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A simulation-based settlement-building strategy/management game set in a fantasy world, for PC, Mac and Linux.
A simulation-based settlement-building strategy/management game set in a fantasy world, for PC, Mac and Linux.
1,247 backers pledged £21,650 to help bring this project to life.

One thousand dwarf stress test version now live!

Posted by Rocket Jump Technology (Creator)

Hello and welcome to all the new Kickstarter backers! Thank you so much for joining us here :)

I've mentioned in a few places that an earlier version of the game worked (albeit struggling a little bit) with 40,000 dwarves on-screen at once. Understandably, there was a lot of doubt around this claim when other games in the same genre can tend to struggle when the number of characters gets to dozens. What better way to prove it then adding a "stress test mode" to the current prototype that starts the game with 1000 settlers rather than the (I think) 22 it currently loads with?

Well now you can download the new build (Pre-alpha 6.12) from and try it out for yourself with 1000 settlers at once!

1000 dwarves!
1000 dwarves!

I'd love to know if anyone has any issues with the new stress test mode, and if you do, it's probably easiest to swing by the official Discord server and say hi.

In other news the Kickstarter campaign itself is still going great! Depending on which campaign tracker you look at we're roughly on course to hit at least one of the stretch goals. That said, I'm surprised we've managed to maintain the initial momentum so long (into the second week of the campaign now), and it's more likely to flatten out a bit over the next week or two. To keep that from happening, we need *your* help! 

It's very difficult these days to get mentioned in the mainstream gaming press as a Kickstarter from an unknown indie developer (though having a playable prototype showing that the game exists should help), so instead, if you're excited about the potential of this game then please let your friends and gaming communities know to help spread the word. Word of mouth is the only real way to spread the news of interesting video game Kickstarter campaigns in 2018, so anything you do really does make a difference!

And as always, thank you so much for being a backer of King under the Mountain!

Daimadoshi_CL, David Sevier, and 9 more people like this update.


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    1. Missing avatar

      Marco S. on

      you'd love Kenshi you should try it sometime its been in EA for a while but it's a breath of fresh air, rimworld vibes mixed with Mount and Blade -… old trailer but i love how it explains itself..its absolutely brutally hard but worth the adventure every time you start up lol - crossing my fingers that all your stretch goals are met.

    2. Rocket Jump Technology 2-time creator on

      It does need tweaking. Currently each dwarf does find the job nearest to them to work on, but it sounds like as one finished mining one block there's a slight delay which is enough for another dwarf to swoop in and start mining more. Definitely something to improve :)

    3. Missing avatar

      FungusTrooper on

      It renders fine with 1000 dwarves.. but the AI is pretty terrible. Rather than one guy mining blocks in a row, one mines one, then another dwarf from the other side of the map comes to mine the next, repeat ad nauseum. Same for all other jobs, it seems to find the least efficiently-placed dwarf for each job, haha. Hope that's just because it's early days!

    4. Rocket Jump Technology 2-time creator on

      @Marco S while I'm aware of it, I not really familiar enough with kenshi to answer that. Most likely the answer isn't quite like kenshi, as there will definitely be npc factions and other settlements around you, though they usually won't be on the same map - they'll send traders and envoys to you and you'll also be able to go out and visit them. Sometimes though, there might be other settlements or hideouts on your own map, as you might tunnel into a huge underground cavern containing another civilization.

    5. Missing avatar

      Marco S. on

      that is amazing! I imagine this will work like kenshi? though not sure how much NPCs are in the world but I know there is actively factions walking around, traders, diplomats, battles going on elsewhere that you can watch and then pick up the loot from the dead bodies unless it's starving bandits that pick everything off or slavers that used the knocked out bodies for mining..

      Am I safe to say the world and different races/factions will be actively working the same time as you? because this is amazing. could be a great way to slowly introduce new characters..also a good way to kill off some NPC would be through sickness/rise of another faction taking on and so forth. lol this game gets me so excited.

    6. Missing avatar

      Aneurin Price on

      @Xinef - See for a fairly in-depth discussion of a very similar problem (the pathfinding in particular). Games designed for a small scale often have problems scaling up because it would mean a major redesign rather than just an optimisation, but it's not impossible if the system was designed for it in the first place.

    7. Rocket Jump Technology 2-time creator on

      @Xinef there is already a whole bunch of tricks to balance out the load, and pathfinding is multithreaded so that should never be too much of an issue unless the maps get absolutely gigantic (many times what it is currently). No reason for the AI not to multithreaded too though as it is, its written pretty efficiently and doesn't need to be, so I'm pretty confident of keeping this performance up as things get more complex. Perhaps the biggest future problem will be modelling liquid flows though I'm sure I can come up with something :)

    8. Xinef on

      Well, one thing is stressing the graphics (i.e. 40,000 Dwarves being rendered on-screen at once), and another thing is stressing the AI and game logic (if I'm not mistaken, games like Dwarf Fortress are spending most of their CPU on pathfinding calculations and such, finding optimal paths for each Dwarf, finding closest resources, closest jobs, etc.)
      So I'd expect the amount of calculations per Dwarf to increase as the game gets more complex.
      Therefore, I'd be careful with announcements like this, as the maximum number of Dwarves the game can handle might decrease as the game adds more features, and then some people will be disappointed that "you said the game can handle a thousand Dwarves!"

      ... I guess it might be possible to optimize the game to handle thousands of characters at once, but it would require some sort of batching, and other tricks... if you're doing that already, props to you.

      Just some concerns from a guy who likes to overthink things.