Autonauts by Denki

I came across this cute little game yesterday that is something like a cross between Minecraft and Factorio and an RTS. It is super early but you can download it from Itch.io at a pay what you want price (even free).

Like Minecraft you need to gather resources in order to craft stuff and so you can gather more and better resources so you can craft better stuff, but the twist here is that you control a single worker via an RTS style interface who can collect resources and then use them to build bots which you can then program to do basic tasks like resource gathering and crafting.

For example one of the basic resources you need lots of is wood. So you might program a bot to go and chop down the nearest tree (workers have a limited work radius for the find nearest command) and then you might program another worker to go around and pickup all the logs and deposit them in a storage chest and a third worker to go around and dig holes in areas that trees can grow and then a fourth worker to go around picking up seeds and planting them in holes. Once all that is setup you basically have a self-sustaining wood production system (with a few extra steps like programming the tree chopper to go build a new axe when the one it is using breaks). To program bots you just get their attention and then do the actions you want them to do and add some basic flow control statements through a simple drag and drop interface.

Anyway video is much more interesting than my text so here you go:

Bought this recent and I was enjoying it a lot but it has a major design flaw later on. This is no longer early access mind you. Basically research is done via supplying people with stuff and them giving you research points. The more advance stuff and shelter the more points. Scaling by a factor of 10.

The problem is the jump from getting x100 research to x1000. As text is broken into levels and the research amount per level is also by a factor of 10. So x1000 research requires several level 4 techs. The problem is that level 4 techs is the same tech level as x1000 research.

Which means there is a huge jump where all research takes 10 times longer then normal. And your choice is to modify you existing base by a factor of 10. Or just keep running on auto pilot all day. I'm doing the later which is literally taking all day.

There's also a few design problems, and some quality of life things still missing. I did enjoy the earlier bits of the game. Also the fact you can solve almost all problems by throwing more robots at it is great. Does make advance gear and tech bit useless though. Why make one fancy robot with fancy gear. When instead you can make three simpler ones with half the effort.

Game should not have be released from early access. It's very nearly done but missing the last bit of polish and quality control. It was extremely cheap at about 10 bucks with a coupon.

Edit: Steam link as I forgot to mention it's on steam

This game first came to my attention through KatherineOfSky. She's completely obsessed with Autonauts. Being a management sim/production-line savant, when something hooks her like this, you know it's good.

The entire presentation package is just so cute. It's quite the balm and I can't help but smile my way through the game. The way animation cycles feel like they have a few frames cut out creates a charming look.

And the hybrid of typical farming & production coupled with automation mechanics is fascinating. The lite programming elements remind me a lot of Human Resource Machine. Feels quite clever in design.

Haven't reached mid/late game, but I'm really enjoying my time with it so far. Hopefully the dev is paying attention to player feedback and can balance game progression.

I used a coupon that stacked with the launch-window discount so even though I haven't run into any headaches with progression, I already feel like I've gotten my money's worth. Great little package so far.

Just small note. Recent update fixed the research issue. So that's good.
Might try beating the game this weekend.

Just got this for 10 and am really enjoying it!

I got a good number of hours through my 2nd map (the first I restarted after the tutorial) when I realized you can set up a central blueprint construction area with bot support, then just freely move the thing you constructed, to have a much easier time building out your space. I was racking my brain trying to figure out if there's some way to get a couple of helper robots to follow me around building the blueprints I lay down, but this will actually be much better.

Time to restart again! (And this time I'll be much better at assigning names and teams, probably. I wish team colors got applied to the robots)