Archive for the ‘Surveys’ Category

Update and Survey

Friday, October 25th, 2013

My apologies for the long hiatus. I regret that I still won’t have much (any!) time for Steampunk Road until 2014. My life recently went from the 0 km/h of a lead balloon to a high-flying, Zeppliny 120 km/h with almost no warning. I am now working at a new job I absolutely love, which is a good thing considering it consumes 13 hours of every weekday. But I am also rehearsing every night for a play (I am Chief Inspector Hubbard in “Dial ‘M’ for Murder”) and taking three online graduate courses in online education! Unfortunately that leaves almost no time for eating, sleeping, or breathing, let alone working on Steampunk Road, until the final curtain falls on the play and the last virtual paper has been submitted.

I found just a few minutes this morning to post this update. I am asking you to fill out another survey, this time on which browser you use/will use to access Steampunk Road. It used to be that if a web site worked at all, it worked with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer web browser. These last few weeks, I have come across two fairly-major web sites that absolutely do not work with IE, but do work with Google Chrome. And according to this article, those who use the web use Google’s Chrome web browser more than twice as much as any other. (Fine print: most people still use Microsoft IE, but those who use Google Chrome access far more many pages per person.) How about you? What is your preferred browser for accessing Steampunk Road? Please answer the question here. Thank you!

Finances Survey

Monday, September 9th, 2013

It is Monday, so it must be time for another survey! Before we get started, here is a recap of our results from previous surveys.

  • Mobile would be nice, but it is unessential
  • The current model of travel is preferred
  • We should keep the “jaunty top hat” logo
  • Barter-only is OK, no currency is needed

Looks like what we have is what you want.

Today’s survey is all about turning Steampunk Road into a big money maker … or not. Please let us know how we should ask people to give up their hard-earned money by filling out this survey here. Results next week!

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.

Of Top Hats and Logos

Monday, August 19th, 2013

I (dropping the royal “we” for the moment) was fortunate to come across some genuine antique top hats last month at a C & C Trading Post. The proprietor Mr. Jim Farley, who is based in Tampa, Florida but takes his trading post on the road, was a very gracious and knowledgeable host who was willing to share. I was particularly taken by the hat pictured below, dating from 1892:

Antique Top Hat

1892 Top Hat

Inside the hat was this note:

Top Hat Note


I was able to find an obituary in the January 19, 1942 issue of the North Adams Transcript for Lincoln Stephen Hickox, Sr., the only child of State Senator Stephen A. Hickox to survive past infancy. The funeral was held in the home of Harold Hickox. The listing was under the heading “Williamstown News Section”. Williamstown, MA is in Berkshire County. Given those points of connection to the letter (“Senator Stephen Hickox”, Berkshire County, “Mr. and Mrs. Harold Hickox”, along with the appropriate time frame) , I am very confident that this hat belonged to this particular (State) Senator Stephen Hickox.

You may not know that the felt covering the hat is made from is beaver fur, and indeed “beaver hat” is another term for top hat. Beaver fur was used because it has naturally serrated edges that make the fur mat easily into a felt. Eventually, beaver fur fell out of favor (perhaps due to the declining availability of beaver fur) and silk became the preferred covering.

You probably would not wish to risk wearing an antique hat like this one, and even if you did, it probably would not fit you. Most of the surviving hats from this era are very small, because heads of this era were very small. In addition to the antique beaver hats, Mr. Farley also had a modern felt hat and a modern leather hat for sale. Here is a picture of all of his toppers:

Top Hats

Top Hats at C & C Trading Post

As you may have noticed, our Steampunk Road logo is a top hat set at a jaunty angle. We have grown rather fond of it, but we want to know what you think about it. Our original top hat was a collapsible silk hat from the 1920’s. We replaced it today with a filtered version of Senator Hickox’s hat.


New Logo

New Logo


The jaunty top hat has a lot going for it as a logo. It is simple, instantly recognizable, scalable, and it works well in a single color. What it does not do is particularly say Steampunk Road without the accompanying text.

One issue with logos is this: Most clip-art, stock photography, and share-with-attribution artwork is not licensed for use as a logo. In the future, we would very much like to offer merchandise with our logo on it as promotional material, prizes, and perhaps even for sale. That means we either have to develop the logo in-house or pay for a work-made-for-hire logo.

So we are asking you to weigh in with your opinions once more. Help us by answering the question in this survey. Thank you!

And for those who want to know about last week’s survey, the current consensus is to keep travel the way it works now.

Note: We are also contemplating the creation of a new home screen which better conveys the feel of Steampunk Road. The new home screen would feature a steamship, steam engine, penny farthing bicycle, and a zeppelin, all going places. We would still need a different graphic for a logo since the home screen image would be much too complex for small sizes.

An Urgent Question

Monday, August 5th, 2013

It has always been a goal of Steampunk Road to support mobile devices like smartphones. Currently, there have been few accommodations made for touchscreen devices, devices with small screens, or both. The urgent question is:

Should Steampunk Road go mobile sooner or later?

Here are the possibilities as we see them:

  • Maintain the status quo with a strong emphasis on finishing the game for desktop browsers
  • Keep the priority of finishing the game, but devote a significant effort toward small-screen browsers on
  • Make mobile a priority and get mobile right by providing dedicated Android and iOS apps before finishing the game

Please give us your feedback on this question and these options: either here in the comments, in the forums, or preferably in this survey. Most importantly, if you won’t play the game at all unless you can play it mobile, please let us know. Thank you for your time and assistance!