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Elemental: A General Status Report

By on August 14, 2011 8:12:13 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
+1120

This will eventually get stickied somewhere.

So here is where we stand as we near the first anniversary of the release of the first Elemental title (War of Magic)

War of Magic v1.4

Last month we released War of Magic v1.3.  We are currently working on v1.4 which we anticipate going into beta this month.  v1.4 is scheduled to include AI updates, balance updates, and bug fixes.

Fallen Enchantress

Most of Stardock Entertainment’s resources are currently being put on the second Elemental title (Fallen Enchantress) which is a fairly radical departure from War of Magic (other than art resources).  I can’t go into much detail regarding it other than to say it that it is much more similar to a Civilization/Master of Magic style strategy game versus a Galactic Civilizations/HOMM style strategy game (i.e. every tile of terrain matters i.e. building near rivers or forests or hills and that kind of thing will matter and there are things like unrest and tax rates and that kind of thing).

Of course, the decision to make Fallen Enchantress effectively a new game (other than art assets) has meant that its date is being pushed out to being more like a sequel’s release.  That said, our plan is for the beta to come out this Fall still. However, bear in mind, that other than both existing in the Elemental universe, the gameplay of the two are very different.

Staffing

For those of you who follow/are interested in this sort of thing, the staffing on Fallen Enchantress is similar to War of Magic. 

  • I am the executive producer of both. 
  • Cari and Jesse have been the senior engine developers. 
  • The big changes have been that Scott has moved from being Producer to being senior Animator. 
  • We also were able to re-hire (call back from last year’s lay offs) Auri who was the lead animator on WOM who is back on animating all the new monsters. 
  • Derek Paxton (Civilization: Fall from Heaven fame) has taken over from Scott as Producer.
  • Derek has also taken over as lead developer (as opposed to the quasi “design by committee” led by myself with WOM). 
  • Jon Shafer (Civilization V lead designer) has designed the single player campaigns for Fallen Enchantress.

In addition, several new artists/developers have been hired over the past year with the result being that the FE team is larger than the WOM team was.

Who gets what

Everyone who bought War of Magic in 2010 gets Fallen Enchantress for free. The betas will one day simply “show up” in your Impulse account. You don’t have to do anything to get access to it.  People who bought War of Magic in 2011 up to its release will be able to get Fallen Enchantress for a discounted price. The full price for Fallen Enchantress is likely going to be $39.95 and it’s a stand alone game (and in fact, we may sunset War of Magic entirely – i.e. no longer sell it new after FE is released – however we may continue to release updates to WOM after FE comes out regardless to satisfy ourselves and our fans who like its game mechanics).

Objectives

As some of you know, my “day job” is CEO of Stardock overall of which Stardock Entertainment is one business unit of with the Elemental franchise being one game series of.  To make a long story short, I’ve given Derek cart blanche to do what is necessary to make sure Fallen Enchantress awesome – even if it means spending more money or taking more time. As a result, while I am fairly certain the betas of it will come out this Fall, I can’t promise when the final version will come out.

Multiplayer

Since I don’t want that dangling out there, multiplayer matters to me personally but we know the hard statistics on the % of people who play turn-based strategy games MP (and I mean industry wide). The word tiny comes to mind.  That said, Elemental will be receiving multiplayer love anyway.

Lastly

Yes, we do read the forums religiously. But we don’t typically respond. 

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August 15, 2011 11:09:32 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Thanks for the update also.  We do really need these bi-weekly or so, as I think folks are starting to get antsy for FE. 

 

I'm just worried that FE is taking so long that I ended up overhyping, and getting disappointed when you don't give us a pony with the beta.  I'm already feeling that way with another game I'm anticipating in about 10 weeks.

 

 

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August 15, 2011 2:13:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

One thing in particular dazzled me in WoM which haven't been addressed in journals much: The amount of hardcoded, unmodable stuff in game. WoM, especially when released had a lot of hardcoded routines such as the map generator generating stuff while ignoring the XML. I would really like if that will not be the case with FE.

Also, as I haven't checked about mods lately, are wizard tools expected to be up for modders for testing?

Hear here!  I have been waiting for HOW LONG for the modding tools to become usable?  And now you will shift most resources away from it to a (practically) new game?  I've tried to keep my hopes high, but you keep dashing them every new release...

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August 15, 2011 5:09:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

About FE

* every tile matters - will there be local resources like in civ?

* Is there someone working at music and sound FX? WoM was (is) really poor in this part. Even comparing to much older games (thinking AOE and HOMM)

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August 15, 2011 6:05:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting harpo99999,
I was IN the wom beta from beta 2

It was available during the first four or five months from start of the public beta. We installed a shortcut to the tracker site with the game and everything.

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August 15, 2011 7:07:05 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting kryo,

Quoting harpo99999, reply 20I was IN the wom beta from beta 2

It was available during the first four or five months from start of the public beta. We installed a shortcut to the tracker site with the game and everything.

 

So was the spam from beta users, or was it a problem that it was publicly available and those not in the beta were spamming it?  If the 2nd, could you have limited access to the beta users, since you know who they are?

 

Also, thanks very much for the update Brad - I was jonesing for my update  

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August 15, 2011 8:12:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Maybe this time  you will take the feedback of the beta testers seriously...

 

I know you think that Fallen Enchantress is going to be a much better game than the original... just don't get full of yourself and assume that you know what you are doing.

 

+10000000 for modding support. 

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August 15, 2011 8:23:05 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I bought 4 copies of WoM for myself and my friends to play multiplayer together last Oct... it was effectively impossible to actually do that due to bugs and instability. I have tried again with every new update, but no change for the MP. My friends said I got screwed because I paid $50 each on 4 copies for what should have been a great muliplayer game. I assured them that eventually Stardock would fix the bugs so that we could get my moneys worth. 

Maybe there isn't a lot of players that play these types of games for the multiplayer because the MP tends to get neglected and thus it sucks.

If I could wish for anything in WoM it would be the ability to actually choose what my units do in a fight with MP like you can in SP... besides actually making the MP playable that is.

I sincerely hope that what you say is true and Multiplayer gets some love. Otherwise I am not going to really care about getting FE for free since I won't play it anyway.

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August 15, 2011 8:30:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I look forward to a winter filled with Elemental satisfaction. I was very much in need of an update, thanks.

Can we get an idea of how many new monsters are being added to the game? I am hoping that FE supports more options for conjuring/digging up armies. 

When should we start up the modding support wishlist thread again?

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August 15, 2011 9:24:01 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Good post Frogboy, thanks for the update.

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August 15, 2011 10:41:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,

Multiplayer
Since I don’t want that dangling out there, multiplayer matters to me personally but we know the hard statistics on the % of people who play turn-based strategy games MP (and I mean industry wide). The word tiny comes to mind.  That said, Elemental will be receiving multiplayer love 

You made my day with this part. I realize that I'm a niche of a niche here, but MP was the critical issue for me. Please make the "full" SP experience available to those in MP, at least as game options. I play these games (Civ, Fall From Heaven, Sword of the Stars, etc) coop with my friends.

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August 15, 2011 11:54:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yeah I'm also aware that those of us who'd try multiplayer at all are a niche of a niche, but I may as well contribute too: please include MP with as many SP features as possible, preferably all of them. FE is never going to be Starcraft, don't worry about tweaking the balance or toning down randomness for multiplayer; some of us just want to share the SP experience with friends, whether it's AI-killing co-op, or friendly/fun/entirely imbalanced competitive games.

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August 16, 2011 12:06:50 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

As the art assets are going to be mostly the same, will player made tile designs, spell effects and such be portable (ie will FE recognize or be able to reconstruct a tile/effect made in the current editors?).

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August 16, 2011 12:14:33 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,

  I can’t go into much detail regarding it other than to say it that it is much more similar to a Civilization/Master of Magic style strategy game versus a Galactic Civilizations/HOMM style strategy game (i.e. every tile of terrain matters i.e. building near rivers or forests or hills and that kind of thing will matter and there are things like unrest and tax rates and that kind of thing).

 

Already. I can not wait for this game. Just from reading the above. Sounds like a TON more to consider, think about, and trade-off. Yes, please.

A fantasy RotK type game - man...I might play this forever.


I also can't believe it's been a year since E:WOM.

 

Edit: Oh, and yes, please to the multiplayer, especially co-op.

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August 16, 2011 12:27:38 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Cool, Brad. Can't wait to check out 1.4. I want to echo Heavenfall and others, however, and respectfully request that any final patch version is polished before release. I haven't really played the game since the 1.20 beta series because, well, the 1.30 beta was fraught with issues. That in itself wasn't a deal breaker since it was a beta series. However, the final patch version left too much on the table that set the game, in my humble opinion, as unplayable. I'll come back if 1.4 is worth my time otherwise I'll wait patiently until FE.

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August 16, 2011 1:55:10 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Most of Stardock Entertainment’s resources are currently being put on the second Elemental title (Fallen Enchantress) which is a fairly radical departure from War of Magic (other than art resources).  I can’t go into much detail regarding it other than to say it that it is much more similar to a Civilization/Master of Magic style strategy game versus a Galactic Civilizations/HOMM style strategy game (i.e. every tile of terrain matters i.e. building near rivers or forests or hills and that kind of thing will matter and there are things like unrest and tax rates and that kind of thing).

 

This paragraph is such a huge tease! I can't wait for this winter. Would be nice to have a pure TBS that can challenge Civ 4, this small genre is full of such mediocre games lately. Hopefully this doesn't end up as another 'full of potential' game that promises everything, continues to advertise everything, yet delivers on little, I really want this to be a great game

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August 16, 2011 2:56:51 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,

I can’t go into much detail regarding it other than to say it that it is much more similar to a Civilization/Master of Magic style strategy game versus a Galactic Civilizations/HOMM style strategy game (i.e. every tile of terrain matters i.e. building near rivers or forests or hills and that kind of thing will matter and there are things like unrest and tax rates and that kind of thing).

This sentence makes me happy. Bring on the beta, I'm excited.

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August 16, 2011 3:25:16 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I can't help but follow this project.  I'm glad your still keeping with it.  I think what you do is a rarity.

For the meantime, I sincerely wish I could go back to 1.09e ;~p

 

What is the status on in-house distribution for this and other Stardock products?  I've checked out gamestops updated TOS and Privacy Policy.  But they are unacceptable.  You've talked multiple times after selling Impulse, of making your own products available through a Stardockian system.  Is this still important to you?  It is to me!!  I salivate for E:FE; but mouth dries at the thought of gamestop.

 

BTW, The first result from a variety of search engines still brings up Stardock Systems. But nowhere is there any mention of gamestop or its policies.  Until you go to through the checkout process.  At first I thought this was good news towards in-house distribution.  But months have passed and this just seems to be something forgotten. Or will this really eventually be the new Stardock Store?

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August 16, 2011 5:14:34 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Thanks Brad for sticking it out! Good update!

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August 16, 2011 9:08:53 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,

I can’t go into much detail regarding it other than to say it that it is much more similar to a Civilization/Master of Magic style strategy game versus a Galactic Civilizations/HOMM style strategy game (i.e. every tile of terrain matters i.e. building near rivers or forests or hills and that kind of thing will matter and there are things like unrest and tax rates and that kind of thing).

 

He probably thinks that quote will make us think about Master of Magic which will get us all excited again, and it doeeees

 

My lvl of excitement just got upgraded to Advanced Excitement with the abilities demo longing and developerjournal impatienceness (been playing M&M: Heroes V some).

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August 16, 2011 11:54:49 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Looking forward to the beta release of FE. I haven'y played WOM in 2011, but I have been following the progress of WOM and FE in the forums. My main issue with WOM was that a particularly bland and uninteresting world was selected. The horribly flawed economic model, the lack of fun things to do, etc can all be dealt with through the updates - and many have been. However, one is stuck with that dull dull world and the fixes have not overcome my disinterest in playing again. FE does seem to address the underlying blandness issue and therefore has a chance to be the game that WOM wanted to be. Being more like MoM sounds very promising to me as, for all it's faults, MoM was not dull or bland until very late in the game. I don't much care how long it takes you to get there, I do appreciate the fact that you are making the effort.

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August 16, 2011 12:27:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'd just like to second the calls for something like 'spam-free beta tester' logins for the bug tracking, and for a Stardock-based way to download the game & updates.

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August 16, 2011 1:54:46 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I just want to add my voice to those thanking Stardock for giving "multiplayer love" to FE. A huge part of the draw of WOM was the idea of being able to play this game with my brother, and I'm still really wanting to do that with FE. If the game is loads of fun, reminiscent of RPGs, and truly multiplayer-capable, it could be an all-time favorite.

Anyway, thanks for what you're doing! Keep up the great work.

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August 16, 2011 2:07:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting kryo,

We allowed everyone to submit to the bug tracker during the WoM beta, but there was too much spam and it had to be closed to the public.

What? Never heard of it, and I was in the beta as well... The main problem is that I rather not post bugs on this forum because it takes too much  time. First I have to find a proper web storage for files and images and upload them, then I have to work with this VERY slow forum and try to get the links in properly etc etc.

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August 16, 2011 2:17:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting GW Swicord,
I'd just like to second the calls for something like 'spam-free beta tester' logins for the bug tracking, and for a Stardock-based way to download the game & updates.

Nothing personal GW, but a thousand times no. The absolute last thing I want is yet another download service for one game.

Stardock has already done that TWICE. Third time and I'm out. Besides, FE is still under the Impulse exclusive window. Hopefully anything about that is just put on Steam/D2D/Gamersgate/etc.

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August 16, 2011 3:41:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tridus,
Nothing personal GW, but a thousand times no. The absolute last thing I want is yet another download service for one game.

I get that. Just doesn't apply to me because I've given up on the industry in general and the only games that have caught my interest in the past near-decade have been Stardock titles. Dom 3 would probably have me if it weren't built for MP. Maybe it's time to give my wrists a real break and quit gaming for good.

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