Settling For Less: Banished

Banished is an independently developed settlement simulation, with a survivalist backbone. It’s about heading into the wild and building to live rather than sitting on top of a casino and living to build. If memory serves, I haven’t actually played a Settlers game since the second but Banished looks like it may well tap into the same part of my brain, absorbing hours of my time in peaceful construction and careful management of tiny people. The latest video suggests that access to and movement of resources will be significant, even in relatively compact colonies, which should put a pleasing emphasis on layout and individual needs. I am keen to see more.

Quite how the game will keep players on their toes isn’t entirely clear yet. Weevils in the food supply? Marauding robber-wolves? Extremely harsh winters of chilly discontent? The development blog contains some answers.

You can lose people from starvation, overpopulation, disease, hypothermia, harsh winters and dry summers, and deaths from working dangerous jobs. Your fields and orchards can suffer pest infestation, and livestock can develop diseases. I plan on adding fires and a few other disasters as well.

The post about how the AI for individual settlers function is a great insight as well, even if it does contain actual lines of code and therefore frightens my simple mind.

Via Beefjack.


  1. Captain Joyless says:

    Meh, it looks ok but it seems like the creator has some very funny ideas.

    Like a population of 100 supported by hunting and gathering. The reason hunter/gatherers didn’t build villages like this is because 100 people living in a particular spot clean the huntable and gatherable food out of that spot pretty quick.

    Honestly it feels like an autism-spectrum take on a town: school makes people work faster, there doesn’t appear to be any politics whatsoever, and things only exist as a productive resource, or they don’t exist at all.

    • Ravenholme says:

      They’re not. You have to very quickly move to agriculture, if you’ve seen his other videos, he starts farming potatoes almost right away in preparation for a big population. Hunting and gathering support your dietary requirements at higher population levels, and gathering also involves retrieving herbs for medecinal purposes.

    • TekDragon says:

      Ravenholme addressed the nutrition part of your post, but I’d also like to say I disagree on the education aspect.

      We’re not talking college graduates here, or even high school graduates. That simple school is basically just enough to teach basic math and how to read instructions, speak effectively, and maybe write. Those skills would increase your ability to complete tasks and complete them more efficiently.

      I do agree on the lack of politics but, honestly, very few games of this type do politics. Look at Dwarf Fortress. No one has the brass balls to call that game “simple”, yet I don’t see conservative dwarves forming into Tea Parties to protest the race of my Expedition Leader.

      • Joshua IX says:

        A variation of that is going to be an eventual feature though. Factions, religions, Guilds and whatnot.

      • Mungrul says:

        Oh NOW you’ve done it. I can just see the next “Future of the Fortress” now:
        “Dwarves will now form ideological groups based on personal preferences. Spent 3 months making sure cheese lovers would unite correctly and form distinct groups while partying at wells”.

        • Ross Angus says:

          Would the dwarfs communicate their ideas on bulletin boards? Only to have them destroyed by trolls?

        • darkath says:

          This is already planned by the way, but way down the line.

        • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

          The Illuminated Murder party has formed a coalition with the Wheeled Lobsters party to exert leverage over the red spinel export cartel. The Hammerer has been dispatched to begin negotiations.

          Sadly the Hammerer fell down a well and killed his pet cat, who was in his pocket. He went into a tantrum and, rampaging about the fortress, he smashed the irreplaceable still. Now at least nobody cares about the red spinel export cartel. The dwarfs died within days. With nothing but water to drink they turned to violence and the last dwarf took his own life by punching himself in the chest until his rib pierced his heart.

          Thus ends the sad story of the fortress “SandwichFallow”.

      • Brun says:

        Pfft. There’s plenty of politics in DF. In my latest fortress I found a Vampire amongst my dwarves, so I walled him off to keep him from draining the blood from unsuspecting members of my population. My dwarves’ response? They elect him mayor, despite his being completely cut off from the rest of the fortress and being a bloodsucking, immortal night creature. It’s like they knew, and elected him just to spite me.

        In all seriousness, DF’s political modeling isn’t terribly complex, but Dwarven government isn’t a democracy (it’s closer to medieval monarchy) – the only elected position is Mayor, everything else is either appointed by the Overseer or based on noble rank.

        • Blackseraph says:

          I haven’t actually ever played dwarf fortress but I am greatly amused by lots of aspects of it, like your vampire mayor.

          Here is a link for the most famous let’s play of Dwarf Fortress Boatmurdered (who names fortress like that), for those who are interested. I was greatly amused by it, I am sure some other people will be too.

          link to

          • Brun says:

            There are several subsequent LP’s done by the same group (SomethingAwful Forum Members). I don’t have the links handy but there are at least four that I know of (you can Google these to find the links)

            Headshoots – My personal favorite.
            Syrupleaf – This one is very long and there’s a lot of conspiracy theory plot that gets tiresome after a while. Still a good read.
            Gemclod – I’m currently reading this one.
            Bronzestabbed – This is the current (2012) Let’s Play so it’s ongoing. Also it’s quite long but it was a pretty good read.

            As I indicated, Headshoots is my absolute favorite, the story that emerges from it is really something special.

          • Blackseraph says:

            Hehee, thank you I will find these.

        • sybrid says:

          I think vampires actually have a leg up on winning elections for Mayor when they arrive, because they tend to be ancient and thus have crazy-awesome social skills. They come in, make friends with everybody easily, and then win the election in a landslide, with everyone in your fort going, “I, for one, welcome our new vampire overlord.”

          If you can catch the vampire before everyone is going “Oh man, Urist McBloodsucker! I love that guy! Let’s make him mayor!” they are an incredibly useful resource. If I can get him before he’s running stuff, I’ll wall him in to a small room with a desk and a chair and make him do record keeping forever.

          If I don’t detect him before he becomes mayor, well, that’s why Nobles Rooms and Enclosed Death Trap Rooms should be considered interchangeable terms.

          • Brun says:

            I actually caught a second vampire as well and after a successful test I’m going to arm them both to the teeth and have them train 24/7 as a vampire fighting unit. I can keep them locked up and training forever (since they don’t have to eat, sleep, or drink), and only unleash them against threats.

          • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

            This is Urist. He’s a vampire. This is Urist, too. He’s also a vampire.

            They fight crime. Together!

            *theme music*

          • darkChozo says:

            Needs a mutual love interest and/or potential thrall.

          • Koozer says:

            “I’ll wall him in to a small room with a desk and a chair and make him do record keeping forever.”

            I didn’t think I would ever find a DF crime more heinous than chaining up mermaids in shallow pools to farm the valuable bones of their children, but my god man!

          • darkChozo says:

            From what I understand, at one point sending a dorf to do record keeping was actually the DF equivalent of sending a human to Special Forces training, funnily enough.

    • Lanfranc says:

      “Like a population of 100 supported by hunting and gathering.”

      It also had fishing.

      • Zamn10210 says:

        Fishing is usually considered hunting-gathering.

        The original point is slightly misguided anyway; in some parts of the world with rich resources such as the Pacific Northwest of the US and Japan hunting-gathering was productive enough to support permanent villages.

    • Jeremy says:

      “Autism-spectrum” take? Really?

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      Looks like Captain Joyless has some very funny ideas about the difference between a GAME and REAL LIFE

    • Flavioli says:

      I know right!? How DARE this game try to be anything other than 100% realistic!? Hell it’s not like every other game out there isn’t an exact mirror image of real life in every way, how does this developer have the GALL to not account for every possible contingency that could happen in real life and to simulate it perfectly just like every other game does???

      … while we’re at it, you seem to have completely ignored the fact that the game does actually have farming. You’re just a forum troll, aren’t you?

  2. BobbyDylan says:

    Ahh, another MMO then……


    • scatterlogical says:

      Well – starvation, overpopulation, disease, hypothermia, harsh winters and dry summers sounds a lot better than crippled servers, always-online-drm and tacky advertising shamelessly packaged as DLC.

  3. serioussgtstu says:

    >Extremely harsh winters of chilly discontent?

    I once walked passed outdoors shop with a sign in the window reading: “These are the winter discounts on our tents”. I’ve been smiling ever since.

  4. darkath says:

    I sure hope the content of this game wont be meagre

  5. SpoiledToast says:

    Really looking forward to this game, it looks very neat. Haven’t been any good games like this in some time.

  6. Brun says:


    Dwarf Fortress without mining? Or dwarves?

  7. igh says:

    I was hoping this would have an always online requirement allowing me to trade with other players villages. This is a MUST for me. Anyone know if this feature will be implemented?

    • Matchstick says:

      I believe they are planning that for the next version along with reducing the maximum size of the village to 4 buildings.

  8. bubblewraps says:

    I really like the look and style of this, may very well be something to watch out for later. I just hope that the catastrophe that is SimCity doesn’t cause publishers and developers to shy away from city builders and management sims.

    • fluffy says:

      The game is developed by one person and there is no publisher involved. I’m amazed at what this guy has accomplished, he’s made everything in the game! The GUI alone is better than most big games and it looks like it plays very smooth (it better since he was a professional graphics programmer before). The only thing I’m worried about is the endgame. Most of these DF clones/”inspired by” always lacks one of the key ingredients, building/fighting/exploration/randomness/complexity. If he can get a solid engaging endgame going the game is going to be great.

      • PedroBraz says:

        He isnt just ANY proffesional though. From his website:

        “I had worked in the console video game industry. I wrote graphics engines, physics engines and general tools.”

        Not exactly the easiest job around.

  9. Abattur says:

    So how is this different from the Anno series of games?

    • darkath says:

      More realistic everything (needs, crops, wildlife, diseases, environmental hazards, seasons etc.)
      no islands, no boats, no trade, no different cultures shenanigans,
      It’s more focused on a small community (of outcasts, hence the title), not a thriving medievalopolis, it’s also focused on survivalism, so it’s not either about giving spices and wine to lazy nobles
      People in your village feel more like people that can die and have children and less like small apathetic robots that can never die but self replicate.
      It’s not set in a specific timeframe, so no tedious medieval siege warfare

      And many more differences, in a nutshell, it’s nothing like anno except the “build a town” part.

    • The First Door says:

      From the look of it, it’s much more like The Settlers than Anno. Anno abstracts most of the movement of people/items where as The Settlers games, at least the ones I’ve played, are built around it.

      One of the many reasons I’ve rather looking forward to this!

    • acheron says:

      Presumably it doesn’t have install limit DRM, for one.

  10. SavannaJeff says:

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like there’s going to be enough content in the game to really have much fun. You build up your village, takes about 3 hours to max everything out, and then what? Start a new one from scratch?

    • BooleanBob says:

      Then you call in the UFOs, Sim City style.

    • stkaye says:

      I would very much like this game, plus Something That Lives In The Forest Beyond The River.

    • DrollRemark says:

      I would imagine there are plans to introduce complications into the scenario – it would seem far too obvious not to. I’d say that those are generally the things you add towards the end of development, when you’ve actually got your system working, rather than early on.

  11. strangeloup says:

    I read the list of hypothetical threats as including “rubber wolves”. And I thought I might be able to find an amusing image to go with said misreading.

    So, uh, for the safety and sanity of RPS readership, I would highly recommend not google image searching ‘rubber wolf’. Really.

    • Jonfon says:

      I would highly recommend not google image searching ‘rubber wolf’. Really.

      The real question is why are half of them on Google Images actually rubber dalmatian outfits?

  12. crinkles esq. says:

    “Your town has turned to cannibalism in the face of starvation.
    Rorie Spinetooth has been eaten.
    Fingers McKinney has been eaten.
    Dorf Skillen has been eaten.
    George Smithe has been eaten.

    Please choose a new mayor.”

  13. frightlever says:

    “Quite how the game will keep players on their toes isn’t entirely clear yet. Weevils in the food supply? Marauding robber-wolves? Extremely harsh winters of chilly discontent? The development blog contains some answers.”

    The Settlers games tend to be all about resource management. On a particular map there are some finite resources so you have to make the most of what you can gather.

    In a game like this who knows?

  14. The Sombrero Kid says:

    Want to play this now, will pay many money.

  15. syndicatedragon says:

    Wow, people sure are super critical of a game that one guy is doing on his own. I thought everyone here loved every indie game ever?

    Why does every building game now have to be compared to Dwarf Fortress like it’s some paragon of gaming? How about just evaluating this game on its own merits?

    I think this looks great, and I look forward to playing it.

    • Flavioli says:

      I know, right? It really pisses me off. People need to be more supportive of projects like this, especially with developers as talented as this guy.

      Dwarf Fortress has more than enough flaws that people need to stop comparing every other indie game to it. Is it an indie game? Are there entities in the game that do things? DF CLONE!!!!!

  16. Flavioli says:

    Holy shit people are being critical as hell in here about this game. This game is being made *entirely* by *one* person. ENTIRELY. He’s making the graphics, the sound, the music, doing all the programming, the tools, and he even made the freakin’ engine himself. And there is no big-name publisher involved in this thing either. Even then, the game looks better graphically and features more depth and original ideas than projects with dozens of developers.

    And people still find a way to complain about the most retarded things. For shame. I guess you have to have worked on your own game to know just how talented this guy really is.

    I chatted briefly with this guy on email and he seems to be cool as hell too… I’m buying this game the day it comes out, I’ll take out a bank loan if I have to.

    • Triplanetary says:

      This game is being made *entirely* by *one* person.

      I guess you have to have worked on your own game to know just how talented this guy really is.

      These are fallacies. Ultimately the game will be judged on its own merits, not on the narrative of how it was created, and if it’s bad, nobody’s going to play it anyway just because they admire the developer’s work ethic.

      That said, I think the game looks great and I’m looking forward to it.

  17. kud13 says:

    Looks lovely.

    Can you zoom in to watch individual people go about their business, Settlers II-style?