Elemental Multiplayer Revealed

By on January 11, 2010 6:35:31 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
+1109

Come Beta 2 (end of February), multiplayer should come to Elemental. 

Multiplayer in Elemental is going to be done in an unusual way for a strategy game. In fact, Elemental’s multiplayer is more akin to what you would typically see in a first person shooter.

Here’s how it works:

Option 1: Play on the Stardock servers:

Player loads up Elemental, chooses Multiplayer, selects “Host” (or Join). If they select Host, it will find the nearest (geographical) Elemental server run by Stardock and put them in the lobby. From their point of view, it’s almost exactly like any other game. But in reality, the player is now part of a client/server setup where Stardock provides the servers.

If the user chooses “Join” they instead get a list of “Worlds”. These are servers that have at least 1 human player already in them. The display will include the map name (random or a specific name), host, and ping time.

Next to each of these worlds will be a symbol. Stardock servers will have a Stardock logo. But third-party servers will have their own symbol (a checkbox at the bottom will toggle whether third-party servers are displayed or not). This brings us to Option #2…

Option 2: Play on Custom servers:

In the Elemental folder will be a program called “Elemental Server”.  Launching this will add a custom server to the list of available “worlds” for people to play on.  By default, it’ll be just like the Stardock servers.  But these servers, run on third-party machines, can be highly customized.

Players can mod their servers with custom content, custom rules, and lots of other things that we’ll get into later.  If you ever played Stellar Frontier ( a game we made a long time ago) players created all kinds of different server mods and set up entire star systems with custom planets, custom ships, etc.

The video below outlines the strategy below:

Elemental Beta 2 is due at the end of February.  The modding features won’t be supported until release (we won’t stop people from modding but we won’t support them as we’ll be constantly changing the data formats as the game progresses).

A note to people not in the beta: You’re not missing anything. The betas are NOT fun. These aren’t demo betas. These are real, painful, boring, ugly betas.  The graphics engine is disabled in both beta 1 and beta 2.

The suffering of beta testers:

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January 11, 2010 6:16:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quo'noS. Not Klingon. Multiplayer doesn't really interest me too much, but this seems pretty fun. One thing I'm not sure about is if the "handling" of custom server games is done through Stardock or the server-maker, i.e. would a server-maker have to keep the computer running for people to play on the server (I have absolutely zero multiplayer experiance, so I have quite literally no idea if there is a "normal" way this is handled).

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January 11, 2010 6:28:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The guy running the custom server would have to keep the server running. It would be like having a website except in this case it's an Elemental world.

 

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January 11, 2010 6:42:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,
The modding features won’t be supported until release (we won’t stop people from modding but we won’t support them as we’ll be constantly changing the data formats as the game progresses).

Ah... I think it's good to not support modding until release but when is stimated to be possible to mod files that are not just images but actual data? Not that I'm in a hurry but I haven't touched any file since the first and last time I tried (that forced me to uninstall and reinstall).

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January 11, 2010 6:45:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Users will likely be able to monkey around with the servers right away. But they'll probably get broken regularly.

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January 11, 2010 6:49:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Am assuming we get a small beta update before feb one correct?

 

(Just watched the first video) Dude loving it. Finally you guys are on the tbs multiplayer! AH... can't wait... Ya ill play more single player but still thank you! iphone... you never get enough battery life.

 

Also nice update, can't wait to mess with more features!

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January 11, 2010 6:50:15 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

The private server idea is cool. I've noticed a couple of somewhat experimental game developers starting to support this idea, I'm glad to see Stardock is added to the list.

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January 11, 2010 6:50:47 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Nice Brad. I loved Stellar Frontier BTW.  It was interesting game in the days where MMOs were few and far between.

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January 11, 2010 6:54:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Thank you for allowing multiplayer without being restricted to official servers!  Not that there's anything wrong with official servers, but with LAN parties, and the possibility that someday far into the future the official servers will no longer be supported (it's not that I expect that anytime 'soon', but I expect to be playing this game for a long long time and expect you folks to get tired of it and move on before I do ), allowing player-run servers is a great service to us and shows dedication to the game's longevity/appeal.

 

 

 

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January 11, 2010 7:22:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The server setup should also make getting a LAN game going ridiculously easy.

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January 11, 2010 8:05:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Am I missing something? I didn't hear anything especially new or unusual in the video, except maybe that they're providing official servers while still supporting private ones, instead of doing either/or like most companies. Other than that, it looks like the same multiplayer matchmaking used by pretty much every game ever.

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January 11, 2010 8:07:16 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Is this some kind of persistant world multiplayer then?

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January 11, 2010 8:12:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Am I missing something? I didn't hear anything especially new or unusual in the video, except maybe that they're providing official servers while still supporting private ones, instead of doing either/or like most companies. Other than that, it looks like the same multiplayer matchmaking used by pretty much every game ever.

You're kidding right?

Name one strategy game that works like this. One.

 

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January 11, 2010 8:16:01 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
The server setup should also make getting a LAN game going ridiculously easy.

So this means that custom servers don't need to remote access something... aka hypothetical: twenty years from now if Stardock doesn't want to support servers anymore, custom servers theoretically will still be able to function on their own?

 

Quoting Polynomial,
Is this some kind of persistant world multiplayer then?

I am wondering this too because what they're saying doesn't sound like a lobby situation, sounds like the game is already being played

Also, any co-op in this or is it strictly wipe out your fellow humans approach?

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January 11, 2010 9:40:55 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

It would still be a lobby scenario. The games aren't persistent.  The difference here is that they're true client/server setups that are akin to what you see in a first person shooter rather than what is the norm in RTS or TBS.

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January 11, 2010 10:12:02 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Hey Frogboy, one problem I've seen with L4D1/2 servers and even DG for that matter is that when you want to play custom mods the server (or other clients in the p2p thing) can't send you the files directly, you need to go to a website.

L4D2 will let you code a download link into the mod itself so it directs players to the appropriate site, but oftentimes the links break, move, or whatever and the mod needs a new version with the update link, which makes it incompatible with the previous version.

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January 11, 2010 10:13:02 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
It would still be a lobby scenario. The games aren't persistent.  The difference here is that they're true client/server setups that are akin to what you see in a first person shooter rather than what is the norm in RTS or TBS.

Ah. Okay then. Sounded like some sort of persistant world.

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January 11, 2010 11:06:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Great update Brad. Keep them coming. The 32 player support should be allow for some legendary battles in that arena mode.

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January 11, 2010 11:45:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Xan,

Am I missing something? I didn't hear anything especially new or unusual in the video, except maybe that they're providing official servers while still supporting private ones, instead of doing either/or like most companies. Other than that, it looks like the same multiplayer matchmaking used by pretty much every game ever.
You're kidding right?

Name one strategy game that works like this. One.

 

 

I admit I haven't played a strategy game online since the days of StarCraft, but everything I have played has used a fairly standard lobby-style multiplayer matchmaking service. I had assumed we were talking about something visible to the player, rather than an under-the-hood technical difference as Frogboy clarified.

I'm much more familiar with how FPS games are typically set up, so I assume whatever the strategy genre has been using is somehow inferior?

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January 11, 2010 11:47:30 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

 

very nice!  I'll give the server setup/config a good tryout as soon as I get my hands on it! 

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January 12, 2010 2:39:49 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Flashbacks to school in the first vid (except this time around I didn't fall asleep or throw bits of pencil at the Teacher when his back was turned).

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January 12, 2010 2:49:17 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Jalicos,




I'm much more familiar with how FPS games are typically set up, so I assume whatever the strategy genre has been using is somehow inferior?

 

Yeah it's confusing to me too. I never paid much attention to servers and the like until some publishers started yanking them. I do remember encountering a lot more Mod type stuff, with console commands, which is something i never encountered in strategy games. I mean, I would just be happy with any sort of service where I don't have to rely on the competence of any company (this isn't a shot at Stardock by the way) being able to servers up for me. Civ has mods, but it's not server specific if i recall. I used something with UT 3 that simply sent out required files to the players that connected to my game whereas CIv just rejected them and I had to direct them, online, to the mods.

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January 12, 2010 3:02:57 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Are you going to make a dedicated server binary available to hosting companies, so communities can pay to host more robust servers 24/7?

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January 12, 2010 5:14:54 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Thanks for the update - looks very interesting.

One thing though - I seem to remember you saying at some point that you'd use the Spore approach to make the world ever changing and bigger and bigger. I see no mention of this, and havent seen that in the last 6 months or so either. Did those plans get dropped, or are they part of the modding part which is Beta 5?

thanks.

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January 12, 2010 7:15:45 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yeah... I actually understood very little of this and I see not how this is significant. Good to see however that you guys are trying to make this game the best it can possibly be.

Btw Brad, there is this thing going on called 'Powerpoint' and it is really a solid tool for presentations. You should give it a go.

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January 12, 2010 8:41:02 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Awesome, but I am bit a confused. Can't we host a MP game like we did in Civ 4. for example? IE: X player hosts a server for 3 hours. After that the host saves the game, and everyone quits. When all players are online again, they continue to play: The host creates a server again -> reloads the game -> players join and continue to play. Custom servers with modded content are awesome, but it's kinda disappointing that the host must be online all the time.

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