Alpha14d – fixes and tunings

Posted July 21st, 2016 by Tynan Sylvester

Alpha14d (build 1241) is a quick-fix build that makes a few small but important changes.

DRM-free owners will NOT get an update email, but can download the new build from their existing download link.

Save games from Alpha 14 should still work.


  • Reduced event density on Randy Random from 1.5x that of Cassandra to about the same as Cassandra. The combination and distribution of events is still very different from Cassandra.
  • Fixed a crash that occurs when the player has no allies.
  • The “cannot connect to Steam API” error message is now more informative and suggests rebooting.
  • Toxic fallout, flashstorm and volcanic winter are now disabled in Free Play difficulty.
  • Toxic fallout and volcanic winter are now rarer.

Reddit AMA in progress

Posted July 19th, 2016 by Tynan Sylvester

I’m currently doing an AMA on Reddit! Come see my answers to various questions. If you’re fast, you can ask one.

Link to the AMA

Alpha14c release, tiny balance update

Posted July 19th, 2016 by Tynan Sylvester

It looks like the fixes in Alpha14b were effective. I’m now releasing Alpha14c on Steam and DRM-free channels. This one is just a tiny change from 14b: Phoebe’s random incidents density is reduced somewhat (it was the same as Cassandra’s before, which doesn’t make sense since Phoebe is supposed to give more breathing space between events.)

I’ll still be watching for balance and content problems, but it seems likely the next patch will be a new alpha.

On a side note, some people have asked whether any more features will be added. The answer is a definite yes. We are currently working on several major new features with the potential to transform gameplay yet again. I can’t wait to show them to you! But, they have to be ready first. I’m also working on a ton of polish tasks.

Alpha14b now out, unlocks the other half of the game

Posted July 18th, 2016 by Tynan Sylvester

With the flurry of support and fraud combat tasks abating, I took a little while to watch Zeebos’ stream. A discussion was had and it quickly became apparent that a lot of the events in the game weren’t really firing – ever. No heat waves, no crazy animals, no crashed ship parts.

Doing some local testing, I realized how bad it was. Most of the events in the game would never fire.

Holy crap!

I’ve fixed the issue and uploaded a patch to Steam. Your save games will be compatible. The new build is 0.14.1238 – look for that number at the top left of the main menu to confirm you’re running it.

Look at it this way – it’s like releasing a juicy content patch!

Note: I haven’t updated the DRM-free download yet, I’ll do that when I’m a bit more certain the patch is still balanced.

Patch notes:

  • Fix: Events never fire (except in some exceptional circumstances):
    • Infestation
    • Manhunter pack
    • Psychic ship part crash
    • Poison ship part crash
    • Animal insanity (single)
    • Eclipse
    • Solar flare
    • Psychic drone
    • Toxic fallout
    • Volcanic winter
    • Heatwave
    • Cold snap
    • Flashstorm
    • Short circuit
    • Crop blight
    • Alphabeavers
    • Psychic soothe
    • Refugee chased
    • Thrumbo passes
  • Fix: Storyteller incorrectly adjusts trader frequency in relation to ally count.
  • Fix: Threat cycle event maker sometimes queues events without enough points to actually fire them.

Steam key giving stopped for new buyers

Posted July 17th, 2016 by Tynan Sylvester

[Edit 18/7: To be super clear: Everyone who bought the game from our site before July 17th is still entitled to their key, and can still get it from the automated key distributor. This change only affects new purchases made in the future. This story has gotten a weirdly huge amount of press, but it’s a mountain from a molehill. Only about 85 keys were cancelled in total – less than 0.1% of the total being distributed.]

If you bought before today, you can still get a key. However, I’ve been forced to stop offering Steam keys for those who buy today and in the future. We’ve been getting hammered by fraudsters who are obviously more experienced at this than I. Shutting it down for now is the only way to avoid thousands of dollars in chargeback fees and lost sales. It’s time to take a breather, because I can’t fight this ‘live’.

The game is, of course, for sale on Steam if you want a Steam copy. Buying from our site will give DRM-free copies as before, but no Steam key.

All the stolen keys are being cancelled, and should be deactivated before they can be sold (or soon after, depending on how fast Valve does it). The funds they were stolen with are being returned to their rightful owners. If you don’t want to get ripped off by fraudsters, be sure to buy direct from Steam.

If you bought direct from us before July 17 and find your key cancelled, it may be due to a separate glitch we had, entirely unrelated to fraud. This affected only a few dozen people. You should be able to get a new key immediately from the Steam key giver, and continue playing where you left off. The Support page has a bit more info about this.

Alpha 14: The Complete Change Log

Posted July 17th, 2016 by Tynan Sylvester

Just for fun, for those who are interested, I’m posting the full change list for Alpha 14. Previously, you saw the change summary. This file, however, shows every ‘commit’ (package of code changes) we contributed to our code repository to transform the game from Alpha 13 to Alpha 14.

Each line is one commit. Some are just a few minutes of work, others can be a whole day. Some are by me, others are by ison. Here she is:

RimWorld Alpha 14 full change log

That’s it! I hope a few enthusiasts find some interest, in seeing what we’re actually doing day to day.

RimWorld Alpha 14 released on Steam with Scenario System!

Posted July 15th, 2016 by Tynan Sylvester

The day is finally here. RimWorld is now available on Steam! You can buy it at the RimWorld Steam Store page. It’s got full support for Steam Workshop and Cloud saves.

Also, Alpha 14 – Scenario System is out! For full information Alpha 14, including the change list, look at the Alpha 14 preview thread.

More good news – everyone who owns the game can move it to Steam. Hooray! You get a Steam key! And you get a Steam key! To get your Steam key, go to the automated link and key sender.

(EDIT: The following no longer applies. Due to fraudster attacks, we’ve been forced to cut off Steam keys for new purchases from our site. You can still buy directly on Steam, of course, at the same prices.) A business note – If you want, buying it from our site is better for us. This way, we get significantly more of the money, since Steam isn’t taking their cut. You can still immediately grab your Steam key and put the game on your Steam account. Obviously we’ll still be very happy if you buy it either way!

Here’s the Alpha 14 features rundown video! It explains the scenario system and other new features:

On a final, more serious note – please don’t buy Steam keys from third-party sellers. The only ways RimWorld has ever been sold are on our website or on Steam itself, which means that any key being resold is a stolen or improperly sold one. The common scam is this: Hackers steal thousands of credit cards, use them to buy copies of the game from our website, redeem the Steam keys, and then sell these keys at half price. The credit card holder eventually notices the fraudulent purchase and gets it reversed. The end result is that the scammers keep the sale money, and we lose a sale, and we lose the chargeback fees incurred by payment providers (which can be $15 per copy!). It can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. So buying these keys is much worse than piracy, because it takes money directly from us, and gives money to thieves. We will be working to make it more difficult for scammers to pull this off, and disabling stolen keys where we find them, so any key bought at a third party likely won’t work. Buy original and all should be good.

Alpha 14 preview

Posted July 10th, 2016 by Tynan Sylvester

Alpha 14 will be released with the Steam release, on July 15, at 1pm EST.

The game is not released yet! You can’t get it yet! But it’ll become available on Friday. For info on how Steam keys will be distributed, please see the FAQ.

For now, here’s a preview! Below the video, you can find a summary of all the changes we’ve made for Alpha 14. Steam up the hype train!

Change summary:

Scenario system

  • New scenario system allows you to choose, randomize, and customize special situations to play in. Determine starting situation, your type of community (tribe, colony), permanent map conditions, starting items, animals, health conditions, and traits, and change special rules.
  • Several built-in scenarios, including one matching the classic RimWorld experience, are included.
  • You can randomize new scenarios.
  • You can customize scenarios with a special interface that allows creation of any scenario you like.
  • Scenarios can be uploaded to or grabbed from Steam Workshop with a single click.
  • ScenPart: Permanent version of all map conditions (eclipse, solar flare, etc).
  • ScenPart: Planetkiller scenario part: World is destroyed on X date.
  • ScenPart: Climate cycle which makes the world get warmer and cooler over a period of years. Winter is coming.
  • ScenPart: Disable building a given type of building.
  • ScenPart: Pawns start with health condition.
  • ScenPart: Start with items.
  • ScenPart: Map is scattered with items.
  • ScenPart: Configure arrival method (pods or standing)
  • ScenPart: Starting pawns are all between ages X and Y
  • ScenPart: Pawns explode on death (configurable type and radius)
  • ScenPart: All pawns from source (game start/all) have trait X
  • ScenPart: Starting animal(s)
  • ScenPart: Disallow mining
  • ScenPart: Disallow hunting
  • ScenPart: Disallow taming
  • ScenPart: Disallow growing
  • ScenPart: Disable incident
  • ScenPart: Multiplier for any stat on the game (move speed, mining speed, etc)
  • ScenPart: Disallow building

Pawn overlapping

  • Pawns can no longer overlap during melee combat (unless they’re really small). No more animal deathstacks! This also creates new tactics around blocking, surrounding, or back-line shooters. We had to write a bunch of AI and blocking code to make this function.


  • Raiders can now enter “steal” mode if they see enough value. They’ll grab your stuff and carry it off.
  • Kidnapping raiders now work together much better to kidnap. Instead of everyone fleeing at once, some will kidnap while others cover them.
  • AI dressing algorithm is now better at making outfits to withstand cold temperatures. If there is no way to make a survivable outfit, pawns won’t arrive at all. No more raids arriving and keeling over in -60C weather.
  • Predators no longer hunt boomrats and boomalopes.
  • Pawns will be smarter about avoiding traps in various situations.

New stuff

  • Full Steam Workshop support for mods.
  • You can now play as a tribe in some scenarios.
  • Added torch lamp
  • Added pemmican for low-tech food preservation.
  • Research difficulty is now related to your faction’s tech level. Researching techs above your level is harder. So if you’re a tribe, researching spaceflight will be difficult.
  • Added research (needed for tribes only): complex clothing, electricity
  • Added research (needed for non-tribes only): pemmican
  • Added research: air conditioning, autodoors, gun turrets
  • Added ‘ransom demand’ incident. Can fire after one of your people is kidnapped.
  • Added “killed my X” social thoughts so people dislike their loved ones’ killers
  • Added new class of “minor” mental breaks, which can happen at mood under 40%.
  • Added minor mental break: food binge.
  • Ground fertility is now reported on mouseover.
  • Added moisture pump, which slowly converts wet terrain to dry terrain. Requires power.
  • Hives now pop out glow pods – bug light sources that glow for 20 days (as long as they’re installed) and can be reinstalled or sold.
  • Added traits: creepy breathing, annoying voice. These are socially repellent.
  • Added trait: pyromaniac. Will go on firestarting sprees when stressed, and never puts out fire.
  • Added panther for jungle biome. Because I discovered panthers aren’t real and I need to cope with this somehow.
  • There is now an orange glow to help you identify very hot areas.
  • Added/replaced animals created by the excellent Kay Fedewa:
    • Caribou
    • Cassowary
    • Deer
    • Emu
    • Arctic fox
    • Fennec fox
    • Red fox
    • Gazelle
    • Husky
    • Ibex
    • Lynx
    • Megatherium (prehistoric giant ground sloth)
    • Ostrich
    • Raccoon
    • Rat
    • Turkey
    • Arctic wolf
    • Timber wolf


  • Added a row of colonist icons along the top of the screen, with various status info. They can be clicked to select, double-clicked to jump to, or box-selected to multi-select. These icons can be turned off.
  • Trading interface now lets you type in the number you want to trade instead of dragging to the number.
  • Animals tab now has gender and life stage informational columns
  • Animals tab now has a “slaughter” checkbox column to allow easy slaughtering of many animals
  • Animals tab now has checkbox columns for each trainable, to allow easy training of many animals
  • Reworked the right-click menu to be prettier, more readable, more solid, and better handle large lists of options.

Exploit solutions

  • Traders, visitors, raiders, kidnappers, animals, etc will now escape if surrounded by walls with no way out.
  • Manhunters and insects will attack doors if colonists try to hop in and out of them while getting shots off.
  • Hives must now be tended by insects, so if insects are all instantly killed by a turret wall, the hives will die out.
  • You can no longer avoid the ‘executed prisoner’ mood impact by just shooting or starving the prisoner; pawns will get a “prisoner died innocent” thought. A similar solution applies to the deaths of colonists.
  • Solved various powerleveling exploits. Once colonists have learned a certain (high) amount in a day, they’ll learn at a much-reduced rate until the next day.
  • Flowers are no longer good animal feed (reduced nutrition).
  • Fixed exploit where players would give prisoner to raiders for kidnapping, to make raiders go away without a fight. Solution: Raiders only kidnap colonists.


  • Updated to Unity 5.
  • World generation is now part of the new game process, instead of being separate.
  • Roofs must now be manually built and torn down by colonists; they do not appear and disappear instantly any more.
  • Reworked AI food selection algorithm to take into account personal mood impacts, rottenness, and other new factors. e.g. Now cannibals will actually seek out cannibal food because they get a mood bonus, while non-cannibals will avoid it.
  • Flow for opening worlds and savegames from old version is now improved; the “warning, old version” dialog comes before you open them instead of after.
  • Deworked mods config menu to have a much nicer selection and ordering interface.
  • Humans can now eat unbutchered corpses (though they really don’t like it).
  • Infestations are easier and grow less exponentially.
  • Infestations only appear deeper underground now.
  • AI now runs away from grenades thrown by their own faction.
  • Tortoises aren’t so deadly any more.
  • Animals no longer do incest.
  • Humans now do incest.
  • Seeds for world gen are now generated from actual words instead of random letter strings.
  • You can now set both minimum and maximum skill on a bill.
  • Beauty trait now has four stages: Staggeringly ugly, ugly, pretty, beautiful.
  • Some backstories now force pawns to have a given trait (e.g. Model->Beautiful)
  • Trade caravans can bring pack dromedaries.
  • Projectiles fired by hunting colonists no longer intercept random targets.
  • Some traders buy and sell furniture now.
  • Gut worms and muscle parasites vanish sooner.
  • Reworked ancient tomb loot generation. Plasteel is sometimes found on pod people. So are components.
  • Nuzzling is now a visualized, recorded social interaction.
  • Various refactorings to make modding easier and code easier to maintain and more flexible. Much more functionality is now implemented as composable ThingComps.
  • Many, many, many other balance changes, gameplay and interface refinements, and bugfixes.

Steam release on July 15

Posted June 20th, 2016 by Tynan Sylvester

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.

Steam release this summer with scenario system

Posted May 25th, 2016 by Tynan Sylvester

I’m planning on releasing RimWorld into Steam Early Access this summer.Steam release will also be the release of Alpha 14, which will be very content-rich and have at least one major new system. Check out the Steam page here.

Non-Steam players will also get the same updates at the same time, through the current SendOwl distribution system.

Regarding giving out keys, I’m afraid I can’t promise this because of Valve’s policy. The old answer from the FAQ still applies.

The current tentative release month is July (though this could be delayed if something unforeseen happens). I considered pushing it sooner, but I want to have time to make Alpha 14 really juicy for you, and to pump up a bit of hype. June is also a bit crowded.

For Alpha 14, we’ve been working intensely on two tracks. The first is just refining everything that was there. We’ve consumed a massive amount of feedback and applied that to the game. So there have been hundreds of balance changes, interface tweaks, systems adjustments, and bugfixes to solve the issues that are coming up.

The big feature is the scenario system. The classic RimWorld experience is to survive with three crash-landed passengers – but the game isn’t limited to this any more. Now you can customize, trade, and randomize different scenarios. In each one, the starting conditions, items, characters, research, and persistent game rules are different.


For example, we have a scenario where you play as a lone rich guy out seeking adventure, trying to build a colony on his own. He starts with a lot of wealth and research, but is alone. Another scenario has you playing six lost tribespeople trying to build a new home. As a tribe, they start with less tech (though they do have some tech that the space people lack) and get research penalties when researching high-tech projects. However, they have advantages in numbers.

Scenarios can also be randomized and manually edited. A random scenario might have a permanent toxic fallout, but start you with a pile of golden spears and ten pet bears, but not allow you to tame animals. You can edit that any way you like, write your own summary, description, and game start dialog. Here is a list of the editable scenario parts as they are now (we’ll likely add more):

  • Permanent version of all map conditions (eclipse, solar flare, etc).
  • Planetkiller: World is destroyed on X date.
  • Climate cycle which makes the world get warmer and cooler over a period of years. Winter is coming.
  • Disable building a given type of building.
  • Pawns start with health condition X.
  • Start with X items.
  • Map is scattered with X items.
  • Configure arrival method (pods or standing)
  • Starting pawns are all between ages X and Y
  • Pawns explode on death (configurable type and radius)
  • All pawns from source (game start/all) have trait X
  • Starting animal(s)
  • Disallow mining
  • Disallow hunting
  • Disallow taming
  • Disallow growing
  • Disable incident
  • Multiplier for any stat on the game (move speed, mining speed, etc)
  • Disallow building X

Scenarios are integrated with Steam Workshop, as are mods. Both can be easily uploaded from within the game, and you can subscribe or unsubscribe in the Workshop interface while playing – the mod and scenario lists will update in real time in-game.

We’re still adding and fixing more stuff. Let’s get the hype train started!