Under The Yoke Devlog 2: To Everything There Is A Season and A Time
Updated: Jan 17, 2022
Under The Yoke as a medieval life-sim could almost be seen as a medieval farming sim. That is to say, farming and life went hand in hand for the vast majority of people in Medieval times.
Under The Yoke, being set in England shortly after William the Conqueror's conquest, features a fully modelled open-field system with three field rotations. Under this system, land was divided into three groupings and peasants were allotted strips within this system to farm. But how did this system work?
In one field were the grains such as Wheat and Rye, another Oats and Legumes and the third field was left fallow for farm animals allowing the field a chance to recover. Each year the fields would rotate, so a fallow field would become a grain field and so on.
You may think that this removes a lot of control from the player, if they know what to plant and when but that's not the whole truth of it. For instance, in the grain field you have the options of wheat and rye, wheat being more valuable, whereas rye more hardy. A player may decide to plant mostly rye in order to offset the chances of poor weather ruining their harvest and have a little wheat as a cash crop, while another a player may choose to invest fully in wheat and reap the rewards come Summer.
There is also the matter of when these activities are performed, the player is free (given the correct season) to choose when to plough, sow and harvest their crops, an earlier harvest may mean a smaller yield but later harvests run the risk of crops perishing to changing weather.
How much land you were given under the open field system was a hot issue among medieval peasants and shall be no less in Under The Yoke. Given that farming is how you feed your family, both literally and metaphorically as your primary source of income, acres and virgates are key to improving your family's station. You may increase your share of land through negotiations with your lord, perhaps offering to pay increased taxes on the lands, or through clever dealings with other peasants or even by way of a dowry.
Of course, being a peasant farmer wasn't all about fields and wheat and weather. In a future devlog we will be looking into the farm animals of the day, what their uses were and how they are modelled in Under The Yoke.
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