Exciting news, an update approaches! On December 15th, Update #1 will be rolled out in RAILGRADE, with quality of life improvements, customized game settings and four new regions to test your industrial acumen on. Keep an eye out for the full list of changes, dropping on update day. In the meantime, we talked to Daniel about the upcoming update and how crucial the RAILGRADE community were in informing its content.
How important has feedback from the community been over the past two months?
Daniel: Perhaps we’ve gotten lucky, but our community’s feedback has been 100% spot on. They understand RAILGRADE and many can explain our mechanics deeper than even us. The most fun feedback has been interesting interactions with the game’s mechanics. Interactions players found which added mechanical depth, but that we did not even realize during development. By another metric, the biggest direct result of community feedback is the new playstyle modifiers.
For the past two months, I’ve been asking any player who requested Freeplay or Sandbox what those modes meant to them. Every player had a slightly different set of ideas. As a result of those discussions, we’ll introduced modifiers so that players can mix and match to create their own mode. If you want to relax and ignore the timer, you can disable the timer itself!
In trade-off, these modifiers limit the max possible rank unlockable. For example, no timer modifier will limit you to Rank A, but always gives you Rank A if you complete the region. Thus modifiers do not take away the sense of achievement from our hardcore completionist players, but instead open the experience to anyone looking for a relaxing time.
Other modifiers include Millionaire Mode, Endless Mode, and No Ghosting. No Ghosting does what is says on the tin: prevents trains from passing through each other. Millionaire mode ensures players always have a 1,000,000 yen (or more) to build with. Additionally, Endless Mode unlocks once you’ve won the region and lets you play forever.
Another common desire from players was to revisit completed regions. So now, save files are kept after winning. Thanks to the Endless Mode players can now continue their built up region past victory.
Are there any things that the community has pointed out about the game that has surprised you?
Daniel: Players dug deep into the mechanical systems. To my surprise, a bunch of players wrote up graphs and spreadsheets of the systems. One player even wrote a website for estimating train configurations!
Is your approach to working on the game different in post-release than it was previously?
Daniel: Different for sure. Prior to release, our decisions were driven by hypotheticals. After release, players have directly told us their likes and dislikes. Our continued development can now focus, with full confidence, on improving the game as players want to play. That is exciting, the guess work is gone!
How important is it to you and the team to continue to iterate on RAILGRADE?
Daniel: System-heavy games like RAILGRADE deserve continued support. The mechanics have so much more room for depth and gameplay. If anything, we’ve only scratched the surface of the fun RAILGRADE can provide. It is a joy to plan out our future and I hope players will enjoy what we cook up.
You’ve cultivated a great relationship with the core community on Discord. Why is talking about the game with the community so crucial to you?
Daniel: Everyone in the community is a player who spent their time and money to enjoy the experience we crafted. For me, I feel as if they are all visitors to my house. As their host, I get to chat with them and see them enjoy our creation.
What new addition are you most excited for the community to get their hands on in the new update?
Daniel: The new Regions, for sure. In various places over the past month, I mentioned we planned on adding 2 new regions. Instead, we were able to add 4!
We’ve got 3 new challenge-style optional regions and 1 giant new post-endgame region with an exciting storyline that even ties into the deer related achievements. I think a bunch of players will get a thrill out of the new regions and the different styles of play.
See you on update day, Industrialists.