Emails are dead - long live contracts!
16 September 2023

The upcoming update will remove emails from the game and replace them with a similar, but different, concept of contracts. As much as we liked the whimsy and storytelling of the emails, in practice they have some issues in Iron Roads:

Our proposed solution to these issues is to merge the emails system and the tasks system into a single contracts system. The old email screen becomes the contracts screen, showing a list of contracts available to the player at that point in time in the left column. Clicking on a contract will display the contract details in the right column, showing the tasks associated with that contract, the reward, and contextual text for those who are interested in the narrative aspect.

Contracts screen WIP

With this UI we can show a choice of contracts that a player may want to accept and, critically, it allows a player to opt out of a contract they are not enjoying. The more optional nature allows larger groups of contracts, specialising in specific areas of the game, and including harder challenges for advanced players.

All of this links back to the observation in our previous post that Iron Roads seems to play best when it is viewed as an optimisation game. Setting up the network and getting the first few passengers moving is rewarding, and helps us tell a story, but the mechanics seem to be at their strongest when you are improving your network Contracts place more emphasis on this phase of each scenario.

Dare I say it, this update is proving to be easier to implement than the cargo update, so if all goes well it will be in your hands within the week!

As always, if this interests you, join us on Discord to give it a try.


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