The Elemental Box

By on February 12, 2010 5:08:43 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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Elemental-Box

This is a rough draft of the Elemental box. 

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February 15, 2010 4:26:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Ya, i figured it was something like that. SD is smart people, i figured they could avoid gfwl. But i saw that windows banner and belched out my horror at even the idea.

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February 15, 2010 4:34:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting FalseMyrmidon,
Games For Windows?  I thought you were using some kind of custom Impulse based MP system?

 Games For Windows is just a set of standards on how a game should behave when it's installed and run. Things like "the game must run with a standard user account" are included. Generally speaking, the GFW requirements are best practice anyway and it's not onerous to support them. Here's a list.

 

Games For Windows Live is the online multiplayer thing, and it's separate from GFW. Stardock isn't using it. In fact, Brad has complained about it on on more then one occasion. (I think Stardock might have used it, if it didn't have so many issues.)

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February 15, 2010 4:39:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think it'll be a long time before we see Stardock use a MP system that wasn't developed in-house again.

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February 15, 2010 6:04:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Remember that this box art isn't really for the people in this forum. Face it, we'd buy the game no matter what was on the box. Most of us have already paid for it, even. This should really be about appealing to the common consumer, and getting their interest up enough to at least pick up the box and look at the back. Although I appreciate the art direction myself, I'm not sure how it'll play on the shelves. I think it could come off as kinda boring. There seem to be two routes you can go on this: either use an excting looking battle scene that makes the game look interesting enough to read more about, or use a more stylistic and symbolic front cover to appeal to the consumer's curiousity. With a game like this, I'm tempted to recommend the second.

At least take drakkheim's idea of flipping the image, and maybe changing the saturation levels. I was surprised at how much of a difference that made. It's actually a fair-sized improvement, IMO.

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February 15, 2010 10:15:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Thinking about this some more, I agree with Machina. The balcony image is Elemental to many of us, but could be seen as "generic fantasy art" to the average gamer. Combine that with a small publisher and intentionally campy name, and you've got something that screams "I'm a budget title! Don't buy me!" That's probably one of the reasons I didn't buy GC2 until I heard about SD's response to the Starforce fiasco; the thing really looked like uninspired shovelware.

I think the best response is to pull a Zelda. Do an artsy, iconic cover that doesn't show the game so much as the atmosphere and emotions it's meant to elicit.

My suggestion is to slap a giant medallion of the Sovereign (or the current box art!) on there, and surround it with other images in something like a stained-glass style. Above the medallion you could show a sunrise over untouched mountains (exploration), people working and building on the left (expansion), an image of a channeler casting a spell next to a crystal on the right (exploitation), and a massive army with dragon fire support sieging a castle on the bottom (extermination). Intersperse some element-glyphs and that fantasy script you use everywhere and you're good to go.

Oh, and don't forget to paint the DVD gold.

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February 16, 2010 5:42:45 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Covers

Must be meaningul. Considering that the cover must be forced to be eye candy for the lazy (or so it seems), it should be "interesting" and informative. Avoid lies.

Keys of Elemental:

  • Sovereign
  • Shards
  • Land revival (life/death)
  • Conflict of viewpoint/interests (Men/Fallen, Life/Death)
  • World shaking magics
  • Dragons
  • Ruins/Dungeons
  • Dynasties/Heroes

Could be more, could be less, but in any case we cannot have zounds of them. No space on the cover!!!

Examples

"Defending the Fire Shard"

Upper right of the picture we have a stone stair in what appears to be an old and ruined temple that lead to a Fire Shard. Drawing energy from it, we have a human Sovereign feeling wild (Fire Shard + Feeling Wild = guess what I mean). To each side he has a couple of warrior with different crests. In front of them, a line of bloodied soliders holding the line.

Lower left of the picture, a Fallen Sovereign leads a horde of fallen beasts while preparing his own spell (I'd say ice to increase the opposition feeling between both factions).

Both groups should have different colour schemes (white for human, based on Altar, and black for fallen because humans got white).

"Two sides of the same coin"

The picture is of the upper half of a Sovereign, like a portrait, that is holding a fragment of a Water Shard on his hands. In the background we can see the lands, a couple of castlee to each side as well as a couple of armies facing each other.

The right half of the picture presents the men (with their green plains and all) while the left half of it presents the fallen (lava terrain and all). This division affects the sovereign too, the right half being a human and the left one being a fallen. Both parts of the sovereign should be more or less simetraical but doesn't prevent the fallen to have extra eyes, fangs, stone skin, spikes...

(Problem could be some people expecting to be able to change sides during play... which some will do anyway, cover or not)

"Eagle Eye"

An adventurer (or two, but not a whole group for space reasons) watches from a cliff, all from a third person view.

Under the cliff we can see the lands of the men meeting those of the fallen. In that landscape, two armies fight each other (men against fallen, obviously) while above them a couple of dragons are gutted by the other (Dragon Blood Rain!!! And other... stuff rain too. Ok, let's ignore this last bit.).

Add some falshy lighting/flames in the ground where the sovereigns are trying to make the enemy to feel uncomfortable (and dead).

The "Not going to happen (and be glad about it)"

A female warrior as beautiful as possible with good "attributes" and wearing a micro chainmail bikini that barely covers the "naughty bits" fights against a big man with more muscles than one can count that wields a very big frakking sword, dresses a bear pelt and is covered in bright tattoos. The man leads a horde mixed of undead creatures and weird looking tentacled beasts while the female warrior leads a coallition of channelers blasting their way through enemy lines with magic, amazons as less dressed as possible (some myth about men/fallen warriors getting distracted by female nudity) and some rune covered golems.

The "No cover" option (also known as "Not going to happen (and be glad about it) Part 2")

Basic edition comes in a small chest where you can find the game disk and manual. It includes a small hammer and chisel so players can carve any "cover" of their liking on the game's chest.

The "Prince" way

Except for the compulsory ESRB and other marks needed (included system reqs in the back), totally black box without markings or text. Just a simple Symbol.

Elemental Simpsons

Just let Matt Groening draw the cover. Similarities with characters from The Simpsons and Futurama are encouraged. Let then people suppose things based on the cover.

The Way of the Cosplayer

The Stardock crew represents a scene from the game doing cosplay. Brad can appear as a Sovereign (a pity I don't have my "Brad Wardhell" pic here!) casting a Summon Bee Swarm over the enemy Sovereign (BoogieBac maybe?).

 

*ducks under heavy cover*

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February 16, 2010 12:03:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

That is a fine Box Cover. I don't remember ever buying a game off the shelf as a compulsive buy. Most new ones run around 60+ dollars locally. A nice box cover may send me home to hit the Net Site for said game to find out the real dope, but no, a cover will never be the reason I just drop money on a game without totally researching it first, or Beta'ing it.

As for "who buys boxed games anymore?" If there is Box to be had, I am totally in. If not, I always feel a bit let down, but direct downloading can be a convienence for sure.

How can you have a Game Collection without the Boxes? Besides, every now and again, a Boxed Game will have within it a Manual worthy of actuallly being called an Instruction Manual.

The last, and still best Manual to date, in my collection was the original MechCommander Manual. It was Full Color and a true delight to read. Yes, I read that one cover to cover, before the game actually ever hit the HDD.

So StarDock. Please can we get a beautiful, comprehensive, hard copy, Instruction Manual in the box.

Reading .PDF's is just so blaa-say

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February 16, 2010 12:13:10 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

X3 TC came with a nice colour manual.

 

Ultimately though, your game should tell you WTF is going on IN GAME, WHILE YOUR PLAYING. If its conplex, IN GAME HELP!

Seriosuly.

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February 16, 2010 12:24:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

IN GAME HELP!
For sure.

It just always struck me as the Final polish that really shows that the creator cares about all aspects. The argument about game changes, via Patches etc, make a Manual obsolete is (cough)BS(cough).

If the game is truly polished, balanced to the Dev's liking then any changes after the fact do not affect the original manuals initial requirement. Provide proper instruction for the game right out of the Box. 

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February 16, 2010 4:59:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I actually took the liberty of making a mock-up of my box idea: the Spellbook!The metal should appear old and rusted, perhaps "burned" into the book cover (especially around the runes). Cover itself should appear to be "dragon skin"-looking, with many burn marks, bloodstains, et cetera. The Stardock logo would be embossed onto the lower right metal triangle. "Spine" of the "book" should be metal, with "Elemental" and the Stardock logo inscribed. Other sides should appear to be made of pages, which would also be bloodied/burned.

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February 16, 2010 5:18:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Wow Scoutdog, I like that.  I'd consider buying a box version just to have it!

 

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February 16, 2010 7:42:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

While I agree with most posters above and like it, I also think that it will not be terribly important; I think people will end up purchasing the game because of things they hear about it, not on an "impulse" (no pun intented) pick-up in a store.

 

 

... yet having said that, there is a conspicuous lack of large firm scantily-clad breasts, hypertrophied muscles, and flashy colors; I believe those things are normally what people put on boxes to sell ... other things.

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February 17, 2010 12:08:46 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Im glad they arn't going with a super attractive female on the box. As a male I get heavily influenced by the female image. As such I think its important to deliver the sexualized female images when im AT HOME. ALONE. Not when im in a game store. [This joke got far too explicit, i.e. even less funny than I normaly am, here, so I just edited the rest out.]

 

[My Actual Point:] The easy route to take is to put a hot girl on the cover. While I DO like hot girls (its not mutual). Taking the easy route is usually not the best route. Put the hot girls IN the game pls, not ON it. And put some hot men in it too so I can make sure im not gay at the same time.

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February 17, 2010 1:19:35 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 It's a cover. It works.

Must confess, I already bought the game so it isn't like I care much about box covers at this point.

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February 17, 2010 1:56:58 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Splitshadow,
If you look carefully, you will notice that the weight of the entire dragon's body is positioned vertically with all force pushing down on one paw that is pushing down on the side of a building at an angle. There is no way that this pose could happen because in this position the dragon would fall off in two seconds because nothing is supporting his weight. At the very least his claws should be dug into the castle. The dragon's neck is also craned a bit too far and something is wrong with its lower jaw.

Can't you just enjoy it instead of attempting to apply real world physics to a fantasy creature? 

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February 17, 2010 2:04:02 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

He's got his prehensile tale wrapped around the upper part of the tower, supporting his weight.  There, done.  Let's move on.

 

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February 18, 2010 3:18:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I love the box, but what about the limited or collector's editions? I hope those aren't abandoned?

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February 19, 2010 2:16:01 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Just saw this on Kotaku, and thought it was relevant.

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February 19, 2010 8:51:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree, the reveresed image looks aethetically better. Boxes nowadays have that front cover that opens up from the right. The reversed image looks like its enticing you to open up that cover and read about the game. The original is awkwardly looking at the spine of the box.

Also adding an army in the battlefiled with some sort of big beasty in the middle would give it some added epicness.

I would personally shift the castle and soverign a bit more to the edge, to give more space to what she is looking at. I would also move the dragon and actually have it flying into the battle...maybe have her point to the battle as though she is commanding the dragon to do so. Her pointing in that direction towards the opening of the cover would also subtley suggest potential buys to open it up.

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