RimWorld’s huge Wanderlust update is world-changing

I’d quite happily write and read about Dwarf Fortress and RimWorld [official site] all day long. There might even be time to play them every now and again as well, though I’ve become accustomed to enjoying them vicariously, reading about other peoples’ virtual lives and escapades. A new RimWorld update arrived today and it’s a big one, changing the way that worlds are built and operate at a fundamental level. Simply put (and nothing about RimWorld is actually simple), worlds are now modeled as spheres, and you can travel across them, nomad style. Or warband style. Your call.

A word of warning from the update notes before I begin:

“Your game will update automatically. Because of huge structural changes to the game, this update will break save games. If you want to continue an old save just change to the ‘alpha15’ beta branch on Steam. To do so, go to Steam library, right-click RimWorld, click Properties, click the Betas tab, and use the drop-down to select the branch you want. You can, of course, switch back to the ‘default’ branch whenever you want.”

The move to spherical worlds will bring all kinds of changes, but it hasn’t just been thrust into the game half-baked. There’s a reason the update is called Wanderlust: these new worlds are designed to serve the travelers among us, and RimWorld now allows your colonists to exist on several maps at the same time. So your homesteads can tick over with activity continuing while you’re handling a trading caravan or raiding party on the other side of the planet. And planets now come with timezones and time of day varies depending on your current position and how sunlight is hitting the surface.

Here’s a full list of how all this stuff works:

Spherical planet

  • World map is now modeled as a sphere covered with hexagons (and a few pentagons).
  • New map generation to make nicer mountain ranges, hill clusters, and continents.
  • Nice backdrop with stars and sun.
  • Time of day is modeled on the planet view; local time of day corresponds to how the sunlight hits the planet.
  • Time zones are now modeled, out of necessity.
  • New planet generation parameter: temperature. You can make worlds that are overall hotter or overall colder.
  • New planet generation parameter: rainfall. You can make worlds where there is overall more or less precipitation.
  • New biome: sea ice.
  • Factions can now have many bases; non-player factions generate with lots of bases.

Multiple simultaneous maps

  • There can now be multiple local maps active at once. For example, you can have your colony running as well, as a group of soldiers attacking an enemy base, at the same time.
  • The character bar at the top of the screen shows all of your colonists and allows you to change which map you’re looking at. It groups characters together by the map they’re on.
  • You can settle multiple colonies at once. However, for balance and performance reasons, the default limit is one colony at a time. This can be increased in the options menu if you want to experiment, but we don’t recommend it.

The other major addition, which I’ve already alluded to above, is the creation of caravans. Essentially, a new dialog option allows you to bunch a load of people and goods together and send them off a-wandering. They’ll have encounters en route and can be attacked by people or hungry critters, and when they reach their destination they can trade or try to take over settlements through force. And then you could have multiple colonies, or you could form a caravan at your first colony and move EVERYONE to the new one.

There are transport pods as well, that let you travel large distances quickly. Oh, there’s so much more than that as well – go and have a read of it all.

A new victory condition even lets you find a ship that a friendly NPC points you toward, somewhere distant on the world map. Reach it and you can escape the planet and complete the game. It’s a way of combining existing victory conditions with the new Wanderlust features and, with that, I’ve just realised that it’s entirely possible that RimWorld will let me conquer an entire planet and then build a ship to set off into space and conquer another one. That seems like a very real possibility right now.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. For now, we have wonderful (wanderful?) new worlds to explore and inhabit. And, most importantly:

  • Added proper chick peeping sounds.


  1. rustybroomhandle says:

    Chick peeping is a crime where I come from.

  2. TehK says:

    Oh, this sounds amazing! I’m very much looking forward to sinking some hours into this patch during the holidays!

    • benjamin says:

      Particularly the chick peeping.

    • teije says:

      Yes, changes do look great. Far more than I was expecting. Between this, Long Dark update, and HoI IV expansion, it’ll be a busy Xmas gaming season.

  3. jasta85 says:

    Been waiting for this update, something else to add to my list of games to knock out this holiday season

  4. wackazoa says:

    Just curious, is there anyway to add people to your colony other than a random joining or subverting a raider? i.e. Children? Ive notice that chickens can hatch, and animals and humans seem to enjoy ‘getting some loving’ but is there anything that comes from that? Honestly have only ever played around 15-20 hours on a single save, before a patch borks it up, so Im just not sure. Thinking about the building of multiple colonies got me thinking about the kids thing.

    *And Im too lazy to do an internet search. Figured Id ask you fine folks instead.

    • DragonDai says:

      There are no children (yet). But beyond random joiners, you can capture raiders, help survivors from raider attacks/escape pods, and, the best way IMO, you can call for a slaver caravan and just buy you some colonists! :D

    • Claudia Lo says:

      No, it’s just captures, random events, or buying from slaver caravans. It makes playing in “peaceful” mode actually very difficult, because the fastest way to grow your colony is to recruit raiders to join you.

      • taosaur says:

        Even on higher difficulty, you may not be able to convert raiders. I started playing right after Christmas, and my current game I shipwrecked my spacers in an area with only tribal neighbors. They don’t speak the same language, so even with high social, there’s a .05% recruiting chance. I captured a couple tribals early on, and topped them out a bit shy of 2% before they staged a jailbreak. After that, I gave up and just relied on survivors and escapees. My colony did double pretty quickly after I switched over to Randy Random storyteller, but it may have just been luck.

  5. Wisq says:

    Looks amazing. Guess I can enjoy it in a few months when all my mods are finally updated … right in time for alpha 17, I’m sure. :)

  6. carewolf says:

    * Added a way to administer specific drugs to people, including prisoners, animals, and downed people. So you can give Luciferium to someone who needs it.
    * Drug chemical effects are modulated by body size. So elephants need a lot of beer to get hammered; squirrels not so much.

    Drunk elephants and squirrels on speed!

    • Topperfalkon says:

      Oh god, what about wasted boomrats?

      • carewolf says:

        So far my pigs have just been snorting all the coke. One of them even got addicted of coke, and have to lock my drugs away from pigs pigging out on coke now.

  7. Carra says:

    I’ve already spent 18 hours in the game so far. That’s really good for what’s still an alpha game.

  8. Cvnk says:

    This has been my go-to game for the past couple of weeks after finally buying it. My first go ended in such beautiful failure I still open the map from time to time. Just to watch the one remaining occupant, a cat, wander around aimlessly, sleeping occasionally, and eating the slowly rotting food while its former master lies frozen solid in bed (not too mention the dozen or more other corpses lying around — the result of a devastating raid).

    I’m playing easy mode now just so I can get a chance to learn the mechanics better without dying but I’ll be switching back to regular mode with this update. Overcoming overwhelming odds is such a big part of this game.

    Such a great game.

  9. April March says:

    I feel an opportunity has been lost when the changelog doesn’t read simply “Planet is now round”. Good thing there’s always @TheStrangeLog.

  10. jaykay says:

    Wow, RPS has something good to say about possibly the greatest indie game of recent years after derailing Tynan’s development efforts for weeks in November due to Rimworldgendergate. Adam, I’m glad you like the game, and you are obviously excellent, but you’re writing for a publisher with no credibility on the topic of Rimworld.

    Fairly certain I’ve followed the commenting rules on this one but I don’t have high hopes for not getting censored :)

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      iris79 says:

      bought this game many months ago on RPSs recommendation. The whole drama was another exhibition of people forgetting what criticism means. I thought his model for gender was shit, still played the game. I think you may be a little dramatic.
      Please let critics criticize in 2017! Even when I like the things, even when its me. (I’m in a band that some people HATE so much, it hurts but it ok y’know)