Under The Yoke Devlog 6: All creatures great and small
Today we are returning with a look at the animals in Under The Yoke, an important but scarce resource, animals were both a primary source for protein as well as trade goods. In Under The Yoke we have fully modelled 6 sets of farm animals, all with diverging behaviour:
Horses were the powerhouses of their day, able to pull ploughs, be ridden or pull carts. A Papal Bull which forbade the eating of horse meat makes these animals a sign post of wealth. The cost of both acquiring and maintaining these animals means you're more likely to see them in the late-game than the early.
Both male and female cows provide a number of important features that make them an essential addition to any farm. Aside from milk and calves from the female cows, male oxen are able to pull ploughs, albeit not with the same speed as the horse. They also provide a great deal of meat when slaughtered and leather, so much so that a Medieval manuscript said that a young oxen calf could be bought for roughly the same amount as an old ox ready for slaughter. These animals are very handy indeed, though they do take a lot of land to maintain.
What game set in England can avoid sheep. Sheep were the backbone of the Medieval English economy, providing wool for trade overseas or for clothing back home. Besides that there was the obvious lamb, mutton and the much prized shearling.
The poor man's cow, goats provide goat's milk, some meat and goat skin, this can be a cost effective way of getting ahold of these resources earlier in the game.
Pigs are unique in that they only provide value after being slaughtered. Like all animals, pigs produce manure but at a greater rate than any other. Larger litters and a small space requirement make pigs an effective choice in the early game especially when getting fertility bonuses on the fields.
What farm would be complete without some chickens? Chickens were a great source of protein from their eggs, as well as from their meat that tastes like everything else. In Under The Yoke they also require year round feeding and a hen house in order to collect their eggs or reproduce, a must have in the early game.
How does it work?
Animals are treated much the same as characters, given a space on the meadow where they can be assigned jobs, such as shearing on a sheep. when a job has been selected, a character can then be assigned to care for the animals, this character's Husbandry skilled will then be shared across the animals with active jobs, ticking down their job.
What's to stop a player from keeping a plethora of animals? The tragedy of the commons, as animals are kept on the meadow there is only so many animals your allotment can sustain. If you go over this amount you will need to feed your animals with hay harvested from the fallow field, this can tide you over during lambing season, giving you a chance to fatten your animals up, but leave it too long and your hay may not last the winter.
You can always increase the size of your allotment of meadow land through trade with neighbours or negotiation with your Lord, or maybe instead increase animal productivity by winning the right to house your animals during Winter on your own land rather than the Lord's. On top of that there are fences to build to stop animals from roaming and keep predators out.
As with all of these Devlogs, this is but a peak into the Medieval Life Sim of Under The Yoke. I do hope you'll join us for our next peak in a couple of weeks, hopefully joined by some of the artwork for the animals.
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