From the first seconds, Farthest Frontier evokes associations with Age of Empires or the Stronghold series. Here, too, you have to develop your tiny settlement to the scale of a solid policy, extracting resources and controlling all aspects of city life. But where bloody hostilities and large-scale clashes of civilizations begin among colleagues, the debutant offers a different kind of confrontation (although massacre cannot be avoided) – fights against hunger, disease and a hostile environment like wild animals and inclement weather. They captivate no less than a massive stabbing in an open field (I remember the wonderful peaceful campaign from the generally unsuccessful Stronghold: Warlords). Yes, and the number of strategic nuances and complex managerial dilemmas, the variety of resources and their applications, the abundance of functional peaceful buildings here is simply colossal!
Tired of fattening elites, blatant social inequality and constant attacks by raiders, ordinary people decided to leave the walls of their native city and find happiness in far-foreland lands. A great journey begins with the definition of the starting parameters of the session. They are quite flexible and allow you to customize the game to a comfortable level for yourself. For example, you can choose a peaceful mode and save yourself from any attacks – from both animals and people. You can also set the amount of game (potential food) on the map, and also predetermine the likelihood of diseases and injuries among the townspeople and, of course, set the size of the map and the preferred terrain.
And finally, the settlement begins its unique history: a modest urban center grows out of the thicket, the trees around are methodically transformed into huts and craft shops, and the new inhabitants of this area gradually settle in their new home. But utopia is still far away, because wild predatory animals, merciless hunger, severe cold, rampant diseases and fierce raiders tirelessly encroach on the rest of the town’s inhabitants. The problem of aggressive fauna and empty stomachs can be solved in one universal way – by building a hunting hut. The appointed worker will hunt down the game and protect the locals from the attacks of bears or wolves. By the way, nothing goes to waste – in the tannery, you can make warm clothes for the townspeople for the winter period from the skins of hunted animals.
True, we must bear in mind that the living creatures will soon leave our hunting grounds, and the haunt of the miners will have to be moved to a new place. In the meantime, the hunters are moving to a more lively area, the diet of the inhabitants can be filled with fish by building a fishermen’s hut near the nearest reservoir; or, say, berries and mushrooms by building a gathering house. And of course, the most reliable, but also the most labor-intensive way to provide the city with food is the cultivation of various crops. You will have to deal with weeds, stones in the fields and, of course, with seasonal adversities that can ruin the harvest. But, having succeeded, the townspeople will no longer depend on the fauna.
But gracefully coping with the threat of raiders will not work – you can repel a treacherous attack from the forests only by force. For example, by building a barracks or an observation tower, which, by the way, will cope with bears or wolves that can wander into the light. Another mortal danger – diseases – is defeated in different ways. The simplest is to build a compost pit, where sewage from the city will be taken out, so as not to breed blatant unsanitary conditions. And it doesn’t hurt to organize a cemetery – the last refuge for the dead, which, in addition to ritual functions, also helps not to breed rats in the city. A little later, it will be possible to organize a full-fledged qualified medical care in the person of a doctor, and even start the production of the greatest miracle of human civilization – soap!
But this glorious stage of our history still needs to live. After all, the soap factory, along with other important buildings such as a school, a bazaar, a bakery, a wagon workshop, will open only at the second level of the settlement. But to get to the coveted rank, we and our wards will have to sweat a lot …
In the development system of the settlement, the motives of projects with elements of survival are clearly recognizable: branches of resource processing and ever more complex production “recipes”. And although our main goal in the early stages is indeed to keep our charges from disappearing, a little later we will go beyond survival and will strive to create a full-fledged dream city. One that is a pleasure to live in. This, of course, will require complex production chains, and the higher the level of the settlement (there are three levels in total), the more investments, forces and raw materials will be required.
Each extracted resource (be it wood, stone, vegetables or even compost) is processed in certain structures into better components. And they, in turn, will serve as raw materials for valuable buildings, improvements to structures, the creation of important items, or other, even more valuable resources. So, the path of fruits can end in a jar of jam, wheat, having gone through several stages of processing, will become fragrant bread (or no less fragrant beer), sand will turn into glassware, and rough logs into marvelous wooden furniture.
Residents’ access to material goods is an important indicator that affects the general parameter of citizens’ happiness. The pace of work, the birth rate, the rate of immigration, and even combat effectiveness depend precisely on how well life is in our glorious town. And if at first everyone has enough basic joys – food, shelter and clean whole clothes, then with the expansion of the town, the requirements also grow. For example, there is a demand for beer (yes, Farthest Frontier does have such an indicator), for entertainment and, of course, for luxury goods. In order to provide all this to our population, we have to think over a lot and build a lot.
At first it seems that it is easy to get lost in so many production nuances, but in reality everything turns out to be quite simple. Work automation is set up almost effortlessly – we just need to prioritize tasks and control the number of employees at specific enterprises or construction sites. True, sometimes incidents still happen when priority tasks for some unknown reason are ignored by employees for years! Probably laziness… or the cost of early access.
As, apparently, not always successful generation of resources on the original map. It happened that after a couple of hours of a game session, stones ran out all over the district – the most important resource for the development of the settlement, the construction of buildings, roads and various improvements. The game at such moments, of course, has to be started anew. There are also some technical problems – for example, rather long loading times and periodic freezes in the gameplay.
However, technical polishing is already underway – patches are released steadily, and developers are closely monitoring community feedback. And if already now, in its uncut form, their offspring is able to captivate for long hours, then there is every reason to believe that a sparkling genre diamond awaits us by the release. We have high hopes for Farthest Frontier!
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