Clockwork Empires: Development Progress

Last update: 2015 February 18

Welcome to our progress report!
The purpose of this document is to inform you about the current status and ongoing progress of the Clockwork Empires project as a whole. This involves all the work, from start to finish, that goes into completing the game. Spoiler alert: There's a lot of work involved, so this is necessarily a very high-level perspective. If you would like to follow the weekly development blog updates which discuss more specific details, check out the Gaslamp Games weblog or sign up for the mailing list.

This document itself will evolve as work on Clockwork Empires proceeds, we receive feedback, and find better ways to communicate with players. We are committed to updating the project's status on this page for each major public release, once per month, without exception.

A note on progress numbers:
It is difficult to represent how finished aspects of Clockwork Empires are with just one number for percent complete because a great deal of the work done over the course of developing a game is not visible to the player through the then-current playable version of the product. Development is front-loaded in terms of cost while payoff is back-loaded. In other words, the most progress visible to the player necessarily takes place in the final months of a project in almost all cases. As Sheng-ji Yang put it, "Technological advance is an inherently iterative process. One does not simply take sand from the beach and produce a Dataprobe." Just so with game development: a character cannot walk across the screen until there is a 3D renderer, a 3D asset importer, an animation pipeline, a game aesthetic to build assets to, a scripting engine and database structure to instantiate entities from, and so on. Only after the infrastructure is in place can anything resembling a game begin to form.

Much of the initial time of this project was spent on technological infrastructure. We're now progressing through the phase of development where we see payoff of this investment as we rapidly implement player-facing content and game mechanics. This is the exciting part!


Total Progress

Project Progress: 86%

Project Progress: 86%

Playable Progress: 56%

Playable Progress: 56%

February 2015 update notes:
This month our development goals were to get in fog of war, overhaul character jobs, finish some loose ends for economic progression, and roll in some cool events. And that's what we did.

Details? Sure: the job overhaul involved Daniel making a giant spreadsheet of every job and looking at exactly what affected everything. This revealed lots of balance issues, a number of bugs and typos; basically the sort of stuff you expect to find when doing what amounts to an audit. So that got some cleaning. We got a system for proportional utility so that a job can be added to a set where it is chosen randomly from a set based on it's value rather than simply always choosing the highest value - this lets social behaviours have more interesting variety. Combat jobs also got their logic tightened way up so that soldiers carry out their duties more according to player expectations.

Work on events including tying them to traits possessed by particular characters (who got a nametag option so you can see who people are on the map) as well as tying them to groups of character, in particular cult groups. Cults got an overhaul from the start so they form according to specific causes, have given names (which the player is actually told about), and follow strict night-time recruitment practices (as is only appropriate). Tutorials also use the event system so we hooked up a handful of new contextual tutorials and reduced the length of the infodump upon gamestart.

On the economic side, buildings cost a lot more and it generally takes longer to get together the materials required to advance. And there are a few more important reasons to advance, such as upgrading weapons (we got gun reloading, so six-shooters are much more effective than pistols now) and medicinal products that can keep madness and therefore cults at bay. Plus bricks are cool. (At least I think so.)

Fog of war is just creepy. Enjoy!

As ever, adventurous players should opt-in to the "experimental" build of the game using the properties>betas option in Steam. You can see the new content we're working on plus receive specific technical fixes that don't affect enough players to require hotfixing into the public build.

And here are our development blog posts from late of January to the middle of February (which is an absurdly short month, isn't it).

(You can read the previous months' update notes and blog post listing at the bottom of this page, here. There are also pictures of cute animals.)


Project Timeline

In the broadest strokes, these are the major public-facing milestones of the Clockwork Empires project:


The Engine

This is the key component that brings every part of the game together. It makes sure that mouse and keyboard input is processed, that visuals display, that the game can pull information from the correct space on-disk, that the UI renders and responds correctly to input, that a character is drawn in the right place and is told what to do from the right script. Every part of this infrastructure must be in place in some form before player-visible game content can even be implement. As Nwabudike Morgan put it, "Each interdependent piece must be materialized simultaneously and in perfect working order; otherwise the system will crash out before it ever gets off the ground."

Nowadays most games are built on engines purchased from an outside company so the developer does not have to build their game from the ground-up. Popular examples of such engines are Unity, Unreal, CryEngine, and idTech. This category is easy to underestimate compared to other projects because we've built an engine from scratch. The game engine is hugely complex and, if everything works correctly, the player will not even notice it. The intangibility of the engine needs to be emphasized because it's such a huge portion of the work done on Clockwork Empires during development but it's one of the absolute least visible components to players. In short, it's a huge deal, but you won't be able to tell unless something goes wrong. Much of the work remaining involves making sure things don't go wrong with the wide variety of hardware and operating systems out there.

MacOS Clockwork Empires is out in the wild and Linux shall follow.

Project Progress: 95%

Project Progress: 95%

Playable Progress: 97%

Playable Progress: 97%

Latest Updates

We added fog of war to the game! This makes everything kinda scary, as you can see for yourself.

In addition, there's been some optimization work done, and improved stability of save/load (which is really working quite nicely now).

We've got the Linux build building but not hooked up to Steam packaging & distribution -- soon! Status of the Linux build can be followed on the forum post here.)

Completed Features

Upcoming Features


Human Characters

Simulating human characters is perhaps the cornerstone of Clockwork Empires, and as such it's one of the systems we've spent the most time on. As far as what's visible to the player, it probably appears about half as sophisticated as we intend the final product, but there's a lot of solid back-end code to support much more than what's been done. Now that we have a comprehensive design for characters as well as a completed framework to build that design on, most of the work that remains involves adding new 'jobs' (a job being what our engine calls any unit of a character's physical action eg. chopping down a tree or rubbing their stomach and making hungry, unhappy sounds), new memories, a more sophisticated relationship model, and physiological responses.

Project Progress: 88%

Project Progress: 88%

Playable Progress: 73%

Playable Progress: 73%

Latest Updates

This month saw an overhaul if "social" jobs (gossip, emoting) by way of a new feature that allows us to weight job proportionally by utility rather than by highest utility. Basically, if "do happy dance" has twice the utility of "gossip", the game will do the happy dance 2/3rds of the time and gossip 1/3rd of the time. This allows us to make characters perform behaviours from a given set of actions rather than exclusively choosing the highest-value job; this results in a greater variety of expressive behaviour rather than repetitions of the same action over and over.

We also got a new madness system (to tie into the new cult mechanics). When a colonist witnesses certain strange/horrifying events, they're tested versus a level of madness. If the madness wins, then they become more mad. Booze helps deal with madness-inducing events, and medicines will now actually lower madness (though beware of becoming a Laudanum Fiend). Cults are much more expressive now and will form in reaction to specific triggers. They find fertile ground in high-madness colonies, so be sure to medicate appropriately!

Apart from those, there's the usual pile of fixes, cleanup, and improved feedback.

Completed Features

Upcoming Features


Scripting System

Like the game engine, the scripting system is somewhat intangible to a player but exceedingly important to development of Clockwork Empires. The scripting system allows us to use a scripting language - Lua is this case - to control game logic without messing with the underlying functionality of the game engine, such as graphical rendering, or keeping assets loaded in memory.

The scripting system is also essentially complete. Almost all of the game object definition, and the interaction of these game objects is handled through Lua. These objects interact with each other by passing messages that are scheduled by the C++ engine code. We need to do a cleanup pass to make sure that all the strings for localization are out of C++ land, and we need to clean up leftover code used for various tests, but we're very pleased with the state of things.

As far as the player is concerned, this system is effectively done. A lot more content remains to be scripted, but the infrastructure to allow this to happen is all in place and works very well. Any error that occurs here would almost certainly an issue with an individual game object's script rather than the scripting system itself.

Project Progress: 98%

Project Progress: 98%

Playable Progress: 100%

Playable Progress: 100%

Latest Updates

This month saw us get a hardcore script debugging tool. This should speed up identification of and solution of those really sneaky bugs that tend to crop up. So while this is purely an internal tool, it should result in a better experience for players.

Completed Features

Upcoming Features


Combat & Military

The combat system currently works pretty solidly as a base upon which to build deeper features: soldiers will defend the colonists who call for help, colonists tasked with hunting will shoot animals with slightly alarming zeal (even peppering the already dead bodies with an extra bullet or two, depending on their traits), and everyone from bandits to fishpeople to your colonists can be wounded, take afflictions, and be killed.

Now the lovely system of military control that we painstakingly designed while the project was still quagmired in engine code is beginning to be implemented! We needed to allow for the characters themselvesto be sufficiently complex that they would be affected by military service (this is done), for the job system to allow interrupts (also done), and for additional sophistication and UI support for work crews in general (getting there). We also needed enemies to be sufficiently complex that military controls are necessary (working on it). So the characters are able to do everything needed, and the scripting of complex, interesting enemies is starting to show off what it can do (though pretty much all of the art assets are done, as mentioned in the "Non-Human Characters" section).

There's a lot yet to come, but combat isn't interesting until you have something meaningful to protect and build plus some interesting enemies to try to take it away from you. It's important to note that we are not building a generic RTS where lines of troops slaughter one another. Everything is a bit messier because your troops are all simulated humans with their own feelings about what they're doing.

Project Progress: 57%

Project Progress: 57%

Playable Progress: 40%

Playable Progress: 40%

Latest Updates

In the same vein as the social job overhaul, a ton of work went into an overhaul of the combat job code which makes combat behaviour more predictable, as in, having soldiers carry out duties more in accordance with player expectations. In doing this, a number of related errors were fixed and variables rebalanced.

Oh, and guns now require reloading. Their damage has been increased to offset the greater time between shots. So now the type of gun you have matters quite a bit, and you can order pistols upgraded to revolvers if you have the materials to spare ...

Completed Features

Upcoming Features


Non-Human Characters (Animals, Monsters, Vehicles)

All of the character (human and otherwise) in Clockwork Empires are based on very similar code with different amounts of complexity added on. Various categories of NHCs (non-human characters) have been created and integrated nto gameplay but this code, aside from the animals, hasn't been generalized sufficiently that adding new monsters and non-colonist humans is quite as trivial as it should be. This isn't difficult per se but it hasn't been the most important task yet versus our priority on getting human colonist character behaviour feeling really good, plus all the supporting UI/UX features involved in allowing the player know WHY characters are doing what they do. It is only natural that the player focus on their own colonists, so that had to be our starting place. We're getting to the point where that structure is very solidly in place so we're starting to flesh out the other beings of the world/other worlds.

The benefit of having the human characters essentially done is that every other active entity (animal, horror, vehicle) in the world is a version of human characters with simpler behaviour, so they're relatively easy to create in comparison. This process is being done gradually, in thematic groupings, as development proceeds.

Project Progress: 76%

Project Progress: 76%

Playable Progress: 43%

Playable Progress: 43%

Latest Updates

Mr. Triolo has been doing lots of work in the background putting together animal animations and behaviours, but little of this is visible as we're hanging on to our alternate biome assets until we can implement them in a way that is meaningful to gameplay. Beetles, however, did accidently find their way into the last public update so we said heck with it and included them - they're cute, they burrow, and you can eat them. Everything you'd expect from beetles!

Daniel informed me that he fixed "animal meat ownership". That's probably important.

We spend a good deal of time designing fishperson faction relations but they will not be implemented this month. It relates to work we want to do with cults and bandits, so as those are iterated, expect the player/fishpeople interactions to get a lot more interesting.

Completed Features

Upcoming Features


Buildings & Building Creation

This section includes everything the player can build: workshops, machine modules, dynamics (pipes), and zones (farms, stockpiles, graveyards) as well as any game mechanics that employ these structures.

Procedural building geometry is pretty solid unless you cram a lot of modules together in funny ways or manage to find an edge case in blueprint placing rules. With this more or less working, we're focusing on improving the UI for placing buildings and modules as well as the gameplay mechanics that use constructions generally. (The last major features required for building geometry proper is support for more varied building styles including gabled roofs and more exciting decorations, but this is all visual polish, so gameplay comes first.)

The backend for workshops is essentially done, though as with everything will see refinements in every update as necessary. Workshops don't however interface much yet with higher-level economic gameplay mechanics that are not yet implemented such as dynamics (steam/water pipes, mechanical axles), and module maintenance costs. These could also use more cool visual and sound effects and lots of UI/UX enhancements.

Housing is a bit simple right now; people will use beds, but there is currently no concept of "property ownership", so people can't have their bed, their chair, their house, and their idol of Quaggaroth. Upper class characters can't complain about not owning a gilded throne and a painting of Uncle Ambrose. On the other hand, the communists are pretty happy with how things are looking right now.

Zones (stockpiles, farms, and graveyards) are working pretty well - though there are always incremental improvements to roll in when there's time - but farms in particular will need some better high-level controls for having one workcrew work multiple fields in a rational manner. Zone removal is needed so you can move stockpiles and farms when you figure out a better arrangement for them.

Project Progress: 92%

Project Progress: 92%

Playable Progress: 91%

Playable Progress: 91%

Latest Updates

In an effort to distinguish early game from mid-game, we've done a huge overhaul of building costs. You will notice now that buildings cost a heck of a lot more materials to build, and this scales with the area and perimeter of the building. Now a player must think more carefully about how to use space when constructing a building, and how to get the materials to afford it in the first place, particularly for higher-tier structures. Further, it's less obvious to use buildings as giant walls (so this makes a good argument for an improved gabion placement tool).

Apart from that, you've got the usual pile of fixes and minor improvements both to UI and to building/job/character interaction logic.

Completed Features

Upcoming Features


Biomes & Terrain

We currently have two biomes: "Temperate Colorado" and "Tropical Jungle". Each has unique flora and fauna, and the tropical biome is much more difficult to play due to dangerous... things.

The terrain generator is capable of much more than is currently shown to the player, both on a small and large scale, and taking advantage of these abilities would tie into overworld development.

We've also got a lot of completed assets that aren't being shown yet. As perceptive readers may recall, we have generated desert and swamp biomes, and the art exists to support these and many more. So we have most of the technical capacity to expand the biome numbers, but we want to ensure that they really play differently from one another instead of just doing quick, superficial implementation of art. And besides, this requires a more fully developed economic system for biome-unique products well as more monster & animal content for unique challenges in each area. With all that in mind, new biomes will be rolled out over time in thematically appropriate chunks with accompanying economic and animal assets as development on the game proceeds.

Project Progress: 81%

Project Progress: 81%

Playable Progress: 39%

Playable Progress: 39%

Latest Updates

All the nature objects got a script clean-up pass so, for example, they can be consistently cleared with one command (used when a building is placed over nature objects - trees, ore, berries, etc. are all automatically cleared). The new building costs made balancing harvesting time and resource amounts as well, so stone and clay are more plentiful while trees take quite a lot longer to chop down.

All in all, this area has seen balancing changes and script cleanup. As ever, we're sitting on a lot of assets but don't want to implement them without reason.

Completed Features

Upcoming Features

Seemingly Random Aside


Events, Metagame, and The Overworld

We've decided to roll game events into this section. Well, they sorta were before but we're going to make it explicit by writing "EVENTS" in the title.
Reasoning: 1. Events form a bridge between the simulation level of the game to abstracted game concepts like Empire Prestige, what biome you're on (stored as an abstract variable which can affect things quite apart from the actual content of the game map), and what day bandits last attacked. The metagame is all about abstracted game concepts, so events are the obvious method to making them matter to the simulation. 2. We worked on a lot of event stuff this last month and there really wasn't any other obvious category to put them in. Onward!

This category includes events now, plus from before the world map itself, the ability for a player to found a new colony in different conditions based on where they choose to settle on the world map, tracking player progress through different settlements, interaction with different factions, and having in-game events tie in to what the player sees in their colony.

This is one of the less developed systems, but also one of the simplest with the fewest unknown variables because it interacts with the core character/colony simulation only sporadically and largely at the beginning and end of a game to provide context and consequences for actions taken in the body of the game. So far in development there's little point in having a meta-game without a strong core of the colony simulation game itself, so while we had a great time designing all the systems involved for the metagame and are eager to implement them, it's not going to get done until it's the best way to improve the game experience.

Project Progress: 20%

Project Progress: 16%

Playable Progress: 20%

Playable Progress: 16%

Latest Updates

This month we got a number of new back-end pieces to make events better, for example: tooltips (it's important to steal from Paradox because those guys LOVE event tooltips). In terms of new content, a ton of work went into designing and creating new events attached to particular character traits, tutorials, and cults, though not all of these are visible yet. (I'm also pretty sure I also saw Daniel reading cards from Arkham Horror for inspiration.) Anyway, lots of fixes went in to old events and improving event feedback, too.

Completed Features

Upcoming Features


Multiplayer

Networked simultaneous multiplayer has been planned for Clockwork Empires from the start - and such a feature must be planned from the very start for any modern game because it requires that the game engine and gameplay mechanics operate based on architecture which enables multiple instances of the game to coordinate events. It should suffice to say that this is a significant investment of time, but as any fan of multiplayer games knows, the reward is great. The underlying system architecture of Clockwork Empires has been built from the ground-up to support networking, using a deterministic lockstep architecture. Most of the required code investment is already done, and we have successfully run networking code on our internal LAN. We simply need to take the last few steps for completion, give the system a nice frosting of user-interface and usability features, then undergo testing, optimization, and "hardening" against poor connectivity and Interfering Firewalls. We also wish to have a better concept of what a multiplayer "game" of what Clockwork Empires looks like, and will write additional gameplay code to support this.

We also plan to offer support for non-simultaneous "multiplayer" games of Clockwork Empires; in these "succession" games, you play a game for a period of time then hand the save file off to a friend to play. They may hand the save file back to you, or possibly to some random person on the internet. This is fairly straightforward compared to networked multiplayer, mostly requiring game saving & loading plus ease-of-use features. It will also require some design iteration as we discover the most interesting ways to convey the concept of "succession"; this will in turn require some unique interface features.

Project Progress: 89%

Project Progress: 89%

Playable Progress: 0%

Playable Progress: 0%

Latest Updates

This month has seen a lot of back-end work on multiplayer. This includes more on game object ownership and getting CE multiplayer connections to play nicely with Steam (both started last month), elegant handling of dropped connections, and finally support for starting a multiplayer game in different modes (ie. new game vs. load game). Technical testing is also taking place (meaning testing that the game technically works while networked; making this experience player-accessible will require a whole other layer of UI and a pass over a lot of game logic to make sure all object and event ownership is applied correctly.)

In other news, saves - as related to the concept of succession games - are quite stable! From here we could use some accessibility features and more long-term gameplay to make succession appealing.

Completed Features

Upcoming Features


Music & Sound

This category encompasses all of the audio assets, sound and music, heard in the game. The dynamic music system mixes up to six tracks of different moods together based on events in the game; for example, during combat more martial-feeliing music will play, and if weird monsters from another dimension show up, the music will get very strange indeed.

The dynamic music system was finished shockingly early, is implemented, and works. Not all of the events that should alter the mood of the music are set up to do so, however. This will require a series of housekeeping passes to go through all relevant events in the game and paste the one line of controlling script plus appropriate variables wherever needed. It's not difficult, it just needs to be done in a lot of places as development proceeds. In terms of sound effects, we need to tweak a few sounds, flesh out some more variety in assets, implement support for ambient and cleanly looping sound effects, and replace the placeholder character vocalizations. (Right now the character's are all voiced by Matthew Steele, whose voice you may recall as the announcer from Dungeons of Dredmor, though rest assured that he sounds nothing like that in Clockwork Empires).

All in all we're very happy with the way music and sound has come together so quickly.

Project Progress: 92%

Project Progress: 92%

Playable Progress: 82%

Playable Progress: 82%

Latest Updates

Little in the way of new content was added, but the backend for a number of outstanding sound features got some serious work done. For example, we have looping sounds and directional sound with correct falloff nearly live; as such, project progress advanced while visible progress remains the same. (We did add a reloading sound and fixed a bunch of slightly odd music triggers revealed by this month's job overhaul, but those were too minor to justify bumping the visible progress number.)

Completed Features

Upcoming Features


UI/UX

UI/UX is really important and deserves its own category! In terms of project assets this category includes the art for icons, art for UI elements (every window, every button), the illustrations for events and backgrounds, and any other visual effects used to signal the player about what is going on in the game that isn't a part of the game-world itself. Behind the art, there is an xml layer which controls UI layouts -- what goes where and controls what -- as well as how the art is applied to these layouts. Behind the xml is the engine's UI rendering system to draw the art to screen according to xml as well as the code to send player commands through UI layouts into the game itself.

It should be emphasized that the current state of the UI is not set in stone and we fully intend to continually iterate UI/UX based on player feedback throughout the course of development. Again, it's really important because the UI is what stands between the player and the game; it should have a facilitating, not frustrating, effect.

Project Progress: 87%

Project Progress: 87%

Playable Progress: 76%

Playable Progress: 76%

Latest Updates

We got more love for UI this month! There was a good deal of cleanup, a few new bits and bobs, and some work went into the tutorials. I'll mention some general items here, though of course the full list can be found in the changelog for the rev36 update.

Completed Features

Upcoming Features


Overview Of Additional Project Work

There is a great deal of work to launching a sucessful commercial project which is not directly related to the development of the game software and art assets. Most of it is invisible to gamers, which is fine, but it is important in this circumstance to acknowledge the hard work and effort involved which is absolutely essential to the game even though it doesn't appear in the game itself. This overview will be necessarily brief and should serve only to give an idea of what has been done and remains to be done.

Completed Tasks

Current & Ongoing Tasks

Upcoming Tasks


As a reward for anyone who read this far, we present to you a picture of Daniel's kitten:

CEO kitten

For those of you who stuck with us 'til now, here is David's cat in a basket:

Godiva in a basket

You lucky people! September gives you Nicholas' TWO cats just hanging out:

Vining Cats

This month? You get Mr.Hamilton's 'pig:

Hamilton Pig

Hello Margaret Catwood!

Margaret Catwood

Here's David's other cat. No, really, this is a different cat. I can tell which is which. Usually.

Leeloo is tall

We're running out of cats, so here's Daniel's other cat! Note that this is NOT Leeloo from the previous picture, Arya is a totally different cat. You'll pick up on the subtle differences with time. (Arya's paw is shaved because she had to go to the vet.)

Arya the kitten-cat

This month it's Micah's turn, so we present Misha the Cat:

Misha

Old Update Notes

January 2015 update notes:
This month our development goals were more about stability, usability, and cleaning up a lot of smaller features that will build toward a sense of gameplay progression for the player who runs a successful colony from early to mid-game. The December holiday season is necessarily a somewhat short work-month punctuated by all varieties of festivity and plague, so it lends itself better to completing smaller tasks than doing one big feature.

Lots of little things got done: tech fixes and optimization, new UI pieces, more control over small systems, lots of small gameplay bugs squashed, problems with jobs hashed out, re-balancing here and there, graphical polish on things we've been putting off for a while, and even some more work building up to the multiplayer back-end. So rather than continuing to list small things we improved, let's shuffle you along to the sub-sections to learn more about the details of what we got done - the UI/UX section is particularly beefy.

As ever, adventurous players should opt-in to the "experimental" build of the game using the properties>betas option in Steam. You can see the new content we're working on plus receive specific technical fixes that don't affect enough players to require hotfixing into the public build.

And here are our development blog posts from the middle of December to the middle of January (the holidays forced us to do the obligatory holiday post, and there's a vegan-themed homage to that awful TNG season 1 clip show episode with Riker; you know the one).


December 2014 update notes:
This month saw a few parallel streams of development. Perhaps most important was the continuation of developing economic gameplay with the ability to order dismantling of modules, buildings, and zones. These don't feel at first glance feel like "positive" feature developments, but what they do is introduce the essential element of iteration. Now a player can build a colony, tear it down, then re-build as a better, faster, more effective colony. Alongside this we wanted to introduce some fun themed gameplay elements, so we've fleshed out the behaviour of Naturalist characters, added the Laboratory along with Scientists and Laboratory Assistants to work in them, and sprinkled the world with Strange Artifacts to discover, study for prestige, and possibly (probably) make things go Terribly Wrong with. As usual there are also a ton of small changes and improvements which will be discussed in the appropriate sections below.

Oh, and we moved into a new office in the last month! The new place is rather nice, though we're still not sure about this "sun" that keeps shining through "windows"; it's all rather alarming and if anyone can explain what's going on, please do.

As ever, adventurous players should opt-in to the "experimental" build of the game using the properties>betas option in Steam. You can see the new content we're working on plus receive specific technical fixes that don't affect enough players to require hotfixing into the public build.

Here are our development blog posts from the middle of November to the middle of December (which appear slightly fewer than usual due to how the Wednesdays line up, but hopefully the title length makes up for it):


November 2014 update notes:
So, this ended up being a weird month. Our plan was to go in and crank out a pile of economic features and UI in support thereof, but our MacOS/Linux build ended up requiring a two-week+ rewrite of the entire renderer to work with OpenGL 3.2 standards which took most core coder time away from economic feature development. That said though, there are indeed a few important features snuck in, details below. While held up on the big features required for the economy-focused work, a lot of secondary coding and implementation got done on other parts of that game which did not depend on the planned features. So this is all good stuff, just not quite the good stuff we expected this month to be about, and much of what we wanted to accomplish has had to be pushed back due to unanticipated complexity in getting the MacOS and Linux ports working.

As ever, adventurous players should opt-in to the "experimental" build of the game using the properties>betas option in Steam. You can see the new content we're working on plus receive specific technical fixes that don't affect enough players to require hotfixing into the public build.

Here are our development blog posts from the middle of October to the middle of November:


October 2014 update notes:
This month we've focused less on big showy things and more on the player experience. We've made existing gameplay smoother, fixed as many little broken things as possible, and have otherwise started putting together the infrastructure for really getting the game economy working. In this update, notably, the module construction and workshop system have received attention to set us up for further economic features. With the foundation set by this month, we will be able to implement much stronger economic gameplay in the following month (with details revealed as we implement them). Meanwhile, we've also put time into making the save/load system more stable, reduced combat micromanagement with AI improvements, and added an ammunition system to tie combat to the economy.

As ever, particularly adventurous players should opt-in to the "experimental" build of the game using the properties>betas option in Steam. You can see the new content we're working on plus receive specific technical fixes that don't affect enough players to require hotfixing into the public build.

Here are our development blog posts from the middle of September to the middle of October:


September 2014 update notes:
This is our second month in the public eye and our first on Steam as an "Early Access" title. It's an intense experience for all of here at Gaslamp to be putting the game out in the public on Steam. The feedback has proven incredibly valuable and we hope it shows in how far we've brought the game in the last four weeks. Our big features are new Cult actions, an entire new biome to play in (with new flora, fauna, crops, and cooking products), improved Fishpeople behaviour, conscription of militia soldier and better squad control, improved farming, and lots of general UI and stability fixes. All the details will be described in the categories below.

Here are our development blog posts from the middle of August to the middle of September:


August 2014 update notes:
Our first month of the public playing Clockwork Empires had generated a tremendous amount of feedback and a great deal of work has been done as a result. As expected, much of the initial technical was necessarily focused on getting the game to run at all on the huge variety in hardware and software setups that gamers own. Apart from that, the range of perspectives vastly increased which gave us a huge amount of user interface and "user experience" feedback concerning how the game is controlled and how information is presented to the player. Upon reviewing our changelogs from mid-July to mid-August, we realized that we did not include a UI/UX category on this page even though it's an essential component of Clockwork Empires. So we added a new category to track UI/UX progress! You will find it below.

More details about the month's work will be added to each section below. In the meantime, here are the development blog posts from the last month:


July 2014 update notes:
The overall status of the project is, as one would expect, quite far along. We've hit the point (as of July 2014) where the game is getting very visibly better with each update we send to testers, and the experience is becoming less about basic functionality as it is about playing the game itself. Hitting this tipping point was the most important criterion for us for any form of early access and we're at the point where people who want to participate will be able to watch the project take shape, submit bugs, help us prioritize features, suggest how to resolve design issues, and play the game largely crash-free.