Quickstart guide

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Current as of Alpha 48A.

Welcome to The Colonies, bureaucrat! The Empire salutes your dedication to Progress.

If you are experiencing horrifying errors please get in touch with your Gaslamp Games contact via https://community.gaslampgames.com/ or send a missive to contact@gaslampgames.com and we shall assist posthaste. Now let’s start a new game!

   Spacebar will pause the game.
   Escape will exit various modes, close windows, or otherwise abort actions.
   W, A, S, and D will move the camera up, left, right, and down respectively.
   R will re-center the camera on your starting location
   Mousewheel forward and backward or use the + and - keys to zoom in and out.
   Click the Mousewheel to rotate the camera 90 degrees.
   Right-click on the map to re-center to that spot,
   Right-click to rotate modules.
   Left-click on things to get more information or interact with them.
   Left-click and drag a selection square to give harvest orders to large areas.

We've been assured by the Colonial Minister that the Frontier is "Perfectly Safe"; Have Fun!

Food[edit | edit source]

Now let us discuss How To Not Starve On The Frontier. This can be avoided in a few easy steps!

First you should start farming. This will provide a crop of raw food within a couple days of game time. Raw food isn’t as enjoyable as cooked food, but it’ll keep them from starving. Plus, raw food is a necessary part of making cooked food. Find the farm button in the Zones category in the bottom-left of the screen.

Zones icon.pngThe Zones icon Farm Icon.png The Farm icon

Click on the farm icon. This activates the building grid and shows that you are in zone placement mode. Left click and drag out a square farm plot on a flat piece of ground. You will see a new patch of dirt. This is your farm! Each farm plot can be up to 14x14 squares in size. To start farming you must select a crop. Left-click on the farm plot and choose a crop. Lastly, assign a work crew. Note that only one work crew can work on a particular farm plot at a time.

  • A 7x7 with Maize is good when starting out. The maximum stockpile size is 7x7, so this allows them to be placed side-by-side.
  • Add a worker to your farming work crew(s) as soon as possible.
  • Keep the same work crews on farming to improve and make use of their farming skill.
  • As your population grows and the demand for food increases, you should experiment with larger farming plot sizes for full work crews.

You can also forage berries, mushrooms, and other tasty foods. Simply find them on the map then left-click on the individual bush and select "Forage", or drag a selection square over them, release the mouse button. You can also activate hunting by opening the Work Crews panel (at the top of the screen) then toggling the hunting button. Please keep in mind that hunting uses ammunition. Ammunition supplies are limited (ammunition consumption seems to be disabled currently), and you won't be able to make more for a very long time.

Hunting toggle.jpg

Above, the hunting toggle button.

Once you have raw food, you’ll want to cook it in Kitchen, a type of Workshop. To build a workshop, select the Buildings category icon in the bottom-left of the screen (icon to the left) then choose the Kitchen (icon to the right).

Buildings Icon.png The Buildings icon Kitchen Icon.png The Kitchen icon

You will enter the foundation placement mode and a grid will appear on the ground, much like zone placement. Left-click and drag to create a blueprint area for your new kitchen. You can drag out multiple adjacent or overlapping squares to create interesting shapes (hit ESCAPE to abort if you mess up). A 5x7 tile area works well initially. Place it near your stockpile. Larger foundations require more resources. When you’re happy, press the Done button to proceed to module placement. Click on the icons under “Required Modules” and place a Door and a Small Stone Oven. That’s all you need to start. Press “Done” and your colonists will begin constructing the Kitchen.

The 5x7 size provides room to add up to three Simple Wooden Brewing Vats, as well as windows or other decorations, which are necessary keep the workers happy. A little alcohol production will help colonists deal with fear and madness.

Note that the Kitchen's foundation requires Logs and Rough Stone Blocks. Find a large nearby tree. Larger trees provide more Logs. Left click on it and chop it down. Next find a Rhyolite Boulder and left click on it to mine Stone. The bigger the Kitchen's foundation, the more Logs and Stone it will need. Once the foundation is completed, the individual modules have their own resource requirements, which you can see by hovering the mouse cursor over them.

Once the building and interior modules are complete, click anywhere on the Kitchen to open up the Workshop Menu; there are icons for various cooked foods. Choose Basic Cooked Food. Your colonists will take whatever they've grown, foraged, or hunted and mash it a few times. Cooked food is much more satisfying than raw food. Raw food should always be cooked. If not cooked, your colonists will eat the uncooked varieties available, but they won't be happy about it. Don't forget to assign a work crew!


Your colonists will start cooking food and hopefully avoid starvation. Later on you will want to add a second oven and a worker to the kitchen work crew. For now though, your colonists won’t starve, and you can start building other things they need.

Barracks[edit | edit source]

Each Barracks allows you to assign one work crew to help defend the colony. It also allows the workers assigned to the work crew to receive combat training. For these purposes, the size doesn't matter. It can also hold cots, which is where the size comes in. Currently these cots are no different from those in a Lower Class House and anyone can (and will) use them.

You start out with an NCO, which allows one armed work crew, but you don't want to wait too long to build a Barracks, because if the NCO dies, his/her work crew will disband, and you won't be able to create a replacement without a barracks. Assigning your NCO to a barracks will also allow him/her to train the workers in the work crew.

Resource Workshops[edit | edit source]

The Carpentry Workshop, Kitchen, and Barracks only require logs and stone, but beyond that, planks and bricks are needed.

Building a Carpentry Workshop is quite simple and it serves to convert logs into planks. A 2x2 is all that's required early on, but a 3x5 will allow for two Workbenches, and thus two workers simultaneously, if you wish, as well as some decorations. Don't forget a door.

Once you have a Carpentry Workshop, you have what you need in order to build several more buildings:

  • A Naturalist's Office will allow you to assign an Overseer to work as a Naturalist and explore resource nodes. Once explored, you'll be able to build a Mine there.
  • The Barber Shop will heal afflictions (wounds), so it's a medical building and has nothing to do with hair. One chair is the minimum requirement to function.
  • One large Middle Class House or several smaller ones are a good idea to provide beds for your work crew leaders. There are two middle class beds. For now just use the single beds because the larger beds still only hold one person. Only one access point needs to be accessible, so beds can be placed against a wall.

The Ceramics Workshop is required to build any of the buildings that require bricks. It produces bricks using clay from Clay Nodes. This workshop has multiple kilns of varying quality. The Stone Ceramics Kiln is the smallest, and can be built with stone and planks. The Brick Ceramics Kiln is much larger and more effective, but it requires bricks to build it. A Ceramics Workbench is also required.

Since deleting modules is currently glitchy, start with a small Ceramics Workshop with just a Ceramics Workbench and a Stone Ceramics Kiln first. Place it somewhere out of the way since this isn't going to be your main Ceramics Workshop. One optimal design is to first place a 3x3 area, then add two more squares along one edge. It should look like a 3x4 with one corner missing, and cost 2 planks and one stone. Next add a Stone Ceramics Kiln so that the chimney square that gets added outside the building is located in the missing square of the 3x4. The finished result then uses a 3x4 area in total. Add a Ceramics Workbench, a door, and optionally a few decorations. The Stone Ceramics Kiln alone is enough to slowly produce bricks. The workbench is required to produce a Brick Ceramics Kiln.

Now build a larger Ceramics Workshop, maybe 4x4 or 6x3, to place a Brick Ceramics Kiln in. That leaves room for some decorations. This will be the Ceramics Workshop you actually use. Keep the small Ceramics Workshop, but leave it unassigned, just in case you ever find your Brick Ceramics Kiln damaged and you don't have any bricks around to repair it with.

  • Avoid the Iron Ceramics Kiln until you've built a Hematite Mine.
  • You don't have to keep a work crew assigned to every workshop. You can assign and unassign work crews as needed.

Metalworks[edit | edit source]

The Metalworks is an essential and multipurpose workshop. Most notably, it produces metal parts for the construction of modules and weapons. It also produces those weapons, and it produces the charcoal it needs to make those metal parts and weapons. Eventually, it's also the place where ammunition gets made, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. That's far off yet.

We run into the same sort of situation here as we did with the Ceramics Workshop kilns. There are Stone, Brick, and Iron Charcoal Kilns. There's also a Stone and an Iron Smelting Crucible (aka. Smelters). Start with a small Metalworks with just the essentials: a Stone Charcoal Kiln, a Stone Smelting Crucible, and a Smithing Forge. You won't be able to build the Smithing Forge right away unless you started with an Iron Ingot. If you don't have one, just leave space for it (it needs a wall at least 3 squares wide). For now, a 5x4 foundation is recommended for starting out. See the Metalworks page for details. The kiln and the smelting crucible will allow you to make the ingot. This basic Metalworks can produce the metal parts and weapons you need.

Tip: Make sure the module access points aren't blocked by another module. This can happen if two modules share a corner of the foundation, since they stick out one square inside the building.

Note that iron comes from Hematite Nodes.

Videos[edit | edit source]

YouTube Let's Play videos are available, some contributors' links are:

Call me Al, he covers the way most of the systems in Clockwork Empires functions: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiwDPm8pdttAM368UmwUrsg

Advkow, conducts a casual, relaxed Let's Play: https://www.youtube.com/user/advkow