Like Clockwork: Gaslamp Announces Clockwork Empires

Gaslamp “Dungeons Of Dredmor” Games have just revealed their new game, Clockwork Empires. It’s a 3D sandbox building game with a 19th century colonial/Steampunk theme. That sounds exciting enough on its own, but, really, check out this paraphrased feature-list: “New “procedural extrusion” technology lets you design your colony the way you want! Buildings are procedurally generated and extruded directly from the aether to your specifications! Tame the uncharted continents by land, sea, and air! Set forth in mighty Zeppelins to do battle with Sky Pirates, or take to the seas in search of fortune and probably sea serpents! Create magnificent acts of plumbing, link together mighty gears, and build ominous Megaprojects! Tangle with the machinations of malevolent entities! Scry the legacy of the Invisible Geometers, fumigate the baleful moon-fungus of the Selenian Polyps, and cleanse the scuttling creepiness and poor personal and moral hygiene of your everyday, average cultist.” No online DRM, and multiplayer.

Oh yes. It’s going to be moddable, too. Beautiful promotional poster below.


  1. BoZo says:

    This seems tailored specifically to RPS.

    • Maldomel says:

      I had the same thought when I read the ’19th century colonial/Steampunk theme’ sentence.

      Also, the whole thing sounds like a fantastic game incoming.

  2. In Zod We Trust says:

    I think the multiplayer aspect is pretty damn exciting. Making these crazy colonies is fun in itself, but playing Minecraft multiplayer has really energised me for these kind of big projects. Might fill the niche I wish Dwarf Fortress could fill in that regard.

  3. kurtensen says:

    This can’t be released soon enough. Gaslamp is a pretty awesome company, can’t wait for this

  4. Devrey says:

    Wow! I like everything about it. EVERYTHING! This is a big fat DO WANT!!

  5. rapier17 says:

    This all sounds rather smashing! Shall look forward to it.

  6. aperson4321 says:

    I have been waiting for years for someone to come along and say they are making something like this!

    From reading their homepage it sound like they are trying to make a game in the TRUE spirit of Dwarf Fortress Only with MODERN technology.

    RPS if you do not have massive coverage of this game at all possible times then it will bee a crime against humanity.

    Forget “Impire” and “A Game of Dwarves”. Clockwork Empires looks like it actually understands what make dwarf fortress fun, including “losing is fun”.

    Ps: Do I spy a reference to Arcanum in the picture?

    • frightlever says:

      I don’t think you, or they, get to decide what’s in the “true spirit” of Dwarf Fortress. If you go into this expecting Dwarf Fortress, I suspect you will be badly disappointed.

      I also wonder if you’ve actually played DF. After action reports sometimes paint a very different picture of how DF plays, compared to how it actually plays. There’s a filter of imagination between the game and the AAR.

      If you haven’t played DF but want to try something similar right now with an easier interface go look for Gnomoria or Towns. Hell, even Goblin Camp, though that’s something a little different.

      OTOH Clockwork Empires looks interesting and fun for a bunch of unique reasons.

      • aperson4321 says:


        Have you read on their press release, forum, the pcgamer article and their twitter tweets? If you only have read the RPS article you won’t have gotten all the neccesary info. I don’t expect them to build something that is a carbon copy of DF only with polish, I expect them to make something like DF made as if it was made completely with todays tech. (and set in a hp lovecraft steamnpunk world).

        I could list all the similarities in design but you are better of reading the press release, forum, the pcgamer article and their twitter tweets.

        Edit: yes I have played DF, And It was mighty fun making adamatium stuff, having 100+ fort and getting raped by goblins due to having the water source outdoors :p

      • Zeewolf says:


        ‘We’re trying very hard not to outwardly or ostensibly label it as ‘Dwarf Fortress For Everybody.’ But that’s sort of our goal at heart, to try and take that experience and make it accessible,” says Jacobsen. “Two of the reasons why Dwarf Fortress isn’t for everyone right now are the graphics and the user interface. So we’re doing things that will allow us to try to get a lot of the functionality through while making it easy enough for people to pick it up.” – from the PC Gamer preview.

    • Stromko says:

      I don’t expect it will be like Dwarf Fortress, as anyone with an intent to actually release a finished game any time this decade would necessarily want to streamline it. There are also obvious design choice differences, such as buildings being discrete objects you place into the world rather than designed block-by-block. The customization sounds very promising, but chances are you won’t even be working with interior floor plans at all.

      I also get the feeling that when they say ‘Mega-Projects’, they mean Wonders. Big buildings with advanced pre-requisites that you plonk down and sink resources into until they’re done, rather than completely free-form user-envisioned projects like you’d see in DF or Minecraft.

      These differences are fine by me, and I take these simplications as a sign that they might actually be able to complete this game. I’ve put nearly ten thousands of hours into Dwarf Fortress by my guesstimate, I really do like it and I follow its development, but it’s got more ambition than ten games would need. DF is aiming to simulate an entire fantasy world with wars, deities, myths, intrigues and letting you take part in it at pretty much any scale you could desire. That’s a really lofty goal, or rather it’s a whole lot of lofty goals. I don’t care how many developers you throw at it you wouldn’t be able to accomplish all those goals and turn into an accessible, deep and fun game in any reasonable span of time.

      Dwarf Fortress might ever only be two out of three, and I think that’s an unavoidable effect of its breadth and detail. So don’t be disappointed if Clockwork Empires comes out and resembles Age of Empires or ANNO a heck of a lot more than it does Dwarf Fortress. Ideally you can either get nigh-infinite scope and detail or you can get polished and well-designed, take your pick.

      • LionsPhil says:

        I suspect megaprojects might actually do something, too. A huge statue of Jim Davidson might look terrifying, but all the mechanisms in the world won’t make it able to perform bad standup, and even Toady’s insane level of simulation won’t model the resulting psychological damage to overworlders.

        About the best you can manage is to make it drool lava, but then you’re somewhat thwarted by modern DF thinking it’s fun to spend all weekend digging and placing pump stacks to get it anywhere near the surface.

      • Sassenach says:

        The problem is to say something is like Dwarf Fortress is a grand claim, to suggest that you intend to surpass it heresy, madness, or arrogance in some circles. It suggests a lack of appreciation of why Dwarf Fortress is limited in regards to presentation. To me this looks much more like Tropico, Evil Genius or Dungeon keeper integrated with (menacing with spikes of) elements of Dwarf Fortress. Which is great.

        Procedural generation is definitely something I would like to see developed and made better use of generally and it looks like that is a core facet of this game. The decline of modding seems to my mind is due in main to the work that goes into art assets in modern games and finding a way to reduce artist time as a limiting factor would permit a better budget:content ratio that would have broader implications in facilitating more adventurous design.

    • The Random One says:

      There already is a game in the spirit if Dwarf Fortress but with MODERN technology.

      It’s called Dwarf Fortress.

      • Aatch says:

        I love Dwarf Fortress, but it is unplayable past about 80 dwarves for me. It only uses a single core, and that is a major flaw in today’s multi-core world. When DF was started, single core processors were all there were, and so this wasn’t a problem.

        Maybe “with modern tech” is the wrong phrasing. Maybe “with a modernised architecture” is better. That and improving the way you can handle your dwarves would be nice. Dwarf Therapist is practically necessary if you want to be running your fort with a modicum of efficiency past about 30 dwarves.

        The other problem, but this is almost certainly limited to me, is the difficulty in getting a feel for the grandeur of what you are doing. When you build up-and-down it is hard to get a feel for the practically bottomless cavern that you spent hours carving.

        This game looks awesome, and while nobody can replicate DF, there are many ideas that can be taken that make DF so compelling. For me that is: Choosing your own materials, sketching out your own rooms, no limitations on what you want to do other than space and materials. Not every game needs to have the simulation of each character’s specific likes and dislikes, not every game needs to simulate the anatomy of every single creature.

        There are many emergent aspects of DF that can be done much more simply, if you are willing to lose some of the detail. Most people aren’t interested in how many layers of flesh a sword cut through, it is brilliant that DF does it, but you can simplify that and still have arms lobbed off.

  7. Zanchito says:

    To be honest, from reading the article I still have no idea about what kind of game it is. From reading the comments, I’m pumped. I’d love to see more coverage of this.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      From the dropping of ‘megaprojects’ I think they’re aiming at the dwarf fortress crowd – it sounds like it’ll be a the same open-ended base building and making more of the mechanisms in dwarf fortress (which I’ve always thought would be a really good idea to take further – so that players can create their own buildings and systems rather than just pressing one button and plonking the whole thing down).

    • Didero says:

      I realize it may be a bit rude to link to a competitor, but PC Gamer has a more extensive preview up. It still leaves some questions unanswered, but it does expand on what the game is supposed to be.

  8. HexagonalBolts says:

    This sounds absolutely amazing, I’m desperate for more info!

  9. Arglebargle says:

    This makes me want to put on my Madboy clothes and head into the lab, just to see what’s on the slab.

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      Me too!

      Ooooooh…. That’s what the smell was. Igor? The bucket!

  10. Zeewolf says:

    Do I want this? Why yes I do!

  11. FloorBelow says:

    Holy shit. Do want. SO MUCH.
    And seems they rather like Dwarf Fortress, too.

  12. noom says:

    Sounds like a ripping good wheeze.

  13. AngoraFish says:

    take my money, now!

  14. apocraphyn says:

    Oooh. Sounds very good.

  15. RedViv says:

    “No always-online DRM requirement, unlike certain other games we don’t want to mention. You know who you are and your mothers are very disappointed.”

    Ah, my island-settling heart is set aflutter.

  16. Jams O'Donnell says:


    That is all. Oh, also: Squee!

  17. Pintlemount says:

    I have established a scorched and debris-strewn beachhead in the form of this account entirely to state that, as a member of Her Majesty’s Third Zeppelinborne Assault Brigade, I shall be strongly disappointed if I cannot play this upcoming game in a fashion that maximises the amount of time spent rocket-jumping and rocket-punching and mecha-stomping. FOR QUEEN AND COUNTRY!

  18. derps says:

    All my money are belong to you.

  19. Stuart Walton says:

    Just for announcing this I’m going to have to buy the latest DLC release for Dredmor, a few extra pennies for them.

  20. Commissar Choy says:

    My favorite bit is “Round-Robin mode lets you share your Clockwork Empires with friends! Take turns running a colony directly into the ground then argue for fun-filled hours about whose fault it was! (Like Monopoly but with more exploding Zeppelins!)”

    SWEET. Now my friends and I can pretend to be a horribly incompetent board of directors for a colony! Hooray!

  21. brkl says:

    Where’s the pre-order button?

    • barelyhomosapien says:

      This! I want to throw vast sums of money at this game to ensure it’s existence!

  22. belgand says:

    You had me at “Attach Enormous Gears to Terrifying Machines”.

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      Because what makes a Terrifying Machine more Terrifying? Enormous Gears. Get Attaching!

  23. mckertis says:

    Hopefully it will have a lot less of the stupid humor brand Dredmor had so much of.
    Another hopefully, someone could point them out that making GUI contain dozens of small-tiny-microscopic very similar icons is a seriously bad idea.

    • mispelledyouth says:

      I actually found the stupid humour quite charming and not really all that stupid. For me it really shaped the tone of the game in quite a pleasant way even if it wasn’t laugh out loud funny. Had it stuck with purely serious dungeon crawling tropes I’m not sure I’d have spent nearly as much time on it.

      Still haven’t come face to face with Dredmor yet though. Does he know any good jokes?

    • ffordesoon says:

      I think you meant to say “the funny, charming, delightful humour.”

    • gorzan says:

      You, sir, will be dissappointed. Not that it matters because us, people with common sense, really enjoy Dredmor’s sens of humor.

    • Stromko says:

      There are an awful lot of tiny inscrutable icons, though. I like that it has so many stats to tweak, so many modifiers, but it can take me a long time to figure out what all an item does.

      I think it would help if there were more of an in-depth way to look at an item, just a little window where I can actually get tool-tips for each of the modifiers on the item, instead of having to search through four or five different mini-windows in the character window to figure out where the numbers are changing when I put it on.

    • darkath says:

      It will certainly be full of Gaslamp’s trademark humor on acid.

      But devs also promised a “tighter writing” and they don’t want to extensively use the referential humor present in Dredmor. You won’t have citizens saying “I didn’t ask for this” or “FUS RO DAH” every 10 seconds.

  24. NarcoSleepy says:

    I’m so excited. I can’t tell you how long I have waited for a game to allow me to display my prowess in the realm of plumbing!

  25. helpleo says:

    Well, I’m at least three of those things mentioned in the poster. So count me in!

  26. ffordesoon says:

    “Fumigate the baleful moon-fungus”

    Well. That’s a phrase I never knew I wanted in a press release. And have now decided should be in every press release.

  27. Ateius says:

    This sounds pretty incredible. I can’t wait for some more meaty details to be released.

  28. Servizio says:

    All of my incoherent enthusiastic hooting.

  29. Fhoenix says:

    I don’t even care for customization much, just want to battle Obeliskian Monolithids. Give me!

  30. Brise Bonbons says:

    I don’t really understand what sort of game this will be, but I will buy it just to support an amazing company and for their wonderful sense of humor.

    The fact that Dungeons Of Dredmor manages to be a pretty sophisticated roguelike (compared to some of the other minimalist graphical roguelikes out of late) does give me hope this will be a proper grognard’s management game, but even if it isn’t, I’ll still love it for its whimsy and wit, by the look of it.

    Very excited!

  31. Llewyn says:

    I didn’t really enjoy DoD much at all but based on the description and that poster alone I’d happily pre-order this. Some ideas are definitely worth taking a gamble on.

  32. The Random One says:

    Magnificent Acts of Plumbing is my folkcore band’s debut album.