Rise of Industry has risen from humble beginnings on itch.io, and has now expanding its distribution network to include Steam via Early Access. What is Rise of Industry I hear you ask? Well, it is a tycoon game challenging you to build your industrial empire by gathering resources, turning them into products, and distributing them to the towns and cities that want your goods. Easy!
Rise of Industry has been on itch.io for nearly a year, and is coming onto Early Access with a nice and stable version. Having been hard at work on the game for quite a while, developers Dapper Penguin Studios know what they are broadly aiming for with the game, but are certainly looking for feedback from a wider community. That is the point of Early Access after all. I mentioned the developers have an idea for where they are taking the game, and they have been refreshingly open and honest about their plans moving forward. They have created a handy roadmap that tracks what they have achieved so far during development, and what their next steps will be.
The Early Access relese has seen the launch of Alpha 5, which, as handily explained in their latest newsletter, introduces events, an overhauled economy system and a new tutorial.
I’ve taken Rise of Industry for a quick spin, and while there certainly is a tutorial which sets about showing you the basics. It perhaps doesn’t give you everything you need to know to start a career from the bottom of the tech tree, but freeplay is a good place to start to get your hands dirty with access to the full tech tree from the start.
In my first attempt at a proper career, I bought a permit to build in a region around a small town, and started building a lumbaryard and some factories to turn the wood into paper and cardboard to sell in the town. I used the wholesaler in the town to supply my factories with the water they required, and watched my lorries move around, taking stock between locales. All was going well, until I built a farm working fields of wheat. It was at this point I realised that my knowledge of the recipe book and tech tree had let me down. The farmers market in the town didn’t want wheat, and I hadn’t progressed through the tech tree far enough to build a food factory that could turn my wheat, plus water, into dough. This dough could then have been sent, along with some apples, to another food factory to make apple pies. My lack of foresight, and lack of progression through the tech tree, left me with a wheat farm producing stacks of wheat…going nowhere.
The tech tree at the moment isn’t as balanced as I would have hoped, if you choose the wrong specialism to start the game, you can easily waste the bonus R&D points on Logistics rather than something potentially more useful like Farming or Gathering. The progression to earning new R&D points is fairly obscure, do you progress by having more buildings of that specialism, or by profits made from those buildings? It’s not a big issue in the long-term, the developers are already planning to re-design the tech tree for Alpha 6. But it is worth keeping in mind, that if you pick up Rise of Industry right now, you might well find yourself exploring some blind alleys in your career.
Freeplay, set to the newcomer difficulty, is potentially a better starting place for newcomers to the game. You start off with a nice pot of money and full access to the tech tree from the very start. In this way, you can easily explore the recipe list, and work your way from an end product back through the materials required to build your product. In my freeplay world, I’ve decided to focus on supply paints to my nearest town. To create paint, I need water, so a water siphon is built next to the nearest lake. I also need dye which is made at a textile factory using water from my existing siphon, and berries from a newly built farm. I also need to create cans for the paint, this requires more work. A can is made at a glassworks and smelter, which requires steel from another glassworks and smelter. To make the steel? Coal and iron ore is required.
Identifying the coal and iron ore takes a bit of scouting around the map. Future updates to Rise of Industry will see new map layers introduced, which should make the process of finding your raw materials easier. But, my coal and iron ore deposits were located in a distant region of the map, this meant I had to buy a new construction permit to create my new industrial hub, miles from any settlements. By linking the roads together, my petrochemical plant now has all it needs to create paint and supply it to the nearest town. I count this as a success, and the knowledge that the town will dynamically grow thanks to my influence is pleasing. New houses will appear, as will new commercial outlets. Who knows, a liquor store might open and I could create a grape orchard and associated infrastructure to make wine…now there’s an idea!
I’m already pretty impressed with Rise of Industry, it has a lovely art style. I’m already having fun just watching different lorries move back and forth, and now I want to get a train network running, and then, zepplins. The developers have a clear vision for months ahead aiming for a full release towards the end of the year. I’m sure they will have the sandbox aspects of the game polished to perfection by then, but I do wonder if they will include challenges or some other game modes, to offer players a bit more to do.
If you want to know more about the game, be sure to check out the official site and sign up for the newsletter.