Elemental: Beta 2 Info

By on June 9, 2010 3:33:25 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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Greetings! 

We’re doing some final testing on Beta 2 and expect (but we’re not promising) to release it this week.

This article will walk you through the beta and help you understand what is and isn’t in the game and what kinds of feedback we’re looking for.

If you’re in the beta or joining the beta program, please become very familiar with the reporting guidelines.

General Objectives

  1. Compatibility Testing.  Does it work on your PC?  If not, why not?
  2. Feature Feedback.
  3. Balance Feedback.
  4. Stability Feedback. 

Major Features that are NOT in this beta:

  1. Tactical Battles are NOT in. Beta 3 is dedicated to that.
  2. The Workshop is NOT in. Beta 4 is dedicated to that.
  3. The Campaign is NOT in. That won’t be unveiled until the game ships.

Game Elements Disabled for this beta

  1. The Imperial Factions are not enabled
  2. Non-Canon custom races are not enabled (Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, Goblins, Drengin,  Drath, etc.)
  3. The map is hard-coded
  4. Diplomatic Victory disabled
  5. Master Quest victory disabled
  6. Spell of Making disabled
  7. Diplomacy is Disabled
  8. Custom Multiplayer Games are disabled

Game Play Notes:

1. Most of the Magic, Adventure, and Diplomacy techs have not been checked into the public build.

image

 

 

Gameplay feedback we’re looking for:

1. The HUD

image

We plan to have a HUD option where users can play the game with a head’s up display (HUD) that provides additional on screen details. We’d like to have it configurable (more than just HUD enabled or disabled).

2. General Balance

image

Make sure you play the game a few times first before deciding on what the game “needs”. But we are looking for your feedback on everything from balance to pacing.

3. Multiplayer

The multiplayer part of the game is pretty primitive. Our main interest in this build is to make sure you are able to connect with each other. This was something in Demigod that we felt didn’t get enough attention during the beta that we want to make sure is very solid.  Playing against the AI is also a good test in multiplayer because you have to connect to an AI on one of our servers. 

image

So sum up multiplayer: Our interest is whether you can connect. Once you’re in the game, it’ll be pretty crummy for now.  Once we are satisfied with connectivity, we’ll enable and clean up the actual in game-multiplayer experience.

4. The Empire & Event Trees

What would make the game easier to play and easier to manage?

5. Performance, Stability, Bugs

‘nuff said except absolutely be specific on your hardware.

What we’re not looking for

  • Ideas that would significant alter the scope of the game
  • Suggestions that would involve significant changes to core game play

Other Notes

As anyone who has ever worked on a large commercial software project can tell you, particularly a game, changing interface and usability (game play, balance) is not the long part. 

To use an analogy, it would be like first having to write Adobe Photoshop in order to create a really cool image on it. Most of the effort/expense was put on making the program first. Tweaking and enhancing the image is certainly crucial to determining whether the final image is a good one or not but relatively speaking, it isn’t time consuming compared to making the underlying “engine”.

In the case of Elemental, half the effort is making the engine. Nearly another half is making the assets (graphics, models, etc.). And the tiny piece left are the game specific elements.  It’s a huge undertaking and we are so very glad to have you guys as part of it. Hence, when making suggestions and requesting changes, things that require changes to the engine or creation of new assets are much tougher than things that involve changing game play, variables, etc.

Hope that helps.

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June 9, 2010 5:28:19 PM from Stardock.net (Stardock Games) Stardock.net (Stardock Games)

Do you want feedback on the technology system?

Clarification: Will you entertain suggestions about how to use the randomness in the technology system, or are we committed to the 5 mini-tech trees with indeterminate endings?

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June 9, 2010 5:36:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

You sound like the Doc (Back to the Future). What's the worst that could happen?

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June 9, 2010 5:46:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Cool! And now the final stretch! Really hoping for beta! (Friday night please.) 

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June 9, 2010 6:00:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Hawawaa,
Cool! And now the final stretch! Really hoping for beta! (Friday night please.) 

Why not today?

I am really looking forward to beta 2. You do a great job stardock!

Hopefully I can give some constructive feedback when beta 2 is released.

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June 9, 2010 6:01:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Hawawaa,
Cool! And now the final stretch! Really hoping for beta! (Friday night please.) 

Thursday. Not Friday. If it comes this week it will most likely be tomorrow. The only thing I've seen them release on Fri and Sat are patches to previously released Beta.

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June 9, 2010 6:16:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Looking forward to it!!

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June 9, 2010 6:19:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well I guess I should ask before the beta comes out (because god knows how many threads there will be on this when it does come out) but what ports do we need to forward to play Elemental online (if any)?

 

For those of you who don't know how to do that:

http://portforward.com/

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June 9, 2010 6:30:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,
Non-Canon custom races are not enabled (Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, Goblins, Drengin,  Drath, etc.)
What? Is that (please, choose one):

  1. a list of non-canon custom races that you plan to include
  2. a joke
  3. a list as example of waht we could create once enabled
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June 9, 2010 6:30:43 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

We're staging a candidate now to test this evening.

The pacing, imho, is the most significant issue I am having with it and I think it will require some additional game mechanics/features. 

I also think the map needs more strategic elements and that we need to get the HUD in. But I would like to see what others have to say before proposing specific solutions.

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June 9, 2010 6:34:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well I guess I should ask before the beta comes out (because god knows how many threads there will be on this when it does come out) but what ports do we need to forward to play Elemental online (if any)?

AFAIK none, in theory.

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June 9, 2010 6:44:01 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Now I'm assuming that by the Elemental Army's mentioning of full blog posts garnering a decent number of points for you, that there is no NDA surrounding the beta?

i.e., We are allowed to post screenshots/vids/game walkthrough's and that kind of thing with the appropriate beta warnings spread throughout?

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June 9, 2010 7:00:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting kryo,

Well I guess I should ask before the beta comes out (because god knows how many threads there will be on this when it does come out) but what ports do we need to forward to play Elemental online (if any)?
AFAIK none, in theory.

 

What could possibly go wrong?

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June 9, 2010 7:08:13 PM from Stardock.net (Stardock Games) Stardock.net (Stardock Games)

[quote="Frogboy"]Playing against the AI is also a good test in multiplayer because you have to connect to an AI on one of our servers.[/quote]Thankyou thankyou thankyou.

Honestly, I probably wasn't going to try a multiplayer game in this beta because the MP side of things isn't as interesting to me, but if I can help with the MP stuff without having to deal with other people... well, thankyou!

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June 9, 2010 7:08:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Just pre-ordered the game. I'll be looking for the beta!

 

On that note, despite wanting balance feedback, it looks like a lot of diplomatic options are disabled. Should we expect to balance that next version?

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June 9, 2010 7:46:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting kryo,

Well I guess I should ask before the beta comes out (because god knows how many threads there will be on this when it does come out) but what ports do we need to forward to play Elemental online (if any)?
AFAIK none, in theory.

Good news, in theory

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June 9, 2010 7:59:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
We're staging a candidate now to test this evening.

The pacing, imho, is the most significant issue I am having with it and I think it will require some additional game mechanics/features. 

I also think the map needs more strategic elements and that we need to get the HUD in. But I would like to see what others have to say before proposing specific solutions.

Out of curiosity what are the "pacing" issues you are talking about?

Also, it seems like we won't get random maps in Beta 2?  Will those be coming?  I'd like to be able to provide feed back on that aspect of the game, and would in turn like others to provide feed back on that as well.

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June 9, 2010 8:00:01 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Naithin,
Now I'm assuming that by the Elemental Army's mentioning of full blog posts garnering a decent number of points for you, that there is no NDA surrounding the beta?

i.e., We are allowed to post screenshots/vids/game walkthrough's and that kind of thing with the appropriate beta warnings spread throughout?
Feel free to tell anyone anything.  Have fun.

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June 9, 2010 8:17:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

ok so this Beta is about making sure no bugs, balance between schools or paths (but not races), can connect to MP with no problems, and having a HUD or screen to make things easier to manage.

Thanks for pointing out the mission description of beta 2. Maybe cut back on the post of ideas of how to make the game better or combat better, until we have to cross that bridge.

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June 9, 2010 8:19:46 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I am somewhat angry that the grass in those pictures is all the same color. I have been in the landscaping business for eight years and believe me when I say, grass grows more patchy in the plains and is much taller. Also the tiles near the coast look too much like [insert game you have played before].

I also would like you to change the color of the wood in each weapon to better reflect the tree that it was carved from. I mean how can I enjoy this game when there are such obvious examples of poor design.

I am merely holding you standards of accuracy that I would never expect from any other company, nor would I even get a chance to tell them because they don't read silly forum posts. I am just try to help.

          

*Flees from trolls and moves to Cuba*

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June 9, 2010 8:27:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Will we encounter and be able to recruit dragons in beta 2?

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June 9, 2010 8:41:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting SteelFin,
Will we encounter and be able to recruit dragons in beta 2?

 

i think there is too many expectations from the beta 2 gameplay, alot of questions. Expect very little... for now. And when they do release the final beta, its pretty close to the deadline or a deadline for them to keep making changes.  So wont be many changes, just tweaks or adjustments.

God knows i agree with many of the ideas posted on the forum since we are fans of mostly the same games. But if its not in by now or on their design board, the posted idea might not make it. Unless pushing for a Feb 2011 release.

Chances are most complaints or ideas can later be added into the game by players by a super flexible modding program. But reviews arent based on the modding community.

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June 9, 2010 8:49:09 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I know the first beta was supposed to be all paper cuts and lemon juice, so I am just wondering if Beta 2 is supposed to be somewhat fun or just more of the arduous masochism we have been promised up until now.

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June 9, 2010 9:09:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting seanw3,
I am somewhat angry that the grass in those pictures is all the same color. I have been in the landscaping business for eight years and believe me when I say, grass grows more patchy in the plains and is much taller. Also the tiles near the coast look too much like [insert game you have played before].

I also would like you to change the color of the wood in each weapon to better reflect the tree that it was carved from. I mean how can I enjoy this game when there are such obvious examples of poor design.

I am merely holding you standards of accuracy that I would never expect from any other company, nor would I even get a chance to tell them because they don't read silly forum posts. I am just try to help.

          

*Flees from trolls and moves to Cuba*

 

I can't tell if you're being serious or not.  This is some of the most nitpicky stuff I have ever heard (and even worse, it's nitpicking over eye candy, of all things.)  Especially the part about different colored wood.  

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June 9, 2010 9:14:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I really like the Technology, but I would like it to get scoped out a little better. It seems like finding out what techs lead to is totally "random" and found out via trial-and-error more than anything (if I keep going down the Civ line, I eventually get Houses) rather than knowing exactly how many more levels I need before I can get X techonology.

I DO like your techonlogy system, and I DO like how it is random. But it would be a little nicer if there were a few resources available that helped explain some core technologies and what I need to get them.

Also, what happens if you do a research on something with 2 "uncommon" technologies and you fail to discover both of them? did you just waste your research or are you guaranteed to always get a technology every level?

Finally, even though I like how you can leave a technology un-researched for a very long time and it isn't crucial, it is sorta weird having to spend 20 turns discovering Bee Keeping when you have Unicorn Ranches, when Bee Keeping was available early on, and Unicorn Ranches just very recently. Could we have "free techs" where if you have a particular common research in your research queue for more than 5 levels (or something like that) you get it for free? I know this means that prioritizing uncommon/rare techs is better than "ever" picking up a common, but you could make it like 7 or 8 levels which would work out to nearly 100 turns or so. 100 turns is a long time to go without some basic technology...

Or maybe these old technologies get less-and-less valuable so you can pick up 2-3 "old commons" at once with one breakthrough, which helps balance spending a long time getting an old technology you could have gotten a long time ago and then getting it for free because you procrastinated long enough.

The third possibility is diplomacy, espieically espionage. I'm against trading Technology, but perhaps old-old technologies become available for trade after a certain period of time. Or they are super-easy to steal, requiring just a small investment to spies.

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June 9, 2010 9:31:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I can't wait!

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