An account is optional, and does not provide any gameplay advantages, but does give access to the savegame sync feature, which can be used to either backup your progress to a server, or transfer it over to a version of the game you have on another device. Setting up and managing an account is done via the account screen on the main menu.

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Account features

All basic functionality related to creating an account (i.e. registering), recovering forgotten credentials, changing your password, and logging in, can all be done in the account screen.
To create an account, click the 'register' button in the account screen, then provide a username, password and email address. Once your new account has been created, the server will send a message to the email address you provided, allowing you to confirm your account. Confirmation needs to be completed within 3 days of the creation of a new account, else the account and any related savegame data on the server wil be deleted.
When logging in, the game will remember your username, so you don't have to enter it again on your next log in. Similar, you can opt to force the game to also remember your password, though this is not recommended on public devices. Note that you have to confirm the storing of your password everytime you log in. The moment the log in process starts, your choice will be taken into account. If you've chosen not to store your password, the game will delete the small file that contains your password.

Once logged in, there are two options available : savegame sync, and either resend confirmation or change password. If you haven't received the message that the server will send to confirm your registration, you can force the server to send it again. Once an account is confirmed, it will be possible to change your password.

Savegame sync is the process of uploading or downloading your progress to the server, either for backup purposes or to access it with another client. The sync screen will show you the age of the data you last uploaded to the server, but neither the game nor server is capable of detecting which data is older : that on the server, or that in your local savegame. It's up to the player to keep track of this.
When uploading data, the game simply copies everything in your savegame and sends it to the server, overwriting what may already be there. When downloading data, the server will return the data that has been stored there previously, and the game will check it for errors. If there are no errors, the game will first create a backup of your current savegame file, then it will store the server data in both the savegame file and the game's memory, which means you can continue playing after downloading without having to restart the game. If there was an error during processing (for instance you uploaded data with a newer version of the game, and are attempting to download it on another computer which has an older version of the game), no backup will be created and your local savegame file will not be altered. The game will then warn you, and offer to exit the game right away (recommended), or reload the data from your local savegame file, replacing the downloaded data in the game's memory.