All posts tagged with "clockwork empires"

Clockwork Empires: Earliest Access FAQ

Some questions and comments about tomorrow’s Earliest Access launch:

Q. “When will builds go out?”
A. “Roughly 10AM PST.”

Q. “The game crashed, broke, or otherwise did a terrible and monstrous thing. It is now sitting in my living room and hogging the couch, throwing empty beer cans at the cat. It has given me Ghost Neck, and many other diseases that we read about on your blog. What do I do? Who do I complain to?”
A. “If you want to submit the bug quickly and get back into the game, your best bet is the support form, which can (as of some time this evening) be found at  Our forums also have a list of known bugs and we regularly check for new ones at

Q. “Is there OS X or Linux support?”
A. “Not for Earliest Access, no. We have unpolished, internal ports that are not ready for prime-time. We hope to have this up for the first or second incarnation of Steam Early Access in August.”

Q. “What’s the ETA on save games?”
A. “Save games have a critical bug in them right now, which we are still hunting down. Micah has not moved from his desk for the past one hundred and sixty-eight hours and has now grown some kind of third eye in the middle of his forehead. Expect these to show up next week.”

Q. “In the eight hours since you invented it, Earliest Access has ruined PC Gaming forever! What IS THIS THING?! How do we know what to expect, and where should we go to understand what we’re buying?”
A. “An enormous project status page, clearly outlining all the work we have done in the past two-and-a-half years as well as the expected roadmap for everything going forward, can be found here.”

Q. “What are testers saying about the current state of the game?”
A. “The earliest build is best described as an occult cabbage-farming simulator with fishpeople.”

Q. “Are you fishpeople?”
A. “Blup. I mean, no.”

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Thaddeus Bronzewhistle, Loyal Subject of The Queen

Bureaucracy is of utmost importance to The Empire.

Bureaucracy is of utmost importance to The Empire.

My name is Thaddeus Bronzewhistle and I was born in the 49th year of the reign of The Queen. I left civilization to promote the ideas and ethics of Science. I worship at the altar of celestial order, as is right and proper for a Subject of The Queen. My barber has commented that I am a fine specimen of my Class, with a stance neither above nor below my correct Station in life: The Middle Class.

I'm really awfully glad I'm a Middle Class.

I’m really awfully glad I’m a Middle Class.

 I hold it not against the Creator that I have been placed thus in life, for my Station is the logical result of the Machinations of Fate. But were I born an Aristocrat I would be able to fully devote myself to the Noble Calling of Science, though I shall not indulge in thoughts which are against the Natural Order of the Universe for such thoughts lead to Madness, as well we all know from the terrible stories one may read in back pages of The Empire Times.

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How To PR: The Gaslamp Way

We are at GDC! More specifically, we are in a Hotel, which we are not allowed to leave. If we leave the Hotel, our PR person will shoot us. What we are doing at GDC is we are demoing Clockwork Empires for Members of the Press, so that they remember that we are alive. So far, the press response has been overwhelmingly positive.

Evan Lahti from PC Gamer got the first hands-on look at Clockwork Empires before GDC; we think he’s some kind of Space Pirate or something. You can find Mr. Lahti’s preview here. Inside you will find many of the secret things we have been working on revealed, including Steam Knights, Cultists, Eldritch Modules, and more. Behold its deadly secrets and quake in wonder. You will also find, revealed therein, that the game will be available – thanks to the dreaded manipulations of Early Access, the Wonder of the Scientific Age – soon for those of you brave enough to help us in the development process. We will be discussing this in further detail later.

Since Evan has already kindly written about our game this week, I’m not going to. Instead, here are some notes on the PR process of showing the game to forty different journalists in a five day span.

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Modules and Decoration

As we have discussed previously, the primary tool for augmenting a building’s function in game is a module. Modules include things like doors and windows, and come in two categories: required and optional. Required modules are those which are needed to get your building up and running at all – in the case of a workshop, this would include a workbench, a desk for your Artisan/Overseer to manage their paperwork with, and a door. In the case of a Lower Class House, you need one cot, and… well, again, a door. Doors are good things to put on buildings.

Careful with that hammer! Don't want to let the aetherically-energized gaseous radium out of the Glow-Long(tm) lamp.

The Ghosts of Future Work haunt this carpentry shop. (& The aetherically-energized gaseous radon Glow-Long ™ Gas-Lamp is truly the finest lamp.)

Optional modules are those which upgrade the effectiveness of your building. For instance, a carpentry workshop can have a Power Saw installed. The power saw lets you perform certain tasks (such as making planks) faster, and you can have multiple power saws. You can also have multiple carpentry workbenches, and this might be a good idea as each person can only use one carpentry workbench at a time. If you have a particular desire for planks, which are Useful (for instance, for building more carpentry workbenches), you might want to spend some resources building power saws.

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A Day In The Life of an Overseer: A Clockwork Empires Choose-Your-Own-Adventure!

Something like this.

Something like this.

(Dear Reader: In order to supply high-quality content to you, the Reader, in this age of the Internet, we bring you one of those wacky Choose-Your-Own-Adventure blogs in a style that the kids love.)




Do you…

  1. Attempt to gossip with your neighbour? (If so, please turn to Page 2.)
  2. Attempt to do Overseer work? (If so, please turn to Page 3.)
  3. Go home? (If so, please turn to Page 4.)
  4. Walk into the sea, never to return? (If so, please turn to Page 5.)

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The Joys of Video Card Compatibility

With David taking a quick getaway vacation, and Micah off recovering from not doing anything in academia recently, Daniel and I are quietly holding the fort. By quietly, I mean “stirring up trouble.”

As you may have read, we sent out several builds of Clockwork Empires to various parties recently. Six such parties, in fact. Of these six parties, three of them were able to play the game, and three of them were not. This is what happens when you take code that runs very nicely on your office machine (Windows 7, a Lot Of RAM, a fairly recent video card of Good Quality and Character by NVIDIA, with a Fan Attached To It) and try to run it on somebody else’s machine (Windows XP laptop, 1 gig of RAM, and the video card driver is actually just Bonzai Buddy.)


Output of the game on the Intel HD4000.

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Posted in Clockwork Empires, Programming | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Pre-Alpha Testing Has Commenced (Whatever That Is)

The grim realities of testing.

Well, it’s started.  A very small number of builds have gone out into the wild, with minimal functionality, as part of a systems compatibility test.  We have disabled pretty much everything but getting people to keep themselves alive, and some ramifications for not doing so, the least of which probably being death.  Again, the possibility space is very limited with this build so we can focus on the really important stuff like hardware compatibility.

We will gradually be enabling features on the builds that are in the wild, and at the same time increasing the number of participants in our Experiments.  If you’re interested in participating, please sign up for “testing” via the mailing list at – I promise we won’t send you any news you don’t sign up for (we hate it when people do that, so we’re not going to be those people).

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Combat 2: Son of Combat

Last time we wrote about combat, everybody got very excited about entrenching and trenches and gabions and spikes and shooting. Hooray for that. The brief, as I understood it from David “Accurate Simulation of Grain Silo” Baumgart, is the following:


  • Combat should be tactical and positional. Your entrenchments matter, your set up matters, and it is a tactical, positional sort of warfare.
  • Combat should be character-driven. How your soldiers approach a task depends on the relative efficiency of whoever is running the show, and of the soldiers themselves.
  • Combat should be pretty slow, really. Let’s have battles that feel like battles! (Many games have a problem where you send 30 dwarves to attack a Forgotten Beast and it’s all over in a blur of particles or ASCII.) No, let’s give the people what they ask for.
  • Pip pip, what ho, etc.

As the technical director, when some sort of a system comes up, I usually take a first swing at it before it gets passed on to somebody else, or I keep working at it. This sort of tends to be how I contribute to the design – by brute force implementing whatever I think things should be, but knowing that I won’t get any art for it if David doesn’t like it. It is this heady triptych of unresolved creative tension that makes Gaslamp Games into the swirling beehive of … bees… that it is today.

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