Elemental: June 2009 FAQ

By on June 18, 2009 1:08:26 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

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Our friends in the Demigod community seem to like having journal entries that answer a lot of questions in one swoop so we've decided to do the same in Elemental.

Q: What is Elemental?

A: Elemental is a fantasy strategy game (turn-based) developed and published by Stardock Entertainment. In it, players take on the role of a powerful sorcerer known as a "Channeler" whose goal is to build a kingdom and restore the devastated world of Elemental back to its former glory.

Opposing you are up to 11 other kingdoms and empires who have a similar objective except with the world under their control.

Players can win the game in a variety of ways including achieving the spell of making, completing the quest of mastery, diplomatic victory as well as the traditional military conquest means of victory.

The game puts most of its development focus on the single-player experience but there will be multiplayer as well with clans support (kingdoms and empires) and a series of multiplayer modes (and single player modes) that let people play the game in some unusual ways.

Q: Are the screen shots we see indicative of the final quality?

A: NO! The engine we've developed is still being enhanced. For instance, in the screen shot above, the shadows aren't in yet. There are still a lot of features left to be put in visually.  That said, one of our primary objectives with Elemental is to have a game that has unprecedented flexibility in terms of the systems it can play on: Netbooks all the way up to 64-bit Core I7s with monster video cards.

Q: What about modding?

A: Elemental will support in-game modding where users can create their stuff and submit it in game. It then gets moderated and becomes part of the game world. Players can decide which mods they want to use (ones just from Stardock, favorite ones, categories of them, etc.).

Elemental_TileEditor_1

Q: How many factions are there?

A: There are 12 pre-made factions made up of 2 official races (Men and The Fallen). Each faction will play substantially differently. Players will also be able to create their own factions and modders will be able to add more races.

SnowYetiQ: What kinds of other creatures are in the world?

A: Elemental has a large set of species that inhabit the world. They are, however, individually rare and much of the strategy of the game is to recruit some of these creatures onto your side.  You will not be able to, for instance, simply "build" dragons.  The only units you can build are those of your race.  Other races (Dragons, Demons, Ogres, Yetis, etc.) are ones that you have to actively recruit to join you.

Q: When will the "beta" be?

A: We expect to have an alpha out in the next 30 days that will be available on a very limited basis. However, we anticipate launching the beta officially at the Penny-Arcade Expo on September 4th. This beta will be available to anyone who has pre-ordered the game.  Be warned though, our betas are not fun. They're real betas which means they're incomplete and unbalanced. But through these betas, users can help mold the game by working with us online.

Elemental_1244581868 Q: I've heard this game referred to as "Master of Magic 2"

A: While Master of Magic is definitely a major source of inspiration for Elemental. A lot has changed technologically since then that we (game developers) couldn't do back then. In an age of multithreaded supporting OSes, we can have much better computer AI for enemy players and game mechanics that benefit from what is possible today (3D engines for doing very very nasty things to the game world when you have enough magic -- think Populous).

Another example is how cities can be handled now. There isn't a separate interface for managing cities. Cities grow on the main map itself. When players click on any part of the city they get the options for the entire city right away on the same main UI. The idea is to keep the user interface out of the player's face and let them concentrate on playing the game.

That said, there's a lot of influence here. Tactical battles, for instance, will have some inspiration from XCOM (though much shorter in length).

I would describe the games as being in the same family of the same genre. But someone looking for a Master of Magic 2 would not likely find Elemental to be similar enough to be considered a genuine sequel.

Q: What are some of the game modes you have in mind?

A: We are looking at having a lot of different ways of playing the game other than simply the classic "start a kingdom, conquer the world".

For example, we are looking at game modes where players can just play an extended tactical battle.  Another example is "duel" where 2 humans play against each other with the AI players as pawns in their struggle. 

The idea being that we want to let players play games that are very short in length if they want or can potentially take months to play.

Q: Will there be native 64-bit support?

A: That is our intention. Right now we are relying on Intel's Havok for the physics of Elemental and so it will largely depend on where its support of 64-bit is.

Our engine, however, will natively support 64-bit thus we want to provide (with the game) both a 32-bit and 64-bit version. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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June 18, 2009 1:16:04 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Ooh. Loving the screenies. And the new info.

Shame that it's looking like the alpha won't be ready for the 25th, but that was to be expected

Thanks!

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June 18, 2009 1:16:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

So the first Beta will start in Septemember?

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June 18, 2009 1:16:56 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

 This game sounds like so much fun

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June 18, 2009 1:21:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,

Q: When will the "beta" be?

A: We expect to have an alpha out in the next 30 days that will be available on a very limited basis. However, we anticipate launching the beta officially at the Penny-Arcade Expo on September 4th. This beta will be available to anyone who has pre-ordered the game.  Be warned though, our betas are not fun. They're real betas which means they're incomplete and unbalanced. But through these betas, users can help mold the game by working with us online.
 
I won't survive until September!! Well, ok, I'll. But you know what I mean. 30 days more for alpha (which means I'll be able to see pics and stuff from testers) is a pain too. Not asking to rush any of them tough.

Now, on the good news: The rest of the FAQ.  (Thank you very very much for the pics)

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June 18, 2009 1:28:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

ooh, thank you!

64-bit support! wahoo!

Although dang, the beta won't be ready until September

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June 18, 2009 1:28:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Excellent summary!

3D engines for doing very very nasty things to the game world when you have enough magic -- think Populous

This means destructible terrain is in?!  Cool!

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June 18, 2009 1:35:52 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

He's been touting destructible terrain for a while now

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June 18, 2009 1:45:26 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Actually according to the latest twitter update, it seems like they're still trying for a limited alpha build next week.

Quick, everyone, cross all your fingers, toes, and split tongues and sacrifice many goats so that it will happen.

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June 18, 2009 1:48:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

One thing I can say about Stardock is that they sure know how to keep their customers in the loop. Delays are inevitable but AT LEAST we know where they stand and that is incredible!

All that said... BETA in SEPTEMBER!!!!  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! 

But hey at least we know I love that.

 

The pics are so hot and it's not even the final version and so much information. I am happy to see that monsters will be recruited and not bult. That is also a plus in my book. Gosh I can't wait to try this out...

 

All Hail the

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June 18, 2009 1:51:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Frogboy, when there is Populous like magic, please also setup universal rule for terrain destruction (creation), so we can mod them.   Or even better, incorporate material physics into all aspect of the game.   I’ve described one of the ways to do so.  Pls don’t hard code these spells/effect!

 

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June 18, 2009 1:59:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Sounds great! Will there be an NDA on the alpha?

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June 18, 2009 2:04:09 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

No NDA on the alpha, per Yarlen.

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June 18, 2009 2:11:04 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Great stuff to be sure and a nice read to boot!

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June 18, 2009 2:11:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Woot, september is not that far! 

I liked the idea of populous, I remember destroying cities by creating hills or holes on the scenario. That will be an interesting feature, this can make lots of strategies, like creating a mountain to stop or slow armies, and stuff like that.

Anyway, I loved the screenshots, and the expectation is growing higher with each update.

I do like the idea of releasing the alpha/beta soon, that way we can have more time helping them with the development.

 

Cheers,

 

Kata

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June 18, 2009 2:17:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

*giggles like a giddy schoolgirl*

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June 18, 2009 2:32:54 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

BLAST!!! I can't believe Demigod pushed back the beta 3 MONTHS....I am sad now...as this also means the game's release date was probably pushed back to Q2 2010...

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June 18, 2009 3:40:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Sweet!.... Cant wait to play WOOT!

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June 18, 2009 3:46:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Be warned though, our betas are not fun.

LIARRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!

Does the fact that I enjoyed sins beta 1 speak ill of my mental stability?

 

Quick, everyone, cross all your fingers, toes, and split tongues and sacrifice many goats so that it will happen.

I'm saving my goats for the public beta, not the annatar and friends show (TM) alpha.

However, we anticipate launching the beta officially at the Penny-Arcade Expo on September 4th.

Bye grades! Nice having you for -2 months.

 

This all sounds very awesome, keep up the good work. Duel is sounding better and better, I can't wait to try it. About what level of power will the AI have?

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June 18, 2009 3:59:17 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I'm saving my goats for the public beta, not the annatar and friends show (TM) alpha.

I don't know if I'll be picked Might just be Luckmann and bears show.. of the kinky kind.

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June 18, 2009 4:00:05 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Nice new screens. It is a bit dissapointing that the beta won't start until September but I guess I'll just have to find other games to play until then. Also more editor pics please - that tile editor looks might interesting.

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June 18, 2009 4:18:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Opposing you are up to 11 other kingdoms and empires who have a similar objective except with the world under their control.

Hmmm, this statement is kind of vague. Does that mean games will have a maximum of 12 players, and two players can't be the same faction? That would be sad. But it could also just mean that there will be 12 different factions and so you might encounter that many different factions.... And on a related note, please make the maximum # of players very high! I liked playing Civ IV huge maps with as many players as I could (I don't remember how many that was, 10?) and same with GC2 - if the maps here are going to be so much bigger, it'd be nice to fill it with even more people!

However, we anticipate launching the beta officially at the Penny-Arcade Expo on September 4th.

Now that is just cruel! My first semester of grad school is going to be bad enough considering I've forgotten everything from college already (took a year off), and now the elemental beta is going to start within a week of classes!  But then, September 4th is better than any later date so I guess I won't complain

 

Also, one last thing. In that first screenshot it looks like there is some sort of ore mine within the city. Will it be possible to utilize resources that do not fall within the borders of a city? I'm hoping so - for one, if you're trying to focus on your channeler and limit the number of cities you found, you'd be at a real disadvantage. And secondly, it'd be cool to be able to build outposts at relatively remote resources - they could even provide less resources than ones within cities.

 

But this dev post is awesome. Lots of information, but more importantly lots of pretty pictures

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June 18, 2009 5:10:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

A bit of disappointing news, but I am so grateful to StarDock and FrogBoy for getting this kind of info out - many others would wait until the day it had been announced and then just say "Sorry, not ready!" or worse yet nothing at all.

Incredible class act to keep everyone informed.

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June 18, 2009 5:31:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Just curious: will recruitable units be able to be enhanced by the player?  That is, can I take my Snow Yetis and give them swords and armor?  Or, perhaps can only certain units be enhanced?  Snow Yetis might be too stupid to use weapons, but Hill Trolls might be smart enough to use a warhammer when it's given to them.

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June 18, 2009 6:05:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I have a few questions:

How powerful can you design your soldiers?

Can you create powerful units (lets call them champions) that are significantly more powerful than mere soldiers?

Can common units cast spells without a significant investment of essence (or any at all)?

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June 18, 2009 6:16:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting DivineWrath,
Can you create powerful units (lets call them champions) that are significantly more powerful than mere soldiers?

Poor word choice. Champions are what heroes are called in Elemental. So technically, the answer to your question is yes - you can create/recruit champions that are significantly more powerful than mere soldiers

 

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