Let’s try this again…

By on April 28, 2010 1:23:06 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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This week we’ve put up a couple of journals that are soliciting input from players on what they’d like to see in terms of faction customization.

My journals were clearly too wordy as I failed to convey the fundamental questions at hand.

So I’ll put it in bullet point form.

  • We are rapidly nearing Beta 3 where the “game” itself comes together.
  • At that point we will need to decide where to focus our asset creation (read: Artists and Random House writers).
  • Presently, Elemental supports Alignment (Kingdom vs. Empire), Faction (Altar, Pariden, etc.) and Race (Men, Urxen, Trog, etc.).
  • Presently, the assets (read: Art and Writing) has not been put in place which means we can still make pretty significant changes.
  • There are two general directions to take:
    • Eliminate the race distinctions and instead build out the Factions with more lore and artwork. Current customization of factions would remain.
    • Expand the race distinctions and provide more assets and code to support players creating their own custom factions made up by their own custom races.

There are pros and cons in either direction. 

Some people might find it confusing that factions and races are different. Kraxis is a faction that is made up of men that is part of the Empire. Umber is a faction that is made up of Urxen, a Fallen Race that is also part of the Empire.

On the other hand, having factions and races that are different provides us the ability to provide customization in terms of culture and genetics.

In Civilization, the differences between civilizations were ones of culture. They’re all humans.

In Master of Orion, the differences between civilizations were purely genetics. The factions were the races.

In Elemental, the difference between civilizations is based on their culture (Altar vs. Pariden) AND based on their race (Men vs. Trog).

So the question is, where would people like to see the focus? More emphasis on making the game lore with the 10 factions.  Or more emphasis on making it easy for players (in game) to customize their own factions/races?

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April 28, 2010 1:32:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I find myself wanting to create my own story rather than play through another's...

 

I vote for more customization.

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April 28, 2010 1:35:01 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would like to see the emphasis on the Lore. Any tools that can be included to make truly unique races is a big plus.

I think that having deep lore in the game is what is going to make me fall in love with it.

I think the ability to make my own races is what will keep the game on my hard drive. For the inital game I think the deep lore is critical, an expansion with tools for creating your own races down the road makes more sense to me. Trying to add the lore later is just going to look stupid and kludgy.

I think that allowing customization that will not require all equipment models and so forth to be created for each race should be in the canon game. Let us plug new heads, arms, legs, (wings?) on the basic body. Let us scale the models from tiny to huge. Do not give us a Spore Creature Creator. Is that going to over tax the art department?

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April 28, 2010 1:39:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I quess balance approach would be the best. I mean, there is alot of games which are great for their sandbox gameplay, Sins Of a Solar Empire as an example... But also others, which are great for their stories and lore. Both of them apply to a little bit different audience, so that might be the reason, why people are split in half on this decision.

However I do not know one game, which has provided great lore, storyline and campaing, and also great sandbox features. I would love if elemental would be the first one, even if that would mean releasing it at the beginning 2011. But that is just me.

If you really would like to focus more or less on one thing, I would vote for lore and artwork, simply because Elemental is going to be first release, and I think that is very important to have rich lore behind it and have it right for the first time, because you can not really change it much later in expansion only expand on what you already have. Even when I am huge fan of sandbox gameplay and customization.

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April 28, 2010 1:49:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'd vote for Expanded race distinction, without those assets most custom races will seem like merely minor adjustments of the defaults... I want to play with different skeletons.

But as someone said on the other thread, in GalCiv2 I played the stock factions more when each had a superability and techtree. I'd play each stock race more often in elemental if each default race had one unique ability or group of associated techs... It'd be nice if those elements could be customised... more techs that aren't used but can be included in custom techtrees, superabilities that no original faction or race has but you can add to your custom faction/race. It would require some additional assets (buildings, items, techs, resources), but not skeletons...

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April 28, 2010 1:52:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

i think it should be customization. the lore will build up from the commuinty. the better the creation tools for us to use will allow greater dervisty. sorry cant spell that our public schools at work hehe.

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April 28, 2010 1:53:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I love the lore of the game and the artwork but in the end this is a game. Keep the lore in the books and give me more options to customize and play the game i want to play.

 

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April 28, 2010 1:56:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Expand the race distinctions and provide more assets and code to support players creating their own custom factions made up by their own custom races.

 

This is my vote, because that is how I will play.  I think that I will love the backstory and lore (I am planning on getting the book), but I know that when I actually play, I never choose a pre-made anything.   I just don't.

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April 28, 2010 1:57:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I feel like there is an in between or some kind of balance we can find so we have a rich amount of lore about the races and factions. So put my vote in the middle?

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April 28, 2010 1:57:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm interested in the lore of the game and I would like to see the races and factions that we have more fleshed out.  I always played with the stock factions in Gal Civ 2 because I liked trying to play the game from their points of view as opposed to coming up with a race on my own and figuring out how I want them to play.  I guess I treat it more as a role playing scenario than a turn based one like I do with Civilization 4.

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April 28, 2010 2:01:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I foresee...

Elemental: War of Magic

  • Campaign (it begins and ends the arc of the story to tell, which apparently means fullfilling certain prophecy).
  • Full of Lore.
  • Limited customization (it's great but limited to what the world of Elemental supports by Lore).

Elemental: War of Expansion (pack 1, 2, 3, 4...)

  • No campaign. Story was finished in Elemental: War of Magic. Mechanics restrictions based on that story still in place. Would need removal to be able to offer another story that doesn't start after another cataclysm and blah blah blah. See the mod idea "Elemental: Ancient Age" somewhere in the Elemental forum for an idea of viable yet not Lore breaking (flavourful details due to ignorance aside) and independent of the base game as expansion pack.
  • No new Lore. (see above)
  • Eye candy galore (hopefully).
  • More customization (hopefully).
  • Tweaked game mechanics but without breaking what was already stablished as Core. Unless not being base game and no need to offer new Lore makes Stardock to feel free to break the mold (which could violatethe spirit of what Elemental means depending of how it's done).

I like "In Elemental, the difference between civilizations is based on their culture (Altar vs. Pariden) AND based on their race (Men vs. Trog)."

But if you are asking me. "Choose between totally devoted to Lore OR move some resources for more customization options. And you cannot have middle grounds because you must choose of those two options given and n-o-t-h-i-n-g else.", then I must say: Lore me. Different building "textures", styles in some armours, they way they speak (NO leet) or relate to each other, different tech trees with techs that reflect their history/culture/morale...

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April 28, 2010 2:02:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I vote for focusing on the in-game lore and making each faction feel unique.

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April 28, 2010 2:02:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would like to see the races and factions more fleshed out to ensure they are unique and recognizable. Not just from a lore / visual perspective but in terms of unique magic, weapons, armor, units, buildings, etc as well.

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April 28, 2010 2:03:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Race Distinctions, Race Distinctions, Race Distinctions, Race Distinctions, Race Distinctions!!!!

FTW BABY!!!!!

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April 28, 2010 2:08:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Wintersong,
I foresee...

Elemental: War of Magic


Campaign (it begins and ends the arc of the story to tell, which apparently means fullfilling certain prophecy).
Full of Lore.
Limited customization (it's great but limited to what the world of Elemental supports by Lore).
Elemental: War of Expansion (pack 1, 2, 3, 4...)


No campaign. Story was finished in Elemental: War of Magic. Mechanics restrictions based on that story still in place. Would need removal to be able to offer another story that doesn't start after another cataclysm and blah blah blah. See the mod idea "Elemental: Ancient Age" somewhere in the Elemental forum for an idea of viable yet not Lore breaking (flavourful details due to ignorance aside) and independent of the base game as expansion pack.
No new Lore. (see above)
Eye candy galore (hopefully).
More customization (hopefully).
Tweaked game mechanics but without breaking what was already stablished as Core. Unless not being base game and no need to offer new Lore makes Stardock to feel free to break the mold (which could violatethe spirit of what Elemental means depending of how it's done).


I like "In Elemental, the difference between civilizations is based on their culture (Altar vs. Pariden) AND based on their race (Men vs. Trog)."

But if you are asking me. "Choose between totally devoted to Lore OR move some resources for more customization options. And you cannot have middle grounds because you must choose of those two options given and n-o-t-h-i-n-g else.", then I must say: Lore me. Different building "textures", styles in some armours, they way they speak (NO leet) or relate to each other, different tech trees with techs that reflect their history/culture/morale...

That all sounds good, But, (granted this probably isn't likely) what if Elemental is huge flopping failure and doesn't sell well? What would be the draw of buying or making expansions? I'd rather them add as much as they can to the base game and then Expand the Storyline in Expansions. To me a "Expansion" should continue the storyline. If the Expansion Pack for Dragon Age hadn't continued the story I doubt I would have bought it.

Expansions should have more then just eye candy and goodies if they want to sell. Gal Civ 2's expansions almost all of them added new play features and gameplay changes (mobile Starbases were added in a expansion weren't they?)

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April 28, 2010 2:13:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I really think the races should stay in the game, regardless if there are different factions with the same races in them. The vast majority of your playerbase will easily understand that in your lore and game world, but I think you are trying to make it simple so new people can catch on. Well that would be dumbing down the game now wouldn't it? We don't want that. GalCiv2 was a game of strategy, a thinking person's game, and anyone who got into it would have no problem with having humans in both kingdom and empire factions.

Multiple races make fantasy worlds all that more unique and interesting, please don't cull this from Elemental simply to dumb it down for Joe I don't like strategy games cuz they make me think too hardz . . .

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April 28, 2010 2:13:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I vote for fleshing out the game lore and factions.The greatest strategy games all have this immersion and it is part of why they are great.

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April 28, 2010 2:18:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I thought about this for quite a bit. The first reaction was "customization of course!" But I changed my mind after really thinking about it. I will enjoy the game more if you have the 10 factions and good amount of lore and art for each.

I vote focus on the 10 factions. Let's focus on the customization later on.

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April 28, 2010 2:21:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

So I am one of those that finds the current system a little confusing but I think that is partially because it is not finished.  Currently I don't believe race matters at all, does it.

I think it would be possible to combine the faction and race into one entity to make things simpler.  I like the idea of defining your kingdom with genetics and culture but I don't see why it necessarily needs to be separated.  Don't remove any options just push them into one box.  Just have your kingdom creator have your genetic abilities and the cultural abilities all together (maybe in separate tabs though).  Creating a new kingdom would mean choosing your racial look (no limitations) and picking a series of abilities.  When you come down to it the differences between real world "kingdoms" such as the Mongols and Vikings is pretty large.  It's easy enough to just consider them separate races.  I mean if you made these in a game you would probably want your Vikings to be taller and stronger which are genetic differences but if you consider them the same race then would these differences be allowed?

So this is an idea at least which I think kind of addresses what you brought up.  I'm not sure if it is the best solution but I think it would make things simplier without removing any of the customization.

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April 28, 2010 2:23:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Raven X,

That all sounds good, But, (granted this probably isn't likely) what if Elemental is huge flopping failure and doesn't sell well? What would be the draw of buying or making expansions? I'd rather them add as much as they can to the base game and then Expand the Storyline in Expansions. To me a "Expansion" should continue the storyline. If the Expansion Pack for Dragon Age hadn't continued the story I doubt I would have bought it.

Expansions should have more then just eye candy and goodies if they want to sell. Gal Civ 2's expansions almost all of them added new play features and gameplay changes (mobile Starbases were added in a expansion weren't they?)

The campaign goes like: Life Sovereign vs Death Sovereign. Soap opera here and there, wars, racism, treachery, spells of mass destruction,... and the big finalle. One side wins. End.

Considering that the spells of mass destruction will be included in the base game, I don't see why they would cut the story in the base game so they can continue it in a expansion (see also your comment of possible holocaust that would provoke Elemental to fail epicly in release and forbid us form expansion). Also, comment that the Lore from Elemental will be used for other future games of Stardock (like the RPG) so it's not like they are going to give up easily. And I doubt all those games would be based around the same theme: "Life Sovereign vs Death Sovereign. Soap opera here and there, wars, racism, treachery, spells of mass destruction,... and the big finalle. One side wins. End." Well, ok, some of those elements will surely repeat...

Expasions don't need to add story/campaign and can perfectly be just more eye candy. In fact, some people prefers the idea of individual micro expansions of different content so they can just pay for the parts (eye candy, new game mechanics...) the want to use. Also, at this point any Expansion pack thought is pure wishful thinking, so who cares?

Edit: the campaign could perrfectly lead to an aftermath scenario for expansions but they NEED to destroy some core rules from the base game so as long as that happens, anything is possible (expansion-wise)

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April 28, 2010 2:24:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Some people might find it confusing that factions and races are different. Kraxis is a faction that is made up of men that is part of the Empire. Umber is a faction that is made up of Urxen, a Fallen Race that is also part of the Empire.

^this

Custom races are just sounding too much like a coolness factor and I'm not seeing enough argument for them gameplay-wise.  Why add *another* customization screen?  You already can customize your faction and sovereign and it's sounding like there's very little difference between faction and race customization, apart from visual.  Maybe you can merge the two?

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April 28, 2010 2:24:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Since I am an AoW2 - SM & Dominions fanatic, I vote for this:

Expand the race distinctions and provide more assets and code to support players creating their own custom factions made up by their own custom races.

-----------

Unique, diverse & well detailed races will enhance the game[play] a lot. That being said, whatever direction you devs will take, make sure that the lore itself must be decent as well. I am going to quote Den, because I absolutely agree with the following 2 sentences [Actually I wanted to post something similar as well, but it's easier to quote ]->

Quoting Denryu,

I think that having deep lore in the game is what is going to make me fall in love with it.

I think the ability to make my own races is what will keep the game on my hard drive.

Well said.

 

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April 28, 2010 2:29:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Another thing to consider in this discussion is what the campaign is going to be like.  If you are just doing like you did in Galactic Civ 2, a linear 10 mission campaign where we are forced to play one kingdom than I really don't think lore is a big deal.  If you are going all out on the campaign with customization options, branching story with real options, etc than lore becomes much more important.  I am hoping for the all out approach for the campaign.

What is the plan for the campaign?

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April 28, 2010 2:33:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Okay, armed with Frogboy's bullets, I would vote for having more ability to do my own customization.  This would add countless hours of enjoyment just in designing, not counting the actual playing of the game.

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April 28, 2010 2:33:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

No matter what we will have:

  • The War of Magic campaign
  • The 10 canon factions
  • The 10 canon backstories

Random House is producing a lot of content for the game.

The question is where best to put this content. 

I could spend a year just making quests where each quest is its own adventure unto itself. But obviously doing that sort of thing means I'm not working on something else. Those are the kinds of trade-offs we make all the time.

On a bit of a tangent, one of the biggest internal debates we have is on features. I veto any feature that the AI won't be able to effectively use. It's one of the big reasons why Galactic Civilizations doesn't have the breadth of player features of say Space Empires V. If I can't get the AI to effectively use them, then they don't go in.

 

 

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April 28, 2010 2:35:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,
...There are two general directions to take: Eliminate the race distinctions and instead build out the Factions with more lore and artwork. Current customization of factions would remain. Expand the race distinctions and provide more assets and code to support players creating their own custom factions made up by their own custom races...

So the question is, where would people like to see the focus? More emphasis on making the game lore with the 10 factions.  Or more emphasis on making it easy for players (in game) to customize their own factions/races?

So the choice is (using your quotes):

1:

-Eliminate the race distinctions

-build out the Factions with more lore and artwork

-Current customization of factions would remain.

-More emphasis on making the game lore with the 10 factions

2:

-Expand the race distinctions

-provide more assets and code to support players creating their own custom factions made up by their own custom races

-more emphasis on making it easy for players (in game) to customize their own factions/races

=================

From what I've been hearing about modding, even with option 1 we'll still have a pretty good ability to customize, so option 1 could be reduced to 'lots of lore and some customizing'.

Option 2 might reduce to 'lots of customizing and some lore'.

Assuming this is somewhat accurate, I vote option 1.  I'd like to see your lore.  Being able to somewhat customize is good enough for me.  I can somewhat customize.  What I can't do is come up with the detailed lore that you can create.  Thus, option 1 provides me with a lot more -- your detailed lore -- than option 2.

 

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