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: