Just tried out the game! Still feels Beta-y to me?

Discussion in 'Clockwork Empires General' started by Zifna, Oct 29, 2016.

  1. Zifna

    Zifna Member

    I'm a big fan of Gaslamp Games (as a gaming woman, you guys rock) and I love civ/citybuilders so of course I nabbed Clockwork Empires as soon as I saw it was out of Early Access. To be honest, though, I'm a bit disappointed. The core of the game seems good, but right now the balance seems out-of-kilter and the game mechanics seem improperly breadcrumbed. I'm OK with it being hard, of course, but what's getting me isn't difficulty, it's clunkiness. For example:

    • The fact that they show you a tasks vs. available overseers counter at the bottom without making it clear that you need to actually not use all the available overseers - if you don't have "slack," things kind of grind to a halt since no one is carting products around.

    • The fact that they imply that overseers will sleep in laborer housing (they "prefer" better beds suggests that they will sleep in cots if that's all there is), when they won't

    • The fact that buildings don't clearly indicate their prerequisites and how to produce them. For example, I built a laboratory since I wanted better crops. After building it, I found I couldn't do anything with it since I don't have "Science Materials." I don't think there was any way to know this beforehand? And I'm truly uncertain which module and materials will allow me to produce "Science Materials." I know which shop, but not which module.
    Also, it would be a really nice quality-of-life thing if shop workers would do random makework if they had downtime. Yes, I can just assign someone to the ceramics workshop when I need bricks, and unassign her when she's crafted the clay I've gathered... but that's clunky as heck.

    I also feel like I'm having trouble getting enough overseers/workers/happiness/planks to get stuff done, and I feel like I'm running out of trees, but I'm willing to accept that as potentially my lack of familiarity with the game.

    If anyone has a really good learn-to-play resource that matches the current build, I'm interested, but I also was curious what made it get released right now.
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  2. OddProphet

    OddProphet Member

    Alephred has a hundred thousand videos on his YouTube channel, and a couple for the latest builds. There's also a wiki here that is in-progress, but still handy.

    Still, the best way to learn is to learn by doing. In that vein, I'd like to shamelessly plug our Community Colony found here. By the time your turn comes around, the groundwork will have been laid for you to start exploring the mid-game, and hopefully help turn it into a bona-fide clusterfuck.

    As to the game itself, it has come a long way from beta. Knowing what we do of Dredmor, Gaslamp is of course continuing to smooth out the issues present in the current game and expand it beyond its current limits. Although just at the moment I believe they are drinking themselves into a stupor in honor of the gold release.
  3. Mochan

    Mochan Member

    I too just got the game as soon as I saw it out of early access. I just feel the game is fundamentally flawed in that the resource, module and building design that is the core of the game is just too bloated, resulting in that clunkiness you mentioned.

    I don't mind needing to learn the game and what produces what; that's all part of learning a new game. By your second game you'll know everything you need to know about the mechanics. The problem is that the game is simply far too clunky because of the basic design. Getting stuff done in this game gets in the way of what should be the fun stuff -- watching your colonists suffer and go crazy while interacting with the local fauna.

    I still think the game can be great, it just needs a lot more polishing and maybe a lot of excising. There's too much tedium in the building aspect of this game and the resulting towns aren't even that compelling.
    Pakuska likes this.
  4. Nicholas

    Nicholas Technology Director Staff Member

    A few notes on this:

    The breadcrumb here (to use your rather nice phrase) is the workplace cap: the idea is that you should always maintain some slack and we never let you do otherwise. That said, reading feedback it seems like a lot of folks think that it should be hooked to the actual number of overseers currently assigned, not the number of workplaces built. So something might not be working there as designed.

    is something I need to overhaul; I wanted property ownership for things in houses in, but it didn't get in this build. It's on my list of "things that need Nicholas to write them" and that list has mainly been filled with non-game-y, systemic stuff for the past six months so... yeah, that one was waiting on me and like many things waiting on me, I'm sad it didn't get in.

    Yes, if this isn't tooltipped, it should be. Will investigate.

    My problem with having people do stuff on downtime is that there is an expectation of priority here: nothing is worse than having an overseer NOT make your bricks because he's off busy lugging steaks back from the frontier. Users would complain about that too. :)
    Exile likes this.
  5. Nicholas

    Nicholas Technology Director Staff Member

    What makes a town "compelling"?
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  6. Alexz7272

    Alexz7272 Member

    I have had the same impressions. Feel the building could be a bit more guided and would LOVE being able to prioritize tasks. I am struggling with the overseer/worker dynamo, but thats probably just my fried brain lately ;)
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  7. Puzzlemaker

    Puzzlemaker Member

    Roads, obviously.

    In all seriousness, I think they are compelling right now, but it may get better when more industry stuff like railroads and snoots are added, if that makes sense.
    Exile likes this.
  8. mcnostril

    mcnostril "The First To Crash"

    Hmmmm... I guess better stockpile management would make towns more "compelling" for me.
    There's something really satisfying about being able to optimize a town to a ridiculous extent, which doesn't feel quite as doable now (I think before there were more possibilites with the sort of universal module placement and variable stockpile size; though they also introduced their own set of problems) - mind you, I've always been terrible at that, but there's a certain satisfaction to believing I'm doing it right (or finding interesting efficiency solutions that are also aesthetically pleasing).
    Personally I find managing resource collection and storage is a big part of town games, and right now the current filters mean that you end up with these sort of "general" areas, whereas being able to really specialize areas of your colony tends to give them more character.

    Also roads and proper fences. Currently I am way too pleased with myself once I start adding streetlights to my streets, but if I could have actual streets, oh boy.

    Oh and somewhere that serves food (the pub also?) so once Progress has been brought, people are no longer eating things off the floor. Maybe just indoor storage? I dunno, I think at that point it's more visual appeal than actual gameplay stuff.
    Exile likes this.
  9. Zifna

    Zifna Member

    Thanks for the response! A couple questions:
    I'm not quite sure what you mean here - perhaps you're just saying if I had ever tried to assign every overseer to a building, it wouldn't have let me? I don't think that's quite enough, if that's what you're saying. The first time or two I played I didn't understand that if (for example) I told all the overseers to build things and harvest trees etc. that the cots I'd built might never get carried to the "ghost cots".

    I can see that, but isn't that already handled by your current system? For example, if I have three modules in my kitchen, I can set them up and order them such that the single assigned worker only moves to the lower down one if the top modules aren't in need. If you just set it up so that doing these other tasks was the lowest priority, it seems like that would be very similar to the current situation. Or, if you wanted to get fancy, you could make shopworkers unable to take tasks that were more than a set distance from their shops. Just having them deliver a module or two here and there would really de-gunk the works a lot.
    Hyfrydle, jotwebe and Exile like this.
  10. Hyfrydle

    Hyfrydle Member

    I'm loving the game and have played numerous versions throughout early access. One issue I always have is making my buildings the right size I always either make them too big or too small. I would really love the ability to add to currently constructed buildings or perhaps remove excess area. At the moment the building side feels very restrictive.

    Another issue I have is when placing modules the bright yellow squares that show where colonists access the module are too big and bright and I can't see to position modules correctly.

    I'm sure this game will continue to grow and I love the whole idea behind the gameplay.
    Exile likes this.
  11. Mikel

    Mikel Waiting On Paperwork From The Ministry. Forever.

    I recently started refactoring my colony by demolishing and replacing workshops that were inefficiently sized.
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  12. Hyfrydle

    Hyfrydle Member

    It would be good if you could plan building size and module placement at the same time then once happy set it to be built.
    mikail 001, Exile and Puzzlemaker like this.
  13. Puzzlemaker

    Puzzlemaker Member

    Yesssss I have made this suggestion numerous times
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  14. Mochan

    Mochan Member

    Hi Nicholas, thanks for dropping by the forums.

    I suppose in the context of this game, "compelling" would mean getting the town to run like clockwork, as the title suggests. I've put in over 50 hours into playing this game from Alpha and while I have a good idea how the economic systems work, I can never get it to run on "auto-pilot" like I do other similar games like Banished, Serf City, or Cultures. This doesn't mean it plays itself the way Master of Orion 3 did, but I expect not to have to micromanage every aspect of procuring stones, wood, planting new trees, etc. every single time.

    It would be more compelling if I were able to experience any emergent narratives, stories, events and the like without needing to look through every single menu hidden behind a slew of other popups just to get the last bit of clay for my Overseer's house, so I can get enough buildings to give the colony all the professions it needs.

    I realize that in city building games a big part of the game is actually managing all these things, and in some games that's all it's about, but Clockwork Empires from the get go was supposed to be much more than just managing the construction of the colony.

    What I find not to be compelling, is the how the game never feels like it goes beyond the tedium of city building at a snail's pace and into actual emergent stories and content.
  15. Jonta

    Jonta Member

    Nothing of the above !

    I think is it great that:
    You need to care for every aspect if getting every single piece of iron tube out build your first oven, remember to get ammo, midi-kits, siencetools ect.
    That the town is messed up, because your colonists is always under pressure tired and hungry, this is not Paris – this is downtown-nowhere, (I guess Paris was very messy in 1800’s but that's another story)

    Many complains is going in the direction of getting every aspect more easily available, but if you make everything less complicated, you would spoil the fun IMHO.

    It is difficult with limited information and you actually need to think, remember and try different stuf – GREAT.

    Not to say it could not be better, and I hope it will – but don't make it simple, there is enough simple city builders already.
    Exile likes this.
  16. Darkmere

    Darkmere Member

    Meh. If I wanted more micro I'd play starcraft. Pass.

    Compelling to me is the narrative aspect that comes with being able to focus on a big picture. Comparing this to DF, the main things I'm missing that made DF forts more memorable are:

    * Megaprojects. There aren't many (any?) building-block like dealies that you can play with as you like. No towers of soap or glass pyramids or water-powered dwarfputers. No water reactors, no mechanics, no defensive traps.

    * Artifacts. The system is partway there, but stuff like the possessed workbench just... yields a regular item. I don't mean Planepacked-level wackiness or anything, but there's nothing to differentiate overseers - two level 5 carpenters are indistinguishable.

    * Large challenges. Goblin armies, Necromancer towers, The Skelken Menace. CE's combat system isn't really fleshed out enough to make this work properly (you need SOME type of stationary defenses, or at least a way to deal with battlefield injuries other than hope your redcoats kill whatever before the NCO shambles forward long enough to die). I'd almost kill for the alert-level control that DF offers over civilians.

    * Map variation. CE can't offer something like building Minas Tirith into a mountainside but effectively all the CE maps are just big lumpy plains. Maybe rivers or something?

    * More exploitable, varied wildlife. One of my favorite forts had an army of war elephants, back when they could actually exist. Livestock system, maybe?

    The game as-is is a solid framework, and I look forward to what's ahead. I don't expect steampunk DF, but that's the best answer to the question I can provide.
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  17. Jonta

    Jonta Member

    If i wanted stationary defenses i'd play COH
    (hope you get my point)
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  18. Darkmere

    Darkmere Member

    I don't even know what the reference is but if that's all you took from my post I don't see any point in belaboring further.
    Exile likes this.