My work with Fief over the past few weeks has focused on developing job behaviors for peasants and creating GUI tools to allow the player to intervene as well. I have come up with a basic workflow for how this process will play out.
Most jobs will begin with a request. The player can make a crafting request on the new Demands page in the Storage tab of the Manor Management screen. Here’s the crafting request GUI where you can search among all available items:
Once an item is chosen by the player, it will be added to the manor’s request queue. Peasants assigned to job sites with the proper skills activated will automatically begin crafting items on this request list. If an item cannot be made due to unavailable components, a crafting request will be made by the peasant for the component items (automatically placing these requests higher on the request queue). This can cascade down the line through a series of crafting recipes to ensure that all base components are eventually added to the request queue. Requests for core resource objects (e.g. wood blocks, branches, etc.) will help modulate the behavior of peasants assigned to such roles that gather these base resources (e.g. lumberjacks, miners).
Here’s an example to illustrate the process. The player wants a new axe to help chop down some trees. So she adds the “Primitive Axe” to the request queue. This triggers the peasant assigned to a job site with the “Survival” skill enabled to attempt to grab the components (Stone Edge, Primitive Cord, Long Handle) and put them together using the “Survival: Tying knots” mode. However, only the “Stone Edge” is not available in the manor’s storage, so the peasant adds a new request for a “Stone Edge”. Likely, when the same peasant reassesses their job opportunities, they’ll attempt to create the “Stone Edge”. However, this too will trigger a request for a Stone object. Again, the peasant adds the request to the queue, and again will reassess his options. This time the need for a “Stone” object triggers a stone searching behavior and the peasant will find the nearest “Stone Debris” and gather a good stone for the new axe head. Once the stone is gathered, the peasant can begin the “Survival: Knapping stones” task to create the “Stone Edge”. Once completed, the peasant will move on to tying the components together and delivering a new “Primitive Axe” to the manor’s storage.
This is just one example, but I hope this illustrates the autonomy the peasants can have as well as how the player can take an active role in the process, especially if a required item cannot be crafted by the peasants. In the beginning, the player’s character will likely be the most skilled in many areas.
Job sites are an integral part of this system. They are where you can assign peasants to varying roles. The type of job site determines which skills and actions are carried out and how labor is assigned among the peasants at the site. Peasants at a job site will often have to work together and organize their own efforts to get work done. This is where the different role types (Independent, Leader, Subordinate) and personalities are important to ensure the work is being done efficiently.