So I got the game on the weekend, and I made notes while I was playing, resulting in this big long list of suggestions:
UI/Ergonomy -- building info panels:
-- House info: it would be a lot more ergonomic (and, to me, also more intuitive) if we could click on the dweller's names to select them, and not on that tiny arrow .. because that is tiny and also very close to the scrollbar. Getting rid of that arrow would declutter that panel, as well.
-- Likewise, in the Professions list, it might be nice to be able to select villagers by clicking on the profession icon and not on the arrow. That is larger and also more meaningful.
-- Small houses can have five inhabitants, but the list on the info panel is only four lines long. Can that be made a little taller, so that one doesn't have to scroll just to see the 5th entry?
-- The info panels should all be kept on screen -- right now, when zoomed in on a building and clicking on it, one has to zoom out again in order to actually see the panel (provided one knows it ought to be there -- there is no visual feedback of any sort)
-- When selecting a house or workplace, it might be nice if its dwellers/workers were highlighted. Right now there is no simple way to find a particular villager in the world -- being able to highlight them directly (instead of having to find their home first, then select their name in the list, then click on the arrow) would help with that.
-- On a similar note, I'd like to be able to select indivdual workers from the workplace info panels somehow (analog to selecting dwellers from the house info panels).
-- For the chicken coop (and presumably also pastures), I'd like to be able to set the maximum number of animals for that coop/pasture by dragging the "fullness" slider.
UI/Ergonomy -- general:
-- Could the various panels be made dockable on the bottom edge as springy tabs? That would be very useful (dunno what others do; right now I manually push the Professions window below the window edge and pull it up when I need it; clicking would be easier than having to drag it)
-- I'd like to see the mouse wheel used for incrementing/decrementing numbers (everywhere). Those tiny +/- buttons are very cumbersome to use IMO
-- The default resource limit increment/decrement should be made something more useful than 1 .. do you really expect anyone to go and change their potato stock limit from 8000 to 8001?
-- The main screen seems overly verbose .. I found myself having to actually *read* the buttons all the time, ideally I should *see* the button I want instantly. "Load saved game" could simply be "Load" (what else is there to load, other than a saved game?), same for "save current game" etc.
-- Main screen/saving: the default name "New save game" is inconsistent with the actual name that a savegame will have, which I find irritating. Can't that default to the name of the current town? I would also like to be able to manually (re)name a savegame.
-- The save window acts a little beta overall (but maybe that's just because it is beta ..) -- upon clicking Save, it disappears then reappears; also the list of existing saves builds up *very* slowly
-- The "road built" message after every single tile is too much IMO. Is it possible to condense that into one "all roads built" message, after the last planned road section has been built?
-- A "suchandsuch building: all resources delivered" (or similar) message would be useful IMO, in addition to "started construction" and "finished". That way I know that it's now time to assign builders if there aren't any yet.
-- Some building sounds (chicken coop, school) seem too loud in relation to everything else .. the chicken yellling at me startles me every time.
-- The mining sound does not match the animation at all (I mean labourers mining ore/stone, dunno about actual mines) -- so much so that found myself scroling around to see where that sound is coming from; it was too out of sync to connect with the labourer on the screen
-- Too many bird sounds in winter at night/nightfall. There's a lot of birds where I live; right now they sing during the day when it's sunny, but not in the evening and definitely not at night.
-- When the game is out of focus or paused, it should mute. Leaving the sound on just means I will quit the game every time I quickly want to do something else (because that is simpler than crawling into Options etc just to turn off the sound); I don't think you want that.
-- IMO the game should also pause automatically when losing focus, but I think that is a matter of personal preference -- can we maybe have an option for that?
-- Should effects (rain, smoke ..) pause when the game is out of focus/paused? Not sure -- it does look nicer when they keep running, but that obscures the fact that it's paused. I think I'd liek to see an option for that, as well.
-- I'd like to see a "no UI" option for taking screenshots (or does that already exist and I didn't find it?)
-- Is it possible to have resource gathering default to the "gather all resources" tool being selected? It's the same icon anyway .. I kind of expect there to be a default.
-- I'd like to see a "Decrease Priority" tool (analog to "Increase Priority)
-- When starting a building, I'd like to be able to select the different models available for that building (small houses for example). E.g. with a shortcut that cycles though them.
-- The current terraforming tools/options work very well for me (I think this was changed recently?); the only thing I miss is a way to cancel terraforming (analog to the "cancel resource collecting" option). Either that or highlight the resources to be removed *while* selecting an area for terraforming (so that one can still hit esc), not only afterwards -- currently, "cancel removing resource" visually works in to-be-terraformed areas (the yellow X disappears), but not actually (the resource is being removed anyway).
Game mechanics -- Villagers:
-- I'd really (really, really) like to be able to rename the villagers.
-- Do villagers walk slower in grass (than on sand) / on snow? I couldn't tell -- if not, then perhaps they should
-- When villagers attempt to pick up resources, can they be made to collect them from different sources? Right now they always seem to fell a tree, grab 13 logs and haul them back, then come back for the 1 remaining log and haul that back .. even when there's more logs lying about in that area. This makes them look pretty dumb.
-- Maybe they could also given (back) the ability to carry different kinds of resources at the same time, like it worked in Banished .. is there a reason you dropped that?
-- When they mount a bag of resources, animation is weird (bag impales villager)
-- Is it intentional that hay can be gathered in winter?
-- There are plenty of wrong/odd interaction names, but I guess you know that already ("Looking after cattle" in a chicken coop, "Cultivating" for terraforming, "Mine resource" when gathering hay / felling tree, etc)
Game mechanics -- Wildlife:
-- Is it technically feasible to have villagers react to nearby wildlife autonomously? I find it unrealistic that my chicken are being eaten in bright daylight, in the middle of town, with none of the (several) villagers nearby doing anything about it. Maybe this can be "modulated" somewhat .. if only so that wildlife will only attack at night, or only when no villagers are nearby. But ideally I'd like the villagers to react somehow -- they could flee, attack the animal, shoo the animal away, throw some "omg a fox" animation .. maybe depending on age or profession?
-- Generally, wildlife should be more dangerous .. right now they are basically snacks. Also, show some reaction when they're being attacked (flee or attack .. but not just fall over)
-- Humans shouldn't be able to outrun a deer (other than maybe in 1st person mode, with a "run" modifier? That could deplete the hunger need/motive faster than regular walking, so there would be a tradeoff)
-- Shouldn't predatory wildlife be able to kill other wildlife? At least the bears and wolves .. maybe not foxes, or is there anything small enough for them to eat?
-- I'd really, really like to see freeform roads for this kind of game. Perfectly straight 90° roads everywhere looks really out of place to me in this kind of setting; since you already have free rotation for buildings on the roadmap (yay) I can only imagine the roads will look even more out of place once that is implemented.
-- If that's not possible, how about a tool that lets the user paint the terrain? With that, I imagine the strict 90° angles could be covered up a bit to make the roads blend in somewhat.
-- More variation in vegetation "zones" throughout the map -- like grassland, marshland, different types of forest (birch vs oak etc) .. and less homogenic distribution of resources overall (more ore/stone + less fertile land in the mountains, clay in the grass/swamp/humid areas, etc)
-- Persistent couples / families. With only ten villagers, it seems really bizarre how they're being pushed around at random.
-- I'd also like to see persistent jobs, with skills (i.e. farmers get better at farming over time, etc).
-- Less strange age lengths (five year old teenagers who look like they're 50 etc) -- I think I've already seen a mod for this, and teen models seem to be in the works; just wanted to second that I think this should be changed -- maybe one could also differentiate between children (can't do anything in 1st person mode except walk around) and teens (can do work in 1st person, but less effectively than adults)
-- The need for villagers to rest (ideally in sync with nighttime, not sure how feasible that is)
-- Hygiene should be a thing: the need/ability for villagers to wash themselves (in the ocean/lakes/wells, in (better) homes, in public baths); better hygiene could/should decrease the likeliness of diseases
-- Leisure/Culture should also be a thing: a theater, taverns, pubs, a music hall/stage, a place of worship, taking walks, chatting/socialising at a bonfire or sitting on a bench could all fulfill villagers' need to do fun stuff .. maybe they could even be able swim in the ocean for fun (and occasionally be eaten by sharks? Unless there's a fisherman around to rescue them / scare the sharks away?)
-- Villager's happiness overall could be differentiated more: happiness with their home, food, hygiene, leisure/fun
-- In general, more "optional" bulding types to keep the villages from looking all the same (IMO this was where Banished fell a bit short .. you always built the same village) -- things like a public bath, theater, place of worship (maybe different styles -- I guess you had reasons to skip the cathedral), town square, monuments, a market hall, a quai/promenade .. i.e. things that you don't actually *need* for the villagers to survive, but that add individuality to each town
-- On a similar note, the ability to name buildings would be nice: i'd rather have "Bonnie's Beer Hut" in my town than "Tavern". The small decorative sign could also be used to give names to places (Round Square, Oak Forest, Toucan Bay, whatever .. ) so the island becomes more individualised overall.
-- The ability to turn orchards into fields and vice versa (why does one need to tear down a fence in order to build an identical fence? That makes no sense to me)
-- Plantable herbs/berries
-- Plantable shrubs / trees, for deco purposes
-- Animal dung production / pile / fertilisation
-- Storage stacks (e.g. small firewood stacks) -- basically the Banished storage piles, but maybe for specific resources
-- A market
-- A cheap single-citizen shelter (no heating, no reproduction -- just someplace they can go to eat and sleep)
-- A (public) bonfire where villagers can warm themselves (perhaps w/ increased wildfire risk if there are trees nearby)
-- Benches where citizens can sit and rest/chat (even if it's just for "flair") .. in general, occasional interaction between villagers when they bump into each other, just to make them look less like lobotomised worker bees and more like actual people
-- Hard mode! (Is that on the roadmap? Not sure right now .. but I always played Hard mode in Banished and I really want that back)
-- Perhaps exclusive to Hard mode: the need to actually *have* a crop in order to be able to plant it -- e.g. in order to plant potatos, you need to keep some potatos around
-- An additional "Tiny" map size (1/4th of Small)