about 1 month ago - Tynan - Direct link
Hi everyone, RimWorld dev here. I figured it would be good to just write a quick post noting what's been important to us recently and clearing up some of the confusion since there are a few myths going around. So call this half a random blog post, half a mythbusting infodump.

Here's some of the things that have been important to us recently:

Supporting modders: I was a modder for 5+ years, back in the days of Unreal Tournament. So mod support, and supporting the mod community has been critical to us for a long time.

That's why we've brought A-list modders like Brrainz and Fluffy to give feedback on our development internally with 1.1 and Royalty. We also did a public beta of version 1.1 to give time for mods to be updated. We added multi-version support for mods so players would still be able to continue on version 1.0 without mods breaking (if modders choose to support that - sadly some did not). And I'm always looking for better ways to help out modders.

Supporting modders also means being clear about the relationship between mod content and official content:
  • The Royalty expansion is 100% original content created by us. With 6,000 mods out for RimWorld, it's bound to have some superficial resemblance to a few of them, but these resemblances are skin deep. In implementation it's all made by us. In actual play it's a distinct experience, dramatically different from all the mods it's been compared to, backed by 16 months of development from the same team that made RimWorld.
  • The free 1.1 update includes one piece of mod content, the Vanilla Animals art by Oskar Potocki. Since Oskar worked for us making the art for Royalty, he offered the Vanilla Animals art as well. We redesigned these animals in terms of gameplay, and added original sound effects. Besides the animal art, we made everything in 1.1 ourselves.

Expanding Ludeon: Through all of RimWorld development from 2013 to its release in 2018, our team size hovered between two and three developers. Since the game's release, we've been scaling up. Now we're at seven developers, which has allowed us to work on multiple projects in parallel.

This is how we've been able to commit resources both to improving RimWorld's core and adding new free content, as well as developing a rich expansion that opens up new kinds of gameplay. What was one team working on RimWorld became two teams - one working on RimWorld, and another implementing Royalty. I directed both teams as before, so nothing changed on that front. Certainly nothing was 'outsourced'.

Keeping the community together: With an expansion pack, there is always the worry that the community could be split into different shards, where one part has the expansion and the other doesn't. This is a concern with mods, because people want mods to be widely compatible. It's been something at the front of my mind since we started working on Royalty in 2018. So Royalty is carefully designed not to modify any of the 'bases' of gameplay in RimWorld.

For example, some features, like the new Quest system, are included in the 1.1 free update since it wouldn't be natural to make these an add-on.

Royalty is designed to be a clean drop-in piece expansion, so only mods that expand directly on its unique content will need to depend on it. I expect nearly all mods going forward to work equally well with or without Royalty. We'll be watching this and adjusting things to keep the community unified going forward.


On another note, I've noticed some broken-telephone going on about things I've said in the past, so I think it's worth correcting the record here to be clear.

Some people were under the impression that I said I was finished with RimWorld. The truth is expressed in this Reddit post from January 2017. I said at that time, "It won't be perfect, of course. Nothing ever is. And I won't even be finished with it. But - it'll be finished."

I've seen a few messages indicating people thought I said the game would never ever go on sale. That would be a pretty extreme position and it's one I have never held. You'll see in this July 2016 Reddit post I note that RimWorld could go on sale someday. I said at that time, "Of course it'll be on sale eventually, but that's probably years away." Note that this post right now is not saying that it'll be on sale soon or later or never - I'm just clearing the air on things I've said in the past.

Anyway, thanks for reading everyone. Happy to answer any more questions.
about 1 month ago - Tynan - Direct link
Originally posted by Coopnt: Did the most recent update just now (rev 601) change some of the Unity .dlls from what they were on 1.1 official release yesterday? edit:(still 1.1.2552 but different rev #)

There was no update yesterday, not sure what you're referring to. Note: The rev number relates to the time of day the build is made, while the build number (2552) relates to which day it is made.
about 1 month ago - Tynan - Direct link
That's interesting. It would be because one file appears a few minutes after the other in the build process. No mods are intended to check version.txt, they should check the assembly version in the game. But maybe we should make this stricter to prevent such errors.

Thanks for discovering that and noting it!
about 1 month ago - Tynan - Direct link
Morkonan - Definitely some lessons learned on marketing over here. I did originally want to announce before release, but there were some delays with the trailer. The project was stretching on, I didn't want to delay any more, and I talked to Steam reps and it seemed to make sense to us to just pull an Apex Legends and release it all at once. I figured it would be okay since there was a free update coming out at the same time. But the devil is in the details I suppose; the approach has to be tailored t the situation.

Some of the stuff that has come up are things I really never would have thought of. Like the idea of taking a bunch of mods uncredited and just selling them. I can't imagine any serious developer doing that; I've never heard of a developer doing that; it would never even cross my mind. We did a long period of testing with players and modders (in secret) to try to get these outside perspectives but some of them still never came up. I agree with you that a slower, staged public release might have brought such concepts to the fore earlier where they could be headed off more effectively.

Anyway, I'll definitely be going over everything for lessons learned in the future.
about 1 month ago - Tynan - Direct link
@Dreamer Not sure you what you mean about AC Odyssey. It costs $60/60 Euro. It was on sale for $24/24 Euro at one point, but that was a month ago, not today. It doesn't seem to have ever gone for $14.

Anyway, leaving that aside, if a comparison will be made it needs to be to something comparable. Ubisoft sells in a different market using different strategies, at a much larger scale. Odyssey probably cost $40 million to make. By that standard, if you want to match the input budget of those games against price, it would mean RW itself should cost like $2.

More reasonable comparisons are to comparable niche games from Klei or even Paradox. Stellaris DLC are about $17.50 and they were made in 6 months. We spent 16 months on Royalty, so should it thus cost $45? But, our team is smaller than theirs, so is it a real comparison? Then you run into the problem where everything is compared againt the top few most value-efficient games in existence, like comparing to Factorio (or RimWorld). But we can't be angry at every developer for not making every product comparable to the top few most value-efficient games ever made. And a developer can easily point to niche products with high prices for low dev costs in other games as a counterpoint (like $20 airplanes in a flight sim, or even $20 skins).

I think comparing games with each other on price is fraught because it's ultimately arbitrary whether you want to take into account dev time, dev budget, player count, sales, company size, other games in the series, or which other product you want to compare to.

The thing is - Whether a price is entirely relative to a particular consumer's budget, alternatives, and desires. What's a high price for one person is super cheap for another. e.g I wouldn't buy AC Odyssey for a dollar, because I'm just not interested in that kind of game now. But I'd pay $80 for Factorio because it's fascinating to me. I'd never buy a plane in a flight sim, but for lots of people they seem to make sense. More power to them.

That's what I mean when I say the expansion makes great sense for fans. I don't think it's reasonable to ask me to try to price something so low that every single RW player should get it (at least on release - for future sales, who knows). There are lots of people who have played RimWorld, who would probably get more value out of grabbing AC Odyssey on sale instead of Royalty, and they should do that. I'd rather make a few niche products that are great for the people they're great for, and make those players really happy.

Anyway I appreciate the question because although I've thought about this extensively for months and discussed it with various people, pricing is still a complex and important issue so anything that sparks discussion is interesting and useful to me (short and long term).

Links in this thread

r/RimWorld - Will this game go on sale when it hits steam?
r/RimWorld: Discussion, screenshots, and links, get all your RimWorld content here!

Next patch will be 1.0 confirmed by Tynan!
I have a lot more intuitions about this as well. Suggestions analysis is a big part of what I do every day. But this post has to wrap up...