Skill Specialization Suggestion: "Active" And "Passive" Specializations


In devblog 28, released just today, Dave showed us the beginnings of the specialization system. This system allows for certain sapiens to be designated as specialists in a skill, focusing them on progressing in that skill. What if specializations were categorized as either “Active” or “Passive”?

For instance, if a sapien is specialized in hunting, that specialization would be listed as “Passive” and they would perform that action (hunting) whenever they are not specifically needed for another task. These specialists could be manually stopped if necessary. Inversely, the specialization for, say, building structures would be “Active”. The sapien would only perform the action if they are told to.

Ideally, this would create a hierarchy of sapiens that would serve to lighten the workload on the player, removing the need to micromanage each individual sapien. Effectively, the player would only have to personally control the “Active” specialists, while the “Passive” specialists achieve their jobs autonomously.


Good idea.
I would further add a category of professional. You could use that for guards for example. You wouldn’t want your guard running away to some tree and at the same time another tribe comes and attacks you. I know you could also make guarding part of the active category, just a more permanent version of it. But I prefer having more options.


As long as you are able to to toggle a passive skill on and off, this seems like a really good idea. To use your hunting example, it would be a pain if all the chickens were wiped out in a radius when you might want to domesticate some in the near future.


I agree that guards would need to be where they are needed when they are needed. Perhaps certain specializations can become such “professions” and these professions gain their own place as a UI element.

For instance for guards there would be a button in the bottom right of the screen for alert. When pressed, the guards will immediately drop what they’re doing and rush to their posts. Another specialization that may require this would be healers maybe. On higher alert, a healer would start prioritizing healing the most battle able sapiens over feeble ones.


If you make animal pens or mark the chickens otherwise they don’t get over hunted. And you could also add the feature, that sapiens only hunt, if the food storage is less than a certain number.

And having different priorities for the different actions is certainly useful. I just remember the stuff I had to learn about semaphore. Like priority inversion and so on. Fun stuff.

If your tribe is big enough I don’t think it is necessary for the guards to do anything other than guarding. That’s kind of the point of having a tribe. But having that for all the other sapiens in a big scale attack could be useful.


I think marking chickens to be killed is the current system, which i prefer. I really like the idea of only hunting if it’s needed, such as it dipping below a certain threshold.

Training springs to mind.


While individually marking chickens will be sufficient while the tribe is small, eventually your tribe will need so much food that you would be spending most of your time marking chickens or other animals.

This threshold idea is good. However, I would revise it in that such a threshold would be subjective to the rate at which food is being consumed. So instead, a number value might be assigned to your total food stores, taking into account the rate of consumption of the food. This would be the total amount of food divided by the rate of food consumption per day. The hunters are aware of this number, and as long as it is below one (or some other specified number), they will continue to hunt, because that means your tribe does not have enough food for one day.


Making the number of chicken hunted depended on the number of food eaten only works in Biomes with no seasons. Natives of Jungles do it that way. But if you live in a temperate climate or colder you need to store food for the winter. There are also places on earth where they have a dry season and a wet season. They also have to store food.

In the end they probably have to guess the amount of food it needs for the winter. Not sure jet, how to do that. But the game “Life is Feudal Forest Village” could be used as an inspiration. There you can make farms, animal pens, bake food and make any idling worker go hunt. The idling worker can also be used to gather materials or build houses. In Live is Feudal you don’t actually know how much food you will need. But you can guess and you can minimize the impact with hunting, if you made some miscalculations.


You allow to player to set a number/cap of food to gather (if food stores get below this set number, sapiens hunt/gather food). Could also have something like an auto option (cap is set based on rate of consumption).


yes, the idea of an auto cap that can be manually scaled seems like the best solution to me. And the sifference between active and passive skills is an interesting one, that I think would make quite a fine addition to this game. The question remains is if these skills would be gained passively based on sapien’s personal experience? (say a hunter specializes as a hunter after being assigned to hunt enough that they become specialized in hunting) Or would the specialization be an active thing based on generic experience gain? (The hunter starts as a gatherer until they generate enough experience to be assigned as a specialized hunter) or a mix of both? Or even just have specializations be flexible to the point where anyone can do anything, just they have to be assigned to that job first.


I think that all skills have this trait. They just depend on the scale you’re at. A big tribe would start hunting autonomously, but a large city might have to start building autonomously. I think that everything should be able to run on its own so that the player can guide in the way that they are most interested in guiding. A large city would probably get to the point that a player would be more interested in working on high level functions such inter-societal trade and military strategy than making sure Ooga and Booga got a house for the family they’re starting.

I think that Sapiens can all have “needs” and “wants” that develop as the society advances. If someone needs something that they can do on their own, they’ll just take care of it without the player needing to tell them to do it. If someone needs something and they have no way of getting it, the player can be alerted so that they can figure out how to remedy the situation. This is obviously very close to Sims, but hey, it works.

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I agree just imagine that you might be able to have more than one settlement, so that would be really nice when you are more guiding more of a nation and not a tribe after a good amount of time in game time has passed.

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Let’s go back to this topic.
In the update #34 - Campfire cooking, we could see the learning bit as it is now.
As soon as I’ve seen it, I got an idea (I wasn’t the only one, since I’ve seen another user comment in YouTube about the same thing):

  • Skills should not be easily learnt to 100%. As in real life, almost nothing is done to 100% by a single person. Only simple things are done to such perfectness. Complex things are hard to do, and that is why humans specialize.
    The idea for the game is that you must be able to do something, even if it is poorly done and gets damaged sooner. And if you practice that, you become better and better.
    You can make a knife by clashing stones. But only the best will make the best knifes. That’s why, eventually, you will turn to the village’s smith to make your weapons. Poorly done tools should degrade faster, hence the stimulus for making better things and specializing.
    Also, a child will learn from the parents, but not every child will be better than their parents. But, of course, they will be close to it, as they learn just by watching.
    So, I would argue that the game needs a system like… a tool / item would be made if the skill for making it is 20% / 30% completed. From that point onwards, getting better would become slower and slower, until about 85% (which you would call being specialized). From 85% to 100%, learning curve would be even slower. Taking much time for perfection. So, it would take a sapien either long time in life or extreme practising to make perfect. Kids would have the advantage of starting to make stuff / learning earlier in life, hence reaching the first 30% skill very soon in life.
    Also, with practice the things would be made faster.

So the higher the skill, the faster and better it gets made.

Also, related skills should be learnt faster by people already good at something. (Ex: if you are 70% great at making a knife by clashing stones, making swords and other weapons should come easier to you, reaching the first 30% faster than the average sapien).

So, skills should be related in a skill tree. If you learn the lower branches, higher branches come easier until certain point. To specialize (> 85%) you need to practice.

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Another thing about skills, is that sapiens should not be restricted to a single skill. If you learn and practice, you can master it.


I like the Idea. Maybe it would be nice to add talent to your comment as well. Not everyone is as good as the rest and there often is a limit on how good individual people can get. That could be represented by the learning speed and the max percentage that is possible to achieve.