The Technology Tree

Michael Halila 2 minute read

Ever since Sid Meier’s Civilization (1991), we’ve all loved the idea of a tech tree. So it was pretty clear to us that Goblin Camp would have one. In this blog post, I’m going to talk a little bit about technology and our tech tree.

Goblin tech discovery art

As our goblins emerge from the underworld, they start their life in their new home on basically a Stone Age technology level. They have stone axes, wooden digging sticks, and live in lean-tos made of branches. But as they settle in, they’ll develop new technologies, unlocking new tools, structures, songs for the shaman and so on.

Here’s a look at the beginning of our tech tree.

Our tech tree

There are two kinds of technologies on the tree. The regular kind are unlocked by gathering research points, and when you have enough, you pick the tech you want, and it’s yours. Obviously many technologies have prerequisites: Planks can be researched once you’ve unlocked Carpentry, but Wooden Armor, for example, requires both Planks and Weapons to be unlocked.

Your camp will accumulate culture points as time goes on, and we’re working on some culture buildings that will boost this. We’ve got one so far: the weathervane.

A weathervane blowing in the wind

The other kind of technology, like for instance Weapons, doesn’t have a research point cost and you can’t select to unlock it. These technologies are unlocked by events or items you encounter in the game world. Weapons, for example, is unlocked the first time your goblins get into a fight. Don’t worry, they’ve got access to improvised weapons right from the start of the game, so your goblins won’t be defenceless. But it’s only when they’ve faced the dangers of the middle world at first hand that they’ll turn their mind to purpose-built weapons. Other similar technologies are Butchery, which is unlocked when your goblins come into possession of an animal corpse, and Smithying, when they find some dwarven metal for the first time.

New technologies unlock all kinds of new items and production chains. Butchery, for example, lets you research Leather, and Weapons opens up all kinds of arms and armor. Leather and Weapons eventually let you build Leather Armor to protect your goblin warriors.

New techs also unlock new building tiers. You can replace the old lean-tos and shacks with buildings made of planks or beams, which are much harder to destroy by violence or fire, and last longer. Eventually, advancing technology will open up whole new tech levels and building materials beyond wood: dwarven metal lets you construct picks, so your goblins can start quarrying stone, and that’s just the beginning!

One of our key design goals for Goblin Camp is that the nature of the game should change as your settlement grows and develops, and technology is a big part of that. So far, we’ve planned 70 different technologies that will take you from a tiny Stone Age village to a town built in stone, brick and metal, and maybe even beyond.