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  1. #1

    What has happened to Gaslamp Games?

    So Clockwork Empires declared itself released on Steam on Oct 26, 2016 in what is generally considered a buggy state (https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/201...mpires-review/)
    Last update posted to Steam on 19 November. Clockwork twitter goes silent. Gaslamp twitter quiet since Dec 4. Forums are active but devs are absent. It's now the end of February. (https://community.gaslampgames.com/t...he-room.20979/)
    It's possible low sales doomed the company.
    Reviews have gone sharply downwards on Steam as owners try to warn others of the unfinished state and lack of movement.
    I really enjoyed the witty development threads. But ultimately this is still priced at 28 euro (or GP, or what have you). Dwarf Fortress also has strange world-breaking bugs and brain-breaking UI but it's free/by donation.
    So I don't see myself playing unless it gets really cheap, on sale...or some magical unicorn of a patch shows up.

  2. #2
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    Good question, and I'm not seeing any answer. Based on other times this has happened with small devs, the best case scenario is that the lead dev just had a kid or something, that can easily take them out of commission for a few months.

    But more often it's some kind of personal or financial crisis. Which often is basically the end.

    I mean, it's been about four months - that's pretty damn long, but it's not unheard-of for devs to return after that sort of period.

    Still I suspect you're right and they probably ran out of money. Clockwork Empires was very ambitious, and whilst I think it often seems, from a distance, that DF-like games are easy to make, seem to pretty much the sargasso sea of games, leading all devs but Bay 12 to their doom (Rimworld is still kicking, but I suspect he's one very bad decision away from crashing and burning - I do think it helps that it's a solo effort though).

    The sad thing for me re: Clockwork Empires is that, on paper it was exactly my sort of game - but it never reached the level of development that would make it worth the price to me.

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LexW View Post
    from a distance, that DF-like games are easy to make, seem to pretty much the sargasso sea of games, leading all devs but Bay 12 to their doom (Rimworld is still kicking, but I suspect he's one very bad decision away from crashing and burning - I do think it helps that it's a solo effort though).
    Trying to catch up with Dwarf Fortress is optimistic, it's the impossible dream. Or alternately it's Caligula declaring war on neptune and ordering his army to fight the sea.

    God I love Dwarf Fortress.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    Trying to catch up with Dwarf Fortress is optimistic, it's the impossible dream. Or alternately it's Caligula declaring war on neptune and ordering his army to fight the sea.

    God I love Dwarf Fortress.
    You absolutely could do it and even make something much more accessible and fun, I think.

    You'd just need a budget of at least $10m (preferably quite a lot more), 3-5 years, and maybe a really dedicated core design and programming team who were hand-picked for being into the idea, and weren't just there for their careers or whatever (normally that'd be fine, but not for a game like that). You'd also have to be unafraid to just rip Toady's ideas off when they were good and discard them when bad. It wouldn't be easy, but it could be done.

    Of course Clockwork Empires didn't have any of those things. Poor bastards.

    I think eventually, probably in the next ten to fifteen years, some big developer/publisher will come up with a procedural 3D game that steals an awful lot of Dwarf Fortresses ideas (albeit more Adventure Mode than Dwarf Mode) and makes something incredible. Or just independently comes up with systems to do a lot of the same things. And then they'll all be doing it.

    I would actually be unsurprised, at this point, if that developer was Blizzard.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Nah. I think the moment it hits the atmosphere of a group of people more than maybe 4-5 it just falls apart, opening it to committee. The perfect Dwarf Fortress style systems, game team is someone who looks like this:


    On there own and locked in a flat with an espresso machine, a lifetime supply of rollies and a Bernard Black attitude to socialising.

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    https://uk.linkedin.com/in/david-baumgart-02560320

    One of the partners lists his time there as ending November 2016 so it seems reasonable to assume the studio's dead. They really screwed up by releasing when they did, despite everyone and their mum telling them it was nowhere near a fit state. Combine that with apparently not having the decency to inform their customers and I'm finding it damn hard to have any sympathy for them.

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Gus_Smedstad's Avatar
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    Projects like that dying make me sad. It was clearly something that I would have loved if they'd ever finished it. Rather like Spacebase DF-9.

  8. #8
    Moderator alms's Avatar
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    Baumgart is the one who made Diggles, right? :( Nicholas Vining's twitter profile reads "I made games once, it was awful." and both his accounts are protected.

    Of the founders, Jacobsen still has an active public profile, mentioning Gaslamp, and there's a couple of tweets from January:

    The plumbing tasks in writing software where there's no visual improvement, no performance improvement, just making code useful? Those suck.
    *Picks up unity project tome, blows a thick layer of dust off of the cover, turns to page three hundred and ninety four.*
    Two founders leaving is a major melt-down, however I wonder if, perhaps, the studio isn't completely done for. Other studios have had to go through lay-offs to survive, Gaslamp could be staying officially silent until things have been sorted out entirely?
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  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Malawi Frontier Guard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alms View Post
    Baumgart is the one who made Diggles, right?
    He seems a bit young for that.

    But speaking of Diggles, have you played Oxygen Not Included? There are some striking similarities.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malawi Frontier Guard View Post
    He seems a bit young for that.

    But speaking of Diggles, have you played Oxygen Not Included? There are some striking similarities.
    Can one play it? It is a Klei game, so I love it by default, and I have also seen a one hour video that made me love it even more, but I didn't realize it was out/EA? Anyway, it certainly on my watch list.

    As for Gaslamp Games, I was following the development of Clockwork Empires and it seemed to be going well, but it was obvious that it needed a lot more work and polish before release. Personally, I didn't think that developing their own engine was a good use of resources, especially because the game didn't hinge on visuals. But it was their call in the end.

  11. #11
    Moderator alms's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malawi Frontier Guard View Post
    He seems a bit young for that.


    The man drew some lovely artwork. And now I feel like playing some Dredmor again.
    The Onward March of Bundles - For an overview of bundle deals, and more, click here. The new Humble Monthly May comes with Grizzly's-paw-of-approval Dirt Rally, Playdead's of LIMBO's fame INSIDE, and more fab indie games. If you like what I'm doing, and are a new subscriber, please consider using this link, throw some monies at me, at no cost or inconvenience to you. Thanks! Me on Steam and HowLongToBeat.

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrki View Post
    Can one play it? It is a Klei game, so I love it by default, and I have also seen a one hour video that made me love it even more, but I didn't realize it was out/EA? Anyway, it certainly on my watch list.
    You can - it's purchase game is 'hidden' on Steam (because they don't want people wandering into an Alpha who don't know what they're getting into) - it's 15UKP too, which isn't cheap.

    http://store.steampowered.com/app/593590/

    It's giving me a Rimworld vibe too - and that's quite some competition to have - Klei have a solid dev history tho so who knows...

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Malawi Frontier Guard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alms View Post
    The man drew some lovely artwork. And now I feel like playing some Dredmor again.
    Looks like I should too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trjp View Post
    You can - it's purchase game is 'hidden' on Steam (because they don't want people wandering into an Alpha who don't know what they're getting into) - it's 15UKP too, which isn't cheap.

    http://store.steampowered.com/app/593590/

    It's giving me a Rimworld vibe too - and that's quite some competition to have - Klei have a solid dev history tho so who knows...
    Usually I avoid early access (mostly successfully, too, apart from Darkest Dungeon and Factorio) and especially so for alpha, so I'll skip it but I am very much tempted to get it. I checked youtube, and it looks quite playable as it is.

    edit: I do applaud the approach of hiding it to prevent random sales. It is a smart move, and I wish them the best. I will be getting it when it comes out.
    Last edited by mrki; 01-03-2017 at 01:57 PM.

  15. #15
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    I dived into a VERY early version of Don't Starve (same developer) and it was a solid and robust game then and only grew in polish and content (quite a lot) as it advanced.

    It was so early it was a Chrome Store exclusive IIRC :)

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