Author Archives: Chris

Interior Decoration Simulator 2015

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.


A hastily-assembled image of what a room with decor in it might look like.

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.

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Choose Your Own Misadventure

First, a note from the Management: The monthly patch has been delayed due to some last-minute stability concerns but we’re working on it and will update you when we’ve got it sorted out. In the meantime we’ve asked Chris to hold the fort with a blog post about some cool stuff he’s been working on over the last month. Over to you Chris!

It’s time for another game balance post! Last time I wrote about immigration, but that’s not the only big game progression change in this month’s patch: we’ve also added Loadouts.

There's some kind of crazy map there too, but don't worry about that just yet.

There’s some kind of mysterious map there too, but don’t worry about that just yet.

For a rather long time we were extremely generous with the materials given to players when they launched a new colony; this was useful for testing hard-to-get-to midgame stuff, and hadn’t been given a serious balance pass since we implemented the idea of starting materials in the first place. However, just as with immigration, we’ve reached a point where it’s necessary to make players have to work for stuff so they can experience more actual gameplay. And that means not giving loads of high-quality materials at start.

With balance comes opportunity, and this was a real fun opportunity; We’ve always wanted players to be able to bring different stuff to their colony depending on their needs, and being that we were in the middle of balancing your starting materials anyway, what better opportunity to try out a bunch of different settings and see what people like? Thus, we set up a system that allows for different starting loadouts that can change values like:

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The People Problem

And now for something a little different. No, don’t be alarmed yet- we’re just letting Chris write the blog post this week!

When developing an early-access game, you have to make a lot of choices about what to prioritize. Do you fix that bug, or implement this new feature? There’s an endless list of things to do and only so many people to do them. Sometimes things that work ‘well enough’ get left alone for long periods – until the time for a rework finally comes around. And this month the time has come to address Immigration.

Stop looking at this alt text, you!

Time for a bracing game of “Where’s Waldorf?”

The initial immigration system was one of the first events we added to the game so that population would grow over time. Getting more people ​is a pretty fundamental part of playing a colony simulation game, after all. The system, however, was built on many assumptions that made sense during our earliest-access period, where starvation was the biggest threat – and that’s not how things work anymore. Gaining 3 prestige for taking 3 people is basically a win-win situation, and no-brainer choices like this don’t make for interesting gameplay. Prestige favours only added to this imbalance, as it was possible to more than double your rate of immigration by constantly “buying” new colonists – not at all what we intended when the system was first implemented.

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