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Twitch Tournament, Second Round

We are moving on to the next round. We have 8 matches, and each will be a Bo3 (best of three). Here is the bracket.

Soren and myself replaced Linghezzhi and Uknable because neither made contact, and Soren moved on to the next round. Otherwise, we forfeited the match for those whose opponent did not communicate.

The second round is up for three days. Starting today and ending Friday night EDT. The map should be set on small and default settings. Check instructions here.

Please let us know when your matches are up so we could watch you; we do not want to miss a good game. We would also love to observe and stream the games.

We also made an announcement on the forums that we will be raffling a free Steam key amongst players who complete all their matches.

Good luck!

 

Announcing the Tournament Bracket

Yesterday we posted on the forum here the bracket to the first round of Offworld’s tournament. Making sure that ALL players received the news, I am posting here on the blog as well.

On Twitter I am @leylacatj, and I am using #OffworldTourney to refer to this particular event. Let us know when you decide on the times and dates of your matches so we could host them on our accounts as well.

We are glad you are part of this community. Here is the link again to the bracket: http://challonge.com/Offworld

For those who signed up, this bracket shows your opponent’s Twitch name. The time zone for the first round of the tournament is taken into consideration.

There are 32 players in the tournament. If your opponent is unavailable or unresponsive, please reach out to us before 5pm EST on Tuesday the 31st of March, and SorenJohnson or LeylaJ will replace this player (that player can not come back to the tournament and forfeits his/her place).

Please use this thread to arrange the date and time of your match so we could keep track of you. We are going to create a separate thread for people to post their results which should include a link to their YouTube videos.

Keep in mind that ZULTAR (Zultar327) has volunteered to record and comment on your videos. So reach out to him as well if you need to. All your matches HAVE to be recorded, broadcast on twitch and posted on YOUTUBE.

If you could (not obligatory if you do not have twitter) send a tweet to @leylacatj with the date and time of the match.

Mohawk Games will try to host as many games as possible at twitch.tv/mohawkgames

The next round of the bracket will begin on Wednesday the 1st of April.

We are looking forward to this tournament. Good luck to all.

Tournament Instructions

  • The tournament uses a single-elimination bracket.
  • All tournament matches are 1v1, with a small map and default settings (unless both players agree on an alternative).
  • The format for winning is best-of-3.
  • If a player is not responsive to finding a time or does not show up to the match, s/he forfeits the match.
  • Deadline to register is Thursday, March 26th, by 5 pm EST. (Register by replying to this post.)
  • All matches must be streamed by at least one person, which can be a third-party observer. (if the players can’t agree on who should broadcast, then both players must broadcast).
  • 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 and a link to the video should be posted in the results thread, along with a text description of the results.
  • The first round of games must be completed by Tuesday, March 31st, by 5pm EST.

Twitch Tournament!

We are holding a public 1v1 Offworld tournament to find the best player out there, and this post is the place to sign up for it. If you would like to participate, please reply in the comments with the following:

  • Your Steam handle
  • Your country (to help you match up players by time zone)
  • Your Twitch account (all games must be broadcast on Twitch)
  • Any other social media links you would like to share

When the tournament starts, we will post a thread on the Offworld forums with the current matchups, and players can negotiate times to play in that thread. If a player does not respond in a reasonable time, s/he will forfeit the match. Exact rules will be posted before we start the tournament, so please sign up now if you want to participate. (Mohawk employees are welcome to sign up as well!)

The first tournament will begin no later than March 30th.

Beta 1 Update

Thank you for joining Early Access and providing such great feedback! We still have a lot of work to do. Progress will be slow and steady. If this new update causes you issues, please let us know in the Offworld Trading Company Support forums. Save games may not be valid between updates. Thank you!

[ Gameplay ]

  • Engineering Lab now works faster
  • Rebalanced Patent costs
  • Increased cost of Nanotech
  • Mutinied buildings no long show lines to the takeover HQ
  • Cannot do two espionages of the same type at the same time
  • Fixed bug with getting too much back from cancelled Offworld shipments (thanks IDomin!)
  • Robotic players now get adjacency bonus if they put secondary buildings next to primary ones. (A steel mill next to an iron mine, for example)
  • Steel Mills consume 50% more power
  • Players on higher handicaps receive less starting life support resources
  • Robotic player consumes 100% more electronics
  • Reduced auction safety time (to prevent you from bidding immediately after another bid came in) from .75 seconds to .5 seconds.
  • Free claim from founding later now comes at different HQ levels
  • Glass Furnace are now built with Steel + Silicon, Electronics Factory with Steel + Aluminum
  • Daily challenge now defaults to Executive level
  • After buying out another player, no one else can buy your stock (or buy you out) for 8 seconds
  • Perks acquired in auctions in the campaign game are now temporary and only apply to that current scenario
  • Reduced effect of Hacker Array on maps with more players

 

[ Art ]

  • New dust storm!
  • New solar panel!
  • New water mine!
  • New geothermal plant!
  • Fixing geothermal vents when in observer mode

[ Terrain ]

  • Dry Ice and Water Ice now have a different visual appearance
  • Fixed resource generation bug in craters
  • Fixed rare crater-in-crater height offset bug
  • Updated appearance of Cracked and Volcanic terrains
  • Fixing terrain batching index-out-of-bounds error

[ UI ]

  • Resolved problems by going fullscreen in OSX (Mac)
  • Setting fullscreen checkbox to be in sync with fullscreen setting (from changing through a menu on OSX)
  • Fixing ClickToScan error message in observer mode
  • Increased the size of the selected building options UI and added icons to the buttons
  • Holding down Shift now changes the color of selected building option buttons for any buttons that are affected
  • Campaign tooltip fix.
  • Making tooltips for Start/stop auto-purchasing building input. Now with bright red letters to let you know you’re about to wreck your game by using it.
  • Added an icon for Pirates

[ Audio ]

  • Fixing audio error message when placing an underground nuke

[ Multiplayer ]

  • Server ping is displayed as a dash if it doesn’t have a value
  • Added column headings to the server list
  • Resetting previously selected Mod option to fix lobbies not showing up for some people
  • Reduced network traffic to try to lower lag

[ Performance ]

  • Improving performance for starting a new game by 2x
  • Improving scanning performance by 25ms per frame when the map is mostly revealed
  • Improving ice-condenser placement performance

[ Graphics ]

  • Enabling SSAO post process in High Graphics Quality
  • Adding frame limiter dropdown in Options Screen with choices 100FPS, 60FPS, 30FPS, V-Sync 1 interval, V-Sync 2 interval

[ Localization ]

  • Localizing tutorial screen & intro text
  • Localizing Find Lobby Screen

[ Mods ]

  • Changed the error messages for validating mod files from displaying in the log file only to also being displayed on the screen.  The name of the file being validated in now also displayed with the error or warning message.

[ Miscellaneous ]

  • Logging the application version number to output_log.txt to assist in tracking down bugs
  • Loosened the type restrictions on the schema files used to validate mods for the game
  • Limited the log file to 100 megabytes max.
  • “Tutorial” now “Learn to Play”
  • Orienting Mars on start screen to line up with standard orientation (THE SHAME)
  • Changelog: Show more/less buttons added to changelog for those who are interested in all the changes we’ve made.

Things that are not fixed yet but are working on:

  • Saving and loading games
  • Host migration for multiplayer (for when the host stops or ends the game)
  • Audio issues with the Mac.
  • Offline mode for single-player games
  • Providing players with a development roadmap so they know when to expect what
  • and a whole bunch of other cool stuff!

Optional: Revert to v0.1.5062

NOTE: You will not be able to play multiplayer with anyone not on the same version as you!

To update to the previous version:

  1. Select Offworld Trading Company in your Steam Library list
  2. Right-click and select Properties
  3. Select the BETAS tab
  4. From the dropdown, select prev_version and click Close
  5. Steam should pull down the changed files; if you ever want to go back, do the same as above but select default

Only the version prior to the current update will be made available.

Ask Me Anything (and Early Press)

I am doing an Ask Me Anything of Reddit today at 10am EST. Join me here!

Now is also a good time to put together a short list of press since our release last month. Most extensively, I did an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun on our experience with Early Access:

The nicest response we see is people saying, ‘Oh, this is fresh. I’ve never seen something like this before.’ They’re really excited about that. Our big concern going into selling the game was, we’re specifically trying to make a game that’s different. There isn’t an economic RTS, there really isn’t something quite like that, and we’re doing that because we’re a small team. We’re not going to make a StarCraft RTS, it’s just not going to happen, so we want to do something different. And everyone says they want something different, but do they actually want something different? Are they ready to buy something different? So from a sales perspective, it’s been great. It’s been more than Stardock projected internally, and just from my own point of view, it was basically hanging around the top 25 for three weeks. It was great to see.

Further, a bunch of sites did early impression posts:

Today’s the Day!

Today, Offworld Trading Company launches on Steam Early Access! You can buy the game now at http://store.steampowered.com/app/271240.

If you want to take a look at the game, we posted a number of videos on our YouTube channel. If you have bought the game, be sure to take a look at the tutorial videos (I’ve embedded the first one below) if you have any trouble learning the game.

See you online!

Resource Tree

We’ve had a lot of questions about the resource tree for Offworld, so our UI artist, Jim Alley, created a chart to help people understand what all the buildings do and how to produce all of the different resources. Hope you find it useful!

resources

Big Reveal Press Roundup

We had a big press day yesterday as we released our first video of Offworld and lifted the embargo on a bunch of interviews I did this month. I’ve collected some relevant bits from the articles below. Additionally, I was on The Game Design Round Table podcast this week talking Scott Hamden, one of our earliest and most active play-testers, about his experiences with the game since last summer. Finally, I am answering questions about Offworld on our subreddit right now! You can preorder here.

Gamespot:

“I’d say the gameplay is 100 percent complete–only in the sense that there isn’t something that I have yet to implement; that I want to implement,” [Johnson] said. “It will become less than 100 percent complete once I see how people play the game. And what is wrong with it and what assumptions I made that didn’t work out. But it’s impossible to know that until you release a game, which is why Early Access is so cool.”

Polygon:

“Each game is different. The tricky part is getting an intuitive feel for how the prices change over the course of the game,” Johnson told Polygon. “In StarCraft you see set build patterns: these are the first ten things you should do, in this order and by this time, otherwise you’re not going to be competitive. Nothing like that can exist in Offworld because there can never be a best resource. It totally depends on how every specific game plays out.”

As you might expect. Soren has opinions on the state of real-time strategy genre. “As the games get more and more expensive, there is less and less room for risk taking,” he says. “The RTS is in danger of dying off. There are not that many RTS brands that are really healthy any more.

“They found a formula that works but it’s a narrow formula and there are a lot of people who are not interested because they are extremely demanding on players. It’s an experience a lot of people don’t think is fun but there is a good chance that they might enjoy a real time strategic experience that is not around finagling units.”

IGN:

“RTS games have hit a very set pattern. They may have a different setting, but in many ways, they’re kind of the same game,” Johnson said. “This is coming from a team that really likes RTS Games. We like Company of Heroes, StarCraft, Age of Empires. We love that format. We think that’s a great way to play games.

“So we wanted a game that fit that format but used an entirely different mechanic. And the one that we thought would be the most interesting to try is basically borrowing mechanics from like the Tycoon games. It’s about running a business, about using your claims to commit to certain types of resources, buying stuff on the free market and then eventually buying people out on the stock market.”

VentureBeat:

“There’s nothing really like it, so when you’re trying to convince publishers to make something like this, they don’t know what to do with it. They’re naturally conservative,” Johnson said.

“Even as I became more well-known in the industry, it becomes more and more difficult to get a game like this started up,” he said. “It’s too small for publishers. It’s harder to take risks. They’re really only interested in something blockbuster size.”

GameWatcher:

“There’s a lot of advantages to setting it on Mars, as you says there’s the blank slate, it’d not be quite as plausible on Earth. There’s the assumption that you’d have modern commodity markets, the stock market and all those kinds of things, we have a bunch of futuristic techs and patents in the game that could change things, things like teleportation for example changes the way the map works. But also one of the nice things about Mars is that there’s the assumption that you’re going to have to support your own people, you have to find a way to protect them, to feed them and keep them alive. There’s an element that you might be making some of the really expensive resources, your electronics, your chemicals or whatever but if you’ve fallen behind the life support curve you can end up going into so much debt that someone can buy you out. Events also tie into the Martian landscape that really shake up the market things like dust storms and solar flares. We’re trying to integrate as much Martian flavour as we can.”

USGamer:

Since capitalism is your warzone and the real-time markets are your battlefield, Offworld requires different strategies than most RTS games. It’s not about building the largest army or racing to the end of a tech tree. Offworld requires you to think about the resources you have and how you can use them to maximise your profits while keeping your opponents’ low.  

“The game is different,” says Johnson. “It’s map-based, but it’s also market-based. A lot of the conflict happens inside of the market. You might have a very good supply of water. If the price is good, you can sell the water to make a lot of money, but you might be better off holding onto that water and making sure the price stays high to prevent your opponent from being able to buy water for cheap.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun:

No fightin’, see? There’s not even any unit building – just bases, and market manipulation. What a great concept, in theory. Of course, the great test is to then making money-juggling and corporate espionage as exciting as blowing up tanks, but if this is quick and punchy enough about that stuff I daresay it can pull it off.

I’m relieved to hear that the spread of resources will be random each game, so it won’t be a matter of rote-learning a precise strategy that you have to enact within the first minute of a match or it’s all over.

PC Gamer:

“We don’t want to develop this game in a vacuum. In fact, we believe that players understand games often much better than their designers do,” [Johnson] says in the video. “We’ve been playing Offworld for a long time, we’ve been having a lot of fun with it, but we feel like there’s no way we’ll be able to bring it to the next level until we’re able to see what happens once players out in the wild start playing it.”

Quarter to Three:

Offworld Trading Company is the economic real-time strategy game from Civ IV designer Soren Johnson and his new company, Mohawk Games. It has been shrouded for a while now. Not that no one’s been able to play it or talk about it. On the contrary. Early builds have been circulating and the people who’ve played them have been very vocal describing the experience. But no one has posted videos or screenshots. Why? Because they were asked not to. It was easy to imagine some sort of hideous Frankenstein monster placeholder graphics that developer Mohawk Games didn’t want us to see.

But now the shroud has been lifted, with screenshots and even a video on the official site. And I’m delighted to say that — surprise! — it’s an absolutely lovely game, clean and simple, with a shiny but quaint hard sci-fi vibe. Well played, Mohawk Games.

Red Door Blue Key:

In Offworld Trading Company, military action is a distant third priority behind the exploitation of Martian resources and the new markets based on them. The colonial setting, and the thoughtful way that Johnson approaches it, makes OTC into a study of capitalism unhinged from Earthly regulation. It’s as much thought experiment as game, and equally enticing as both.

The most efficient way to crush your enemies–excuse me, yourcompetition–is simply to outcompete them. Whereas most RTSs top out at just three gatherable resources, OTC offers 13, ranging from energy and oxygen, to raw metal ores, to food and refined chemicals. If you produce any of these in abundance, the market price will crash. If nobody acts to produce them, prices shoot up–and then think of poor Benny, won’t you, with his five kids to feed.

First Video and Streams!

Today, we released the first public video of Offworld and also announced our release date for Early Access, February 12th, which is only two weeks away! We made the video to help explain why we are going to Early Access, and I also posted our reasoning here.

Now that our game is unveiled publicly, we can at last start streaming our internal sessions to anyone interested in seeing how the game plays. I’ve listed our Twitch accounts below; see you online!