About this project
As Karl Marx once said, "Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to toiling for the Bourgeoisie we go!" DwarfCorp is a comedic fantasy real-time strategy game in which you lead a colony of ruthless capitalist Dwarves to discover new lands, and exploit them for profit!
Before you Read
Our game has been delayed! See update #8.
Please look at our FAQ (at the bottom of this page) regarding questions with the rewards! Make sure you know what "Pre-Alpha Prototype", "Alpha", and "Beta" mean. Kickstarter is NOT a game store. It is a funding platform. We are NOT selling a finished game in any of the tiers. Rewards are NOT available until our project is successfully completed! Some tiers refer to "immediate access" to the "current build" of the game. Backers in these tiers will not get their rewards until the project is successfully completed on August 23rd, 2013. Sorry for the confusion!
You can get more information at the following sites:
Dig deep into the earth to discover rare gems and ores, and send them back to the motherland in a balloon or ship. Defend your colony with walls, traps, and mercenaries. Promote your employees for their good work, or give them a slap if they get sloppy. Meet Elves, Goblins, Mole Men, Demons and more!. Design your company logo and color scheme, and watch your company stock rise and fall against your competitors!
We are a two-man team of amateurs making the game of our dreams in our spare time. After developing this game for almost a year, we are looking for backers to help us make releasing this a reality. We are also looking for feedback and potential collaborators. We'd love to hear from you!
Back in the Dwarven Motherland across the great sea, the Dwarven King, Dunold the Wise, has chartered a number of Dwarf Companies to explore and colonize strange new lands beyond the sea. As a Regional Manager in one of these companies, it is your duty to scout out one such island and make a foothold for Dwarven civilization there.
Back home, the Dwarves are at the beginning of an industrial revolution. With newly invented gunpowder weapons and steam engines, the Dwarves have quickly overcome their ancestral enemies in the motherland, and have spread across the earth in search of profits and expanded market opportunities.
The Dwarves are a hardy race, and with access to gold, a warm hearth, and ale, can overcome any challenge -- and this colonization business is going to be a major challenge. The strange lands beyond the sea are uncivilized wilds, and full of unknown dangers. Competing companies see profit in these lands as well, and they don't take kindly to other firms edging in on their territory. Dwarven companies are ruthless competitors, demanding profits for their shareholders at all costs. If that means sacrificing a few measly workers for that extra ton of gold ore, so be it!
These are trying times for the Dwarves. Will you manage your company well and gain profit and glory? Or will you be driven back to the motherland by the hordes of savage Goblins, Elves and Mole Men, and thrown to the dustbin of history?
Dwarfcorp is played from a free-floating overhead perspective. The game takes place both above and below ground, and so is a truly 3D real-time strategy game. You can go up and down slices of the terrain, all the way from the fiery underdark to the snowy mountain tops.
You command a company of Dwarves by assigning them tasks such as Building, Mining, Gathering, or Attacking. Dwarves are pretty smart. Using symbolic planning-based AI, the Dwarves seek out unique ways to meet their own goals. Tell a dwarf to build a wood wall, and he will determine the best way to do that might be to chop down a tree, or else to grab the wood from a stockpile.
The goal is to gather resources and send them back to the Dwarven Motherland for profits, and grow your colony from a tiny enclave to a huge fortress. Generally, the more valuable the ore, the deeper it is in the earth.
Using the money from gathering resources, you can promote your Dwarves, or make them happier by paying them more. You can also hire more Dwarves with special skills such as Craftsdwarves, Soldiers, Wizards, and Musketeers to join your colony.
With your profits, you can upgrade your colony by constructing rooms. Training Rooms can give your Dwarves the edge in combat -- The Forge can be used to construct a wide variety of mechanisms and weapons to make your operation more efficient, The Laboratory allows your magical Dwarves to research powerful spells -- and of course Drinking Halls and Bedrooms allow your Dwarves to rest and relax (like they'll be doing any of that!)
You can choose to pay whatever you want to your Dwarves, but if you pay them too little, or treat them too poorly (say, by not giving them enough ale), they may go on strike! Unhappy Dwarves may choose to stay in bed rather than go to work, and will write you a bad manager's report to the corporate higher-ups. Happy Dwarves will be more efficient, and will even sing while working!
Beware! The surface is full of dangers. Hostile Elves and Goblins aren't too keen on the Dwarves coming and stealing all their stuff. Underground, it isn't much safer, as Mole Men and Demons dwell there.
Leverage your technical superiority over the local savages! Defend your fortress by constructing traps, hiring mercenaries and building a dazzling array of walls and channels.
Before starting play, you may generate an island on which to build your colony.
The islands in DwarfCorp are procedurally generated and fully simulated.They are different every time you start playing. Fault lines, air currents, moisture, temperature, rainfall, rivers, lakes and oceans are all simulated through the passage of time -- which gives rise to forests, deserts, snowy tundra, jungles and grasslands. Additionally, civilizations of Goblins, Elves, Humans and Demons are randomly generated and given time to "fight it out," so to speak, on the island. So you, as the Dwarven outsider, will make quite a splash as you arrive.
And speaking of splashing, DwarfCorp features a finite liquid simulation system. Drain entire lakes for Dwarven industry! Power water wheels with the flow of rivers! Direct channels of lava from volcanoes! Just take care that none of your employees drown.
Day and night are simulated in the game, with the sun, moon, stars, and clouds dynamically moving across the sky. During the day, your employees may want to forage for food, but at night they had best stay underground -- where they can find caves, ores, dungeons, and other treasures.
We are Completely Fair Games Ltd : a newly formed game company from Pittsburgh, PA. We are just two guys coding and pixeling for fun. In the past, we've made many smaller games with groups of friends from Carnegie Mellon University and elsewhere. We've been associated variously with the Carnegie Mellon Game Creation Society, Dr. Fishbowl, and "Team Danger". We also participate in game jams from time to time. We both have day jobs in academia.
- Matthew Klingensmith - Programmer. Day job: PhD candidate at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon.
- Wilson Pei - Artist. Day job: Master's student in Electrical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon.
Here are some obscure games we've been involved with in the past:
Get Pumped! (Winner of the 2013 Pittsburgh Global Game Jam!)
Redux (Winner of the 2012 Microsoft Imagine Cup!)
Hydraman (2011 Global Game Jam!)
Beestruction (Carnegie Mellon Game Creation Society Gold Winner!)
A Day in the Life of Danger (Carnegie Mellon Game Creation Society Gold Winner)
Moonwalk (Carnegie Mellon Game Creation Society)
What are we Delivering?
If we get this project funded, we hope to have a playable beta available by this time next year. The beta will have the basic parts of the "sandbox" version of the game fully implemented: colony-building, combat, traps, Dwarf classes, world generation, and an economic system. The beta will be Windows only (7 / XP), and will be available for less than $20. Purchasing the beta of the game entitles you to free updates for life.
From there, we hope to have the game grow organically over time through numerous updates and community involvement. Depending on the level of initial funding we are able to acquire, we may opt to add more features or gameplay modes (i.e. stretch goals).
One of our main stretch goals is to port the game to other platforms like Linux, Mac and mobile via MonoGame or Unity. Another stretch goal we have in mind is to expand the game with a singleplayer campaign, complete with a storyline, cutscenes, and more. Should we meet our funding goal, more details on the stretch goals will be revealed.
What do we Have So Far?
Right now, we have what amounts to a small toy with basic implementations of some of the parts of the game. You can see screenshots of this toy on this page. Basic world generation, AI, building, mining, and economy exist, but they are in an extremely incomplete and early state.
We have released a simple pre-alpha prototype for you to play with to get a feel for the game. You can find it here.
We have a video of the prototype in action:
Fully developing the game from here will take quite a bit more work.
What do we Need the Money for?
Though we've been developing the game for free over the past year or so, we've been doing so purely as a hobby. Any time we spend on the game is currently time taken away from friends, family, work, and graduate school. We have considered working on this game at least part-time, but without any income, that is hard to justify. We want to make this game the best that we can possibly make it, and as quickly as possible.
Additionally, development of the game would go much smoother if we could purchase licences to better tools (particularly to content creation tools and professional code profiling and analysis tools), better content (by commissioning professional artists and designers), and better equipment.
Finally, the cost of actually publishing a game, even with self publishing methods, can be prohibitively expensive.
When we worked out how much of an investment this would be on our part, it broke the bank! That's why we need you! If you want to see this project get off the ground and onto your laptops, become a backer!
Check out some of the rewards we're offering for becoming a backer! Our rewards fall into four basic categories, "Fluff", "Digital", "Physical", and "Creative".
Fluff rewards give credit to backers in the game. All backers can have their names or nicknames put into the credits. If you're extraordinarily wealthy, and have a few thousand dollars to blow on this venture, you can be named as a "producer", have your name appear in a subtitle on the game's main screen, or even be named as the deity of the dwarves! They will sing songs in your honor!
Digital rewards include the alpha, the beta, and the sound track, which you can download DRM-free. The alphais the "feature complete," "playable" version of the game which has most of the promised game features. The alpha will be out much sooner than the beta, (probably by Christmas 2013) but will be much less fleshed out, and will be quite buggy. The beta is "feature complete", "playable", and has most of the content of the game already created. Only minor bug-fixes and tweaks remain. The beta will not be released for some time. The sound track of the game is being created in-house. You can hear a sample of one of our tracks on the video. Digital downloads of the sound track will contain 12-18 high quality, uncompressed audio tracks, and/or high quality MP3 versions.
Physical rewards are custom items which we will ship directly to your door over the next few months. First, you can get a glossy 7 x 5 inch postcard featuring one of five randomly generated terrains on the front, and a message from the developers on the back. We're also offering an 11 x 17 inch poster featuring artwork from the game, as well as two T-Shirt designs. Finally, we will be offering a physical CD of the game in a jewel case with custom-printed artwork on the case and CD face itself. (art by Emily So: http://emilyso.com/)
Creative rewards allow you, as a backer, to design elements which will appear in the game. DwarfCorp allows players to customize the logo, motto, and name of their Dwarf Company. We will have several pre-set companies that players can choose from. Non-player companies will be randomly generated from these pre-sets. Taking one of the creative tiers will allow you to create one of these pre-set companies. If it's within taste, we'll include it as a pre-set! The higher creative tiers allow you to name physical features in the randomly generated world (such as oceans, lakes, rivers, mountains or volcanoes), and even design monsters and/or Dwarf classes!
As more people back the project, the little Dwarf will climb a ladder from the depths of the earth to the top of the mountain. He's very tired, and would desperately like to get to the top of the mountain to meet his friends! He needs your help!
As the Dwarf goes higher, stretch goals may be revealed. When the Dwarf reaches a stretch goal, we will be obligated to add that (awesome) feature to the game. These will include technical features (like a larger number of available platforms) as well as gameplay features.
Risks and challenges
DwarfCorp is unfortunately nowhere near finished! We are nothing but two starving grad students working on this game as a hobby. We are NOT professional game developers. We have full time jobs, research, conferences, and all the miscellaneous bits of life to deal with in addition to making this game. And a game of this ambition and magnitude is not easy for just two people to make in their spare time.
We plan on dealing with these issues in several ways:
Firstly, at the end of this project, we plan on only having a limited playable alpha available, which will be updated (slowly) over time with new features. This is the kind of game which can never be said to be "fully finished," but is a kind of game which organically grows.
Secondly, depending on how much funding we get through the kickstarter and other sources, we will be able to commission artists, programmers and design people to help us build the game. In addition to the general population of independent game developers we could call on to help us, we also have many talented friends and acquaintances who would love to help -- with a little funding.
Thirdly, if there is enough interest, we might be able to work part-time or completely quit our jobs over a couple of summers to finish this game. Trust me, I would like nothing more than to spend all day creating the game of my dreams!
Finally, we hope to generate a vibrant community alongside this game and develop easy-to-use modding tools to help with content creation. After the first alpha is released, we will provide an easy way for the community to create and distribute content.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
This is a very good question. The text is kind of confusing. There are three things: the pre-alpha prototype, the alpha, and the beta. The pre-alpha prototype + updates forever is what is available for $20. This will eventually *become* an alpha build of the game. Backers with access to the prototype will be able to upgrade to alpha/beta for free. For $8/$10, backers will have to wait until the alpha version to get access. There seems to have been an oversight on my part in the date listed in the $20 tier.
Here are the dates:
October 2013 - Pre-Alpha Builds available for $20 plus
June 2014 - Alpha Builds available for $8 plus
TBD 2014 - Beta Builds available for everyone.
Also, all people (backers, non backers alike) will soon be able to play our prototype (but will not get free updates for life).
Isn't This a Clone of Dwarf Fortress / Minecraft / Gnomoria / Game of Dwarves / Dwarfs!? / Stonehearth?
If our game is a clone, I think you will find it difficult to pin down exactly what it is a "clone" of. We're a mixture of elements from other games. We are of course HEAVILY inspired by Dwarf Fortress and Minecraft. When this project began, it was a learning experience for my own amusement that I called "DF Minecraft Viewer". It was going to be like Stonesense and sort of interface with Dwarf Fortress. When that turned out to be a bit too challenging, I just started making my own game.
As for the other games that are inspired by Dwarf Fortress, they're great! Go play them! You can decide for yourself whether our game adds anything new to the genre. We personally feel it has its own unique style, flavor, and design elements. For one, we are dedicated to the whole satirical fanatical capitalism thing. This significantly influences the design.
Good question. Generally Dwarves will be paid based on their class. They will have a little bar which says how much they want to be paid. You drag a slider above or below this bar. As for what dwarves do with the money, why they buy Ale and other manufactured goods from your company store! I am not sure what to do yet about "non consumable goods".
Right now I envision it as other corps existing outside "the game" and only interacting with you via trade messages. You will see all the other corporations on the stock ticker. If your stock rises far above another company, you may choose to buy out the company and get access to the special goods they manufacture.
Yes and yes. Losing Dwarves will severely affect your stocks as well.
Yes. I implemented barrels a while back, but took them out due to changes in the AI.
You decide exactly which items to take form the motherland. The balloon comes with those items (and Dwarves). The money for the order is taken away immediately. Your buying price will be related to a simulated "global market" which will basically just be random walks for each of the commodities with some occasional scripted bubbles and crashes.
Any dwarf may be upgraded to another class when he reaches the required XP. Dwarves get XP by doing things like breaking blocks and killing enemies. Upgrading a dwarf will require the requisite room (training rooms for military dwarves, libraries for wizards). You can also outright buy dwarves of specific classes from the motherland, but this is extremely expensive.
It's hard to make a class tree when you have so few classes! It's just a mockup and is subject to change!
They are custom. There is not yet a minimum size, but there should be though. Rooms must be all on the same Z level and must be continuously connected. You create them by dragging out rectangles.
I am trying to decide the best way to implement this, but it is definitely planned!
This is a parameter the user can change when creating a map. The default is 20,000 x 20,000 meters (voxels). Chunk loading and unloading has unfortunately not been implemented yet, so in practice the play size is limited to something like 2,000 x 2,000 meters.
How deep is the crafting system with the mechanics and such? I understand that there may be ways to upgrade your rooms?
I imagine that "Crafting" will be something along the lines of Dungeon Keeper 2. There are selectable items. Dwarves build them at crafting workshops and then put them in place. I hope we can implement a wide variety of such items. One example is a water-wheel which can be used to make a crafting workshop much faster. You will also be able to craft and sell goods.
For aboveground races, the map has a layer called "civilization". This is generated at the start of the game (like Dwarf Fortress). There will be goblin and elf towns. Goblins and elves will randomly spawn around those towns. For underground races, they will be spawned randomly at spawn points. Demons will come from "hell portals," and mole men will come out of a "mole man hole".
Currently all texture assets in the game can be modified. Aside from that, currently entities are "data driven" but for my own convienence as a programmer I just hard code all the data. This can easily be converted into a format modders can change. I'm trying to decide between JSON and XML.
C# XNA. Plans to port to Monogame / Unity.
No, that's why we're porting to Monogame / Unity should we reach 25 thousand dollars.
How persistent are your dwarfs? Will Urist be Urist until Urist dies, or is Worker#26 identical in every way to Worker#94?
I am still trying to decide this. We could go very deep with dwarves, or just make them corporate drones. I would personally love to make them quite complex and have a lot of stats, but I'm not sure what kind of undertaking that would be.
There is currently no plan for online multiplayer :( However, we do have stretch goals related to multiplayer.
Kickstarter does not allow businesses to connect facebook accounts, only private individuals. Neither of us wanted to breach the privacy of our friends by having them displayed on Kickstarter.
The $25 creative tiers are sort of experimental. Here's the way it works: If you donate between $25 and $250, you get to chose ONE of the creative tiers (Names, Mottos, Logos, and Continents). If you donate $250 or more, you get ALL of the creative tiers. This is in place so that we don't end up too much content for us to import in a reasonable time.
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