All posts by John Connor

Vote for us for Indie of the Year!

Its that time of year where a massive button appears on our IndieDB page. This year we have gone from being an unknown game to being played by thousands of people including many popular YouTube gamers.

So this year we thought we would ask those people if they had a moment to vote for us.

Simply click the link below and select the massive vote button on our IndieDB page!


Lets get Empires of the Undergrowth into the top 100!

New Demo Build 0.05 Released

We have just released a brand new build, head over to the file section on our IndieDB page and get hold of it!

This build is for Windows, Mac and Linux!

Although the full game still won’t be available until next year there have been a number of significant changes to the graphics and control system, along with a new level to test out. If you want the full breakdown, we have uploaded a “what’s new” video here:

What are you waiting for? Go get it!

Note to Mac Users:

The Mac build is missing some performance enhancements which will be added in a future update. If you spot any problems, please let us know.

Note to Linux Users:

Empires of the Undergrowth requires OpenGL 4 to be installed on Linux systems to render. Unfortunately, due to a problem with Unreal Engine 4.12 (on which Empires of the Undergrowth is built), some of the more complex materials will not compile properly – in particular, the water on the main menu and some of the more complex wall materials. Instead these will show as grey materials. This problem should be fixed in a future update and we will notify the community when a new version of the Linux binaries is available to download. (Note that by reducing the graphical quality using the Visual Effect option slider, the complex wall materials will be replaced with low quality materials which don’t suffer from this problem).

‘Hands-On’ Entomology Afternoon at Harper Adams University

On Thursday we will be at a ‘hands-on’ entomology afternoon at Harper Adams University, Shropshire, UK. You will be able to play the demo build of the game and talk to us in person. John Connor (lead designer and AI) and Matthew Kent (lead programmer and artist) will be there answering questions, showing people the game and talking about the ant species we have in store.

Click here to find out more

Slug Disco at Harper Adams entomology event

Plenty of other things are happening – there will be showings of live bugs and collections by Harper Adams students and “live-handling” with Exotic Zoo from Telford, so if you are in the area come along. If you are lucky we may do a facebook live broadcast as well!

Harper Adams University,
TF10 8NB

Thursday 8th September at 2pm

Hopefully see you there!

Level of Control

We have recently had meetings about the level of control the player (and computer players) should have in light of the very positive response we have received from the demo. Not directly controlling units is one of the main differences between our game and a traditional RTS, however we do still want a level of control where the player feels they are directly impacting the game.

As much as players liked the single point control provided in the demo, many spoke about their desire to send the colony in different directions to cover more areas and defend attacks from behind. Another issue was that soldiers just hanging around a single point is not really very ant like and essentially causes one single big fight then it is over.

Single Point Problem

These issues become ever more evident with the introduction of the surface. No longer is the player dealing with small corridors, instead they are faced with wide open spaces.

In the next post we will discuss what we have introduced to combat these issues.

Join in the discussion about this on Reddit:

Post-Kickstarter Updates!

It’s been almost two weeks since the end of the Kickstarter already and we thought it was about time for an update.

Firstly, the winners of the final stretch goal! Welcome to the game Coptotermes formosanus – Formosan termite!

Coptotermes formosanus - Formosan termite
In the end their victory was marginal!

Over the past few days we have been sorting through all of your Stomt feedback, implementing bug fixes and upgrading to Unreal Engine 4.12. We are also re-working the ant job allocation system so that ants can now ‘steal’ jobs from others, which should increase efficiency and prevent ants from wandering away from tunnel-digging jobs that they have already begun. Additionally we have been tackling issues that have caused long compile times in the code. The next big things on the list are code profiling (finding out which parts are slowing things down and need to be optimized), streamlining path-finding for ants in crowds and making demo builds for both Mac and Linux.

We can confirm that of the £18,087 pledged, £17,385 has been successfully billed, which is fantastic news. For those of you not familiar with Kickstarter, backers are not billed until the project is successful so some payments inevitably fail. We have heard this can be up to 10% of the final amount so we have been very fortunate. Kickstarter will take their fee of £1,590.40, leaving us with £15,794.60 to fuel Empires of the Undergrowth. This will see our lead programmer through 9 months of development and contribute to sending us to Develop Brighton, leaving just enough leftover to buy the cheapest Mac we can find, so we can finally bring the ants to our Apple players.

If you wanted to pledge to Empires of the Undergrowth but were unable to because of issues with Kickstarter’s online payment options, or you were just late to the party, you can still help us out and pick up some of the original backer rewards via paypal. Just head to our Late Backers page:

In other news, we have now set up a subreddit for Empires at  We are not sure exactly how this will be used yet, and the posting rules are likely to evolve over time.  If you want to discuss demo tactics, ants, or even other ant/simulation games, this seems like a good place for people to gather. Note that if you have feedback on the game, especially related to the demo, we would still like you to post it on our Stomt page:  

Finally we would just like to thank again all of our backers, demo testers, youtubers and other patient fans.  You are all antastic.

Kickstarter ends at 180% Funded!

Our Kickstarter ended with a 24 hour live stream, packed full of loads of games, competitions, insect eating and more! We ended at 180% which is an incredible result! We want to thank everybody for really helping out, spreading the word and of course making pledges!

If you missed the live stream you can watch it on our twitch channel:

And if you want to see us attempt to eat giant water bugs, skip to 23h 54m. Spoiler: John does not handle it well.

It has been an incredible experience. So many have offered support and have been spreading the word about the game. We are very grateful to everyone, it means a lot to us.

Now we have a game to make! We will keep you posted about developments of the game as we move on and will soon be sending out surveys for backers to fill out so we can get rewards out when the time comes.

Onwards with development!

Great Kickstarter… so far!

We have had a great Kickstarter campaign so far, but it is not over yet! Things are about to explode!

We have a great line up planned for our final week on Kickstarter. This will include development streams, a release of a band new demo filled with updated features (and an extra level for backers), increased information coming from our social media and much more!

This will culminate in a 24 hour live stream to finish the Kickstarter. We will be playing games that have influenced us, doing time trials on the demo and inviting other developers to chat on stream. All of this whilst we are sleep deprived, what could be better?

If you want to catch up with the developers live streams we have been doing, they have all be uploaded to YouTube:

Don’t forget to find us on Facebook, Twitter and Stomt.

The goal is reached! And nearly the stretch goal!

We reached out Kickstarter goal in just under a week! Amazing!

This update expresses our joy at the time:

And we are really close to reaching our first stretch goal! It is a battle between the Dracula Ant and the Bullet Ant for social media interaction, which will win?

Thanks to everyone who has supported our campaign and made it a success, let see if we can get further!

68% reached!

Where to begin!

We had an explosion of interest in the project yesterday on Kickstarter. Cutting to the chase we are now 68% funded and rising, that is a jump from 45% yesterday morning. I still can barely believe it!

Additionally Kickstarter have featured us at the top of games which will have continued to push us on! The momentum the campaign has is amazing.

Many backers will have found us from an Imgur post we made about the game. We were not expecting it to do as well as it did, take a look for yourself:

Thanks so much to everyone checking the project out, sharing it and of course backing it. This has been pretty overwhelming we are so grateful to each and every one.

I will be streaming some game development later today on our Twitch channel at midday (GMT). I will be editing a level so I would be very happy to show you the process and how our systems work in the demo build and I will be happy to answer any question you may have.

Additionally a few people have asked about a couple of the rewards. We have come up with a basic mock-up of of the posters and also have an image of the toy larva prototype. I will add these to the campaign page but take a look here:

Thanks once again and let’s keep this momentum going! We can do this!

The Slug Disco Team