The grinding gears of Clockwork Empires

If I was to make a game that I didn’t want anyone to actually play, it would look a lot like Clockwork Empires. A torturous interface with lots of busy little buttons and information spilled across various mutually exclusive screens. Basic tasks that require about two too many steps. Lots of waiting among the various stages of any process, so when you went off to do something else, you might forget the first thing you were doing. One way doors into unrecoverable economic death spirals that you don’t know you’re in until it’s far too late.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

So your saying it’s not fun?

I got the impression – from a Three Moves Ahead episode – that coding the game was kinda laborious and complex. I’m worried that Gaslamp is going to give us a few more patches, consider the game finished, and then move on to making their next game.

After two or three economic death spirals, you will eventually
discover by poring over tooltips that Clockwork Empires thinks corn is a
vegetable. Two bushels of corn make a vegetable medley.

Protip: corn is not a vegetable.

Corn isn’t a vegetable? Is it, like, a mineral?

I’d always thought corn was a miracle food that, trinity-like, was fruit, grain, and vegetable. But that’s coming from my late, lamented grampa, who raised some corn on the family farm before saving us all from the Japanese in WWII.

You’re correct. It is considered all three, with whole corn still generally considered to be a vegetable.

Considered by whom? The average players or botanists and farmers?

Of course, you are correct, scientifically speaking, but I doubt the majority of targeted audience would know that. Not a big deal, but surely an unfortunate decision on the developers’ part. If only that were the only one…

Whether or not it’s a vegetable, I know damn sure corn + corn doesn’t make a medley of anything.

Well I an see why they abandoned MP, long long on their road map had it by the way, if they can’t even get the basics right. It sounds like the concerns were accurate. It wasn’t ready to leave EA… so just another cash crab in the EA space. That’s unfortunate for a lot customers and developers who do it “right” since it will leave those who buy these wary in the future.

Is it cultural? Science aside, on both sides of family, corn is referred to as a vegetable.

I never really followed this game closely, but its launch shocked me in two ways:

  1. I can’t believe it’s only coming out now. It was announced so long ago that I was still a subscriber to the physical PC Gamer Magazine at the time and distinctly remembered seeing it on the cover.

  2. I can’t believe how bad it looks in its final version. When it was announced on the cover of PC Gamer more than four years ago, I remember not being too interested in the concept of the game, but really liking how it looked at the time. It had a fairly bold and distinct look in the art on the cover and even in some of the early screenshots. I then went four years not thinking about the game at all, and when it resurfaced a couple of months ago with an announcement trailer, I looked at it and genuinely thought “really? after all this time?”

I’m much more interested in reading the backstory of what happened to this game than going and playing it…

Tom streamed this near the end of October. You can find the stream here.

On the one hand, I am sad. I had high hopes for this, and was looking forward to a builder with an unusual theme.

On the other hand, Planet Coaster is coming out, so that will let me drown my sorrows and fulfill my my buildering urge.

I guess I can move this off my wish list, as I have for many other promising games of this type that turned out to be duds.

From my limited time with this game, the tedious tasks vs fun scale is wayyyyyyy unbalanced.

Needs an entire year of fun stuff added for me to ever go back and try it again.

Pity. I was really looking forward to this. In fact, at one point I purchased it still in EA, but it was in such bad shape at the time I got a refund almost immediately and vowed to wait until 1.0 and impressions.

I’m sure glad I did.

Dang, reading the last paragraph is heart-breaking.

Is that really a thing? Corn being a vegetable? That makes no sense to me. That’s like calling barley a vegetable.


I’d give it a 7.25 on the fun factor scale of 7-9.


Field corn that is harvested when the seeds are dry would thus be considered a grain. Sweet corn when harvested before maturity is usually considered a vegetable. It is grown to be eaten fresh as a tender vegetable rather than as a dried grain suitable for grinding into flour or meal.

I’ve always considered it a vegetable, because you tend to eat a lot of corn on the cob in Iowa.

Processed corn is generally considered a grain. But all grains are technically vegetables anyway depending on what definition you’re using - culinary or botanical.

But say, sweet corn is definitely a vegetable.

‘Roguelike’ seems like a much more consensual term than ‘Vegetable’, suddenly oO