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Steam Workshop Now Available!

At Stardock and Mohawk Games, we appreciate the modding community. Many of us got our start in games through modding in our spare time and we love to see the incredible ideas and designs that you dream up for our titles. To that end, we’re thrilled to introduce Steam Workshop support for Offworld Trading Company!

Modders can look forward to:

  • Modding xml data for buildings, units, resources, and more
  • Writing your own C# code that can execute alongside the game’s code
  • Accessing Steam Workshop easily through the game
  • Easy access to your work with a new “Mods” screen on the Start menu
  • Downloading other game mods from around the world

If you’re new to modding (or haven’t done it in awhile and would like a refresher), check out these tutorials on Mohawk’s blog about how to get started. Steam Workshop support is now fully integrated and is waiting for you in your Steam client.

For more information on Offworld Trading Company, visit www.offworldgame.com

Also, Offworld is 66% off on Steam through this weekend.

Offworld Trading Company Update 6

Features

  • Campaigns no longer auto-saved on defeat
  • HQs are auto-selected after founding
  • Added Include Ceres Location option for the campaign

Balance

  • On Ceres, Chem Labs now give an adjacency bonus to Nuke Plants
  • On Ceres, Glass Kilns get a 50% bonus on Salts

Fixes

  • Fixed items causing tutorial progress to be blocked
  • Fix for joining a Ceres lobby without owning the DLC
  • Fix for popup buttons being oversized

AI

  • AI better handles Ceres maps in the campaign

UI

  • Menu UI updated to be more consistent
  • Featured Items show on the start screen
  • News ticker added to main menu for information and updates

The Patron and the Patriot DLC

The Patron and the Patriot is a DLC pack focused on enhancing the single player campaign mode within Offworld Trading Company.

The campaign mode that shipped with the base game operates like a competitive tournament that lasts for seven games. There are nine characters to play, each with their own set of perks. While playing games, your character earns new perks through victory bonuses, events, and via accumulating income that can be spent on perks of your choice. Your strategy applies not just to each individual game, but to your character’s perk progression, which lets you tailor your strengths and weaknesses for use in later games to be played. Elimination rounds begin at game three, removing the weakest competitor from the tournament each week, until only four remain to compete in the finale, where stock buyouts eliminate the rest, leaving a sole survivor with a monopoly over all of Mars.

Upon this foundation, we have crafted enhancements designed to improve Breadth, Depth, and Immersion for campaign players who purchase The Patron and the Patriot.

Patron_and_the_Patriot_10Day_Campaign (1)

FEATURES

  • Colony Class – Each colony now specializes in one area of the economy, altering local market conditions in a variety of ways.
  • Campaign Length – The campaign tournament can now last for 4, 7, or 10 games. Each length comes with its own balance tweaks and gameplay subtleties.
  • Wholesale Orders game mode – Not all colonies want you to build habitats and work modules for them. Now some instead want your company to supply a variety of wholesale goods.
  • Two new Characters – New CEOs with new gameplay perks.
  • Story-Driven Campaigns – Six interactive short stories about life on Mars, available to experience through playing the new characters on each different length of campaign.
  • New Staffing Perks & New Achievements

Breadth

New Colony Classes

Early colonies on Mars had to be self-sufficient. They consisted only of generic habitat modules, which consume life support resources (and drive up prices on these resources), and workplace modules, which consume certain industrial resources.

Rapid colonization of the planet opens up opportunities for colonies to specialize, creating an interdependent web of trading partners amid a more sophisticated Martian economy. Now in addition to generic Habitat and Workplace modules, many colonies have customized module types, which consume different resources than the default types (driving up prices on a different set of commodities) and even in some cases producing resources (which actually drives prices down on those commodities). Custom module types require different materials for construction, which affects games where the colony desires companies to build more domes for them.

We have added 17 classes of colonies in The Patron and the Patriot. These now provide a wide field of localized market conditions, which you as player must anticipate and manage in order to succeed. There are also gameplay tweaks associated with each colony class, including local price controls on commodities produced by the colony and special rules unique to each class that may affect cost or availability of gameplay options.

Campaign Length

Changing the number of games played in the tournament affects perk progression. Since perks are the skeleton that gives shape to the body of a campaign, the new campaign lengths offer new opportunities for player strategy.

The shorter campaign length provides fewer opportunities to gain perks before the finale, so starting capital is increased. Players (and their AI opponents!) have the opportunity to make multiple staffing hires before the first game is played, allowing for a “jump right in” strategic experience that pays dividends quickly. With fewer elimination rounds, the number of opponents is reduced and opponents per game is reduced as well. There are fewer levels from which to choose, though, which may require you to play some more difficult scenarios.

The longer campaign length grants more opportunities for progression, but starts with a lot less cash to spend on perks and does not let you make permanent hires for the first couple of weeks. You must decide whether to spend heavily on temporary perks in the early going or try to save toward bigger purchases later. Any income earned from the early games will carry on longer, so this is no easy choice to make. Every game in the early going will pit you against three of your rivals, making for busier and more difficult games. There is more opportunity to recover from a bad game, though, and still press on toward ultimate victory. Near the end of the tournament, you must face more formidable opponents, who themselves have accumulated a high amount of perk progression and pose more threat to you.

Adding Depth

Game Modes: Colony Build vs Wholesale Orders

In Colony Build mode, you know what you’re up against: need lots of Aluminum to build habitat domes and at least one construction resource for building workplace modules. In The Patron and the Patriot, colony class may affect which modules are available to construct, which can vary the resources you will need to provide. (Penal colonies, for instance, use Carbon instead of Aluminum for constructing their Prison modules.) So even for Colony Build mode, your company will need to become more versatile.

Wholesale Orders mode offers a much more dynamic challenge. The colony may request any of the commodity types. You will need to invest less cash than it takes to construct domes in Colony Build mode, but your material investments will be greater. The size of the orders grows throughout the game, requiring an ever-steeper resource cost. Some order types may be fixed, where the colony will want ever-larger orders for the same commodity. Other orders may be dynamic, where a randomly-chosen resource type will be needed for each successive order filled. Even the number of columns that will be fixed or dynamic changes from one game to the next, requiring your strategy to adapt to the individual market conditions of each game played.

Greater depth of strategy will be needed to succeed in this new, more dynamic Martian economy.

New Characters

In his youth, Doctor Mikhail Nekrasov discovered transparent aluminum, the first clear metal suitable for use in construction. Today he is rich beyond measure, but Mikhail is slowly losing his battle with ALS. A crime committed against him lured him to Mars. Fate may be what keeps him there.

Patron_and_the_Patriot_Character_ColonyOrders (1)

Dr. Nekrasov holds the patent for Transparent Aluminum, which permits him to substitute aluminum for glass in construction. As an indie developer, he can construct any HQ type. His company’s mining, steel-making, and geothermal capabilities are unmatched, but his specializations leave weakness in other areas.

Manuel Valencia was the brightest star in a young group of investors helping to rebuild the global economy. His firm, Icarus Investments, was responsible for establishing Santiago as the financial center of South America. A failed gamble on his biggest trade cost Icarus a quarter of its assets. Clients fled and the firm was forced to shut its doors. Seeking a fresh start, Manuel has accepted an offer from Paulo Rubini to join Seneca and come to Mars.

Manny maintains good relations with many of his former clients. Some are willing to bet on his rise from the ashes, allowing him to maintain a strong bond rating and pay only half the cost (compared to others) for financing his short term debts. Manny has set up a Core Sampling division, which provides him one Core Sample perk per level of his local Headquarters. He has no staffing specializations, instead maintaining a versatile footing, from which he relies on his Core Samples to turn the resource tide in his favor at each colony.

Increasing Immersion

Story-Driven Campaigns

Six short stories have been written about life on Mars during the era of colonial expansion and economic diversification. The new colony class environment serves as the backdrop for these stories, while a fleet of colony ships sent from Earth to Mars during the optimum travel window (when the planets are near each other) explains why there will be a flurry of intense competition over the new colonies, which will culminate at a final game played at the last colony founded by the fleet.

The stories are driven in part by the player’s choices. Interactivity is indirect: you will not face forks in the road where you choose the direct outcome of a story. Instead, the subplots and details of each story will mold themselves around the games that you play: your level selections, opponents faced, staffing perks, and victory or defeat in your games. You will journey with your character through playing the games, immersing yourself in life on Mars as you apply your strategies and struggle to obtain victory.

Patron_and_the_Patriot_Pirates (1)

Play the new CEOs to experience the stories. Each CEO has one story tied to each of the three campaign lengths, so you will need to win each campaign length twice (once for each new CEO) to experience all six stories to completion.

Replays of a story may yield new details not previously experienced, as different subplots or sections of background information are triggered by different player choices and game outcomes.

About the Designer

Bob Thomas, designer of The Patron and the Patriot, worked previously with lead designer Soren Johnson on Sid Meier’s Civilization IV and other projects. Bob specializes in matters of game balance and replayability and has a background in writing. This talent set was well matched to the task of enhancing the campaign experience for our players.

The home page is www.offworldgame.com.  The Offworld Trading Co. Steam page is:http://store.steampowered.com/app/271240/.

Ceres Initiative DLC

Today, we released the Ceres Initiative DLC, which is a entirely new location to play Offworld, with new terrain and even a new resource tree.

The rule changes are the following:

  • Resources diminish over time (a High resource tile becomes Medium and then Low)
  • Uranium is a new resource (it’s a metal, like Iron and Aluminum, so it is produced by with the Metal Mine)
  • New building: Nuclear Plants, which converts Uranium and Water into Power
  • New terrain: Salts, which boosts Farm production by 50%
  • New terrain: Caves, which gives mines, quarries, and pumps access to resources in adjacent tiles
  • New patent: Liquid Batteries, which allows Solar Condensers to work at night
  • Water Ice can be found on all maps
  • Days are shorter (9 hours), so buildings turn on and off more frequently, and debt can accumulate faster
  • No Wind Turbines, Geothermal Plant, Dust Storms, or Superconductor

Offworld Trading Company Update 5

Features

  • Added an option to Turn Off Unprofitable Buildings
  • You can now speed up Daily Challenge games (if you want!)

Balance

  • Debt thresholds are higher in games with 5+ players
  • Increased effect of Power Shortages and Surpluses
  • Lowered starting Offworld prices for Food & Oxygen
  • Colony grows faster

Fixes

  • Fix for the bug where you couldn’t name the lobby when you created it
AI
  • Better algorithm for holograms
UI
  • Better piracy feedback
  • Shows resource lines when placing scientific buildings
  • More accurate Total Costs text for constructing buildings
  • When observing, can now see closest buyout percent for all players

A Game Worth Watching

Our community has been running regular tournaments since Offworld released in April, typically on Saturday afternoons. (In fact, there is a new players’ tournament with open slots right now: http://forums.offworldgame.com/478860/page/1/.) The games have been very entertaining and probably no more so than the one played last weekend between Duban and FoxBlazing. If you watch only one Offworld tournament game, this is the one!

If you want to get involved, the best place to follow the community right now is on Discord: https://discord.gg/0pQ0rgV4DDFxO2rD.

 

Offworld Trading Company Update 4

Fixes

  • Fix for if you only have a resume save game not showing up.
  • Fixing replay auction problem
  • Ranked match lost communications bug fix
  • Fixing the Play and Beat Soren Achievements in Ranked Play
  • Fixed an issue migrating hosts if the host drops out of a MP game
  • Fixed found HQ gfx issue
  • Fixed campaign planet animation when transitioning back to CEO screen
  • Fixed slanted orientation of campaign planet text
  • fixed an issue that kept you from skipping the intro cinematic if there was a game notification
UI
  • Game settings now shown when you mouse over the menu button
  • Fixed Typos
  • We now show tooltips for sabotages after purchase

Campaign

  • Campaign balance tweaks
  • Can now skip promotions in campaign
  • Game now displays where purchased colony modules will go
  • Added extra government bonus button for help text

AI

  • Improved auction AI
  • Fixed some AI issues

Offworld Trading Company Update 3

Changelog

  • UI/campaign/adjacency bonus display: Added adjacency bonus display.
  • Fixed some lobby issues for Use Real Maps.
  • Improved AI.
  • Added stock delay when on the verge of a majority buyout.
  • Added a new Majority Buyout Vulnerable event.
  • UI: Fixing missing building icons for Scientific versions of Chemical Refinery and Steel Mill.
  • AI much better at handling ice maps.
  • UI: Adjusting the metal mine icon for Soren.
  • UI/campaign character select: Improved the (as Assistant) text to work better.
  • Players can now choose between 1v1 and 4p ffa at any time.
  • Added Scavenger’s building texture.
  • UI/in-game/resource deposit display: Align geothermal icon.
  • UI/campaign character select/settings button: Trying to make the text sizes fit.
  • UI/campaign/planet links: Now have dotted lines that animate toward available missions. Lines are grey between colonies that have no bonuses, player colored if there is a bonus. Doing work on the nodes now.
  • Goon squad is now the same height for buildings and constructions.
  • Claim block timer no longer blocks the resources.
  • Improved text for New Days.
  • Cut down required base inline icons and adding the needed tutorial ones to the tutorial mod.
  • Scavengers now have to wait 40s for the black market to unlock.
  • Fixed a hang waiting for a ranked match to begin.
  • UI: Auctions now use a sane layout in team games.
  • Crash fixes.
  • Adjusted the AI that takes over dropped players.
  • Fixed typeo (this is seriously how this entry came in from the devleoper, I’m not sure if I should be scared).
  • Martian Thrillride sound now plays at appropriate time.
  • Added help to explain future colony income.
  • Added a Play Soren achievement.
  • Added help text if Daily Challenge is disabled to explain why.
  • Fixed some issues with the hologram.
  • Reni-6 is now 3% less likely to become sentient, take over your computer and begin ordering batteries online.
  • Fix for leaderboard name pointing to garbage memory in some cases.
  • Added match history screen.
  • Fixed some Core Sample issues.
  • Click on Auction winner in chat log will go to their HQ.
  • TAB cycles forward through HQs, SHIFT+TAB goes backwards.
  • Fixed charts & graphs bug.
  • Destroyed Offworld no long count towards buyout percentage.
  • Boosted market effect of events.
  • Fixed issue with hologrammed offworlds and player list.
  • UI: Moving replays list to the match history screen.
  • UI: Splitting date and time in match history layout.
  • UI: Fixing the “Tip:” label on the loading screen.
  • UI: Updating match history labels and layout.

Review Roundup!

Offworld shipped three weeks ago, so it’s a good time to roundup some of our best reviews!

Rock Paper Shotgun:

Civilization IVthe greatest strategy game ever made – was Offworld creator Soren Johnson’s first commercial games as a lead designer. Offworld Trading Company is an entirely different proposition: short-form rather than ultra-long-form, real-time rather than turn-based, sci-fi rather than history. Its surface complexity and basis in economics rather than war and culture make it a less immediately attractive game than Civ, but it’s an exceedingly intelligent game.

I haven’t even mentioned the different challenges offered by each of the four factions. There’s so much to analyse that I could write another couple of thousand words, but you don’t need to know everything. What you need to know is that Mohawk have made a game that creates tension and ruthless competition out of a screen of ever-changing numbers. Every victory feels hard-earned and every defeat can be traced back to specific twists in the tale, and in each of its half hour sessions, there are as many twists as in Civ’s six thousand years.

Quarter to Three (5 stars):

I hope I haven’t made it sound boring. Some folks might get the impression it’s boring. A game about an economy in space? All those little buildings and numbers in those screenshots? You have to make oxygen from water? But it’s really not. It’s really, really not. It’s a freakishly smart game design, as if someone made M.U.L.E. back in 1983. It’s got a learning curve because it’s a very particular setting about people living on Mars, provided for by different types of companies (the four companies are as distinct as the factions in Starcraft). You have to understand how the pieces interact before you appreciate how this is so much more than a spreadsheet with pretty graphics in front. But it’s carefully built to get you to where everything clicks.

At which point, it is the exact opposite of boring. It is every bit as thrilling as something with constant explosions. It’s the sort of game you’ll be thinking about at work. It’s the sort of game you just might want to try online. It’s the sort of game with a campaign you can play and replay and replay some more. It’s the sort of game with so many settings and options and variables that you might never need another RTS. Okay, maybe you’ll occasionally need your fix of one of those less interesting RTSs with tanks or a MOBA with fireball spells or whatever. But Offworld Trading Company is the sort of game that isn’t going to let go of you for a long, long time.

GameSpot (9):

I had feared, when I started, that Offworld Trading Company would wear thin after a few games. But that moment never came. I still find every match exhilarating. From the time I bought stock in my opponents, sold them quickly to crash the price and then bought them out a few seconds later, to the time when I managed to keep three launch pads going all at once to reach stupendous riches, every game is memorable. Each map is randomly generated, and with four factions that have distinct strategies that all work with different resource distribution patterns, even the opening is never quite the same. Echoing the classic Civilization question of whether it’s best to found your nascent country where your settler begins or to explore for better options, you’ll only be able to see certain parts of the map at first. You can either scan for better drop locations, or take what you see. But if you wait, another company can claim vital real estate before you, and you may find yourself with precious few options for critical resources later in the game. Every moment from that initial decision until the final stock purchase is incredible. I haven’t even scratched the surface of all that you can do here.

It’s a bit chilling to think that in Offworld you’re playing out the same obsessive pursuit of capitalism that led to the fall of its fictional Earth–an event hinted at in tutorial dialogue–yet it’s so recklessly entertaining and biting with its satire that I couldn’t help but get lost. When combined with truly deep and intricate strategic options, Offworld is a revelation. It’s almost unparalleled in the genre. Each and every game is thrilling. Every moment is a challenge. And the brutality of the free market ensures that you can never rest on your laurels, less you be quashed by the invisible hand.

Gaming Trend (90):

Graphically, OTC is stellar. The art is simple, yet fluid – watching buildings slowly unfold once they’ve been slated for creation is a pleasure itself, smooth as silk. The music and sound effects are serviceable, with the audio-visual package doing a good job of being pleasant, serving to buttress the fun of the game itself. And all of this complexity comes with a good amount of actual ‘game’. There’s a single-player campaign mode which allows the success of your business to play out over multiple ventures. There’s a skirmish mode for those interested in shorter bursts of play, and an online multiplayer for people looking for competition with actual human beings. Suffice to say, if you’re into the game itself, there’s a few ways to play it – and considering this title is published by Stardock, I have faith in its reasonably long-term support prospects.

The fact is, Offworld Trading Company is a dramatic success in the RTS genre. It manages to innovate in a field that often feels stagnant, and it does so with a package that is polished and welcoming, making it easy for newbies and jaded gamers alike to get into. At $39.99 USD on Steam (temporarily marked down to $29.99 as of this writing), it’s a must-have for anyone seeking out a new and exciting challenge with a strategic edge to it. Grab your start-up money and head skyward, ladies and gentlemen: martian riches are waiting for you.

Gaming Nexus (9):

If you think there’s ever a dull moment in Offworld, you’d be wrong. Selling off stockpiles of goods for cash is as satisfying as cranking out foot soldiers in other strategy games. Buying out an opponent with cold, hard clicks of the mouse—and of course cold, hard cash in hand—can be as satisfying as going nuclear on a rival. And pulling off a hard-won economic victory feels every bit as brain draining as a prolonged military campaign in your average real-time title.

Offworld is meant to play much faster than the average RTS, though. Skirmishes can run 20 or 30 minutes. Maybe up to an hour if I can’t get my act together. The campaign is broken down into several stages, each one also hovering around that 30-minute mark, but moving on to the next stage and objective before you get too entrenched in any one map.

I’m sure there’s balancing and rebalancing and buffing and nerfing that needs to happen. Somewhere buried in the spreadsheets are some sneaky little “errors” that require tweaking from the developer. But Offworld Trading Company manufactures a variety of gameplay styles, beckoning you into trying several kinds. Just when you’re getting comfy, Offworld introduces a new set of win conditions and along-the-way hindrances (and, again, opportunities) to keep the maps and scenarios worth playing and replaying. And for a game purportedly about numbers, it can feel like the boxing gloves have come off and you’re fighting for your life. At least in a businesslike fashion. This is full-contact economics 101.

PC Gamer (88):

Offworld Trading Company is a savage game, as immediate and competitive as Street Fighter. The slightly depressing revelation is that our chief human exports to Mars are capitalism and an endless capacity for consuming each other. There are no tanks or troops, though. Your weapons are price fixing and corporate espionage. Your ultimate goal isn’t to destroy your opponent, but absorb them via hostile takeover. It’s different from more leisurely strategy games in that it’s short form—games can be over at any stage, resources allowing—and if you just feel like laying back and colonising Mars, you’ll simply get devoured. This isn’t an RTS with the combat removed – it’s Wall Street on a new frontier. It kept me engaged because every choice is part of an ongoing battle. It’s impressive that a pillar of fluctuating numbers can be so captivating.

Offworld Trading Company is a difficult game to review because I’m probably not good enough to enjoy it the way I should. It says plenty about about the game, then, that I still completely love it. There’s a simple, tactile joy of seeing every a nudge of the finger explode into a flourish of numbers, but a deep and lasting satisfaction from knowing every profit was carefully engineered.

Eurogamer (Recommended):

It’s a difficult, cerebral game, dense with rapidly shifting complexities and massive swings in advantage. There’s a pretty thorough set of tutorials which do a decent job of explaining the basic mechanics, but once the training wheels come off and you’re exposed to the full force of the free market, it quickly becomes clear that there are few prisoners in finance. The AI becomes brutally efficient very quickly, executing strategies with a sometimes unfair alacrity and grace, seeing the all of the numbers at once in a way unparalleled by all but the most specific of human minds. Online play can be a bloodbath, too, as skilled operators rapidly extinguish their less adept fellows in fell swoops which can easily blindside even experienced players who lapse in concentration.

Everything moves very quickly and very precisely. The central economic model at the core of experience performs impeccably, and never once does it feel unfair. I often found myself mystified as to which part of the the process I’d fudged, which column I’d failed to account for, but I never once doubted that I’d deserved it.