Municipal Matters: Towns Is On Steam

I intended to keep at least one of my spider’s worth of eyes firmly affixed to Towns, the indie construction and management sim that makes you the mayor of an olde time Sunnydale. Turns out it was one of my many bad eyes and I haven’t played the game since Britain sipped a Pimms No.1 Cup with a dash of lemonade and wore a straw boater for a couple of weeks. I speak of the summer. Since then, thanks to its community and the magic of Greenlight, Towns has appeared on Steam and, as of last week, so has its demo. Jolly good.

The store page says: “Towns is continually being developed and updated to bring you the best experience possible!” Words in the forum say: “BLEARGHLE”, which means ‘this game does not appear to be finished’. It’s a fair point even if isn’t expressed particularly eloquently. When the game moved to Steam it had recently transitioned from version 0.60 to v7.

Towns’ official website does make it clear that the game is still in some sort of pre-release form though, with a pre-order option rather than a purchase button. It’s a pre-order that gives access to early builds though and that includes the latest version, which is also the one available through Steam.

I think this sort of development funding is great – it’s what all the cool kids were doing before Kickstarter came along – but it’d be helpful if the Greenlight process involved making it clear when a game is still in development. The text says that it’s “being developed and updated” but that could mean post-completion support when, in this case, there are still features and functionality to add. Having the demo on Steam should help potential buyers to understand the state of the current build and hopefully bring some clarity to the situation.

I’ve always enjoyed my time with Towns but, sadly, my next visit to the ill-fated isometric settlements probably won’t come until 2013. In the meantime, I’d be interested to hear from people who are playing. Tell me your tales. Now I need to drink a gallon of coffee because seeing ‘2013’ written down, knowing that it is a year we are very close to entering, just caused my brain to stall. I am OLD.


  1. Herzog says:

    The store page says: “Towns is continually being developed and updated to bring you the best experience possible!”

    Only after the uproar in the steam forums. In the beginning there was no mention at all that the game was still in alpha development.

    • Guvornator says:

      That phrase is itself disingenuous to the point of outright untruth. Nowhere that I could see was it mentioned that the game wasn’t, you know, actually finished…

      • AngoraFish says:

        The game has also suffered on Metacritic. Promoting the game so heavily up front on Steam without disclaimers appears to have been a very bad move all-round.

      • tk421storm says:

        I’m waiting for the awesome RPS takedown of the recent addition of a bunch of unfinished games to Steam, without any sort of visible warning that the game isn’t finished, and who knows if it will be. I had the same experience with Cortex Command – in that case, the fact that it was unfinished was listed as the last bullet point under “Features”.

        I love that I can buy these games on Steam, but it’s ridiculous that there’s no way to tell the difference between a AAA development studio game store page and one for a couple of guys in a basement who will hopefully get some time to finish up soon.

        • Premium User Badge

          Adam Smith says:

          Desura has an alpha funding section – if Greenlight was always intended to sell work in progress, it’d be sensible to do something similar. I’ll admit, I hadn’t realised how much of an issue this had been until I checked earlier. That’s the tunnel vision of assuming that the current state of the game would be obvious because I already knew about it. Silly me.

          Don’t Starve, which I also wrote about today, specifies that it is a beta buy-in.

        • The Random One says:

          Steam creates Greenlight so they can increase their portfolio without losing the sense that their offerings are curated, charge $100 for submission, and then allow unfinished games to be sold without clearly marking them.

          It’s times like these I believe they actually literally have no management.

    • Cooper says:

      Yeah. I thought “oooh, good, means I can buy it once it gets to v1.0”

      Went to Steam. No mention it’s still at v0.8, think “maybe it’s finished”.

      Glad I double checked before I bought.

      The devs assertions elsewhere that the game is in a playable state and in their mind ready for release is not enough. People were always gonna get up in arms about a game being sold that’s not a “final version” without a statement to that effect…

    • Branthog says:

      Yep. I kicked into the failed Kickstarter a month or two ago for it. Next time I saw it was on Steam Greenlight. Then it was greenlit. Then, fast as hell, it was ON SALE on Steam. I was surprised they had completed it so fast! I was moments away from buying it, when I though to go check the website and found that it was still 0.8 and was still an alpha.

      Steam put it up in the store without even bothering to verify what state the game was in (just because it’s greenlit doesn’t mean it’s ready for sale) and then neither they nor the developer bothered to make a point of saying “THIS GAME IS CURRENTLY IN ALPHA/BETA”.

      It’s all just really sleazy.

      And it all goes toward the detriment of the game (and possibly all Greenlight games, since it’ll give people a bad taste in their mouth).

      If a developer can get an enthusiastic user base who is happy to participate in an incomplete and buggy product, that’s very helpful. If you can get them to be so dedicated that they pay you $15, each, then that’s even cooler. What is NOT cool is tricking people into buying your game by omitting information and then using deceptive language like they used as the “solution” to all the complaints. That results in people who HAVE paid for your game and are PISSED at being deceived and wont’ participate and will spread negative word-of-mouth about your product.

      I didn’t buy the game. I would have. Or at least, I would have later on when it’s done, if nothing else. But now I will avoid it, no matter what, because I find this really off-putting and gross.

      • Shuck says:

        I think a big part of the issue is the nature of Greenlight. Minecraft obviously had a big impact on Valve – they saw that (and Kickstarter, etc.) and wanted a piece of that sort of community building. Without investing anything themselves, of course. So they’re stumbling towards a system whereby they nurture a game from concept to completion (and when I say “they” I mean their customers, by allowing people to buy unfinished games). Valve hasn’t figured out how this works yet (and how problematic it is, given the nature of Steam). They need a system that clearly indicates the state of the game, and they’re the ones responsible for unfinished games being sold that aren’t clearly identified as such. That is to say: Blame Valve for this mess.

        • tk421storm says:

          Definitely. I’ve already pre-purchased Towns, and loved it even in it’s unfinished state. Valve just needs to largely, squarely and distinctly differentiate “In-Progress” developments from finished games, especially when there’s a chance that, like kickstarter, it’ll fail.

    • Shuck says:

      “[X] is continually being developed and updated” is a pretty ambiguous thing to say. I initially read it to mean that new content was being added to a finished game, and statements like “both the RPG and strategic aspects will be fleshed out over a series of sprawling dungeons” were just really badly written. The screenshots just made it look like there wasn’t much to the game. I didn’t immediately think, “Oh, it’s an early alpha.”
      My attitude about games is that you have to accept them as they are when you buy them; you can’t count on their being developed into whatever fantasy version you hold in your head (because that’s probably not going to happen). That makes selling alpha access problematic at the best of times; not explicitly acknowledging it as an alpha (much less not saying how finished it is) is an extremely troublesome position to take.

  2. HexagonalBolts says:

    I tried playing but the tutorials are threadbare and the wiki doesn’t give you much direction either, I tried just experimenting but everyone quickly starved despite me being sure I had set all of the trees in the land to be harvested and having constructed a farm in addition to all the other requisite buildings and setting a constant supply of bread to be made. I think some more work needs to be done with directing new players.

    • DodgyG33za says:

      This game is far from complete. Having played a number of versions of it, I would go as far as to say it is almost broken.

      The container system just doesn’t work as it should, as well as having a setup system that is almost as time consuming as that of Dwarf Fortress.

      Giving your little people commands is equally frustrating, as there is no intelligence at work – if you tell them to gather resources they are just as likely to go for one on the other side of the map rather than one right in front of them. And they love to try to gather resources on the other side of bad guys. Worse still they try to gather stuff that has dropped from previously unlucky villagers. It doesn’t take a genius to work out what happens after you have had a couple wander into a dangerous areas.

      The building is equally awkward. Underground you need only clear one ‘layer’ to be able to construct living quarters. But on the surface if you build a single layer everyone simply climbs over it to get about, so you need two layers (built separately) to block things. And when building such structures you often end up with your people stuck on top of the wall (you don’t see them because you are working at the level below normally) where they die and turn into ghosts.

      All in all very frustrating, all the more so because the developers seem intent on building more features rather than getting the core of the game working. Fair enough if they want to do it that way, but they shouldn’t be taking peoples money and offering it as a playable game if that is the case.

      • Ergates_Antius says:

        “Towns’ official website does make it clear that the game is still in some sort of pre-release form”

        • Branthog says:

          True, but the Steam page doesn’t. And the developer said he was “in talks with Valve this week” to come up with language for the Steam page to help address the concern that users who don’t know better may see the game and buy it because they think it’s a finished product (because, after all, it is being sold at full price on Steam, and it isn’t in a BETA category or otherwise noted as being in alpha or incomplete). I’m slightly familiar with the game and even I almost bought it and thought it was the finished product (I saw it on there and thought “wow, wasn’t this just a kickstarter last month? it’s done already?!”.

          This is the language the developer chose to put on the Steam page to help users understand that they are paying to participate in the development of an unfinished game:

          “Towns is continually being developed and updated to bring you the best experience possible!”

          That’s pretty fucking sleazy. A more honest example would have been “Towns is currently in Alpha/Beta and we would love for you to join us in experiencing this game throughout its development!”

          Ugh. That alone turns me off of this. I’ll just go play DF.

          • The Random One says:

            I’ve seen the Towns dev reply to RPS devs, so here’s my advice to him/her/it: Knock off the marketing speak when it might lead people into legitimate mistakes. Marketers will tell you that you can’t let any bad parts of your products show; anyone on the street will tell you how much they hate when a company can’t admit defeat when something they’ve clearly screwed up.

      • ecat says:

        The problems collecting things are easy to work around, at the end of the day your little people only do what you’ve asked them to do:
        Containers: Only use them for things you are unlikely to find in dungeons.
        Stockpiles: Always have your people stockpile items before you ask them to use said items. Always! Also delete all the stockpiles holding items you are likely to find in a dungeon before you enter a new dungeon, you don’t lose the previously collected items.
        Build orders: Always cancel build orders that require any items likely to found in a dungeon before you enter a new dungeon.

        One layer of wall underground and two above ground:
        Underground your people are constrained by the dungeon roof. Overground they can easily jump over a one layer wall. I do not see the problem.

        People stuck on walls:
        Use scaffolding and give them time to enjoy the view or whatever it is they sometimes pause to contemplate. Also remember, construction is a dangerous business that little people should not engage in without supervision.

        • Carbonated Dan says:

          one must indeed be dedicated to rank these tribulations trifling

        • Yglorba says:

          I just want to point out that in Dwarf Fortress, objects found in caves or otherwise in areas outside your control are initially marked as forbidden, so your dwarves won’t get killed trying to retrieve them unless you order them to. The same goes for objects dropped by a dead dwarf.

          That’s right, Towns is, in this respect, harder to play than Dwarf Fortress.

        • Joshua Northey says:

          This is my big problem with the game. It has gone with the “more” instead of “better” approach to game features. So there are 20 different versions of everything and you have the ability to do things like cook 10 different pies, but the basic BUILDING OF THE TOWN part, the part people play the game for, is kind of crap and horribly interfaced.

          I don’t think there is much of a market for “pie queuing simulator” so it might be good if they focus more on the core elements of the game and less on breadth.

  3. DeathRow says:

    They should just replace the tutorial in the game with a bunch of tutorials video instead. I watched a couple of episodes of Sips and I picked up the game right away.

    Game is great but it takes a lot of patience. I can only see it getting better though.

    p.s. I almost cried when my lvl 42 hero died. He was a good elf.

  4. Docslapper says:

    I’m playing it as I type ;)

    I like it. The biggest learning effort I had is resisting the urge to click on stuff. Generally you set the townies a bunch of tasks, then ignore it for 5 minutes while they do it and then get happy again. If you queue up too much building then they get all tired and pissed off

    So it’s best played while you’re doing something else, in my experience, which I think is a market niche so far unexplored. I think there’s a lot of room for a game that will run happily with no interaction for half-hour stretches while I make food, take a phone call, whatever, and then I can come back to it and get the next building completed.

    I understand why people think it’s boring and broken, but I’m enjoying it.

    • Ninja Foodstuff says:

      I reached a point where I got bored of waiting for stuff to happen. I left it running overnight and when I came back the game had done a better job of playing itself without any of my input.

      • soldant says:

        Sounds like X3 then – the only winning move is to let the game play itself.

    • f1x says:

      Sort of like Kairosoft games then, were you usually have to wait to get resources and all and try not to spend everything right away, like in Sim City, like in any good simulator then XD

      I wanna give it a try but I’ll wait until is properly finished to be honest

    • frightlever says:

      I’ve sunk hours into it. Building is pretty tedious but other than that it somewhat scratches my DF itch. Gnomoria is probably the better game.

  5. Taidan says:

    Well, it’s fairly convenient for those of us who originally picked it up via the Indie Royale Alpha Collection #1, back in February, at least.

    Steam keys are now available if you check back on your purchase page, for those who did.

  6. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    For those who bought Towns with Indie Royale’s Alpha Collection #1, there is now a steam key waiting on the bundle page.

    edit. glarbl.

  7. Avenger says:

    Almost everybody seems to agree that it is an unfinished pile of mess. Yet I was intrigued from the start.
    The only thing keeping me from buying this was the non-existence of an RPS endorsement.

    I think “I’ve always enjoyed my time with Towns…” will do for now…

  8. Ecto says:

    I’ve already written a few thousand words on the subject of Towns, so I wont reiterate the whole thing here. The key points are this: the store page did not mention anything about the stage of development the game was in for about a week. The screenshots are not representative of the gaming experience, and most of them are not reproducable without a modded game.

    link to
    I’m “GrailMaster Python” (as of the time of this writing) but sometimes referred to as “BadeMaster” by others in the thread. Those are my thoughts.

    • Ich Will says:

      You sir, have the patience of a saint!

      I don’t use the term lightly, but you were dealing with a proper fanboi there. His argument boiled down to “I know the game is, by industry standards, in alpha but it’s OK they were selling it as a finished release because I love it so much”

      Your argument was “I enjoy the game greatly but I think the steam page should be clear that this game is in Alpha”

      I know which side of the fence I sit on.

      • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

        I can only see him having a sustained conversation with retrox, and if that’s who you’re talking about I completely disagree.

        That’s the most civilised and capitulating disagreement I’ve seen on a public forum in years. If only the entire internet had their humility.

  9. ecat says:

    Steam popped this one up at me last week, including a £2 discount. Oh boy, worst mistake I’ve made for a while.

    Read the store page, sounded interesting. Jumped on the Steam forum to find it full, and I do mean FULL of incomplete this and that posts punctuated by stupid AI, bad graphics and pointless game mechanics comments. One post mentioned a set of Youtube reviews by some YogscastSips person and off to Youtube I went.

    Hehe, the youtube vids looked wonderful, the game was oozing so much charm through my monitor I need a cloth to wipe the mess so out came the CC and the tiny download completed moments later.

    The game offers a tutorial but the general Steam consensus was ‘the tutorial sucks’ – not that one should believe anything one reads. Still, it looks like a bit of a god sim and the best part of these games is working stuff out for yourself, so tutorial skipped I jumped in naked and blind.

    There are a few small glitches in the graphics and the occasional bug when placing things. Apart from that I’m over 100 Steam hours in and I’ve enjoyed every moment. It’s not an easy game, at least sans tutorial, some things are not so obvious and at times you do need to think things through, but I have not found a single game breaking bug.

    The two most common complaints I’ve seen are:

    1. This game is full of bugs, my Townies keep dying.
    Hay, mine did too, but stop for a moment, have a think and at least for me every death was the result of something I had done, no bug to blame

    2. This game is incomplete, I can’t even order my Townies to attack things.
    Firstly, there are at least two ways you can, err, persuade your little people to fight. Second and most importantly, I do not believe the designers ever intended for you to rubber band your people and have them charge a specific target, this is not that sort of game.

    Damn, now I have the little tune in my head and it’s been at least 8 hours since I last played and I did eat, something, quite recently too… Smoke me a kipper, I’m going back in…

    • MadTinkerer says:

      “Still, it looks like a bit of a god sim and the best part of these games is working stuff out for yourself, so tutorial skipped I jumped in naked and blind.”

      Wuh-oh. In a Dwarf Fortress-alike, you most definitely DO need some kind of tutorial before jumping in. Towns has a better interface than DF, but it’s still the same general model of deep simulation, interface designed primarily for those who already understand it, and not enough time to figure out how to keep your people from starving if you don’t already know how to grow crops. in short, NOT a god sim, rather a Colony Management sim. And definitely NOT a Bullfrog game.

      What Towns needs is someone like Captain Duck to make a 20+ hour tutorial video. I know I’d watch it!

      • ecat says:

        I’ve not played DF.

        Of the games this reminds me of I’d rate it as somewhat more complex than Settlers II and somewhat less complex than Settlers 1, though my memory could be playing tricks. Note, I’m not saying the game is similar to either of the Settlers games, it just reminds me of my Settlers 1 experience.

        The god sim comment is due to the fact you have no direct control over your little people, well, apart from whether they live or die.

        • Phantoon says:

          “I’ve not played DF.”

          Well there’s your problem right there! Dwarf Fortress is the better Dwarf Fortress!

  10. scorcher24 says:

    I prepurchased “Don’t Starve” and “Gnomoria”. Both Games told me that they are in Alpha/Beta and both have a 1000000000000x higher Quality than Towns. This is definately one of my favourites for the “Derpy Purchase 2012 Award”.

  11. bill says:

    You are the mayor Sunnydale? THE sunnydale? The one on the Hellmouth? Because that does indeed sound rather cool.

  12. MayhemMike says:

    I love this game and have already played over 40 hours. Once you get used to the mechanics (wiki is your friend) it plays like most other indie games.

    Regarding its state: Lets take Hotline Miami for example, which is supposed to be “finished” but has still plot stopping bugs and crashes a lot of times. (During 8 hours of game time I had around 20 crashes, Towns crashed once during 40 hours)

    Only thing that bugs me about it is its slow pace. Even at its fastest speed it takes ages for some tasks to get finished.

    • Guvornator says:

      But Hotline Miami was finished as a concept. As a person new to Towns, but who had heard about it for a while and was looking forward to it, I thought even as a game it felt unfinished. It feels like the product of bedroom noodling rather than focused design. I found using it (in the demo at least) to be obscure to the point of being basically newbie hostile.

      For example – for you to learn stuff, you have to read the tutorial messages. But they can’t be read at the same time as playing the game. So you have to flip between pausing the game and reading the message, and going back to the game and trying to remember what the hell the tutorial message said. And when you do get something right, there is basically no indication of it.

      Another example – all the main buttons on the right hand menu are grey. You know, the international computer symbol of “don’t press this button, it’s not available”. Only they are available. Who thought that was a good idea?

      It has all the hallmarks of a game that has been entrenched in a insulated community who’ve been with it from day one. This is all well and good, but it feels like these are the people it’s been released for, not the general public.

    • Cooper says:

      Not only was Hotline Miami feature complete and rounded off s a game (unlike Towns which is neither feature complete nor fully balanced)

      The bugs for Hotline Miami were almost entirely fixed with 48 hours. The rest sorted within the week.

      If Towns had been made feature complete and rounded off as a game in a week, fine. It hasn’t.

  13. Jim Rossignol says:

    I’ve had a look at it, and it seems to be in a bit of a state. Feels like a beta release. Surprised it’s on Steam, to be honest.

  14. Deano2099 says:

    I think this needed to happen. Getting on Steam is amazing for indies, but the publicity it gives you cuts both ways. You only get one shot at being the latest release for a day or two on the front page, if you waste that on an unfinished game, you’ll still get a ton of sales on day one, but you’ll sully your brand immensely.

    • Verio says:

      I think very much this. This game also serves (at least for me, hopefully others) as a cautionary tale regarding Greenlight.

      As much as I think Greenlight is a great idea, and I’m glad Valve are doing it, the takeaway lesson here is that Valve isn’t exactly moderating the release state of these games. If people want to release and sell an unfinished product (in alpha no less!) and not label it as such, it’s going to happen.

      Towns looks like it will be a lot of Dwarven Fortress style fun when it’s done and polished up, but I’ll check back in 6 months. In the meantime I think the devs deserve a lot of scorn and derision for:
      – releasing it like this
      – not labeling it clearly as unfinished alpha
      – continuing to take people’s money for a week
      – waiting that week to update the language on the store page, and even now the language is pretty vague.

      It seems clear to me they wanted to reap as much benefit from that Steam promotion as possible, and damn the consequences.

  15. Randomer says:

    I played it a quite a long time back when it came out on Indie Royale. Can anyone who has played it more recently comment on whether or not it has even a smattering of the emergent gameplay/storytelling of Dwarf Fortress? That’s basically what I want out of towns – an accessible version of DF.

    Also, does the game still have the horribly awkward numbering system? When I first started playing, all the stats were “17hp” or “+3 DEF”. Then they decided to add three more digits onto the end of every number, and it became a nightmare to compare stats and items. Have they fixed that yet?

    • Salt says:

      (Oops, didn’t mean this to be a reply)

      I played the demo when I noticed it appear on Steam. It’s certainly an odd one.

      The basic mechanics are extremely similar to Dwarf Fortress. The same process of controlling your people by placing and customising stockpiles, building workshops and issuing build orders. What’s most interesting to me is that even though it has graphics and at least a reasonable graphical interface, a lot of that basic interaction is still as awkward as it is in DF.

      As a comment says above, it’s vital to the survival of your town that you frequently remove many of your stockpiles so that the people don’t run off and gather items for them from dangerous places. I can’t imagine that was something they intended as part of the game design. Of course you have to do that kind of nonsense in DF too, but that is part of why it is known for being kind of a hassle to play.

      It feels to me that they have quite blindly copied the core mechanics of DF, given it a decent visual wrapping, skipped the deeper systems, and added an automated hero adventuring thing.

      ..and then there’s the being released via Greenlight when it’s far from finished. Which is just a bad idea. Steam is simply the wrong place to release an in-development game.

      • Artesia says:

        As a comment says above, it’s vital to the survival of your town that you frequently remove many of your stockpiles so that the people don’t run off and gather items for them from dangerous places. I can’t imagine that was something they intended as part of the game design. Of course you have to do that kind of nonsense in DF too, but that is part of why it is known for being kind of a hassle to play.”
        You can forbid all sorts of item gathering in DF, so I almost never had a problem with dorfs running to battlefield to get socks. Also, with burrow mechanics in place, even if you won’t forbid gathering of such items, dorfs still won’t go to dangerous areas. Most of the time.

        • Salt says:

          Oh yes, I’d forgotten about forbidding items, and the settings for automatic forbidding of items in Dwarf Fortress. And the whole burrow thing!

          Towns (so far as I can tell, maybe they’ll add it later, etc., etc.) has neither. I suspect in an effort to keep things simpler to manage. But there is a very good reason why DF has these extra systems.

  16. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    I played it a while ago, after I bought it in one of the Indie Royale Bundles. That was a much earlier version than what is out now (0.4something?). After a couple of enjoyable hours I had enough, but thought that it had potential.

    I pretty much liked the building stuff, but I absolutely hated exploring of the dungeon – I have no idea how they do it now, but then the only way to send someone to a specific point on the map was to define a patrol route with only one point, and then set the person to patrol that. That was just zero fun.

  17. Zarunil says:

    They aren’t doing themselves a favor by not specifying it’s incompleteness on the store page. It is clearly done intentionally.

    Indie devs, perhaps more so than big budget devs, have to be honest with their customers.

    • farrier says:

      Exactly, Zarunil. Others have pointed it out as well, and I was reading through a conversation about it on the Steam forums in the thread where a rep from the developers notifies the community about the “disclaimer” addition. Besides purposefully trying to confuse potential buyers, why else wouldn’t they just be clear about the state of their product?

      Maybe they’d have fewer sales in the short term, but they’re damaging potential customer relationships here. Especially with how popular alpha and beta buy-ins are these days, why not just make it clear, hey, this is an alpha build, buy now and help us make a great product, be involved, we want your feedback, be a part of this great new experience before anyone else, etc etc. Add in the focus on transparency in all things lately.

      Maybe I would like the game, and I’ve bought in on numerous alpha/beta builds before to try them out and support the developers. But these developers seem a little sketchy to me. I can understand the lack of disclaimer at first, to an extent, because maybe they didn’t think through what they wanted to display on Steam or they thought something on their site would be enough. But then they have the opportunity to listen to feedback and make it clear, and they come up with that message?

      I just don’t want to support that. It just seems like a deliberate attempt to obscure the state of their game, which is a shame, because it could turn into a good game. But right now, my money goes elsewhere.

      • Guvornator says:

        Exactly. The fact that they’ve updated it from v0.6 to v7 (missing out numbers .7 to 6.9) tells you all you need to know. They’re trying to pretend that this is a finished game when it just isn’t. If Ubisoft tried this shite, the RPS community would be heading to Montreal, pitchforks in hand…

  18. MadTinkerer says:

    “It’s a pre-order that gives access to early builds though and that includes the latest version, which is also the one available through Steam.”

    So same deal as when I bought Minecraft, World of Goo, and Towns on Desura the first time… Wait, I already have it! I’ll wait for a sale for the Steam version, then.

    Meanwhile, the beta of Little inferno is pretty sweet (full version out in a few hours!).

  19. glum says:

    I’ve played for 30 hours or so on a few different towns. I bought it because the demo kept crashing and erasing all my progress. I like games where figuring out how to play is part of the game. So that hooked me into it there.

    A couple things I figured out that made it more enjoyable.
    -Permanent stockpiles almost always = bad except for maybe Prepared Food. Make them to gather stuff and then destroy them.
    -Don’t queue up too many things or your people will starve
    -Wall off large explored areas of underground or your people will wander there and starve
    -No matter what you do your people will randomly starve
    -You can leave the game on overnight and make a shitload of flour that will fill up your entire town and people will still not bake it and starve
    -Don’t Autoequip people when your dungeons are full of old equipment

    I’ve gotten 25 people or so a couple times and they always end up starving down to under 20 even when I only have food production\gathering going on and no other jobs.

    I still haven’t been able to make a cool looking town with roofs and everything. Town building is very slow.

    Major annoyance is trying to equip weapons and having the list contain 40 goblin\hobgoblin heads. I spend half my time searching through the dungeons to delete those heads. I have a whole hill covered with the heads on poles.

  20. yhancik says:

    I played the version 0.5 if I remember well – knowing it was pretty much in development, and I had fun nevertheless. Yes there are stupid details to fix, like the stockpile issue mentioned 10000 times above, but generally I found it charming and enjoyable. Although it’s a slightly different kind of game, it brought back some old memories from The Settlers II.
    I don’t know what the plan for savegames in the future, but when I played it, saves weren’t compatible between versions. Just so you know.

  21. Phantoon says:

    You know, had Minecraft landed on Steam, it may have faced the same issue with people not knowing it was an alpha.

    But it didn’t, because it wasn’t a finished game. This game isn’t finished, which means with Greenlight and in the time between, things have changed.

    I’m not finding it to be that great of a change, honestly.

  22. buzzmong says:

    I had a go at an earlier alpha. It had potential, but nothing really grabbed me so I’ll wait until it hits 1.0 probably before trying again.

    That said, one of my chums recently had a go on the latest version and reported it now has the elusive “I’ll just play for half an hour….oh god, it’s now 4am!” factor that games like DF, Minecraft and Simcity et all have.