No beta this week. Between my trip to San Francisco last week to meet with the media and Memorial Day, the AI isn’t far enough along to be included for a public beta. But if it makes you feel better, we’re playing it a lot internally.
There’s been a ton of questions on the forums so let me go through them here:
Q: What is the release date?
A: August 24th is our official release date.
Q: Is that release date subject to change?
A: Yes. If we’re not happy with the game for some reason.
Q: I think Elemental should have <insert cool wizbang feature>, will you delay the game to put that in?
Q: But I thought you said you wouldn’t release the game until it was what you wanted?
A: Yes. But we’re not going to delay the game to put in new features. We’re open to doing lots of things after release.
Q: I’ve heard there are no flying units in the game.
A: There are flying units in the game. However, there aren’t flying armies in the game (i.e. there are creatures and animals that fly, but we do not plan to have flying mounted units in – at least at release. We can discuss with players – after they have the game – what practical means they could envision flying around.
Q: I saw <screen shot X> and I didn’t like <insert aspect of screenshot>
A: Most screenshots floating around are, unfortunately, very old.
Here is a current screenshot:
Note the dynamic fog of war in the east. This is generated using an advanced multi-core algorithm.
Q: I like using my imagination when I play games, I am glad the game has its own lore but can I introduce my own?
A: Yes. In the “sand box” (normal games) mode. You can do whatever you want. It will be in the campaign where our lore takes over.
Q: In a screenshot, the land looked flat.
A: Geography of a given map changes from map to map. Some maps are hilly. There are some maps that are dead. There are some that are pleasant. Some are very mountainous. It just depends what kind of map you get.
Here is a map in an arctic world.
Q: Does the AI in Elemental cheat?
A: Not at its normal levels. I’ve been working very hard to make the game play the game just like a human being does. However, I will have higher difficulty levels where the AI gets “stuff” for those who end up better at the game than I am. We will, however, be continuing to enhance the AI long after release as we did with Galactic Civilizations.
Q: How animated are things in the world?
A: Here’s a link to a video: http://screencast.com/t/YWY5YWJk (it’s a big video so you’ll want to let it buffer).
Q: How much can modders do on the map?
A: Here’s me making my own map. These tools are part of the game btw. They’re designed to let general gamers use (non-technical).