The Fog of War and Other Stuff

It seems like revision 35 of Clockwork Empires, Enola Brimble’s Fine Day In Which Everything Isn’t Going To Explode has been a very well-received! We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback about it, and we appreciate it; players are appreciating fewer slowdowns, script errors, glitches, stutters, or save errors. So, clearly, we’re making progress.

Some folks are still having save game trouble, and we’re continuing to work on that as our #1 debugging priority (including the folks who don’t seem to be able to load save games at all?) – there are also some OS X speed and crash issues that we are currently debugging. However, we’re glad that people seem to be doing very much better with this latest build.

As the time until the next patch is roughly three weeks away, it looks like we will be primarily focusing the next patch on quality of life improvements – again! We’re rebalancing certain parts of the AI to try and clean up some odd behaviours with combat, social behaviours, and things not working correctly. We’re also just fixing a bunch of AI related bugs. One major quality-of-life improvement that is a new system, however, is fog-of-war, which is getting a rewrite.

Also, fog-of-war is not technically a quality-of-life system. More specifically, it improves our lives, but it makes your life moody and depressing.

There could be anything out there!

“Hello? Nothing creepy going on out there, I hope.”

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Clockwork Empires January Update: Enola Brimble’s FINE DAY In Which Everything ISN’T Going To Explode

Suddenly an UPDATE appears! We’re on to v35, filled with mostly a bunch of completely random little things which aren’t easily summarized in a tagline. But we assure you, they probably won’t explode! Unless they’re meant to. Onward-

ce_jan_promo_illustration_half

This update will go live to every Clockwork Empires player via Steam!

We have also updated our Clockwork Empires: Development Progress report!

(Don’t own the game? Clockwork Empires can be purchased on ClockworkEmpires.com via Humble or from Steam.)

Want to hear about all sorts of updates via email plus receive silly images from development? Sign up for the newsletter here.

Patch Notes:

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Under the Influence (of Euclidean Distance Mapping)

First off, an announcement: customarily, we release new builds of CE (major ones) at the fifteenth of the month, or as close as we can get to that. This month’s build will be pushed back until next week, owing to the fact that we lost a week and a bit of development time in December due to the Fishmas Holidays; experimental builds will, of course, continue.

That said: Technical Talk Day.

Loosely speaking, this month’s patch is focused on doing spit and polish, maintenance on existing issues, and busting some bugs rather than new gameplay features (although we’ve done a bit of that). In terms of character behavior, you may have noticed that characters occasionally do things that are counter-intuitive; we are narrowing this down as development continues (Daniel has a huge and terrifying spreadsheet). We have received a number of bug reports of the following varieties:

“people wander off into the woods and die”

And, well, that’s about it, really.

Here's a tantalizing sneak peak at the promo illustration for this month's update.

Tangentially, here’s a tantalizing sneak peak at the promo illustration for this month’s update.

The solution to this is that people should calculate when they are, or are not, in the user’s colony. We previously did this with a notion of “civilization”, which computed (for each tile) the closest distance between the tile and any civilization in range. The problem is that the way this calculation was done was a) buggy (if a building was not within some radius of the square being tested, which was quite a small radius, we wouldn’t pick it up), and b) slow (using more than one square root per grid tile, which adds up on a 512×512 map.) I finally got sick and tired of this this week, and decided to look up the right way to compute distances.

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Mining & Maintenance

Prologue: Last month we divvied up tasks based on some Agile concept; I believe we’re “writhing” through the next “suffering revolution” on the “Wheel of Pain”, if I have the terminology correct. I proposed that we shove Mineshafts off the current month’s TODO because I didn’t think they were as important as other features. Naturally the task of implementing Mineshafts ended up being assigned to me, as is only correct according to the Iron Laws of Bureaucracy.

Mineshafts

Subsurface mining is pretty straightforward because we abstract the details: the player builds a “Mine” building with a “Mineshaft” module (and at least one door! we’ve had problems with people not putting doors on things!). Once these are built, the player assigns a work crew to the Mine. Using the recent code done for Chapels and Laboratories, the labourers in the mining work crew are transformed into properly-outfitted miners wearing the correct uniform and everything – it’s great to finally get these occupation-specific models into the game properly!

Hey, you! Stop being sad in my screenshot, you're bringing everyone down!

“Hey, you! Stop being sad in my screenshot, you’re bringing everyone down!”

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Shades of Tofu

[SCENE: The Gaslamp Games Offices. THE NEW OFFICES. DAVID BAUMGART, ART DIRECTOR, enters the Break Room.]

David Baumgart, Art Director, enters the break room. Programmer Art Depiction.

David Baumgart, Art Director, enters the break room. Programmer Art Depiction.

DAVID: Wizards, grain silos, Utretcht, tank simulation… ah, it is good to be a vegan! Horrible frost giants! And now, lunch.

[DAVID opens the door of the fridge. Inside is BEEF JERKY, which leaps out and attacks him.]

DAVID: Alas! I die.

[HE COLLAPSES. Enter DANIEL and NICHOLAS from the Break Room Door.]

NICHOLAS: David is being attacked by beef jerky! It must be Wednesday. Quickly, get him onto the table.

[THEY DO SO. The table collapses. OH WELL.]

DANIEL: The beef jerky is … attacking his mind, somehow. It’s corrupting his vegan essence.
DAVID: I… deny then… my essence…

[SCENE: In David’s mind, terrible flashbacks occur. The company is formed in a basement. Dredmor ships.]

NICHOLAS: Fascinating.
DANIEL: You can’t say that – we’re parodying The Next Generation, not The Original Series.
NICHOLAS: Look! He’s remembering old blog posts… in his dreams.

[DAVID PROCEEDS TO REMEMBER.]

David Baumgart proceeding to remember happy memories (in this case, a carrot.) Programmer Art Depiction.

David Baumgart proceeding to remember happy memories (in this case, a carrot.) Programmer Art Depiction.

DAVID: mumble, mumble… Scott Pilgrim ruined it for all of us… mumble…

DANIEL: Now it looks like he’s experiencing good memories.

[DAVID PROCEEDS TO REMEMBER “GOOD MEMORIES”:

Clockwork Empires’ Early Access Announcement
– That GDC trip where Stephanie got us all Hand Lotion
Six months of early access updates!
– 4,700+ repository commits
– 22 experimental builds released to the public
– coverage from just about every major PC gaming site on the planet
The Beauty of Poetry
Whatever this thing is!]

DANIEL: It’s no good. The Beef Jerky is getting to him. Maybe if we make him… remember bad memories, it will damage the virus. Jerky. Jerky virus.
NICHOLAS: We can induce bad memories with Medicinal Liniments. Remember, under no circumstances take medical advice from me!DANIEL: Aren’t all those good memories *your* blog posts?
NICHOLAS: Whatever. Here, let me stick needles into his head.

[DAVID PROCEEDS TO REMEMBER “BAD” MEMORIES”:

– Making three Clockwork Empires Trailers
– That GDC trip where Stephanie got us all Hand Lotion
– The last time we parodied Inception]

DANIEL: Hang on, let me set this machine to “Programmer Art.” There we go.

[DAVID AWAKES, SCREAMING.]

David Baumgart Awakes from a Horrible Dream. (Also, he is wearing Mittens for some reason.) Programmer Art Depiction.

David Baumgart Awakes from a Horrible Dream. (Also, he is wearing Mittens for some reason.) Programmer Art Depiction.

DAVID: What happened?
DANIEL: You’re on vacation, so we made fun of you in our year-end wrap-up blog post.
DAVID: Ah, it must be Wednesday!

NICHOLAS: That’s it for us, folks. As always, we thank you for your patronage and look forward to seeing you in 2015! Happy New Year!
DAVID: … who are you talking to again?
DANIEL: Gnomes!

[ALL LAUGH. CREDITS ROLL.]

 

 

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Happy Holidays From Gaslamp Games

fishmas_card

We’re taking the week off! If you’re holding an occult ritual this week, celebrating something more civilized, or if it’s just business as usual, we hope you have a great time doing your thing, and we’ll be back next week :)

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Clockwork Empires December Update: The Ghastly Tale of Amon Chalkbracket’s ELDRITCH TRANSFORMATION

It is the time of UPDATES. The game has transformed into v34, filled with new features and horrible Fun to discover!

CE_december_update_illustration_small

This update will go live to every Clockwork Empires player via Steam!

That’s not all: for your enjoyment we have a short, educational video about Current Issues faced by Colonial Science:

We have also updated our Clockwork Empires: Development Progress report!

(Don’t own the game? Clockwork Empires can be purchased on ClockworkEmpires.com via Humble or from Steam.)

Want to hear about all sorts of updates via email plus receive silly images from development? Sign up for the newsletter here.

MacOS and Linux users:

OS X users: There are still some graphical issues on various Macs, but it should run fine! Please let us know if you are having graphical issues, and (if so) what version of OS X you are running on, and which video card.

Linux Users: We are still working on Linux support, which (as always) is waiting on us to fix a million references in the code base to case-sensitive filenames, as well as setting up the build machine to correctly dispatch Linux builds of the game (which have to be built with a special, hacked-together compiler) to Steam. Your patience continues to be appreciated.

Patch Notes:

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Gamifying Synergy Through Delegation (Or: More Combat Design)

Uh, I mean, hey, we’re making a management sim!

We talked a long time ago about designing combat for Clockwork Empires, and there were a few things involved in our design that we’ve carefully been unpacking. The most important thing for us for the combat was the statement: “Combat should be slow, mostly positional, and have its outcome determined by supply and setup instead of tactical micromanagement.”

(Not representative of final game product.)

(Not representative of final game product.)

Which… we’ve done almost none of so far, BUT we’ve been setting the pieces in place for proper implementation. “Supplying and setting up” the feature, if you will.

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