Building a fantasy world

By on February 26, 2009 10:29:14 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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If you’ve ever played D&D with friends, you no doubt got a feel that you were adventuring in a world that was much larger than just your party. Elemental is, in a way, about building that world.

Each game of Elemental is meant to be different and customizable in such a way that players can make those worlds theirs.  For us, that means having a world that feels organic. As you build things up, things begin to happen automatically. There isn’t a ton of micro management in Elemental by default (though you can really go nuts if you want).  Instead, trade happens largely automatically. You see people, caravans, etc. on the roads you build moving about living out their lives. You will even see parties of adventurers running around dungeons and stirring up trouble.

The player’s skill comes in by deciding how they want their fantasy civilization to evolve – what its focus will be, what direction it will take, etc.

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Vicente
February 26, 2009 10:38:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yay an update!!! It looks great. I was worried about the late game getting bogged down in micromanagment on the really huge maps. As such I am happy that most of it will occur automaticaly.

On a seperate note I noticed that there was a trade boat coming into a harbor and some caravans moving around the map. Will these internal trade boats and caravans work similar in fashion to trade ships in GC2, except more or less automatic, or will there be something completley different?

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February 26, 2009 10:48:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Interesting. There are so many factors to take into consideration when you plan the end result...

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February 26, 2009 11:43:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Hooray an update!

It seems like from what I have heard EWOM will be a little bit Total War, a little bit Master of Magic,

A little bit Spore, and a little bit something completely different. It does seem a little bit different that trade kinda happens on its own - does that mean that traders could independently be trading goods from my kingdom with an enemy? Will caravans obey embargoes or will they still sell to your opponent thru a balck market?

And are we still on track for a June beta?

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February 26, 2009 11:52:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like the bit about adventurers going around and exploring dungeons on their own. Little things like that help the world to feel alive and just make the game more fun. I also like how micromanagement is more or less optional, some aspects of the game I expect I will want to control every little detail of and others I will be content to let the AI handle stuff automatically.

 

Also a question: Are the trade caravans just aesthetic or can we actually attack them to disrupt enemy supply lines and steal their resources?

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February 27, 2009 7:12:44 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Sekerah,
I like the bit about adventurers going around and exploring dungeons on their own. Little things like that help the world to feel alive and just make the game more fun. I also like how micromanagement is more or less optional, some aspects of the game I expect I will want to control every little detail of and others I will be content to let the AI handle stuff automatically.

 

Also a question: Are the trade caravans just aesthetic or can we actually attack them to disrupt enemy supply lines and steal their resources?

This is Stardock... everything exists for a reason! Of course we can attack them! We are able to attack trade and refinery ships in SoaSE, and those are arguably even less important than these caravans. The chances of being able to kill them is pretty much 100%

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February 27, 2009 7:20:55 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

omg those graphics are AWFUL, I hope they're not the final version!

Sorry, had to be done

 

cheers,

Kul

 

PS that post is totally 40% update 60% teaser

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February 27, 2009 8:45:36 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

You see people, caravans, etc. on the roads you build moving about living out their lives. You will even see parties of adventurers running around dungeons and stirring up trouble..

 

Man 5 adventurerw going into a dungeons and a few turns later you see one of them getting out running for his life with a band of gouls on his heels! Then those gools end up terrorizing farmsteads and then the farmers come and and whine to the king about them and so on and so forth...Man this game will really rock!

 

Nice graphics! What the recommended specs for those? Mouahahahahah

 

Hail the frog!

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February 27, 2009 8:57:41 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Solam,

Nice graphics! What the recommended specs for those? Mouahahahahah

 

Hail the frog!

4 SLI'ed 280 GTX cards, 16 gb RAM, 15 gigahertz 32 core processor, and a wind tunnel to cool down said components.

I have a question though... Will the adventurers talk like WoW adventurers?

After leaving a dungeon a little speech bubble appears over their heads:

"LOL we just roflpwned that dude!!!11!1!!"

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February 27, 2009 9:39:14 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting alway,

4 SLI'ed 280 GTX cards, 16 gb RAM, 15 gigahertz 32 core processor, and a wind tunnel to cool down said components.

Yeah those graph paper/pencil emulation routines really eat up your processors

Thanks for the update Frogboy! We are, as ever, extremely excited

 

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February 27, 2009 9:53:39 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like the concept.  Here's my only fear, though:

In GalCiv2, manually telling each planet what to build for buildings was fun at the beginning but really, really, really (did I say really?) tedious in the later game and especially on huge maps.  Twilight of the Arnor helped a bit to create global build queues, but it's still not that flexible/customizeable.

It looks like building cities could be equally micro-management-oriented.  What measures will there be to reduce this so that large maps aren't encumbered by tedious decisions?  Or will having cities be a really rare thing?

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February 27, 2009 10:45:32 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Nice update! Definitely answers a few questions, like whether it'll be 1 building per tile (nope!).

That said I'm not entirely happy with it... The middle city appears to be a mining colony. It has the required keep, barracks, housing, a mine, and mine [training?]. Does that mean that the only way to take advantage of a map resource is to build a full-fledged settlement on it? That would make me sad. I want to be able to establish a small colony near/on resources like mines or what-have-you. It would be totally incapable of anything but gathering the resource and shipping it off to cities for use; and it wouldn't be as good as a city at gathering the resource, in order to compensate for it being less of an investment than a full-fledged settlement.

It'd be kind sort of like in Civ IV how you can build roads to a resource within your borders but far from a city and build a mine/farm/whatever on it to take advantage of that resource. Not only do I like it for gameplay reasons, but also for immersion. For one, it would be frustrating and kind of... artificial not to be able to use a resource without building a full-fledged city on top of it, and secondly I think it'd make the map look so much more alive.

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February 27, 2009 11:10:24 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

... The middle city appears to be a mining colony. ...

Pictures can be worth thousands of words, but they really seem far more open to interpretation. I strongly share your hope that end-game maps will have a variety of population center types, most of which will be nowhere near the size of a city. But the sketch in the OP made me think the engine is on the path I'd prefer. I saw the 'mining colony' as an outupost, if well-defended. The smaller and larger 'cities' have more base tiles and multiple shared tiles. And 'housing' is on the list of what can be in a tile, which, to me anyway, strongly implies that we'll be able to influence population concentrations by building (or not building) housing.

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February 27, 2009 12:42:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I hope some internal testing is done on large maps even before the beta arrives.  Problems can be easier to identify on the XL  maps during late game as compared with TINY maps. 

I hope the game will also include some fun optional features where we can adjust the percentage of activity such as:

   Weather:  Clouds, Rain, Storms, Tornados, Snow, etc.,

   Natural Disasters:  Hurricanes, Meteor Showers, Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Tsunami, etc.,

   Thieves/Bandits/Pirates:  Independent Thieves which travel on the map using one of the random behavior types from this thread:  http://forums.elementalgame.com/337474

   Birth of new AI opponents:  During a game a new AI opponent might appear on the map with a random amount of power/units/resources/etc., .  I recall at least one of the civilization series included this feature.

  

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February 27, 2009 1:17:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

YAY, frogboy drew that horse for us.   it isn't that bad.

This makes different buildings look really big, with each building takeing up one over-land tile.   how big are cities going to actually become?  I'm trying to imagine my MoM city if every building took up a space on the over map, I'd have truely sprawling metropolises.

I'm also curious about this 'mana generator'    is that a node... errr, shard?    with something built on it?   or just like a regular building such as a shrine?

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February 27, 2009 1:55:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,
For us, that means having a world that feels organic.

That's good to hear. The more organic the more immersive the game experience IMO.

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February 27, 2009 2:04:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,

Each game of Elemental is meant to be different and customizable in such a way that players can make those worlds theirs.  For us, that means having a world that feels organic. As you build things up, things begin to happen automatically. There isn’t a ton of micro management in Elemental by default (though you can really go nuts if you want).  Instead, trade happens largely automatically. You see people, caravans, etc. on the roads you build moving about living out their lives. You will even see parties of adventurers running around dungeons and stirring up trouble.

So Elemental is Sim-Fantasy?  I like that idea a lot.

How are you doing world creation?  Do you create a globe, a continent, or just an 'area'.  Does the map topology effect climate?  Does climate and topology determine river / water placement?  Does water placement effect the settlement patterns?

Sammual

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February 27, 2009 2:13:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Proud to say that I have an ORIGINAL scan of this image taped to my desk  Not that scans are original, but whatever.

Will these internal trade boats and caravans work similar in fashion to trade ships in GC2, except more or less automatic,

Much more automated...you set up your build priorities and the caravans will automaticially ship around the necessary resources.

Are the trade caravans just aesthetic or can we actually attack them to disrupt enemy supply lines and steal their resources?

You better beleive it!

What measures will there be to reduce this so that large maps aren't encumbered by tedious decisions? Or will having cities be a really rare thing?

If you think about most fantasy worlds, there's really only a handful of major cities, with a smattering of smaller villiages throughout the countryside...even on the largets maps, I really never see you managing the 100+ colonies you could in late GC2 games.

I could be wrong, but I feel that many settlements would break the spirit of the game.

Now, as for micromanagement options, we've been discussing methods for queuing up imperial objectives which are then handled by the AI. This would allow you to be as hands on, hands off as youd like, but wouldn't be 'the game playing for you' since it requires 'broad stroke' imput from you.  It'd also give the AI something to work with in Multiplayer games that are being played while you're away (per your settings).

Anyways, we have an internal Alpha 1 due next week...we'll have more to talk about, and time to talk, after that.

 

 

 

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February 27, 2009 2:26:54 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

If you think about most fantasy worlds, there's really only a handful of major cities, with a smattering of smaller villiages throughout the countryside...even on the largets maps, I really never see you managing the 100+ colonies you could in late GC2 games.

I could be wrong, but I feel that many settlements would break the spirit of the game.

Yay! I'm really delighted to hear (errr read surely) you say that I hate it when maps in TBS games get totally clogged up with wall to wall city tesselation and it would really break the immersion for me in a fantasy setting.

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February 27, 2009 3:03:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting landisaurus,
YAY, frogboy drew that horse for us.   it isn't that bad.

This makes different buildings look really big, with each building takeing up one over-land tile.   how big are cities going to actually become?  I'm trying to imagine my MoM city if every building took up a space on the over map, I'd have truely sprawling metropolises.

I'm also curious about this 'mana generator'    is that a node... errr, shard?    with something built on it?   or just like a regular building such as a shrine?

Hey you're right, I didn't even notice the horse. It isn't bad, although on close inspection it kind of resembles a turtle

I don't think most buildings will be taking up a full tile. It looks to me like the big squares represent one over-land tile, and some of those contain multiple structures (up to four in this image). 

And yes, you're right about the mana generator! If you look closely, inside the box it's pointing to it says "Shard of Fire"!

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February 27, 2009 3:40:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I am (and I'd say it is reasonable to say that others are as well) curious about foriegn trade.  How will that be handled?  Will it be done primarily using the same caravan system that characterizes internal trade, or will it be exclusively bilateral party to party trade through negotiation (a la Dominions 3)?  Just curious, because while much has been made of domestic trade and how that will be handled, next to nothing has been said about foriegn trade.

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February 27, 2009 4:27:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

And yes, you're right about the mana generator! If you look closely, inside the box it's pointing to it says "Shard of Fire"!

Ok, so you think it says 'shard' not 'shrine'?   awesome time.    But does that mean that the shard of fire is part of the city?   or just happens to be next-door?

It'd also give the AI something to work with in Multiplayer games that are being played while you're away (per your settings).

while you're away?   wait, what?   how much time away from the game do you expect players to be?    I'm excited to hear development along this line of thinking, because if games are able to be crazy long (because you're play-by-post/e-mail or something, and so you only get a couple of turns a day) you may not need to super micromanage, to the point where its ok if you miss a turn because your AI manages it for you.   The fact that you mentioned it pretty much off the bat like that just shows that you must have spent a good deal of time with the concept.

Anyways, we have an internal Alpha 1 due next week...we'll have more to talk about, and time to talk, after that.

good news.  I guess I was under the impression you had already reached alpha, but now I'm on the edge of my seat to see what you have to report next week.

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February 27, 2009 4:37:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting lwarmonger,
I am (and I'd say it is reasonable to say that others are as well) curious about foriegn trade.  How will that be handled?  Will it be done primarily using the same caravan system that characterizes internal trade, or will it be exclusively bilateral party to party trade through negotiation (a la Dominions 3)?  Just curious, because while much has been made of domestic trade and how that will be handled, next to nothing has been said about foriegn trade.

Yes, I'm also very curious about foreign trade.   Ideally multiple trading systems will be optional within the game... thus if one type of trading system has exploits, bugs, and imbalances us gamers would be able to choose what system they prefer.  In an effort to make everyone satisfied with the game... here are three types of trading systems which have been discussed and hopefully all can be available as optional choices:

1) Traditional Trading System: Once initial contact is established with another player the trading of resources, spells, items and goods are done from a trading screen window and are completed within 2 turns or less.  Most TBS games have this function.

2) 3rd Party Merchants Guild: The game colonization made great use of a trading system which allowed for goods to be traded and sold to a global merchants guild which would cause the rise and fall of the price of resources.

3) Trading via Caravans: The caravans are also used for trading between players for all types of resources, items, spells, etc., .  This type of trading hasn't been done on previous games at this level so there will most likely be some exploits, bugs, and disadvantages yet could eventually evolve into a fun trading system.

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February 27, 2009 4:40:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

how much time away from the game do you expect players to be? I'm excited to hear development along this line of thinking, because if games are able to be crazy long (because you're play-by-post/e-mail or something, and so you only get a couple of turns a day) you may not need to super micromanage, to the point where its ok if you miss a turn because your AI manages it for you.

Given the nature of TBS ), we're PAINFULLY aware that the MP component has to be as flexable as possible. One of the ideas on our list is to allow for the game to support a 'Turn Buffer': a number of turns that the AI will take over before the human player needs to step in.

Let's say I start a game with a 30 turn 'buffer'. We're playing, and I need to leave, so you play another 20 turns without me while the AI takes over my role. Then you come back later and play another 10 turns before the game stops you. Perhaps we can have an email system to warn 'away players' if something major happens, letting them send a 'Stop the Game!!!' message that overrides the buffer and halt play until they return.

Lots of ideas...we'll see what manifests.

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February 27, 2009 4:46:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Kuloth,
omg those graphics are AWFUL, I hope they're not the final version!

Sorry, had to be done

 

cheers,

Kul

 

PS that post is totally 40% update 60% teaser

5% update, 95% teaser.

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February 27, 2009 4:51:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting NTJedi,
Yes, I'm also very curious about foreign trade.   Ideally multiple trading systems will be optional within the game... thus if one type of trading system has exploits, bugs, and imbalances us gamers would be able to choose what system they prefer.  In an effort to make everyone satisfied with the game... here are three types of trading systems which have been discussed and hopefully all can be available as optional choices:

1) Traditional Trading System: Once initial contact is established the trading of resources, spells, items and goods are done from a trading screen window and are completed within 2 turns or less.  Most TBS games have this function.

2) 3rd Party Merchants Guild: The game colonization made great use of a trading system which allowed for goods to be traded and sold to a global merchants guild which would cause the rise and fall of the price of resources.

3) Trading via Caravans: The caravans are also used for trading between players for all types of resources, items, spells, etc., .  This type of trading hasn't been done on previous games at this level so there will most likely be some exploits, bugs, and disadvantages yet could eventually evolve into a fun trading system.

First, no please no with the 'please make everything optional so we can make our own game out of piecemeal'  

And secondly, the trade system I'd like to see is a sort of fusion between NTJedi's 2 and 3. A caravan-based foreign trade system controlled by a 3rd party merchant's guild.

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