Peons - and what is inside them

Stats, memories and traits – Dev Blog 11

It’s Friday once again, which means it is time for a new development blog. Today we will be looking at arguably the most important part of Fringe Planet: the peons.

The peons are humans that have awoken in the frozen landscape of Fringe Planet with no memory of who they were or how they got to this place. The player issues orders to the peons, and the peons will obey them.  The peons themselves are semi-autonomous, leave them alone and they will wonder about, collect and eat raw food if they are hungry, sleep when they are tired and chat amongst themselves. They will seek warmth and shelter as well, as well as avoiding anything dangerous.

Every peon has a set of stats that are used to measure how a peon will perform at a giving a task, the stats currently in the game are as follows:

StrengthThis determines how strong the peon is. How much they can lift and carry, how physically fit they are, how much damage they can inflict, how they perform at strength related tasks (building or fighting).
AgilityHow quickly a peon can move, how good they are with fine motor control (building machines, setting traps), how good they are at performing agility related tasks (running, jumping, climbing).
IntelligenceHow clever a peon is – this isn’t just a measure of IQ – but of experience in general. A peon will always be learning in this new environment, and the most successful peons will become savvy at surviving. This stat is used when researching, building machines and crafting and is generally one of the more important stats when checks are made.
ConstitutionHow fit and tough a peon is, how healthy they are. A peon with a higher constitution will not suffer from wounds as badly, can eat slightly spoiled food without becoming sick, won’t get as ill if infected by something. It is also a very important stat when dealing with stress.
MetaphysicalHow psychically sensitive a peon is, how their spirit interacts with The Void. It’s used extensively with the magical system and when interacting with certain creatures in Fringe Planet. Peons with a high metaphysical score can have visions of things that may happen in the future.
AwarenessHow quickly will a peon notice something? Are they aware of their surroundings, how good are they at estimating materials, can they see a problem with a plan.
FriendlinessPeons are in a stressful situation, getting along with the others around you is incredibly important – a smile from a friend can make the past five hours of digging a hole more worth while. Friendly chat while working is great stress release

But how are these stats calculated? This is where the memory system comes into place.  Everyone has a past in Fringe Planet, what they did when they were in an environment that made a lot more sense. Everyone went through years of life before they arrived here.

Peon stats

The memory system splits life into three stages – childhood, teenage years and adulthood. For each of these stages, a memory is selected. When a game starts, a peon will have a very vague memory of each of these stages – which will determine the starting stats of the peon. As the peon does checks against a stat that is influenced by this memory, there is a chance of them remembering more of it – and if they do there is an associated stat increase with this.  For example:

Memory ScrapPartially RememberedFully Remembered

I remember a lot of faces staring at me

(+1 intelligence, +1 awareness)

I was teaching! I was imparting my knowledge onto students

(+2 intelligence, +2 awareness)

I was a university professor, I taught a complex subject with skill and passion

(+3 intelligence, +3 awareness)

I remember a lot of green as a child

(+1 constitution, +1 agility, +1 friendliness)

Fields, endless summers, running and laughing

(+2 constitution, +2 agility, +2 friendliness)

I had so many friends, I remember them now, we would play games, run and jump and laugh

(+3 constitution, +3 agility, +3 friendliness)

The other thing that may effect the peon base stats are Traits. Traits provide a permanent boost or penalty to a stat – and may well change how the peon AI handles a situation.  A trait can have four strengths:

  • Slightly – stat modification is halved
  • Normal – stat modification is normal
  • Very – stat modification is multiplied by two
  • Extremely – stat modification is multiplied by three

Some example traits (these are constantly being added to)

Athletic+1 strength, +1 agility
Nervous+1 awareness, -0.5 friendliness
Playful+1 friendliness
Insightful+2 intelligence, +1 awareness
Perceptive+2 awareness
Believer+2 metaphysical

These pools of traits and memories can make every peon very different, and will help them excel at different tasks.  The stats can be trained over time, so even an unskilled peon can be turned into a handy member of the community by training and assigning them different tasks.

Peon builder

Currently, there is a peon builder in the game, which will allow a play to craft a very specific peon – it is currently possible to create incredibly powerful peons – this will be addressed in the future by giving every memory and trait a point value, and only allowing peons of a certain point level to be created. Though this limit will be optional as some players may enjoy creating very under powered peons and seeing how they will survive.

This blog post is a basic introduction to peons – there is a lot more to talk about with the simulations that the peons run (organs, bones, heat, behaviour trees)  – and more information will be coming about this soon.

Thanks for reading!


There is a lot more to read about Fringe Planet… why not try:

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