Elemental – polishing for Alpha 0

By on June 8, 2009 3:07:00 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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image So much going on this week and at the same time, so little. A lot of vacations here at Stardock pop up in June since this is one of the prime months here in terms of weather. 

On a sad note, Trent (Mittens) had his last day today. He’s off to Salt Lake City to take a position as a designer at a new game studio.  We’ll miss him.  Combined with the people on vacation, the studio area feels like a ghost town.

My executive planner and marketing manager gave me a “CEO make over” today with a bunch of new clothes. I guess trade show shirts and ratty shorts just aren’t good enough anymore.

Right now, we’re looking at dozens of issues that need to be addressed before we can even do the alpha build of the game.  Everything from the fonts looking crummy to setting priority on what should be on the setup.

For instance, if someone wants to create a custom civilization and in there choose “good” or “evil” that’s fine. But I’m having them get rid of being able to have pre-existing factions be good or evil because it would literally double the writing involved for each faction’s back story.  While that’s interesting to have, I would rather have more depth per faction rather than half the depth but a mirror universe version of each one.

The screen you see here will likely be significantly altered between now and release. But this gives you an idea of how iterative the process is.  I’ll probably eliminate the appearance area and put that into the custom race area. Right now, “design your race” is the only option. There isn’t a formal “choose your faction” area.  Elemental comes with 2 built in races and 12 factions but we plan to let people create their own races and factions as well, but that should be a separate area that is a lot richer. If you try to mash too much stuff together, it’s confusing to new players but still too weak for experienced users.

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June 8, 2009 3:16:10 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

On a sad note, Trent (Mittens) had his last day today.

I was going to ask him when his last day was. Boo. But hopefully he has fun at his new position also!

The screen you see here will likely be significantly altered between now and release. But this gives you an idea of how iterative the process is. I’ll probably eliminate the appearance area and put that into the custom race area. Right now, “design your race” is the only option. There isn’t a formal “choose your faction” area. Elemental comes with 2 built in races and 12 factions but we plan to let people create their own races and factions as well, but that should be a separate area that is a lot richer. If you try to mash too much stuff together, it’s confusing to new players but still too weak for experienced users.

On this note, you could always go with the age-old basic and advanced setups. You could create some basic profiles for various races (courageous warriors, peaceful magicians, evil tyrant, enterprising merchant, etc) that people will be able to pick from in addition to this more basic screen, if they just want to make something new but don't care to dig in all the various properties. These profiles would be linked to different settings in the "advanced" customization window, where you could go in and tweak everything that can be tweaked to your heart's content.

That way experienced users get as much customization as possible, but at the same time the new users don't get overburneded with it.

Neverwinter Nights games do a decent job of this. When you select your class you can pick between different templates that come with preset skills, feats, and such. The same could work fairly well here, I think.

Edit: I agree with dropping good/evil for stock races. Some should be naturally good, others naturally evil. There may be room in their stories to wiggle alignment a little bit (depends on how you guys do the campaign, if anything is persistent), but this kind of toggle is best left to custom races.

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June 8, 2009 3:17:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'll miss trent (mittens).  He was fun to harrass on IRC.   

 

 

do you plan to let people create their own races as early as the alpha build?

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June 8, 2009 3:18:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

...Combined with the people on vacation, the studio area feels like a ghost town.

You know, if you guys were to release the Alpha today, I'm sure we would keep you guys plenty busy. You guys wouldn't have the time to miss the people who are currently gone, and those who have left.

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June 8, 2009 3:18:58 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting landisaurus,
I'll miss trent (mittens).  He was fun to harrass on IRC.   

He better still be logging on, or I'll find out where he lives and go beat him up.

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June 8, 2009 3:19:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Annatar11,

He better still be logging on, or I'll find out where he lives and go beat him up.

damn right!

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June 8, 2009 3:27:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Annatar11,
You could create some basic profiles for various races (courageous warriors, peaceful magicians, evil tyrant, enterprising merchant, etc) that people will be able to pick from in addition to this more basic screen, if they just want to make something new but don't care to dig in all the various properties. These profiles would be linked to different settings in the "advanced" customization window, where you could go in and tweak everything that can be tweaked to your heart's content.

I imagine the 12 factions will probably work like that. But it is a good idea to also have templates for custom races / factions.

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June 8, 2009 3:46:36 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Wow, I am only about 30 minutes from SLC. If you need someoen to go break his kneecaps, give me his forwarding address....   I can't imagine anyone leaving StarDock, it seems like a dream job (yeah even after watching the video of the all-nighter during the Demi-God nightmare!) but seriously I hope Trent enjoys Utah. I've lived here almost all of my 45 years, and I love it. The economy here is pretty strong compared to the rest of the country, I think. I am sure it will be a cultural adjustment for him...

Anyways, thanks again for providing updates even though you guys are probably swamped (the ones still in the office).

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June 8, 2009 3:54:50 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Well, I don't want to speak for him too much, but I think he really wanted to be a designer and Stardock's team is small enough where you don't really have a dedicated designer. Guess they made him an offer he couldn't refuse, Italian accent and kneecap threats and all

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June 8, 2009 4:06:36 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I read about Trent whereabouts in the Gamedev Dailies, a pitty

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June 8, 2009 4:10:51 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quick, everyone, maybe if we all make cute puppy faces at him we'll get him to change his mind. Failing that, Stardock does a lot of fantasy stuff, I'm sure they've got some chains running around and the basement could be converted into a dungeon.

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June 8, 2009 4:13:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,
...Awesome stuff (Mittens departure appart, best luck for him tough) with a pic...

I'm dead tired and with an incredible headache so I'll let my (today's) avatar to tell you what I think.

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June 8, 2009 4:29:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

If you make a custom faction, does good vs evil do anything? Is it just a diplomacy thing?

 

Looks like its coming along nicely though.

 

ps - good luck mittens!

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June 8, 2009 4:33:39 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Well I would also assume it has some influence on spell selection - I wouldn't imagine "Good" will dabble in things like curses and necromancy so much. At least, it'd be nice if some spells were alignment-restricted.

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June 8, 2009 4:39:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

can't wait!

good luck Trent! 

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June 8, 2009 4:57:28 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

On a sad note, Trent (Mittens) had his last day today.

 

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June 8, 2009 5:02:43 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I know you have SO much that you want to go into this game and have to stop somewhere, but has their EVER been a discussion on bringing in Unique Characters into the game, like Master of Orion 2's Admiral's, Planetary Governors, etc. I always loved the personality it brought to the 4x game in general and have always been perplexed why it hasn't been brought into other 4x games. This editor is for races, but if something were tweaked, we could create unique generals that give bonus' to the armies it leads, unique mayors to run towns, etc. Really makes the game more personal I feel. Instead of creating a 'Race' with this screen, you create a specialized army lead by a unique leader. The same could be done with towns. I KNOW what I'm saying would be VERY complex to add to code, so I'm not suggesting it for the game, I'm just curious as to whether this type of thing has been discussed at all.

 

Jorune

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June 8, 2009 5:14:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Wow! With 12 factions I kind of (mistakenly) assumed that there would be 6 good faction and 6 evil ones and that they would kind of mirror eact other. If you eliminate the good/evil selection for pre-made tribes, does that mena they start neutral and their decisions will lead to a good or evil alignment ala GC2? Will there be a neutral alignment?

Or did I misinterpret, and the 12 factions will not have the good or evil option because they will be inherently good or evil already, and you don't want to write up a good version and an evil version of the faction's backstory?

Also, from the website, it states that humans have both good and evil, but the fallen are considered universally evil...does that mean there will be more evil factions available? Or maybe 8 human factions, 6 good and 2 evil and then 4 evil fallen factions? Or do we just have to wait and see?

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June 8, 2009 5:20:18 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Or did I misinterpret, and the 12 factions will not have the good or evil option because they will be inherently good or evil already, and you don't want to write up a good version and an evil version of the faction's backstory?

This is how I understand it. Having a toggle would mean they have to write 2 stories for each faction, where having them be inherently good or evil will let them write one better one.

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June 8, 2009 5:21:05 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Denryu,
Or did I misinterpret, and the 12 factions will not have the good or evil option because they will be inherently good or evil already, and you don't want to write up a good version and an evil version of the faction's backstory?

That. The premade factions are either good, or evil. So you don't get to choose for them. If you do, they just have to write up two versions of stuff for every faction, which they don't want to do (becuase it means less time on each writeup).

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June 8, 2009 5:23:15 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

*hi-fives Tridus*

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June 8, 2009 5:35:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

OK you two smart guys   so if all fallen are evil, and humans are both good and evil, how do you think the 12 factions will shake out between human and fallen, good and evil?

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June 8, 2009 5:36:27 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Thanks for the kind words, dudes and dudettes. Once I get settled in my new digs, I'll start joining our beloved IRC room again.

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June 8, 2009 5:38:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think Denryu's post brings up the question "will there be pre-made neutral factions?"   I mean, are they entirely good or evil?   If they are set (no toggle switch) then I think a broad color range of personalities (between good and evil) should exist.  The benifit of having a set single-personality for each faction means that you can write a very specific personality for each one.  

 Thanks for the kind words, dudes and dudettes. Once I get settled in my new digs, I'll start joining our beloved IRC room again.  

cheers!

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June 8, 2009 5:39:02 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Denryu,
how do you think the 12 factions will shake out between human and fallen, good and evil?
Something like the Drengin and Korath, perhaps? Same race, but the big difference is in their philosophy. Exterminate all other life, or just enslave it?

Edit:

Quoting mittens,
Thanks for the kind words, dudes and dudettes. Once I get settled in my new digs, I'll start joining our beloved IRC room again.
Screenshotted and quoted for proof. I'll have Denryu standing by just in case. We better be seeing you, Mittens. Or else.

 

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June 8, 2009 5:39:08 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

No idea. I'm going to guess that the humans are going to be more universally good, under the assumption that they would be fallen otherwise. But we really don't know that much about the factions to say.

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