Cthulhu Smashes The World: Stonehearth

By Alec Meer on May 1st, 2013 at 4:00 pm.

What will we be describing promising games like in the post-post-Minecraft age? What will be zeiting the geist of 2016? I think it’ll be something to do with pigeons and cheese: you heard it here first. Meantime, we’re still in the post-Minecraft age, and that means attractive and inventive games based around cubist construction/destruction. Latest of those is Stonehearth, currently on the Kickstarters and immediately looking gosh-wow-yes-please. It’s a sandbox RTS with at least partially freeform building, and gigantic elder gods.

Best to open with the pitch video, and this is one of those games were moving pictures speak at least 3000 of my caffeine-deprived words:

Now that traditional cRPGs are no longer in short supply, I’m very keen for a wider comeback for singleplayer real-time strategy. We’ve already got Molyneux’s thing inbound, but I’m not comfortable hanging too many of my hats* on that until we know what really lies beyond the MolyneuxPromisesTM. This looks great though, and they seem to have a solid, functioning foundation for it already.

Who are ‘they’? You probably won’t have heard of San Jose-based Radiant Entertainment before, but they cite this as their heritage:

“In our spare time, we founded the biggest fighting game tournament in the world (the EVO Championship Series, which we’ve run for over a decade) and wrote GGPO, the network middleware that powers Skullgirls and games by companies like Capcom and Bandai-Namco.”

I’m reasonably confident that means they’re quite rich, but let’s not hold that against them – especially as they’re asking for a relatively moderate sum, $120k, for Stonehearth.

Here’s some more in-game footage, this time without talking heads.

And another, focused on building:

Many more details on the KS page, which currently has bagged around $78k of its desired $120k. With almost a month left to go, I’m pretty sure they’ll make it.

I only own two hats, actually, and neither of them fit properly whenever I have my usually enormous mop of hair cut. IMPORTANT FACTS.

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37 Comments »

  1. wodin says:

    Looks cool..anyone know what happened to that castle game with similar graphics?? Can’t remember the name of it now.

    I’ve been waiting on a game that gets it all right with regards to this style and the building element and RPG mechanics etc..this one looks like it could be the one.

    • Premium User Badge

      Surlywombat says:

      http://castlestory.net/ ? It’s in a alpha/beta thing now for backers.

      • wodin says:

        Thanks mate..thats the one. I’ve gone and backed this anyway. If I don’t like it my daughter will.

        • Ultra Superior says:

          Your daughter is into Warhammer whether you like it or not. Deal with it.

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        Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        That’s adorable. Damn it, my cynicism gland has completely dried up from watching their trailer. I’m going to go and read the Steam forums until I hate humanity again.

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          Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

          Well, that didn’t take long.

          • wu wei says:

            Why RPS hasn’t given you a weekly column yet I have NO idea :)

        • markelven08 says:

          up to I looked at the bank draft that said $5552, I be certain that my mom in-law truley making money parttime at there labtop.. there brothers friend has been doing this 4 only about 17 months and just now paid for the morgage on there mini mansion and got a great Volkswagen Golf GTI. read more at wow65.com
          (Go to site and open “Home” for details)

      • Frisky Dingo says:

        Urist McYellowperson cancels Slaughter Stray Kitten And Turn Him Into A Necklace While Carrying Dying Baby On Back: Interrupted by adorable gameworld.

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      yhancik says:

      It also reminds of http://www.timberandstonegame.com that sits somewhere between Drawf Fortress and Stronghold

    • Lokai says:

      You are undoubtedly referring to Timber and Stone. It was also a Kickstarter and it just recently came out with its 1.0 version. Still a bit rough and it is obviously a much different game compared to this one, but do they have impressively similar graphics. http://www.timberandstonegame.com/

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        yhancik says:

        *HIGH FIVE*

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        Martel says:

        Anybody playing that? Is it any good?

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          wengart says:

          Right now it is a pretty solid castle builder. Although it lacks a lot of direct challenge. That will hopefully be changing over the next few months.

          As it currently stands you can build stuff and it is fun, but the biggest challenge is securing the wild lands around your castle so that your woodcutter and forager can go get supplies. The goblins, skeletons, spiders, and necromancers AI isn’t very aggressive and is content to just infest the woods around your town. occasionally wondering into town to kill a villager or two. In the next couple of months we will be getting more aggressive AI and some new classes. Including a first person adventurer class that you control.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Surlywombat says:

    Reply target missed, re-engaging.

  3. pakoito says:

    “In our spare time, we founded the biggest fighting game tournament in the world (the EVO Championship Series, which we’ve run for over a decade) and wrote GGPO, the network middleware that powers Skullgirls and games by companies like Capcom and Bandai-Namco.”

    They also worked for VMWare for 10 years. That’s quite a presentation card.

    As for the game itself, it has everything I could want from a game: RPG combat, sandbox, basebuilding, minigames, smart procedural+modules world generation, modtools and proven developers…yet I cannot convince myself to like or back it.

  4. Consumatopia says:

    I really like watching those little people crawling all over the house with scaffolding.

    I notice some water in the screenshot and wonder how that works.

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    daphne says:

    No idea why this comment ended up constituting the first mention of “Settlers” on this page.

  6. Radiant says:

    Hey it’s the Cannons!
    Good people.

  7. Bobka says:

    Gnargnargnar

    I’ve blown all my KS budget on Divinity and Kronos, and now this comes along.

    Looks like it will make it without me, of course, so I guess I’ll just wait for it to be released. Looks neat.

    Also looks a heck of a lot like Cube World. I wonder if that’ll hit Kickstarter any time soon…

  8. BurningPet says:

    It looks gorgeous! i also like their module system,

    Don’t know about this being Post-Minecraft, Clearly Dwarf Fortress and Towns is more prominent here.

    And yes, i dare claim Towns being an inspiration.

    Minecraft is out for several years now. the inspirations is still going, yes, but that specific direction is a direct response to DF and/or Towns.

    When we just started, people called us mad for thinking it has a market, now, i can count at least 10 games under development or that have been released, so turns out it does have a market. a very rewarding market really.

    This fantastic looking game extremely lower the chances of ever seeing a Towns 2, as it became a really crowded market,

    Which makes me both very sad and very happy. sad because there were things planned for Towns 2 that were going to be really innovative and that needed a different engine. happy because i love this genre and prefer to see 10 games like this than 10 CoD likes.

  9. guygodbois00 says:

    Bloody Nora! It got 100k already and it is marvelous to behold. Don’t know about the gameplay, though.
    We shall definitely see much more of this one, I wager.

  10. joelreyes says:

    My roomate’s mother makes $87 hourly on the laptop. She has been fired for 7 months but last month her pay was $21739 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more here… http://www.hdcash1.com

  11. Premium User Badge

    Bugamn says:

    Curiously I think this is the first kickstarter that I think I’ve seen which claims it will have DRM (not Steam, which some perceive as a utility).

  12. wilynumber13 says:

    That “they must be rich” comment seems a bit odd when this site has given extensive coverage to kickstarters by people who are literal millionaires like Richard Garriott.

    • pakoito says:

      The concept of “sponsors” and “voluntaries” for organizing the EVO tournaments also scaped Alec’s grasp.

      Also, basic economics for business, specifically the principle of “do not burn all your money in a new business”. They already had one year and a half of development, that on senior soft engineer salary levels times two is around $300k not earned at their previous job for being making games instead.

      Getting two high-profile engineers for one year at $120k for this game is cheap, but you have to explain that EVERY SINGLE TIME.

  13. Phasma Felis says:

    Stonehearth, Castle Story, and Timber & Stone are all looking great. It’s amazing how much prettier and quicker-to-develop Dwarf Fortress is when the game designer actually designs a game instead of spending 14 months realistically modeling the thermal conductivity of bauxite.

    • Consumatopia says:

      There’s still some really desirable stuff that DF has that I don’t believe any DF-like has. The way it simulates fluids is a big one.

      • Reapy says:

        The systems of systems in dwarf fort are unparalleled, getting them all in place and reasonably working well together on the scale of dwarf fortress goes way beyond what any of these games are doing or would be able to do anytime soon. The first time your non bauxite trigger mechanism fails and somehow sends hot magma spewing through your fortress while unintentionally wiping out the invaders is why it is worth it to model that detail

        Just one jaunt through the dfort world gen creates something you could spend dozens of hours exploring while continually finding interesting things.

        However feels like their aim is for a different feel and goal, and looks pretty interesting. I would like to see more emphasis on tighter control for combat and fighting on top of the town building. I always felt stronghold has a really awesome economy/building model and I could see taking the voxel scaping here with predefined structures and the like as something interesting.

  14. Darkjediben says:

    Just a quick update: They reached their funding goal last night (I guess yesterday for you limeys) and now they’re climbing towards their stretch goals. They’re at 125K last I checked. I’m backin em.

  15. Beefeater1980 says:

    Well I’m in. Love this kind of game: I have already spent vast quantities of time in lieu of sleep with Gnomoria. Also, somewhat lest vasty quantities with Towns. As for the real thing, DF…well…I tried, once. I don’t like to talk about it.

  16. lordfrikk says:

    I’m still waiting for the all the Minecraft-inspired games… there’s like zingillion alphas but zero games that are at least half the fun of Minecraft and none whatsoever that did something better or different. Sure, there’s been stuff like Terraria which is Minecraft-inspired at best, and completely unrelated at worst, but not much else. Despite crowds of people saying how Minecraft is simple, how its graphics are simple, and how anyone could make a game like that, there are no such games since its release 2 years ago (not to mention the public alpha 4 years ago).

    And, most mind-boggling of it all, no big-shot companies like EA even tried to clone Minecraft…