RimWorld Alpha 14 Adds Scenarios, Comes To Steam

When I last played top-down sci-fi survival-strategy RimWorld, it was barely playable at all. When Alec last played RimWorld it had grown into an impressive blend of Prison Architect and Dwarf Fortress. When Adam last played RimWorld, which was more recently than Alec, he sang its praises to me privately.

So I’m excited, then. And more so after watching the update video for alpha 14, which is coming July 15th alongside a Steam early access release.

Here’s the video, which goes through what’s new step-by-step. I’ll pick out the significant highlights below.

The major new feature is a “Scenario system”, through which you can set the starting conditions of your game. That’s significant now because you’re no longer limited to playing as the survivors of a crashed spaceship. Now you can also take control of the local tribespeople on the planet, those same folks who you’ve been previously trading with or repelling invasions from.

If you’re not familiar, RimWorld is a management game of sorts where you’re trying to protect and survive as a slowly growing colony of people. The “of people” part is important, because like inspirations such as Prison Architect and Dwarf Fortress, you don’t have total control over the people in your care. They can ignore you, experience mental breakdowns, and all the other things that make these games such great sources of anecdotes. Here’s a snippet from Alec’s above-linked feature:

There’s scope to make it deliberately hilarious too – on my first attempt at Rimworld, one of my three starting colonists was a noble who refused to do any manual labour. She just ambled about the place while the other two worked their bums off to build her a bed, cook her food and fetch rocks from a million miles away. I wasn’t too upset when the pirates took her life.

The scenario system also comes with an editor that lets you create your own starting conditions in great detail by hand, if the randomise button isn’t doing it for you. That includes assigning traits to individual colonists, setting their age, and scattering certain items across the map. The game’s developer uses this in the video above to create a group of elderly nudist clowns, which sounds like something that you might enjoy.


  1. TechnicalBen says:

    This is the Dwarf Fortress game with GUI you were all waiting for. With it’s own unique and different gameplay and story.

    Though if you do also want some extra GUI options and even more strange events, there is a little modding community doing their best to also add features as quickly as possible. :)

    • P.Funk says:

      But where is the magma?

      In general I’d say that the Fun of Rimworld is still inferior to that of DF, by a huge margin.

    • mtomto says:

      I am intrigued and I bought the game a few months ago. The UI is probably the worst mess I have seen – ever. I’m ok with prison architect and factorio UI for comparison.

      No matter how much content this game gets, it’s stillborn to me. Unless they dedicate an entire update or two on UI alone…

      • Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

        If you think RimWorld has the worst UI then you evidently have not played Dwarf Fortress. Thankfully DF has an immense level of complexity, depth, lore and comedy to make up for the horrible interface.

        True, there may be more complexity that is required in some areas (stairs for one – why the fuck can’t you just have one type of stairs?!), but you simply can’t see all of dwarf fortress in one sitting. I experienced all there was to see of RW in one save file and have not revisited since. I have played DF many times (I’m still what you’d call a noob, and I’m terrible at it), and every time it has managed to surprise, amuse and enrage me all at the same time.

        Nothing can match the moment where a dwarf punches a hill Titan to death because he forgot (bug or feature I’ll never know) to grab weapons when they were being handed out – simultaneously becoming depressed upon seeing his father die alongside him in battle, then promptly plummeting 10 z levels to his death for a reason which I’ll never quite understand.

  2. Sc0r says:

    Looks like a branch of DF, but they took a different route, going into functionality&design first instead of detail. Good Choice.

    With DF it’s always like “great toady, now the game has real-time calculation for falling leafs, but DF mode still has no mid- or lategame, there is still no GUI plans in sight and there are still decade-old bugs you didn’t touch.”

    • chuckieegg says:

      But those falling leaves will be Fun!

    • bandertroll says:

      Toady One is taken by a fey mood! Also, Toady going to new arc of magic content, so 64x and new content may make something multipurpose.

    • P.Funk says:

      Toady added drunk dwarves spilling their drinks in taverns. With no other addition the player ended up with a drunk dead cat problem.

      link to bay12forums.com

      That’s worth every ounce of struggle with the UI for me.

      • Hedgeclipper says:

        This. Several games have tried to do ‘DF with an interface humans can use’ but they all seem to miss the exuberant mad genius of DF there really is nothing quite like it.

        • GHudston says:

          It’s the same problem that plagues “WoW killers”. DF has been in development for so, so long that any new game that tries to be “Dwarf Fortress with graphics and a UI” has a impossible mountain to climb if they want to catch up.

          It just drives me absolutely crazy when die hard DF fans act like the complexity is BECAUSE of the horrible UI, or that depth of simulation and graphical polish are mutually exclusive. A user friendly, graphically appealing dwarf fortress is definitely possible, it’s just that it’s a monumental task for the kind of indie dev that would take on the project.

      • LexW1 says:

        Yeah this sort of thing is pretty much the entire reason I haven’t bought RimWorld or Prison Architect or a number of other DF-ish games that look kind of cool – what makes DF is the depth of the simulation and the bizarre or hilarious or something just totally badass results that it creates. Other games, including RW fromw hat I know of it, always decide to go light on that stuff.

  3. bandertroll says:

    So I only wait 2 things – regional adequate prise for this game and Z-levels like in DF. But it not planned at all. :(

  4. slerbal says:

    I’ve been waiting for this for a while! Mainly for Steams’ update system as SendOwl is crap ☺

  5. noodlecake says:

    It’s much simpler than Dwarf Fortress but I love it. My last experience with DF involved me telling my dwarves to flick a switch to close a draw bridge to stop an incoming goblin invasion and a month later they were still ignoring it and the goblins just massacred everyone. I love the idea of crazy things happening that doom your fortress. I hate crazy things happening because everyone decides to ignore my order to flick a switch.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      That still happens in RW, but you can at least usually see why. :)

    • Jeremy says:

      This is why I bounced off DF, but really enjoyed Gnomoria and Rimworld. I know that a lot of people really enjoy the complexity of DF, but it felt like complexity for the sake of complexity to me. Simulating the sweat beads of a dwarf is awesome to me in theory, but in the context of the game, it felt like it was preventing me from getting to the parts I enjoyed.

  6. Shazbut says:


  7. Shiloh says:

    I’m pretty interested in this. Haven’t played DF in a long-ish time, but recently cracked Gnomoria open again, and I have been playing Prison Architect.

    So I am an easy sell when it comes to this kind of game.

  8. derf says:

    No-brainer insta-buy for me. Can’t wait! I desperately need a crafting/strategy/rpg hybrid, and it seems this might fulfill at least some of that need.

  9. Nauallis says:

    Hooray! I’ve been hoping that this would come to steam for a long time.

    Can anybody comment: is this game similar to Stellaris or Minecraft in that there’s really no goal, e.g. the fun is the gameplay?

    • adamsorkin says:

      Yep – the point is mostly to build and sustain your colony as long as possible after a crash landing, however you care to – while enjoying the (often ridiculous) emergent “narrative.”

      The closest it gets to a “goal” is that you can opt to build a ship to escape, but the only real endpoint is the loss of all of your colonists (usually due to unpleasant reasons).