At Stardock, Wednesday is usually “Subway Wednesday”. We go to the local subway together and talk gaming. I substitute the potato chips with cookies. We usually talk about all manner of things (nerd talk).
Today was a tough day. It has definitely changed the way I look at certain gaming “journalists”. I do want to say we really appreciate the support from the community and have really appreciated the way some in the media have stuck up for us too.
Elemental marks 2 of 2 in terms of broken street dates and it really biting us in the rear end. There’s a reason why most games today require you to install and get the instant update and are locked out until release day. It’s something we’re going to have to really think about in the future. With Demigod, one could have said it was a fluke. But with Elemental, it’s a pattern.
For me, it’s AI AI AI. Elemental is a lot more complex of a game than Galactic Civilizations was. I do want to emphasize that the difficulty level at the world setup is not related to AI difficulty. It has to do with how tough the monsters and such will be (crazy shrills late game type stuff). The player intelligence is set up on the opponent set up screen.
If you’re able to beat the AI at harder settings, please feel free to post your strategies and such. I am not only happy to incorporate your strategies into the AI but relish doing so.
Compatibility. This isn’t my area of expertise but I’m getting a new found respect for the engine coders. Talk about frustration and scary. You get one video card that leaks memory (think megs per turn) if you use feature X, but if you turn it off, then it causes alt-tab to break. You got Windows XP Sp5 with older video cards having one weird issue while first generation quad core having a different issue.
Makes me long for the days of DOS.
Today, you’ve got Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Vista 64, Windows 7 and Windows 7 64. Then you’ve got a plethora of video cards and CPUs to go along with it along with different versions of the drivers in all these various cases.
There’s a case of white screens happening along with terrible performance afterwards on some setups. That’s been apparently fixed internally based on the checkin logs.
There’s a case where some machines aren’t even using the GPU. I’m a total lay person on that but isn’t that what DirectX is supposed to take care of? Oye. But they tell me they’ll be able to figure it out.
My understanding though is that the day 0 version of the game has largely resolved stability issues that some people ran into. That is, the version of the game available on release day should work fine. But if you have problems, feel free to speak loudly and specifically in the support area.
Expanding the world
One of the areas we’re really interested in going into is in the realm of expanding the world. More spells. More special abilities. More characters. More quests and so forth.
The Modding World
There are already some amazing mods being made. Keep an eye here: http://forums.elementalgame.com/forum/756
You can share maps you create via Impulse::Reactor which is built into the game. We will be enabling the sharing of other types of mods once the moderation guidelines are firmed down which should be after we have a chance to catch our breath a little.
You guys are awesome
We’re a small dev team as you can imagine so your kindness and support really puts wind in our sails. We love you guys. I think many of you love Elemental for the same reasons we do. Personally speaking, I feel like too many games come out these days to be “consumed” and then moved onto. As an “old time” gamer, I want to have a game that I’m playing for years and years to come. That’s why updating the AI matters so much to me because the AI needs to get better over time to keep up with players.
I can tell you this: Regardless of whether Elemental gets good or bad reviews or sells well or sells poorly, this game is the ONLY game Stardock’s development studio will be working on for 2010 and much of 2011.
One of the benefits of being a small, privately owned company is that we can focus on things for reasons besides quarterly earnings. This is a game we love and will be expanding for years to come. And I don’t mean just the single player game either but the multiplayer as well.
A bit of a vacation
Anwyay, this may be my last post for a bit. I’m going to take some days off. The last few days have been pretty challenging. But I will leave you in the capable hands of the game’s producer, Boogiebac (Scott Tykoski) who will keep you up to date.