More discussion of Factions and Races (long)

By on April 27, 2010 5:19:04 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

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…In the beginning there were Men and Dragons…

When the Titans came, they saw the creatures of the world as building blocks and created many new creatures from them. These creatures are called (by men) “The Fallen”.  There are four known sentient races of The Fallen (see the Lore for more details).

In previous discussions, we have used analogies to Middle Earth.  In Middle Earth, Illuvatar created only two sentient races. The Elves and then Men.  All other sentient races were created “unnaturally” (the dwarves and Orcs being the best example. The origin of halflings is unknown). 

In Elemental, there are more factions than there are races. This is similar to Sins of a Solar Empire where there are many factions but only 3 races.

When we use the term “race” we really mean species in the specific sense that they cannot interbreed except for Channelers and their offspring.

...Fitting Lore into a Game...

SciFi/fantasy lore that evolved outside a game (as was the case with both Galactic Civilizations and Elemental) can be difficult to fit into a game universe.

In Galactic Civilizations, the universe -- its lore, was never published so I had a free hand to tweak all the civilizations to fit the needs of the game.

Elemental is a bit different because its lore is being presented in a book (Elemental: Destiny's Embers).  In the book, it's fairly straight forward. You've got two general aligments - The Kingdoms and the Empires.  The Empires are dominated by races of the Fallen and the Kingdoms are dominated by the races of Men. Simple right? Well... Read on to see the complexities and why we're brainstorming with you guys on other directions.

 

image….Pre-made Races vs. Player Created Races…

Yesterday we discussed what priority should custom art assets versus canon art assets should take. If we focus primarily on canon factions and their corresponding races, we can greatly expand their stories and the art assets for them.  However, if we focus less on the canon factions and more on providing assets we can let players create their own unique races and factions that are more rewarding visually and game play wise.

The question thus becomes which direction to take? 

…Understanding Game Development…

By the end of this journey, I suspect many of you will have a much better understanding of what game development is like.  The “game” itself is the tip of the iceberg. What you see in these betas is only a tiny piece of the whole “product”. Underneath the covers is the engine and art assets. The game itself we can monkey around with any dozens of ways based on player feedback.  The expensive part is building the engine (which isn’t even in the beta yet) and creating the art assets (only a bit are in the beta).

Thus, once we begin to commit to things that involve changing the game engine or the art assets, they’re pretty much set in stone. By contrast, changing research or economy or spells or what have you is largely just changing text in XML.

So we are reaching the point where we will have to make decisions on whether to focus more on canon assets or assets to be used by players to create their own world.  I.e. Dragon Age (canon centric) or Spore (non-canon centric).

We don’t have to go to either extreme.

…Fantasy Races…

In traditional high fantasy, you’ve got men, dwarves, elves, orcs, goblins. People have a pretty good idea the pros and cons of them because they appear in so many games.  In our world, we don’t have dwarves or elves or orcs.  We have the natural races and the races made by the Titans. They’re not good or evil based on their race but rather on their faction. The Krax are men but they’re real bastards. There are Fallen races out there that aren’t evil at all (but they don’t come into our particular tale right now, you’ll need to read the book).

…Complexity…

We don’t want to “dumb down” the game in any way but at the same time, we don’t want to have unnecessary complexity. The fact that we have Empires/Kingdoms and then Factions and then Races is pretty complicated as is.  It would be so much easier if the Empires were all Fallen and the Kingdoms were men but that would be simplistic and frankly, to me, distasteful. It’s bad enough that the unnatural sentients are called Fallen but that’s only because our tale is told from the point of view of man and thus can identify their bias on our own.

In our game, there are 5 true races (Men, Urxen, Trogs, Magnars, and Wraiths).  But even amongst these 5 there are sub-groups (The Ironeers if Gilden and the Krax are visually very distinctive but genetically compatible).

You can see how this gets complex in a hurry and why there is the urge to simplify to appeal to a wider audience. Will the fantasy strategy buying public be interested in learning the intricacies of the lore that’s been developed here over the past two decades? Or would they prefer us to simplify it into a couple of basic races (Men and Fallen) and let people get on to making their own races.  You would still have the same factions, they’d simply just be made up of two races (men and fallen) and then players could make their own races.

So that’s the discussion we have going on.  My bias is to focus on our own canon and introduce players to it. Players could still create their own races but they’re not going to be making any half-dragon half man races or Ents or what have you.  That’s my bias on it because that sort of thing can be added later in post-release if the game’s successful whereas we only get one opportunity to really explore the depths of the rift between say Kraxis and Capitar or the doom of Pariden and Procipinee.

…Implementation…

Here’s how races could be implemented:

image

First, when creating a faction you would have a new tab called “race”. The existing races would be there. 

You would choose a specific (easy to understand) ability that makes that race unique. Hard Workers might produce pioneers that get more out of resources. Fierce Warriors might get a combat speed boost. Good Traders might be the only ones who can reach paved roads. Fast Travelers go faster. Great Archers can shoot further (maybe attack on the strategic map from a tile away even).   The difference would be significant.

Then you pick the Appearance and that’s where we really hit the art asset budget. Skeletons are expensive because you then have the clothes and equipment to go on them (in Spore, you may have noticed nobody had clothes you could put on them).  The rest is fairly easy. But obviously no Centaurs or Quaddies.

image

Then in your cities, you would see next to the current owner of the city what race populates the city. A faction may conquer another city but the race in the city remains the same.  The part with enchantments you should ignore – you don’t know about that yet.

Now obviously, people can get into mixing (ala Civ IV and such) but there is so much going on in the world that we want to try to avoid having potentially 30+ different races making up a city (i.e. if we let players create their own races as well as factions, we have to be careful about how convoluted it gets).

Your thoughts

I hope you guys are enjoying these journals and their peak at the kinds of things that go on during game development. Marketing hates these journals because they expose the world to the “sausage factory” that is commercial game development.

Please feel free to share your thoughts.

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April 27, 2010 5:37:01 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Thanks for the updated explanation.

So, to boil it all down- should Stardock spend time/resources on developing races as an option, only focus on factions, or some moderated combo?

Looking at this from a reviewer's perspective, if you only provide two different races to choose from, you'll likely get docked points for lack of variety.  I'd be in favor of either no race selection and really interesting/deep factions (does race really matter other than bonuses and appearance?).  Adding additional races to choose from really seems like an DLC or expansion idea.  Taking out the complexity and making the core mechanics work well seems like a great focus for 1.0 of Elemental: War of Magic.  Then we can look toward Elemental: The Races edition later.

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April 27, 2010 5:40:30 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Of course I understand that as a game developer you want to appeal to a wide audience, but my opinion is I hope you stick with the lore you have developed.  Many games, such as the Elder Scrolls games, are successful not just because they play well, but because they have a very well developed back story and lore intricacies. 

I would also like percentages for the racial make up of cities, but I understand how complicated it would get if someone makes 30 different races.  That said, for the game you are developing I say implement it and let anyone who mods the game deal with the consequences of having 30 races.

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April 27, 2010 5:46:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

We could, however, simplify it to purely the factions.

There's a lot of different options that can be explored.

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April 27, 2010 5:48:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Honestly if this game ships with no lore or developed factions I sence a huge fail.I have already paid but in hindsight I would not have if this is the case.

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April 27, 2010 5:50:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I don't think you really have a bias, this is the beginning of this series and I think you should go all-out on the lore. I don't necessarily care where you go with the art department, but, I'd like to see you do as good a job on unique races as you did in the GalCiv series.

I feel the issue you have here is: What is the point of introducing more than two races? I feel you can add more substance to races by introducing some sort of system that touches all aspects of the game like Morale, Diplomacy, Combat, Cities, cetera by introducing racial tensions. Ethos.

As I mentioned in the previous Journal, Master of Orion 3 did not have in the final release, but modders put back in, was this Ethos game mechanic that gave all their species different Ideals and Traditions. If players declared war and their species was Pacifist, they'd suffer great Unrest.

I'm not asking for the exact same thing, but I'm asking that there be this cultural spectrum and no matter what race you choose, if your factions strengths and weaknesses contrast with another factions regardless of race, relations to begin with will be sour. If your factions people are similar to anothers and you have some of their people in your cities, you will barely suffer unrest as they try to co-exist. We need stuff like that. I hope it doesn't sound complex but it could take this system to the next level.

It makes sense though, if Faction A was based on being Fierce Warriors and they came into contact with Faction B that were Coward Warriors, or what have you, your people will hold a bias against them regardless if the actual AI Leader or you the Player doesn't.

Races allow different traits to different populations, and I'd assume somewhere along the line we could choose who to make our soldiers with if our faction was diverse. We can have Races do more with more game mechanics.

*Also, Multiplayer games need to have an option for the server host as to whether they can allow player-made races.

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April 27, 2010 5:50:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,
 
My bias is to focus on our own canon and introduce players to it. Players could still create their own races but they’re not going to be making any half-dragon half man races or Ents or what have you.  That’s my bias on it because that sort of thing can be added later in post-release if the game’s successful whereas we only get one opportunity to really explore the depths of the rift between say Kraxis and Capitar or the doom of Pariden and Procipinee.

Even tho I would love it, if we could create those half-dragon/half-men races in the vanilla game, I still say that this is the way to go what I've quoted. Elemental's lore should be important. That is a serious part of the vanilla game.

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April 27, 2010 5:57:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Here's the thing. After a couple of games of GalCiv 2, I ended up making all my own enemies to fight as I could make them more challenging and fun to fight then the standard opponents. Not to mention what I modded in. Using the games "Custom Ship Creator" though I was able to recreate the ships of all my favorite Sci-Fi races to fight against. I fought against the Borg, the Klingons, the Empire from Star Wars, the Asgard and Wraith from Stargate, and a few others. I had way more fun doing this then I did fighting the races that came in the storyline.

In the end I think it's better having more control as a player. The more control I have over a game the better I feel playing it because the more control I have the more I can customize. People who are only going to play against the standard enemies most likely won't be doing it for months or years. They'll do it for a few weeks or as long as it takes for them to see what each faction is about, then they'll tire of it and move on to the next game.

Elemental's strength is already showing to be it's variety of features. Not to mention, having this feature doesn't really remove anything from the game. Using this same feature you can make all custom enemy races you'll ever want, more then enough to match the standard factions and then some. Will having the ability to make Races hurt the game in any way? NO!!! At the end of the day when you're ready to ship the game and you've said "It's done" the mechanics will be what the mechanics will be, regardless of if there is more Race selection or not. Expansion Packs should add more meaningful things like extensions and continuations to the storylines, new spells and spell effects, new resources, etc etc. NOT a couple of new Race choices and graphics. Put more meaningful content in future expansions, put this ability to make Races in the base game. People who don't want to be "over-complicated" with it simply don't have to use it, no harm no foul. For those of us who think this sounds AMAZING, well, we'll be happy too

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April 27, 2010 5:58:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I really like your current ideas frogboy,

I think having only 2 races is boring, and on the other side having a "sandbox" take on races does create alot of completixty that may turn people off before even getting to enjoy the actual game. i think factions would be best as well defined canon assets that you can take and edit the attributes to put your own touch on, to create a certain style of play that you want for that specific map your starting up.

The best example i can think of is in Galactic Civilizations where there are well defined races with their own "personalities" and bonuses, but i can take that race and change a few options to make the peaceful Torians into war hungry monsters. But also build my own from the custom race option.I think taking elemental in that direction allows for a good balance of both worlds.

But as far as mixing i would not like to see that as in cross races, but i think a cool twist would be one faction/race taking a city and getting a part bonus from the population of that city within that city. Say if a war faring faction captured the city of a smart research oriented faction the capturing race would get a small bonus to research from the people of that city while it is held.

those are some of my thoughts, look forward to reading everyone else's

 

 

 

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April 27, 2010 6:02:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It's unthinkable to me that Elemental won't be a success. Not that it could not happen but it would be like a cataclysm and by truly exceptional circumstances.

You are right that the best moment to develop the canon factions is the base game. And any resource used to them are resources that can be used by modders. And if expansion packs with more eye candy are sold... well, you have my money right now.

And you also know that many people, no matter how much they like the canon factions, are going to want their elves, smurfs, kenkus or whatever. And the idea of depending of modelers modders* or the eventual expansion pack won't be pleasing. Is like the campaign: most people won't bother with it (more probably, I hope that I'm totally wrong), only caring about sandbox and/or multiplayer.

I'd say: go the middle route if you can. Isn't possible to focus something less in the canon factions and partially implement something of that custom factions/races thing? I'll be here for the expansion packs, be them 1 or 10, but the modding capabilities of the game won't be so good at Gold for non modders if their beloved kenkus depend on modelers (they don't grow in trees, you know).

For good or bad, canon factions and the lore aren't going to be the most important thing for the mayority of customers. *shrug*

* there will be, talented ones included.

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April 27, 2010 6:04:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I really like reading these articles!

Ya I have to agree just make 2 races for now. Down the road you guys will make big juicy expansions like you always do. Add a few more races and add more sub factions too and a ton loads of other great features!

Down the road I really don't see having more than like 7 or 9 total races... But there might be a good size number of sub factions. You pick a race (you don't create a new race but you can do some visual changes and maybe change some bonuses too), select a faction or create your own faction. Of course you can mod your own races though.

Now I am trying to understand but for the fallen when they were created by the Titans it was just one race created at the beginning and these other races evolved from them or were they all 6 created at the beginning?

 

And on a side note I just ordered the book!

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April 27, 2010 6:09:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I really like the idea of creating my own race.  But if that's to come at the cost of a well fleshed out world, I'm not sure it will be worth it. Its a tough call, but I do have 1 question.

If you go the canon route, and focus more specificly on the individual factions, would you not still be developing the art assets for the five races; Men, Urxen, Trogs, Magnars, and Wraiths?  If so, then you could still develop the race creation portion, have individual cities retain their race (and thus their bonus's), and allow players to create their own races using the 5 existing models, perhaps with the ability to colorize (aka make blue men and call them smurfs hehe).  With the ground work laid modders could come in and make additional models for elves, ents, or whatever they can imagine. If you can lay that foundation, in the long term we'll get the best of both world I believe, only time would tell.

In the end, its obviously you and your teams decision, go with whatever path you have the most passion for. When people make something they are passionate about, it does make a difference in the final product. Just keep up your good work, and thoughtfulness towards your game design and I'm sure it'll come out for the best.

 

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April 27, 2010 6:10:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,

My bias is to focus on our own canon and introduce players to it. Players could still create their own races but they’re not going to be making any half-dragon half man races or Ents or what have you.  That’s my bias on it because that sort of thing can be added later in post-release if the game’s successful whereas we only get one opportunity to really explore the depths of the rift between say Kraxis and Capitar or the doom of Pariden and Procipinee.

I'm leaning towards this.  Reason being, that without emphasizing your own canon, Elemental will be more a 'game system' than a unique game with its' own lore/story/etc.  By 'game system' I mean a relatively blank slate that players modify to their liking.  It'd be more 'use the Elemental systems/engine/etc. to create your favored standard game world'.

I'm not sure I'm explaining this well... hmmm...  If a game system is the tools to play a game, and a game is a game system plus a fully fleshed out unique world, then using your own canon is more game, and without it Elemental is more game system.

While I'll end up modifying things to some extent, I'd like to start out with a unique, fully-fleshed out game -- ie your own canon.

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April 27, 2010 6:15:02 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Ashbery76,
Honestly if this game ships with no lore or developed factions I sence a huge fail.I have already paid but in hindsight I would not have if this is the case.

 

Yup. This is the reason why I have yet to pre-order (and I almost always do whenever I see a promising fantasy strategy game).

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April 27, 2010 6:17:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I guess I would ask first what you would define as Elemental being a success.  From there you can tailor the game to fit that definition.  

Personally, I am hoping for a great campaign game to play, so the more in-depth stock races/factions there are, the better.  I do not use PMEM, am not personally a modder, and have had no success even trying to install the work of others.  However, I believe that others of my same ilk are more numerous than assumed.  We are not the squeaky wheels that so many modders seem to be, so it is easy to overlook us.  This should NOT be considered an attack on modders.  I am simply stating that there is a group of gamers who want to make a purchase and play the game as is, and it would be nice to have a game to really dig into.

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April 27, 2010 6:18:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

y bias is to focus on our own canon and introduce players to it. Players could still create their own races but they’re not going to be making any half-dragon half man races or Ents or what have you.  That’s my bias on it because that sort of thing can be added later in post-release if the game’s successful whereas we only get one opportunity to really explore the depths of the rift between say Kraxis and Capitar or the doom of Pariden and Procipinee.

Completely agreed.

While I would love and adore the ability to create custom races that are as visually diverse to include dragon-kin and the like, I feel that this gain would cost far too much to the very soul of the game. You can add these things post release, or take the best of the best from the community and upgrade it to canon, integrated then into everyone's game.

Putting back the soul of the lore and game into the game post release.. I don't see that working nearly so well.

So I definitely hope you maintain the current bias you have!

---

Now, as an aside, and perhaps slightly (alright, definitely) off the main topic you wish to discuss, perhaps some way to placate our need for visual diversity without hugely increasing development time (although may still be too heavy a demand, I realise) might be to have a pool of armor styles that are set at racial selection time, that are somewhat ornate and would be unlocked to the player to actually use at some point of higher learning/teching.

Even if it's as simple as some differing ornate shoulder plate styles, or belts.

Or it might be easier to have various insignias or inlay patterns available on shields / breastplates in gold, or silver (or any other colour ye may chose to allow )

Of course, it wouldn't absolutely garauntee that no two races would end up with the same 'custom' style, but it'd be better than nothin, eh?

 

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April 27, 2010 6:27:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Focus on the canon races, please. As great as custom races are, and as great as customization/modding/etc is in general, the basic game needs to be awesome un-modded and un-customized. You need to suck in the new players, give them well-developed default factions and races, convince them to play long enough to actually try the customization and mods and such. Skimp on the default factions/races and the average new player just won't be interested.


Now obviously, people can get into mixing (ala Civ IV and such) but there is so much going on in the world that we want to try to avoid having potentially 30+ different races making up a city (i.e. if we let players create their own races as well as factions, we have to be careful about how convoluted it gets).

Personally I think race mixing (in a single city) is more trouble than it's worth - ok, you're a race of Men and you capture a city of Trogs, the new city can make Trog units, huzzah. Sure you could have humans migrate to the new city, and give it the ability to create Men as well as Trogs, but why? Your capital and every other city you found can already train Men, your new captured city can train Trogs, you've got both races covered and your army will be diverse - giving the option to pick between Men or Trogs in a single city just seems like needless complication to me, and will probably result in every city spamming that one ideal unit/race combination.


I hope you guys are enjoying these journals and their peak at the kinds of things that go on during game development. Marketing hates these journals because they expose the world to the “sausage factory” that is commercial game development.

Very much so! Down with marketing!

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April 27, 2010 6:31:36 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Hmm, should have seen where this post would head when you made it, Frogboy. You scared everyone. Now they think if you add more Race Customization all the storyline and everything you have NOW is just going to disappear..

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April 27, 2010 6:35:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm for less canon, more CANNON!!!

 

 

...Actually I'm for well developed canon art assets. We the people can produce whatever sucky things we want.

I hope you guys are enjoying these journals and their peak at the kinds of things that go on during game development. Marketing hates these journals because they expose the world to the “sausage factory” that is commercial game development.

Marketing doesn't know anything.

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April 27, 2010 6:46:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Ignore the custom races for now.  It seems there is going to be more than enough modding capability for those who really want to make large changes to be able to do so.

 

What I imagine you need is to get a solid foundation of ~10 distinct playing choices.  Whether this is broken out by race or faction or whatever is somewhat unimportant.  More important is that the game ships with an interesting backstory for these choices such that new players will be able to identify with one or more of them.

 

Of course it's great to let people design their own, but frankly my guess is that those people are in a small minority anyway.  At least to level of customization someone like Raven X is talking about.

 

I agree with others who have said that if the game doesn't have these distinct and developed factions it's going to be a major dissapointment to me. 

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April 27, 2010 6:46:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I personally will always lean towards customization but I still like to have high quality canon content within a game. Perhaps my position on this subject can be best described using a simple diagram.

 

My position

(Click on image for quality view)

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April 27, 2010 6:50:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Hm, 

Being able to create a custom faction and a custom race seems redundant to have to figure each with their own bonuses etc.

Add in your spell books as well and it seems very overwhelming to balance not to mention just figure out as a new player.

But if we're basing this whole discussion off the survey about creating custom factions, I can say that I'll choose my own custom faction and or race over some weird random fantasy word that has no meaning for me.   Choosing between Paritar, Tarth or Yabbajsik is equally gibberish. 

The same would go for the Races. If we don't know what it is, asking us to commit to make a choice to spend 20 + hours of our future playing as a something we have no idea what it, we surely will choose to make our own Orc or Goblin or something that we can associate with.  Yes, we can dig in and look and compare the stats on each and every race and faction but how many of us can honestly say we want to spend an hour comparing numbers before even starting to play? Heck I don't get that long to play in a single session anymore anyway.

I know you have a huge wonderful backstory on your custom take of a world with your very own races and each with their own factions, leaders etc... But I don't know it and I can't choose between the options being presented so I'll choose roll my own.

Every time.  

So lets be sure we didn't just choose 'roll my own faction' because we don't relate to the options as opposed to a deep rooted desire to actually customize every aspect of gameplay.

But in general, I do tend to want to create my own world to play in  But, it turns out, I'm happy playing as a pre-made faction and race once I understand them and then just tweaking the leader's attributes.  Anecdotally, that's how it was for GalCiv2 for me.. after 6-7 games and meeting and interacting with all the races the choice was easier to make, but the first several games It was all playing as custom or stock human.

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April 27, 2010 6:58:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I love customization and making new races is very nice but I think you need a strong foundation to your world which means focusing on your canon lore.  Your campaign will probably feel shallow if you don't do this I would think.  We will still have customizable races just not quite as complicated but I think that is fine.  The crazy races should come later from mods or maybe expansions.  My opinion is stick to instincts and go with your original vision.

As for concerns of complexity having 5 races should not be hard to grasp.  As you said we are all comfortable with elves, orcs, etc so I don't think you need to worry about that.  I think the confusion may come from the higher level of the factions and kingdoms actually.  I would also think your campaign would help explain the relationship between all the races, factions and kingdoms.  If it is a bit complicated then just give it to the player slowly during the campaign and it shouldn't be a problem.  I would just recommend against trying to explain everything in the manual though.  Many don't read them and even me who likes to read all the manuals find myself doing so less and less mainly due to digital downloads.

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April 27, 2010 6:58:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Austinvn,

Personally I think race mixing is more trouble than it's worth - ok, you're a race of Men and you capture a city of Trogs, the new city can make Trog units, huzzah.

I really hope that you are restricted to a very limited preset range of troops i.e 'Footsoldier, archer etc' for units made in conquered towns inhabited by other races. I didn't like MoM's system of 'capture town->create all their units' as it really took away my interest in playing other races if I'd already produced their best units, and as there were so many in MoM it narrowed the experiance for me somewhat. Taking a Trog city and designing lots of units as well as for my human ones would make me less interested in playing a campaign as the Trogs. Maybe it's just me.

Also making troops from conquered cities have poor morale/morale penalty would make you rely more on homegrown troops and add more of a challenge. There are loads of examples of military leaders getting further and further from home and having armies far less homogenous and more 'mongrel' making it difficult to command and retain troops, which I would like to see in Elemental.

 



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April 27, 2010 7:04:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

In games like this, it is the Lore that keeps people interested.  The game-play only lasts so long without a story to drive it home.  Plus the Story can cover up bad game-play and still make a good game (like Mass Effect).

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April 27, 2010 7:06:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I gotta admit I'm not really that interested in what preset backstory is being written for specified races/factions etc, I'm more interested in the prospects for moddability. But you could easily have both if the canon race/unit graphics are somewhat mix and matchable, or if you can use a relatively common format like nif to import unit graphics from elsewhere.

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