Kotaku: Elemental sets up dynasties

By on August 25, 2009 12:26:14 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

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image Kotaku’s AJ Glasser got a first hand look at Stardock’s upcoming turn-based strategy game, Elemental.

Developer Stardock has mentioned many inspirations for the game from Tolkien to George R.R. Martin.

Amongst the major strategic elements to the upcoming PC-only game is the new diplomacy system in which the player, who exists in the game as the immortal sovereign of their kingdom, can have children who in turn can have children and so forth and can thus build diplomatic relations with other factions by arranged marriages. These marriages have off-spring who may (or may not) be friendly to different factions based on their family ties. These off-spring also exist in the world as playable characters setting the stage of players having to choose whether to place a particularly gifted family member into a battle even if it risks the ire of related factions.

The demo focused strongly on the new 3D engine that has been developed by Stardock over the past 3 years that makes extensive use of level of detail to ensure that the game can look beautiful even on relatively low end hardware thanks to the object-oriented scenery which can intelligently pick when to display “eye candy” based on the hardware.

As a result, a user can zoom in all the way down on an individual building on the map and see citizens living out their lives or zoom all the way out in which the world becomes a cloth map but still completely playable.  It’s “strategic zoom” taken to the next level.

Elemental is scheduled to go into public beta this Summer. But be warned, the betas are intentionally being crippled early on to only play on the cloth map so that the focus of the early betas will be on the game mechanics. Later betas will enable the stunning 3D engine that will be on display at PAX in 2 weeks.

Modding has been integrated deeply in the game with players literally able to create their own worlds and design their own units, buildings, all from an in-game interface that can then be shared with other players from within the game.

To learn more, visit www.elementalgame.com .

Screenshots:

Elemental_TileEditor_ZoomedHarbor Elemental_City_BuildMode Elemental_EarthShard_Grassland

View full preview: Kotaku Elemental preview.

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August 25, 2009 12:35:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Imagine fighting your own son! "Luke, I am your father!"

I know this is a little far fetched but it would also be cool to setup statues or memorials for your deceased children. And when clicked could display written messages about the person. For this to happen, I guess the editors would need to be accesible while playing a game.

This feature does sound pretty cool though. I can't wait to try it out!

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August 25, 2009 12:36:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Huh, he said he didn't get to see any of the modding stuff, but there I see a screenshot of what appears to be the in-game building editor.

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August 25, 2009 12:36:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Meaningful diplomacy? Sounds good, I just hope there is a variety of ways to intra-act with allies. 

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August 25, 2009 12:37:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Those are some great screenshots and a fun article to read!

And that building editor..

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August 25, 2009 12:51:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Wow this is shaping up to be quite a game. Magic, Politics, dungeon crawling and family feuds. What more could you want? 

Heck it even has me posting in a forum!

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August 25, 2009 12:59:08 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Those screenshots are just sweet. 

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August 25, 2009 1:10:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I am impressed. This family system could be a load of fun.

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August 25, 2009 1:14:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

That second screenshot reminds me of Rampart's tetris-style wall building phase.

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August 25, 2009 1:19:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Hmm, so you can appoint family members to run cities, etc.  Very interesting.  I wonder if they can turn traitor if they have conflicting allegiances?  Hmm...

 

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August 25, 2009 1:31:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yay editors that look easy to use

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August 25, 2009 1:58:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The middle screen at the bottom reminds me of x-com base building, but that could just be because i've been playing it often lately  I like how cities don't just take up one tile, it gives them a higher level of grandeur imo. Loving the dynasty idea, keep up the good work Stardock

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August 25, 2009 2:07:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

WoW! When beta started I was going to suggest an idea similiar to this - that your sovereign could have children and you could do some kind of quest to have them turn into heroes. But dynasties - much better idea! It is as if Stardock read my mind and took everything I ever wanted in a game! I'm getting worried that my expectations are getting too high for this one - but even if it is only half as good as it sounds it will end up being my favourite game. Looking forward to beta so I can add some ideas for the game based on what I see. Falling in love with Stardock all over again :0

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August 25, 2009 2:22:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

by Kotaku,

he [Brad] wasn't quite sure yet how the succession of children from a vassal marriage would work. Like, if both parents die, does the oldest child automatically become head of the house, or will it pass to the firstborn son? These are questions that probably only interest me, Wardell and any Song of Ice and Fire fan who thinks Myrcella should get the Iron Throne instead of Tommen (incest notwithstanding).

 

Though I haven't read the books, (planning to) I really think that the game should not limit succession to the eldest male. Perhaps not even to the eldest. In the spirit of making this game your own personal world wouldn't it make sense if you could choose the rules of succession in your own kingdom?

This could even play into the diplomacy of the game. If succession in my kingdom is always the first born, but succession in my ally's kingdom is always the first born female our diplomatic ties could weaken because I refuse to place the first born female incharge of a city? Or if the city is in my ally's land then they may choose the female over the first born. This could lead to unrest among my own people or maybe the firstborn would leave the family and come manage one of my cities?

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August 25, 2009 4:25:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Lomion, what you're suggesting causes one of the pivotal turning points in A Song of Ice and Fire. Definitely a good idea. 

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August 25, 2009 5:05:23 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Every bit of info out makes me more excited.

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August 25, 2009 5:08:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yep... would be cool to have an established rule of succession, but the ability to hand pick a successor, and then risk having that cause rift/disloyalty when the 'rightful' successor finds out he's been passed over.

 

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August 25, 2009 5:32:16 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

As far as zooming goes: please, please, please remember tha not all of us have scroll wheels on our mice.  If zoom is important to your game, it needs to be something that can be done at the keyboard level.

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August 26, 2009 12:58:39 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Gaaah, September is nearly here.  College football and Elemental beta.. I'm going to go insane with impatience in the interim week.

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August 26, 2009 12:58:47 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This sounds amazing! The marriage alliances and dynasties in general sound great... Economy and diplomacy are two facets of this game that I'm really interested, and I'm really hoping that Stardock takes both much farther than any similar type game has. I'm really excited that alliances will not end up being temporary friendships of convenience, but relationships built up over and time and with substance. If Elemental manages to capture some of the spirit of A Song of Ice and Fire's diplomatic richness, well that would be a wonderful thing

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August 26, 2009 1:14:36 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I've been watching Elemental with anticipation as more news becomes available and am excitedly waiting for the beta.. one new thing I saw in reading Kotaku's write up was that the way the game world was presented in the article was as if the world was pre-generated, with different map sizes having different worlds.  I was under the distinct impression that the world is randomly generated with each new game, as that is critical for repeatability, so I really hope Kotaku was wrong about that part anyways; everything else is very exciting!

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August 26, 2009 4:49:28 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

That looks very promising indeed. The family element looks intruiging.

I hope, however, that the family system will not take the upper hand in all things diplomatic. Additionally, I would also prefer to spend more energy making strategic choices about technology, magic, and army placement than breeding. Of course, this is merely a simple statement of my taste and hence gentle constructive criticism and is not meant to poo-poo novel ideas or fans' enthusiasm. As long as the family system remains a fun additional element, that is great.

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August 26, 2009 6:27:27 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I was under the distinct impression that the world is randomly generated with each new game, as that is critical for repeatability
  Oh yeah, random worlds are our bread n' butter. We'll be showing off a pre-Made map at PAX, but once we get the kinks out of random worlds they're going to be pretty amazing.

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August 26, 2009 7:37:35 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Regarding inheritance of the head family at the former head family death.

I think it would be cool to have some default inheritance according to the faction.

-> such family would prefer the first son, such other the older relative, such other the more popular, such other the most graded military relative...

But it would be interesting to be able to change the outcome by hand ( by chosing the next head ) provided the faction is not happy ( various repercution) and eventually make the mentality evolve around the new choice.

-> take a faction where the inheritance is male only, place 5/6 ( more competent ) women at the head and the inheritance can become mixt ...

 

 

PS: sorry if my english is not very accurate

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August 26, 2009 7:44:10 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

So... will this system be in beta 1?

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August 26, 2009 9:55:59 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Elemental will be realeased in the USA, so I suggest to implement the setting of the gender (who is the rightfull heir). Otherwise you may have problems with feminists.  

 

Even if we ignore them, it is true, that some societies prefer men while the other women. E.g. the king of the Amazons is an unthinkable thing. Or the pope is never a woman. Well that case happened, but....

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