Jon Shafer's At The Gates


I wanted to give everyone the head’s up, tomorrow around 1 pm est on my channel, I’m going to be talking to Jon live about At the Gates and what is going on with the design. I’ll make another post when the stream is live and then edit that when it’s done.


Should be interesting.


Edit: Stream is done. I’ll let everyone know when the archived version goes up.


21 minutes late, thanks to dreaded yard work


Update #53 August 2018

Hey all,

In this update we’ll be going over what additions have been made to the game the past few months. The todo list is shrinking rapidly and the light at the end of the tunnel very much in sight. The next project milestone in early September is “feature design lockdown”, which basically means all of the game’s gameplay features are in, and only need iteration, balance, and bugfixing before we’re ready to roll. At this point I’ll be looking for a lot of playtesting feedback again, so if you’re in the alpha and looking to help out that’s probably the best time to jump (back) in. There will likely be a couple more tweaks made after the next milestone, but nothing that’ll take more than a few days to implement. The few months after this milestone will include further work on the AI and diplomacy, and then aside from smaller stuff like improving the tutorial and adding some screens (e.g. settings, clan management, game setup) we’ll have pretty much reached the finish line.

Some of the subjects discussed in the full post:
Caravan Upgrades
Victory Conditions
Faction Asymmetry
New Art

As well as a detailed changelog.


Sounds really good actually.

Interest re-engaged.


Time for the bi-monthly thread bump.

Update #54 Oct 18 2018

Diplomacy System: Finished!

Hey all,

The focus over the summer was implementing the final mechanical changes on the economic side of the game. Well, prior to that task I’d spent time laying down the basic infrastructure for the diplomacy system, but it was still a ways from being functional. I knew I was onto something, but it would take more time to hook all the different pieces together, especially since there was basically no actual game content yet (e.g. the various interactions that can take place). This month we’ll be picking that feature back one up last time and talking about the now fully implemented - though still in need of polish - diplomacy system.

1400+ words trimmed here.

Diplomacy is a feature that takes some time to fully digest, so I don’t expect this to be one of the bullet points that really stands out to more casual players, but I do expect and hope that as people dig deeper and play more they’ll really see the advantages that this new approach brings to the table. The system does still need work though, and as I’ve noted already I’m going to need to spend some time playtesting and tweaking the numbers. Thankfully, that’s a whole lot easier than designing and building the system in the first place, so I can safely say this side of the game is now in a really good spot.

That’s it for the October update. Thanks again for following along, and I’ll be back in early November with an update on the last few tasks left before we’re finally ready to ship this thing!

Click here to read the full update.


Uh… could it be?



Just glad for him that he’s in a position to keep working on the game as steadily as he has. That certainly didn’t seem like a given a year ago.


I hope he succeeds.

There’s still no game quite like what he’s doing afaik.

Aggressors ancient Rome is maybe the closest thing?



AtG won’t actually feature a “tutorial” as most people would describe it, as I’ve found that they’re never fun and usually skipped by an extremely large percentage of players (who have caught on to this fact!).

Instead, the game will have extensive tooltips.

I know some people do still prefer a more traditional tutorial, but given how small the team is we really have to be ruthless with how we prioritize. Furthemore, AtG is a fairly Hardcore game. It honestly isn’t aimed at more casual 4X players who are comfortable hitting end turn a bunch of times in a row and checking in on things every so often. AtG offers several strong hooks for digging deeper and learning more (tooltips-in-tooltips!), so beyond the help tips and existing built-in teaching I’m comfortable saying, “Hey, I’ll explain the basics of how to get rolling but after that it’s time to start using your noggin’” .


Wait, is this even remotely true? I assumed that the extremely large percentage would be the players that do go through the tutorial.


I literally don’t know a single person outside this forum that willingly goes through a tutorial.

Small and irrelevant sample size, but I believe him.


Only tutorials I do are the mandatory tutorials found in the game’s campaign.


Mind. Blown.


It is for me. I cant speak for anyone else. More specifically, if the tutorial is helping me along as i play then its fine. if its one of those ones that limit my choices early on or even worse put me through one of those “do this”, “now do that” style on rails things, then I resent it and will skip it if I can.

Or to put it another way, if the tutorial gets in the way of me playing the full game by limiting features or world spaces until I complete it then its a negative in my mind.


I do tutorials when I see them on the main menu. In fact, I appreciate when a developer separates a tutorial out from the main game/campaign, so subsequent replays don’t include some sort of forced, scripted hand-holding. However, I’ve come to find the best tutorials are on YouTube anyway, so if this is one of those games you can learn on your own through careful playing/testing/reading OR from watching YouTube, I’m totally okay with that.


As you debate the merits of tutorials, you guys are missing the big story in Jon’s post:

I’ll be back early next month with a big announcement, so stay tuned!


Just don’t want to jinx it.


I hate tutorials. I just want to play, and am resentful of unskippable tutorials.