Countdown to Beta Zero - Spells, Spells, and more Spells!

Actually, Just Four Spells.

By on May 18, 2009 2:34:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

ScottTykoski

Join Date 03/2001
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Welcome to the first of several 'Countdown' journals leading up to the release of Beta 0. While we don't have a firm date for the release (several folks need to recoup from weeks of Demigod all-nighters), we still plan on getting Elemental's first playable form into your hands for June!


Boogiebac (myself) holding a Resturaunt Meeting on City Resources 

After seeing the amazing starships made by players (and reviewers) in GC2's ship designer, we decided fairly early to make customization a huge part of the Elemental experience. And while this has resulted in a longer tool-development period than GC2, the current results with those tools have been really exciting.

Case in point: our new Particle Engine (and coorisponding in-game Particle Editor). Obviously, since we're making a fantasy game, we would need some fantastic spells spell effects to get players excited. Besides spells, every weapon swung, item used, dungeon cleared, and acheivement acheived would require it's own special effect.  To acheve this we (Ross and Paul) created the Particle Editor, a mighty in-game workshop for the artists (and players) to create effects with.

We put the final few touches on version 1 of the editor last Wedensday and gave it to Akil and Dan (two of our artists) to create spells with. In just TWO DAYS, they had the tool learned and had created their first 4 spell-ready effects.

Beckon Home
A spell for the adventurer that just wants to get home to heal up. 'Beckon Home' sends any unit to a friendly settlement.

Flare
A ball of fire burns away the FOW and gies you full view of a selected part of the map. Flare uses both Fire mana and a small amount of essence. Think of it as the 'Eye of Sauron: Lite'.

Sublime Harvest
Feed your people with some magical rations! Sublime Harvest tops up a settlement's food supply, using both Earth mana and a pinch of your essence.

Pyrostorm
Burn away a section of forest or any unused Fertile Ground with Pyrostorm.

The in-game Particle editor, despite requiring additional up-front dev time, will allow anyone with a crazy spell idea to get their creation into the game easilly (then use the online Library to let them share it). Besides this, the final boxed game will have an Item Editor, Equipment Editor, Tile Design Editor (more about TD's later), the World Builder, and any other editors we can cram in 

Next week we'll talk about World Creation and the adventures you'll be going on! Till then, please send your good vibes to the Demigod team as they (hopefully) wrap up a very rough month.

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May 18, 2009 2:39:21 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Till then, please send your good vibes to the Demigod team as they (hopefully) wrap up a very rough month.

I think after looking at these particle effects that won't be much of a problem..

*beams good vibes directly to Stardock hq*

Seriously, it's going to be great to have ingame tools for everything. If a simple "more food" spell looks that nice, I can just imagine what your artists will come up with for the end-game mass destruction spells!

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May 18, 2009 2:41:54 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

cool update now i want to pre order

edit:

but that picture of you looks creepy, its going to follow me across the web i just know it

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May 18, 2009 2:48:21 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

but that picture of you looks creepy

"Look, it's real easy to make money with this system. You just go door to door selling toothpicks, salt shakers, and cup covers at 300% mark-up! It's completely safe, okay? Why are you looking at me like that?"

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May 18, 2009 2:48:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

If a simple "more food" spell looks that nice, I can just imagine what your artists will come up with for the end-game mass destruction spells!

One of our goals will be to make just as many 'passive' and 'defensive' spells as 'offensive' ones. If we can actually make it exciting to play the peaceful magician, healing the land and saving the weak races, then we've done our job!

its going to follow me across the web i just know it

Only until you pre-order

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May 18, 2009 2:56:03 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Ooh, yes. I'd like a fun-to-play peaceful empire. (Pretty seems a given with the artstyle.)

Editors galore will be nice, but my lack of artistic experience (And skill, for that matter) will probably leave me staring at them for hours while my empire crumbles.

Also, toothpicks work so much better out of the wrapper.

 

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May 18, 2009 3:00:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This looks awesome, though I'm not sure how I feel about the spells costing essence...Doesn't that seem counter intuitive? I thought one of the ways you could play the game was to have a bad ass soveriegn, which seems unlikely if spells cost essence every time you cast them. I'm thinking this would creat situations where if players are trying to have a powerful soveriegn they will end up only casting spells as a last resort...unless I'm misunderstanding the way you get essence.

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May 18, 2009 3:01:55 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I think the funness of a peaceful empire will depend a lot on diplomacy and the gameplay effects/consequences of remaining peaceful, but certainly the spell effects won't hinder that And, knowing SD and our beta tester legions, it'll end up happening.

Not from me, though. I'm going straight to necromancy!

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May 18, 2009 3:01:58 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

but that picture of you looks creepy, its going to follow me across the web i just know it
How odd.  I was just thinking how much better he looks in that pic compared to real life. 

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May 18, 2009 3:04:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Awesome!   Remember the Channeler and civilization editor, eh? Altough I know I don't need to mention it.

Talking about editors, have you planned if we will be able to try/test during the beta? Or will they be reserved for release? Considering how you add new material trough the mod tools maybe it'd be a good idea to let the players try to "break" them.

And the Demigod team should take a very good and well deserved break. No one in their mind would complain (seriously) if Elemental had to be delayed until July (altough we know you still can release the beta 0 the 30th of JUNE... ).

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May 18, 2009 3:07:01 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

*taps Zubaz on the shoulder and motions for him to duck, quickly*

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May 18, 2009 3:23:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

BoogieBac and folks,

Thanks very much for keeping us up to date.  I hope your post-Demigod recovery goes well and you have a chance to relax and recharge.  While I look forward eagerly to the Elemental beta (even a completely non-fun engine beta), it's much more important that the team be happy (and healthy).

Very good news about the tools; the necessary data-driven programming will take longer and be less flexible in some respects, but this game has enormous modding potential.  I hope the rules and AI scripting engines (python, right?) get enough attention too.  I get the impression y'all aren't sure you'll have enough time to make the scripting as flexible as you'd like (Civ4-ish?), but there's still hope and even if not I'm sure the game will still be good for many, many hours of fun.

Thanks,
Keith

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May 18, 2009 3:35:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Talking about editors, have you planned if we will be able to try/test during the beta? Or will they be reserved for release?
Dunno...since they're being used by the artists were getting A LOT of stability and usabilty feedback. You'll probably see them tricke out around beta 3.

Editors galore will be nice, but my lack of artistic experience (And skill, for that matter) will probably leave me staring at them for hours while my empire crumbles.
Most of the editors will be used outside of the main game, though I would like to find a way to make them gameplay features (Item Editor becomes a 'Item Crafting' feature, Spell Editor for 'Spell Crafting'), but we probably wont have time for those

I feel about the spells costing essence...Doesn't that seem counter intuitive?
Not all spells cost essence, just the ones where you're 'creating' something or 'imbueing' something (at least from my understanding). You'll have MANY spells to cast that dont sap your essence, but the ones that do will be considerably more potent.

I was just thinking how much better he looks in that pic compared to real life.
You're a jerk. I'm going to tell everyone what a jerk you are.

*taps Zubaz on the shoulder and motions for him to duck, quickly*
It's fine, I hear he's a jerk.

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May 18, 2009 3:45:25 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

*leans over to the next guy* Hey, did you hear Zubaz is a jerk? It's true!

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May 18, 2009 3:57:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting BoogieBac,

One of our goals will be to make just as many 'passive' and 'defensive' spells as 'offensive' ones. If we can actually make it exciting to play the peaceful magician, healing the land and saving the weak races, then we've done our job!
 

That's great to hear! One of the thing I like in some boardgames I play are spells that essentially help Rush, Boom, or Turtle macro strategies, whereas a lot of games just have combat spells.

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May 18, 2009 4:00:27 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

It is nice to see some new info from the project leader after a long time of silence.

Some good stuff to be sure. Some more vids would really rock.

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May 18, 2009 4:00:46 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting BoogieBac,

Not all spells cost essence, just the ones where you're 'creating' something or 'imbueing' something (at least from my understanding). You'll have MANY spells to cast that dont sap your essence, but the ones that do will be considerably more potent.

Question ... so we can basically make cool visual effects for spells, but how about managing their in-game mechanic effects? How do we edit what the spells do as well as what they look like?

I agree it would be ok for the spells to cost essence if ...

(i) FLARE
the area of view was permanent. E.g. you would always be able to see the area revealed.

(ii) SUBLIME HARVEST
the food bonus was permanent.

... would that not make more sense?

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May 18, 2009 4:15:03 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

A few Questions:

1. Can we upload our own images into the spell editor? Jpg/Png formats should be idea, PNG24 I highly recommended because it's sizable and has lots of flexibility.

2. Can we upload our own sound files into the spell editor? 

3. Can we incorperate 3D objects in the spell editor? Such as a model of Death, or a pair of Wings we can spread and have flap for a short duration?

4. Can spells effect structures? Such as create 3D objects on the field? Such as rocks, trees, mountains, towers, buildings, ect.

5. Can spells generate creatures? Summon large, magical beasts of your own creation.

6. Can we use spells to duplicate creatures, and perhaps allow for a time limit?

Example:

  • Doppleganger's Essense  
  • Use: Caster can transform into target creature or person. Caster's faction will match target's while transformed.
  • Duration: Effect will last for 4 turns. 

 

 

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May 18, 2009 4:17:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Oooooooh, pretty.......

In any event, I want as many editors as possible, and I think that essence cost for permanent spells is a great idea.

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May 18, 2009 4:32:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Vordrak,
...I agree it would be ok for the spells to cost essence if ...

(i) FLARE
the area of view was permanent. E.g. you would always be able to see the area revealed.

(ii) SUBLIME HARVEST
the food bonus was permanent.

... would that not make more sense?

I very much agree with this point. The essence-mana mechanics could be the most important distinguishing feature for Elemental, and it just seems wrong to be able to throw essence away on something as momentary as a pile of rations or a one-time scan of a territory. Mana is what a channeler can channel; essence is part of what a channeler *is*. Or so I hope.

p.s. I wanna see the beta in 3 weeks, but I don't want to see too much crunch time help spawn a round of summer colds in dev-land. Make sure y'all get enough rest after that Demigod kerfuffle.

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May 18, 2009 4:36:29 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Going back to basic beta0 stuff, is it still the intention to only have the cloth map in beta0 to play on?

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May 18, 2009 4:51:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Mana is what a channeler can channel; essence is part of what a channeler *is*.
Yes, and Flare would be a perminent thing (unless someone uses magic to snuff it out)...Sublime harvest certainly could just cost Life and Earth Mana (which is fairly rare). These values can be tweaked, but from a gameplay mechanic, Essence lets us give the player cool options without allowing too much cheese.

is it still the intention to only have the cloth map in beta0 to play on?
Correct, we want the game to be as playable as possible at this view and will encourage people to play 'Cloth Map Only' even in the later betas.

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May 18, 2009 5:23:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

unless someone uses magic to snuff it out

Yay, the first clear sign that we'll have some countermagic!

These values can be tweaked, but from a gameplay mechanic, Essence lets us give the player cool options without allowing too much cheese.

Less of a "yay." So far I have a strong impression that you intend to make essence a very limited resource, which is an idea I like very much. I just hope that any 'anti-cheese' uses of essence will maintain the general feeling that mana is a staple commodity while essence is very precious. To continue with the food-related slang, I hope not to see essence-using spells that are too 'gamy.' Until your OP today, I had imagined only very big spells using essence, e.g. major item creation and world-wrecking. The snack-for-a-piece-of-my-soul thing was a startling bump.

Quibbles aside, the 'flare' spell (name is off for a permanent spell, IMO) is yet another teaser for those of us who really, really want a detailed dev journal on the essence mechanics, and in particular the business of imbuing essence in territory. Is the 'flare' spell an indicator that channelers have no connection to land after they restore it, or is it a way to spend a much smaller share of essence to gain knowledge (and perhaps make a basic investment that you'd need to complete if you conquered the territory in question)?

 

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May 18, 2009 5:45:44 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Man, I cannot wait for this game. I just wish I had the money to preorder it so I could do the beta. And to the Demigod team, you guys deserve whatever break you guys get.

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May 18, 2009 6:54:36 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Keep the updates coming...  I'm ready for Beta 0!

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May 18, 2009 7:22:01 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Beta...  thank goodness I'm very busy with work until June.  Keep me distracted! 

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