Blog

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.

Offworld Release Tournament Finals

The Offworld Release Tournament has finished, and the best-of-5 finals were between PBHead and YerAnd. The streams were broadcast by Zultar, and the match is linked below.

The final bracket can be viewed here.

The third-place match between Gameslayer and Deathtacticus was also pretty interesting:

Offworld Trading Company Update 2

This patch has one focus, fixing issues with Multiplayer matches. If you have been having any issues connecting in multiplayer games, or the game hanging when trying to start a multiplayer match, this is the patch for you.

If you continue to see any issues starting multiplayer games please let us know. You can make a post in the support forum or just let us know in this thread and we will check it out.

Thanks for your support, and I look forward to playing some games with all of you online.

The Practice Games

I did a playthrough of all five of the Practice Games, which can be found under Learn to Play. (Note: to unlock them, finish the first two scripted tutorials.) Over the course of the series, I explain how to play from scratch, so the videos will also serve as a good introduction to the game if you want to learn to play just from watching.

The videos are also available as a playlist.

Enjoy!

 

Offworld Trading Company Update 1

New Features

  • Audio overhaul. Tons of new voice over and sound fx.
  • Improved performance and reduced memory use.
  • Using a Core Sample will now give you exclusive rights to claim the tile for 60 secs.
  • Double clicking on the “Open Lobby” now creates a default lobby just like clicking on the Join Lobby button when the Open Lobby is selected.
  • Players can now set which monitor they want the game to use in options.
  • Updates for Portuguese, French, German, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Chinese and Korean languages.

Balance

  • Less patent auctions.
  • No more Solar Flares at night.
  • Updated Tutorial 5 based off of community feedback/confusion.
  • Solar Flares back to original probability.
  • Higher stock prices at start.
  • Updated Tutorial 2 flow based on user feedback.
  • Various campaign improvements.

Fixes

  • Fix for replays not getting attached to daily challenges if the player does a restart of the mission.
  • UI/main menu/lobby: Fixed an error where the toggle control was getting focus when “on” was changed.
  • UI/menu screen/lobby: Check in fix for chat message lobby clear message.
  • Fixed bug where sometimes the replay files are not stored for ranked matches.
  • Fixed Black Market UI issue for Spies/Holograms.
  • Rejected potatoes from Mark Watney farms, they tasted funny.
  • Electrolysis reactor building class type no longer uses the text for hydrolysis reactor.
  • Fix for reporting the wrong match type from the standalone server at the end of the match.
  • Fixed bug with deleting old replay files.
  • Fixing edge cases that were preventing tutorial 5 advancement.
  • Fix to getting the number of players waiting for a match.
  • Fixed the ambient occlusion artifact when zoomed out.
  • Now showing correct time for patent on patent tab.
  • Fixed an issue with index of the player for them message of who dropped.
  • Fixed an issue allowing people to rejoin lobbies they were kicked from.
  • Fixed an issue that could cause replays to not work.
  • Fixed an issue where we were showing the incorrect tooltip on the campaign rewards screen.

UI/Graphics

  • Changed all references to Colony Shares to simply Colony modules in Campaign.
  • Better stock text.
  • Removed the old welcome popup.
  • Reduced the changelist size.
  • Improved changelist popup.
  • Improved Week 2 tutorial popups in campaign.
  • We now show resource level icon on tooltips for tiles that are empty but have resources.
  • Renamed “Unlocks All HQs” perk to “Indie Developer”.
  • Better help text for subsidy rewards.
  • Updated the name for the 4 player FFA lobby for filters.
  • In-game/ui/player list: Added an icon to indicate current winner on 7 sols and campaign 7 sols mode.
  • We now use the visible building height to determine hologram and goon squad height.
  • Changed the campaign mission reward text color from red to green.
  • We now show black market types on the loading screen.
  • Losing team members on a winning team will now see the victory screen.
  • Campaign events that do not have a unique icon will now use a 20-sided die icon instead of Westward Wind icon.
  • Charts and graphs headers now show better in an 8 player game.
  • This changelist item stolen by pirates, those filthy bastards.
  • The loading screen now shows num players and map size for Daily Challenge.
  • Added a new loading screen featuring the New Meridians.
  • Improved victory screen graphics.
  • Updated MULE skinning.
  • Improved Geothermal ground and Electrolysis Reactor construction.
  • Improved Quarry ground plane.
  • Improved Metal Mine ground plane.
  • Improved Chemical Laboratory.
  • Improved low/med Metal Mine.

Offworld Ships!

Offworld Trading Company has shipped! The game has exited Early Access, and the 1.0 version is now live on Steam. We also have some special deal running for the next two weeks:

An early review is up on Quarter to Three:

Not to say Offworld Trading Company is a throwback. It positively glows with the care, attention, and production values you’ll find in a contemporary AAA game. The sharply defined, intricate, and informative graphics. Everything means something. Everything has some visual expression. The buttery — yes, buttery! — rich and smooth interface. Okay, it could use a few more hotkeys, but I’ve never met a game that couldn’t use a few more hotkeys. The unique dynamic single-player campaign, which stacks onto an already great game a great game framework. This is the most indepth and replayable RTS single-player campaign since Rise of Nations and its add-on. The tutorial for maximum information and accessibility. The manual. Oh, wait, there isn’t a manual. Which is as you’d expect from a contemporary AAA game. Like I said, it’s not a throwback. Even the soundtrack. Good lord, the soundtrack. Christopher Tin’s score belongs on my playlist alongside iconic sci-fi scores like Hans Zimmer’s for Interstellar, Clint Mansell’s for Moon, and Vangelis’ for Blade Runner.

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.

Offworld Release Tournament!

We are announcing the Offworld Release Twitch Tournament!

Here are the rules:

  • The tournament uses a single-elimination bracket of 16 players.
  • All tournament matches are 1v1, with a small map and default settings, with the exception of Reveal Map and Random Prices which must both be turned on.
  • The format for winning is best-of-3, except for the finals, which will be best-of-5.
  • If a player is not responsive to finding a time or does not show up to the match, s/he forfeits the match.
  • All matches must be streamed by at least one person, which can be a third-party observer.
  • Check the posted bracket to see who your opponent is and use the designated forum thread to arrange a time to play.
  • After the game is finished, at least one video must be uploaded to YouTube.

Here is the bracket: http://challonge.com/iseonthn