Our next experimental build this month, Alpha 44A, marks the implementation of a system I’ve been wanting for a long time: Building Quality! What’s that? Well, let’s start at the beginning:
One of the fundamental game systems of Clockwork Empires is the ability to make customized buildings with floor plans of different shapes and work modules in different places. Up until now, however, the most material-efficient way to play has more or less been to build tiny ‘work/sleep closets’ that your colonists jam themselves into every day. We want there to be consequences for making your colonists work and sleep in such unfortunate conditions.
At the same time, we have a ton of decorative modules in the game but they weren’t really seeing use. Part of this, of course, is that we were hiding them under a tiny button in the modules menu. But there’s also the fact that they don’t serve a clear role; giving players a reason to use decor in all their buildings is something we’ve wanted to do for a while.
So – These two problems can work in service of each other! If we link decor modules to a concept of in-game ‘quality’ for a building, we encourage players to both use decor and to build spaces their colonists will be comfortable inhabiting (And as a bonus, it usually ends up making the colony prettier). And thus the Building Quality system was born!
As of the Alpha 44A experimental build, the game works off a simple quality scale system: Each work module (such as, say, a carpentry bench) or bed that you build decreases the quality of a building, reflecting more cramped and noisy work conditions / sleeping quarters. Each decor module you add increases the building quality, reflecting higher quality environs. (David wanted to write “blinged-out” here but I refuse to.) Higher quality buildings will give the people working and sleeping in them happier memories, leading to a more stable colony in general. (We’re also working on making unhappy colonists act out a bit more, particularly when maddened, in the weeks to come.)
Now that decor is more useful, we need to help players find it a bit more easily, so we’ve placed ‘suggested decor’ in the default module list for every building. You’ll see this after you plop down a blueprint and start laying out modules. We’ve also gone through all the modules and given them an update and polish pass. Descriptions are better, decor is labeled as such, and a few broken things were un-broken. We also took the opportunity to add 14 new decor modules that had been waiting on implementation!
For the first experimental implementation we’re going to keep the quality system fairly simple – all modules are more or less equal in their impact on quality. However, over the long term we’ll likely add some sort of limits to discourage spamming. Before we decide on any of that, though, we’d like to see how people use it! Personally, I can’t wait to see the screenshots that come out of the next build!