the archer owning it does.
- Enchanted weapons, armour and tools glow when equipped by NPCs, showing when allies or enemies have them on.
Villagers are important to the development of a village, but they can only do so much without the appropriate buildings. To commission the construction of a village building, or designate a currently existing building as that building, the player must place a sign in the middle of a building with four walls, an accessible door for the entry and an open space or door leading to each room, a solid floor and a ceiling with no holes in it. The floor the sign is located on does not matter, so long as these conditions are met. Iron doors can be used for this purpose, so long as a working redstone circuit and crafter are present in the building. If the crafter is killed, the door is broken and another must take his place before a new iron door can be placed unless the building's sign is destroyed.
To upgrade an existing building without breaking it, simply ladder up the outside. Builders will be programmed to do this as well.
House: The first and most important building for your village. Without housing, you cannot recruit villagers. Houses simply require a 5x5x2 open space enclosed within walls, a floor and ceiling of any material and a door. Houses can be upgraded by adding beds (which are necessary for couples to breed), a small or large chest (allows non-combat villagers to store materials necessary for their trade should the vault fill or be absent; only one large chest can be placed in each house, the residents will tear down any others you place), and portraits for the walls (increases child growth rate). A basic house can host a maximum of three villagers; two parents and a child. Additional floors of the same dimensions as the first allow for more children or family members. Villagers living in a house always occupy their housing space, whether they were born there or recruited and given the house to live in, even if they have a bed in the barracks.
Vault: The next most important building in a town, the vault is the storage facility on which the village relies for storage and crafting. Gatherers drop their workload here, crafters and builders draw from it to do their work. A vault requires a minimum inside space of 10x10x2, with enclosed walls and an enclosed ceiling and floor on the top and bottom floors respectively. A vault can have as many chests in it as you can fit, provided every chest in the room is accessible. Villagers will tear down any chests or other blocks cutting them off from chests in the vault, so double check your pathing before you add new chests to your vault. Vault upgrades, of course, include more floors.
If the coder wanted to go through the trouble, they could also make it impossible to store more useful materials in house/barracks/vault chests until the vault is upgraded to a certain level as well.
Barracks: Home of your military forces, the barracks is where your soldiers eat, sleep and coordinate from. While soldiers can be trained without a barracks, having soldiers bunk in a barracks means that all soldiers in that building will move and work together, rather than working independently of the rest of your forces. You can have more than one barracks building in your town if you wish to group your forces into units. Barracks upgrades include general damage bonuses for all housed troops, slower stamina decay and more floors for additional beds and storage chests.
(Chests are used by archers to store arrows, and by all soldiers to store food and potions. The player can give the soldiers these items, or simply drop them into the chests in the barracks for them to use).
Workshop: Crafting central. Furnaces and crafting tables clutter most of the space in a workshop (the former moreso than the latter), and any crafters designated to basic tasks such as crafting or smelting will spend most of their time here. The basic requisites for a workshop are at least two walls, a roof and floor spanning the walled space, and at least one crafting table and one furnace - and a door if the space is enclosed. The workshop, while little more than an automated crafting/smelting utility to begin with, has the potential for faster, more efficient smelting and crafting as it is upgraded, using less material for all tasks undertaken therein and increasing both the speed at which furnaces smelt, and the speed with which your crafters can process large amounts of items. And, of course, more floors for additional furnaces and tables.
Brewery: An upgrade of the workshop, the Brewery is a seperate room or floor that can be added and upgraded independently or as a seperate building if the player is short on space. It shares many of the upgrade effects the workshop does, with a couple of others; upgrades allow for additional potion slots on brewing stands, and for a chance that the item used to brew a potion will not be consumed by the process, allowing for multiple uses at higher levels.
Enchantment room: An upgrade of the workshop, the Enchantment room is a seperate room that can be upgraded independently. The Enchantment room benefits from those workshop upgrades relative to it, but can also be upgraded independently to allow for less experience consumption per enchantment, an enchanting index and a codex that allows players to influence, to some degree, the enchantments they receive on their items. Upgrades to the table's bookcases are performed by the player, or can be purchased through the system if absolutely necessary.
Quarry: Your village's mines, dirt/sand/gravel farms and the like are all collectively termed as quarries for simplicity's sake. A quarry can be created by placing a cobble or dirt block on top of a non-moving block such as dirt or cobble, then placing a sign on top of the block with the word '[Quarry]' on it. Any gatherers tasked to the quarry will then dig materials related to the block on which the sign is placed ( for you, sticking to within ten levels of the quarry sign and gradually strip mining out a section around the sign's location. Quarries can be upgraded only slightly, as these will likely often need to be moved to keep digging. Upgrades include increased digging or mining speed, longer strip length, mineral/ore priority and a final upgrade that causes the gatherers to demolish strip walls to fully clear the quarried area of excess material (useful if you want to build on the location).
Farm: Anything that can't be mined or killed is farmed, along with animals. Farms are created by placing a sign on a dirt block inside a house with the word '[Farm]' on it. Gatherers assigned to farms will search out long grass for seeds and, given hoes and buckets, will then proceed to create farmland and tend it with whatever tools, seeds and saplings or other plants you give them. Wheat is the basic staple used for farming; it is necessary for animal farms, as well as some upgrades. Farms can extend to roughly three to five water plots (11x11 tilled earth with a water block in the centre), with one pen for each animal type. Upgrades include increased plant growth speed and drop rate, larger surface area affected by water blocks (allowing for blocks four or five spaces away from a water block to be hydrated by it), a chance to breed multiple animals from one breeding session or egg (doubles the hyper-spawn chance of chickens from eggs), wolf damage, speed and health upgrades and, at its most advanced levels, creeper handling, which allows for a small number of the leafy mongrels to be tamed and bred for use in war.
Lumber mill: An extension of the farm, upgraded independently of it and located somewhere a little off from the plants, the lumber mills is essentially a convenient wood farm. Upgrades to the mill allow for faster tree growth, increased sapling and fruit yield from broken leaves, greater wood yield from felled trees, shorter warmup periods for closely planted trees to grow and auto-replanting when a tree is felled.
Butchery: The butchery is an extension required for animal-specific farm upgrades. Animals are taken here for slaughter, and having a butchery for this purpose increases the amount of meat and other materials yielded from your farm animals. Upgrades include further increases to food and material yield per animal, faster breeding, and tamer animals (they won't try to flee their pens when you open the gates, or when you attack them).
Graveyard: The graveyard can only be made once the workshop is fully upgraded and spawners are craftable. Basically, once the player crafts a zombie spawner, the block is placed under the surface of a space at least 11x11 (the spawner must be fully enclosed by other blocks), all dirt or gravel, and a sign is placed in the usual manner in the centre. The graveyard is a dangerous place to be; monsters can and will spawn here regardless of the light level to begin with, so having a couple of soldiers guarding the area is a good idea. Further upgrades require additional monster spawners and allow for greater material yield from monster drops, a small chance of ore or gold nugget drops from farmed monsters in the graveyard, and at more advanced levels a small chance that any spawned monster within will simply drop dead, dropping its items and experience on the spot, as well as an upgrade to transfer all experience from monsters slain in the graveyard directly to the player.
Nether Ward: This is a bit tricky. The basic idea is that the Nether, once a portal is opened to it, starts spitting out monsters from the Nether into the surrounding area, which are also drawn to your village - and the area around the Nether portal slowly corrupts, its blocks gradually turning to Netherrack and Soul Sand, the former of which is set on fire if left untended for too long. The Nether Ward is basically a containment chamber constructed entirely (walls, floor and ceiling) out of obsidian, which cannot be converted to other materials and which the spawned creatures cannot escape. The Nether Ward can be upgraded to reduce or entirely cut off monster flow from the Nether, but beware - some human clans do live in the Nether, and will begin assaulting through your portal once you raise it!
End Ward: This one also requires a bit of work. The idea is that once an End portal is raised (and they will be craftable at later workshop upgrade levels), the blocks around the portal will gradually begin to vanish as though they're being sucked into a black hole. The area affected will never cease growing and, although slow, the effect can potentially demolish an entire world. The End Ward is different to its Nether counterpart in that the first version of the room - which will be obsidian - only slows the effect substantially. In order to stop it, players must venture into the Nether with their Silk Touch picks and obtain enough whitestone to upgrade their portal to fully contain the warp effect. The End also contains a single human tribe whose buildings are all built from whitestone, fully upgraded, and who are armed to the teeth - so don't go through until you're well and truly ready for the endgame content, because it's still a one-way trip until you kill the dragon, and they can and will make their way back to your world to repay you for intruding on their sanctuary.
Walls: Yep. Walls are necessary to your survival. Walls can be any shape, size and form, provided somewhere there is an access point to the top of the wall and there is a sign labelling it as a wall, and at least one entry/exit (with or without a door). Walls are completely player-made and upgraded; while upgrades can be purchased to increase blast/strike resistance, material quality and all other factors are entirely dependant on you.
Fort: This is the centre of your village. You should leave yourself a bit of space when building to construct this, as it will be where your items are stored, and you will probably want a good number of soldiers stationed inside. The fort is the ultimate target of any raiding force, whatever else they may go for in the process; raiders will target your vault, but large assault forces will hit your fort as hard as they can. This building is unique in that it contains the sign room within which your upgrade panel is located.
Upgrade Panel: Basically, every sign in every building links to one in this room. The room must be at least 20x20x3, with one entrance and solid walls. To upgrade your other buildings, you must place signs with the building name and the coordinates of the sign it links to on the first and second lines respectively; when you right-click the sign, it will display possible upgrades, along with the materials still required for them, on a popup on screen. Right-click the sign when the required items are present in your storage utilities and your builders will construct the appropriate upgrade for that building. Destroying the sign won't do much to your upgrade status, but you will need to replace it before you can continue upgrading your building. The room can be enlarged if need be; however, there are no upgrades that specifically pertain to the upgrade panel.
Obviously the idea is incomplete, and has a lot of room for improvement. If I come up with any additional information, or a poster adds something that would improve on the idea, I will add it to the original post. Feel free to post criticism, additional suggestions and whatnot here. Also, if you're interested in working on producing this, you're welcome to do so and use this thread as a reference point and for recruiting.
Also, if someone wants to improve on the horrible page structure for the concept, feel free to chop it up and present a tidier version. I'll chuck it up as the OP if you've made a presentable read out of the massive, gnarly mess I've made of the post =S
While I wouldn't mind credit for the idea, I understand that a lot of other people have thought of this and probably have done it to some degree. If it is actually made, and made well, then I can ask for nothing more than that whoever goes through the effort of making it does a good job of it. All I wish for is to see some manner of content with this kind of theme in the game.
- Builders could be used to relocate building signs by placing a sign on the outside limit of the '0' facing (F coordinate in f3) with the name of the building and its coordinates.
- A civilisation alignment system could be used to determine what kinds of global perks you receive as your village develops (for example, a player who spends a lot of time doing things marked as 'evil' will eventually unlock an upgrade to control undead units or summon Nether units or sacrifice villagers for large resource bursts, while a player who sticks to good alignment will be able to summon wolf packs and gain increased resource gathering bonuses for short periods of time; civilisations that hold neutral alignment could potentially gain the ability to summon allied Endermen?).
- Modification of rail mechanics could be used to make 'cannon rails' which use minecarts as ammunition; minecarts are loaded with a substance such as coal or TNT, which scatters on impact and catches fire, or arms in the case of TNT. Rail cannons would be usable only by crafters (the player would be unable to make use of these, to add a bit of viability to military use of crafters). Signs placed by the rail cannon could be used to determine what buildings or area the cannon is aimed toward (signs indicating a certain area would have the coordinates of the centre of that zone on the first line, with the Y coordinate for trajectory on the second line).
Could do, but I'm not a modder myself >.< I wouldn't have gone into so much detail in the request thread if I was able to do it myself. So far, two groups have said they'd do it, and both have decided it's too big - still looking for a modder or modding team who's willing to take this on and make it a reality.