I’m stoked to announce that the next version of RimWorld, Alpha 14, will be released on Steam Early Access on July 15, 2016. You can add it to your Steam wish list on the RimWorld Steam page. On Steam, the game will have full Workshop support, for sharing mods and scenarios. It will also support Steam Cloud.
Non-Steam users will, of course, still be able to access your DRM-free downloads as you always have. They’ll update just as before.
EDIT: For those asking whether they’ll get a Steam key, please refer to the FAQ answer about this.
Alpha 14 is a large update, since it’s been several months since Alpha 13 and we’ve had 2-3 developers working continuously. So, it’s got about 5-6 developer-months of effort in it (the original pre-Alpha for the 2013 Kickstarter had about nine developer-months). However, it is also a refinement-oriented update. I could’ve packed more mega-features in addition to the scenario system, but instead chose to focus on fixing a lot of old issues. Veteran players will notice a huge number of subtle improvements at every level, which newcomers should have an even more polished experience.
I’ve also been reworking the code to try to support modding better. Making it easier to mod the game makes it more fun to mod, which modders like, so they make more and better mods, which players like. I think it’s a powerful and often under-emphasized way of turbocharging a game community. I’m still soliciting requests in this thread: What would make the game easier to mod?
Being Early Access, we’ll continue to release new alpha versions of RimWorld with new features into the foreseeable future. We’ve already started some new mega-additions for Alpha 15. We can’t squeeze them into Alpha 14 because it’s too late and they’d introduce bugs. But momentum is good and we’re poised to leap forward in the months ahead.
I’m also going to be doing something unusual, which is trying to actively market the game. I much prefer game development work to marketing work, and so have usually followed the Field of Dreams marketing strategy (“If you build it, they will come.”) But, for something as important as the Steam release, I think it’s worth making some effort to get the word out. Wish me luck! And, if anyone has any ideas for ways to spread the word, I’d be happy to hear them in the comments here, or on the forums.