Category Archives: Clockwork Empires

Art Is Pain: Marketing For Queen & Empire

I’m going to write about digital painting today (edit: actually, marketing and project management, but let’s pretend it’s still about art) because everyone else is too weak and sickly to stop me. Are you happy? This is what happens!

Isn't it fun?

Some early promotional art. Isn’t it fun?

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Stockpiles and Gabions

It’s instructive to just sit down for a quick, relaxing game of Clockwork Empires and then make a note of all of the little things that one finds frustrating or otherwise demanding improvement. As a result of this particular exercise, gabions are now built in assignments in the upcoming experimental build, rather than as individual elements. (Once certain graphics code is made to work again, we can also leverage this code to do things like brick walls and fences, so that at long last we may be Perfectly Safe.) I think we still need to do some more UI work on the gabion line placer tool in order to make it something you would actually want to use, though; however, large walls are now a thing you can have. Following the same line of thought – “does this annoy me? YES” – I finally fixed the overseer counter so that it only displays overseers and not artisan workers (including but not limited to vicars, artisans, naturalists, barbers, and basically anybody not in Her Majesty’s 5th Regiment of Swole); artisans now get their own idle counter. (We probably need to change the term “artisan” soon as well, as it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense anymore.) This way, you can see how many people are doing the base work of resource mangling, and how many people need to get new stockpile jobs assigned to them. Management!

Get to it, layabouts!

Get to it, layabouts!

I have also spent a certain amount of time this week rewriting the stockpile code, which I’m hoping to have rolled out in the next experimental. There are two parts to this.

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Clockwork Empires August update: FRONTIER BARRACKS SIMULATOR 2015

A Clockwork Empires update has been discovered scuttling around our freshly cleaned floor! We present for you:

ce_2015_aug_promo_illustration_small

This update will go live to every Clockwork Empires player using Windows via Steam! The MacOS build will be delayed for a couple days because our mac hardware blew up. We’ve ordered a new one and shall inform you when the MacOS build is released.

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 for alpha 42:

MAJOR FEATURES

  • agriculture update: crop choice is really important now!
  • a massively improved Work Crew UI
  • added the Barracks to conscript & train military
  • and we fixed a million things!

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A Home for Her Majesty’s 22nd Dragoons

We added a first implementation of barracks to Clockwork Empires in experimental revision 41D (as teased in the last blog post). This is the start of giving the military mechanics more depth, providing the player with more feedback about the status of their squads, and providing the start of a structure to give more control to players over how their military operates.

"Tonight you pukes will sleep with your muskets."

“Tonight you pukes will sleep with your muskets.”

The basic pieces of the Clockwork Empires game (relevant to this topic at least) are the character, the work crew, and the building. Up ’til 41D colonial military had only the first two. Giving them a building  means military work crews an on-map home base, an anchor, and gives the player an on-world access point to see what the squad is up. And in terms of gameplay, it makes a proper functioning military require investment of resources! (From a game design perspective, we’re always looking for opportunities for the player to dump resources at potential problems to reward economic success.)

So how’s this work?

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Quality of Life Improvements, Offices, Forest Meat

With Clockwork Empires becoming significantly more stable over the course of the last few patches, we are seeing a lot of people playing the game for much longer, which means that – in turn – when a bug happens, it’s the sort of thing that gets at you rather than just being something to be ignored. The pain threshold has, shall we say, shifted.

These things happen.

These sorts of things happen.

I’m trying to deal with a few long-standing issues this week, which mainly means dealing with small annoyances that detract from the quality of life of a Clockwork Empires player.

For instance, we have now fixed the work crew window slowing the game down when you are faced with > 100 citizens (and Daniel is busy doing Experiments on the work crew window anyway, so who even knows what it will look like after we’re done.) Similarly, the code base now correctly picks a random object from the list of items that can fulfill a job instead of just the last one; this has the nice and useful effect of making it so that citizens randomly distribute themselves in buildings to sleep in at nap time, instead of just choosing the last building chosen. David is in the process of sorting out the problem of citizens getting stuck in an infinite loop of burial, which occurs when a bandit corpse somehow thinks it’s at (0,0) on the game map which is usually stuck in a mountain. There is some work going on to make things more consistent, like ensuring that you can consistently cancel jobs and assignments in consistent places with consistent interfaces, that sort of thing.

And then there is the problem of people dropping meat onto forest meat.

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Clockwork Empires July update: SIR, WHERE’S OUR COLONY?

A Clockwork Empires update has been discovered somewhere entirely unexpected! We present for you:

ce_2015_jul_promo_illustration_small

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:

MAJOR FEATURES

  • starting loadouts!
  • first implementation of character desires and personal property
  • Very Serious economic balancing in-action
  • started implementation of overworld
  • UI overhaul rollout

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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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Personal Property and Desires

Systems are interesting in sandbox games because they connect to each other. You can have a system that talks to another system, and then emergent gameplay what happens when the systems interact in interesting and novel ways. Re-usable, data-driven gameplay code is also cool, because it gives you a way to leverage work you’ve previously done on one system to make another system more powerful. Case in point: personal property.

Maybe all Wilbert Pickles desires is to own a bushel of sausages. Why not?

Maybe all Wilbert Pickles desires is his own bucket of sausages. Why not?

One of the TODOs on my task list for awhile has been personal property. While you can build lower/middle/upper-class houses and beds, you can’t necessarily assign those beds to people, nor do people want a bed assigned to them. Instead, people just sleep wherever, whenever. This is going to change.

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