My favorite city builder of 2022 just got a major update

Medieval city
Image by Eldodorat on Farthest Frontier forums (Image credit: Crate Entertainment)
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It still feels a bit strange that Crate Entertainment followed up 2016 dark fantasy ARPG Grim Dawn with… a medieval city builder. But once you start playing Farthest Frontier, the wild shift in genres doesn't seem that odd at all, especially since keeping your citizens alive and healthy through winter storms, raider invasions, bear attacks, and more communicable diseases than a medical journal can be brutally challenging.

Farthest Frontier (opens in new tab) entered Steam Early Access back in July, and quickly became my favorite city builder of the year with gorgeous looks, a deep farming system, and some vexingly clever bandits who kept robbing my town and scampering off with my gold. It's received several patches since to address bugs and add some quality of life features, but version 0.8.0 arrived today and it's a hefty one, packed with more meat than a medieval smokehouse.

First and foremost, the update has what everyone wants to see in a city builder: more stuff to build. There are a dozen new buildings in the update that provide new decorations and entertainment for your citizens. The festival pole provides an entertainment boost to the surrounding area so you don't need to rely on a huge theater or pub to make your villagers happy. There are also new ornamental trees, flower urns, decorative fences, and extra plazas to build and upgrade, giving boosts to desirability and new ways to make your city look unique.

As far as more granular changes, you can now set minimum and maximum production limits for resources, meaning that if your workers produce enough of something they'll step away from their specialty jobs and return to the general labor pool, which should help keep your town running much more efficiently. 

Your settlers will also have better AI in general when it comes to working and transporting goods, "reducing frustrating instances of them stopping mid-task or dropping items all over town." Huzzah! Villagers will also favor shelters close to their job sites instead of trekking all the way back home every evening, which is another cause for celebration when you've got them working on a mine far outside of town. When a fire breaks out, the entire population won't run over to put it out anymore, leaving the closest villagers to do the job. As a result, most people will continue working on their tasks and you won't wind up with 100 water buckets strewn around town afterwards. Again, huzzah.

(Image credit: Crate Entertainment)

Builders are smarter about their work, too: if different tasks like roads, walls, and upkeep take place at the same time, "builders will distribute themselves throughout these jobs until they are all completed." Larger tasks like creating long roads or walls won't be considered a single project anymore but multiple building tasks instead, meaning there's less chance one lone worker will wind up doing the whole damn thing themselves. 

Building repairs can also be prioritized, homes now have much more detailed desirability information, and additional tutorials and tooltips make understanding the various complicated systems of Farther Frontier easier. And there's way more in the update, including better notifications, an improved terrain flattening tool (yay!), better cow behavior (they can now graze and poop on fields, though they'll happily eat your crops if you're not careful), and lots of tech improvements.

You can see the full patch notes below, and get even more detail on the patch on the Crate Entertainment forums (opens in new tab). Farthest Frontier update 0.8.0 is out now.

Major new features:

  • Production Limits can now be set from within the Resource Window and/or from building windows. Almost all resources in the game that a town can produce can now have min and max quotas set to control when villagers produce them or return to the labor pool.
  • Many of the game's systems and windows have been updated with tutorials. These appear in the form of pop-ups that fill you in on game mechanics and in detailed tooltips explaining game windows and how they function. Tutorials have been reset for all users to accommodate this addition.
  • Beautify your towns with a series of all new decorative and entertainment buildings! Enjoy Festival Poles, Ornamental Trees, Flower Urns, Bench Plazas, new Fence types and more!
  • Houses now have a detailed Desirability bar that shows progress towards housing tiers. The tooltip for this bar provides a detailed rundown of every desirability bonus/penalty on that shelter.
  • Villager AI has received numerous upgrades that will make them more efficient and intelligent at performing their tasks while also reducing frustrating instances of them stopping mid-task or dropping items all over town.
  • Building Windows now feature a new button to mark a building for top priority repairs. This button can be toggled once a building is below 90% structural integrity.

Art:

  • Updated the visibility for work areas and build grids to make them easier to see, especially on overlays and/or snow.

Tech:

  • Optimized snow shaders for improved performance during Winter.
  • Removed erroneous keybinds for reverse building rotation and the analytics window. These were non-functional for players.
  • Fixed an issue where monthly gold income could become reserved by villagers before being applied to upkeep (ex. Theaters, Healer's House, soldier training, etc.), resulting in those buildings shutting down or soldiers deserting because they were unpaid.
  • Fixed an issue where collapsing sections of building UI windows (ex. Storage or Items Produced In The Last Year) could cause the game to hang.
  • Fixed an issue where soldiers could end up wounded and then garrison the barracks where they would remain in wounded stasis.
  • Fixed an issue where soldiers would not drop their weapons when dying from non-combat causes. This also fixes an issue where raiders stealing arrows/bows/weapons would not drop them when killed.
  • Fixed an issue where building relocation build sites could become rotated from the original building's facing.
  • Fixed an issue where crop storage of a new field could sometimes be built on top of an existing field.
  • Fixed an issue where saving the game after a late planting in a crop field and then loading could cause the harvest to be missed.
  • Fixed an issue where dying farmers would not get correctly subtracted from Crop Field worker totals.
  • Fixed an issue where expanding a field would zero out weed and rock levels.
  • Fixed an issue where icons over unusually-shaped expanded crop fields would appear offset from the crop field.
  • Fixed an issue where Breweries would display the "No Entertainment" icon. Sorry, brewery tours are permanently cancelled.
  • Fixed an issue where work areas sometimes do not initialize after loading unless a building with a work area is selected first.
  • Fixed an issue where Flatten Tool would deselect resources for Harvest, which can potentially block a build site from ever getting constructed.
  • Fixed an issue where the game rarely began with less villagers than intended.
  • Fixed an issue where fruit trees could cause fertility in the area to drop when planted near wetlands.
  • Fixed an issue where tier 1 Wells would not display low water warnings.
  • Fixed an issue where building icons could be used to select a building mid-upgrade, mid-fire, etc.
  • Fixed an issue where non-forager items could be stored at Forager Shacks.
  • Fixed an issue where traveling merchants arriving at the Trading Post would sometimes immediately leave.
  • Fixed an issue where buying/selling resources at the Trading Post while a gold transfer was in progress would cause the gold amounts to shift, potentially resulting in 0 gold in the town's storage and all of it moving to the Trading Post every month.
  • Fixed an issue where buying and selling resources back and forth in the Trading Post would cause the storage limit to increase for that resource.
  • Fixed an issue where the Trading Post merchant has arrived icon would remain after all traveling merchants have left.
  • Fixed an issue where rubble from certain buildings would not block construction of new buildings on top of them.
  • Fixed an issue where build sites for buildings/roads could become blocked by new tree growth, preventing their construction.
  • Fixed an issue where expanding a field would 0 out its weed and rock levels.
  • Fixed an issue where flattening terrain could cause buildings to rotate off the placement grid.
  • Fixed an issue where Root Vegetables and Grain stored in a Barn could block other Production buildings (ex. Preservist Building).
  • Fixed an issue where Hunter Cabins and Forager Shacks would excessively warn of no resources in their work areas.

AI:

  • Builders now distribute build tasks more intelligently. This means that if a combination of roads/buildings/walls/upkeep construction occurs at the same time, builders will distribute themselves throughout these jobs until they are all completed.
  • Likewise, builders are now more efficient about handling road and wall construction sites, treating them as multiple build tasks rather than one large task that could sometimes end up with just one builder. This should result in roads and walls, and their respective upgrades, being built much faster than before.
  • Villagers now favor housing that is close to their work when selecting shelters.
  • Villagers now prioritize finishing their tasks over dropping what they are doing to do non-critical priorities such as stocking shelter. This change prevents villagers regularly dropping items on the ground and not finishing a job they were in the middle of.
  • Villagers now react to fires more intelligently, with only nearby villagers responding to a fire and then only the number necessary to put it out. In addition, villagers no longer drop water buckets all over the place. Consequently, water can no longer be stored in Storehouses or Storage Carts as that is no longer necessary.
  • Villagers that work in production buildings now prioritize storage over items dropped on the ground. This means no more running across the map to pick up a couple logs when there's a stockpile across the street. Cleaning up item piles remains the role of Laborers.
  • Fixed an issue with Grocers not stocking shelters in their work area. Grocers now also stock all essentials in their Market more effectively and keep shelters stocked so that villagers do not have to as often or at all.
  • Fixed an issue with laborers not correctly prioritizing soil mixture tasks. Previously, laborers would score soil mixture very low, resulting in the tasks almost never getting done.

Game:

  • Professions Window settings are now saved between sessions, rather than refilling workers to max on load.
  • Improved the notifications for when raiders arrive/leave to be much more accurate.
  • Increased the intensity of the Flatten Tool.
  • Cows can now graze on fields, improving their fertility. Grazing on crops provides good fodder, but the cows also eat part of the harvest. Clover provides the best fodder bonus.
  • Adjusted Entertainment requirements to make villager entertainment happiness easier to manage.
  • Happiness bonuses can now exceed 100%. Maintaining high happiness thus confers additional benefits.
  • Storage building windows (storehouse, stockyard, etc) now have checkboxes to select/unselect entire categories of items.
  • The Wall Tool now has a priority option.
  • Placing buildings that impact desirability now also shows the difference in desirability in addition to the total.
  • Adjusted desirability overlay to better reflect desirability values.
  • Removed 100 cap on Builder profession.
  • All video options now have tooltips.

Buildings:

  • Condemned buildings can now be salvaged and relocated.
  • Relocating a building that requires upkeep, or a condemned building, now also costs the materials required to repair them. The relocated structure is then restored to 100% repaired status.
  • Palisade and Fortified Walls have been moved to the Defenses category. The Walls and Roads category has been renamed to Roads and Fencing.
  • Many production buildings now support more workers in exchange for slower production rates. This offers a more granular control over how fast various resources are generated and consumed.
  • Increased Service cost of many service buildings.
  • Increased the upgrade cost of many production buildings and decorations.
  • Reduced taxes generated by tier 3 and 4 shelters.
  • Increased construction cost of Statues.
  • Increased construction cost of the Cheesemaker.
  • Milking is now enabled by default in Barns. The milking toggle has been removed. Disabling milking had no functional advantage and was a remnant of an old barn mechanic that had been removed.
  • Barns now generate waste based on number of cows during winter, which can be collected by Nightsoil Collectors to generate compost. Be aware that waste accumulating can deteriorate the health of the herd!
  • Upgrading a Barn to tier 2 now resets the herd size to 20 rather than maintaining the values set at tier 1.
  • Hunter Cabins, Forager Shacks, Fishing Shacks and Lookout Towers no longer count towards taxes for Markets.
  • Foundry/Smeltery now produces Gold Ingots more slowly.
  • Fieldstone Wall has been renamed to Fieldstone Fence. Now requires tier 2 to build.
  • Trading Post window now returns to the top when reopened, rather than remembering scroll position from previous viewings.
  • For performance reasons, Small Plazas no longer generate desirability. If you had shelters that depended on them to reach desirability thresholds, it may cause those homes to be at risk of abandonment. This is the price of paving over the frontier!
  • Fixed an issue where the Watch Tower had a smaller line of sight radius than the Lookout Tower.

Resources:

  • Cows now reproduce more slowly and generate less meat when butchered. Barns OP.
  • Increased time it takes to consume Luxury goods in homes, but reduced the gold they generated per month in taxes. This in turn makes it easier to maintain luxury happiness while the total gold gained from taxes per luxury item remains roughly the same.

Combat:

  • Increased raider spawns on Vanquisher difficulty and reduced raid difficulty on Pioneer and Trailblazer difficulty.

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.