Airships: Conquer the Skies

David Stark / Zarkonnen
2013-09-28 13:54

In the game, ships are viewed side-on, and their modules are operated by individual crew members. During combat, players give high-level commands to a small fleet, positioning their ships, ramming and boarding others. Ships and terrain are fully destructible: they can catch fire, explode, break apart, and fall. Players can also compete against one another in Internet and LAN matches.

The ships are highly detailed, teeming with sailors moving around at their individual tasks, like an ant farm or a cut-away drawing. The player's choices in ship layout are crucial, and an important part of the game is exploring the design space of different airships and their matching tactics.

More Purchase Options (All come with Steam keys.)
  • 250 Reviews2016-02-03 14:35

    Hey, we reached 250 Steam reviews! If you've been playing the game, you've probably noticed that I've been bothering everyone about leaving a Steam review for the game. There's a reason behind this, and it's not entirely just the fuzzy feels I get when I read them: I want the game to reach an "Overwhelmingly Positive" rating, for which it needs 500 reviews in total. What's so great about that rating? Well, it means more visible evidence that people like the game, which means more players, a bigger community, and more sales. More life pumping through the game and making it greater.

  • The case of the spontaneously falling airship2016-01-12 19:05

    In dev 8, game data is now loaded in from external files. As I expected, this is causing the occasional bug. In particular, some airship designs would consistently fall out of the sky. This needed to be fixed.

  • Publishing ships on Steam2015-12-21 16:11

    I am happy to report that I have now implemented the ability to publish ships and other constructions through the Steam workshop. This will become generally available in dev 8 along with the new modding system.

    I've tried making the process of publishing (the "shipyard") as simple as possible: Select a ship (or building/landship) in the file dialog and click on "Publish to Steam".

  • Modding Preview: The Imperial Cannon2015-12-06 16:05

    About a year ago I did a series of blog posts on how to mod a giant cannon into Airships by editing the source code. Now, as a preview for the modding features in dev 8, here's the same thing as a proper mod.

  • Meet Commodore Schwarzkolm2015-12-02 12:13

  • Version 7.3.22015-11-23 17:47

    Short Version: If you couldn't get Airships to work before, try again using the "Launch using System Java" option.

  • The data refit2015-11-16 17:26

    Imagine a huge engine that's just been converted to run on a different kind of fuel. It had to be taken apart and all sorts of bits had to be connected up differently. Now it's back together again, mostly - there's still some open panels with cables coming out. You turn it on, and nothing happens. You check the wiring behind the on switch and realize you didn't connect it back up yet. You do so now, and try again. Status lights begin to turn on on the machine's panels, and it starts to emit a hum, then a belch, then an almighty crash and sparks fly, the breakers trigger, and something the colour and consistency of honey starts leaking out of the bottom. You think for a moment, then take off a side panel and rummage around. Yes, this needs to be connected to that via a filter, and if this happens, it should trigger the side valve, and...

    Most of the work is done, now it's all a matter of figuring out those little missed bits and then wiring them up correctly.

    That's the state Airships' data loading is currently in.

  • Splitting dev 82015-11-14 16:29

    Given how long this development cycle is taking, I've decided that I'm going to split dev 8 into two. The two major features I had planned were support for modding and adding monsters. The plan now is to release a dev 8 that focuses on modding, with some minor new content additions, and then start work on dev 9, which will be monsters. Finally, dev 10 will be an update to the strategic combat, rounding out the planned game features.

  • Fan art spotlight: GERSillySausage2015-11-12 19:23

    Steam user GERSillySausage has been positively churning out some really nice fan art for Airships: Conquer the Skies. Here are some of my favourites, displayed with his permission.

  • The many different things you can fire from a cannon2015-10-30 15:33


    Early naval battles mostly revolved around ramming and boarding, and early naval cannon were mostly anti-personnel weapons. But by the 16th and 17th century, cannon became powerful enough to punch through the hulls of enemy ships. At around the same time, propulsion shifted from oars to sails, freeing up space on the side of ships to mount large gun batteries.

    Now it was at least technically possible to defeat your enemies from afar - if your aim was good enough. In practice, many battles still ended up happening at close range. Depending on range and intent - to sink, to slow, to disable, to kill enemy crew in preparation for boarding - a wide range of different projectiles were called for.

  • Spiders! Data-driven Spiders2015-10-21 16:00

    With dev 7 and its revisions complete, I am now fully engaged in working on the next major version of Airships. This time, the big addition is going to be monsters, and to make that happen I'm doing a lot of cleaning-up and restructuring.

    All units, including the upcoming monsters - dragons, fleshcrackers, suspendium bees - are handled in-game as "a kind of airship" or "a kind of crew member". Obviously, buildings are just airships without lift and propulsion, and landships ones with an alternative propulsion system. I can reuse the code for handling a lot of stuff - movement, collision, shooting, targeting - for creatures as well. A fleshcracker is just a funny-looking small landship, an aerial kraken is just an airship with no crew and a special tentacle attack.

    So what distinguishes the two kinds of units?

  • Version 7.3 and Thoughts on Tutorials2015-10-14 20:53

    Airships v7.3 has arrived, and with it comes something I've been putting off for a while: a tutorial!

    The main reason why I waited until now with a tutorial is that I wanted to wait for the gameplay to crystallize and stop changing heavily. In previous projects, I added a tutorial early on and found myself having to rewrite it multiple times as the game changed. This was an immensely motivation-sapping task I wanted to avoid.

    I've also had the luxury of doing without a tutorial because a large proportion of new players have come to the game via YouTube. This meant that they'd already seen plenty of gameplay. Others simply liked the challenge of figuring things out.

    But as we near the end of Airships' development - two more major interim versions before the final release - making the game more broadly accessible becomes ever more important.

  • Looking for a Character/Scene artist for Airships: Conquer the Skies2015-10-07 15:52

    Airships: Conquer the Skies is an indie game currently under development and in early access. It's a steampunk real-time strategy game where you build airships out of components and fight with them.

    At this point in the development, I need a graphical artist to complement my work on the game. While I can produce pixel art for the in-game graphics, I can't create high-quality character portraits or complex scenes. This is where you come in.

  • Two years of Airships2015-09-29 17:13
    September 29, 2013: Aggravated by problems with a nonpaying client, I start prototyping this game about building and blowing up airships. Two years later, it's still going, and it has a new trailer...
  • Talking about Airships back in 20122015-09-29 17:10

    Way back in 2012, I had a chat conversation with my friend David where we hashed out what was to become Airships: Conquer the Skies.

  • Version 7.2.12015-09-23 20:09

    Airships v7.2.1 is out, and this time it's a very small update. It does three things:

    • Improved performance when boarding ships via the ground.
    • Weight and service ceiling are now re-calculated correctly when editing armour.
    • Creaking sounds no longer occur constantly under some conditions.

    That is all. More stuff on v8 soon.

  • Version 7.22015-09-22 16:03

    Hey, v7.2 is out, and it's a big one!

  • Overlays and Aerial Krakens2015-09-17 12:54

    Now that the weather here in Zurich is no longer boiling-hot, I've started streaming game development again. In the first stream, which you can watch below if you like, I worked on info overlays for the ship editor.

  • Better Explosions2015-08-30 16:08

    In between major releases of Airships, I like to work on things that don't require deep changes to the game's code but make the whole experience better. For version 7.2, I want to make the combat feel more visceral, which of course mainly means one thing: better explosions.

  • Version 7.1.12015-08-20 16:13

    Floathoney is a rare and dangerous delicacy.

    A quick new version of Airships, fixing various bugs and crashes:

  • Version 7.12015-08-17 16:54

    Airships 7.1 is out, bringing various fixes and some enhancements.

    The spider symbol for your coat of arms was deemed rather weak, so I've enhanced it. Apart from getting a spider legs module, you now also get Arachnid Soldiers, a type of light infantry equipped with grappling hooks.

  • 7.1 is the plan the plan is 8.02015-08-10 15:50

    Airships v7 has been out for a few days now, and has been received very positively by old hands and new players alike.

    As usual, before we move on to the next major release, there are going to be a few minor releases to correct problems and put in minor features that didn't make the cut. The first such release, v7.1, is going to concentrate on fixing bugs players have reported, which are as follows:

  • Version 72015-08-06 16:07

    I am very happy to report that Airships early access v7 is finally out!

    The major new feature in the game is landships, war machines on tracks and legs that are sturdier and cheaper than airships, but less flexible.

  • Expansions vs DLC2015-07-31 13:43

    Recently, when ideas for major new features for Airships have cropped up, I've taken to saying "that's a good idea for an expansion". Understandably, this has got some people concerned that the game's going to down the route of endless DLC.

    I want to address those concerns here and describe what I mean by expansions as opposed to DLC.

  • Air soldier improvements2015-07-21 21:41

    As the final major change in dev 7, I've been working on upgrading sailors' ability to move around outside ships.