Take on the role of a Junior Bureaucrat (Colonial Grade), sent forth to seek fame, promotions, and natural resources to feed the ravenous maw of Imperial Industry & Commerce. History is yours to seize for fame and fortune, for Science, and for the Queen and the glory of the Clockwork Empires!
User reviews:
Overall:
Mostly Positive (369 reviews) - 72% of the 369 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Aug 15, 2014

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Early Access Game

Get instant access and start playing; get involved with this game as it develops.

Note: This Early Access game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development. Learn more

What the developers have to say:

Why Early Access?

“Early Access is the single most influential tool we can find to receive feedback to improve the game. We've had tremendous success with doing this on smaller scales in the past with Dungeons of Dredmor, but with a larger game, especially a sandbox simulation game, more testing is dramatically more valuable. Early Access will make Clockwork Empires the best game we can possibly make it.

The benefits of Early Access for the players are, of course, early access to the game, and the ability to not only watch the game take shape but to help us shape it with suggestions on how we can improve systems, and be able to log in every month and see notable content additions and systems improvements inspired by your feedback.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“We have a list of features to complete which we've discussed in detail on our Clockwork Empires: Development Progress site. We'll release the game when these features are done. The most important thing for us is that the features we've discussed and wanted to include in the project make it in.

We also provide weekly development progress updates with changlogs on the Gaslamp Games blog and through the Gaslamp Games mailing list.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

This our giant Development Progress Report page (as mentioned) which we shall keep updated with each major public release of Clockwork Empires.

In terms of how the full version will differ from the current version:

The full version of Clockwork Empires will have more monsters, more character interactions, more vehicles, more events, a much improved user interface (based on feedback), more biome diversity, and ... of course, we will be improving game performance and resolving any crash bugs that are found as we go. (If anyone sees any crashing, please report it to Gaslamp Games for immediate Purging).”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“Upon loading the game, the player is set to the task of building a thriving colony out of a pile of supplies and handful of characters. Making sure they don't starve and aren't killed by monsters are the most important considerations. Your military will shoot monsters if given access to weaponry, and your non-military characters will get to work building houses and workshops, and tilling farms as the player gives them orders to do so.

If you haven't read the giant Development Progress Report page (which we shall keep updated with each major public release of Clockwork Empires), then we urge you to do so.”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“No, we are not planning on changing the price. Price changes tend to be confusing for everyone.

Increasing the price upon release is contrary to the long-standing tradition of games getting cheaper as they get older. Decreasing the price upon release effectively makes people pay a premium to participate in early access. While we feel that participating should be valuable to you, we don't want to set that price as something other than what everyone would have to pay anyway.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“The scale of community involvement is pretty heavily dependent on the size of the community.

To start, we spend time on our forums as well as right here on the Steam forums trying to answer questions directly, letting people know when we've logged bugs they find or responding to content or design suggestions. We've been doing this with our internal test group for the last few months, and with the Earliest Access players for the last month, which has benefited us a ton. At a some point, though, the community can get too big to guarantee that level of communication, at which point we might use other tools to answer questions. Reddit for direct conversations, strawpolls to gauge interest in different feature implementations, stuff like that which can help us hear everyone as effectively as possible. We're open to experimenting with this process to find out what works best, and we'll definitely listen to suggestions from players about how to better communicate with the community.

We have had a running development blog for Clockwork Empires since before we officially announced the project, and we will be keeping that up to date with our progress and changelogs for new versions. We will also keep our Clockwork Empires Development Progress report up to date with our monthly releases. People who want more information can visit the Clockwork Empires Portal to see the latest updates on our twitter account for the game, @ClockwrkEmpires).”
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Recent updates View all (90)

September 26

BETA 54C OF CLOCKWORK EMPIRES NOW ON EXPERIMENTAL BRANCH

Beta 54C of Clockwork Empires has now been posted to the experimental branch on Steam. Amongst other things, this fixes the bug where modules will mysteriously stop working in workshops, which I know has plagued many of you: we finally got a save game where this showed up and were able to puzzle it out. This also includes many fine improvements and bugfixes:

  • construction assignments will always be prioritized over other work assignments
  • scrollbar track clicks are now more useful (sorry track clickers, we never do it, didn't realize what a sorry state that was in)
  • changed more incidences of the term "work crew" to overseer
  • reduced thought icon size so at high populations they're not just basically everywhere.
  • improved nametag code, incorporated alert icons into nametags
  • made interactive objects like rocks and trees have tooltips that are anchored and show up instantly rather than being on the cursor and having a delay. Some new players weren't seeing them at all, so this should improve their visibility.
  • all instances of "work crew" have been changed to "overseer" to make difference between LC/MC chars clearer
  • updated/improved costs of all gun lockers (can now build "Improvised Muskets" in Carpentry Workshop, can build "Ceramic Tripistols" in Ceramics Workshop)
  • you will now be alerted if you build a building with no door
  • naturalist now requires musket locker to hunt
  • added additional safety checks to Rogue Stahlmarkian start
  • hunger emote now more expressive
  • building quality display improved
  • "Rally" command now works (from Barracks ui)
  • "Explore" command now works (from Naturalist ui)
  • Naturalist's Office can now do targeted "Survey" and "Hunt" commands
  • FIXED: increased range of Naturalist survey for minerals job so they wouldn't get stuck in the middle of the map doing nothing
  • FIXED: a number of buildings that displayed the wrong cost in the buildings menu have been fixed
  • FIXED: long-standing issue with wrapped text
  • FIXED: janky scrollbar movement while the game is unpaused
  • FIXED: wacky QoL tooltip offset
  • FIXED: workplace limit display not being reset properly on save/load
  • FIXED: scientists will now only use equipment inside their own laboratory
  • FIXED: added check so traders won't leave and never come back, forever
  • FIXED: Pub did not stock booze until ordered to
  • FIXED: added check for scripterror when bandit group self-deletes
  • FIXED: modules would suddenly stop working until demolished and rebuilt
  • FIXED: crash in stamp area designation mode when an interactive object in the area is deleted (such as, say, setting fire to a mushroom)
  • FIXED: misc other crashes
  • FIXED: discrepancy of carpentry icon in command button vs. module category
  • FIXED: Larch farms would grow orange cubes

As always, please report feedback to us either here on Steam, or via our own forums at http://www.gaslampgames.com where there is also weekly blog reports and pie.

Honestly, pie sounds really good right now,

-- Gaslamp Games

7 comments Read more

September 21

BETA 54B NOW ON EXPERIMENTAL BRANCH ON STEAM

Clockwork Empires Beta 54B has now been posted to the Experimental Branch on Steam. Major changes include the removal of repair trunks, and... well, honestly, a heck of a lot of things - we're not even sure where to summarize; however, it's a heck of a lot better. As always, experimental builds are opt-in on Steam.

Changes below:

  • text input boxes now have a caret
  • keybinding widget now works in Configuration screen
  • crash DMP reporter now correctly reports crashes when triggering MSVC internal error or SIGABRT
  • upkeep removed as-such; it's being replaced with Office Supplies!
  • Naturalist's Office now uses ammo for hunting, paper for surveying (scouting is free)
  • Barracks now displays weapon stats & otherwise has a useful UI
  • Barracks now used to supply ammunition to soldiers; different weapons use different types of ammo. If ammo runs out, soldiers will default to using pistol
  • Foreign Office now requires paper to do bureaucracy
  • Foreign Office workers will prioritize use of modules that increase their work speed ie. Bureaucrat's Desk
  • Barbershop now requires Medical Supplies to do healing; if Sulphur Tonic is available, it will be used to make healing more effective and more pleasant
  • Chapel now requires Iron Cogs as votive material to perform religious services
  • Academy now requires paper to do training; if ink is supplied, it will double speed of training
  • Mine now requires trusses to operate
  • Laboratory now requires Science Materials to perform research
  • UI for all offices has been given a polish
  • UI for all offices now has various alerts for reasons why work cannot be performed due to lack of overseer/modules/supplies
  • weapon power/damage/range rebalanced
  • added Serpent Bell icon
  • added new ore distribution - varies based on climatic zone
  • added a new mining tech
  • added a number of new commodities and workshop recipes to support the new office overhaul
  • military may now do "cull troublesome animal"
  • mine UI now displays more information
  • rewrote assignment beacon rendering code to fix floating outline ugliness
  • added terrain decal scene graph to render assignment beacons and other "zone-like constructions" after terrain but before objects
  • added visual cue to indicate that a module must be affixed to a wall
  • all recipes should now grey out correctly depending on your materials
  • all modules in the game now have sort IDs and will display in the Modules Menu in a much more logical order
  • a huge number of events now trigger sounds on firing
  • made significant improvements to Meteor Shower event arc
  • added/improved tooltips on a large number of constructions and buildings
  • fix to Event Arc-related science jobs
  • fix to Event Arc-related selenian AI
  • renamed some office UI to try and make it a bit more clear
  • removed skill effects on tree chopping/foraging
  • added sugarloaf to traders
  • more info for character info tooltips
  • Ordering strings for commands and for buildings and modules.
  • fixed order strings so they now also work on the filter buttons on the module placer UI
  • added locking and unlocking of embark locations by biome type
  • randomized start backgrounds
  • added command tooltip details
  • some small changes to where tooltips show up so that they look less like garbage
  • added additional safety aborts to consume supply calls in fsms
  • added better feedback to early safety rating
  • added airdropcrate pos test
  • made artifacts tradeable
  • removed the Alone loadout
  • added a safety check for if you removed a worker from the academy while they were working
  • made improvement to tutorial controls image
  • did major update to all tutorial text
  • redid a number of building tutorial images
  • wrote all Colonial Handbook help files
  • removed a mysterious sound that played when nothing happened
  • minor cosmetic improvement to Artist event arc
  • workshop button now turns red when commodities are unavailable for a production that is set for a job
  • added details for unlocking biomes
  • added more tooltip stuff
  • area designation stamps now highlight what objects can be selected
  • rewrote all flatten terrain code. flatten terrain jobs are now not listed in a giant bulky mess at the start of the assignment, but are assigned first-come-first-serve. this fixes lurching performance issues when a user has a lot of flatten terrain jobs selected, as well as... works...
  • moved flatten terrain to assignment beacon, so it can be cancelled etc.
  • Flatten terrain target height now displays in tooltip
  • "Designate Building" dialog now attaches to blueprint for confirmation once it is drawn out
  • added more cult stuff
  • improved more cult stuff
  • Steam Knights made more reactive to threats
  • made reactions to horrors more expressive
  • foreign civilians will properly flee from horrors
  • added "Cry over Body" job
  • lack of booze for Public House will generate alerts
  • removing forageables can be done via left-click, per object
  • added small vs. large stockpiles
  • clarified bric-a-brac display names
  • made Occult Inspectors slightly more expressive
  • "Workbench" is now "Assembly Workbench" and is used only to make modules, except in the kitchen
  • added new module: Decor Workbench. Makes all relevant decor items for that workshop
  • removed module recipes from ceramics/carpentry workbench
  • removed decor recipes from all modules that aren't Decor Workbench
  • Mine now caps depth if you don't have modules required to dig deeper
  • removed basic brew, added back individual brewing recipes
  • gave better icons to most military techs
  • improved a bunch of tooltips
  • Fishperson-related alerts should have sounds more consistently now
  • changed all civilopedia references of "citizens" to "colonists"
  • added product listing to mine tooltip
  • added Workplace system
  • failure states for workshop jobs now show properly.
  • added parent container code for office UI buttons
  • Quality of Life is now a first class element in the character info panel
  • Combat tooltips pared down significantly
  • can now add widgets to the front of a container's stack
  • balance: QoL effects adjusted
  • balance: fishpeople made weaker
  • balance: increased starting food amounts
  • balance: surface stratum of mine now includes sulphur
  • balance: Chemical Works has been moved earlier in the game progression
  • balance: bandits given worse weapons
  • balance: changed cost tiers of a vew buildings to streamline the early game
  • balance: lowered quality bonus from rugs since they don't block walkspace and are therefore superior to normal decor
  • balance: Immigration now takes longer between waves the later you are in the game (max immigrants increases as well, however)
  • balance: Chapel effects now emphasize lowering despair
  • balance: Pub effects now emphasize lowering anger
  • balance: added more high ground in temperate swamp biome
  • balance: added more guaranteed starting surface clay/stone
  • FIXED: static buttons for work crews
  • FIXED: finally fixed our scrollable vert boxes so they don't do weird things with scrolling too far and their padding isn't horrible. Finally. After 2 years of this bug.
  • FIXED: edge cases for the building confirmation window
  • FIXED: offset so that modules menu isn't below the screen. My bad.
  • FIXED: attempt_emote.fsm
  • FIXED: added safety check for scripterror in fishperson cult arc
  • FIXED: added safety check for scripterror in rogue stahlmarkian
  • FIXED: obeliskian_melee error
  • FIXED: incorrect Ceramics Workshop tech modifier display
  • FIXED: crash deleting a stockpile
  • FIXED: crash deleting a house
  • FIXED: crash deleting a workshop
  • FIXED: in the event that the game didn't crash while deleting a thing, it would appear with a graphical artifact glitch
  • FIXED: progress bars with "0" percent in them still showed some percent
  • FIXED: on rare maps, all characters and everything in the world will suddenly start sliding into the lower left corner of the screen
  • FIXED: lock up in character screen when character had maxed out skill tree or zero skill
  • FIXED: disappearing modules
  • FIXED: bug where unassigning a work crew wouldn't immediately update the window.
  • FIXED: Tutorial FYI text boxes can now expand properly.
  • FIXED: tooltips being basically everywhere.
  • FIXED: image buttons not pushing their size appropriately
  • FIXED: crash deleting farm and building new farm
  • FIXED: gameSimRequireGameObject not working correctly for requirements; various other graying behaviours not working correctly
  • FIXED: a bunch of bad button typecasting
  • FIXED: Mysterious Ore drop position
  • FIXED: issue in tutorial that prevented it from progressing
  • FIXED: a number of bugs in production menu grey-outs
  • FIXED: scripterror in building name change
  • FIXED: military culling of bad animals
  • FIXED: you may now place the Lower Class Rug
  • FIXED: player didn't get ownership of bar of gold gift
  • FIXED: loading bay door claiming to add -1 quality in tooltip
  • FIXED: military culling of bad animals
  • FIXED: lc rug
  • FIXED: incorrect action text on bandit spawn FYI alert
  • FIXED: incorrect Novorusian text
  • FIXED: foreign office error
  • FIXED: trade bool on dormant spore
  • FIXED: Boxed Macroscope constuction
  • FIXED: bug where minimum number of immigrants could be 0
  • FIXED: some food was tagged as both overseer and labourer-preferred
  • FIXED: civilians will now only consider melee/ranged attacks if they are not within some distance (X) of a military character
  • FIXED: crashed airship event weirdness
  • FIXED: scrollbars not sizing correctly on OS X
  • FIXED: assignment beacon drop zones now only show those beacons visible for the current selection mode
  • FIXED: assignment beacons now correctly encompass all objects inside (Although it is a little conservative)

As always, feel free to report changes either here on our forums at www.gaslampgames.com!

Cheers,

-- GG

9 comments Read more
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Reviews

“Victorian Steampunk at its finest”
GameRanx

“I have a feeling it’s going to be something rather special”
PCGamesN

“Clockwork Empires makes me uncomfortable”
PC World

About This Game

Take on the role of a Junior Bureaucrat (Colonial Grade), sent forth to seek fame, promotions, and natural resources to feed the ravenous maw of Imperial Industry & Commerce. Build a prosperous colony, fill it with magnificent factories worked by oppressed labourers, and harness the awesome power of steam through fearsome machines invented by determined men and women of Science! History is yours to seize for fame and fortune, for Science, and for the Queen and the glory of the Clockwork Empires!

Features
  • Colonists are simulated with individual personalities, memories, and will be happy or miserable depending on your management.
  • Free-form building: Design your own floorplans & arrange machines, furniture, and decorations as you see fit. (Or stuff everyone into bunkhouses.)
  • Mine ore, chop trees, farm cabbage, brew beer, tin weird caviar and try to keep your people from eating one another!
  • Weird horrible things: Menacing Fishpeople, cults, cannibalism, and more await your colonists.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows 7, Operating System of The Lower Classes
    • Processor: Intel i5 Processor or Equivalent ("The Little Scrapper" model)
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA or AMD card capable of supporting OpenGL 3.2 Core or Above. INTEL HD3000 AND HD4000 GRAPHICS CARDS ARE NOT SUPPORTED.
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Storage: 4 GB available space
    • Sound Card: Lord Palmerstoke's Sound-Reproducing "Old-Timey" Wax Cylinder Driver
    • Additional Notes: INTEL HD3000 AND HD4000 GRAPHICS CARDS ARE NOT SUPPORTED. The Ministry for Video Game Drivers would like to remind you: true Patriots of the Empire always install their latest Graphics Card Drivers before Enjoying A Bracing Video Game, lest the Blackness Consume Us All.
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7, 64-Bit Version (By Appointment to Her Majesty)
    • Processor: Intel i7 or above, fashioned of Stout Empire Tin and Burnished of Solid Pewter
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: A Big, Shiny NVIDIA or AMD Graphics Card With Lots of Fans Stuck to It. (Remember: More Fans Means More Steampunk!)
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Storage: 8 GB available space
    • Sound Card: "His Masters' Voice" Novorusian All-Wailing Gramaphone Module and Borscht Dispensary
    • Additional Notes: The Ministry for Growth and Monitoring encourages you to buy a Really Big Monitor.
    Minimum:
    • OS: OS X 10.9 ("Mavericks") or above
    • Processor: 2013 Generation Macbook Pro or iMac or Mac Pro
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: We're still trying to figure this out. Stay tuned.
    Recommended:
    • OS: OS X 10.... what number *is* Yosemite anyway?
    • Processor: 2014 Generation Macbook Pro or iMac or Mac Pro
    • Memory: 16 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA or AMD Integrated Graphics Parts
    • Additional Notes: Note: some GeForce cards (700m series) are currently experiencing peculiar slowdowns. We are trying to figure this out. Stay tuned!
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated Sept. 2016! Learn more
Overall:
Mostly Positive (369 reviews)
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284 reviews match the filters above ( Mostly Positive)
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
16 of 23 people (70%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
84.8 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: September 9
(I've bought this game on May 4th 2016 and it is September 9th 2016 at the time of writing this.)
During these 4 months I've had a couple of enjoying runs with the game. Some features are being added and development is moving at a normal pace I think.

Even after 85 hours with this game unfortunately I cannot recommend it at this point.
Even though there have been multiple stable patches and fixes in these 4 months, some basic game-breaking bugs are still there. As a developer I'm not very encouraged by the fact that these game-breaking bugs are simply not addressed. Like for example the Stockpile bug - delete any stockpile and the game immediately crashes.

And even though it was fun to progress on each separate run (even before the 2X speed setting), it got to a point that I'm simply too frustrated.
I spend 4-5 hours to build a good colony with a good balance and then things start breaking down around me. Why? Because a certain building simply stopped working: the sims are there, the materials are there, modules and everything are fine, but it simply stopped working. Now you have to demolish a building and re-build it. Then something else breaks down. Then an important item is bugged and cannot be produced no matter what, so you can't progress after that. Rinse and repeat.

So even though the concept, graphics and overall gameplay are nice, I'm just too tired of starting game after game just to hit an impassable wall caused by bugs.

If the game ever comes out of Early Access - consider buying this, but until then get Rim World.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
137.3 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: September 10
Game is awesome, still being worked on but it is more complete than not complete. The people making the game listen to suggestions and are VERY communicative with people. It is my favorite part of this game. 30 bucks might seem high, but youll be paying pennies an hour by the time you are done with this game if not less than a penny an hour. Strongly suggest to anyone that enjoys world building city building colony managing simulation style games. This is definitely a slight twist of those genres but it is addicting.

Keep in mind too after reading some negatives- there are bugs in this game sometimes, they patch them quickly and new bugs arise sometimes. This game is extremely complex compared to others of its type. You would be amazed with the character depth on this game. But people saying things STOP WORKING or WONT BE FED , they are not playing the game correctly. Keeping happiness in your colony is EXTREMELY hard and takes a while to figure out. When your colony is unhappy they will not work, thus it truly makes it feel like the game is way buggier than it is. There are a few crashes here and there, I am not denying that. But people going into despair or anger is the biggest cause of negative reviews on this game. I assure you of that. If you keep peoples happiness high (which you wont do for a few runs at the game) you will succeed in building a colony and having it last. If you dont however, they stop working, cults arise, fish people attack, people die, people starve (because your kitchen wont cook, your foragers wont forage and your hunters wont hunt obviously)

Its a very challenging game, there is a lot more to it than meets the eye. It is very in depth. I have 111 hours on it and I still go "OHHHHH" all the time.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
175.9 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: September 11
Great game really enjoying the beta so far that being said it is still in early beta with many features not yet added or fully working
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
67.0 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: September 10
This is a colony-builder of impressive depth and flavor. I should note that this game is in beta, and as such crashes are still an issue. Autosaves every ten or so minutes allieviate this somewhat, and I believe the game is engaging enough to play despite the crashes.

It's also worth noting that Gaslamp Games has an impressively active forum over at their site: www.gaslampgames.com . The forum recently completed its second Community Colony, which ended in complete, unqualified success and in no way ended in flames borne of heterodox spirituality.

Edit - formatting
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
771.5 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: September 26
As you can see, I don't have nearly enough hours logged to give a detailed review.

I agree with most of the positive reviews mentioning the dedicated community friendly dev team, the charming writing, and the addictive gameplay. Oh, and the graphics are impressively detailed for a modern colony builder. Here's a little stiuation from a recent game:

I had decided to make friends with the local Fish People, because why not? Everything was going along just fine before the Occult Inspector showed up. Turns out they're not too keen on Aquatic Eldritch Abominations, so he whipped out his flame thrower and went to town.

One particular flaming fish man walked into the dense woods beside my colony and started a massive forest fire. This in turn woke up a pack of sleeping Ancient Tentacled Stone Constructions known as the Obeliskians, who rampaged through the town until finally getting blown up by my military and exploding my food stockpile (yeah, I keep gunpowder and ammo next to my food, got a problem with that?). Several colonists nearly starved as a result.

They of course went a little sideways - renaming their workshops things like The Putrid Fungal Eatery. One of them actually went around examining dead bodies, which made her simultanously happy and desparing. Why? She had a morbid trait.*

Things were dicey, but I thought I could recover for the most part. That's when the cultists showed up - a Fish worshipping cult, of course. They spread rapidly, worshipping at their infernal shrine, until my scientist suggested whipping up a "cure" for everyone affected. Great! I thought. Turns out I didn't look closely enough at my scientist. He was a cultist too. This cure of his turned out to be a "fishy potion" that only accelerated the transformation process and and made things worse.

At its core this game is a "juggling 20 chainsaws at once simulator". Some may call it micromanagement, but that's a little reductive IMO; it's more about having to decide what you CAN manage, and hoping what you don't doesn't come back as a building sized Obelisk to level your colony.


*I once had a criminal with the DOOMED and CRIMINAL traits call for an airdrop of stolen goods. The crate dropped on his head. He called again. Same thing. This happened several times until he finally died.)
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
7.5 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: September 25
Gaslamp is being commendably transparent. There’s a page dedicated to the game’s progress, where you can see exactly what’s in the game, what’s close to implementation and what they are saving for the future.

What Early Access means really depends on the game, and in the case of Clockwork Empires, it means the foundations are there, but there’s not much on top of them. That doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable - if you like building and management games, then Clockwork Empires offers some compelling features, particularly when it comes to customising factories and homes or learning about the colonists themselves. Of course, being a complex game in Early Access, bugs are bound to happen.

It’s very exciting to see how Clockwork Empires grows. I have a feeling it’s going to be something rather special. When I think about what’s to come, I can’t help but want to play again.

THE GOOD
- Exciting consept
- Great graphics
- Great potential

THE BAD
- Still Early Access
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
248 of 290 people (86%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
131.0 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: August 15, 2014
*edit* January 2015: So I first wrote this way back in August 2014. I've stuck with the game, and it's development has interested me enough to hold my attention to the present day, January 2015. I've even gone and made a bunch of YouTube videos, which I'll link - those should give interested parties a good idea what actual gameplay is like.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-txpuYpTUyo

August 2014: My Hours Played don't reflect my actual play time; I've been loading this game directly from the .exe (which is a thing you can do, and which more Steam games ought to do, I'm looking at you, Skyrim). Also, sessions that crash apparently don't get added to your Hours Played. Expect crashes, this thing isn't even in Beta.

*edit* Apparently they do count!

This Early Access offering is a good example of the way Early Access should be done - the game itself is only nominally functional - there is currently no save function, for instance, there are still many bugs and crashes, and the interface is undergoing constant revision. Many planned features have yet to be implemented, and the game itself could stand some optimization.

*edit* I'm testing the 'internaltest-' build which has, among other things, a save function. It crashes more than it saves, but still.

The value of an Early Access game is the opportunity to participate in feedback that will shape the direction of the game. Submit suggestions, tweaks, typos, bugs and playability experiences to the Devs. They've shown themselves to be very responsive, and actively solicit player feedback (on the Gaslamp Games forums), and the whole development process has been the model of transparency, with weekly Dev Blog updates and a Twitter presence.

Clockwork Empires has a lovely aesthetic, and great potential, but it's nowhere near finished. Wait for full release (projected to be ~9 months) if you want it feature-complete and polished. I'm in it because the Development Blogs are great, the Devs are active, and I enjoy contributing my 2 cents worth.

This is a game on the same shelf as Dwarf Fortress, Gnomoria, Spacebase DF-9, et al. It's a city builder sim; there's no direct control of your citizens, who you direct largely by creating jobs and juggling priorities. The setting is a sort Victorian-era English colony; your soldiers wear red coats and wield muskets, your menfolk sport glorious handlebar moustaches, and your colonists (literally) gossip about things like the Monarchy. It's brass, elbow grease, laudanum, dodos, and cabbages everywhere. You already know if this stuff appeals to you or not.

Also appearing: fishmen, dark cults, insanity and ritual murder. Still in the works, tentacled horrors, secret geometry, and Lovecraftian modules for your Lumber Mill (!).

If you do get this game, get involved in the Dev side or you're missing a great opportunity; check out the blogs, read the forums, share hilarious stories about mass starvation and game-breaking bugs.

p.s. I forgot to mention cannibalism. Cannibalism is always hilarious. I don't know if fishmen count as cannibalism, but I'm pretty sure your fellow colonists do.

p.p.s Read the system requirements.
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86 of 91 people (95%) found this review helpful
29 people found this review funny
Recommended
564.1 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: January 19
At 439 hours played I have to say that this is my favourite game on steam. I just love it. Yep it is not finished. Yep major bits are not yet working, yep there is still quite a way to go.

But it is funny, charming and bonkers. It has lovely animations and background flavour text, cubes of flesh and sausages. I am 51 and should really be getting on with my life but keep clicking the damn play button even though I have seen everything in the game many times. Some eldritch facination keeps drawing me in like a dumb cultist to some sleeping horror bemeath the waves. I have watched the game grow from something that barely works at all to something that sometimes works a bit.

But beware my review as I thought Towns was really good.
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88 of 106 people (83%) found this review helpful
Recommended
77.8 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: August 17, 2014
UPDATED REV 42E: The Devs have been focusing on bug fixing and mainly changes within the User Interface and Farming area of the game. The U.I has had an overhaul in terms of the character selection menu and information panels. They tell you more about each character, their mood, emotion and progress towards desires. Each character's current effects now show bars as to how it affects their mood within these panels.

The Farming and Kitchen has been addressed in a sense that instead of mass lists of recipes, the vast majority of standard food you can find, gain from hunting and farming has been condensed into a simple "Make food" job where the colonists will use any standard type of food they can find. I much prefer this because it is at the end of the day what you order anyway, all food you can.

Militarily, the barracks function and NCO has been fixed so they now properly train into Regular troops from militia.

Overall, not a bad update at all however as I have previously stated, the game is very much playable and more of the game "content" in that regard, new items, clothing etc, should be coming in the near future because it would seem most systems are now functioning as intended and have been fixed.

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UPDATED REV 41D: Constantly changing and evolving, CE is more stable than ever. So many changes in the latest builds from REV 38. The majority of issues have been addressed to the state that you can pretty much play for however long you like. Once you start getting larger populations however you may still encounter the odd bug or issue. On that note the Devs are reaching what I call the last loose ends. Fixing the remaining issues that people encounter and adding in the systems left.

The UI has been updated massively and there are various new systems in place such as the events which are now much more refined. There is a starting property ownership system in place which is going to be built on to eventually include owning clothing, various objects and so on. The workshops have been overhauled and recently just added in is the new Military Barracks which replaces the old system of training. You assign a Military Officer or Militia NCO to the Barracks and he/she will start to train troops into Regulars.

The favour system has also been recently amended. For example you can now recieve a prisoner work group which will assist your colony doing various tasks for 3 days. Many now have a time frame. The squad of Regulars led by an NCO also assist for 3 days (or is it 5?) for example.

All in all a lot has changed to list, including minor changes but the game has made substancial progress certainly.

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UPDATED REV38 : So much has changed since my last update. This is now Clockwork Empires in the Official stable gameplay stage now. You can play without any major issues, no crashes or that. They have added removal of buildings, planning changes, new User Interface elements and refined Combat mechanisms and A.I for colonists and elements alike. If you were following this previously, then now is a pretty good time to join in the fun and development of Clockwork Empires.

The team is constanly updating it, each update bringing much better features and now that all the bug bashing has really been done, it is content that is being brought in. Cults have been revamped, basic diplomacy is now functioning with minor factions like bandits and so on bringing all sorts of events that your decisions can affect your colony and how long it survives. Far too much to list but the future of CE is very bright indeed!

UPDATED: REV33: By far the best update that has been implemented. Now with complete re-designed mechanics and Graphics, the game runs certainly, much smoother and MAC support is now in the works with basic features working. The game has came a long way from the past 2 builds and with new features such as bandits, new animals, refined combat and economics and UI the game is definitely coming together. Again I would still be waiting a couple more before buying but in terms of my level of "playablility", that stage has almost been reached.

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Original Review:

While this is Early Access.......very very early. I have to say that this game has huge potential. The developers are keen and very open and the game itself is the perfect management game for those who loved traditional city builder games crossed with a bit more things to do such as combat, defence etc.

It is based during the Colonial-Early Industrial period and already the developers have nice features set out. The game itself does have a sense of humor thrown in and the like such as having to fight off Fish people and all sorts of creatures. In future they plan to add bandits and all manners of factions and allow you to ally, trade and conduct diplomacy for your newly starting colony. There is also a map set out what looks like it will be a sort of campaign style base in which you choose where you would like to set out your next adventure for the Empire and start to form new colonies.

The artstyle in my view fits perfectly along with the current mechanics which are currently implemented it really does look and function well. If you play it you will see just exactly what this game could offer in the near future and even now.

The game is one of a kind and unique in so many ways. If you don't mind investing in such games then by all means take it into account but if you want a finished product then you will have to wait. I would say another month or so and this game will get better and better......hopefully :) It really is up to yourself but I can say this certainly. If you decide to invest your money in this EA game.
You will not loose out. The Devs are like PA Devs in that sense but even better. They are constanly interacting with community to fix things, release experimental build updates pretty much from 2 days-1 week. Really are making significant progress and fast.

EDIT: And I was correct when i said a month or 2. Saves are practically on the table with loading now as are basic defences. Many fixes and performance improvements to allow smooth running of the game and ruled out majority of crashes. Now they can finally give it a few weeks, start working on the games mechanics and content more rather than bug fixing. For now anyway :D

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On that note: The team plan to adopt a monthly update schedule which will release major build updates to the public. If you would like to assist in testing or just mess around with it early then they have an opt in "experimental branch" which as it suggests is "experimental" but enough to keep you playing. I can see the team relating to Prison Architect in that sense as they always keep the community interested and up to date and these guys are constantly fixing and addressing issues with their game so very active :D

As I am constanly testing the Experimental builds which are updated regularly with new things to check out and suggest, I will be updating this throughout each build, or when I can :)
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62 of 74 people (84%) found this review helpful
Recommended
16.2 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: April 7, 2015
As a fan of games that allow the player to start a civilization from a small group of people, it felt like a no-brainer to keep an eye on Clockwork Empires, and when I was given the opportunity to review it, I gladly accepted the challenge.

Without any further delay, I present to you my review of Clockwork Empires.

Gameplay
From the moment you start the game, you'll know that something is being done right. From the well-designed menu, to its enjoyable graphics, Clockwork Empires is a gem in the making. Your job is to start a colony, and to do so, you're given a certain amount of colonists and some materials.
The wonderfully written tutorials will also provide you the necessary knowledge to build according to your colony’s needs. While building, you'll also have to keep your colonists happy and well fed, as well as safe from all hostile units, such as the dreadful fishpeople.
The graphics are really enjoyable, and the scaling used on certain objects/units will certainly create a laugh or two.
To accompany all of the above, some nice music is put to good use, leaving the player relaxed and ready to build a new empire. Or get his whole colony destroyed by the fishpeople.

Pros
  • Excellent tutorial, with some humor to it;
  • Wide variety of materials;
  • Groovy graphics;
  • Enjoyable soundtrack;
  • Well designed crew micromanagement;
  • Large maps with plenty of resources;
  • Detailed tabs with resources available, current jobs/actions being performed, and even an event log.

I've decided to add a "Neutral" category, as they aren't gamebreakers, but could improve the gameplay if polished.

Neutral
  • Sudden change of background music can sometimes be annoying;
  • Could use a couple more tooltips, mostly to tell the player where to get whatever is missing in the city;
  • Once in-game, the only way to go back to the main menu is by closing the game and restarting it;
  • Could use a delete option on the saved games, considering the files are somewhat big and you can't overwrite them;
  • The characters don't stop moving when you pause the game;
  • The AI could be improved, since characters don't stop moving while hauling/exploring, even if they're being attacked, and they also seem to choose a random table/place to go drop something.

Keep in mind the game is still in Early Access (EA), and the "Cons" mentioned below will, certainly, be tweaked and/or polished as the game gets more and more updates.

Cons
  • Excessive amount of hostile units from the very start, although sometimes it's bearable;
  • Lack of "Game Speed" function makes the game boring at times;
  • Inability to remove/cancel pretty much everything.

Verdict
I'd give it a 7/10 Considering its EA status and it has an active development team, the game is bursting with life, and you can expect it to be a lot more polished by the time it gets its full release.
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Recently Posted
chri
22.5 hrs
Early Access Review
Posted: September 21
I brought this game back when it was released on early access and i don't regret it, the developers are very active and make at least an update a month, and check the forums looking for bug reports and actualy listening to players (Like in the recent debacle about building upkeep, a thing that players hated and the developers, in turn, are going to remove the next update)

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Mokkun
305.0 hrs
Early Access Review
Posted: September 14
Great game, good potential.

Can be challenging to get a good colony running, but great fun when you get it running well (the Colony).
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Sen. Dirksen, The Wizard of Ooze
164.8 hrs
Early Access Review
Posted: August 29
I bought this game when it first came out, and let it sit for a while, and I come back pleasantly surprised!

The devs have clearly put a lot of consistent work in, and the game is steadily fulfilling the promises made when the game was announced. I'm happily building my latest colony to greatness (while keeping my colonists from sucumbing to Cultish Influences and [REDACTED]) as we speak.

As to the recent negative reviews, one person appears to be in a spat with the devs over 1 (one) mechanic which is at absolute most a minor inconvenience (and indeed is designed to be that way), and the other has so clearly not learned to play or paid attention to the game that I'm shocked they had the confidence to write a review.

Clockwork Empires is a great game now, and by playing it now you can invest in an even better game to come!
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Joshy
33.3 hrs
Early Access Review
Posted: August 27
really good game dose still have its moints were it will crash or you will load a game and parts will be there but will not show on map end of day is good fun and can kill some time,
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