Desktop Tuesday, Steam Early Access and the Road Ahead

Hi guys. With the release of Alpha 10, we’ve reached an important milestone in development. Many of the single-player gameplay systems are in place, and we’re steadily adding new content and improvements each month.

Here’s a “State of Stonehearth” post to outline how the team is doing, and some important developments that will occur over the coming weeks and months.

building

Welcome Brad and Yang to Team Radiant!

First things first. I’m happy to introduce two new team members, Brad and Yang!

Some of you on the forums have already gotten to know Brad, who has been helping us to improve our outreach to you guys. Brad comes to us from ROBLOX, and LEGO before that. His first big project is a brand new site, which we will roll out soon in the coming weeks. Brad is a big believer in the power of gaming communities, so he fits right in. 😉

And yesterday we added a new programmer, Yang! She comes to us from Google, where she worked on game frameworks for the Chromecast. Before that she worked at EA on The Sims. Yang brings a ton of expertise and enthusiasm to the team. We’re thrilled to welcome both Yang and Brad to the team.

Steam Early Access and Price Change

Your feedback as die-hard Stonehearth fans has been tremendously important to us. Now that the game is starting to come together (though it is definitely still incomplete), it’s important for us to get feedback from a wider audience as well. To do that, we’ve decided to enter the Steam Early Access program with our next release.

This is an important step for us, but it will not change our goals for the game or our approach to developing features.

Here’s how we will handle our EA launch.

  • In early June, Stonehearth will become available on Steam Early Access
  • We will still offer a DRM-free version for sale on at http://stonehearth.net/store
  • We will reduce the price to $24.99 for both the Steam EA and DRM-free versions.
  • The June release will be “Alpha 10.5.” It will be a bug-fixing release to Alpha 10, with a few minor features in it.

If you have already bought the game and entered your Steam key, you don’t have to change anything.

Quick Steam EA Q&A

Q: Why Steam EA? Why now?

A: We’re entering Steam EA to get feedback from a wider audience of players so we can continue to improve the game. We’re doing this now because the game is complete enough to represent the core gameplay, and it’s early enough for us to still respond to feedback.

Q: How is your funding? Are you doing this so you can continue to develop the game?

A: Stonehearth funding is in great shape. We’ll share more information regarding funding in a future update, but we are sufficiently funded to finish the game.

Q: What happens to new Alphas once you go on Steam EA?

A: Absolutely nothing. It will be business as usual from a development standpoint. See below.

Game Updates After Steam EA

Steam EA will not change the way we talk with you guys or update the game. Desktop Tuesday will continue, as will the weekly streams. Alphas will continue to come out every 4-8 weeks.

The only change is that new players will be able to buy the game directly from Steam if they wish. We will continue to offer a non-Steam, DRM-free version for those who want it.

What’s Coming in Alpha 11

So with that out of the way, let’s look onward to Alpha 11! The major features in Alpha 11 will be improvements to the water system, at least one new class, new content, and more building improvements. Here’s who will be working on what.

Albert

  • Water, Stage 2
  • Add rivers and waterfalls to world generation
  • Complete flow and pressure simulation for water (this will fix the puddles that sometimes form in the world)

Brad

  • Launch the new Stonehearth site
  • Find new and better ways to communicate and cooperate with modders and players

Chris

  • Continue tracking down AI bugs
  • Continue to improve graphics performance

Doug

  • Add new music to the game
  • Continue to add sound effects for new features as they are developed

Stephanie

  • Add content, including more monsters and the conclusion of the goblin campaign

Tom

  • New class: the Cook
  • Add supporting assets for new monsters and water, stage 2
  • Make fancy graphics for the new site

Tony

  • Continue to improve the build editor
  • Add more feedback as to what your hearthlings need to make progress on seemingly stuck buildings
  • Improve the usability of the party system

Yang

  • Get up to speed on the major game systems and how they work

What About Mac and Linux?

I know some of you are eager for Mac and Linux ports. We’re still committed to making these happen.

As we have said in the past, we will focus on ports once the game is close to feature complete. I know you guys are eager for the ports, and we’re eager to bring them to you. We appreciate your patience.

  • Silas_1

    Great update. Welcome new members! Looking forward to seeing the new site and new features. 🙂

  • Sam Murray

    Give me Dwarves.

    • Kevin Cummings

      bro, it was said a while ago that dwarves weren’t happening until WAY later

      • Dan

        But dwarves are the master race. They take priority. Everybody knows this.

        • Yeh dwarves are the strongest race with master masons and tones of gold, silver and fine gems from mining mountains.

          • Weapon_Master

            and their good ol’ Dwarven dexterity

  • Mitch Breese

    i just want to be able to put my buildings in the caves i dig

    • Erix Cale

      I think you can do that if you carve out a large enough cavern… I could swear I tried that once. But otherwise I totally agree with you. I like having mountainous dwellings.

      • Mitch Breese

        i tried once to do a small cottage but will try again may just have to make it deeper then i did.
        on that note mining should be adjustable so it’s not just a 4X4 cube

        • You can precision mine by pressing “N”

          • Louis

            OMG this, how did I not know!?

          • Ikr! Found it by mistake when trying to press M xD

          • Mitch Breese

            totally a beautiful accident

          • Mokujin1970

            what?!? This is amazing information!
            O.o

          • Erix Cale

            Really? Now I feel the sudden urge to play instead of going to sleep…

  • RandomDooD

    Use a better forum software, something like PHPBB or vBulliten. Discuss is … ‘different’

    • Steve Adamo

      granted there is a bit of a learning curve, but once you become acclimated, you’ll find it really is a powerful tool… 🙂

      • I agree with Steve! I’m at quite a few forums and the ability to have ONE account linked to all of them where I also can get notified and even e-mailed when I get replied is great! Different is not always bad! 😉

    • Fo

      Without the intention to hurt yours and other’s feelings, phpBB is good but it would ruin the Stonehearth community and its spirit. Keep it simple. We don’t need all the other bloated features of phpBB and constant pop up for its more than useless mobile app… That one is truly awful and annoying.

  • Onkel Jorsch

    To be honest, and maybe in the name of many other veterans… This news ( more manpower, long term strategy) ist by far most appreciate. It eliminates all little doubts i ever had during the enduring development stage. Great Team. You are the best

  • Tomasz Golachowski

    Hi guys ! How about to create temporary command for workers to reset process of creating the building ? (in case if they are stuck – maybe this wont help in all cases but in a most or worst scenario few – I am not ai programmer to say if its good idea 🙂 ) I am not certain if it is technically possible but if it could it would be awesome.
    I love your game and since i bought it on kickstarter I knew that it title will be big. 🙂

    Best wishes to enitre team
    Greetings from Poland 🙂

  • AD Dark

    Muti Player. We need it! I like this way Steammmm.

  • AgentEX97

    I’m Charmed of your Team-Work ! …
    You’re really Organized and Effective !! …
    ^_^

  • Ho Lee Munk

    A great Step !
    Finally we’ll be able to reduce the sice of the food stockpiles ! <3

  • FerretBandit

    Thanks a ton for the info! (;

    It’s great to know there are some new team members, welcome Brad and Yang!!!

  • GameSauce

    Welcome Brad! Welcome Yang! Hope you have fun in Team Radiant!

  • Arnan

    I hope that with “port” you mean a real version for Mac and Linux… Ports are always bad.

  • Welcome Brad and Yang! I’m looking forward to see what team Radiant has in store for us!

  • NonBritGit

    RE: Steam. I hope you guys have thick skins. It can be brutal out there.

    • Jakub Dominik

      I think its a good idea couse the game is ready for EA. Most people just do not understand that they pay for product in developement, they simply think and expect top quality full of content products that is the reason why EA games are mostly teared apart on community forums. Anyway that will only help gather extra money and you know how people are, they will complain till the worlds end, though they will still buy and play this game regardless of what they saying on steam forums.
      And after all there is always group of extra people who will understand EA and actually like the game looking forward for its developement

  • Joshua David Umali

    Omg i knew it that their gonna add the Cook, when i was playing i wondered “Hopefully they add a cook and a fisherman” so that they can cook the fish and the animal meats for more satisfied food for the workers.

    • plob218

      Yeah, I can’t wait to give my Hearthlings a more varied diet. They’re tired of eating raw corn and pumpkins!

      • Mokujin1970

        don’t forget the turnips and carrots!

    • firelife

      i would like a fisherman class to for better food yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mikael

    When acronyming Steam Early Release, use SEA, instead of just EA. I wouldn’t want anyone to be confused, as I was briefly, that you are doing anything at all with Electronic Arts.

    • Emily Richens

      Oh so its not Electronic Arts?? now im confused.. lol.. Especially since The Sims was mentioned,, I LOVE the sims, so it was kinda cool thinking they are teaming up with Electronic Arts.. Anyhoo, Im happy here the game is fantastic and i love love it!!

      • Just to iron this misunderstanding out, when they said EA they meant Early Access, therefore Mikael asking them to change it into SEA “Steam Early Access”

        • Mikael

          Yes, acronyming can be tricky business.

  • Willow Whisp

    Welcome Brad and Yang! I love ROBLOX and I love The Sims! So, it’s great to hear that a member of each title’s crew has finally graced and joined our growing family. 🙂

    From here on out, the game is only going to get far more epic with each update! Keep it up guys! Love you all. 😀

  • Nick

    what happens to the people who had stonehearth on steam before it entered steam EA?

    • Willow Whisp

      “If you have already bought the game and entered your Steam key, you don’t have to change anything.”

      • Nick

        will it count stonehearth as a actually steam game when it comes out? like will it have its own community hub and when I launch the game will it say ingame stonehearth?

        • ebmocces

          Yes, just like it does already if you have it through Steam.

        • myserval

          Yeah, it’s sort of like taking an unlisted video on youtube and making it public; all of the comments and views are still there, it’s just public now.

  • firelife

    I love the new updates but i have been wondering when are the archers going to be put in because i have enough trouble as it is trying to protect them from armored goblins but now wolf riders i hope the archers come soon.
    p.s. i wish that one class could have a horse rider for the hearthlings.

    • DUDE! Archers confirmed! Check the development roadmap! It’s a class in progress! 😀

  • xen2001

    As always…
    – I really like the updates you guys do.
    – It’s great to see the team grew a little more to achieve things that were not possible before. Welcome to TR you two.
    – I’m thrilled to see the new features mentioned in this article. (The COOK finally! No more baskets of turnips… plates of berries or raw corn… Abi Homer and Jo Farstrider will send letters of appreciation after the cook joined the town! … and TR implements paper and ink. 😉 )

    Now on a side note… 🙁
    Please don’t overload the website with pictures and other stuff that extends needlessly the loading time. The blog is great the way it is. Fast loading and informative! The way i like it aha aha… 😉
    (If you really really absolutely by all means and after all consideration need to pack the site full with pictures and other “cool” stuff … so maybe you could just clone the info posts to this ‘old’ version and keep it running? Distinguished by a cookie entry if the newer(bigger) site shall be loaded OR the older(sleeker) site… pretty please. :-/ )

    • Fo

      I second the fast site instead of a bloated one!

    • brad

      We’re designing the new site with performance in mind — it’s actually not that much different from the existing site. It does have a new look and feel, and it’s organized so that new players can find useful content quickly. But all the stuff you know and love — dev updates etc — that’s all there. Of course we’ll have screenshots and the like, but no more than we already use.

      • xen2001

        Thanks alot brad. It’s relieving to read that.
        A lot of game sites just feel bloated for the sake of bombarding the newcomer and the regular news-hungry supporter alike with content / pictures.
        (“Hey, we designed this cool new [redacted]. You can grab it for just 190 USD in the pledge store. All is subject to change and will probably available at game release in the near future 2016-2020.” or so…)
        😉

  • Joshua

    I always get excited when I see these future update lists! It’s even better than Christmas!

  • James Antony Bailey

    For buildings it would be great if you could remove individual blocks once they’re already built. Also interior walls and stairs would be a good feature. Currently I get bombarded with some sort of colour error if I try to edit an already saved blueprint aswell.

  • Louis

    Alpha 10 is looking great, the new building UI is really nice with all the extra materials. Would really like to be able to remove already placed blocks and be able to place doors and windows if you’ve left the space for them when using slabs. Another thing would be to add a priority to a stockpile to get more control over where item go. Keep up the great work 🙂

  • plob218

    After you defeat the goblin chief, does another goblin village ever spring up? I haven’t played the last few updates, but I seem to remember beating the first goblin camp and then there wasn’t much for my soldiers to do after that. I’d like it if goblin camps would pop up randomly from time to time instead of being a one-and-done type event. Then again, maybe the undead attacks will give me what I’m looking for…

    • Mokujin1970

      yes they do, except the next camp has wolves. You have to set the wolves free before the wolfmaster does, or they will eat up most of your food in the town… plus, they are really strong.

      These wolf camps begin to pop up every 2-3 days.

      • plob218

        Awesome, that’s exactly what my decked-out footsoldiers need: a steady supply of butts to kick!

  • Nico Leon

    When is planting trees going to be in the game?
    ty all <3

  • mew

    Ex EA employ? Overpriced DLC confirmed….

  • Mokujin1970

    Great update, TR! Welcome to the new team members, Yang & Brad. I know you guys are going to fit in well and bring valuable experience to the team 🙂 !

  • ____ ______ ____

    My computer is starting to lag A LOT! please help performance revs!! Other than that great game! ( gg )

  • Chordey213

    What about the Humble bundle purchasers? I bought mine from humble bundle (I believe, but I’m not sure because all of my updates come down from steam, so maybe I’m a steam user; but this is a valid question) will those that purchased through Humble bundle have to re-buy the game once it hits EA?

    • Mitch Breese

      no they will not if you backed it or bought through humble you have the game permanently. humble is only access codes for steam games anyways

  • Bearproductions101

    A very great release I must say, many more people will see stoneheaerth and buy it once it’s released…

  • Bearproductions101

    Stonehearth*

  • Bearproductions101

    I have found many games from steam, It will extremely help with advertising and you guys will get much more money. The only thing missing now in my opinion is Mac and Linux.

  • knight fox

    Hey everyone!
    I just have one question that has been bothering me for a while:
    When the gane is “done”, will it be really over and the developers will move on to something else or are they going to continue working on stonehearth like mojang on Minecraft…

    • brad

      Worry not! Have you seen our development roadmap (stonehearth.net/roadmap)? We plan to be adding new stuff to Stonehearth for a very long time.

  • Fo

    Hi All. With all respect, I am happy for the 2 new joinees (Welcome!) but you should seriously consider taking on board at least an AI-Master (like Johnny Knottenbelt) to get some hugely needed work done on the game if you want to make it playable on the grand-scale. I must say Stonehearth is already aiming for more than grand-scale with its complexity. This already becomes “visible” past 10 citizens and we are nowhere near at the end. The improvements are amazing but please do not let it go too far in the dumpsters without proper treatment like you do it now. The current AI requirements and development need a skilled person to handle these consecutively with builds in order to avoid future fai… big freaking mess. Both of the new starters sound like part-time employees to me. That’s fine for their roles but please do not be afraid to spend great money on the AI-side for this game to become what it is destined to become… the next new standard in sandbox. All my support shall be yours. Kind Regards, Fo

  • will alpha 11’s progress start after 10.5 which has the major bug fixes or are they both starting now?

  • CaGeRit

    God damn you nearly gave me a heart attack. Saw EA/Sims in Yang’s intro, thought good someone who knows their way around. But then you had to abbreviate early access launch to EA Launch. I’m going to go have a drink to cool the nerves. Can’t wait for build 11.

  • firelife

    the game wont let me play

  • firelife

    My game will take me to the main screen but when I press quick start or I choose an area the game will close and not let me play does anyone know how to fix this ?

    • Stephanie

      Try updating your graphics card drivers 🙂

  • myserval

    Okay, Steam EA at this point is pretty alright, but I think that a lot of games go into early access, and then get a lot of people playing them, and then loose all traction before the full game is released. And unless the game is very, very well polished when it goes into early access, and is practically bug free, as with Kerbal Space, It doesnt even get any press to stay with it once it reaches fruition.
    Don’t do any widespread campaign to sell the game yet, cause you want some people to be able to discover the game later, when it’s more feature packed and more user friendly, so they can carry the flag of support through the later development stages.
    Or else, make sure people realize that the game is at like, 30% in terms of the features so they wont complain about everything.

    I really don’t want to see this game be practically player-less on full release day.

  • firelife

    i am wondering if it will be infinite world generating because i want to make a huge kingdom

    • Moai

      Yes, eventually, I believe they plan to make infinite worlds.

  • Shadowbladers

    omg it needs to be on the forum for on the controls that you can precision mine. like seriously it would make the game ALOT BETTER in design of the land.if you really wanted a geomancer, YOU DONT NEED ONE! 🙂 its all build in with the N key when mining. all thanks to SweWizard. YAY!

  • preston

    Once final game is released will it yall continue updating it? Or is it a done fame then???

  • Anon

    Finally!….i can buy/support this game. I tried to buy this game earlier but PayPal and Amazon can´t handle Swedens secure e-cards ( we are a bit ahead of main stream IT 🙂 ). Steam can. I love this! I will buy this game….looks awsome!

  • Kijutsu

    PLEASE let me destroy old buildings. I’ll play the game when that happens, not before.