This page lists all the changes we've made to the game on the main branch on Steam. To see the list of changes on the unstable branch see this page.
September 29, 2021
The Ashfall Range update brings a new biome, with new resources, equipment, production recipes, enemies, and other content. It also brings modding support, lots of quality of life improvements, balancing tweaks, performance improvements and bug fixes.
Here are some of the larger changes in this update, and the full list of changes can be found below that.
Note: Saves from previous builds are supported, but there may be some balancing or other unexpected issues. You can still play the older version by selecting one of the previous alpha builds from the betas tab on Steam.
The new Ashfall Range biome is a fiery biome full of ash, fire and molten rock. This is a late game biome that appears in 4-skull difficulty or higher, and it contains a new resource unique to this biome called Liquid Fire.
This new resource comes with new production recipes, some of which create brand new construction materials, and others are alternative recipes for existing construction materials - adding more valid options and freedom when choosing your next landing destination.
To better survive in the higher difficulty maps, we added new higher levels of equipment, including weapons and armor.
We also added a new type of weapon that shoots several projectiles in an arc, useful against stronger enemies that are nearby if you can hit them with the entire burst, and also against weaker enemies that are spread out.
We improved our in-game encyclopedia so it provides more information that is easier to access. You can now see resources in these archives, and for each resources you can see how to get it, and the different uses it has. More resources and uses will be displayed as you unlock them with research.
We also fleshed out the other pages, and improved navigation by adding a filter and sorting the subjects alphabetically.
We now officially support modding for Dream Engines and we opened the Steam Workshop for uploading and downloading of mods.
The current level of modding support lets you change configuration files that determine the game's content, balancing, and many systems. You can also upload custom sprites that can be used for example for adding resources or equipment. All language files are moddable too so you can add community-based translations for the game.
Support for additional modding functionality will be added later down the road if there is demand for it. We'll make a more detailed post about our modding support on Steam in the next few days. For more information, see our Modding Guide
When you reached 5 skulls or high threat levels, you may have noticed that we used larger & stronger versions of the tier-2 enemies. In this update we added new tier-3 enemies, which will improve the balance and overall feel of the late game.
Lots of balancing and quality of life improvements were made, most of them based on your feedback. Some of the more important ones:
We've identified and improved some performance bottlenecks, especially in the late game when the map is full of carts travelling to resource drop-offs.
We know we still have more optimizations to do, and will keep improving in future updates. If you encounter a situation where the game's performance is bad, please follow the instructions in this post and send us the save file, it will really help if we can identify those poor performance situations so we can improve and optimize them.
Build 267 to 300
Build 261 - fixed a bug that would break the game if a building was highlighted by hovering it in management mode at the time that it was destroyed by enemies.
Build 261 - unlocking the Dream Weavers now requires 3000 flux as noted instead of 3001.
Build 261 - fixed texts and typos.
Build 260 - the "Still Learning" difficulty now has ironman off by default.
Build 260 - minor tweaks to some "Forgiving" difficulty settings making them a tiny bit easier.
Build 260 - preset difficulty levels now have color codes.
Build 260 - added the ability to bind a keyboard key to rotate the camera in addition to the middle mouse button.
Build 260 - added missing texts for zoom in and out key binding.
July 14, 2021
The early access release build brings a large content update and lots of polish, UX, quality of life and bug-fixes. We also introduced six new languages.
Below are some of the more significant changes in this update. I hope you enjoy it, and as always looking forward to hearing your feedback. The full list of changes can be found below that.
Note: Since the change is so significant, saves from previous alpha versions are not supported. If you wish to continue your old games, you can still play the older version by selecting one of the previous alpha builds from the betas tab on Steam.
Other than this update we spent a big portion of the last month or two preparing for launch - making a new trailer, reaching out to press and content creators, preparing a game guide, and many other related tasks.
One of the bigger changes to the game is in the mid-game phase, after you leave your starting map and have gathered plenty of Bloodwood and Featherstone. We've added two new resource nodes - Crystals and Cabtus, both in the desert maps.
We've also added several new refined materials, some are made of a combination of multiple raw resources which can't fly, so they can only be produced in maps that have all these resources present at the same time. We've rebalanced several of the buildings, upgrades and crafting recipes to use these new materials, and we also added multiple recipes to produce Flux, power, upgrade materials, research, etc - all using these new refined materials.
These advanced materials can also be used to build an apartment block, a more efficient version of the house to increase your city's population.
When you take-off and search for a new place to land your city, the landing area selection has become much more interesting. Other than the new resources, we've also added random map traits to each option. These traits can have various positive and negative effects that will take place during your next landing, and will require you to adjust your strategy and choose your destination more carefully.
Each biome now also has constant bonuses and penalties. For example, the desert map allows your stone worker and harvesters to produce much faster, but on the other hand your purptato farms produce much slower due to the dry weather. You'll need to build more farms or find alternative food sources.
When you start a new game, you now get to select the tribe that you will be playing. Each tribe has different bonuses and penalties, some of which may significantly change your strategy. You can unlock new tribe options while playing with other tribes.
In this build there are two playable tribes, and we will add more in the coming updates.
To add some more life into the game, we added a couple of weather effects that may occur randomly. These effects do not impact the gameplay, they're just visual atmospheric aids.
Each biome now has its own unique musical score that will randomly play between sets of the more generic ambient music. Alon Kaplan did some great work with these, and we're sure you'll enjoy listening to them while you play.
We've also added shorter musical cues when you leave a map, and when you win or lose a game. Lots of new and changed sound effects and ambient city sound that slowly fades into wilderness ambiance was were added as well.
A new mid-level enemy - the Spider thing - was intorduced. These creatures shoot at a range longer than the previous ranged enemies, and at a significantly faster firing rate, but they come in smaller numbers and are not very hard to kill.
Plenty of balancing, bug-fixing, UX, quality-of-life, and gameplay changes have been introduced. A few notable ones include the removal of ammo from ranged weapons, more difficulty customization, a new production layer in the management mode HUD, a city overview window, and the ability to configure the resource panel in the HUD.
Build 221 to 259
March 13, 2021
The swarms update mainly tackled combat, balancing and performance aspects related to it. We made the combat more fast-paced and with a better flow to it, mainly through the use of weaker, faster enemies that come in much larger numbers. In this update we also added a major UX change that better separates city-management tools from combat controls, allowing us to show more information and simplify the UI for each phase.
Below are some of the main changes in this update. I hope you enjoy it, and as always I am really looking forward to getting your feedback. The full list of changes can be found below that.
Note: Since the change is so significant, saves from previous alpha versions are not supported. If you wish to continue your old games, you can still play the older version by selecting one of the previous alpha builds from the betas tab on Steam.
We also spent several weeks since our previous update working on a demo version that was available for a limited time during the Steam Festival. It is no longer up-to-date, however, and keeping it so would consume additional resources - so the demo is no longer available.
My original direction regarding steambot combat while exploring was to give it a feel of survival - where every shot counts and every hit hurts. But I also didn't want to put too much emphasis on quick reflexes, since this is after all primarily a strategy/building game.
The result was some kind of hybrid, where enemies attacked in medium numbers, so there was no intense 1 on 1 combat against strong bosses, but neither were they quick and simple combat encounters. We were not happy with it. I came to a realization that to create proper survival-style combat we'd have to put a lot of resources into combat alone - with many unique enemies, each with a different set of behaviors, and complex AI. This would be almost like making a whole new game, and we prefer to spend the majority of our valuable time and resources on improving the city building aspects, adding more content, and making an interesting world to explore.
So I decided to simplify the combat mechanics, make them faster, simpler, and more rewarding. The solution came in the form of swarms. The vast majority of enemies you will enounter following this update are weak enemies that can be killed with a single hit. They attack in much larger numbers, making the whole fight quicker and more action-packed. Skill is an important factor, if you manage to get yourself surrounded by tens of dream plagues you'll get hurt bad. That said, you don't need to be an expert player in order to fight well, as long as you have decent equipment on your steambot and city defenses.
With the change from a few stronger enemies to swarms of hundreds of weaker ones, there was a lot of balancing that needed to be done.
Melee was pretty much worthless because you could only hit one enemy at a time, at short range, while being surrounded by tens of them. So we made all melee attacks into area attacks that could hit multiple enemies. This introduced a problem with the special melee weapons that had splash damage - they became unecessary if all melee attacks dealed damage to a whole area.
Heavy crossbows were totally useless, with a very slow firing rate that would hit a single target and deal 10x more damage than was necessary to kill it. So we made them shoot explosive shots that hit several enemies for high damage. The light crossbows were better, firing 5 shots in succession, but even they were a bit too slow for the swarms, so we increased their combo to 10 shots, and slightly increased their fire rate. We also added upgrades that increase ranged attack speed even further.
We faced similar issues with turrets. These had a more interesting solution. We have 3 turrets (wood, tarbomb, and copper tiers). So the basic wooden turret now has slower firing rate but deals explosive damage that can hit several enemies, and kills the weaker ones in a single shot. The tarbomb turret has a very long range, deals even more explosive damage with double the explosion area, but fires even slower - perfect for defending a large area against weaker enemies. The copper tier turret, we gave a single-target attack, but they fire at much faster rates with much higher DPS. The high DPS makes it perfect against bosses and stronger enemies, while also efficient against swarms of weaker enemies due to its high firing rate.
Which brings me to the next issue - with hordes of weaker enemies, at some point, the numbers stop mattering. If there is a choke point that allows a limited amount of enemies to pass through, at some point your defenses with 3-4 turrets can destroy any number of enemies faster than they can pass through. Increasing the amount of enemies makes no difference. So we needed some stronger enemeis to add to the mix, which required a slightly different strategy, and allowed us to better control the difficulty curve. There are now 4 sizes of each enemy - small, regular, large and boss. small, regular, and to a lesser degree large enemies can show up in the map while exploring. Bosses only show up in higher difficulty raids, and can challenge your low-DPS area of effect towers.
This is step one, in future updates we'll add more weapons, defenses and abilities - each better suited against different enemies - which will also consist of more unique types. We'll add special bosses in the map guarding unique treasures, and other goodies to make combat more interesting.
There's a lot going on in Dream Engines. You have a city to manage, a world to explore, enemies to fight, and a steambot to customize. Each of these requires different controls, and mixing them all together is a challenge that could get confusing for players. Most city-building games let you left-click a building to open it, but fighting and exploration requires left-click to attack. So, to make things easier and less complex, we decided to separate them.
In comes management mode. Previously, pressing space-bar opened the strategic view, which changed the camera angle and added some info and buttons on the map. Now, space-bar toggles between combat mode and management mode, and each mode behaves very differently.
In management mode, left-clicking does not trigger an attack. Instead, it can be used to open a building's interface, and lets you manage these buildings without having to move your steambot near each building you want to open. Management mode is now the only mode in which you can build, move, and demolish buildings, and we added keyboard shortcuts to select buildings and categories.
In combat mode, left and right clicking are used to attack with your Steambot's weapons. The keyboard shortcuts that would let you select buildings in management mode now let you activate quick-bar items and abilities. Re-using the same keys like this was not possible before when there was a single control scheme.
After a lot of thought and uncertainty whether adding ammunition to the game will make it more interesting or just add micromanagement, we decided to add it in a fairly simplified manner, another small consideration into how you fight enemies with your steambot. Ranged weapons now have an additional drawback compared to melee, in the form of using up ammunition.
At the moment there is only one ammo type used by all weapons, it is a global resource (so you don't need to deal with inventory management), and it is fairly easy to produce. It does cost some resources and Flux, so players will be a bit better off economically if they use less ranged weapons and more melee, but it's not a blocker on using ranged weapons.
In the future, we are considering different ways to expand on this - exotic weapons that are very strong but use more expensive ammo, maybe even some that use ammo which you can only find, and can't produce or craft. Another option is switching ammo for the same weapon, with different costs & beneifts.
The management/combat mode separation also freed up some screen real-estate to show currently equipped weapons & their ammo in the HUD.
We have a brand new title screen, that comes with a new original music score by Alon Kaplan. This beautiful piece will serve as Dream Engines' main theme.
Build 179 to 219
Build 179 - added the missing copper drill blueprint to the research tree.
Build 179 - fixed an issue that would break the game if you take off when there's a cart moving from a city tile to a non-city tile.
Build 178 - fixed a bug that added free expansions again and again every time you loaded a game, for every free expansion that you resarched.
Build 177 - fixed a bug that removed all planned (but not yet active) raids when saving then loading.
Build 177 - fixed a wrong prerequisite for Upgrade Production 2 & 3 infrastructure upgrade perks.
Build 177 - fixed an issue where Upgrade Production perks had a wrong tooltip (and also didn't do anything).
Build 177 - changed costs of building acid shard harvester to starwood instead of copper, since copper is a higher tier resource than acid shards.
January 13, 2021
The outskirts update is a significant change in how you play the game. It was mainly directly influenced by feedback we got from alpha players, that there's too much focus on walking around and fighting with your character, while not enough city building. I consider dream engines primarily a city-building game, above the action and exploration aspects, so I spent a hefty amount of time trying to analyze and figure out how we got here, and what can be done about it.
The outskirts is a step in the right direction. The main idea is that you can now build most of the buildings, including your industry, outside of the city (the 'outskirts'), and that you are now able to and even encouraged to take over additional areas of the map, build there, and defend those areas. The main difficulty we faced in that aspect is that every time you fly, you are forced to abandon a good portion of your buildings, which are built outside. So I had to re-balance the entire economy, making basic buildings much cheaper and easier to build, and made map stays longer, to make it worthwhile building outside, temporarily enjoying a stronger economy, and then scrapping some of these buildings before leaving.
This change also puts more emphasis on the need to balance between short-term, cheap constructions outside the city, which you benefit greatly from, but only for a short time, and building within your city or expanding it, for slower, but longer-term bonuses that stay with you forever. It was always our intention for you to make these kinds of meaningful choices, but it was somewhat diminished along the way, and I am happy that it is now much more significant.
Below are some of the main changes in this update, in more detail. I hope you enjoy it, and as always I am really looking forward to getting your feedback. The full list of changes can be found at the bottom.
Note: Since the change is so significant, saves from previous alpha versions are not supported. If you wish to continue your old games, you can still play the older version by selecting Alpha 1 or 2 from the betas tab on Steam.
To make the city-building aspect of the game more meaningful and a part you focus more on, we needed to add more building space, and make the environment you build in have more impact on how you build, otherwise every game can turn out the same. Since the main city area is pretty much static, we turned to the outskirts - building outside your main city platform.
Almost all buildings and infrastructure (like rails) can now be built outside the city. The starting city area is now much smaller, each section you add is also smaller, but also less expensive and available earlier in the game, so long-term you can still achieve large city sizes and take more buildings with you, if you choose to spend your resources on that. Choosing which buildings to take with you when you leave is now a real dilemma, but you can move almost all buildings at any time, including moving them inside or outside your city, so your decisions are not permanent.
To support this change in gameplay, encouraging you to build more without having to feel too bad about leaving things behind (though you can scrap them and get 50% of the building materials back), we had to significantly reduce both the costs and effectiveness of production buildings. The basic production buildings such as wood warpers, farms, flux vats and power generators are now much cheaper to build and to maintain, but also produce less (without upgrades). This encourages you to build and optimize the area outside your city, and take over & defend new areas to expand. Defense costs have also been reduced accordingly to make it easier to defend larger areas of the map.
Our previous balancing was high-pressure & short-time, always giving you the feeling that you need to do something or be left behind. This created two problems with our new gameplay. One, you couldn't afford to spend a lot of time in the city building, planning and re-organizing, because you were always under pressure to explore and gather more resources. The other was that if your stay in each map is so short, then you aren't able to enjoy the benefits of what you build outside before you have to abandon it, and you can't exploit much of the map.
So, while we kept some of this pressure, and you still need to progress fast enough or be unable to handle the swarms of Drep (except in relaxed mode) - we did mellow it down significantly. We increased the amount of time that you can spend in every map before you have to leave. We replaced the 4-threat-levels and the extreme threat stage (which basically meant you had to go or die horribly no matter how strong you were).
Instead, threat levels are now a numeric value, starting at 0, and increasing as long as you stay in the same map. The higher the threat level, the stronger the raids on your city, but there is no hard limit in which you must leave, as long as you still have stuff to do on the map and the defensive capabilities to survive, you can stay. Once you fly away and land in a new map, the threat level will reset according to the new map's difficulty level.
You can now build harvesters from the start, and they are the only way to collect resources from the larger nodes, no more running around punching huge resource nodes. You can still destroy the smaller nodes for some extra resources.
Other than that, you can now build rails to send resources from the harvesters to your industry. Resource nodes also have a much larger yield, so they will last for a longer time, and once they are depleted, they still continue to generate resources, but at a much lower pace.
The resource elevator (renamed to resource drop-off) can still be unlocked to automate delivery of resources from harvesters to your industrial area, without having to build long winding rail tracks from faraway resources. It can now be built outside the city, or you could still build it on the edge of your city if you prefer.
The map generation algorithm has been slightly changed, making most clearings smaller and having less exits. This means you will need to capture more areas in order to expand (since each area has limited construction space), but also makes them easier to defend. Resources are now also distributed a bit more evenly, and there are less of them (but they lost longer as mentioned before).
In the outskirts update, you can no longer carry raw resources with you when they fly (they are too heavy or volatile). So just exploring and collecting resources will not do you much good, you must have a strong economy to support a massive industry, and refine as many of these resources before you leave. Currently there is no storage limit, so the more resources you refine the more you can take with you when you fly away.
These include purptatoes, raw copper, bloodwood logs, and raw featherstone (which you can now refine).
Building add-ons are a new mechanic. They work somewhat similar to upgrading building levels, but they are not linear and their effect is usually more significant than just increasing production.
The flux vats and power generator are now very cheap to build and produce a much smaller amount of flux/power, but their basic recipe no longer requires any raw materials, so you can just build as many of them as you can afford outside the city. In the long-term, however, you want more productive buildings to take with you, that use less space in your limited city area. So both the flux vats and power generators have add-ons that you can unlock with research, which allow you to use more advanced recipes (using Star-Tar and other new resources) for much higher productivity.
These add-ons are much more expensive than the base building, so they are more suitable for long-term factories that you build in the city and take with you.
We've added a few new buildings, such as the Stone Worker to process featherstone, and the Atmospheric Condenser that generates a gel substance from smoke, and can be used in more advanced power and research recipes. There's a new long-range power hub, which generates a power area around it, allowing you to build outposts without having to connect them to your main city via a vulnerable line of tesla towers.
Another new addition is a building repair kit, a consumable that lets you repair all buildings around your character, useful in a tough fight.
Build 161 to 176
Build 161 - fixed a bug that messed up the rail build system when enabling target marker.
Build 161 - fixed a bug with the stats of Starwood Repair Kit 2.
Build 161 - fixed some missing or wrong texts.
Build 161 - production buildings will now send output even when disabled (storages still won't).
Build 161 - can now place items in output slots of production buildings.
Build 161 - demolishing a building now shows the explosion visual effect.
Build 160 - fixed a bug where the Materializer couldn't send Featherstone through rails.