We will be at GDC next week, showing Clockwork Empires to people. How does this impact your life, you ask? First, there will be a Flurry of Exciting Things for you to read. Second, next week’s blog post will probably be more pictures of Sean drinking beet juice or something. Third, we are hard at work adding polish and spit to various parts of the game in order to get it ready to the press. This spit will eventually be transferred to you, the customers. Fourth, this is a terrible metaphor.
This is the paradoxical nature of game development: trying to finish a game, while making your PR department happy. One of the reasons why we have been writing about fungus, querns, and whatever the heck else people are writing about is because we have promised that the Rites of Revelation can be performed by various Reporter-Type Entities from Beyond the Stars. Once things are Revealed, according to the Cosmic Prophecies, we will let you know where you may find these revelations! In the mean time, we shall repeat the ancient chant of our people: “Man, PR is weird.”
There are, however, some exciting Things that have shown up on the programming side of the world. We can tell you about these things! We are now at Revision 12 of pre-alpha testing, for instance, and the game has improved substantially. Some milestones on this front include having in-office testers playing the game, seeing where they get stuck, and fixing these things; and, as of today, expanding our tester pool from our main six testers to a supporting cast consisting of other developers and friends. Next stop: random people from the Internet.
We haven’t actually done a technical status update since December, I guess? So it’s been awhile. Let’s look at some stuff.
Loading bay doors! They’re in. Doors are now cutting holes correctly in buildings again, from both sides, robustly, with borders on everything. There are a few issues with the building code still, and I’m sure somebody is going to manifest an Exploding House in the testing pool any day now, but I’m feeling better already.
We have a complete, and exciting, set of starting workshops, manufacturing everything from Rough Stone Bricks (Extra Rough) to Jars of Fungus (Pickled). Playing the game at this point to test features now requires us to actually build workshops, and this has lead to much chaos involving pathfinding, people getting stuck, and the entire colony getting stuck trying to install the same module and failing due to a pathfinding error.
We unified overseers and artisans. Now, an overseer is somebody who does not have a workshop; if a workshop is available, and an overseer is available, the overseer will claim the workshop and will become an artisan. If an artisan does not have a workshop, they will become an overseer again. (There are plans to make people grumpy about switching jobs, and to have people assigned correctly to workshops depending on their skill sets, but for now it’s all basically Communism.)
We have now replaced the 2×2 lower class bed with the 1×2 cot, in order to cram more workers into communal squalor. Daniel has already determined the optimum building configurations for the lower class (sticking everybody in military style barracks) and middle class housing (which looks suspiciously like a studio apartment in Vancouver.)
Replays! So this is cool. Recall that our game uses deterministic simulation, not synchronized with the game timer, in order to support networking. In order to track down some of our nastier bugs, Micah has added the ability to record, and then replay, a player’s entire game. So far this has proven to be Quite Useful.
Night! This happens.
And, as previously noted, a large collection of work has been done that we simply can’t talk about because it must be put into the hands of the Reporters. Once it is in the hands of the Reporters, we will tell you. And then you can increase the circulation of the Magazines, and thus the great circle of PR continues.
If anybody wants me, I’m smearing white paint on David’s face while muttering “Simba.”