AUGUST 24th, 2010.
This is a day that the team has been waiting for for three years!
As some of you know, some retailers broke the street date and to make sure our beta testers and pre-order customers didn’t get the short end of the stick, we released an interim build of Elemental (internally called Gold Edition++).
It turns out that this was a blessing in disguise because we have gotten a tremendous amount of useful feedback from those of you who got the game before release. The results of this comes in two parts.
First, tonight we released a new interim build. This version is basically bug fixes and such based on player reports. You can see what’s new in it here. Looking at the change log gives you an idea of the complexities of making a new PC game in 2010 with a brand new engine.
But tomorrow (or later today as I write this) is the big one. The official day 0 update that the team and I have been working on since Beta 4 (the beta group can go into more detail on this but in brief: After beta 4, the game tree was split in two. One version went on to be the gold version which is what those people who have it early are playing. The other tree went on to become day 0. These two trees were merged today already and will be going up tomorrow.
So what can you expect?
Here’s a few highlights:
- The UI is updated to be somewhat more intuitive.
- The campaign is significantly updated (though only for those starting fresh).
- Resources are treated more like units. This is hard to explain but essentially the game will let you know of what resources you’re not using and how to make use of them.
- There’s a lot of performance improvements the day 0 build, particularly for those with lower end CPUs.
- The “day 0” AI is in it.
- There’s been a polish pass to the spell books and tactical battles.
- There’s been a general polish pass to the main game UI overall.
- There’s been a lot of balancing to monsters, units, etc.
The day 0 version, as most of you know, is the version that was originally expected to be the first version most people would ever play. We’re definitely glad, however, that people got to play the pre-day 0 builds because we got a lot of very useful feedback and some crash reports that were not known about.
Now, a couple words on multiplayer. The servers are up but we are not going to enable multiplayer until next week. Part of this is, to be honest, team exhaustion. The early release meant a lot of people who were expecting this weekend off to rest from the grueling last few weeks had to come in. So we’re going to let them get a couple of days off later this week and open up the MP next week.
One piece of good news on MP. Originally we had planned to eliminate tactical battles from MP entirely because of balance. Some people correctly guessed the misguided (in hindsight) reason for this: We were approaching MP from a purely competitive point of view. Based on the persuasive arguments made by our players, we have decided that tactical battles will be made available in MP – as an option – at a later date as a free update.
So that’s all for now. After the day 0 update, I plan to take a day or two off too. I hear sleeping is the new “in thing” and you guys know me, I’m all about being cool and…um..what not.