"Unboxing Clockwork Empires" - boxed module questions

Discussion in 'Clockwork Empires General' started by STGGrant, Dec 2, 2015.

  1. STGGrant

    STGGrant Member

    So the boxed modules described in today's update are a pretty interesting change, and (I think) pretty healthy. I'm actually really excited by the idea. I had several questions, though:
    • If I don't have module A pre-built and boxed up somewhere, can I still have an overseer build it in place?
    • Are there modules which can only be built in 'boxed' form? (Obviously there are some 'reward' modules which would only come boxed, but I'm talking about player-produced modules specifically.)
    • Are there categories of modules which can't ever be built in boxes—e.g. kilns, mineshafts, and other huge things?
    • Will boxed modules mean that previously-useless work modules now have uses? (I'm specifically thinking of the Ceramics Workshop's workbench, which in Alpha 45 isn't required for anything, but I'm sure there are others.)
    • Will stockpiles (and warehouses, etc. down the road) have a 'modules' filter along with their other categories?
    • It seems like a pretty safe assumption, but I might as well ask: When trading is implemented, will that include trade in modules as well as 'normal' commodities?

    MOOMANiBE Ah, those were the days. Staff Member

    No - all modules will be built out of workshops from now on, with a few exceptions. (This also answers your second and third questions)
    1. Carpentry workbenches, as the game's more or less foundational module, must be buildable in place.
    2. Plans are to allow the stone ovens to be built in place as well, to help people who want to get food up right away. We may remove this later if we can find a good way to, since the inconsistency is a bit annoying.
    3. Doors. Because doorless buildings are no.
    To reiterate, -all- other modules will be moved to the boxed module system.
    Yes! Carpentry, Ceramics, and Metalworking shops will all be getting a lot of recipes added out of this. Textile will be getting a few as well.
    Most likely. It seems like a good idea to have. Probably not for the first build.

    Sure. You'll probably sell them at a slight loss, though. Entire furnaces aren't exactly trade goods.
  3. Tikigod

    Tikigod Member

    I really love the possibilities this feature will open up, REALLY can't wait to dive in and get at the feature so hopefully it's almost ready for some experimental build exposure. :)

    Personal preferences to some of the things mentioned:

    1) Personally I hope that on-site construction won't really be a thing. As it would pretty much undermine the entire purpose of the feature if you still can just have your workshops churn out nothing but raw construction materials.
    If on-site construction is still a thing just spamming out raw construction resources (for now at least) will almost certainly be massively more efficient than pre-building individual modules ahead of time.

    Though if the two do end up co-existing I suppose this change could allow for new avenues to be considered like workshop pre-built modules having reduced resource requirements to represent more efficient resource utilisation via industrial tools. With spontaneous on-site construction having increased resource costs to reflect the fact it's all being done 'in the field' using crude tools.

    2 & 3) Combining these two as I feel they could connect with each other. I'd love to see larger or more complex modules be constructed from more basic modules. So you end up with an actual hierarchy system to production.

    So a ceramics workshop makes ovens. Those ovens are then used again by the ceramics workshop alongside additional raw construction resources to make smelting furnaces.

    Same could be expanded for larger modules like mineshafts, but to the extent where they're no longer built from any raw construction materials but rather are the end product of combining several module flat packs into something entirely different... this of course would require the introduction of a wider range of module concepts to be constructed, some of which may only have a function as a stepping stone to build existing modules... but hopefully that will get filled in as more features are added and more modules come into play. ;)

    4) That is certainly my hope. Even if not as a 'hands on' production module, at least introducing them as required for intermediate construction resources of other modules. So a lab station may be made from a workbench + ?????.

    Edit: Awesome clarification on how the initial implementation will work from @MOOMANiBE very pleased to hear that on-site spontaneous on-site construction is getting stomped. :)
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2015
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  4. Tikigod

    Tikigod Member

    Perhaps further down the road once dev/balancing time permits working on adding it have a very crude wood based cooking module added that is capable of filling in for a low quality meal kitchens can prepare.

    Slower than stone ovens, can't handle basic food orders, bread or pastry cooking.

    But it can be used to make some low grade food, which gives slightly more hunger fulfilment than raw food, generates no positive or negative memories, and can only be made from foodstuff that is essentially already edible as-is without any real prep work done to it (so limited crop types, or most things foraged/butchered).

    But balanced in such a way that hunger fulfilment isn't really sufficient to allow the order to be used to have kitchens produce food capable of sustaining a colony of any real size, but for the first 2-3 days of a colony it could stand in as a means to generate food that doesn't upset colonists long enough to get a functional ceramics pipeline going to produce ovens.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2015
  5. STGGrant

    STGGrant Member

    Would it make sense to ensure that each starting loadout includes a boxed-up carpentry workbench, to avoid that inconsistency?

    Actually, speaking of loadouts—are there plans (short-term or long-term) to make various modules part of the various starting loadout options?
    Tikigod likes this.
  6. Tikigod

    Tikigod Member


    This! LOVE this idea.

    So simple a solution, yet so elegant and effective and actually showcases the new concept of module packs right off the bat for the player.

    No risk of players stumbling around trying to figure out "How do I build other modules? My first workbench just got built automatically"... instead the game throws the whole concept at the player right away so they know what the score is.

    And on that note, why not have the same with 1x stone oven as part of all standard embark loadouts as well? At least as a stop-gap until other options can be explored later on for either bridging the gap between raw food -> Stone oven, or easing the progression to stone oven in a way that makes sense.

    And even as a stop-gap without the kitchen, the stone oven itself has zero impact. So the player would still need to get certain other parts of the early economy going to feed the kitchen construction.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2015
  7. STGGrant

    STGGrant Member

    The only really major concern with the idea is that in a game with random events, it's possible that a new player won't set up their carpentry workbench until several days after they "should" do so, and bandits (or fishpeople, or Stahlmarkian Rust-worms, or whatever) steal or destroy the crated carpentry workbench. It does create a single point of failure for a whole colony and game. The ability to get new "starter kit" modules dropped for 1-2 Prestige might fix that somewhat, but that's still a little kludgy.
  8. Tikigod

    Tikigod Member

    With everything non-building structure related more or less being built out of workshops exclusively with this change, hopefully the necessity of establishing a carpentry workshop right off the bat will very much be a "No other choice about it" matter, unless the player wishes to build a lot of empty building shells with no contents.

    That said, as a extra measure for "The players sat there for 10 in-game days and still hasn't built anything because they're dancing about with the camera and stalking colonists for lolz" scenarios, taking a page from the DF-handbook might be a potential option.

    Where a range of events only have the chance to get triggered once a minimum pre-requisite is met. In this case, it could be something as straight forward as "As soon as the player has a colony production value >0 allow bandit creation events".

    So until the colony has set up its first producing workshop and churned something out, then there's no chance of bandits spawning... with the in-game rationale behind it being with nothing really going on and nothing of value being produced bandits wouldn't really see any merit in setting up shop in the area.

    If once the player has created their first workshop and got their colony industry under way, they then ignore important things like utilising the 'free oven' to help get early food production going if they so wished or filling in other stages of their colony production chain and also establishing a proper defence for potential reported threats, instead deciding they're more interested in another idea and as a result end up having those goods get nabbed or destroyed by bandits... then that's an learning experience well within the confines of functional design IMO. ;)
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2015
  9. Kamisma

    Kamisma Member

    Big modules like stone ovens, mineshaft or forge make sense to build on place as they are kind part of the building itself. It would look weird to see a mineshaft popping out a box.
    ShadowTani likes this.
  10. Kamisma

    Kamisma Member

    But Lavish Furniture made of Exotic - and now extinct - Wood might be valuable in the Empire
    STGGrant likes this.

    MOOMANiBE Ah, those were the days. Staff Member

    It's too dangerous as of now. One of my personal goals is to make sure we avoid boring "stuck states" for the game and if you lose your initial module somehow in that situation - or, say, your only carpentry workshop burns down - it's game over. That's not a particularly fun way to lose.

    Nothing concrete, but I'll definitely think about it at some future point.
  12. STGGrant

    STGGrant Member

    Doesn't have to be extinct. Exotic is fine—or really, even just wood planks. One of colonial New England's primary exports to England was raw lumber, simply because England didn't have a ton of large, old-growth wood left in its forests. The tall pines and hardwoods of North America were a valuable commodity, for both ship-building and consumer goods. Colonial sawmills cut the raw wood into planks for easier shipping, and finished goods were shipped back to the Colonies for sale (though naturally, local artisans began to cut out the middleman and produce their own furniture soon enough.)

    Having said that, one of my little dreams for Clockwork Empires is having logs and planks of different species, which affect the coloration of objects and buildings created with them and which are valued and traded separately. (Think of Minecraft's differently-colored woods, especially with the Biomes O' Plenty or Bibliocraft mod packs and their custom furniture colors and textures for each wood.) That's 100% wishful thinking, especially this early—but better to aim high, right? :D
  13. Alephred

    Alephred Royal Archivist for Queen And Empire

    I'm looking forward to seeing how boxed modules affect production chains. I suspect distant workshops, like mines, will get up and running faster because the components of the mineshaft don't have to be carried to the site, individually. The example given in the update, a cot, is also interesting. Presumably, the Textile Mill turns flax into cloth, which goes to the stockpile, and then the workshop responsible for manufacturing the cot module (the Textile Mill again?) picks up the planks and cloth, and makes a bed-in-a-box? Like, Colonial British IKEA. Then the crate containing the cot goes .. to the stockpile? That seems like a lot of back and forth from the stockpile, actually. I guess I'm not seeing the point of storing modules for future use - at present, players typically build modules as the become necessary, i.e. only when they're ready to use them immediately.

    Mind you, I can understand the possibilities of gift modules from the Empire, or weird Cultist Carpentry Workbenches that make Eldritch Cabinetry that you do not have to assemble yourself from components.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2015
  14. Kamisma

    Kamisma Member

    The carpenter builds furniture like cots, chair and beds, as shown in the screenshot of the DD. I guess the textile mill will build carpets.

    Basically instead of "all purpose teams" doing most of the building job and hauling components one by one and then spend hours assembling them, this task is now the responsibility of the workshops which were idle most of the time (or set to build something like 100 planks or 100 bolts of cloth). Means more back and forth for the workshops that were not so busy, and less back and forth for the "all purpose teams" who were overworked to death before.

    With this new feature i can justify having a big carpentry work shop with work benches and a 5 man crew instead of a 3x3 shack with one module,one window and one guy
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2015
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  15. ShadowTani

    ShadowTani Member

    Once the trading system is in place this situation may be avoidable at least by allowing colonies to trade for it.

    I agree completely, would be weird and less immersive if everything was IKEA boxed.
  16. STGGrant

    STGGrant Member

    Another interesting effect of this change is that the demand for lower-class laborers increases significantly. That feels good, but will definitely shake up the economy. I feel like farms in particular may struggle a bit, but we will see.
  17. Tikigod

    Tikigod Member

    If they're built from smaller manufactured modules, then I fully agree there.

    But having something like a mineshaft be built on site using some wooden planks, some general raw lumps of stone and a bar of iron isn't really ideal in a world where producing things in workshops is actually how most other things are handled.

    So the compromise to get a nice middle ground for examples like mineshafts for me would be to have them built by delivering various assortments of boxed modules as a construction resource for the order. So a mineshaft would be built on site but would be constructed from something like:

    * 1x Packed crane module.
    * 1x Packed 'Ministry of Safety Certified' wooden elevator box shaft module.
    * 5x Wooden re-enforced bracing supports.

    Later down the road, 'Packed crane modules' may end up being something that's a constructible for things like loading bays for trading docks, or as something that's usable in future warehouse/storage ideas. But in the meantime they could serve as construction resources for some more complex modules to illustrate the idea that not everything is built in workshops, but they're still part of the module production hierarchy... nothing is magical.

    Stone ovens and similar examples however I think make sense to be pre-produced and boxed up, as the bulk of the construction is something that is already manufactured, yes you do some construction work on the structure of the building to accommodate room for chimneys or whatever else... but the actual 'workable' piece of equipment isn't really something that's built from scraps with basic tools in the field unless you're talking about something relative simplistic/crude.

    I am working under the assumption that unpacking modules isn't a insta-magic action where a colonist just hauls the module pack to the site and the instant the module pack hits the floor a module justs poofs into existence out of thin air. But rather there's still a small 'unpack & construct' action involved to unpack the module, but the action is significantly faster than building modules in the field has been up until now.... as that's certainly the impression that animated sequence showing a colonist unpacking a cot from a pack gave.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2015
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  18. Kamisma

    Kamisma Member

    Awesome idea Tiki as always.

    Not sure if the devs will like it though :p
  19. advkow

    advkow Member

    This idea? Is AWESOME. It completely fixes one of the main problems of the game, which I currently feel is that it takes several days to build a building. When you think about it, people don't carry wood to site and then build a chair there even in the time period this sort of reflects. No you build it at a workshop and then carry it there. And since the theme is 'steampunk' that means that IKEA like construction is a viable solution! This should really help with the frustration of 'no matter what I do I just can't seem to keep up.' Having to always be several buildings behind isn't the 'losing is fun' theme I think the developers are going, and I greatly appreciate this.

    This also means that you can now specialize your work crews more. Carpenters will now do enough work to become valuable builders! This is fantastic! I want to do another hour plus video!

    Can't freaking wait to play it next revision!
  20. Tikigod

    Tikigod Member

    Speaking of, has anyone seen an ETA on the next experimental?

    Would be great to see some of this stuff before the wind-down leading up to the holidays, initial thought was the first experimental for this revision might get pushed out last Friday/Saturday which clearly didn't happen. ;)

    Just slightly worried that if it ends up being a 'holiday special' ninja release build rolled out as a direct to main branch update that it could leave some substantial bugs or balance problems hanging until closer to the end of the new year, that might otherwise have been hotfixable quickly if they're found after a good few days of player poking given a week or so lead up.

    As looking at the scope of what's coming up with this revision, it's going to take quite a bit of community poking time to really put it through its paces and see where things lie once exposed to players looking to 'optimise efficiency' in the new pipeline. :)