Why does Elemental need a cool looking world?

By on April 6, 2009 6:15:36 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

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We mentioned in a previous entry that Beta 0 of Elemental will be able to be played on a cloth map.  Now to be clear, not all of the game elements will be able to be handled so abstractly. But enough will be that the basic game could be played on the cloth map.

But some users have emailed me asking why even bother having the zoom in map? And the answer is that a game, in our opinion anyway, is greater than the sum of its parts.  What we hope to make special about Elemental is that each game is YOUR world.

What do we mean by that? Well, at the cloth map level, you’ll be able to label the world as you see fit. Give deserts and swamps and forests names. It’s purely cosmetic but it’s about making the world yours.

When you zoom in, you’ll be able to see the effect you’re having on the world.  At the start of the game, the world is dead. You (and your competitors) are bringing it back to life after the Cataclysm. And how that world evolves depends on your actions.

The way we explain Elemental to some people is to ask if they’ve ever played Dungeons and Dragons. If they say yes, then we tell them that Elemental is the world you played D&D in except instead of being a party of adventures, you’re the sovereign of the kingdom that those adventurers were playing in – but the world is still just as rich and interesting as it was before. And to convey that, we have to let players get in close to see and care about that world.

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April 7, 2009 4:06:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting DrGuppie,

Quoting CapnWinky, reply 22
 

Do you mean in the campaign game? In that case I could see map labeling being turned off (or perhaps you just can't edit the major landmarks or maybe you can only edit terrain under your control).

Outside of that, I absolutely love the idea of being able to mark the map with atmospheric names that reflect the experiences or flavor of the area.

 


Ok, but what about multiplayer? You have the same mountain range with 5 different names? I love the idea of naming things but It makes sense (to me) to have that pre-game. That way, there isnt confusion when talking to others about the terrain.

Player A: We'll wage war in the CapnWinky forest!
Player B: I see two forests, "DrGruppieisawesome" and "DrGruppieishellacool"

Player A: Um ok....well the one by the main mountain range.
Player B: OH! DrGruppieistheshizzle mountain range"
Player A: I dont see that on my map, I named it something else cause were allowed to name geographical locations in game.

I understand if you could draw on the cloth map to come up with battle plans or maybe put notes down for tracking...but shouldnt there be some constiency when it comes to names of geographical locations? Isnt that why we have names to begin with?

EDIT: And I should clarify that I'm not complaining. I just want to know how this type of situation would be handled? Or am I just missing something?

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April 7, 2009 4:21:36 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting CapnWinky,



Quoting DrGuppie,
reply 25

Quoting CapnWinky, reply 22
 

Do you mean in the campaign game? In that case I could see map labeling being turned off (or perhaps you just can't edit the major landmarks or maybe you can only edit terrain under your control).

Outside of that, I absolutely love the idea of being able to mark the map with atmospheric names that reflect the experiences or flavor of the area.

 



Ok, but what about multiplayer? You have the same mountain range with 5 different names? I love the idea of naming things but It makes sense (to me) to have that pre-game. That way, there isnt confusion when talking to others about the terrain.

Player A: We'll wage war in the CapnWinky forest!
Player B: I see two forests, "DrGruppieisawesome" and "DrGruppieishellacool"

Player A: Um ok....well the one by the main mountain range.
Player B: OH! DrGruppieistheshizzle mountain range"
Player A: I dont see that on my map, I named it something else cause were allowed to name geographical locations in game.

I understand if you could draw on the cloth map to come up with battle plans or maybe put notes down for tracking...but shouldnt there be some constiency when it comes to names of geographical locations? Isnt that why we have names to begin with?

Maybe the first player that discovers it gets to name it and that name is used for all players. Intersting thought - so would you want to cover the map with "DrGuppiexxxxxx" and thus give away to everyone where you ahd been, or would you want to go with neutral names to keep others in the dark? Or would you want to name things after other players to further muddy the water and confuse the opposition? Ah the devious mind game possibilities....

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April 7, 2009 4:30:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It's not that uncommon for different civilizations to have different names for the same landmark, especially if they're at war.

 

So if I want to name the river "St. Tridus Brook" and you want to name it "Frogboy was here"... hey, the winner of the war gets to decide on the final name!

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April 7, 2009 5:02:43 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I completly agree with you Tridus. But Frogboy's comment doesnt discuss details as to how naming will work. And that's what I was confused on. Maybe they do it like Denryu was saying and the first person who discovers something gets to name it. Or maybe names can be fought out over war. Who knows...

For communication purposes in MP, It would be nice if every civilization has reference to the same names, regardless of how those names are chosen.

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April 7, 2009 5:07:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I can see the potential for confusion, but I've got a couple half-baked ideas for how you could reduce or eliminate that and I'm sure SD does too (and hopefully their's are a little more well done).

Thinking about it now, I see multiplayer as one of the best places for such a feature. Who wouldn't want to name the forest "DrGuppie's Fall" after utterly destroying my main army?

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April 7, 2009 6:36:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Re names on maps, GC2 has a player-centered version already. You can rename stars and colonies regardless of who occupies them.

What I'd like to see for Elemental is a way to view what names the other civs have put on the map--some sort of map room that you need to stock up via something like espionage spending or appropriate clairevoyance spells. The multiplayer question CapnWinky raised seems to make something like that an essential companion to enabling players to name map features.

I'm also curious about whether we'll be able to simply draw some boundaries and give them a label or if we'll only be able to rename specific 'geography' objects on the map. I'd like this especially for the larger maps, where I hope a 'bioregion' thing like a desert or forest could be fairly large, e.g. in the Big Dustbucket desert, I'd like to be able to mark the tile or tiles where a great battle occured with some name like Especially Bloody Sands.

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April 7, 2009 8:00:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting GW Swicord,
I'm also curious about whether we'll be able to simply draw some boundaries and give them a label or if we'll only be able to rename specific 'geography' objects on the map. I'd like this especially for the larger maps, where I hope a 'bioregion' thing like a desert or forest could be fairly large, e.g. in the Big Dustbucket desert, I'd like to be able to mark the tile or tiles where a great battle occured with some name like Especially Bloody Sands.

Agreed, I think what I envision is close to what you see in the front of many fantasy books. My personal impression from what we've been told so far makes me think SD is thinking the same thing (that is, not naming just a particular mountain).

I think I'd be happy if I could lasso an arbitrary region and assign it a name, then the game guesses at an orientation and font-size but lets me tweak both. Like a long north-south mountain range, I'd like the game to guess that the text needs to run on its side but would let me change it if I wanted. Also of course being able to just click and put a name on a specific spot.

Maybe this is all stuff we will get to hash out in Beta 0

 

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April 8, 2009 1:14:50 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 

The naming of sections of map terrain will be fun.  The solution within Multiplayer is actually quite easy.  

From the images we've seen it does appear each player has a dominion or magic domain or territorial boundary.  The player who has the majority of ownership for a section of map terrain should have the ability to rename the location for everyone in the game.  

As an extra feature a low level and inexpensive magic spell could be used so the location cannot be renamed until another player casts the spell using even more magic.

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April 8, 2009 5:11:03 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Awesome! The bringing a world to life is one of my favourite aspects of civilization/mom like games. Looking at what you're planning you're going to take it to the next level (Even a bit of Majesty influences there it seems) Now its that its you guys otherwise I would have huge doubts you could bring it all together. Now with the Stardock team I feel it might actually be possible!

 

Keep up the good work!

 

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April 8, 2009 10:49:53 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Why does Elemental need a cool looking world?

Do you need a reason beyond 'to look cool'? So long as there's gameplay behind it, I don't.

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April 8, 2009 10:51:16 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Thanks for the great details FB.

This is great news, I really am liking the idea of parties of heroes wandering the lands looking for glory and treasure. Also, the DM/World-builder part of my ego is enticed by the idea of moulding the lands! Regarding the ability to zoom in, glad you are keeping it! Labeling the world is great too. Looking better and better!

Questions:

  • will you be able to put up quests, hire heroes to remove a threat? (ie. hire a stalwart band to defeat a dragon recently rampaging through farms?) If yes, can you watch them battle the dragon to glorious victory or crushing defeat? (and if defeated, guess you have to hire another group or get your army involved?)
  • Possible to hire adventurers/mercenaries to go into a neighbor's lands to explore or wreak havoc? Hire an assasin or spy? (guess we are getting more into the politics facet now..)

 

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April 8, 2009 1:45:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting NTJedi,
... The player who has the majority of ownership for a section of map terrain should have the ability to rename the location for everyone in the game.  ...

Still not sure I'll care for multiplayer, but if I did, I'd still want some ability to maintain the map coordinates & location names separately somehow. I'm thinking of things like "Istanbul's not Constantinople any more" and the Falklands/Malvinas, Malvinas/Falklands argument (still evident in the Wikipedia redirect).

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April 8, 2009 2:02:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting NTJedi,
 

The naming of sections of map terrain will be fun.  The solution within Multiplayer is actually quite easy.  

From the images we've seen it does appear each player has a dominion or magic domain or territorial boundary.  The player who has the majority of ownership for a section of map terrain should have the ability to rename the location for everyone in the game.  

As an extra feature a low level and inexpensive magic spell could be used so the location cannot be renamed until another player casts the spell using even more magic.

I really dig your idea, NT. The only issue I have is on really huge maps. You will have alot of wild space like mountains/forests/oceans (at least I hope...I want to avoid Civ4 tile spam). There could definitely be an instance where no single player has territorial boundaries in a certain area.

How do we address this? Maybe exploration could be another criteria? If it's in your kingdom you get to name it. If it's in no ones kingdom...then the first person to fully explore an ocean, mountain range, or forest gets to name it. The name remains until someone's kingdom extends to that geographical location.

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April 8, 2009 2:53:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Legerdemain,

Why does Elemental need a cool looking world?


Do you need a reason beyond 'to look cool'? So long as there's gameplay behind it, I don't.

Reminds me of a commercial where a guys says "Why didn't you just mail me the check?" and the other guy is like "um, we have a hovercraft..."

However an area gets named (exploration, ownership, other) I think that once a feature is named the name should stick for the duration of the game in multiplayer. I dunno I guess I can see both advantages and disadvantages to renaming stuff, it just seems like especially a hotly contested area it could get old for it to be renamed many times. Also, what if empire boundaries divide a geographical feature among 2 or more empires?

I really like the idea of the discoverer gets namng rights, and that name sticks.

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April 8, 2009 3:37:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Also, what if empire boundaries divide a geographical feature among 2 or more empires?

Gawh...another loophole. . Can we get some dev input please

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April 8, 2009 7:12:33 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting GW Swicord,



Quoting NTJedi,
reply 8
... The player who has the majority of ownership for a section of map terrain should have the ability to rename the location for everyone in the game.  ...


Still not sure I'll care for multiplayer, but if I did, I'd still want some ability to maintain the map coordinates & location names separately somehow. I'm thinking of things like "Istanbul's not Constantinople any more" and the Falklands/Malvinas, Malvinas/Falklands argument (still evident in the Wikipedia redirect).

 Multiplayer can be amazing fun... just don't have your first multiplayer experience with strangers on the internet.  Many strangers on the internet will either try cheating, quit when they start losing or possibly have a rude immature personality.... which can really destroy the fun.   First do multiplayer with friends and/or family when possible and start as a team against AI opponents.  If you must start with multiplayer online make sure you know the personality and behaviors of the individuals within the game...  typically online guilds have members who all trust each other and play together.

In regards to having map location names separately... this can cause confusion between the different players.  As you might have named a location as "The Great Forest"  while another player has it called the "The Grey Forest".  Ideally the names for all map locations should be the same for all players so communications with terrains are not confusing.

Quoting CapnWinky,



I really dig your idea, NT. The only issue I have is on really huge maps. You will have alot of wild space like mountains/forests/oceans (at least I hope...I want to avoid Civ4 tile spam). There could definitely be an instance where no single player has territorial boundaries in a certain area.

How do we address this?

Yes, I'm expecting many areas which are not owned by anyone for large, huge, and gigantic maps.  I'm not sure if exploration would be fair... as one nation playing a turtle strategy would lose naming rights to another player using an expansion blitz strategy.  The best fair way to have these wild spaces named would be allowing all players to vote.  One player submits a name change request and the other players can choose none or submit their own name change request.  The next turn each player gets to vote among the list of names.  If 4 different human players all want different names then it should randomly choose one of the 4 names.    

Quoting Denryu,


However an area gets named (exploration, ownership, other) I think that once a feature is named the name should stick for the duration of the game in multiplayer. I dunno I guess I can see both advantages and disadvantages to renaming stuff, it just seems like especially a hotly contested area it could get old for it to be renamed many times. Also, what if empire boundaries divide a geographical feature among 2 or more empires?

The actual renamings of locations should only happen once every 20_turns OR if the location falls under control of a new empire.  I say 20_turns because an event may change the terrain such as a volcanic eruption leveling a forest or a great battle may cause a swamp to earn a new name.  If two players are renaming one location often due to the change of control the other players can pressure via diplomacy one or both players for a specific name to remain. 

I estimate it would be very rare for two empire boundaries to perfectly share (50% and 50%) one single geographical location... but for such an unlikely scenario the player who originally obtained the majority should have naming rights.

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April 8, 2009 7:39:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Why bother with naming rights at all? Just have everybody assign names, and have all the names show up on the map. For example, if I name a mountain "G'Nost Peak", and you name it "NT_Jedi_Is_Cool", both names would show up on the map pointing to the same thing. No confusion, no unfair naming rights, just the possible most obvious system.

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April 8, 2009 8:06:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Scoutdog,
Why bother with naming rights at all? Just have everybody assign names, and have all the names show up on the map. For example, if I name a mountain "G'Nost Peak", and you name it "NT_Jedi_Is_Cool", both names would show up on the map pointing to the same thing. No confusion, no unfair naming rights, just the possible most obvious system.

Well that can be a problem for a game which has  20 human players and each of them give unique names... the overlapping of names would make the map very cluttered.   Then for PBEM  games communication is done all by email between players causing even more confusion.

Dominions_3 is a fantasy TBS game where over 70 players can be all on the same game.

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April 8, 2009 8:31:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It's not absolutely perfect, but I imagine that the devs could rig something up with font, stacking selectors, and floating labels.

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April 8, 2009 8:44:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I don't think players need to be confused with in-depth naming rules. Leave that for the city council guys who decide who gets a street named after them. Against the AI, the player should be able to name geographic features, even if the names are silly and stupid. (Here be the Buttface Mountains!) Against human players: maybe disable naming? Only name stuff in your territory? Random names pulled from a database?

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April 8, 2009 9:11:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Scoutdog,
Why bother with naming rights at all? Just have everybody assign names, and have all the names show up on the map. For example, if I name a mountain "G'Nost Peak", and you name it "NT_Jedi_Is_Cool", both names would show up on the map pointing to the same thing. No confusion, no unfair naming rights, just the possible most obvious system.

 

Unfair naming rights???

Possible most obvious???

I hope you won't be offended when my invading army "accidentally" invades your lands and leaves all your armies in this condition. 

Send me your email and i will send you screesnshots of my "unfair victory party"...

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April 8, 2009 11:15:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Scoutdog,
It's not absolutely perfect, but I imagine that the devs could rig something up with font, stacking selectors, and floating labels.

Well on a game with a very large map and many players this would still be a problem.  Say you receive a message to recieve a free item from another player who only wrote to meet him in Dunkans Forest.  The world map might have 50 different forests... so you have to highlight each forest and view the 10+ names for each forest before finding where to pickup the item.   Even worse what if he named the location Dunkans Mark...  then you have to search every terrain or wait another entire turn as you send a message back requesting more specific directions.

Also with so many different names being stored for each location it's more work for the game as compared to each location having only one name.

Quoting Serik55,
I don't think players need to be confused with in-depth naming rules. Leave that for the city council guys who decide who gets a street named after them. Against the AI, the player should be able to name geographic features, even if the names are silly and stupid. (Here be the Buttface Mountains!) Against human players: maybe disable naming? Only name stuff in your territory? Random names pulled from a database?

   Against the AI... of course the single human player could name the locations, this conversation is about naming locations for multiplayer games.  For multiplayer disabling naming would be removing a game feature.  Naming locations only in your territory... this is a possible option the developers may consider.  The random names pulled from a database is what the default game will be doing... ideally the naming convention should use an algebra formula as compared to fixed names which provides a greater list of names with less effort.   

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April 9, 2009 6:25:32 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This is getting vastly over-complicated. Naming should be something fun and simple, not something burdened with 50 rules and 2000 lines of code to enforce them.

If you and I want to both name the same river something else, who cares? In the past that river had no name at all, and I managed to tell you where I wanted you to go just fine using things like map pings or "that river Southeast of Shadowprey Village."

Over-complexity just means more rules to learn and more chances for bugs. When its about the name of a river, why does it really matter?

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April 9, 2009 8:27:11 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tridus,
This is getting vastly over-complicated. Naming should be something fun and simple, not something burdened with 50 rules and 2000 lines of code to enforce them.

If you and I want to both name the same river something else, who cares? In the past that river had no name at all, and I managed to tell you where I wanted you to go just fine using things like map pings or "that river Southeast of Shadowprey Village."

Over-complexity just means more rules to learn and more chances for bugs. When its about the name of a river, why does it really matter?

 

/applause

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April 9, 2009 10:32:41 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tridus,
This is getting vastly over-complicated. Naming should be something fun and simple, not something burdened with 50 rules and 2000 lines of code to enforce them.

If you and I want to both name the same river something else, who cares? In the past that river had no name at all, and I managed to tell you where I wanted you to go just fine using things like map pings or "that river Southeast of Shadowprey Village."

Over-complexity just means more rules to learn and more chances for bugs. When its about the name of a river, why does it really matter?

  I doubt the developers will have the game doing extra work by allowing each player to uniquely name each location.  I can only imagine it storing 20+ names for each terrain section... what a cluttered mess.  Also multiple names for map locations WOULD cause confusion during multiplayer gaming especially new players. 

  Everything I've listed were answers to questions others were asking... the developers can provide an easy map naming solution for multiplayer by allowing only renaming for territory within the owners boundaries.  If the developers are interested in allowing players to rename locations outside of their boundaries then the players submit names and vote.  Not as tough as you think.

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