(If you haven’t seen it yet, get yourself up to steam on the scuttlebutt surrounding Clockwork Empires with the PC Gamer preview: Clockwork Empires: a preview of Gaslamp Games’ Lovecraft-laden steampunk city-builder).
The good people at PC Gamer were also brave enough to interview the Gaslamp partners on the subject of Clockwork Empires: Interview: Gaslamp Games’ mad, incredible vision for Clockwork Empires
Various developers have been spotted on Clockwork Empires threads on the Bay 12 forums, Quarter to Three forums, and the SomethingAwful forums to answer your Burning Questions. Delighted minds are encouraged to round up the best responses and post them somewhere so we don’t have to.
Q. When is it coming out?
A. Not for a while yet. 2013 should be a good year.
Q. Will Clockwork Empires be released for Windows, Mac, and Linux?
A. No. Those are renders built from game assets we have already created but they are not being displayed in the game engine for those images. The final game engine is going to look similar to that; we’ve built a fairly standard deferred renderer, with PCF shadows, screenspace ambient occlusion, dynamic lighting, and [technical words] to bring things to life!
We’ll have screenshots as soon as we feel happy having screenshots. We’re pretty close, but we went with renders in order to hit PC Gamer’s print deadline.
Q. You’re doomed! Doomed, I say! How will you ever hope to survive?
A. That’s not a question.
Q. How far along are you in the programming side of things?
A. Pretty good, actually. (And that IS a question.) We’ve got most of the rendering done, most of the backend stuff done, a first version of the netcode, and an AI layer that is busy running around the map harvesting berries and gathering plants. The procedural building stuff works, although we’re still debugging the odd case where a roof suddenly decides to explode for no good reason. (Still, at least it’s consistent.) The focus at this point, moving forward, is two-fold: integrating the stuff from the multicore CPU people, and attacking the hideous mound of gameplay and AI.
Q. Can we Pre-order/Kickstart/Throw money at you?
A. We have no plans to do pre-orders or crowdsource funding or anything like that. The plan is to make the game, then sell it to people.
Q. How much will Clockwork Empires cost?
A. More than Dungeons of Dredmor.
Q. Does that lady soldier have a beard?
A. In this case, no, that isn’t a lady. But one shouldn’t discount the possibility of false beards making a fashion come-back! Anyway, every character type in Clockwork Empires is egalitarian.
Except the Queen.
Q. Quad-core CPU, are you insane?
A. Yes, but not for this reason. Somewhat. But hear us out: we’re not targeting today’s machines, we’re targeting what will hopefully be the norm in late 2013. This is in keeping with what is generally perceived to be the flow of computer hardware; we’re moving away from faster single-core machines as we smack into Moore’s Law, and are now hitting a new era where CPU manufacturers will start competing by putting more and more CPU cores on a single die.
Because we’re running a very complex simulation, we want to avoid the problem that Other Simulation Games have where the action chokes down; to do this, we’re trying to be forward-looking. Hence, our collaboration with the good folks at Simon Fraser University. Expect to see a lot more of this in the PC space as the next generation of consoles comes out, and the major manufacturers start shipping consoles with quad-core CPUs.
Theoretically, the game will limp along on dual cores just fine, but you may suffer a “Sub-Optimal Experience.”
Oh, I suppose we could show just a little bit more. But you have to promise to be good.
Now that we’ve announced this thing we’re very much looking forward to being able to talk openly about development of Clockwork Empires on our blog. Expect things to start picking up, especially after we’re done with all the PAX madness.
Oh, yeah. By the way, we’ll be at PAX in the Indie Megabooth. Come by, say hello, and play some Dungeons of Dredmor!