Dawn of Man: brain dead and buggy or low-key charm?

Dawn of Man drops today on Steam. Looks really good. I’ll be picking this one up.

And here’s a preview from Keralis:

(edit: since this was moved over from the City builder thread, I deleted non-relevant sentences.)

Been waiting on DoM. Is it EA or actually coming out?

I believe it’s a full release. 1.0 They already did a beta.

I’ve never heard of this before but I like the way the DoM looks and plays. Seems like something I should get. With Anno 1800 coming out on April 16 though, I wonder if I would only play this for a month… On the other hand, that’s a month of fun… Decisions, decisions

Ooh, Dawn of Man looks neat! I so love not knowing anything about what’s happening in games anymore so every time something shows up in a thread like this it’s pure found money.

Yeah, I’d only seen DoM because a youtuber who does a lot of CB-style games (and whose name eludes me, sadly) played a beta build on his channel. It looked pretty neat, so I went to investigate and found that the beta was a kickstarter thing, which is totally fair and a nice incentive for that campaign. But that put it on my radar, so I’ll be watching for impressions!

Definitely going on the wish list to keep an eye on it.

Ok tutorial done, and about 1 hour played of free mode. I love this. Everything is well done, and makes sense. Start in Paleo time, and build/manage/grow your colony while developing them through different ages. I’m still in the Paelo, but about to advance. It’s very smart and UI works well. You can open whichever menus, and stat bars you want, or keep them closed. I also like that you unlock different biomes, and play modes by advancing with milestones during play. Really well done.

Sweet! Thanks for sharing. I may check this bad boy out tonight!

Seconded! I’m liking Dawn of Man a lot. I’m about an hour in, too. I have no problem finding information, except a minimap. At least Enter key returns you to base.
I really dig the time period. First map is huge. Scrolling around looking for mammoths, wooly rhinos and such is cool.

Welp, there’s my weekend gaming I s’pose. :D

Looking forward to impressions from folks that did not like Banished but do recommend Dawn of Man.

This appears to be a PvE game where other settlement(s) also pose a threat?

There is no indication on its GOG store page that Dawn of Man is in Early Access. Its price is 15% off and considering the fact that GOG.com is having financial difficulties, I plan on buying it from GOG rather than Steam.

I cannot recommend Dawn of Man at this stage. I love games like this and put a couple hundred hours into Banished, Anno 1404 and the like. But Dawn of Man has two issues that led me to return the game after two hours:

(1) I came across a bug where my villagers were walking across the entire map to pick up sticks. There were two gathering areas they would walk through just to go clear across the map for a bundle. This effectively ruins the game because nothing gets done. There are not even enough villagers left at the site to hunt which means unless I control everyone manually everyone would starve to death. Now I could and would wait for a response to the bug submission but there is no effective way to submit one. They have a pinned post to some other third party (not company) site that requires you to register to submit a bug. I do not want to jump through hoops to submit a show-stopping bug.

(2) I get that sinking feeling that this may be like Planetbase and may not have the legs for long-term play. PB is one of those games where the first hour is fun and then the whole game loses its charm because of the sameness of the structures and the moronic AI. I think Dawn of Man has a better chance of keeping my interest so I am not certain of this point. It may be that waiting for a half-hour for villagers to collect sticks taints my view. This is certainly more charming than Planetbase but I do not rightfully know if it could hold my long-term attention like the great games in this genre do.

This is one that I will let marinate a bit longer and see what comes to pass. I give it odds-on that I will end up picking it up later but for right now I do not want another brain-dead, buggy builder like Planetbase was.

I played Dawn of Man most of today and was coming here to give my impressions. So here goes.

The game seems to have a simple, low-key charm to it. There’s rarely a need to rush around, and the game proceeds at a leisurely pace. I played one of the first villages for most of the day and got through the first two ages and on the verge of the third. This was a free play scenario so there’s no real win condition. There are challenges with specific goals and there’s also a sandbox mode I believe. I didn’t try the last two game modes though.

I did not experience any bugs when I played.

The game revolves around giving general commands to your workers and letting them figure out what to do. It’s hard to direct them to do specific things. More often you’re saying things like “two people should collect flint here and I want to keep 15 on hand.” Then when you need flint, one or two people will go to that area and collect until you have 15 in storage. Use some flint to make an axe and they’ll go back out (sooner or later). You can prioritize activities, which makes it more likely it will happen but it’s unclear to me how much they respond to that. One nice feature for production buildings is along with giving commands like “make 5 axes” you can right click an item, which says “keep making these until x% of my settlement has one” - you control the % - so for instance you can make sure everyone always has a fur coat without having to manually create one each time you get a new person wandering into your camp. Along with growing your city you will have to fight off raiders. The attacks I saw were reasonably mild.

I’m not driven but achievements, but it’s worth noting the game only has 18 achievements. Lest you think the achievements are doled out stingily, note that you get one achievement for launching the game and one achievement for going through the tutorial. So I can’t help but feel they could have put a little more thought into the achievements.

The UI is decent. I had little trouble doing what I needed to to, though I’d really prefer using MMO controls to control the map movement and zoom as opposed to wasd. I did find a strange bug in the keyboard mapping where only 1 key in the “home” cluster on my keyboard could map to an action - I was trying to map my Home key to the Home function but it just wouldn’t take… the only key that worked (in that cluster) was the Delete key. So that seems like a bug.

DoM also deals with building inhabitants in a strange way. Say you build a hut - which holds 3 people. Click on the hut and you see three empty squares each with a little person icon in it. So it’s pretty clear that the hut can hold 3 people. But the strange thing is that you only see any of those 3 slots occupied when a person is actually inside the hut - if they’re walking around outside the hut shows an empty slot. Only when someone goes into the hut to rest does a slot show as “filled.” That means I was constantly counting my huts and multiplying by 3 to see if I had enough capacity. It’s especially strange for the Stables, which has 10 slots for animals. I collected a bunch of baby animals for my stables and after a while I checked the stable and saw none of the slots were occupied. Then I looked around and saw baby goats and sheep… and was confused. As it turns out, the stable slots are only occupied in the winter, when the animals are sheltering. The rest of the year the stable appears unoccupied. So I ended up displaying a little “animals” menu to keep tabs on how many domesticated animals I had. It felt like a weird way to deal with occupancy.

Progression in the game is through “knowledge” points that you gain for doing various activities. You take those points and buy abilities in the tech tree. This unlocks additional buildings or abilities or the like. Seems as though you’d want to get everything on the tech tree, as it’s not terribly large.

I did not experience the bug that Granath saw with the villagers and the sticks. I’m obviously not sure what was going on there but the game revolves around “work areas” where you plop down a flag and the villagers collect the specified resource in a radius around the flag. I’m not sure why he couldn’t have put down a stick collecting flag somewhere really close.

Also, you can select villagers and right click on an animal and they will gang attack it - it’s definitely micromanaging but I think that would have kept the villagers from starving. But again, I wasn’t there so maybe he did find some sort of weird bug.

His references to Planetbase are because the developers are the same guys behind Planetbase. And I think the concern with respect to long-term gameplay might be a valid one (though it’s way too early for me to tell). The game does seem pretty straightforward as opposed to subtle.

I played it for 107 minutes, then took a thought and went for refund. I like the idea and concept, but it felt like all decisions were obvious and not much else to do. You need to dry skins, dry meat, build huts and so on. So I am not sure if there are enough decisions in the game besides the obvious ones. And I fear that if I would restart it would play the same.

This is me coming from Cities: Skylines. I restarted that game so many times and trying different approaches how to build my perfect city. I don’t feel it in DoM … maybe it will change later a couple of hours in, but I am not sure atm. So I refundend and bought Ape Out. And that is just perfect.

Oh man. That’s disappointing. You’re thinking it’s too much on rails and not enough variety?

yes, maybe it will open up later with different routes, but in the beginning it felt the game was playing me … I will wait and see if I will buy it later, if more feedback is out

Thank you.

I will keep it on my list. When I start looking for a game like it again, I am sure some will be posting about current state.

I mentioned that I did (two of them and assigned multiple villagers to each). The villagers ignored them and decided to stroll across the entire map instead.