New content is in progress for Alpha 17

Posted April 10th, 2017 by Tynan Sylvester

We recently asked whether players would rather have the bugfix-only update released, or if they’d prefer we just kept working and waited until we had new content to release.

The results aligned with my personal thinking, which is that the disruptive effect of a release (breaking various compatibilities) isn’t worth it for a bugfix-only release. So, we’ve been adding new content! Alpha 17 will basically be two updates combined, where one of them was a refinement-and-fix overhaul.

I’m not going to go into detail on exactly what’s coming (that’s what the update videos are for!) But here are some basic notes on things in progress. The update will focus on enriching the content in the world, and create more reasons to use the planet-travel caravan system:

  • Roads and rivers across the world (multiple categories of each).
  • Redone enemy base generation.
  • Enemy AI overhauls. They’ll be harder to cheese in various ways and act more sensibly.
  • A new class of incidents that initiate quest opportunities on the world map. These are driven by a new combinatorial “site” system that allows us to create destinations to go to out of multiple “pieces”. This creates more variation than we would get if we just had single quest destinations. Now we can take any “site core” from a library, surround it with “site parts” from another library and the system will generate them all together. So, you could have a core that is a stash of gold, and add on “manhunter animals” and “abandoned turret line” around it, and the map generator will combine those. The number of possible combinations can get large quickly. This update will keep it pretty basic, but for future updates I hope to have larger site part libraries, which will create massive variation.
  • People can tend their own wounds now!
  • Tons and tons of rebalancing and detailed redesign to make skills matter more, make the economy more coherent and balanced, make animal farming for meat viable, make cannibalism a bit less ho-hum, make surgery not absurd, make room stats matter in a sensible way, make storyteller incidents more varied, and so on.

Based on man-hours, Alpha 17 will probably be the most substantial update yet. RimWorld has become quite a beast in terms of design complexity, so it does take a lot longer now to design and tune things so they integrate into the rest of the game well, don’t overwhelm players with complexity, and don’t create weird exploits or nonsensical outcomes. But, that’s all part of the inherent challenge of designing a tightly-integrated, wholly-procedural colony sim!

Still working, no release date! To discuss this post, please join us on the forum thread for this post.

Progress update on Alpha 17

Posted February 8th, 2017 by Tynan Sylvester

This is just a quick update on what we’re working on now, since it’s been some time since Alpha 16 came out and I don’t want anyone thinking I died or became a Venezuelan monk or something.

Alpha 17 is in progress. This update is going to be a refinement build. That means we’re focusing entirely on fixing things that are wrong with the game, and are not adding wholly new features.

So far we’ve fixed hundreds of bugs. I’ve made a collection of new balance analysis tools and using those, along with community feedback and videos, have rebalanced several gameplay systems. We’re also doing a review of how memory is handled, to reduce memory waste that leads to sub-optimal performance or out-of-memory crashes. I’ve compiled a list of exploit strategies that players use to gain advantage by exploiting tricky gaps in game logic, or bugs, and worked out solutions to most of them. Some exploit fixes are mechanics changes, some are balance changes, and quite a few involve reworking the AI. We’ve also been adding bits of feedback or micro-features here and there where needed; one example would be the new “mass” column in each character’s “gear” tab, so you can tell how heavy each stack is.

It turns out that in a game this complex, there are quite a few places for subtle problems to hide! In fact I’m continually amazed at how many problems can be layered into a game that still manages to entertain so many people.

The current plan is to finish refinements and then release that as Alpha 17. But – there is the possibility we’ll not release a “refinements-only” update and just wait until we’ve finished the refinements, and then some additional features beyond, to push a public release. This is because each release does create some chaos in the community, since it inevitably breaks mod compatibility (though maybe not vanilla save game compatibility, since the mechanics aren’t being redesigned drastically). The question of whether we’ll release Alpha 17 as a refinements-only build, or wait to add on significant new content remains open.

I invite your thoughts on this in this forum poll and thread.

RimWorld Alpha 16 – Wanderlust released!

Posted December 20th, 2016 by Tynan Sylvester

RimWorld Alpha 16 – Wanderlust is released! This update adds a spherical world and the ability to travel across it with multiple caravans, having simultaneous encounters on the way and settling new colonies.

If you’re on Steam, your game will update automatically. Because of huge structural changes to the game, this update will break save games. If you want to continue an old save just change to the “alpha15” beta branch on Steam. To do so, go to Steam library, right-click RimWorld, click Properties, click the Betas tab, and use the drop-down to select the branch you want.

If you’re not on Steam, just download from your permanent personal download link – it’s always updated to the latest version.

Change list:

Spherical planet

  • World map is now modeled as a sphere covered with hexagons (and a few pentagons).
  • New map generation to make nicer mountain ranges, hill clusters, and continents.
  • Nice backdrop with stars and sun.
  • Time of day is modeled on the planet view; local time of day corresponds to how the sunlight hits the planet.
  • Time zones are now modeled, out of necessity.
  • New planet generation parameter: temperature. You can make worlds that are overall hotter or overall colder.
  • New planet generation parameter: rainfall. You can make worlds where there is overall more or less precipitation.
  • New biome: sea ice.
  • Factions can now have many bases; non-player factions generate with lots of bases.

Multiple simultaneous maps

  • There can now be multiple local maps active at once. For example, you can have your colony running as well, as a group of soldiers attacking an enemy base, at the same time.
  • The character bar at the top of the screen shows all of your colonists and allows you to change which map you’re looking at. It groups characters togehter by the map they’re on.
  • You can settle multiple colonies at once. However, for balance and performance reasons, the default limit is one colony at a time. This can be increased in the options menu if you want to experiment, but we don’t recommend it.

Caravans

  • Player can now gather up groups of colonists, prisoners, and animals, and form caravans to travel across the world surface.
  • Caravans are formed using a special “create caravan” dialog, which allows you to easily decide what people, animals, and items should be included in the caravan up to its carry weight limit. The colonists do the busywork.
  • Caravans appear as units in the world map, where they can be ordered around similarly to drafted soldiers in the local map.
  • Caravans can be ambushed by enemy factions or manhunting animals. This produces a temporary local map.
  • Caravans can incidentally meet friendly traders and trade.
  • Caravans can visit other faction bases and trade with them. Faction bases have more stock and better prices than traders who come and visit your colony.
  • Caravans can attack faction bases. The game generates a simple faction base map with defenders and loot, and you raid it. If you defeat the defenders, you can move in and take over the base (for now, generated bases are quite simple.)
  • Caravans can settle and form new colonies.
  • You can abandon your bases to shift to new ones.
  • Caravans move at different speeds depending on the biome, the time of year (cold biomes close off with the winter snows), local hilliness, the movement speeds of people in the caravan, and whether there are wounded to carry.
  • It is possible to abandon people and items from caravans. Abandoning people will, depending on the context, produce sad thoughts from their friends and relatives, especially if you abandon them in circumstances that seem impossible to survive.

Travel victory

  • New game ending: A friendly person offers a ship, but it is distant, across the world map. If you travel there, you can escape the planet and complete the game. But, traveling there will take a long time and you’ll need to stop at various points to build up supplies or solve problems.

Transport pods

  • You can build transport pod launchers and transport pods. These let you launch their contents long distances across the world map, over oceans or mountains.
  • Pods can be targeted on empty world tiles, to send a caravan of people and gear there.
  • Pods can be targeted on enemy bases, where you can perform “drop-in” raids and drop right on top of the base, or drop outside it – just like raiders do to you!
  • Pods can be targeted on existing combat maps or other bases you control. This allows you to do things like resupply an ongoing siege with artillery shells (just like raiders do when besieging you), reinforce a weak caravan that just got ambushed, or send supplies and people between two bases you control.
  • Pods are loaded by selecting several and creating a “launch group”. An interface like that for creating caravans appears, allowing you to define what and who should be included. The colonists do the detail work.
  • Transport pods require chemfuel, which can be bought, founded, drilled from the ground, or refined from wood or food using the new refinery building.

Usability improvements

  • New research screen! Research projects are laid out visually according to their dependencies in a left-to-right arrangement similar to the Civilization games. Modders need to manually place their projects, but if two overlap the game will automatically move them apart.
  • Redesigned how medical system generates text feedback. Tooltips now contain much more information with less ambiguity. Wound tendings are now of any percentage quality (not just good/poor).
  • Game now warns you when you order slaughter of a bonded animal (because of the mood impact).
  • Added visual feedback thought bubbles for when pawns gain certain good and bad thoughts, so it’s easier to see when something just bothered or pleased them.
  • Rich soil is darker in color and so easier to see.
  • Added a “hold fire” toggle on drafted pawns that makes them not automatically shoot at enemies.
  • In order to avoid annoying players by having animals always follow their masters, even into combat, players can configure when animals will follow their masters. There are two toggles: Follow while drafted, follow while hunting/taming

Drugs and health

  • Drug rebalance. Increase drug addictiveness in general. Drugs can now damage the body in various ways: Alcohol can cause brain damage or liver cirrhosis or liver cancer, smokeleaf can cause asthma or lung cancer, psychite can damage kidneys, wake-up and go-juice can damage the brain, and generalized overdoses can cause brain damage.
  • Drugs are more lucrative on the market.
  • Added a third toggle in drug policy saying whether you can use the drug to feed an addiction, separately from joy usage.
  • There is now a random chance of a overdose when taking drugs, even if just taking one dose.
  • Added a way to administer specific drugs to people, including prisoners, animals, and downed people. So you can give Luciferium to someone who needs it.
  • Malari-block reworked into Penoxycyline, which prevents a wide variety of infections (not just malaria).
  • Drug chemical effects are modulated by body size. So elephants need a lot of beer to get hammered; squirrels not so much.
  • Luciferium occasionally heals old wounds/scars. Luciferium is harder to get (less of it in old shrines, higher prices).
  • Stats now stack differently (more additive, less multiplying) to reduce some exploits.

Misc

  • Reworked surgery failure into three modes – minor, catastrophic, and ridiculous. Ridiculous hits all body parts, minor and catastrophic hit parts near the surgery site.
  • Reworked trade prices across the board. Simplified trade price calculations and added rich tooltips to feed them back.
  • The mood effects from room impressiveness have been redesigned and rebalanced. Characters now have consistently reasonable thoughts about the quality of their personal room, so there is a reason to make better rooms (though high-quality rooms aren’t absolutely necessary). Mood effects from eating in or convalescing in nice/poor rooms are also more reasonable and better-fed back.
  • Rebalanced plant growth timings.
  • UI can now be scaled to arbitrary scaling factors, for players who play in really high resolution.
  • Rescued people (especially space refugees etc) should sometimes join the colony. If the environment isn’t survivable (e.g. bad temperature, toxic fallout) they should always join the colony.
  • Animals carrying inventory now have visible packs on.
  • Added new separate bills to stonecut each type of stone.
  • Prisoners are now temporarily marked “guilty” when they do certain actions, like killing a colonist or attempting escape. Guilty prisoners can be executed without mood penalties.
  • Faction names are now much more interesting and varied, and are separate from specific community names.
  • New Peaceful difficulty mode, for players who just want to build stuff. Disables major involuntary threats like raids.
  • Rename Megatherium -> Megasloth
  • New alert: Unhappy nudity
  • Backstories can be translated now
  • New translation tool gives a readout of exactly what translation data remains to be written and what data is unused.
  • Added proper chick peeping sounds.
  • You can now only request one trader per 4 days from a faction.
  • Colonists now get mood boosts for defeating big enemies or enemy faction leaders.
  • Cleaning and harvesting jobs are now given in batches (more efficient and sensible AI).
  • Default medical care for non-colonists is now herbal meds. Switches to best meds on recruit.
  • Rebalanced most range weapons so more time is in cooldown and less is in aiming – especially for light weapons.
  • Pawns generated below age 20 now have no adulthood backstory.
  • Hundreds of other balance improvements, exploit solutions, AI improvements, and bugfixes.

Request to re-create creative content

Posted December 13th, 2016 by Tynan Sylvester

Hi everyone. We suffered a small data loss in the creative content system. Luckily we managed to recover almost everything from backup. But in five cases, we lost the corresponding email addresses of creations that need review. So we can’t notify you to come review your content. If you entered any of the below content, please go back to the content creation page and recreate it.

  • Name: Anthony ‘Tony’ Mheifcaster
  • Name: Prem ‘Prem’ Premmington
  • Name: Booty Bandit
  • Backstory: Matthew Po
  • Backstory: Tyler ‘Hammer’ Endorf

I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

And now, I’m back to working on the unstable update. I’m hoping to release a build with some of the most important fixes tonight.

Alpha 16 on public unstable branch (updated)

Posted December 12th, 2016 by Tynan Sylvester

UPDATE: Unstable version is being updated more or less (week)daily. The forum thread has the ongoing discussion and update details.

Alpha 16 release is upcoming. If you are on Steam, and in the middle of a game, please use the Steam betas feature to set your game to the “alpha15” branch. This will prevent it from automatically-updating to A16 upon release and breaking your save games.

If you’re willing to play with bugs and imbalances, and to have your saves broken randomly and without warning, you can now test the unstable version of Alpha 16! Just load the the ‘unstable’ branch on Steam. (To access the unstable branch, right-click RimWorld in the Steam library, open Properties, go to the Betas tab, select the ‘unstable’ branch, and restart Steam.)

This isn’t a ‘real’ release, and if you want to play the bug-free update you should retain your hype and wait until it’s properly released!

Please leave balance and design feedback in this forum thread. I’m especially interested in play stories around the new world system. Bugs should please be reported in the Bugs forum.

Modders can use this opportunity to prep their mods for the new update! Translators can use it to translate (there is a new translations tool; access it by turning on dev mode and hitting / in the main menu).

I’m also requesting that video makers, YouTubers and streamers please not make videos of this release. I don’t want to leave false impressions with a buggy and unbalanced unstable version.

There’s no change list yet; I plan to release that with the stable Alpha 16 release. Note that not all player content is included yet.

Thanks to all those who test and give feedback!

(I am deliberately not announcing this everywhere at once because I want to be able to draw in more fresh testers later as needed.)

Quick teaser: Transport pods

Posted December 1st, 2016 by Tynan Sylvester

Currently bugfixing and tuning Alpha 16. Here’s a new teaser!

pods_1

Some fun teaser images

Posted November 4th, 2016 by Tynan Sylvester

Hey all, just some quick teasers for you! (Edit: new ice planet shot added!)

planet_a_temperateplanet_a_caravanplanet_a_ice

I’ll be releasing more information about this soon-ish. I just wanted to give you all an image so you know we are still working at full steam, on many different features.

A16 will probably be the biggest update ever in terms of the amount of work we’ve done adding and refining things, so it’s taking a while.

Steam access now available for DRM-free purchasers

Posted October 5th, 2016 by Tynan Sylvester

We’ve worked out the kinks since the last update, so now all purchasers buying the game off rimworldgame.com can immediately register their copy on Steam through rimworldgame.com/getmygame.

This is better than buying on Steam for a few reasons:

  • You get Steam access either way.
  • You get access to the DRM-free version as well, which can be useful.
  • You get access to the Prototype Pack of games that eventually became RimWorld (not available on Steam).
  • You get the warm fuzzy feeling of helping out a developer. Ludeon gets almost all the money you pay to buy DRM-free copies, whereas we get much less when you buy through Steam.

The way the new system works is that it doesn’t give Steam keys. It registers the game directly on your Steam account. I’m hoping this will make scamming infeasible. But, we’ll be watching in any case and will be invalidating any keys or accounts that were bought using stolen credit cards or through other chicanery.

New Steam registry system in testing for those who bought before today

Posted September 30th, 2016 by Tynan Sylvester

I’ve always wanted to give Steam keys to all players who buy the game on our website. Unfortunately we had to disable that after scammers attacked the site and started harvesting thousands of dollars in games using stolen credit cards.

But no more! Web dev Hypolite has developed a new Steam registry system that directly connects to Valve’s servers and registers the game directly to your Steam account. This makes it impossible for scammers to harvest Steam keys they can re-sell.

The system is currently in testing, and will work only for users who bought up to the end of September 29, 2016 UTC. So, if you bought the game DRM-free before today, I invite you to go to the new Steam registry page and register your game on your Steam account.

Once testing is complete, we’ll be able to offer Steam access to all buyers of the DRM-free version.

Creative content rewards available separately from main game

Posted September 9th, 2016 by Tynan Sylvester

You can now buy the creative content rewards separately from the base game! This has been requested a few times, and now it’s possible.

Creative content rewards are things like Name in Game or Pirate King that allow you to put your own character content into the game through our automated Creative Rewards System. Previously these could only be purchased in packs with the main game. Now, you can purchase them separately, on Steam. They are:

Name in Game Access

Backstory in Game Access

Pirate King Access

Hope you like them!

Note: These upgrades are only available on Steam for now, DRM-free sales are still by package only.