It’s the Economy, Stupid (And Also The Building Creator)

My current push on Clockwork Empires right now – in addition to the usual horde of performance fixes, crash fixes, and save game fixes (in fact, save games are currently the purview of Mr. Micah J Best who is sorting through a list of long-standing issues as we speak!) – centers around two things:

  1. Creating player motivation to develop their settlement’s economy. You can produce things, but there is often not much reason for you to do so (unless those things are the precious life-giving foodstuffs which stand between Civilization and Cannibalism).
  2. Improving the process of placing modules. In particular:
  • In the most recent build, you cannot add modules to a building after the building is constructed, nor can you remove modules after a building is constructed to make room for new modules;
  • If you want to place a bunch of beds, you have to click on the bed icon, then click on the blueprint, then click on the bed icon again, then click on the blueprint again, and it’s all quite a lot of bother;
  • If you want to make five Middle Class Houses, and put beds, chairs and tables in each of them, you can’t put down three house blueprints, then all of the beds, then all of the chairs, then all of the tables;
  • Decor (as a category of objects you can place in buildings) is kind of buried so our colonists are deprived of lovely photographs, lanterns, and all the other junk used to decorate buildings.

As it happens, these two problems are interrelated, and this is what I am working on this week.

One of these things is not like the others.

One of these things is not like the others.

Broadly speaking, our task with the economy is to give players some things to do other than growing food that are necessary for gameplay and require infrastructure to be constructed. (You have very good reasons to make food already, as both common sense and a sordid history of poorly planned colonial ventures suggest. You may have noticed this while playing the game!) So right now you have little reason to build workshops or install modules other than for the sheer joy of it; this will be changing in Revision 32, although it may take us some fussing for us to get this to where it should be. The current plan going forward is as follows:

  1. Certain buildings will require certain types of material to construct (not just logs), dependent upon both the area of the building (in terms of tiles) and the perimeter of the building. In this manner, we may require certain advanced resources to be manufactured before you can build an advanced building to manufacture more advanced resources. This is Minecraft’s trick of building a tech tree without explicitly building a tech tree: you have to punch the tree to get the wood to mine the rock to make the table to make the iron to make the pickaxe to mine the other stuff …
  2. Modules, being complex machines being put to hard use, will now occasionally require repair. If damaged after time or use, characters will now allocate resources to repair them (a member of the workshop crew, or possibly just a roaming mechanic) comes by and repairs them, expending a commodity in the process.
  3. Ammunition! People will now require bullets to shoot. It is really important to have plenty of bullets. These come in exciting crates, and soldiers will need to restock their bullets after successfully putting bullets into a fishperson.
  4. Mr. Baumgart has happily given you a glorious disposable Commodity with which to defend your colony against outside intruders, to whit the Land-Mine. You’re welcome.
  5. Any sort of oven (be it stone, brick, iron, or made of gleaming copper steam-pipes) should suffice for a kitchen to be “complete”, plus any sort of door. In other words, we should define building completeness as “I contain modules with these tags”, rather than by “I contain a module called Lower Class Door and a module called Small Oven.” (Although, of course, requiring that specific module being placed may also be useful depending on the building.)
Guess where the landmines were set.

Guess where the landmines were set.

There is a large spate of “additional useful UI fixes” that have been filed in my TODO list of Doom in order to make all of this work. This includes manually assigning workshops to overseers and a general cleanup of the “who owns a workshop” logic which should fix some of the work stalling problems players have been having.

The module placement… well, it turns out that our two-step building creator didn’t work as well as hoped. We are therefore busting out modules and decor placement onto the main commands window as first-class citizens, as well as a category for “Special Structures” that will become available when you can unlock a Special Structure. (Mwa hah hah hah!) Module placement will now operate a little bit more like other games with modules, and the new loop for creating a building and modifying modules is as follows:

  1. Create a building. This places a foundation. The building will not be constructed until you have designated where the required modules (a door, etc.) will go.
  2. Click the “modules” button (or get automatically shoved in the right direction), which puts the game in module placement mode. Existing modules can be selected and moved about if need be; to create new modules, click a button and place them.
  3. Once the required modules are installed, the building will be constructed.
  4. At any time, you may re-enter the modules mode to move modules about on any building that needs it.
  5. There will also be some sort of a deletion button to schedule a module for dismantling in this interface. I haven’t decided if it will be a real trashcan, or simply “don’t click a module that exists in a building into a building, and we will just send it to the aether.”

As always, we will be pushing this to an experimental branch to test and refine it before we are happy with it and release it upon our unsuspecting public.

Posted in Clockwork Empires | Tagged , , , , , , ,

21 Responses to “It’s the Economy, Stupid (And Also The Building Creator)”

  1. Doug says:

    Can you make it so you can duplicate buildings you already have? Say if you need another house or something. Just place a copy of that rather than placing everything manually again.

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  2. owen says:

    I think we need a gun rack that would be cool or even give your men ranks

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    • Euel says:

      I agree with the gun racks, both for looking cool, and as a handy place to store weapons when the Fish-men come…

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  3. Maurizio says:

    Potreste creare un mostro della palude,un po’ piu’grosso dei fishpeople e piu’ resistente da abbattere,se non è troppo complicato e che sbilanci troppo il gioco,ciao grazie

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    • P-G says:

      Are you sure there are developers able to read Italian here?

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    • V says:

      Si potrebbe creare un mostro fuori dalla palude, un po ‘”piu’grosso di persone di pesce e altro” rottura resistente, se non è troppo complicato, e che squilibri il gioco, ciao grazie.

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  4. Jabberwok says:

    I assume moving modules would simply queue up the action, and require a worker to physically replace it?

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  5. Bruno says:

    Special REDACTED structures…sending garbage to the aether…GUNS…

    In my mind, this all comes to building pneumatic space cannons capable of safely disposing of occult phenomena to the moon, until it has to be repurposed to counter-invade the lunatic bat people. Plenty of cavorite on the moon, well-known fact.

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  6. breadloaf says:

    If you can, I’d like to have shift click for placing additional modules of the same time (ie. a bed doesn’t go away when you place one if you hold down shift).

    As for repairing modules, I can just picture work crews toiling away in the factories… as all the crops spoil. Then cannibalism.

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  7. ravenkk says:

    thanks for your work , but i need to ask you to either pitch the animal behavior as they do came to town any more, and
    there are no way to hunt other wise as rally solider don’t hunt.

    or Can we get a pig pen or cow pen or some sort of domesticate animal? that world solve the problem. you can make the eat wheat for balance.

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  8. ravenkk says:

    oh yes, just two more thing : plz add the ability to cancel order. and make the stock pile still work on the next time i load a save plz.

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  9. Sam Sharp says:

    I’m so happy that this is being looked at this week. It was only last week that I spent a few hours with the game and fairly quickly realised that I couldn’t edit buildings or the modules in them. It also crashed quite a few times but that’s to be expected.

    Will this also include being able to edit building footprints (i.e. if I want to make a building bigger to add new modules)?

    Love the game so far, keep up the good work!

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  10. Daniel F says:

    Thanks for the SMAC tag, Nicholas! Does my heart good. 😀

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  11. Boksi says:

    I know it’s supposed to be foreshortening, but the legs of those soldiers in the soldier icon look really funky. I mean, I can deal with a not-quite-rectangular bed or a slightly-lopsided table, but those legs make me want to wear dark robes and make offer blood sacrifices to the great Qr’ch’klth and I can’t be having with that sort of nonsense.

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  12. Karl says:

    Will we ever be allowed to build stone walls or anything resembling forts/barracks/yada yada to support troops?

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  13. Maurizio says:

    Unfortunately I can’t play well, too many crashes and game mechanics are not always working, a diamond still too rough, sometimes it crashes when loading, except when you are unable to set the buttons to move the map, you can’t delete the savegames, settlers tend not to carry out the work too easily, I happened to see implanted settlers stopped for no reason, blocked, I hope it goes better with the next patch, it is currently not playable but overall is a nice game with ideas, Hello and good job!

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  14. Alethea says:

    Sounds good. Hope we get some more defensive stuff like those mines to hold back the waves of fishmen. Livestock would be great eventually. And our chemistry lab of doom complete with mad scientists. And nitroglycerin, because there’s no way that will backfire (ha-ha). And pirates; air pirates. Martians would be fun, but that would probably be too much to ask (Sorry, Wells). And devastating pollution from our early industrial rambling. Because no resource game other than Anno has used self-pollution from base building as a challenge.

    Also, Cthulhu and 101 flavors of horrors for the cultists to worship, because Cultists need diversity and a random horrors to unleash so they aren’t predictable.

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  15. Samut says:

    Google says,

    “You could create a monster of the swamp, a little ‘piu’grosso of fishpeople and more’ resistant to break down, if it is not too complicated and that unbalances the game too, hello thanks.”

    So he’s asking for some swamp people, which would be tougher than the fish people. I like it.

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  16. hallucigenia says:

    Oh man. I love the idea of a pollution mechanic — water pollution from stuff like mining/refining ore, air pollution that increases with the number of smokestacks.

    Maybe this particular game isn’t the place for it, but I really would love to see this in a builder game someday.

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