Clockwork Empires version 1.0 has emerged, glistening, from its development-spore and launched on Steam! We are out of Early Access and into the wild frontier that calls for Colonial Bureaucrats to manage bustling colonies and chop down all the trees and maybe start a cult maybe for Progress and Civilization! You can purchase Clockwork Empires through Steam or the Humble Store (which provides a Steam key*) for a 10% discount for the next week!
* We will be setting up non-Steam distribution of Clockwork Empires via the Humble Store and possibly other online distributors in the near future.
The Development Progress Report has been updated with a full annotated changelog for version 55A to version 1.0. We’ll put the full changelog at the end of this post for those interested in seeing what the last month month of Early Access has brought to the game.
This is not, of course, the end of work on Clockwork Empires: We shall be continuing support for game stability and bugfixes, and we have a list of additional content and some small features we’d like to add post-release.
As we build up to release, we must consider and balance gameplay difficulty as a whole given the set of game mechanics features we are working with. There are not only multiple axes upon which difficulty might be defined – and upon which gameplay mechanics operate – but also a diverse spectrum of expectations and player-types to consider.
Fish Massacre At New Sogwood 3: The Enbloodening
On the one hand we have combat-hardened veterans of the Frontier who have sunk hundreds of hours into Clockwork Empires. These players derive grim pleasure from deconstructing our systems then optimizing them for maximum in-game effect while rampaging cannibalistic cultists tear each other apart amidst volleys of gunfire. On the other hand, we have players who just bought the game (or will soon buy the game) who are mostly fascinated by watching their colonists live little lives and decorating houses. Both players have legitimate needs! If a swarm of fishpeople busts into this latter fantasy and eats everyone, that player gets really upset. If a swarm of fishpeople doesn’t bust into the fantasy of the previous player type, they get really upset. And everyone is upset with us if we do any of this without giving proper warning.
A bug that’s been in the game for awhile, and which some of you may have encountered (albeit very rarely) is the following peculiar circumstance: You start the game, you load up a new map… and suddenly, everything slowly starts to drift into the corner of the map. Finally, you end up with a giant frothing mass of dodos, and colonists, and monsters and who knows what else stuck in one corner of the map, apparently unable to move.
For those of you who haven’t seen it, you end up with the following scenario (screenshot thanks to a forum user):
We’ve pushed version 30B to the public branch today, which will contain saves as well as support on Windows for user names with Unicode characters. If you have the update, you should see “Version 30B” on your screen in white text in the upper right hand corner. You shouldn’t need to do anything else.
Whoever controls the stew controls the colony. Here, the Law of Stew reigns merciless.
Saves are still a work in progress, and there are a handful of bugs we’re fixing, so keep a sharp eye out. If your save fails to load the first time, try it again (we’re not sure what causes that quite yet but we have Top Men on it). If you get a random crash related to saving or loading, please let us know on the forums and send us a .DMP file.
Further work on saves will be put into the experimental branch for testing purposes. You may also find other Exciting Work for Clockwork Empires version 31 (which we will elaborate on in a future blog post.)
It’s been an exciting week! On July 16 we launched sales for “Earliest Access” to Clockwork Empires, then on July 18 we distributed the game to the public for the first time. It may not be our first time at the rodeo but it’ll always be scary to launch a game after keeping it hidden away (for over two years, in this case).
We come bearing videogames!
It’s all gone really well! There were a lot of parts that we needed to test in the real world instead of sitting on private servers and this goes not only the game content itself, but our distribution and payment partners as well as our supporting websites. As Nwabudike Morgan put it, “Each interdependent piece must be materialized simultaneously and in perfect working order.” That’s pretty much what happened and we had a smooth launch; go team!
People are buying the game and are having fun with fishpeople, starvation, and building stuff. People are finding all kinds of fascinating bugs and telling us how we should make the game better. We sent out a hotfix yesterday, rev27C — changelog at the end of the post — which fixed more than a few things, and we are now fixing a bunch more stuff and putting together some new content for the next update which should be coming early next week. (We had to delay the hotfix by a day because you guys found so many Fun and Interesting bugs.) Special props go out to Dienes for telling us how we really ought to fix this or that script error before we even get a chance to look at the bug reports.
We’re also figuring out how to best communicate with fans, working out how to keep up a rapid pace of iteration, developing new features, and maintaining an active dialog about the game going in the forums.
The general consensus around the office is that today’s Earliest Access launch went better than any launch that the company has done in the past. People seem to be having a good time; while there are some crash bugs, they seem to be pretty manageable.
Awkwardly named squad or sign of REDACTED infiltrating the highest levels of the Empire?
Here are some Helpful Notes on some of the most common technical issues players are having:
If your game will not start, it looks like you have a computer that is running an international version of Windows; known examples that break the game are French and Polish operating systems. We are working on figuring out how to unbreak this (by which, I mean “trying to remember how I figured this out for Dredmor.”)
If your game suddenly stops displaying terrain, set the terrain quality back to “High” and restart the game (there’s no functional difference any more anyway, and this option should be removed.)
If your game is not displaying anything at all, you probably have an Intel HD3000 or HD4000, which are not officially supported yet. We will be working on these in the future. (The newest generation of integrated Intel hardware seems to work okay, which is surprising!)
If you have an NVIDIA card, and your terrain does not display, and your terrain quality is set to high: update your drivers. There seems to be a bad batch of drivers floating around somewhere.
In general, updating your drivers is a good idea.
If you get no sound: possibly, try running as Administrator? We haven’t quite figured this one out yet, but Top Men are Working On It.
If you are having problems with reclaiming your key, drop us a line at email@example.com and we will sort you out.
There is a pretty good list of “known bugs” at this point, and we will be slaving away on a patch in the office this weekend with an eye towards pushing it to the public on Monday (July 21st). This should take care of a handful of random crashes, as well as some low-hanging UI fruit that players have been especially eager to have us fix.
We are then going to shoot for a more “content-y” patch on the following Friday (July 25th).
We have personal assurances from the Colonial Minister!
As always, we thank you for your patronage and we look forward to further delighting you with Colonial Incursions as we proceed from “Earliest Access” to “Early Access”, and then – at long last – “Finished Game.”