A few years back there was a fantasy city-builder on Kickstarter that was languishing away until a stray tweet by Minecraft’s Jeb Bergensten got it some attention. Timber and Stone blew past its initial goal with a few days to spare and finished up a comfy 177% over goal, and its alpha saw regular updating with until things stopped dead in 2014. There was a release in March, a pair of bug fixes through May, and then a very quiet seven months as major changes ripped out Timber and Stone’s internal organs and put them back together much more nicely than when they started. Now Timber and Stone is on Greenlight and has a lovely new trailer showing off how completely different the game looks nowadays.
When the game first hit Kickstarter it had a mostly-untextured look to its blocky voxel world, but that’s a thing of the distant past as of the January update. Plants, buildings, and the ground are all textured in a nicely 16-bit style, keeping the lo-fi look while still providing a good amount of pixely detail. Updates to the UI have gone a long way to making Timber and Stone much more playable as well, with only minimal poking about needed to figure out how to do things. A tutorial would still be nice, of course, but it didn’t take much playing with the menus to learn I could assign each villager a job and set them to auto-perform specific tasks associated with it. I actually spent a couple of minutes trying to assign my farmer a hoe until, after giving up, I discovered he’d take care of that himself when I set down a carrot patch and he got right to work tilling the field without any other input from me. There’s still things to micromanage, of course, but it’s a relief to have villagers that can take care of the basics by themselves, with a few toggles for a few advanced behaviors on top of that.
Timber and Stone has come a long way in the two and a half years since its Kickstarter completion, and now its ready to graduate from early adopters on the web site, through Greenlight, and hopefully into Steam Early Access. Game development takes time and money, and a successful Steam launch will give Timber and Stone the money necessary to buy more development time. It’s already a lovely little city builder, filled with personality and plenty of resource management. Building the bucolic medieval village of your dreams is always an engaging task, although if the necromantic hordes a successful settlement attracts have anything to do with it your town will end up a smoking, plundered ruin. So try not to let that happen, ok?