TUG Early Access: Alpha 0.8.2

TUG is an open-world sandbox crafting game that I funded on Kickstarter. It’s been a while since I last played it, so I wanted to see how the game is coming along. TUG is in early access, so of course the game is still very much a work in progress.

TUG: Stone furnace

Current version (Alpha 0.8.2) feedback

TUG: Smooth caves
Smooth, curvy caves

The good:

  • The world is large and fun to explore, with many different biomes.
  • Crafting is interesting and complex.
  • When mining, it leaves smooth, curvy caves that look a lot more natural than mining large voxel blocks.
  • Goats!

The bad:

  • Still no tutorial or tooltips, but the wiki is helpful (especially for crafting).
  • Controls are a little wonky and unintuitive.
  • There is a 3rd person view (press “x”), but it doesn’t seem as usable as 1st person.
  • Shortcut bar only has 4 slots.
  • No character customization yet.
  • Fires don’t last long enough.
  • A saber cat ate me. :'(

Version 0.8.2 trailer

Want to play?

$19.99 on Steam | $9.99 (for now) on Humble Store & developer’s website

TUG Early Access: Alpha 0.5

A year ago, I helped fund TUG, a multiplayer open world sandbox RPG, on Kickstarter and I just got my Steam Early Access key! Since it’s in alpha, it’s pretty crude right now, but it’s fun to see how it’s coming along.

Current version (Alpha 0.5.3918) feedback

TUG Bamboo Forest
Bamboo forest

The good:

  • The procedurally-generated worlds are pretty neat and varying.
  • You can interact with the environment and use resources to craft tools and weapons.
  • Multiplayer support!

The bad:

  • There isn’t a tutorial or tooltips yet. I figured out how to gather resources on my own and eventually figured out how to open my inventory (by pressing “E” for some reason), but crafting is not at all obvious. Thank goodness for a helpful wiki! 🙂
  • The drain on hunger felt excessive. My poor little character kept starving while I was figuring things out.
  • No 3rd person camera view yet, from what I can tell. It’ll be in the finished game, though. Hurrah!

Overall, I think TUG has a lot of potential and I’m really excited about it. They have lots of really cool ideas (like characters that change and grow based on their diet and how you play them) and I think the finished game is going to be awesome.

Early access trailer

Want to play?

Get early access to the game + the full game at launch for $9.99 on Steam.

Stonehearth: Alpha 1

Lasy May, I helped fund a sandbox strategy game called Stonehearth on Kickstarter. A co-op multiplayer RTS RPG with town building, crafting, and epic battles?!? Yes, please!

Stonehearth workers sitting around a fire

They released the first Alpha release (Alpha 1) this week. The game is pretty basic and a bit buggy right now (as is to be expected with an alpha) and there isn’t a way to save your progress yet. Nevertheless, it was fun to play around with it and get a feel for the game. It didn’t take long for my workers to lose interest in building their house, stop following my orders, and gather up in a big pile, though! Yay bugs! 😛

Stonehearth: Setting up a base camp
Setting up a base camp
Stonehearth: Crafting menu
Crafting menu
Stonehearth: Worker pile-up
Uh oh! Worker pile-up!

If you want to play Stonehearth yourself, you can visit their store to pre-order the game (September 2014 estimated release date) and get access to the alpha.

Salem the Game: Final Thoughts

Last month, I blogged about a new game I’d started playing called Salem. Well, as of today, 3 of my friends and I are likely calling it quits.

An overpowered group of raiders found our camp today and were in the process of destroying it when Nick got on one of his characters and was (permanently) killed.

Salem raiders

Knowing that there were bound to be griefers due to perma-death, we had been working hard on defending our camp. We built triple walls and several braziers to attack anyone who tried to get in… and we were adding to our defenses every day. That wasn’t even close to enough to stop the raiders.

With groups of well-established, overpowered players playing the game, I don’t see how it’s possible for new players to stand a chance. There’s no way any of us could have gotten our humours up high enough to have a chance of defending ourselves against one, let alone a whole group, of the raiders.

A few weeks ago, one of my friends was out in the world, away from the camp, when he got killed by one of the overpowered players. The player didn’t even take any of my friend’s items after he died; he just killed him and went about his business. My friend was pretty discouraged, but since our camp was still okay and the rest of us were still alive, he begrudgingly made a new character and kept playing.

After today, though, I don’t think we have the motivation to start over again, knowing we’re likely to just be found by raiders all over again. Yes, if we focused on building a town bell right away, maybe we’d have a chance. We were actually working on getting one for our camp and might have had it by the end of the week. I think that would’ve only delayed the inevitable, though.

Salem had a lot of potential, but with strong, established players effortlessly killing off the new, weaker players, I don’t see how this game could really be successful.

Oh well. Onto the next game!

Salem the Game

Nick and I discovered a new free-to-play sandbox MMORPG called Salem, which focuses on crafting and building. The game is in beta, but it’s still fun to play in its current state.

Salem character customization
Customizing my character

Salem takes place in New England during the Pilgrim times. You start out in Salem, England and travel to Boston to start your life in the new world. You can build up a settlement, learn skills, trade, and fight creatures and other players. The game is really open, so how you play is entirely up to you.

Getting started in Salem is not easy. Once you get past customizing your character (there’s not a lot of customization yet) and the beginning tutorial, you are prompted to talk to a guide about establishing a homestead. Unbeknownst to us, the guide teleported the two of us to totally separate locations, where our homesteads were automatically created for us. After spending a while walking toward each other, we realized we were a lot further apart than we realized… and by that point, we had no idea where our homesteads were anymore.

Salem random homestead
Exploring a homestead I found. Humours are at the top of the screen and my proficiency progress is on the right.

The game centers around learning skills, which you do by studying objects you gather or craft. Studying items increases your proficiencies and you need certain amounts of proficiencies in order to learn skills. Studying a smooth stone, for instance, gives you 350 points of the Hammer & Nail proficiency (among other things), which could go toward skills like Tanning or Carpentry.

Humours are another important part of the game and can be thought of as different types of energy. There are 4 humours: Blood (red; health), Phlegm (black; endurance), Yellow Bile (combat effectiveness), and Black Bile (green; learning capacity). You can refill your humours by eating food. Players start with a maximum humour value of 5 and can increase the maximum value of individual humours through gluttony. Gluttony is a little weird, but it’s really helpful to have higher humour values.


  • Download Ender’s Salem Client. It adds some nice UI features, especially with the minimap and improved radar.
  • Don’t get attached to your items. I was so excited when I found a Singing Old Log and carried around with me everywhere… until I died and lost it. 🙁 Which brings me to my next tip:
  • You WILL die. And when you die, you lose everything you had in your inventory. It’s annoying (especially at first), but that’s just how the game works.
  • Avoid snakes. They WILL kill you. Using Ender’s Salem Client is super helpful in avoiding snakes (and other vicious creatures).
  • Increase the maximum values of your humours through gluttony.
  • If playing with friends, teleport back to Boston after creating your initial homesteads and then pick a direction and wander off together so you can actually play together. It’s a good idea to spend at least a couple hours walking away from Boston before establishing your camp. Just make sure to build temporary lean-tos along the way, so you don’t lose your walking progress if you die!
  • There is permadeath, so watch out if you see other players (outside of Boston)!
  • The Salem Wiki is full of all sorts of useful information.

Sound fun? Join the beta! They give out a handful of beta codes every day. 🙂