Clockwork Empires: Earliest Access

At long last, we are pleased to announce that Clockwork Empires has hit what we are calling Earliest Access – it launches on Friday July 18th, and you can buy it now! Earlier than Early Access, we are continuing our legacy of innovation by daring to release Earlier than any other Early Access developer.


So what is this? This is, in fact, the Early Access for Early Access. It’s like Inception.

Buying a copy of the Earliest Access build will get you a Steam key, which you can then use to play Clockwork Empires. Your Earliest Access will be upgraded to a copy of the Steam Early Access version when we launch it in August; you will also, subsequently, get the finished game when it’s done.

An overview of the current status of the Clockwork Empires project as a whole can be found here, and we will be regularly updating that page at the same time as the major game content updates so you can see how far along we are.

We will also of course continue to update our development blog, send update emails to people on the mailing list that want them, tweet about development here, and participate in forum discussions here.

Why “Earliest Access”?

Earliest Access is our opportunity to take our testing to a larger scale than our internal testing while retaining as much of our ability to communicate directly with fans as possible.  The game needs more hardware compatibility testing, large-scale bug hunting, and some more UI iteration before we’re ready for Steam.  Also some fun stuff will be added through the process because we can’t help ourselves.

Earliest Access will last about a month, at which point we will launch on Steam Early Access sometime in August.  (We’ll be announcing the actual date of the Steam Early Access release near the end of July.)

Steam Early Access will be the final stage of evolution before the game explodes out of its cocoon.  We will be releasing monthly content updates as well as hotfixes when necessary, implementing the remaining content, and checking off the features that will make the game “complete”.  We cannot absolutely guarantee a final release date but our plan is to set it “when the content that we’ve talked about is in the game”.  As an informed guess I’d estimate that this will take roughly 9-12 months from now. (Both of these numbers are, conveniently, divisible by 3.)

When Early Access first became an option, we honestly had our doubts about the process.  Some games have had issues with early access, and some have been tremendously successful both for the developers and the fans.  What has become apparent is that it is a very powerful choice for games and developers that can take advantage of the opportunities.  It may be the single best way to connect with the games that you’re interested in playing before they’re released, and simultaneously the best way for us to hear you.  We are going to do our best to learn the lessons of those who have gone before us, and get your help in making Clockwork Empires as awesome as humanly* possible.

Earliest Access is available for purchase at and will be available to play on Friday, July 18th.

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84 Responses to “Clockwork Empires: Earliest Access”

  1. Jumblejon says:

    Well, this is the greatest news I’ve had in life to date

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  2. Mark says:

    Why can I only buy with paypal or amazon? Argh!

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    • DrSleepless says:

      You can buy with a regular debit or credit card, you don’t need a paypal account. Just click on paypal and select pay with credit/debit on the next screen. I just did, it worked fine. I don’t have a paypal account.

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  3. Soup says:

    I have to say I’m surprised at the price. Is this the planned release price or will it be going down before then?

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    • We’re only releasing details for earliest access so far. The future is shrouded in the mists of uncertainty.

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    • Six5thsPolish says:

      I agree that the price is a little steep for early/earliest/unfinished access. I think you’ll find Steam customers very wary of a EA game priced like this. I thought the accepted model was to sell the unfinished game at a discounted price, and then charge full for the finished product. I realize all dev teams invest a lot of low/no pay time before any revenue is realized, but a game and it’s update schedule have to be accepted by the gaming community before justifying going above $20-$25 USD. Just look at the Top Sellers list for EA, and try to honestly compare yourselves to similar titles.

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  4. Fade Manley says:

    Is early/earliest access going to include any Mac support?

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    • Earliest access does not include Mac support. It’s just not quite where we want it to be. We’re hoping to have it ready for Early Access in August, but we can’t promise it.

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      • Fade Manley says:

        Alas! But, hey, getting eventual Mac support is more than I can usually hope for, so I will not complain.

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        • Micah J Best says:

          Yeah — I can confirm that the Mac version is nowhere near vaporware. I wrote a good chunk of the engine in Xcode. In fact it’s running on my other monitor right now.

          Almost all of the issues are graphical — you really wouldn’t want to try to play it right now (if you subscribe to our mailing list there were some screen shots of the strange otherworldly horror that is the Mac graphics) . But with my allergy to all things Windows I’ve been pushing to make sure that the Mac build stays current from day 1.

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  5. lordcooper says:

    Is it Friday yet?

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  6. Unforked says:

    Joyous! I wasn’t expecting any release until at least August.

    You should also innovate a “Latest Access” for the very last group of people to ever buy the game (sometime in the distant future of course). Not sure how that would work, but you’ll figure it out I’m sure.

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  7. gaaaaaarrrreetttt says:


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  8. Mark says:

    1. Sees email.
    2. Spends money.
    3. The hell? Why can’t I download it yet?
    4. Sees email *again*.
    5. Friday?! Noooo!

    Oh well. I expect I’ll live.


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  9. Unforked says:

    I just noticed Windows 7 in the minimum requirements. Is Vista definitely not supported?

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  10. Marcin says:

    Is it Steam only? No standalone downloadable?

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    • Currently it is steam only.

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      • Marcin says:


        Only reason I ask is that I accidentally blew up my Steam account. Fortunately, I am fully capable of waiting. 🙂

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      • The Hedonist says:

        I will take from your comment that it will be available later as a standalone, I despise
        big brother distribution like steam,so that’s a nogo for me hope the stand-alone isn’t
        to far in the future! I fyou have a time-frame please drop target date..
        I wont hold you to it….

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  11. Einacio says:

    the price tag hurts, but i’m on and happy

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  12. Laurence Oliphant says:

    I just take me money…
    …and throw them in my monitor!

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  13. Vegard says:

    Just bought 🙂 I trust the game will be great. (the pressure is on :p

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  14. Ryland says:

    Hurrah! Aaand…bought. Can’t wait to get my hands covered in fungus and machine oil, look forward to helping you guys find every way to crash. For the Empire!

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  15. dent308 says:

    Enlisting today!

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  16. Godwin says:

    Good luck and enjoy!

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  17. Jumblejon says:

    What is the current (or non-existent?) state of multiplayer?

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    • Non-existant. We’ve tested it internally in house, but it’s not ready for prime time.

      Probably one or two patches after Steam EA launches.

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      • Ergh. Okay, reading this I realized it’s unclear. I’ll clarify.

        Multiplayer: we have tested networked gameplay in house; it works pretty well over the LAN, although things like connection hiccups or whatever will bring it down faster than you can say “Selenian Fungus.” We also don’t have matchmaking yet, or NAT punching, although Ryan is doing dark magic to provide these things. As such, it won’t be in Earliest Access, it probably won’t be in Early Access (although miracles do happen), and it likely will be between one and two patches after Steam Early Access launches. A huge amount of work has been done on this; none of it is player-visible yet.

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        • Jumblejon says:

          Thanks for the update! Great to always have devs who engage the community 🙂 I know I will be hard-pressed to convince friends to join in until the multiplayer launches but I can’t wait to try this out on my own. Glad to hear it won’t be too terribly long after early access we may see the first iterations.

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      • Thrax says:

        I must admit I was a tad worried when I first saw Each, I figured they couldn’t have bought your company yet. Then I realized my mistake and the shame. Early access is not the same as Electronic Arts…

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  18. Wootah says:

    OH those minimum requirements! My Core 2 Duo isn’t going to make it is it? Whoa is me. Guess I am going to build a computer just for this game. Alas my indie gaming rig has lasted for 5 years playing all the indie games, but CE is forcing me to upgrade!

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  19. Josiah says:

    I have a Mac with a Windows 7 partition so I want to throw money at you now, but my Mac is my more used system. If I buy it now with Windows would I have to pay again for the Mac version when it comes out?

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  20. Oliver Nourish says:

    I love that cat!

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  21. Josiah says:

    Woot! Throwing money! Standby!

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  22. Lindsay says:

    Best tags, or best tags?

    I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for Inception references. So I’m biased.

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  23. Marin says:

    Looking forward to seeing the game! Is there any ETA on the exact time the game will become available on Friday?

    I would like to take advantage of the Youtube search and be the first to make a video. #shameless

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  24. Pevs86 says:

    Never have I bought something so quickly.

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  25. Martinez says:

    AWESOME Bring It On!!!

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  26. Jerem84 says:

    I’ve been looking forward to seeing this game released… but $29 dollars?? To test the game for you?? I can’t afford it at that price, and I certainly can’t afford to do work for you at that price. Unfortunate. 🙁

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    • Thanks for the feedback – we’ll work as hard as we can to make it as compelling a choice as possible for when the game IS released 🙂

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      • Davud says:

        Will there be a set time where the price might drop? 30$ isn’t exactly a deal-breaker, but this early in development it’s definitely a deterrent. Can’t wait to see how this turns out though!

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    • Marin says:

      What work? You get the game to support the developers and see the game get developed first hand.

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  27. Victor says:

    So I live in Australia, which means it’s going to be Friday much earlier here than in, say, California. Actually, Friday is only 16.5 hours away for me. My initial thought is to skip work tomorrow, but I have a feeling that I won’t really have access until Saturday.

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  28. Ian says:

    Will the Earliest Access game be moddable in anyway? LUA files open to editing or some such?

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  29. JC says:

    Older blog posts said there would be no always-online requirement; does this mean that a non-Steam version will come later in development, or does Gaslamp not consider Steam to be “always online”?

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    • We’ve never used steam for DRM. If you have Dredmor, for example, you can run the game from inside your steam file directory without steam running.

      That said, steam is only *currently* the only way to get Clockwork Empires!

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      • Satoru says:

        It would be nice with the mods in Clockwork Empires if the mod structure was consistent between the Steamworks and non-Steamworks versions.

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      • JC says:

        What if another auto-update system appeared in your gift box one day? 🙂

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  30. Daniel Siegmann says:

    Boo! Guess you’ll be waiting a little longer to get my money. 😛

    Will you make another announcement via the email list when the Mac / Linux versions are available?

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  31. eides says:

    Now awaiting the Friday server crash as everyone tries to download at once 😛
    Fairly priced; want to see Gaslamp succeed and keep making great games, and subcutaneous laudanum injections can’t be cheap*

    *the author does not endorse laudanum abuse, subcutaneous or otherwise

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  32. Laurence Oliphant says:

    So, can I make a local bloodbath in my settlement due to cat of one settler killed by accident?

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  33. Hultaren says:

    29,99 Amerika money? You my good gentlemän have a deal! Lars, Inga, sven! Prepare the lutefisk, we’re playing Clockwork Empires

    With love from Sweden XöXöXöXö

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    • Plasson says:


      It’s fortunate for us that games are still being sold at a early 90’s (possibly earlier still) pricepoint

      Hell, when I go for lunch I can easily spend the equivelant of 30usd , if I’m sufficiently hungry. and that’s 5 times a week 😛

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      • Hultaren says:

        My thought was: hmmm, 2 beers, or FREAKING CLOCKWORK EMPIRES…. Fudge yeah i choose Clockwork Empires.

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  34. Olivier Z says:

    Great news, I have been following your progress on SteamDB for Linux.

    Good to know that support for Linux is coming soon.

    You may be the only game I will buy on release. (And that is saying something, as I think that I have bought over 150 games this year)

    I know your pricing has not been fixed, 30 dollars is a lot of money, but fair game I suppose for Early Access. $20 dollars is a sweet price point for a game like yours once it is out officially, but I am sure you could get away with selling it for more.

    For the Empire!

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  35. Akuma says:

    I now have a powerful and UNEXPLAINABLE urge to take Friday off.

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  36. Tobias Peel says:

    is there any news on how will the codes be delivered and when on friday

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  37. Destroyer of brutals says:

    Just for clarification If you don’t mind; When on friday can I look forwards to start enjoying enjoying this fine game? In the middle of the night just after Thursday ends? Normal office hours?
    It’s simply a matter of answering the age-old question “Do I stay up and wait for the release or do I go to sleep and wake up in time for the release?”

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  38. Maurice says:

    Well I know what I’m buying tomorrow for myself for my birthday 🙂 I will buy this early because I want to support you guys to make an awesome game.

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  39. leonard says:

    any time frame on friday when the game goes live to download?

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