Archive for the ‘About the Game’ Category

A Steampunk Road Tutorial – Part I

Monday, October 19th, 2015

Q: How hard is it to get started playing “Steampunk Road”?

A: Not hard at all!

First, go to and gaze upon that beautiful, nineteenth-century, genuine-beaver-fur top hat at a jaunty angle. We recently heard from the new owner of that hat in the comments to our earlier posting about it.

You have more than a dozen different things you can click on here, but nearly half of them just change the language of the site. One of them takes you here to this blog, one of them plays a lovely tune to put you in a steampunk mood, and a small host of others take you to interesting places and things. The two links we are interested in here are the two nearest the top: Login and Register. Now, you can’t login until you register, so let us look there first.

You have a much-more-manageable three choices at the registration page. You can either register using a valid email address, using your Facebook login, or using your Twitter login. (Want a different login option? Just ask and we will add it for you!) Facebook and Twitter are your easiest options, but which option you choose is entirely up to you. Once you have successfully registered (and received your password, if you chose to register with an email address), then next time you can login directly using the Login link.

That’s it for getting started! Take a look at the map and see if you can find yourself floating off the west coast of Africa. You are on your way!

“On my way to where?” I hear you ask. Ah, that is a question for Part II.

Note: While preparing this post, it was determined that there may be an issue with registering via email. If you are trying to register and are unable to do so, please leave a comment here or send an email to the Administrator at Steampunk Road.

Follow-up Note: I believe the email issues have all been resolved. Still, if you are trying to register and unable to do so, please leave a comment here or send an email to the Administrator at Steampunk Road.

Bye, Bye Bots

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

We bid adieu to many of our bot captains today. They should not return. This was an important step to take before bringing the Guild Wars online, because it is no fun battling a bot.

Generally, the more users a game has, the more enticing the game appears to potential new players. There is therefore very little incentive for removing players from the game, even if they are bots. Thus, we did not have a user deletion tool in place until today.

But we have it now, and we were not afraid to use it on those pesky bots. As much as we want everyone to stay a member of Steampunk Road, we do plan to add in the future an option for departing users to request deletion of their accounts.

Speaking of Security

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Members who are also citizens of the Floating City will remember the constant influx of “bot” captains in that game. It appears that the bots have found Steampunk Road as well. Fortunately, they are not nearly as aggressive here as they were there. (Also, they will not hurt your score here like they hurt our score there.)

We know they are bots for a couple of reasons, which unfortunately we will not go into detail here because we do not want whoever is responsible figuring out what tipped their hand. We will tell you that we have taken steps to secure the system, that we have previously taken steps to secure your data, and that we will continue to take steps to improve both the security of the system and the security of your data. In addition, you can expect to see a purging of all or most of the existing bots from the game in the next few days.

Peace Talks Among the Guilds

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Although war was expected to break out among the guilds today, last minute peace talks have silenced the hawks … at least for now. We will keep you abreast of how the talks are going and what this means for you.

What this really means is, due to the time spent fixing the Facebook* registration issues yesterday, the Guild Wars are not quite ready for primetime. Great progress has been made, but a few wrinkles still need to be ironed out before we can declare all-out war. We hope and anticipate that the Guild Wars will be up and running tomorrow.

*Twitter Login was fixed yesterday as well. We will have a detailed blog post about that later in the week.


Facebook Registrations Fixed

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

If you tried to register using your Facebook login any time between now (September 1, 2013) and immediately after the guilds were introduced (August 15, 2013), then you may have been puzzled by your complete lack of a guild. That issue has been identified and rectified. New registrations with Facebook login should work fine now with no problems, and those of you who had registered prior to the introduction of guilds should have had no issues.

If you ever have an issue with the game, please report it in the forums or send an email to “Bugs” at

Happy Birthday To Us!

Saturday, August 31st, 2013 celebrates its second birthday today! Check out our birthday hat on the home page. (You may have to clear your cache to see the birthday hat.)

Beta Launch Delayed

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Dear Friends of Steampunk Road,

It is with great regret that we must postpone our beta launch previously scheduled for September 2nd. Looking at how much time is left and what we have left to do, there is just no way that it can all get done in time. We apologize for the inconvenience.

That does not mean that there will not be something new and interesting September 2nd. We still hope to launch the Guild Wars on that date. In addition, we have a new game (with a very steampunk pedigree) which we hope to debut then as well. Finally, we may unveil the easier-but-still-challenging puzzle we wrote about earlier.

Once again, our apologies for this temporary setback.

On Being a Game Designer

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

I, dropping the royal “we” again for this more personal post, am not certain when I decided that I was a game designer. I never decided to become a game designer. I just woke up one day and decided that I was, by default, a game designer.

I more readily think of myself as a computer programmer. It was just that I had programs, like Steampunk Road and my mobile apps, that I wanted to write and there was no one telling me what they should look like or how they should work. Since the games needed to be designed before they could become games, I became a de facto game designer.

Now, I won’t claim to be a good game designer, but I have had some time to think and read and explore what makes for good game design. I am trying to incorporate all of that learning back into Steampunk Road.

For example, one of the things that you want in a good game design is a gentle ramp of difficulty. A game should start out relatively easy, but then start increasing in difficulty as the player learns more about how to play. The difficulty should challenge the player without frustrating her or him. If the game is too easy, or the difficulty stays the same, then the player will quickly become bored.

Steampunk Road has been a puzzle game from the start. The challenge has always been how to write a good puzzle in the era of Google and Wikipedia. I decided early on to expect people to use those resources and started writing puzzles with that in mind.

Surprisingly, writing difficult puzzles has not been a problem. For example, I have recently come up with a new puzzle that, while perhaps easier than our earlier puzzles, may still be quite difficult even with those resources. What has been difficult for me is coming up with easy puzzles! But there is still a lot of room in which to work, so I think perhaps we are working our way back from the end to the beginning.

Currency and Trade Survey

Monday, August 26th, 2013

The Marketplace is where you can view your inventory in Steampunk Road. Eventually, you will be able to trade items with other Captains. All trade will be through barter. There will be no currency.

In order to trade items with another Captain, you will both have to be docked at the same port. When you are docked, you can propose a trade with a specific Captain, put your trade up for offer on the market board, or accept another Captain’s offer for their trade if you have the necessary goods.

It is hoped that a natural currency will emerge – some common item that is readily acquired and exchanged for goods. Perhaps a certain item will serve as local currency in one port, but another item as local currency in another port (due to the proximity of the items’ sources).

Do you think Steampunk Road should have a common global currency, or is barter good enough? If we need a common global currency, what should it be? How much should Captains receive at the beginning of the game? Can currency be earned or created? If so, how?

As always, please leave your comments below, in this survey, or in the forums.

50 Issues Pending

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

Almost daily we think of something new that can be added to enhance Steampunk Road. We keep track of these issue, as well as the occasional bug, in an issue-tracking system. We just hit our 50th issue. Of those fifty issues, three have been resolved.

We have resolved far more than three issues in the past, of course. The tally only counts those issues since we moved to our new issue tracker about a month ago. Even still, it looks highly unlikely that all of these issues will be dealt with before September 2nd.

Many of those issues are enhancements you will not know you missed out on if they do not appear. They are nice, but inessential, enhancements to the system and the game. But there are a few major issues still undergoing development. We hope to complete those this week.