I’m really awfully glad I’m a Beta

A society of Alphas couldn’t fail to be unstable and miserable. First off, hello new bureaucrats! We’re thrilled you could join us. For those of you new to the community and not in the know, here are some useful things to know:

  • We do a blog post here every Wednesday describing what we are working on this week and what we are thinking about. We even have a mailing list where we can send you this blog post, every week.
  • We post new, experimental builds of Clockwork Empires for testing and feedback to the “experimental” branch on Steam about once a week or so, and have a major release of Clockwork Empires pushed to the main branch on Steam about once a month.
  • We have forums, which are pretty awesome. If you have not yet discovered our forums, please do so! (Please also change your icon so that I do not have to look at a series of grinning, mustachio’ed men telling me that the game is broken. Seriously, it’s starting to haunt my dreams.)
"Keep those patches comin'"

“Keep those patches comin'”

Second off: If you are using an AMD or ATI graphics card, and you are having issues starting the game, PLEASE UPDATE YOUR DRIVERS. There is a bug in some older AMD/ATI drivers which prevents the game from launching or getting past the embark map due to a failure to compile a shader. PLEASE UPDATE YOUR DRIVERS. (I’m begging you.) You can even find new AMD/ATI drivers here: http://support.amd.com/en-us/download – again, please update them. Thank you.

Okay, that’s about it for housekeeping.

The good news: our beta launch was reasonably successful and nobody died! We have a large influx of new users and, publicity-wise, have started to re-emerge from the dark and squalid cave where we have hidden ourselves since the start of Early Access, sporting large and fearsome beards. With all these new users comes a rigorous and thorough testing of the game of a terrifying sort, and a bevy of fresh eyes pointing out all the little quirks and issues – and bigger quirks and issues! – that we, the developers and our loyal supporters who have been playing the game since Day 1 – have gotten themselves inured to.

"What is this? A Hotfix?"

“What is this? A Hotfix?”

With that in mind, we have made a few exciting discoveries. We pushed one hotfix on Sunday (51A), and are pushing another one today that is concurrent with this blogpost (51B). (A list of things in the hotfixes, which will be pushed to the main branch sometime later today, is stuck at the bottom of this blogpost.) There are a handful of weird hardware configurations and other issues that we need to figure out; this lot falls on my desk and I’m going to be working on it on top of everything else. And there are a bunch of issues which can be charitably described as “what we have here is a failure to communicate.”

The biggest issue here is the following pattern: a user creates a workshop and instructs characters to perform a job; they then don’t perform it. This is due to either the workshop not having enough ingredients (and not communicating this clearly), bugs (which we have fixed many of), or the work crew being off shift (which is also not communicated in the right place, seemingly.) When a player checks the workshop menu, they don’t see the current work shift indicator, so… well, a player will assume it’s just fine, whereas the work crew may have a reduced shift or be on strike due to poor work conditions. Thanks to your diligent reporting, we now have a large list of UI to connect to failure cases, and where we need to indicate why something isn’t working. We haven’t pushed much of this in the hotfixes because of the possibility that they will break your save games, but we will work on getting this rolled out to the experimental branches as fast as we can.

"Everything is fine in Colony of Antipodea!"

“Everything is fine in Colony of Antipodea!”

Another problem is related to the fact that a new player will immediately queue up 20,000 assignments for 5 work crews, then wonder why nothing is getting done. As an experiment in 50E or so, I put in a large flashing X that would go off when you had too many jobs for your current collection of work crews. Nobody liked this. This leaves us with two options: add pausing and better control of assignment beacons, or move assignment beacons to the same “push” model where you must assign an available work crew to them in order for them to get done. We have not reached a firm conclusion about what the right thing to do here is yet.

A third thing we’ve really noticed – or at least I have – is that there are a handful of things that are now expected in a game simply by sticking a beta label on it, most notably more things in the options menu. I will be working on getting these in shortly.

"Another successful trade mission."

“Another successful trade mission.”

Anyhow, here is the list of things we have fixed on both hotfixes. For those of you wondering, here is everything we fixed and changed since Saturday, May 21st which will be pushed in the “51B” hotfix steaming toward you shortly:

Changelog for Clockwork Empires Beta 51B

  • added “-opengldebug” command flag to return additional OpenGL debug information; please use this and send us the results if you are experiencing crashes on startup!
  • blueprint design mode will now hide all assignment beacons; regular mode will now turn them back on again
  • moved “Clear Terrain” jobs into the building construction job if they are automatically spawned by building construction
  • assignment of workcrew to service job should adjust their work schedule appropriately
  • optimized code from widget manager which greatly speeds up work crew menu
  • balance: reduced sleep time
  • balance: adjusted relationship of happiness to work shifts
  • balance: adjusted output of stone from surface nodes
  • balance: slightly increased nighttime sight radius
  • FIXED: “Make stone smelting crucible” now moved over to new multistack system
  • FIXED: picking up a multistack from the stockpile now correctly decrements the stockpile counter
  • FIXED: Make Copper Plates job
  • FIXED: Make Wooden Altar job
  • FIXED: memories and emotions hanging midair, predominantly for people with multi-monitor setups
  • FIXED: hitting esc to back out of a module recipe selection screen would leave the UI in a state of purgatory where literally anything you did next would crash the game.
  • FIXED: clicking on the trade depot crashes the game
  • FIXED (hopefully): phantom items occasionally left on the ground during stacking, building workshop transformation operations
  • FIXED: q and e are now bound hotkeys for camera moving left and right, rather than hardcoded
  • FIXED: Make chemistry workbench job
  • FIXED: more cleanup of phantom objects
  • FIXED (OSX): crash on embark screen whenever you generate an ocean biome
  • FIXED (OSX): crash in rendAssignmentBeacon handler
  • FIXED (OSX): some other misc. crashes
  • FIXED: talking to fishperson could freeze colonist (temp. removed this job)
  • FIXED: long clothes line required 1 less bricabrac than advertised
  • FIXED: tutorial would appear after game start; it no longer does
  • FIXED: workers will no longer try to walk to be near their overseer if their overseer is in an underground mine and therefore technically off-map
    FIXED: fence icons
  • FIXED: typo in work quality of life description
  • FIXED: if you chopped down a burning tree, it would leave a fire in its place forever
  • FIXED: mine products display is more readable
  • FIXED: “make tin exotic caviar” job for workbenches, removed from ovens
  • FIXED: players should not be attacked before they finish the tutorial
  • FIXED: “make chemistry workbench” job
  • FIXED: Moved brick kilns and iron smelting crucible to multiobject system (should fix build failure)
  • FIXED: steel ingots looking for wrong object
  • FIXED: Foreign office wasn’t displaying building quality correctly
  • FIXED: Public House crash
  • FIXED: Pulque icon
  • FIXED: in certain rare cases items given to player by events would not be set as owned by player
  • FIXED: perennial crops would only output harvest once
  • FIXED: characters would sometimes not work during the first shift of their workshift
  • FIXED: all smelting jobs now take “fuel” instead of “timber”

Again, thanks for getting involved in Clockwork Empires, and we hope you enjoy the ride.

Posted in Clockwork Empires | Tagged , , , ,
1 Comment

One Response to “I’m really awfully glad I’m a Beta”

  1. Alavaria says:

    And they said a huge list of things prefixed with “FIXED:” could never look so good…

    { reply }

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