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A sandbox strategy game with town building, crafting, and epic battles!
22,844 backers pledged $751,920 to help bring this project to life.

We're Building a Better Stonehearth!

Posted by Radiant Entertainment (Creator)
43 likes
No, we haven't been sitting around. Honest.
No, we haven't been sitting around. Honest.

Hello Stonehearth Kickstarter Backers! It’s been a little while since we last updated you -- and deep apologies for not communicating sooner (sorry!) -- but rest assured, it’s not as if we’ve been on a looong summer vacation or something. Quite the opposite! The Stonehearth team has been full speed ahead with new features, performance improvements, content, and more. 

[It’s worth noting that we are always active on our Steam forums and on stonehearth.net, both on the Discourse (forums) as well with (at least!) weekly news updates. If you’re hungry for more of all things Stonehearth, head to one or both of those locations in addition to checking here.] 

Moar Alpha Goodness! 

The last couple of Alphas have introduced some of the most significant features to date for the game.

Alpha 16 saw the arrival of a new combat system, featuring the arrival of three new hearthling classes to beef up your battle capabilities -- the Knight, the Archer, and the Cleric -- as well as a host of tougher enemies that will test their capabilities. We also introduced the “Hard Mode” option -- perfect for players who realllly like a challenge. Details and more here.

Alpha 17 (the current stable version) is all about empowering your hearthlings to build more awesome settlements. To do this, we’ve introduced the ability for your town to level up and made tons of upgrades to the building system itself (yay stairs tool! yay better scaffolding!). Everything you need to know is here

Today, Alpha 18 is already well underway, building (pun intended!) on the strong foundation of Alpha 17. It’s available now on our Steam Latest (unstable) branch, with a stable release not too far distant. Among other things, we’ve made further improvements in building performance (and general game performance), and have now polished a new building removal approach (can you say demolition?).

Pondering the future direction of the game 

Especially, though, we've been thinking a whole lot about where Stonehearth is going. (Well, actually, we think about this all the time. But recently we've been thinking even more than usual about this....) 

It’s a bit hard to talk about where we’re going because Stonehearth’s strength as a game comes from our close, iterative development conversations and interaction with all of you. Our alphas are designed around delivering you either one significant, fun feature – like a new class, or around relieving a pain point, like fixing bad performance or incomplete buildings. We meet every Monday as a team to realign our plans for the week and to make sure we are always working on the most important thing. It’s very common for us to change our weekly tasks based on bugs you’ve reported and features you tell us would make your experience of the game better. The result is that you get consistent, regular builds that actually work. However, it makes it very hard to talk, with confidence, about a schedule – when you might all get the things you’re looking for. Details change every day, features change dramatically every month.

So, if we can’t talk about when we’re delivering features, or what those features are in detail until we actually implement them and iterate on them with you, what IS a useful way to think about where we’re going? Well, one thing we know for sure is that we will continue to focus on finishing single player, PC Stonehearth before we look at multiplayer or Mac and Linux support. Multiplayer and Mac/Linux are definitely still planned, but multiplayer, in particular, is exponentially more difficult than single player, from a gameplay, technical, AND social perspective. Therefore, it’s really important that we finish the foundational elements of the game first, and that means a completely satisfying single-player experience. That said, where ARE we going within the scope of single player, PC Stonehearth? Well, one way to look at the future is to speak broadly about the three largest recurring challenges our team is currently facing, since meeting them head-on will be a recurring theme for the weeks and months to come. 

You can read all about these challenges and where we're heading in this blog post

We’re at PAX! (Again.) September 2-5 in Seattle. 

We had a blast at PAX in Seattle last year. It was an opportunity to meet with so many of you, our Kickstarter backers, as well as new players and players-to-be. So we thought, hey: let’s do it again! 

This year, we have our very own booth (last year, we were part of a collective of indie devs, but this year we’re on our own). Practically the entire Stonehearth dev team will be there, along with community members Froggy (modder and creator of the Cafe Mod, Candledark, and co-creator of Frostfeast), Micheal Handy ("Builder Extraordinaire"), and Deluks (YouTuber and streamer). They'll be working (together with the Stonehearth team) on a new mod we're hoping to debut in Q4. (Details coming soon… keep an eye on stonehearth.net.) 

We have a small but exciting booth (there's swag while it lasts!) -- so if you're attending PAX, please come by! We'd love to meet you and chat. (We will be on the sixth floor of the convention center.) Here’s a mockup of what the booth will look like: 

Oooh. Pretty.
Oooh. Pretty.

Plus, Stonehearth has been invited to visit the Twitch stage at PAX, so we'll be live on Twitch's own PAX channel this Friday (September 2) at 1.45 pm Pacific. Tune in! 

That’s it for now. More news soon (and sooner -- we promise!). Thanks as always for your support and encouragement. We couldn't do it without you.

-- Team Stonehearth

Socrates, CaGeRit, and 41 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. Robert Vreeland on

      Over-promise and under-deliver. The story of nearly everything I have backed on Kickstarter.

    2. Missing avatar

      Matthew Behm on

      Sucks for the OS X and Linux crowds, but I've got no Humble Bundle/Steam key and no response from multiple e-mails to the contact and support addresses they offer, so at least some people are getting the excuse of "well your product doesn't exist."

    3. Ken Mencher
      Superbacker
      on

      @justin, then what is your way "around" there not being a Mac/Linux version?

    4. E&S Guttridge on

      One more reason I gotta go to Pax! lol
      I've really loved your Desktop Tuesdays and other posts. Great to see all the work going into this! I'm very excited about the future of Stonehearth!

    5. Licktoren on

      i would love to see some upgraded default buildings; ones that utilize the special or upgraded items automatically.

    6. Justin
      Superbacker
      on

      Ken, I never mentioned wine.

    7. Ken Mencher
      Superbacker
      on

      @justin - wine isn't a way "around", it's a kludge that doesn't always work properly, and Stephanie even said "It's not an ideal play environment, as the game slows down quite a bit after awhile".

      I've basically lost confidence the future availability of Mac/Linux ports...This is going to be Elite:Dangerous all over again, where their first expansion breaks Mac Compatibility and "it's too hard" to do it for Mac/Linux, so they're not going to...

      As stated before, you're going to use some library or some code path that isn't cross-platform, and you're going to be stuck. Either change that chunk of code, or just throw in the towel and remove that capability from your non-Windows version...

      And, probably choose the latter.

    8. Kevin Brown on

      What a sham this is for Mac/Linux backers.
      @Stephanie: I know you told me that I was not getting a refund as a Mac user but it won't stop me from asking. I would like a refund of my pledge.

    9. Justin
      Superbacker
      on

      @lokiracer - No, that is NOT what I said. Eat a Snickers.

    10. lokiracer on

      @Justin "But let's be honest here folks, would you have backed a game project at that time that said maybe 2018?" So it's backers fault that we were lied to? Silly us, we should have known that the Radiant were a bunch of liars. Google "victim blaming."

      Failure to deliver pledges is 100% Radiant's fault.

    11. Kevin on

      No disrespect I love this game but I feel this game is nowhere near where it should be. It's basically empty in my eyes with a handful of features. Agreed with @Justin. I mean, look at the kickstarter campaigns main logo at the top of the page, where the f is that? And that's just one small example of many. Lots of us still have your support but are very let down.

    12. Justin
      Superbacker
      on

      I can certainly see everyones frustration with OSX and Linux. But there are ways around that.

      As for everyone being pisses that it's not near completion...well, I guess you all learned a very rough lesson in regards to software development. Granted they had no business specifying a Dec 2013 ETA because that was NEVER going to happen. But let's be honest here folks, would you have backed a game project at that time that said maybe 2018?

      At this point in time we have a very fun Alpha to play around with.

    13. lokiracer on

      Campaign update: 2.5 years behind schedule.

    14. Missing avatar

      Timothy on

      Another software engineer here... Pushing off things, like multiplayer, linux, and mac support, that can have huge architectural impacts is a terrible idea. It's pretty obvious (I think to you too) that when it comes time to do multiplayer you're going to have to pretty much start over. Sure, you can reuse your graphics, but all the difficult processing that you're now prematurely optimizing will have to be completely redone when you have multiple people affecting the world and multiple computers to update and sync. That doesn't even take into account the slew of new bugs you're going to run into in parts of the system you haven't touched in months and barely remember.

      Mac and Linux support should be relatively simple. There are a hundred ways to cross compile for different systems unless you use libraries that will only run on Windows. I don't believe for a minute that you haven't at least tried to compile for another OS to get an idea of how hard it might be. That's when you probably found out that some of the libraries you're using, or built, won't work outside Windows, but rather than fix it, you decided to move forward, building on top of them, and just kick that can down the road.

      I've got 20 years of software development experience and the only projects I've ever seen benefit from pushing off major changes are the projects that ended up being cancelled.

    15. David Reeves on

      Oh, and more regular Kickstarter updates would be appreciated, just to make it easier to find.

    16. Pirx Danford on

      Hello @Neo, actually Steam is only a second way of getting the game. First way is humblebundle and that is DRM free too. Just log in to your humblebundle account, select your Library, search for Stonehearth and voila there are direct downloads.

    17. David Reeves on

      Thank you for your update, follow-on comments and transparency, Stephanie.

      As a professional software engineer and Mac Beta supporter, I have to agree with Andrew's comments below. I do a lot of design and development work for real-time, data center systems that have to have 99.999% quality. You all may already be doing this, I would highly recommend that a Mac version be occasionally tested in native Mac mode (not through Wine) to make sure there are no large design/architecture problems. Despite good intentions, those kind of problems, if not caught early, could effectively put the Mac/Linux efforts beyond a reasonable profitability and business schedule.

      I would really like this project to succeed, and I supported it so I could play multiplayer with my son. As a Beta backer, I would be happy to help test a Mac version and provide solid engineering and player experience feedback.

      David

    18. Missing avatar

      Neo on

      Dear devs! Can we have at least a GOG support?

      https://www.gog.com/news/introducing_games_in_development

      I waited for Linux build almost 3 YEARS. But at least give us a DRM-Free builds on GOG. Some of us don't like DRM and don't want to use steam and other services. I have all my games on GOG. You provide too much attention to steam users. Cmon - GOG users are people too! There is no good reasons to ignore us. It's not funny anymore.

    19. Missing avatar

      H00K on

      I think this game is one of the greatest i've ever played, its so fun to watch the little guys running and my village grown :)... thats why stonehearth is my most played game on steam after skyrim!... keep it up radiant team and be the best develop-team i can see!

    20. Jo-Herman Haugholt
      Superbacker
      on

      I'm a Linux beta-backer and I'm getting really frustrated. Especially since you're saying thay if you're a Linux or Mac user, you'll really won't get access until it's done. And to add insult to injury, the game seems to be in perpetual alpha, so can I ever expect to be able to play this game? It's obvious you don't care about me as a backer, so I should probably think about demanding a refund...

    21. Missing avatar

      Ledenko on

      It should have been obvious at the time. Game release estimate - sep 2014. Two copies estimate - dec 2014. Beta estimate - 2014. 3 years after your campaign ended, you don't even seem to have a clear vision of where you're supposed to take this. I probably don't even have to say I'm sorry I ever backed this project.

    22. Radiant Entertainment Creator on

      Hey guys, this is Stephanie. For those of you who remember me only as the head behind Tom's desk during his early streams, I am a Stonehearth engineer and this game, you in its community, and my teammates and coworkers on this project, have been my life's primary focus for the past three years. As we mentioned above, we're very sorry to have left it quiet so long here on Kickstarter. This summer has been a very chaotic one, so releasing content updates to the game, keeping it stable throughout the updates, and modifying the gameplay and performance in response to all your feedback has been our first priority. We'll try to be more consistent with our alpha updates going forward, while being respectful of all of you who have told us (repeatedly) that you do not want to be spammed by us every time we have something to announce.

      To those of you who are still waiting for a Mac/Linux port, or for multiplayer, I'm sorry you've been waiting for so long. We have not forgotten you, as many of our own friends have only Macs, and we eagerly anticipate the day when we can all play together online. However, our team's bandwidth and strategy have not changed; we believe the game as a whole will be better, and our efforts more efficient, if we focus on a solid single player PC version first. For those of you who have only a Mac, don't have bootcamp, and absolutely must try a version of Stonehearth, another of our community members has made you a wineskin wrapper: http://discourse.stonehearth.net/t/the-mac-version/12521

      It's not an ideal play environment, as the game slows down quite a bit after awhile, but every moment we spend optimizing that is a moment we're not working towards our goal, so, as usual, tradeoffs.

      To those of you who just wish the game were done already... well, I feel your pain. I sincerely believe Stonehearth is one of the most ambitious games anyone, much less a first-time team of dreamers, has ever tried to make. For a peek at what complications building alone has unveiled, check out Chris's Desktop Tuesday post here: http://stonehearth.net/dt-building-a-better-building/

      We still have our roadmap, we're still deeply committed, and we still know where we want to go, but given the way we develop our alphas together with all of you, it would be irresponsible to give you a date as to when we'll all be done. In exchange, we've instead committed to being open about our development process, and to keeping a stable, playable version of the game in your hands throughout the process. If this is not what you were looking for, then again, I'm sorry. The last three years have been full of surprises for all of us.

      And as always, thank you all again for supporting us. Not a day goes by when I don't remember that you enabled us to go on this crazy journey together.

    23. Andrew Pam on

      As a professional software developer, I strongly recommend that you not leave Mac and Linux support to the very end not only because it leaves those backers out of the development process, but also because testing on other platforms exposes portability issues which can sometimes require design changes that are far more expensive to do at the end than early on. Best to find and nail those issues as early as possible!

    24. Turk
      Superbacker
      on

      Havent been able to test the alphas for a while now, the multiple building bugs prevent me from progressing in game with Peons stuck and unable to complete even simple buildings

    25. Ken Mencher
      Superbacker
      on

      As another Mac backer, I'm feeling the bait and switch here.

      If I had any confidence you would actually deliver a Mac version in a timely manner, I'd feel better, but you keep pushing release further and further back, and I'm dreading the update "We decided Mac/Linux was too hard, and we're canceling those releases".

      How do I go about getting my refund? (at this point, even if I do get a PC, I'm not sure I want this game anymore. There's been so many delays without any real commitment to a timeframe)

    26. Pirx Danford on

      I hope you folks have a great time at PAX, wish I could go, but reason dictates that flying to another continent just for a convention is crazy.

      Lately someone compared the systems of Rimworld and Stonehearth and as I also have Rimworld and at times play it a lot I thought about the main differences.
      So yeah in Rimworld there are tons of systems like relationships, combat with many types of weapons, building, farming, taming, hunting, researching, trading, recreational activities, cooking, artwork crafting, tailoring, more crafting of very different stuff, corpses that need to be dealt with by crematorium or graves, weather, seasons, random events and just lately a drug system was introduced as well as deep mining. It is a really impressive list given that the game is made by just one guy and its very fun to play and nearly everything works... mostly.
      Yet, even as Stonehearth does not have as many systems, it has a huge advantage in another area and that is that it is so much better presented.

      Now the team may not post very much here on Kickstarter, but I don't find it disrespecting to the backers to have a blog at the companies website - I just read http://stonehearth.net/dt-looking-forward/ and I enjoyed the insights into the creative process.
      Looking into the development blog there are regular updates and the community in the forums is active and welcoming.

      Coming back to the comparison to Rimworld and quoting Stephanie from the blog for the vision of Rimworld "So this is the vision: Stonehearth is a townbuilding/ant farm sim set in an SNES style fantasy world"
      I can see that vision play out well. Yes Stonehearth may have less core systems and may be more bugged in comparison, but it is so much nicer to look at. Frankly said Rimworld is just not nice to look at, but that is okay as too much graphics would distract from the gameplay and even be disturbing given the gory nature of many of the events.
      Not so for Stonehearth, here the graphics just work out well. Rarely have I seen so cuddly enemies and the combat just looks adoring. There already is so much eye candy to look at and not just for the game world, but also the interface design is really beautiful. So yeah in comparison I would say its less game but so much better looking.

      Well if you say ant farm sim I hope there is an evil brat mode that shakes the farm and may even set it on fire, or drown it in water. Because as much as the Hearthlings deserve their nice place to live in, they should have to fight for it to stay nice.

      Every time a stable Alpha comes out I hop into the game and its steadily shaping up and looking good at that. On my part I just enjoy the ride and am confident that the final game will provide many hours of play time for me. In fact even the Alphas already do that :-)

    27. Missing avatar

      Stephen T. Robbins on

      "Our alphas are designed around delivering you either one significant, fun feature – like a new class, or around relieving a pain point, like fixing bad performance or incomplete buildings."
      - This still seems like a reasonable approach, and it's interesting to read occasionally about progress.

      "multiplayer, in particular, is exponentially more difficult than single player, from a gameplay, technical, AND social perspective."
      - Yeah, but it's also the defining feature, in addition to "good game", of how I'd chose to spend my time, so I'll keep waiting.

    28. Missing avatar

      Scott Tooker
      Superbacker
      on

      So at this point as a Mac backer should I just assume I'm never getting this game to play on the Mac?

      The game has been in early access and "released to all backers" for a long time time. Oh, except for those of who thought that the promise of a Mac (or Linux) version when we backed was actually something the team would live up to. Sorry I made that mistake, apparently the only purpose of the Mac/Linux support was to just get more funding for the endless alpha/early access period we seem to be in :(

      And please, don't try to say "oh we are a small dev team" or "porting is hard and would detract from dev time". There are lots of examples where Mac/Linux versions were provided "shortly" after the initial Windows early access builds and those teams did just fine (Darkest Dungeon and Godus (trainwreck that it was) come to mind).

      At this point I'd really appreciate some CONCRETE, REAL dates for a real release or for Mac/Linux early access builds. This game was supposed to be out in Dec 2013. It's almost September 2016. Please stop the endless feature creep and finish the game.

    29. Matt Longmuir on

      Well, you've successfully gotten my money for free. I won't ever play your game and I've unsubscribed from you kickstarter emails... that I've been getting for years...

      There must be some way to demand a refund for fraud.

    30. Tom Mahady on

      Hey guys, I have tried contacting you through kickstarter msgs twice. I never got my alpha key kickstarter reward.

    31. Missing avatar

      Wai Sing Lee on

      And I totally agree with Vinicius!

    32. Missing avatar

      Wai Sing Lee on

      How about the future direction being to finish this game and delivering it? You're almost three years behind schedule.

    33. Dawn_
      Superbacker
      on

      that's my reaction after reading that update (sorry push the post comment button..after putting the link)

    34. Vinicius Reis on

      I dont want to go to the forum to get news and feedback. The backers are here on kickstarter. This is really disrespectful.