Elemental multiplayer evolves

By on June 1, 2009 10:04:45 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Draginol

Join Date 03/2001
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As some of you know, we had to assign quite a few members of the Elemental team to help with Demigod after it was released.  Most of them are back on Elemental but a couple of our developers are still attached to Demigod to refine the multiplayer system in that game.  It’s been particularly challenging since initially there was virtually no “Stardock code” involved and now it’s thousands of lines.  So we have definitely “gotten involved”.

The good news is that it will likely benefit Elemental in the long run.  While Elemental is being designed to focus on the single-player experience, there are some multiplayer features that we feel Demigod must have that we’re going to develop that will be put back into Elemental too.

For example, personally speaking, I’m convinced that the only sure-fire way of totally making these games 100% reliable online is for us to just host the games.  I’ve asked our guys to look into finding ways to do that for Demigod in a future update that won’t require Gas Powered Games to change their code (so it will seem peer to peer to Demigod but it’ll actually be our servers doing it all).  This will be helpful for Elemental because we’ll have a lot of additional experience in this area.

Another feature we’re going to look at developing is letting groups of friends join into randomly generated skirmish games.  Right now, in Demigod, you can’t get a group of friends into skirmish games.  We want that to change in there and in turn it will be available for people who want to play Elemental.

Another idea we’ve had is for Elemental to have various game modes.  Basicially, vastly increase the number of winning conditions that people can put together in order to set up games that could be played in less than an hour. 

Some of the aforementioned flexibility is only possible because of the way the computer AI is being designed for Elemental.  Like in Galactic Civilizations, I’ll be coding the AI in Elemental. But this time, it’ll be moddable and I plan to make a lot of this available to the community during the beta to see if they can do certain game modes better than I can.

All in all, I’m definitely looking forward to all the options.

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June 1, 2009 10:11:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Woot! sounds great!

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June 1, 2009 10:24:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Nice! Multiplayer game modes that could be completed in short periods of time would be a really cool feature!

And not to be a pain, but could you shed a little light on whether LAN/Hotseat/PBEM multiplayer will be available? You made a lot of people concerned in your getting back to Elemental post.

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June 1, 2009 10:32:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting pigeonpigeon,
Nice! Multiplayer game modes that could be completed in short periods of time would be a really cool feature!

And not to be a pain, but could you shed a little light on whether LAN/Hotseat/PBEM multiplayer will be available? You made a lot of people concerned in your getting back to Elemental post.

I didn't dare ask after i got reamed in the thread that I started asking the same thing...

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June 1, 2009 10:34:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

And not to be a pain, but could you shed a little light on whether LAN/Hotseat/PBEM multiplayer will be available? You made a lot of people concerned in your getting back to Elemental post.

LAN almost certainly.  Hot seat maybe.  PBEM, not sure yet.

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June 1, 2009 10:51:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,

And not to be a pain, but could you shed a little light on whether LAN/Hotseat/PBEM multiplayer will be available? You made a lot of people concerned in your getting back to Elemental post.


LAN almost certainly.  Hot seat maybe.  PBEM, not sure yet.

Thanks!

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June 1, 2009 10:59:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm really looking forward to the multiplayer in Elemental. I also wouldn't mind checking out Demigod but I'd like to download the demo before I buy it. If the demo is ever released that is.

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June 1, 2009 11:08:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,

LAN almost certainly.  Hot seat maybe.  PBEM, not sure yet.

Yay! Thank you for the response. I still get giddy every time the president of my favorite game company directly responds to me

Quoting Darkodinplus,
I'm really looking forward to the multiplayer in Elemental. I also wouldn't mind checking out Demigod but I'd like to download the demo before I buy it. If the demo is ever released that is.

I actually bought Demigod a few days ago, and it's pretty addicting. I haven't played online yet, though... I'm honestly not the biggest fan of playing games with random people, especially when they're most likely to be annoying little shits . I'm sure I'll give multiplayer a whirl at some point but for now I'm happy with single-player, and at least I probably won't be too terrible when I make the leap.

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June 2, 2009 1:27:19 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


[qoute]Basicially, vastly increase the number of winning conditions that people can put together in order to set up games that could be played in less than an hour. [/qoute]

I'm very excited they've mentioned "winning conditions".  EWOM will not be a last man standing game.   There is some disscusion of Victory Condition here & here.

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June 2, 2009 1:43:19 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

curses, but a teaser! not much specific information.  what kind of modes would let you play a 4x strategy game multiplayer in just 1 hour?   victory in 100 turns?

 

I'm excited to see more.  What multiplayer options are going to be open for the beta I wonder?    In demigod it was online only, and it was suggested to be the same way for Elemental.  However the AI bot thing was removed, so what now?

Quoting pigeonpigeon,
 I'm honestly not the biggest fan of playing games with random people, especially when they're most likely to be annoying little shits .

thats how I usually feel.  It isn't so bad with primarily beta community just because it seems the common "annoying little shits" aren't as involved yet.  However, I do hope that friends make it pretty early into Elemental's beta anyway.  Unlike Demigod, there are a number of people in Elemental's community base that I knew pretty well now.  So I'd want to be able to make friend only games, or perhaps games with x# slots for friends/invite only.

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June 2, 2009 2:32:15 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
LAN almost certainly.  Hot seat maybe.  PBEM, not sure yet.

(Maybe) Yay!

I must say that if there is a game that can make me interested in multiplayer (with no rl friends), this one could be it. Specially if there are game modes that allow faster "ending". Not against long games as long as they don't drag but I don't always have the time for them and it's nice to be able to finish a game (even if lost).

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June 2, 2009 3:33:27 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Draginol,

Another idea we’ve had is for Elemental to have various game modes.  Basicially, vastly increase the number of winning conditions that people can put together in order to set up games that could be played in less than an hour.

That's exactly what i wanted

Quoting landisaurus,
curses, but a teaser! not much specific information.  what kind of modes would let you play a 4x strategy game multiplayer in just 1 hour?   victory in 100 turns?

I guess that's with simultaneous turns and automated battles (no tactical combat). Turn limit sounds reasonable. But what else?

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June 2, 2009 3:35:58 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

While you guys hosting games is great, I'd suggest allowing for direct connect games and matchmaking as well- maybe with less support , but still allow the option

 

One very good reason: what if you guys go out of business, or decide not to support the game anymore?  While I don't think you guys would do that (you've shown zero evidence of such), I wouldn't want to see that left to chance. 

 

Having MP dropped from a game you and others are still playing is a kick in the gut.

 

 

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June 2, 2009 5:36:00 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting ,

Another feature we’re going to look at developing is letting groups of friends join into randomly generated skirmish games.  Right now, in Demigod, you can’t get a group of friends into skirmish games.  We want that to change in there and in turn it will be available for people who want to play Elemental.

 

yeah thats really a NEEDED option, looking forward to it

 

 

Another idea we’ve had is for Elemental to have various game modes.  Basicially, vastly increase the number of winning conditions that people can put together in order to set up games that could be played in less than an hour. 
Some of the aforementioned flexibility is only possible because of the way the computer AI is being designed for Elemental.  Like in Galactic Civilizations, I’ll be coding the AI in Elemental. But this time, it’ll be moddable and I plan to make a lot of this available to the community during the beta to see if they can do certain game modes better than I can.
All in all, I’m definitely looking forward to all the options.

 

sounds cool

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June 2, 2009 7:22:31 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
LAN almost certainly.  Hot seat maybe.  PBEM, not sure yet.
So what you're really saying is that this whole "games are hosted by us, achtung!" is in all actuality optional?

Because I just can't really wrap my head around how "all will be hosted on our servers" and "you will be able to host your own LAN games" can co-exist.

And if both exists, "our servers" optional, meaning that you'll have to work on both scenarios and make them work properly, what would be the point of the "our servers"-policy to begin with? You're still going to have to deal with whatever issues you think you're getting past by hosting it on your servers.

I'm sorry, I'm still extremely sceptical.

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June 2, 2009 7:28:18 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

how long would you say a typical campaign woul be? I ahve never played gal civ or civ 4 so i'm not really sure how to compare the campaigns to multiplayer

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June 2, 2009 7:37:35 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Hotseat would actually be a good idea. My gf and I play Civ4 together in hotseat whenever we get a chance. It's really not that bad. Although I wouldn't consider it an absolutely necessary feature, if you could add hotseat to Elemental that would be great!

Since Elemental is old school, you mind as well have old school hotseat mode thrown in there.

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June 2, 2009 7:58:13 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Luckmann,

So what you're really saying is that this whole "games are hosted by us, achtung!" is in all actuality optional?


Because I just can't really wrap my head around how "all will be hosted on our servers" and "you will be able to host your own LAN games" can co-exist.

And if both exists, "our servers" optional, meaning that you'll have to work on both scenarios and make them work properly, what would be the point of the "our servers"-policy to begin with? You're still going to have to deal with whatever issues you think you're getting past by hosting it on your servers.

I'm sorry, I'm still extremely sceptical.

I'm not really seeing what you problem is. No matter what, everyone has to be able to connect to the game host. For Internet games, the game host is Stardock. For LAN games, the game host is someone on the LAN.

It's generally safe to assume everyone can connect to the host on a LAN. It's also generally safe to assume everyone can connect to a dedicated server environment.

It's NOT safe to assume that everyone can connect to <random user> across the Internet. Demigod showed us that pretty quickly, and for years we've seen games where some players have the "I can join but not host" problem.

Being skeptical at this point is more like paranoia.

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June 2, 2009 8:46:22 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tridus,
I'm not really seeing what you problem is. No matter what, everyone has to be able to connect to the game host. For Internet games, the game host is Stardock. For LAN games, the game host is someone on the LAN.

It's generally safe to assume everyone can connect to the host on a LAN. It's also generally safe to assume everyone can connect to a dedicated server environment.

It's NOT safe to assume that everyone can connect to <random user> across the Internet. Demigod showed us that pretty quickly, and for years we've seen games where some players have the "I can join but not host" problem.

Being skeptical at this point is more like paranoia.
That is the general gist of the issue. I don't see what the problem is. Why there's this extreme urge to force everyone to play on Stardock's own dedicated servers.

Someone said that it was simply easier for Stardock to do it that way, instead of allowing Direct IP or LAN support. Now, we're getting somewhat conflicting reports that they somehow want to allow both.

Hence the question as to why they'd bother with the idea of "all should go through us". Why say that "I’m convinced that the only sure-fire way of totally making these games 100% reliable online is for us to just host the games" and then say "LAN almost certainly".

"LAN almost certainly" almost sounds like a way to say "Yeah, we know you want it, but it's not going to happen, but for some peace and quiet, we'll say maybe, awwright?".

Will we or will we not be able to play E:WoM multiplayer games outside the confines of dedicated Stardock servers?

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June 2, 2009 8:54:32 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,

LAN almost certainly.  Hot seat maybe.  PBEM, not sure yet.

If not a traditional Hot seat how about letting us run two instances of Elemental on one PC, one for each player (How Conquest! allows Hot Seat).

Sammual

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June 2, 2009 9:05:57 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Thanks for the info, Brad.  Particularly thank you for answering the LAN question, as we hope to play some in-house multiplayer and it would be a little silly for all our packets to be running halfway across the country to your servers and then all the way back to our house (through the same network drop they went out) and into a different computer.

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June 2, 2009 9:10:48 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Luckmann,

That is the general gist of the issue. I don't see what the problem is. Why there's this extreme urge to force everyone to play on Stardock's own dedicated servers.

You didn't own Demigod for the first 3 weeks, did you? I couldn't play, at all, except using Hamachi (which fakes a LAN). The connection stuff was a total fiasco. A lot of that is because of the issues the modern Internet has with two users trying to connect to each other.

Elemental's beta 0 got delayed because they took a lot of people off it to go work on Demigod. There was stuff like 108 hour work weeks. Lots of unhappy users. It's been fixed since then, but it was a huge mess.

This "extreme urge" is a knee-jerk reaction to that. Having everyone connect to Stardock eliminates the problems Demigod had, because everybody *can* connect to Stardock. No reconfiguring routers to open ports to host games.

Quoting Luckmann,

Someone said that it was simply easier for Stardock to do it that way, instead of allowing Direct IP or LAN support. Now, we're getting somewhat conflicting reports that they somehow want to allow both.

Hence the question as to why they'd bother with the idea of "all should go through us". Why say that "I’m convinced that the only sure-fire way of totally making these games 100% reliable online is for us to just host the games" and then say "LAN almost certainly".

Well, LAN and Internet connections aren't the same thing in reliability. LANs are generally as simple as it gets. There's no NAT. Usually no firewalls that actually block stuff (LAN traffic is typically let through fairly easily). No broken home router hardware with flaky SPI stuff. No ports to forward. No weird ISP configurations that give the same DSL modem multiple IPs. No traffic shaping. No backhoe in Ohio cutting fiber.

Frogboy doesn't consider them the same thing, hence "reliable online". Online in this case means "Internet". If you're just playing on a LAN, the connection will work without problems 99.99999% of the time. All the problems above can screw up connections across the Internet, and they just want it to work with as little fuss as possible.

Quoting Luckmann,

"LAN almost certainly" almost sounds like a way to say "Yeah, we know you want it, but it's not going to happen, but for some peace and quiet, we'll say maybe, awwright?".

Will we or will we not be able to play E:WoM multiplayer games outside the confines of dedicated Stardock servers?

Yes, if you're playing with people on a LAN (or use Hamachi to fake a LAN). No, if you're playing across the Internet.

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June 2, 2009 9:36:47 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Will we or will we not be able to play E:WoM multiplayer games outside the confines of dedicated Stardock servers?

In regards of LAN? I don't see the problem of being outside of it. As for anything WAN, you can get SD's servers to facilitate all kinds of different online playing experiences.

Yes, if you're playing with people on a LAN (or use Hamachi to fake a LAN).

Yes, you could fake it, but then latency could be even more of an issue. Good luck with that. Messy, messy stuff...

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June 2, 2009 9:51:31 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Latency worries in a turn based game?

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June 2, 2009 9:52:41 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting aLap,

Yes, if you're playing with people on a LAN (or use Hamachi to fake a LAN).


Yes, you could fake it, but then latency could be even more of an issue. Good luck with that. Messy, messy stuff...

Latency in a turn based game isn't really an issue to begin with, unless you're talking about numbers in the thousands. I played Demigod for 3 weeks using Hamachi, and it works pretty well.

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June 2, 2009 9:58:29 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Another great update,

 

I for one will enjoy multiplayer on occasion if it can be finished quickly,

 

I wonder also if there will be a ranking system so I can pick people that are close to my level. I don't want to be trashed because I am playing with somebody that is a total killer

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