Posted December 12th, 2013 by Tynan Sylvester
Hey, all you people who got the name-in-game or backstory-in-game rewards! We’re finally ready to accept your wild and wacky creations! Web wizard Hypolite has created an online system that will allow you to add your character names and backstories into a database. Each time we release a new version of the game, I’ll pull the data from the database and put it in the game itself.
RimWorld Creative Rewards System
As a reminder, you should keep the Creative Rewards Guidelines in mind while coming up with your creations. I can’t wait to see all the wild ideas you put in.
Also, I’m still looking for creative rewards moderators. If you’re a solid, clear writer and interested in helping, please contact me. Thank you!
Posted December 10th, 2013 by Tynan Sylvester
I’m happy to announce that we’ve got eminent pixel and game artist Rhopunzel working on the in-game art for RimWorld!
Rho has worked on several awesome indie games. The most recent was Starbound, with pieces like this scary skeltal dragon or this crunchy mech. Before that, Rho did pretty much everything for Gnomoria.
Some people have asked how much the final art will change. Up until now, I’ve done all the art in a simple, iconic style. Rho will be working in a similar style (though at a much higher level of ability). We’re sticking with the vector look because it satisfies RimWorld’s design constraints very well. The goal with this art isn’t just to look good – it must satisfy a specific set of design goals as well.
First, it has to convey a lot of complex gameplay information in a really intuitive way, even when compressed to a tiny space on-screen. For example, looking at a character will tell you:
- Their identity (who, exactly, is it?)
- Their team (raider, colonist, trader, etc)
- Their general category they fall into (fighter, worker, researcher, farmer, etc)
- Their facing
- Their apparel (possibly several layers)
- What they’re doing
- Maybe, in the future, their current equipment or weapon
Packing that all into a space as small as 32×32 pixels and making it look good is tough!
Second, it has to balance abstraction with specificity. If it’s too abstract, people can’t intuitively understand what’s going on. If it’s too specific, it fills in too many gaps so players have no room to subconsciously interpret what’s happening. We need to leave room for players to interpret, because player intepretation is the real engine of game-driven story generation.
Third, it has to be lightweight in content, so it runs and loads quickly, can be iterated quickly, can be modded easily, and can be expanded to a wide variety of objects and characters. We’d rather have 100 kinds of characters with 3 frames of animation each than 3 characters with a hundred frames each. Because what matters is the final experience of the game, which in the case of RimWorld is best served by variety, not detail.
I’m happy to say Rho has been rising to the challenge. We’ve already been passing pieces back and forth and watching the style develop. Here are a couple shots of random colonists in various mixed outfits. Yes, one of them may be naked.
Posted November 24th, 2013 by Tynan Sylvester
Hey all, just a quick update on what I’ve been doing. In short: audio and modding.
I’ve been working on the system that our audiopath Alistair Lindsay is going to use to define the sounds for the game. Up until now I’ve created simple sounds myself from free source files found at freesound.org. The code would then just play the appropriate sound file directly when triggered. This filled the gap enough for my own pre-alpha purposes, but now that we’re getting serious about audio it’s clear something much more is needed.
Al wrote me an awesome document describing the kinds of features he needs in an audio authoring system and I’ve been working on getting it done for him. He’ll be able to define sound containers that the game will randomly choose between (like creating several sounds for a punch hitting someone). It’ll avoid repeating sounds frequently, if desired. Loopers can now define a maximum number of voices, so if there are 40 fires near the camera, Al can choose to have the player only hear the closest three of them, fading between sources as the camera moves around. Soon I’ll be doing a loop-shuffle system where he can define sounds in a container and the game will crossfade between them to create one long sustained sound. So, there might be several short samples of fire burning that the game will shuffle up into a never-repeating fire mixture.
After that will be the really fun and hardcore stuff – tying sounds to game parameters. So we might tie a fire size parameter to some processing in the fire sound. It might fade from a small fire sound to a big fire sound, or change EQ settings or volume as it gets larger. I’ve created an editor to define these things while the game is running, even adding and changing sound files without stopping play.
This progress isn’t just about the audio, either. This editor generalizes to anything you can define in the game. It is the in-game mod editor. Some day it’ll be usable to creating new weapons, configuring them, creating audiovisual content for them, and playing with it all while editing it without ever closing the game. I’m hoping that a really powerful modding interface will encourage modders to create lots of new content. Here’s what it looks like now after a week of development:
Another fun detail is that this interface with line-by-line editing and collapsible objects is really modeled after the property editor in UnrealEd, which I used for many years at Irrational and before. It’s funny how some things stick with you and you end up using them where you might not expect.
I don’t know when the next public content update will be. There is some pretty heavy technical lifting to do over here – I’m doing this audio/modding system and planning to switch the game to use Dwarf Fortress-style on-map stockpiles. It could be a little while.
Posted November 7th, 2013 by Tynan Sylvester
Build 254 is out!
This is a small update on 250, but it has some important fixes. Most importantly, the storytellers are balanced out and fixed. They won’t send advanced raiders with sniper rifles and charged-shot weapons so early any more. I’ve also resolved a bug that caused story events to stop coming in long games.
There’s also a new storyteller called Chill Callie Classic. She runs the same algorithm as her more uptight sister Cassandra, but at a more relaxed pace for players who don’t want the intensity of Cassandra but don’t want to go all the way down to Phoebe.
Here’s the full changelog.
Everyone who has the game should be getting an email update about the new release. Alternatively, you can just re-use the private SendOwl download link you already have.
Posted November 4th, 2013 by Tynan Sylvester
All right! It’s out!
Backers whose payments succeeded in the first day should be getting emails with links to download the first public pre-alpha, build 250.
There is one bug you should know about - sometimes the game starts and the screen is black. To work around this, just move the window a bit.
If your payment was not successful the first time around, you have two options:
- Give up on Kickstarter and just go to rimworldgame.com and get the game there. You’ll get instant access.
- Fix your payment with Kickstarter. I’ll send you the link not long after November 14, when Kickstarter gives me the final report.
If you want to read the changelog, find it here. Discussions, suggestions, and bug reports are always welcome at the Ludeon forums. I’m also on Twitter.
Posted October 2nd, 2013 by Tynan Sylvester
The Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight pages are live! I’ve talked about these at length in previous posts, so for now I’ll just give you the links.
If you want to back the project but can’t do Kickstarter, there are some PayPal widgets here: RimWorld Main Page.
We’re also on IndieDB, with the new trailer: RimWorld on IndieDB
Posted October 1st, 2013 by Tynan Sylvester
I’m hoping to have the Kickstarter up this Thursday.
The community has hit a minor milestone. On our forums, we just hit our thousandth post today. It’s great to see people coming back and participating over time. Some of the forumgoers are testers, others are interested YouTubers, and some are just players looking forward to the game. It’s a nice mix and we have some really fruitful discussion there. It’s also heartening to see testers playing the game, and playing again, and again. Even in its unbalanced and content-light state the game is proving entertaining. Hopefully we’ll see this a lot more when the Kickstarter opens.
Alistair is just finishing up his awesome sound treatment for our hot new trailer. It’s got a really cool sci-fi/Western mix that makes you think of old Clint Eastwood westerns and Mass Effect at the same time. The guy’s a genius. I put him in our Studio page too.
We’ll also hopefully have a new title logo by the time the Kickstarter opens. I’m working with a (currently unnamed) artist on this, as well as getting the AI Storytellers some portraiture to help characterize them.
On my end, I’ve been fixing up all the odds and ends that have to be handled to run a Kickstarter. There are a lot of them, in the game and out. However, today, for the first time in a while, I got to add a serious new feature to the game: wall-off response. Now, if you wall yourself off, raiders will burn the colony and smash it up wherever they can reach it. It looks sort of like this:
Posted September 23rd, 2013 by Tynan Sylvester
At the last local Dirty Rectangles meeting, I met a fellow named Jim Woolley who is running a nonprofit community-building organization for Ottawa game devs. He was kind enough to interview me about getting into games, RimWorld, and my book, Designing Games. Check it out:
Posted September 21st, 2013 by Tynan Sylvester
I’m working on assembling a Kickstarter campaign. I just shot all the video for the trailer and sent it to Alistair Lindsay for the audio treatment. It’s going to show a number of things that the first look video missed, and be much better-shot and better-edited. Now it’s time to write the description, get artists to do supplemental art, and ensure financial details are all in order. There’s a lot to do, unfortunately, so progress on the game itself has stalled a bit.
The good news is that if the Kickstarter is successful, I’ll be able to get some help with the game. Al Lindsay is a real find, he’s done audio for DEFCON and Prison Architect, so he knows this kind of game. I’m also in talks with several really pro artists about developing the look of the game and getting past my janky pseudo-placeholder art (especially the characters).
The email form on rimworldgame.com has collected over 750 emails, who I’ll message when the Kickstarter opens. I hoping to get a good amount of momentum on the first day or two from that.
Finally, thanks for the supportive comments from everyone on our forums, Reddit, and YouTube. The first look video was created to gauge interest more than anything. Now that it’s apparent that people are really into the idea, I can make some real investments in it and get the game the professional work it needs to reach its potential.
Posted September 20th, 2013 by Tynan Sylvester
I discovered some interesting emergent behavior in the game ecology today.
These Muffalo had been grazing in that closed-off area the whole game. So they’d largely denuded the area of grass. This left a lot of open space for the Saguaro cactus (which they don’t eat) to reproduce into, leading to a cactus boom. This isn’t something I ever thought of while creating the ecology, but it’s really interesting to see.