The game's tech tree is simple and straightforward, and most new technology is accessed upon new building completion. To begin, the player can only build a school house that trains basic workers, but as the game advances more buildings and units become available. When playing a scenario or multiplayer mode, the player's technological advancement is not restricted, however in the single-player campaign some buildings cannot be built until the player progresses to later missions. The AI always begins with a technological advantage against the player, allowing them to develop at a higher level.
The economy is very complex in Knights and Merchants, more so than most other RTS games, with a greater range of resources and a need to combine basic resources in a number of ways to create a functioning economy. For example, in order to get loaves of bread, the player is required to first build a farm to get wheat, then a mill to get flour and also a bakery to bake loaves of the flour. The many different resources in the game require a large amount of corresponding buildings and units in order to fully utilize them requiring greater than usual micromanaging for an RTS.
Every citizen and soldier must eat in the game meaning that you need to produce a great deal of food creating a more naturalistic limit on army size. There is no population limit in game, instead population is limited by how much food you produce. If a unit is not fed for a sustained amount of time it will die.
The every day life aspect of this game is considered a notable feature. You can place many different structures, forcing the player to consider where and when to place each structure, this is also dependent on terrain and territory. However for new players this greater complexity can lead to a process of trial and error but once experience has been gained it becomes an interesting take on RTS economics.
Recently a group of fans has just released a remake of Knights and Merchants which includes tweaks and online playing. Details can be found on their site.
The KaM Remake mod is an attempt to reinvigorate the original “Knights and Merchants: The Peasants Rebellion” strategy game. Our goals are to make it work on today’s computers and operating systems, implement a fully featured online multiplayer system, as well as to fix the many bugs in the game engine. To do this we have started from scratch, writing our own code for the game engine but still relying on many original resource files. We assume that you own the original KaM game, (the installer checks for it) otherwise you should buy it – it’s available in a number of online gaming stores.
The KaM Remake executable is freeware and is built by enthusiasts. Applications used: Delphi 6, Delphi 7, FastMM4, Lazarus, OpenGL, OpenAL, zLib, PNGImage, MadExcept, libZPlay.