The steam engine was a concept made real by the three largest of the Production Guilds, after discovering that out-of-game products can be created in the same way as real food can be made without the Command Menu.
After discovering that food can be made to taste real by using one's own hands and skills, the concept was then applied toward engineering with the steam-engine as the first successful result. The first prototype had several flaws but proved that the idea was feasible.
One interesting thing to note is that the water is heated not by wood or coal, but by the power of a fire-type beast, making the engine a form of magical technology.
Function and Uses
The steam engine is based on the concept of a reciprocating engine. Fundamentally, the heat generated by the fire-beast boils the water and turns it into steam, thereby pushing a piston and the mechanical energy is applied toward a lever or camshaft. This gives Akihabara an huge advantage towards industry compared to all other nearby cities.
The first application of the steam engine, was to use it as a power source for the Ocypete, turning its paddlewheels to propel it through the water without the use of oars or sails. This is of great interest to those who wish to use it to transport goods across the sea, thereby avoiding most of the dangers of the monster attacks over the land routes.
At the conference of lords at the Ancient Palace of Eternal Ice, there have been many requests for the steam-engine technology. Through their spies at Akihabara, the nobles knew of the steam-engine's existence, but they were not able to discover how it works or how to make one. Therefore, they have been negotiating with the Adventurers on sharing the knowledge with them, in return for trade agreements and such.