Alpha 15 unstable branch test is available

Posted August 17th, 2016 by Tynan Sylvester

I’ve set the development version of Alpha 15 on the ‘unstable’ branch in Steam. If you’re willing to risk some bugs and imbalances you can give it a shot! Just right-click RimWorld in the Steam library, open Properties, go to the Betas tab, select the ‘unstable’ branch, and restart Steam.

The final version will be different from this. Language and player creative content still need to be updated, problems will be fixed, and the build will be compiled in the non-development way (which will make it run faster). However, all the main changes are there now!

Note that this version isn’t compatible with Alpha 14 saves or mods. You’ll want to deactivate your old mods, and you can’t load your old saves.

Modders can/should use this opportunity to prep for the new update!

I’m soliciting all feedback about the new version in this forum thread. I’m especially interested in balance/play feedback about the drugs system and tutorial. Bugs should please be reported in the Bugs forum.

I could also really use some savegames for recording the release video on! I’m really just looking for natural colonies – not some weird fancy artwork. Ideally, with a drug production operation. If you’ve got a savegame like this, please zip it, put it on Dropbox or another file hosting service, and drop the link in the feedback thread. Thanks all.

EDIT: Unstable branch updated to fix an issue that made treatments useless on various diseases (causing infections to be 100% deadly).

36 Responses to “Alpha 15 unstable branch test is available”

  1. Thanks for this early build, it will allow mod devs to shorten the time between new versions and mod updates.

    Would it be possible to keep the older versions (or just last version) as a steam branch, to allow players with active saves time to complete or for mods to be updated before needing to update.

  2. nccvoyager

    How soon would you need these save games?
    Holy crap.
    You’re working fast!

  3. Céline Sauvé

    I’ll keep my eye out on GOG.

  4. Céline Sauvé

    Bah. *baps head*

    On here, for those who paid you directly but didn’t want a STEAM-key when the time came.

  5. milon

    @Céline Sauvé, if you purchased before July 17, 2016 you CAN get a Steam key:

  6. Céline Sauvé

    @milon Oh, I know, but I dislike DRM, even if it’s all “prettied up” like STEAM is.

    We should have the ability to download the “unstable” builds here as well, but ever since the game got on STEAM they get the preferential treatment. Not those who supported earlier.

    (Not like this is the only game that’s acted this way, though, so I’m not surprised, just disappointed.)

  7. nccvoyager

    From what I have seen, I believe it is less that Steam users are getting preferential treatment, and more that Steam is an easier platform to provide these builds to.
    Basically, while SendOwl is great in so many ways, there has been difficulty with automatically resetting the number of downloads each time an update occurs.
    Whereas with Steam, the game can automatically download the newest update as soon as it is available.
    As such, a constantly changing unstable build is not well suited to SendOwl, though stable builds are perfect.
    This also means that those downloading the SendOwl versions will be less likely to encounter issues that result in them needing to redownload the whole game for a tiny patch in the future.
    Instead, any version released to SendOwl would be stable, and less likely to require small patches before the next large update.

    That being said, I wish that I could download a non-Steam version of the unstable branch as well.
    Even though I have redeemed it on Steam, and my netbook is powerful enough to run it, I can’t actually play it since my screen resolution is so low.
    So, unfortunately, I must wait until A15 is released stable to SendOwl, so I can download it and put it on my desktop computer.
    Oh well.
    More time to spend killi-I mean, helping my colonists survive.

  8. pandy

    Yet again, no build for those not using Steam. Absolutely unacceptable.

  9. pandy, the unstable build can be updated several times per day. Updating off Steam requires like an hour of effort from me. It’s simply not feasible to try to send out continuous non-Steam updates. Unless you want me spending 40% of my time updating, and thus slowing down development by almost half.

    Every non-Steam user got a free Steam key, so there’s nothing being denied you if you want it.

  10. pandy

    I appreciate that it takes a bunch of time and effort to release a build on the Sendowl system, and I certainly appreciate your effort on the game. It’s great, which is why I’m so frustrated.

    That said, is it really too much to ask for *a* build? I am willing to accept that I’m doomed to never have the most up-to-date build, but this feature release has been on Steam for three days now. Maybe I’m just being selfish even asking, but is an hour or three of effort really not worth it to get *something* to those who don’t use Steam? To just shut me up, even?

    Again, I greatly appreciate your effort on your fantastic game. I’m really not trying to be a complete asshole. Maybe just a bit of one.

  11. It’s really not worth it in the long run.

    You’d be out of date in 12 hours and your feedback would be useless, all to have a broken build with bad balancing for a handful of days. Meanwhile, everyone’s game (for hundreds of thousands of players) would be delayed more and more and more, bit by bit.

    It’s just not worth it.

  12. pandy

    Fine. You win, I lose. Will getting the Steam key preclude me from getting the download link as well?

  13. It’s not about ‘winning’, just understanding.

    And if you get a Steam key you can still download DRM-free.

  14. pandy

    Great. Now stop bothering me with this shit. Don’t you have a game to make?

  15. Um, I answered the question that you asked.

    I won’t bother answering any more, though.

    Be aware that forum rules about civility apply here too:

  16. pandy

    No sense of humor huh?

  17. Bendigeidfran

    Yikes, haven’t seen this sort of atmosphere from players on Ludeon before but then I don’t spend much time on the forums. But I suppose it’s inevitable as the fanbase grows. In any case, the new features are fantastic, I enjoyed setting up a Breaking Bad style drug lab (Kickass Mod Idea) and i’m sure -everyone- will enjoy it very much when it’s released as a stable build, excellent work as ever.

  18. Bendigeidfran

    It’s worth noting I never saw anyone complain about the lack of unstable builds pre-steam. It’s very much a bonus since it’s easy to do on Steam, it doesn’t detract from the DRM free side at all and probably helps it since Tynan can get valuable feedback he may not have had without it.

  19. nccvoyager

    Tynan, I hope that the attitude of some will not detract from your opinion of the community built around RimWorld as a whole.

    On a side note, I managed to get to play the unstable build on my netbook for a few hours last night after I hooked it up to my monitor.
    Even though I didn’t get through more than a few in-game days, since there were some performance issues caused by only having an integrated video card, I immensely enjoyed the experience, and the tutorial was quite well executed.

    Great work so far!

  20. ncc – of course not, there are misunderstandings on the Internet and about game dev tradeoffs, it’s the nature of the beast. (I do wish people were a bit less quick to jump into accusation mode, though I understand they’ve been burned before).

    Anyway thanks, I appreciate the feedback (from everyone!)

  21. Sirius

    Hey Tynan i bought rimworld 1 1/2 years ago and it made it into my games top 10 list of all time. I really like your open style of development but keep care with guys like this one above because now that you had big success also on steam there might be come many haters around here (i think you know that yourself).
    Anyway this is maybe the wrong place to ask but if i am here i do so now. Rimworld has made me to try start creating mods (have never done this bfore) just for fun. You can do really cool things with the xml structure but can you recommend me a good basic tutorial for C# or shall i just learn it by the code itself ? And how did you learn it ? 🙂
    And is there a problem with your mail system because i tried to recover my account yesterday (not with this mail above) three times and got no email.

    So far so good and keep on the good work !

    PS:Sorry for my bad english.

  22. GamingCthulhu

    I am looking forward to A15 unfortunately can’t get test the unstable builds as I purchased from the website after the steam key release window. Which I think may be some of the reason people are looking for non-steam builds as for some of us getting a steam key means purchasing the game a second time which just isn’t in the cards for me right now. Makes me sad but as I looked in to why the steam key distribution was disabled I understood.

    Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing the final A15 build once it’s done! Hopefully I can keep all my colonists from becoming raging drug addicts while being the drug supplier to the entire world!

  23. Anarba

    I like the sound of beer making 🙂 it would be great if it was possible to make several kinds of beer.
    Just means I need to make mod myself.

    Do you think that in future upper and lower floors would be viable to add to the game? or would that screw up the mechanics too much ?

    As for version 15 I got drm free version after the steam version become available(pays to read whole red sentence not just the first part 😛 ). Would love if there was chance to move to steam again.

  24. Céline Sauvé

    @Bendigeidfran I suspect those of us who dislike STEAM would say the reason you “never saw anyone complain about the lack of unstable builds pre-steam” is because _no one_ was getting access to it.

    But, as I said before, this is not the first time I’ve seen a game get on STEAM and then push the early supporters to the side, whatever the reasoning behind it.

    So long as the DRM-free releases never stop, RimWorld is still ahead of some games I backed on Kickstarter before I finally learnt my lesson about being burned there.

  25. ShadowTani

    Guys, be patient. The unstable branch is called unstable for a reason, so playing it is not about getting A15 early, but to help the developer make that patch the best it can be before it gets released to everyone else.

    As an example, yesterday’s patch from 1272 to 1273 required a fresh start as the assign page got revamped functions to such a degree that it messed up older savegames. I was fully aware this might happen, but I jumped on the unstable branch because I wanted to contribute to the game and community, so I didn’t think much about it and got a new colony going already.

    For most people that just want to play it’s better to wait until it’s done.

  26. Anarba

    I understand, but still I love to test new things out and feel like I contributed to something. Another reason I would prefer to move to steam for easier mod management.

  27. Madman666

    One more thing worth adding to A15 – the vegetation on maps really needs to regrow gradually without any interaction from players. I mean after several years of game time the map is pretty much dead desert no matter what biome you choose to start in – beavers, dry thunderstorms, fires, sieges with lots of mortar fire, toxic fallouts – and all that is left are piles of dessicated corpses and dry burned out land.

    Maybe it does regrow, but really slow so I didn’t see it yet, or someone already stated this (most likely) and if it is so then feel free to just ignore this post, but otherwise please do take note of this suggestion, because it’s kind of strange seeing biome named Temperate Rainforest looking like a desert ;D

  28. Sirius

    I think it regrows already but not very fast. That was that case when i had my last wildland fire across the half map. Maybe the regrowing rate should be buffed depending how much flora is areound the burned area. Burned areas should also make them much more fertile like it is in real nature life.

  29. Madman666

    Well yeah, if it already in place it definitely needs a pretty big buff, I’d say. Usually game puts out fires that got too big with rains, but that is not always so. In the end every single map still gets obliterated into empty space with just grass patches. Toxic fallouts from what i see do kill vegetation too and can last a damn long time. Most of the trees already have long growing time, so they really should just spawn more frequently based on how wrecked map currently is.

  30. I noticed that LAMPS in Rimworld uses too little power, especially when they’re built only from metal. That means heating a metal string to the high temperatures (like in old style lamps), but a lot thicker, because there’s no glass to protect it from oxidation. And that means, 150 watts isn’t enough…

    Okay, I’m only joking. Normally, the simplest lamps today uses from 1 (LED) to 80 (fluorescent) watts. And nobody in their right mind uses 80 watt lamps anymore, especially in a small room. The usual range is from 5 to 30 watts, so Rimworld’s 150W is a little bit old fashioned. Your game is set in a future, right?
    According to your game, one high-tech geothermal generator can sustain only 24 lamps… Oh, and the same generator can sustain a 36 heaters! 24 lamps VS 36 heaters. I don’t know about others, but I see something VERY wrong here. An air heater usually uses 1 kw as minimum. Unless engineers in your country developed a new tech and hid it from the world. According to wattage, the lamps should generate more heat than heaters.

    Electric smelter, only 700 watts… Try 8 or 10 KW – should be more realistic. I don’t know about the future, but I really doubt iron will decrease its smelting temperature for the sake of progress. Same for the electric cook stove – 1 kw is a minimum. The other stuff is doubtful, but could pass as fictional.

    And thanks for a fun game. I spent weeks murdering my colonies.

  31. Sirius

    I think you can you can adjust numbers for fertily ect in the TerainDefs/Terrain_Nature.xml.

  32. BlackSmokeDMax

    @Anarba If you are wanting Steam for better mod management, you may be sorely disappointed. While yes, the basic use of mods is easier, and it may be great a long time down the road when the game is not in Early Access, Steam Workshop is very sadly lacking in any type of advanced features.

    Just like the games itself on steam where you can’t block updates unless the game devs go out of their way to post old builds via beta (thanks again Tynan!), mod updates as well will automatically update whether they are going to break your game or not. And whether you like it or not.

    Steam Workshop is a bit of a hammer, where everything it sees is a nail. Valve could really stand to put Workshop back in the workshop for a large overhaul. I’m sure the reason they haven’t yet is that the whole process could turn to a real shitshow in a hurry. I hope it isn’t just to not spend money making it better, but that is possible as well.

  33. nccvoyager

    Steam Workshop is great for *finished* games, or games with content like straight graphical replacements, or maps, which tend to work regardless of game version.
    In-progress games like RimWorld here are great on the Steam platform, because it is an easy process to get unstable builds out to the public quickly.
    Unfortunately, the Steam Workshop itself is not great with unfinished games for mods, as BlackSmokeDMax said, due to the tendency for the workshop to do weird things when updating mods or the base game alone.

  34. Vojtěch

    Can you please add co-op ? I had really good idea for your game 🙂 .

  35. Demon

    Wow tampoco tiempo si que trabajan duro los desarrolladores 😀

  36. Sammy

    Can we get the option to maybe turn off or turn down low mood / breaking warning signs? It gets obnoxious after a while when work needs to be done.