Please don’t get mad when beta 2 comes out

By on May 13, 2010 7:14:40 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Draginol

Join Date 03/2001
+102

imageThere is quite a bit of concern (mostly from marketing) that people will be angry when beta 2 comes out because of how much we crippled the betas.

I hope those of you in the beta understand why we did what we did with the betas. Elemental is a new game. It’s been many years since there’s been a new fantasy strategy game made from scratch. As a result, it was important to us that we not rely on 3D graphics or multiplayer in order for the game to have good game mechanics.

Now, some of you may be like me where you’ve played games for decades so you’ll understand where I’m coming from.  A GOOD game shouldn’t need super good graphics or high end production values. Tower Defense is an awesome game and it has virtually no graphics.  So for Beta 1, we went to considerable efforts to force it to be, well, suck in order to get the beta testers to think about the game AS A GAME rather than as some sort of multimedia experience.

Now, when Beta 2 shows up, obviously with the 3D engine, some of you may feel we were trying to torture you or something. We just wanted to make sure that you guys felt truly free to debate and suggest different game ideas.

When this is all done, we will have to revisit just how much of an impact you guys have had in making the game a BETTER game and how much of that was because of being able to play minus fancy graphics.

Nowadays, it’s very very rare for brand new major PC games to be made. Nearly everything is a sequel or a remake. We felt it important that we take our time and do this right.  So while 7 months in beta 1 might have seemed excessive, I think it’ll become clear that giving the beta testers time to debate game mechanics and concepts was worth it.

Locked Post 86 Replies +1 Karma
Search this post
Subscription Options


Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
Bobby Hardenbrook
May 15, 2010 9:44:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I hope the extra effort pays off in the end. This is shaping up to be a great game.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2010 8:52:44 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This is the worst game I've ever Pla.....Oh wait wrong forum   You guys are doing the right thing. Every game developer should be doing this. So please tell your marketing department to shut thier pie-holes and stay out of the development of the game before they ruin it as have happened with other game companies.

If this game is anything like GALCIV 2 or AGE of Wonders/ MOM then it will be great just as log as you keep the non-gamers (marketing) out of it. Perhaps make them server your developers coffee or something.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2010 8:57:05 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Bellack,

If this game is anything like GALCIV 2 or AGE of Wonders/ MOM then it will be great just as log as you keep the non-gamers (marketing) out of it. Perhaps make them server your developers coffee or something.

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2010 3:34:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Bellack,

If this game is anything like GALCIV 2 or AGE of Wonders/ MOM then it will be great just as log as you keep the non-gamers (marketing) out of it. Perhaps make them server your developers coffee or something.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2010 3:59:04 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Since I only just pre-ordered. my guess is I will not be mad.  Sorry to the pre-Beta 2 testers for making you all do the heavy lifting.  My trust in each of you in doing a splendid job knows no bounds.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2010 4:35:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I can honestly say that this is the best game I've ever worked on by far.

I hadn't realized until recently the ramifications of making a modern, PC-only game in terms of what is possible.  Nearly every game made these days licenses its own engine from someone else and that engine is almost always cross-platform.

It's not just the performance difference between say a PC and an Xbox 360. In fact, it's not even mainly that.  It's MEMORY.

That needs to be more of a mantra IMO for PC gamers: MEMORY. MEMORY. MEMORY.  3D acceleration is wonderful but the biggest difference between what a PC game can offer and a console game is available RAM. 

Because Elemental is being made exclusively for the PC with an engine designed exclusively for the PC we can do things like have it use 1 gigabyte of memory.  Now, for PC users, a gig of RAM is nothing.  But an Xbox 360 only has 512MB of RAM (which is has to share with graphics).  So that means we can have units that look and feel very differently from one another. Lots of NPCs, each that are different. Lots of different types of creatures that look dramatically different from one another.

It's actually difficult to explain Elemental to people because, on the one hand, it's a natural (imo) evolution of where strategy games would have been going if the cross-platform (i.e. to consoles) hadn't altered game technology.  

Elemental is a fantasy strategy game so one would expect to be able to recruit lots of interesting characters each game and equip their heroes (and have those changes visually change on screen) and do things that alter the landscape (not just put a texture on the map but actually changes the game) and lots of other things that I feel would have been the norm at this stage but everyone these days seems to use engines that were made to also work on much much lower end system specs (i.e. consoles).  

References:

Xbox 360 specs

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2010 4:54:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Froggie - let's don't forget about the possibilites of the x64 systems! I wanna see the x64 Elemental client in action!

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 20, 2010 4:58:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Frogboy to Xbox: Needs more Ramz, kthx.

 

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 21, 2010 8:44:01 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting DrGroth,
This is my first post.

 Daily I check the journal entries and appreciate the close communication that the developers (I think Frogboy is the leader) have with the customer base and beta testers.  I cannot wait to play this game!  I remember Master of Magic as a masterpiece at the time and had a wish that someone, someday would create a newer game that utilized its template. Elemental appears to be this dream come true (almost there…)

I anticipate many sleepless nights expanding my kingdom, recruiting exotic and powerful allies for my armies, training and shepherding battle-hardened and crack troops, and discovering magic artifacts and new spells, and smashing rival kingdoms and armies.  My play style tends to focus on defensive tactics and I try to develop smaller, highly experienced armies, a small cadre of powerful heroes, and well-defended bases. (I prefer quality to quantity)

 I am not a beta tester, and multiplayer is not my thing.  When I learned about the development of Elemental several months ago I set aside $60 in an envelope and wrote “Elemental” on it.  Because I do not have internet at home (I’m posting via my work computer—it’s also how I patch my games) I really wish Stardock would offer a Per-Order with a DVD option. Impulse is not an option for me.

I finally went through the process of signing up so I could congratulate you guys, both developer and beta tester. 

Keep it up. 

Good Luck and Godspeed Frogboy!

 

http://www.impulsedriven.com/products/SSD-SDE-W002 is a boxed product you can pre-order...  Admittedly, its the special edition, which you may not be interested in, but it is an option.  The extra stuff is pretty sweet.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 21, 2010 8:51:41 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tormy-,
Froggie - let's don't forget about the possibilites of the x64 systems! I wanna see the x64 Elemental client in action!

 

Yes. Yes. Yessssss! I be chomping at that Bit as well.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 21, 2010 9:32:43 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,


Because Elemental is being made exclusively for the PC with an engine designed exclusively for the PC we can do things like have it use 1 gigabyte of memory.  Now, for PC users, a gig of RAM is nothing.  But an Xbox 360 only has 512MB of RAM (which is has to share with graphics).  So that means we can have units that look and feel very differently from one another. Lots of NPCs, each that are different. Lots of different types of creatures that look dramatically different from one another.

It's actually difficult to explain Elemental to people because, on the one hand, it's a natural (imo) evolution of where strategy games would have been going if the cross-platform (i.e. to consoles) hadn't altered game technology.  

This and the rest of your post is why when people suggest that there are "good" strategy games on consoles I, depending on my mood, scoff, roll my eyes or cringe.  Sometimes all three.  Sure, I played some of the early console strategy RPGs on the PSOne and then some on the PS2 and I still pick some up some for handhelds.  None of them match most of what I have played on a PC.  My favorite console strategy title....X-Com...a PC title.  There is nothing like a well made strategy title that actually involves meaningful strategic and tactical choices  rather than just a ton of features.  Plus, the subject matter, characters and graphics are infinitely more mature.  And a real storyline that does not include a brooding teen and a kidnapped, fully busted girl in distress.

 

Part of the shift you mention, I realize, is the younger target audience, installation base and ease of use that consoles offer.  There are a few exceptions, but PC gaming will always be my main platform of choice. That is unless Stardock figures how shoehorn the company's creamy goodness into a console title.  Of course, that would also mean me buying a current generation console, which my cheap-a__ will not allow.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 21, 2010 10:58:15 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Because I do not have internet at home (I’m posting via my work computer—it’s also how I patch my games) I really wish Stardock would offer a Per-Order with a DVD option.

I fear you won't be able to patch Elemental since it will require Impulse to install patches and you can't install Impulse on an always off line computer.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 21, 2010 11:06:26 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Peace Phoenix,

Because I do not have internet at home (I’m posting via my work computer—it’s also how I patch my games) I really wish Stardock would offer a Per-Order with a DVD option.
I fear you won't be able to patch Elemental since it will require Impulse to install patches and you can't install Impulse on an always off line computer.

It would seem prudent for the DEV to make said patches available for download in a .exe format as well.

I believe that Impulse delivers a zipped/compressed version, that is then verified for integrity, then decompressed and installed. At least from watching it happen, and checking the HDD, that seems to be the case.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 21, 2010 11:07:31 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Peace Phoenix,

Because I do not have internet at home (I’m posting via my work computer—it’s also how I patch my games) I really wish Stardock would offer a Per-Order with a DVD option.


I fear you won't be able to patch Elemental since it will require Impulse to install patches and you can't install Impulse on an always off line computer.

Perhaps he should get satellite internet.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 21, 2010 11:14:28 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I heard Satellites were quite expensive.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 21, 2010 12:35:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting John_Hughes,

It would seem prudent for the DEV to make said patches available for download in a .exe format as well. 

They Won't do that. I think it's set in stone somewhere that they don't....thanks a lot Impulse. Half way through the Gal Civ 2 they stopped those patches and made it so you had to go through them to get the patches. Kinda sucked when that happened because I always got my patches through FilePlanet and then suddenly that couldn't get them anymore and I had No Choice but to go through Stardock. Seeing as how it's Their Game though, they can do what they want with the patch devilry system and we have to "suck it" or deal with the consequences.

I lost a little love for SD that day, but I got over it and they've more then made up for it (to me at least) since then.

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 21, 2010 12:57:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well then I feel for those without permanent connections at home, or those who cannot offered to buy their own Satellite.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 21, 2010 1:03:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The need for Impulse to get patches might not be the best thing ever (mostly for people with offline computers) but it's a niceprice to pay for no DRM in disk.. as update through Impulse for account verification can be considered one. But if Steam fanboys can claim that Steamworks DRM is nothing because you have "offline" mode, then I can say that you need internet of any kind for updates so using only Impulse shouldn't be a problem. The real problem is that there is no standalone patches.

http://anywhere.impulsedriven.com/

With that option you can get your game and install it in an offline computer. Problem? You have to download it all. Which can be a problem, specially for those who has limited connections (by whichever reason). But at least, it's a whole universe better than Steamworks (imho, no need to agree with me) and a few universes better than Ubisoft's silliness (if you don't agree with me, you work for them... probably).

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 21, 2010 1:08:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The impulse thing with the patches is simply so that pirates can't warez it and get all the freebie extras without paying anything to start with.  Impulse anywhere should help with offline issues, but in general people who play without internet connections don't usually get any patches to games anyway.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 21, 2010 9:50:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tyjenks,
There is nothing like a well made strategy title that actually involves meaningful strategic and tactical choices  rather than just a ton of features.  Plus, the subject matter, characters and graphics are infinitely more mature.  And a real storyline that does not include a brooding teen and a kidnapped, fully busted girl in distress.

 

   That last line also summarizes all the movies coming out of Hollywood these days.  God help us all. 

 

Good post!

 

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 24, 2010 7:05:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

My issue with consoles presently is the 512MB limit they have.  

I can't remember the last game I made with 512MB (maybe in the 90s?).  Even Galactic Civilizations I (not II, but I) used up around 700 meg of memory (even if it were somewhat virtual).

Elemental, by contrast, I think needs around 128MB of video memory plus around 800MB of memory (real and virtual) and that's a minimum.  Now, on a PC, that's trivial.  But on a console, we'd be cutting things out.

That's not to say one couldn't make an Elemental Revolution or something for the console but it would be a different game.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 25, 2010 2:17:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I remember reading that the non beta Elemental would be able to be played offline if one wanted, if this is till the case then one would only need internet connection for the patches and updates and the installation of impulse. But once patched the game would be able to be played offline right? or will one have to play online all the time to have the patches and updates take effect?

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 25, 2010 2:36:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

You only need to be online IF you want to install a patch, and all patch installations are manual (you look for updates).

For whichever version(s) you happen to have, no internet connection is needed.

Kinda like how Civ IV was if you think about it. The only difference is that if you want to get patches, they are only found on Impulse.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 25, 2010 4:11:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting TarponCrest,
I remember reading that the non beta Elemental would be able to be played offline if one wanted
By default the game is offline so it'd be better to say: "non Beta Elemental would be able to be played online if one wanted". Patches needing internet.... well, it'd be expensive for Stardock to have a Patch Delivery Service in which someone goes toyour house with a memory stick and....

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 27, 2010 12:58:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Off topic a bit:

As much as I agree with Frogboy about the hardware, I can't help but wonder what the game could be with a community like XBL.  The Xbox hardware is inferior but having 10+ million people fire up a single breathing community on a daily basis is just amazing.  The fragmentation of the PC userbase has always been and will continue to be an issue. 

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
Stardock Forums v1.0.0.0    #108433  walnut3   Server Load Time: 00:00:00.0000312   Page Render Time: