All posts tagged with "it always ends up between two grain silos in the Ukraine"

Cultivating Gameplay: Game Design in CE

Clockwork Empires is an exceedingly complex game. Each new system interacts with each existing system in ways we necessarily can’t predict. And unpredictable consequences are, to some degree, the goal of any sandbox game worth its cabbage. But there are failure states where the whole web of systems kinda slumps over to one side, repeating the same beeping noise. This isn’t interesting, so we have to poke and nudge the game back to where it does interesting things again. This is called “Game Design”.

Is that metaphor getting awkward? Let’s get to the specific example I had in mind: balancing food & farming gameplay in Clockwork Empires. This is going to go into Exciting exhaustive detail!

Farming, step one: kill anything that isn't human.

Farming, step one: kill anything that isn’t human.

(By the way, we’re doing the big monthly update of Clockwork Empires next week! The Development Progress page will be updated at that time. Details to be released soon.)

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The Sound Of One Gear Turning

Sound effects, wow! Pow! Bzam! Krakow! They’re important, they’re part of the game experience, and I’ve been plugging a lot of them into game objects lately and generally writing giant spreadsheets of sounds that need making.  The talented Matthew Steele, or our sound and music man for Dredmor, is back again for Clockwork Empires so he gets to enjoy said spreadsheets. Nicholas is into music — brace yourself and ask about synthesizers some day — so he and Matthew have worked that side of things out. Meanwhile all I listen to is horrible ‘industrial noise artists’ from eastern Europe, so I’m taking point on making  sound effects happen. And, horrifyingly, my terrible musical tastes are relevant because a lot of CE’s soundscape is in fact going to involve a good deal of industrial noise. I love it!

A Most Pleasing Noise


The littlest oven.

The tricky thing about these industrial sounds is that they have to actually be somewhat nice to listen to. Imagine a power-saw or a jackhammer — they sound awful and you’d better be wearing ear protection if you’re anywhere nearby. To have absolutely realistic industrial sounds would wear on the ears somewhat and, well, I’m glad I’ve got Matthew around to cook these up.

One of my favourite industrial sounds done so far is for the ‘small oven’; I find it really relaxing somehow:

Small Oven:

(Makes you really feel the holiday spirit, as if huddled for warmth around the factory boiler on a cold winter night.)

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