Bureau of Steam Engineering

Over the past few weeks (namely, since finishing the Ruckingenur Editor for the Ruckingenur Challenge), I’ve been working on a totally new game. A game that I have just now finished. I present to you, Bureau of Steam Engineering.

Launch Bureau of Steam Engineering (1024×768)

Launch Bureau of Steam Engineering (512×384)

Unlike any of my previous games, BSE is entirely Flash based, meaning that (almost) everyone should be able to play with no technical problems!

In Bureau of Steam Engineering, you play as an American steam engineer at the beginning of an alternate civil war who must design and duel steam powered mechs to defend the Union!

A few notes:

  • After completing a level, your progress is saved so long as your Flash “cookies” aren’t deleted. However, your designs are never saved when leaving the workshop to return to the mission select screen.
  • It’s easy to find yourself in a situation where your steam design isn’t working as you’d like. It’s good practice to use gauges to ensure that pressures are building as you expect; things that potentially vent to the outside, such as weapons and control mechanisms. If you’re really stuck, you can always post to the comments with your question.
  • All the music is from jamendo.com, a really great creative commons music site. The song at the title screen is “En retard!” by Evan, while the rest of the music is by Celestial Aeon Project.
  • For the curious: the pressure algorithm works by iterating over all paired connectors, each with a volume estimate and a pressure, and exchanging a “steam amount” (representing n in the equation PV = nRT) to neutralize the pressure between the two components. This is repeated until the pressures between each pair of connectors are neutralized to an acceptable degree (I believe I used a value of around 0.15 PSI). After neutralizing the entire pressure circuit, we advance the simulation by the time delta to flush “steam” from things that “leak”, trigger pressure dependent valves, and advance other time-dependent components.

92 Comments to Bureau of Steam Engineering

  1. November 12, 2008 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Very nice! Needs a pressure shutoff valve: when pressure X is reached, valve closes. Would be handy for general logic as well as other constructs involving delays with the pressure tanks. 🙂 I think.

  2. lassombra's Gravatar lassombra
    November 12, 2008 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    I’m having difficulty getting the repeaters and canons to reload.
    With the repeaters, I have them feeding off an alternating valve set at anything with a fuse set at 60. They fire once, and that’s the end of it.
    With the canon, if I understand the description correctly, I have to cut off the pressure to them to get them to reload. I put a fuse on, and it doesn’t work.

  3. Zach's Gravatar Zach
    November 12, 2008 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Alternator valves must build up to the set pressure limit for them to switch; use gauges to ensure this is happening. Also, make sure you’re reloading your rifles.
    As for the cannon, the pressure must fall back down to zero (or close) before it will reload. Simply disconnecting it from the boilers won’t necessarily cause the pressure to fall. Again, using gauges to figure out what’s going on can help.

  4. SaintPeter's Gravatar SaintPeter
    November 12, 2008 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    That was a hoot.
    One things that this (and, frankly, all your games) need: The ability to clear the field of parts. Sometimes I go down an engineering dead end and I need to clear the field and start over. There isn’t an obvious way to do that.
    Also, it’s not clear if there is a save game function. Kinda a moot point since I was able to win in a sitting, but if I’d been at work it would have been nice to have.
    An interesting possible component for Melee robots: A contact switch

  5. November 13, 2008 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    lassombra: i was able to get the cannons to cycle using a fuse and a steam vent. the repeaters i just kept power to both.
    Zach: Love your games. As a programmer, it’s been inspiring.

  6. lassombra's Gravatar lassombra
    November 13, 2008 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    yeah, I got the canon working once zach pointed out that pressure may not be dropping. And I did it the same way. We need an option that will switch one output to take one of two inputs, based on pressure, can the alternators work with the input on the “double” side?

  7. lucas's Gravatar lucas
    November 13, 2008 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    wow men!!, i love you games, i recomended them to some people, they are very good! and unconventional, and that is what i like from them.

  8. November 13, 2008 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    Nice one, Zach… Love it! Out of curiosity, what was the general programming concept about making steam go through the pipes?
    Anyways, I perfected a repeating rifle so that, without any human interaction, it shoots a bullet about once every 4 seconds hitting around 200 damage. That is, however, after 10 seconds to get to 60 psi in the tank. The fuses are configurable to make it do something like every 2 second 80 damage. Such a great game!

  9. November 13, 2008 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    I am finding this hard to play as my laptop is 1200×800 or something. The bottom of the screen gets cut off… Some screen scaling would be great.

  10. Zach's Gravatar Zach
    November 13, 2008 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    lassombra: If I were to add one more component, it would be a “transistor” valve like you describe. While it probably won’t make it into this version, BSE2 (or whatever spiritual successor BSE gains) will definitely contain one.
    aj: I added a brief description of my algorithm above. It’s not elegant, but it works acceptably!
    Darryl: I added a link to play the game at 512×384 instead of the usual 1024×768. I hope that works better for you.

  11. quadrapod's Gravatar quadrapod
    November 18, 2008 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    i got the cannon working too efficiently. when it fires the projectile is traveling with enough speed that it skips the physics iteration in which the cannonball impacted and continues on the other side of my saber wielding assailant.

  12. Zach's Gravatar Zach
    November 18, 2008 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    quadrapod: That’s terrifying. But also not that surprising, as the game has a tendency to slow down with complicated circuits and the collision detection is by no means solid.

  13. December 1, 2008 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    You should publish your games on Kongregate: http://www.kongregate.com/?referrer=JadenStarr
    They will love em there 😛 (And if you would manage to make the next Ruckingenur a purely flash based game even more so!)

  14. Zach's Gravatar Zach
    December 1, 2008 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    I looked into putting my game on Kongregate. They require a single flash file under 10MB, which doesn’t really lend itself to the 20MB of streaming music Bureau of Steam Engineering has. I’m also not keen on the monetary aspect of these sites. For now it looks like I’ll continue hosting my work on my own site, but feel free to spread links to my games around the internet as you see fit!

  15. Jaden's Gravatar Jaden
    December 2, 2008 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    As far as I know, only the main file may not exceed 10 mb, and you can upload additional files for your game.

  16. Zach's Gravatar Zach
    December 2, 2008 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    If you’re right it may be more viable than I thought. If I can get permission from the authors of the music I used I may go ahead and give it a try. Thanks for the information!

  17. Devin's Gravatar Devin
    December 5, 2008 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    MORE!!! This game rocks!!

  18. Charles's Gravatar Charles
    December 6, 2008 at 2:23 am | Permalink

    I think this game is awesome i may be one of the many having trouble with the cannon i find space an issue making my mech mobile and deadly is a hard task.

  19. Patrick Bogen's Gravatar Patrick Bogen
    December 6, 2008 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Hi, Zach. I’m having trouble getting to play the game at all- when I get to the Select A Mission screen, click Chapter 1, and nothing happens. :/

  20. Zach's Gravatar Zach
    December 7, 2008 at 4:26 am | Permalink

    Patrick: That’s very strange. Unfortunately, I can’t really offer many suggestions. Are you using Windows? Have you tried updating your Flash player?

  21. Casey's Gravatar Casey
    December 7, 2008 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    Awesome game! I was able to get the cannon working, after quadrapod’s suggestion. Thanks, i was looking too far into it!

  22. Patrick Bogen's Gravatar Patrick Bogen
    December 7, 2008 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    Zach: It looks like the problem was, eh, sound-related. Maybe the game was hanging waiting for sound to start (or finish?) playing.
    Anyway, it *is* a pretty neat game. Thanks for it. 🙂

  23. Dave's Gravatar Dave
    December 17, 2008 at 3:05 am | Permalink

    This is the most innovative flash game I’ve ever played: keep up the good work.

  24. December 18, 2008 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    professor Bakalov, is that supposed to be greek?
    awesome work Barth.

  25. Crossley's Gravatar Crossley
    December 28, 2008 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Fantastic game – cannot commend this enough. However, some of it can be a tad tricky to perfect – is there perhaps a guide or some pointers to efficient weapon operation?

  26. Zach's Gravatar Zach
    December 28, 2008 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    Crossley: Only if you were to make one! I try to create all of my puzzles blind of their solutions, so I quite often have no clue how to beat them, let alone how to perfect them. This is especially true for BSE, given the large number of variables involved in the steam simulation.
    I’m glad you liked the game!

  27. Crossley's Gravatar Crossley
    December 29, 2008 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    I mean, I hate to be picky. I’m not asking for a complete solution – just a few quick pointers in, for example, how to get each weapon working optimally. For instance, the Jackhammer appears quite slow in its operation – or is it just my fault, because the steam building up behind the valve isn’t quick enough?

  28. Zach's Gravatar Zach
    December 29, 2008 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    Crossley: The problem is probably a combination of the jackhammer being slow and the alternator valve being very wonky. The one thing I really regret about BSE was that I didn’t just create a single valve that acted like a transistor, which would have made problems like this less mysterious and far easier to pinpoint.

  29. Crossley's Gravatar Crossley
    December 29, 2008 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    You’ll be pleased to know I eventually conquered it by a sterling combination of crouching and shooting him with a huge cannon.
    In much a similar way, the endboss was fantastic. both boilers were fed to a vast and mighty steam tank on one end of the manual valve, which I’d placed on its side. On the left, the mighty steam cannon. On the right, a ferocious buzzsaw. The idea was that when the valve was opened to the one side, the steam in the tank would flood into the cannon, propelling a cannonball so fast it hit for circa 220 damage from a full 65 psi tank. When the switch was flicked the other way, the draining gases from the cannon would power the buzzsaw, which seemed to be quicker than a dead steam vent within the shell of the automaton, plus provided an extra 60 damage when the foe closed in. In the meantime, the steam pressure in the tank was building up again.
    The device had been through many configurations – mainly to minimise the time taken to release all the pressure in the cannon to reload. It had been a close run thing, with the enemy automaton closing in for his first hit at us, while the tank slowly filled. I shot prematurely, hitting for a meagre 90 damage points, before yanking the valve. The roaring steam bellowed from the tortured cannon to the buzzsaw, which worked up a satisfying hum. The pressure equalised in the cannon, just in time to shoot again – but by this point another cannonball from the enemy had hurtled into the belly of our automaton. More steam was drained to the buzzsaw, which by now threatened to pull free of its moorings. The enemy, borne aloft on jets of hate, neglected to manoeuvre in time and the whirring saw rent through the steel just as another salvo of cannon fire pummelled into its head. Yet bravely it hacked away at our boilers as the steam in the cannon vented – and then it pulled back.
    It was a race against time. Frantically the engineers looked on as the steam hissed from every seam in the crippled machines, one on either side, each eagerly readying their weapon for the last decisive shot. The enemy took aim, and locked us in their sights, but it was too late, for the telltale whistle had gone out of the buzzsaw and the gauge on the cannon read “loaded.” With glee, the chief engineer pulled back the valve and let 65 psi of hot steam into the cannon. The shell glittered through the air, and the enemy automaton exploded in a fountain of sprockets.
    … whew. Got carried away there. Here’s hoping for a sequel!

  30. Zach's Gravatar Zach
    December 29, 2008 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    Crossley: I’m… speechless. That was by far the most dramatic comment ever posted here. Bravo!

  31. SqueakyReaper's Gravatar SqueakyReaper
    December 30, 2008 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always been obsessed with SteamPunk. I love the fashion, the mechs, the look… but this is the biggest reason; engineering. I’m not an engineer in real life by any means, but all my favorite games are based around them. I’ve spent hours playing it, and I love it. I’m as speechless as Crossley is… so I can’t actually suggest anything to improve this masterpiece.
    I keep looping Modest Mouse’s Steam Engenius while playing. It’s great for the mood. 😀

  32. SqueakyReaper's Gravatar SqueakyReaper
    December 31, 2008 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    Hours were spent for experimentation, mind you, not the fact I did bad. My fights always consisted of one weapon, however, and the final boss was no different. It was a close match, and I had five steam tanks feeding my autorifle. Four seconds to get them filled, and it unleashed five shots which did 120, 100, 80, 60 and 40 respectively. It didn’t take long for me to fell the beast, but it took a while to get it to work right.

  33. January 3, 2009 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Nice game, but it’s much harder to actually rig up a mech than it is to rig up a powerful one. You can defeat the last two enemies using a single cannon, not even a need to crouch.

  34. Btrotta's Gravatar Btrotta
    January 16, 2009 at 3:42 am | Permalink

    awsome game but takes a while to understand and for me its like 15 mins every level would be good have some screenshots of perfected weapons like the one that theajblogger said he made

  35. January 16, 2009 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    I finally Made it through the Game. Somehow i got the feeling the hardest level in every game of zach is the 3rd. Downed the Boss with 2 Sledgehammers =3

  36. Axoren's Gravatar Axoren
    January 16, 2009 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    I have found no purpose for alternator valves. I’d like someone to make something that requires one.

  37. Axoren's Gravatar Axoren
    January 16, 2009 at 10:12 pm | Permalink
  38. Efrain's Gravatar Efrain
    January 22, 2009 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    I loved this game! I can’t wait for the next episode! also did anyone else use a Ducking Saw/stand cannon set up on the final boss? I’m just curious.

  39. Narf2029's Gravatar Narf2029
    January 24, 2009 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    Fantastic game. Really had to think hard to get things working right, and think even harder to make them fit, but immensely satisfying when my zany contraption worked. Great choice of music too!

  40. Pytheus's Gravatar Pytheus
    January 24, 2009 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    @ Axoren
    I have control of the gun and crouching with this setup. Using the controller, while standing I’ll build enough pressure in the pipes to fire the gun. Crouching/ dodging the enemy cannons will allow time to depressurize the guns pipe and reload the gun. As you can see you can have a use for Alternators. But I do like your more simple solution to the cannons, but I dislike the lack of control.

  41. Axoren's Gravatar Axoren
    January 26, 2009 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    Pytheus, it’s not a lack of control. What you’ve said is, “I need to shoot at this until it dies, so I want to be able to stop.”

  42. Axoren's Gravatar Axoren
    January 26, 2009 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    I tend to build things for their purpose, I need to stop it from it’s purpose? I’ll make something with the purpose to stop it. You don’t build a ship with a self-destruct button, you build a better ship to take it out. Having a button to do it would be stupid.

  43. Pytheus's Gravatar Pytheus
    January 26, 2009 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    I wanted control to crouch to avoid any unnecessary free cannon shots against me, while making sure the cannon/ranged weapon didn’t fire unless I was standing, to avoid misses. I accomplished that with my build and if timed correctly I only have to take two rounds of Melee damage from the boss, as shown in the screen shot.
    Your method is to do more damage per sec then the boss does to you for the win. Which apparently works in this case. But in future rounds you may not have the luxury of absorbing all the damage before you kill your opponent. I hope the creator makes the next rounds require more thought and timing movements then winning by brute force alone.

  44. Pytheus's Gravatar Pytheus
    January 26, 2009 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    Axoren. Your argument doesn’t make any sense. You could say a soilder’s purpose on a battlefield is to kill. But do we only equip him with a weapon and have him stand to face the enemy? Or do we dig trenches and give him armor? Ducking for cover is not stopping the robot from its purpose. Its to mitigated any unnecessary damages while doing damage to your opponent. Its fighting smart. My build vs yours… I would win.

  45. Axoren's Gravatar Axoren
    January 26, 2009 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    Crouching makes you inaccurate, so I avoid that. The lack of delay allows for more firing. The fact that he comes in for the kill regardless of my actions, it’s best to continuously fire. So firing is everything.
    Also, mass damage + frequency is key. I have that.
    I see what you’re saying, but in the future, it won’t be ideal IMO

  46. Axoren's Gravatar Axoren
    January 26, 2009 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    If a soldier can kill faster than he can die, and if his equipment is simple. You can afford to equip more soldiers with simple equipment and kill the other soldiers faster.
    Low maintenance, it strikes fast, and it strikes hard.

  47. Axoren's Gravatar Axoren
    January 26, 2009 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    Which is the mentality between other countries teach their young to kill with common day items (toothpicks, forks, bamboo shafts, etc)

  48. Pytheus's Gravatar Pytheus
    January 26, 2009 at 1:32 am | Permalink

    You send in troops with better more powerful equipment then the enemy but don’t provide any defense, your going to get them killed. When a weak enemy faces a stronger enemy, the weak ones will tend to use gorilla tactics. Snipers, hiding and shooting soft targets. Hidden explosives. Etc. Fight a better offense with a better defense.
    Strike fast, strike hard, works best when you have the element of surprise. Organization and strategy will overcome brute force every time. "The bigger they are the harder they fall"
    Now take your build and apply it to the boss, only he respawns several times. Each time your taking more hits. Although you have the Superior firepower, your loosing because your not mitigating the incoming damage. While with my build I can take more waves of enemies, I can live to kill another day. Have you not learned the lesson of the Turtle vs the Hare? Fast and hard will win the battle, but slow and steady will win the war.

  49. Haywire's Gravatar Haywire
    January 28, 2009 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    I can’t get the game to start. I get to the “select mission” screen, then nothing happens.

  50. Bobberoonie's Gravatar Bobberoonie
    February 1, 2009 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    Few requests if we are lucky enough that you make another, sorry if some have been mentioned:
    – A 4 way piece of pipe would be nice so it could have 2 steam releases on it.
    – If you could still rotate pieces if they had room, but they are shown red, that would also be nice.
    – A test level where you have access to all the equipment to learn it’s use.
    – Clear parts button and undo.
    – Save a robot to fight with a friend. Maybe a code generated to email even?
    Great game, everyone who I’ve shown it to loves it.
    Thanks! 🙂

  51. Sockfolder's Gravatar Sockfolder
    February 5, 2009 at 1:36 am | Permalink

    Flawless Victor!
    I managed to use the valve control to alternate between forward and backward movement, while an alternator would cause the mech to briefly crouch when swapping directions. However, the crouch time is so short you have to be pretty good at timing when the boss shoots to dodge all the cannon balls. Dodging the melee attack is very easy though since you can just run up and immediately go backwards when he reaches you.

  52. payjack's Gravatar payjack
    February 17, 2009 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    If only the reloader of the Repeater wouldn’t vent my whole System 😛

  53. ALX's Gravatar ALX
    March 10, 2009 at 2:11 am | Permalink

    flawless victory
    the easiest way I can imagine to win lvl 4 ^^
    just crouch (hit control valve) when he is about to shoot and get back up when the canonball passed.
    have fun finding an easier way.

  54. payjack's Gravatar payjack
    March 10, 2009 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    flawless victory would be if you could dodge his melee attack all the time.
    By the way, Zach, add “0 Bar / PSI” to the one way Pressurevalves, this Way we can stop Steam that is flowing into the wrong Direction.
    This, and more User controlled Valves.

  55. charles's Gravatar charles
    March 16, 2009 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    I can’t get the rifle to fire. Either this game needs more instruction, or I’m stupid. Can someone give me a picture of what a working rifle system actually looks like?

  56. Allan's Gravatar Allan
    March 18, 2009 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    The rifle took me a while to work out as well. I don’t have a picture but here’s the basic idea. The rifle has two valves – a top and a bottom. When the rifle is unloaded sending steam through the top valve will reload it. When the rifle is loaded, sending high pressure steam through the bottom valve fires it. The thing to realise is, if you are sending steam through the top valve while the rifle is loaded, it is still using up that steam. The only way I’ve found so far is to use the control valve to send steam into the loading chamber when empty, then switch to a fuse valve when it’s loaded to build up steam for firing.

  57. payjack's Gravatar payjack
    March 19, 2009 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Allan, use an alternator and a Fuse Valve set to the same Pressure. This way it alternates on it’s own.

  58. Adrian Barbobot's Gravatar Adrian Barbobot
    March 21, 2009 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    GREAT GREAT GREAT game, loved every minute of it. The biggest flaw is that it needs to continue forever, and perhaps allow us to save designs!
    If we can get enough variance in piece/parts or even chassis we could have a competitive game. Love the idea, and I hope you run with it.

  59. nagydee's Gravatar nagydee
    March 23, 2009 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    My way to use the big cannon.
    fuse valve is set to 60

  60. Blueation's Gravatar Blueation
    March 25, 2009 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    I think that the possibility for a second control valve would come in handy.
    I have built all my robots the same way, with two repeating rifles, shooting on 60 psi. After the shot you switch to second system (with control valve), to relead and crouch on a normal psi level. And then just wait until the enemy have shot, before switching back to shoot and stand.
    (P.S.: is there a version two on the way? because I liked this one!)

  61. May 1, 2009 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    This is the setup I used my second time through successfully:
    Valves on 60psi.
    Flick the lever to crouch, then stand up as soon as possible – there’s some misses, but you easily can easily avoid any damage apart from number four, and you’ll kill him before his hatchet kills you with no problem (as long as you avoid the cannon).
    The other way to do the boss is very simple – two buzzsaws with permanent hook up to the engines, with one also feeding the crouch control. You’re always crouched, so the cannon misses every time, and two buzzsaws versus one hatchet is an easy win.

  62. May 1, 2009 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Sudden thought – a really useful addition would be a flow restrictor, which lowers the pressure going through a pipe. It would be useful for those times where you want something under pressure, but don’t want very much (crouching, reloading repeater, etc.).
    For an example where I’d use it:
    Flick the switch to re-load/stop firing, flick it back to fire. Vents very quickly, so can fire quite rapidly. It’d be nice to not be wasting so much pressure on the crouch mechanism though.

  63. sidewiz's Gravatar sidewiz
    May 16, 2009 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    i cant get passed the second guy i need to control ducking forward and backward movement can u put in another control valve

  64. Fatherlorris's Gravatar Fatherlorris
    May 29, 2009 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    The simple solutions are always the best.

  65. June 25, 2009 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Needs more episode 2

  66. RightousRocker's Gravatar RightousRocker
    July 27, 2009 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Ive had a problem that when i attack with a Buzzsaw in chapter 2 my blade stops. i make a pressure gauge and its still on 20 psi- the same pressure before the attack….and hints

  67. GeminiDomino's Gravatar GeminiDomino
    July 30, 2009 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Righteous, Are you standing right on top of the other guy when it stops? If so, the resistance from grinding in his big metal body will keep the blade from starting again. If you don’t have a way to reverse, you might want to consider a secondary form of attack.

  68. RightousRocker's Gravatar RightousRocker
    July 30, 2009 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    oh thanks GeminiDomino ill check it out

  69. August 18, 2009 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    I think it would be neat if you added a pressure controlled valve. This would mean that if you put pressure on one end, it would close the flow on a different pipe. If you could have is settable to close or open with pressure that would be great.

  70. 8hours's Gravatar 8hours
    August 23, 2009 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    did any of you manage to reload the cannon without the control valve?

  71. Blueation's Gravatar Blueation
    August 23, 2009 at 11:44 am | Permalink


  72. Blueation's Gravatar Blueation
    August 23, 2009 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    sorry for the double post…

  73. October 6, 2009 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    I loved it but there is a need for little more development (with probably a slightly upgraded algorithm).
    Just like electric circuits a couple of things would be cool:
    1.Diode-like device: only allows the flow of steam to travel one way.
    2.Transistor-like device: only allows flow of steam to travel when steam is travelling through other circuit.
    3.Fuse shutoff(read that up at the top and thought that was one i missed)
    I know its a puzzle game, but it really does blur the line into action; so limiting the control valves to 1 is definitely restricting to the creative gamer. So maybe allow a sandbox mode. With each control valve defined a keystroke. This would allow a slow moving mech with complex controls and weapons.
    I dont know if you want to take it that far, but consider it a challenge from someone who thought your idea (and development of that idea) were great.

  74. ertyqwer's Gravatar ertyqwer
    October 25, 2009 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Whoever had trouble reloading the rifle without the switch – here’s how you do it B)

  75. RapteOfSuzaku's Gravatar RapteOfSuzaku
    October 25, 2009 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Here’s my design that succeeded in crushing the final boss without getting hit. (not by luck, not by glitch, but by design).
    I typed in the pressure settings for each component on top of the image (to confirm: going left to right, the settings are 40,20,20,30,40 PSI)
    How to operate:
    1) have the control lever in the forward position for the start of the match
    2) pull down on the control lever after walking a few steps forward (takes practice, but you need just enough room to retreat from the opponent’s first melee attack)
    3) wait until the enemy is about to hit you and until you have about 35 PSI in the right steam boiler and then…
    4) push the control lever forward to walk backwards and avoid the opponent’s melee attack.
    5) pull down on the control lever to charge your right steam boiler pressure up to about 25 PSI and then…
    6) push forward on the control lever to crouch. Obviously, this needs to happen before the enemy shoots your head if you want to win without getting hit.
    7) after the enemy’s range attack flies over you head, pull back on the control lever and let both cannons fire away! Depending on how you timed things, it may be a very close call at the end.
    The concept:
    The basic idea is to control the movement with a state machine while letting the cannons fire as fast as possible. They only needed a bit under 40 PSI to reach the opponent often enough.
    Pressure is taken from the right weapon system to control the movement. At first, the movement control system applies pressure to the right connector of the walk mechanism. A burst of about 35 PSI to the movement control system will trigger the right alternator valve and redirect the pressure to the left connector of the walk mechanism. Once in the reverse state, a burst of about 25 PSI will trigger the left alternator valve and redirect the pressure to the crouch mechanism.
    The various steam vents and the fuse valve in the movement control system help to ensure that the alternator valves don’t go crazy and start switching back and forth. It took a lot of tweaking to get things just right… dissipating the pressure to match the alternator valve limits was a very finicky process.
    Oh, and I would really really really love to see a sequel!!

  76. Blueation's Gravatar Blueation
    October 26, 2009 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    I made one cannon that has that much power it killed the final boss in two or three shots (and sometimes didn’t (because it sometimes shots over the enemy)…)

  77. ertyqwer's Gravatar ertyqwer
    October 26, 2009 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Kudos to RapteOfSuzaku for finding a use for alternators (other than operating the jackhammer). I also didn’t realize you could use the switch like that (the valve opening _into_ the pressure).
    Blueation – yep, did that too first time around 🙂 Cannons are kinda fiddly to use, they either fall short or just phase through the enemy… rifles are a lot more reliable… 🙂
    Also, the final "boss" is perhaps the easiest enemy after the dummy mech in my opinion. It mostly just flies around, giving you all the time in the world to shoot it, you don’t even really have to avoid its fire. The hardest one is the third – you must either implement crouching, or put out enough damage to make it charge before the second shot. And its close-range weapon is actually somewhat dangerous. Though of course none of them are really too hard to begin with anyways 🙂
    My latest steampunk:
    I seems to be zero sum game in the end though. What you gain in damage per shot you seem to lose in reload time, so net result is kinda the same. In fact, it can’t defeat the third mech without crouching (while the previous one can fire two volleys fast enough to trigger the "charge").

  78. RapteOfSuzaku's Gravatar RapteOfSuzaku
    October 26, 2009 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    ertyqwer –
    For the jackhammer operation, I just use a fuse valve. That weapon isn’t as picky about the pressure differences, so I just directly connect the bottom valve to the steam boiler and let the fuse valve pulse the top valve. It actually ends up being slightly faster than the alternator way (as the alternators leak and are generally screwy).
    I’ve also come to the conclusion that the steam tanks aren’t as useful as I once thought. The only use for them is storing some pressure for later redirection. If you think about it, adding more volume doesn’t add more power… it just takes longer to raise and lower the pressure.
    But if you siphon off some pressure into a tank and then close it off with a switch, you can then use that stored pressure for other things. For a while, I was trying to do that for charging up enough pressure to supply all my movement needs… but I was never able to store enough pressure to get anything useful done.
    The other use for stored pressure is to unleash an attack after charging up for a length of time. However, I’ve found that efficient piping worked better most of the time. The less pipes you have, the less time it takes to charge up the pressure. My boilers typically reached a steady pressure quickly enough that adding steam tanks would just slow things down.

  79. RapteOfSuzaku's Gravatar RapteOfSuzaku
    October 26, 2009 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    (no edit? sorry for the double post, then)
    Forgot to mention the first use of the alternator valve that I discovered! Connect the input to the first output and the 2nd output to one or more steam vents. You now have a pressure breaker (like a circuit breaker). The downside is that it is sorta difficult to reset and a lot of valuable pressure is wasted. But it could be used for a somewhat timed forward movement (stops automatically when the breaker blows).
    Figuring that one one is what led me to the working state machine implementation.
    As for the steam tanks, it seems that their volume is higher than what you could normally achieve using the same grid-volume’s worth of pipes. 9 lengths of tubing still built up pressure faster than did the 3×3 steam tanks.

  80. November 8, 2009 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    thanks, you saved my time

  81. _-Wolf-_'s Gravatar _-Wolf-_
    January 26, 2010 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    loved it,thisis the one i actually like….too bad you’re not going tomake another one….

  82. Josh's Gravatar Josh
    May 8, 2010 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Well, the final boss was easily enough defeated, I had the lever valve hooked to the crouch mechanism, so I could duck when he shot the cannon, I had the other end attached to two buzzsaws, with a fuse valve on one, so that the right one would spin up, and any overflow would spin up the left one. His cannon stood no chance, and I could melee him all I wanted. I am tempted to try to perfect the sledgehammers so I can use them against him.

  83. Rolan7's Gravatar Rolan7
    May 8, 2010 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Here’s my “Omega Cannon”. Three steam vents was just enough, with only two the cannon never reloaded. Goes to show how high the pressure was in there! The hardest part was actually finding room to place the three vents.

    This is still one of the most fun games on the site, even after all this time. Thanks, Zach (:

  84. Rolan7's Gravatar Rolan7
    May 8, 2010 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Darn, my link didn’t post… I used the wrong html code.


    I doubt it’s possible to fit more steam tanks in there!

  85. flamewolf393's Gravatar flamewolf393
    May 19, 2010 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    this game is HARD!!!! I can’t get past level 2. The flame thrower runs out of fuel before it can destroy the opponent, I can get the rifle working, but since that requires full use of the control valve to use, I cannot switch between crouch/standing to dodge the cannon. I have yet to get the jackhammer to work at all, and the buzz-saw does not do enough damage in the one hit that it gets before stopping. And how do the alternating chambers work? I have done everything I can think of but they never do anything. Is this game intended only for professional engineers? And if so then why is it on a casual site like kongregate. This game needs INSTRUCTIONS on how the parts actually work!!

  86. flamewolf393's Gravatar flamewolf393
    May 19, 2010 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    And why do we only get one control valve?

  87. llasram's Gravatar llasram
    June 6, 2010 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    fist time i played this game i fell in love. i figured out how to play efectivly in about 10 and beat it in 1 hour. i think a realy good idea for the next one is a one way valve so that you dont loose to much presure.(p.s. sorry for the spelling, im a terribal speller)

  88. .'s Gravatar .
    June 8, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Having only one controller is nicely challenging, crosspipes which are so big compared to the available grid is frustrating.
    Also could be useful – bridge which only allows up to certain pressure to pass, kinda reverse-fuse, maybe thinner pipes?
    T switch which controls itself. Has a spring or clockwork which switches direction of steam. Can be based either on pressure or timing. Mechanism uses up a bit of pressure.

  89. Erik's Gravatar Erik
    June 28, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Awesome game! My only problem was that I could never figure out how to get the cannon to reload. It said it would when there was a drop in pressure but the reload needle only climbed halfway. I could never fire it more than once. Can someone explain to me how it works?

  90. .'s Gravatar .
    October 1, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    all I can say is i’ve beaten it at least ten times and would really appreciate it if another one came out and by the way this was the game that brought me to this awesome collection of games

  91. Joseph's Gravatar Joseph
    October 6, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    I dont really understand this. How do you rotate things?

  92. Blueation's Gravatar Blueation
    October 20, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    @Joseph: There is a button on screen, in the form of a gear with arrows pointing around. If you activate it and then press a pipe or something, it will magically flip!
    you can also stay in cursor mode and hold the control-key to do the same thing.