Ripe for Harvest! (And the CE rev30 Update)

Upcoming “Early Access” Launch of Clockwork Empires

On Friday, August 15th Gaslamp Games is going to be launching Clockwork Empires on Steam Early Access. We’ve been hard at work stoking the boilers and polishing the cogs for the big day. If I may be so bold: the game receives noticeable jumps in quality as each patch is released and we’re pleased with how things are coming along.

We will, by the way, be updating the Clockwork Empires: Development Progress page alongside the Steam launch so you can follow along with the overview of project progress as we transition from “Earliest” to “Early” Access. (Speaking of, the latest Clockwork Empires update patch notes can be found at the bottom of this post.)

Around here, it’s not just knife-fights and musical numbers – sometimes we even do some game design! Let’s talk about what people really play Clockwork Empires for: cabbage.

Farming Overhaul

That's no pumpkin!

(For our sharp-eyed readers: Can you find the pumpkin that isn’t a pumpkin?)

No, this is about farming actually. Farming got an overhaul and I’m going to talk about it.

Before the change, farming worked like this:

  1. Plant crops in farm plot
  2. Wait a long time until crops are fully grown
  3. Harvest crops

Which is pretty much the essence of farming as I see it from the standpoint of someone who isn’t a farmer, but there’s not a lot going on there from a gameplay perspective. A player could plausibly  plant a huge number of fields and just let them grow happily away until they could be harvested (and they would wait patiently to be harvested for as long as you wanted). There’s not a lot of conflict of choices here. The only limitation is labour available to initiate farming and labour available, down the line, to harvest farming — and due to a quirk of how harvest jobs were created, any colonist would take on a harvesting job, not just farmers.

Besides, people are growing too many damn cabbage. Please see Exhibits A and B posted by player ‘Ghin’ on the forum:

I will note also, without judgement, that searching for "cabbage" in the forum yields eight pages of results.

I will note also, without judgement, that searching for “cabbage” in the forum yields eight pages of results.

In the last patch I snuck in a little thing where fishpeople will smash up your crops, given the chance, which was fairly rewarding. But it’s going to take more than that to quell this unnatural cabbagery!

So: farming, like any project in the game, should require a player to have to make a choice about how to allocate labour. If they fail to do so well, then there are consequences. And it should look good while doing all of this: we’ve been sitting on some more models of crops in various stages of growth and now is a good time to sneak them into the game.

Crops were set up internally to use a concept of growth stages, they just didn’t have any impact on the mechanics and weren’t timed in such a way that they gave players signals about whether they were doing a good job or not. So let’s require a “tend crops” job be performed at each stage of growth, and it must be performed within a certain time limit or the crop will be “spoiled”. Let’s give the crops a tooltip while we’re at it so the player can see what’s going on if they need more information. Now here’s how it works:

  1. Plant crops in farm plot
  2. Wait until next growth stage timer triggers
  3. – this creates the “tend crops” job
  4. If job is not performed within period equal to the growth stage trigger timer, become spoiled
  5. If job is performed within the allotted time, go to next growth stage and start the next time
  6. (repeat growth stage / tending cycle until reaching the harvest stage)
  7. Harvest crops

The rules are simple, but this changes the game. Having more labour set to farming will reward you with faster growing crops because you will catch the “tend crops” job near the start of the timer rather than the end. The consequence for not having enough famers is spoiled crops, thus reduced output. And now we have a framework for adding crops that grow faster vs. slower and require more vs. less work, so what you choose to grow can be an important trade-off. (It isn’t yet, but it’s trivial to implement by changing a few numbers in the crop definitions.)

Plus, fishpeople will still mess up your cabbage if you’re not careful. And with the new “Fishpeople Attack!” event, they’ll be coming for your crops, so watch out!

Stay out of my cabbage, fishperson!

Farming is a serious a deadly business.

The Intel Situation

After fighting with this for a couple of weeks, we have been reluctantly forced to conclude that we cannot officially support the Intel HD3000 and HD4000 at this time. The issues are two fold: first, they’re simply not very well written OpenGL drivers; second, as far as we can tell, different laptop manufacturers will not actually let you install the most recent upgrades for their software, which means that we have no way of guaranteeing that your machine has an OpenGL driver that has been written in, er, the last two years.

If you have an Intel HD3000 or HD4000 card and have previously bought the earliest access, please contact us and we will sort you out. We still support the most recent generation of Intel GPUs (the Iris Pro and related parts); these are actually surprisingly good for discrete GPUs.  We apologize for taking so long with this.

Saves

Still in progress, but we are now able to save a game, load it, and have it run for a few frames without crashing (and just missing anything in any of the menus.) The end is in sight!

Changelog for Clockwork Empires: Earliest Access rev30

Let’s try something new and give the changelog categories.

Construction/Buildings:

  • FIXED: various bugs in the module renovation screen: ghost modules will now be moved correctly, modules will now be moved correctly from place to place, etc.
  • FIXED: Doors created in module placer will now correctly punch holes in the walls
  • FIXED: Players can no longer construct farms on top of farms, buildings on top of buildings, farms on top of buildings, etc.
  • FIXED: scroll bar now appears in module renovation screen
  • changed glow effect for under-construction modules
  • Required modules now actually required to designate construction of a building.
  • Done button on the construct building menu is now grayed out when it cannot be used (i.e., when no footprint has been placed or when required modules have not yet been placed.)

Other UI/UX:

  • Left-clicking on an alert now sends you to the source of the alert, if possible. Right-clicking the alert clears it.
  • Sparkles will shoot up whenever a resource node is discovered from the fog of war. (#historicallyaccurate)
  • updated commodity icons from commodity edb (+ added grenade launcher icon, finally)

Farming:

  • FIXED: crops destroyed by fishpeople will clear up their squares with parent farm now (were stuck flagged as occupied before)
  • Giant farming overhaul performed!
  • crops require tending at various stages of growth, or they’ll spoil
  • spoiled crops must be cleared before they can be replanted
  • added some new crop art assets
  • farms are smarter about their jobs (will keep harvest jobs in the farm zone assignment rather than giving them to everyone, etc)
  • “till soil” now has some sfx and pfx
  • adjusted colour of cabbage sprouts
  • up-sized pumpkin plants

Fishpeople:

  • added Fishpeople diversity (they now come in different colours)
  • Fishpeople attack event added (the event popup is just to alert the player, fishpeople are spawned regardless of whether they read the event); Lots of things make fishpeople angry, and if they’re angry enough they will attack you. The more anger, the more attackers.
  • when a Fishperson is shot, he or she will interrupt his or her current activity & make him or her angry and attack land-humans in a larger radius than before
  • Fishpeople will spawn along the shore nears their eggs, not anywhere on the map
  • harvesting caviar will cause more Fishpeople attack events

Characters / Memories:

  • Removed a few recursive emotions/memories (E.g. “I felt angry recently. THIS MAKES ME ANGRY”)
  • Poets will occasionally read their poetry to others. Decent poetry will make people feel tranquil. Decent poetry is relatively rare.
  • New “feeling angry” emote animation replacing the old one. The old one will eventually be put back in as a reaction to conversation.
  • FIXED: Drinking. Drinking booze will (generally) settle down strong emotions but cause tiredness. More effects to come.
  • FIXED: interrupted drinking will no longer semi-permanently attach whisky bottles to people’s backs (Drinks drop properly when drinker is interrupted, tools are stowed properly.)
  • FIXED: Characters should always, always have 3 traits now
  • People now correctly pick up, drop corpses for burial.
  • A huge number of jobs are now more or less desirable based on character traits. We’ll see how much insanity this causes.
  • Inspecting machinery job now plays an animation.
  • Various new memories added to characters

Nature Harvesting:

  • various nature harvestable cleanups performed:
  • > “Clear Sapling” and “Clear Stump” are uniquely named jobs now (for the click & drag orders)
  • > “Clear Object” job generally renamed to “Clear Terrain”
  • > jobs set via click & drag won’t perform viral propagation
  • random foragable dropped airship crates are scattered on map

Stockpiles:

  • Stockpile edge pieces now in place.
  • added a small ‘wander’ to end of stockpile return jobs so people wouldn’t stockpile themselves in neat rows

Workshops:

  • Workshop jobs no longer reorder themselves in the menu. Jobs at the top of the queue are prioritized, but if they cannot be done, the work crew will attempt to perform subsequent jobs until they find one that can be completed.
  • Workshop jobs no longer temporarily appear and disappear from the Jobs tab. They will now only appear when the job can actually be performed.
  • added a cheaper, less effective “Stone Oven” to the kitchen. It is built with stone blocks.
  • “standing desk” module is optional for all workshops
25 Comments

25 Responses to “Ripe for Harvest! (And the CE rev30 Update)”

  1. Tleno says:

    Ouch, sucks to me with my, apparently, Intel HD4000… is it impossible to support the thing just now and it will be fixed eventually, or this most likely won’t be resolved ever?

    { reply }
    • Not literally impossible, but it’s sufficiently expensive that we can’t commit to it. If you have a HD4000, I would advise against buying the game expecting it in the future.

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      • Tleno says:

        Let’s just hope somebody will release an unofficial compatibility patch eventually, at least 🙂

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      • Rory Harper says:

        Wow, this is spectacularly awful.

        I don’t know what to say without making myself unwelcome.

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        • Shadow says:

          They really can’t be blamed for not spending a disproportionate amount of resources to support a poorly maintained, very low-end, integrated graphics card.

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        • Spencer Joel says:

          People can’t be this up in arms over dated laptop cards can they? If you’re running an Intel HD3000 or HD4000… you need to upgrade. It’s understood not everyone can run a moderately powerful GTX850M on a laptop. But at LEAST an HD4400!

          Or just buy a desktop and save yourself the headache of all this severely restricted laptop tech.

          Great updates. I’m quite pleased to see where this is going. Glad to have invested. I admit I didn’t play tons of Dungeons of Dredmor due to learning curve but the settings and vibe of this have me.

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          • Kaidelong says:

            I use an HD4000 on my desktop computer. It runs all the games I care to play fine; and many games I don’t care much about playing but have played like EVE Online and Unreal Tournament 3 run smoothly. If the hardware is weak, it’s still good enough for a game like Clockwork Empires. Right now I don’t care to play Clockwork Empires, it performs too poorly. On the plus side, I am not getting bad graphical artefacts, but my console.log does show a big cascade of shader errors (was going to work up a report on this next week after I had settled in from my move) and if CE was released in the state it is now I would be disappointed by its performance being so bad. Not sure if I still should now with the announcement that Intel HD graphics is no longer supported, but I guess if I’m not told off I will anyway. I guess I need to send that email.

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        • I really do wish we could accommodate everyone, we just don’t have the resources for it. As I mentioned in a forum post about this, if you’ve already purchased the game and this affects you, please email us!

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          • Tleno says:

            By the way, um, any ways to check out whether game is playable on your Intel HD 4000 or it’s unbearable and won’t work? I’m kinda hesitant to pirate it even for compatibility check reasons.

            { reply }
            • I can’t think of a way to answer this without saying something I probably shouldn’t, other than to say, no, there is currently no way to know. If we could come up with a way to say “these ones work and these ones don’t, we wouldn’t have this problem 🙁

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  2. ancusohm says:

    Random question, sorry if it’s been asked before.

    Will fishpeople ever do anything other than occasionally raid the colony? For example, could some colony trade with the fishpeople (assuming that relations are good)?

    { reply }
  3. Daniel F says:

    How long did it take to set up a scene with a fishperson head sticking up out of a pumpkin patch? 😀

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  4. Hultaren says:

    Hmmm.. i would really have hoped to see that save games fix…. Like… really.

    Oh well, I guess I have to *shrugs* deal with real life

    { reply }
  5. Mike says:

    One of the tags is missing “all the way”. I am disappointed.

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  6. KKC says:

    Cabbage Fields Forever

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  7. Nick says:

    So does this mean that on osx the hd4000 will not be supported too? if so you are cutting out a massive chunk of your potential buyers there 🙁

    { reply }
    • We’ll be looking at this before the Mac version is out, but what will probably happen is we’ll say “you can run it on This hardware or later with This OSX version or later. (This is obviously only for actual apple hardware with the HD4000, their weird hardware policies are actually beneficial here, for once.)

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      • Nick says:

        ah thats cool then, got worried as im stuck on a 2010 macbook pro with hd4000 til i can afford the newer retina model, thanks for the info 🙂

        (im guessing that osx updates automatically update the gfx drivers then)

        { reply }
        • Basically, yes, Apple is very, very picky about what drivers you can use on their hardware, and if you have a particular version of OSX, we know exactly what drivers you’re using (unless maybe you’ve done something very deliberate and very weird). Their approval process is generally much better than PC laptop vendors.

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  8. Simon says:

    Random thought: Fishperson blood that soaks into crops should have an effect on the crop and any meals created from em.

    { reply }
  9. Slick says:

    Really disappointed by the lack of support for Intel graphics

    If I’ve got an HD3000 with the latest driver would I be able to try the game and get a refund if it doesn’t work or has that ship sailed?

    { reply }
    • At this point, we can’t. Your chances aren’t great, and if it runs we won’t be optimizing it, so I’d advise against it. Thanks for asking, though, and I sincerely wish we could have accommodated you better.

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