Elemental: A busy Wednesday

By on August 25, 2010 9:27:31 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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Subway Wednesday

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.

Street Dates

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.

What’s next?

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.

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August 25, 2010 9:37:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Thanks for all the hard work the entire Stardock team has put in.

and remember

Illegitimi non carborundum

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August 25, 2010 9:39:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Go Brad!  The latest version is a lot improved from the initial one.  I love you guys too, although I do think Elemental has a way to go still.

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August 25, 2010 9:40:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

well said brad... take some well-earned time off... we'll be right where you left us...

oh, and we love you too!

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August 25, 2010 9:40:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Brad,

 

Thanks for keeping us up to date.   Honestly, I've loved the whole journey with Elemental.   I wish there was some way to convey my thanks and admiration to the entire Elemental team.   The dedication you guys have is amazing.   As a programmer I appreciate the incredible efforts you guys have gone through to get such a great game out the door.   I look forward to the future.   

 

Thanks again.

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August 25, 2010 9:43:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

You definitely deserve a vacation after all this...

I just hope that it won't delay releases of patches/hotfixes though...

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August 25, 2010 9:44:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

We will be here when ya get back.. rest for a few days... and thanks for all the work on our behalf to all of you...

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August 25, 2010 9:44:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

rest will do you good, freshen up the mind.  take what time you need we aren't going anywhere

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August 25, 2010 9:46:02 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well, we players have to thanks Stardock for treating us like gamers and not like a one-time customer buying a can of Coke.

Have a nice vacation! And congrats for the great game.

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August 25, 2010 9:48:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I want to say that I have never seen such a dedicated dev team for a game in a long, long time. You guys are really great.

 

It really upset me today when I went on another gaming website to see hundreds of comments bashing and insulting your game. I spoke up for you guys, but it really irritated me a lot. People are far more willing to listen to one editor say a game is bad than play it for themselves.

 

Well, I for one know that this game has a lot going for it and will only get better, not get worse or stay the same like so many other people think it will.

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August 25, 2010 9:48:23 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Frogboy, I hope you're not going to really work on Elemental for all of 2011.

You need to work on Society and Demigod 2 with GPG. =P

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August 25, 2010 9:48:54 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Thanks for the updates and the hard work. Don't let the reviewer's get to you. Quality speaks for itself.

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August 25, 2010 9:49:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Frogboy,

the day 0 version of EWOM is great.     The stability on my computer is rock solid - no issues of any kind after quite a number of turns.   The depth of the game as well as the variety is already immense.    In its present form I would play it for a long time to come.   Add your planned work and mods from the community and we are watching a classic unfold.

Thanks for the hard work by you and your team.   Don't let the few immature gamers and poor journalists get you down.

xaltotun

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August 25, 2010 9:50:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

What a great post froggy, honesty is something you don't see very often.

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August 25, 2010 9:52:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yeah, I don't think crunchtime work is as productive as regular work.  Take a day or two to recharge, and hopefully things can change bit by bit.

 

while the AI's important, other stuff is more important right now.

 

It's gotta be a bad feeling on your part when you spend all night working on your baby, then you wake up and it's getting savaged.  While some of the criticism is legit, you were getting butchered.

 

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August 25, 2010 9:52:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I appreciate your dedication and vision for the game. It has clearly come a long way in the last few weeks, although work remains to be done. I am fully confident that Elemental will become the game you envisioned and look forward to playing it.

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August 25, 2010 9:52:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Brad, something I have on a fridge magnet from Emerson:

 

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

 

This is about all I can offer. I'm sorry things have been rough for you guys, and I sincerely hope they get better soon. Take some time off, then come back with a new (or more focused) vision. This game is pretty cool thus far, and I know you guys will make it much better...and with that, any negative publicity will likely change to praise. Most people are quick to forget the bad when companies stick by their products and fix what needs changing!

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August 25, 2010 9:54:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I am a skeptic and overtly negative, and have already stated my opinions on the topic of releasing too early - so take this all with a grain of salt.

I hope that you don't come away from this thinking, "Elemental has problems because the street date was broken".  The game simply wasn't ready.  The street date being broken may have added to the problems, but this game needs work to be up to Stardock's quality.  There's nothing else that can be said about that.  People expect a certain level of quality after something like GC2 (especially when you look at the amazing Twilight expansion), and while that bar is unfairly high, Elemental is far enough below that bar that it's absolutely fair for people to call out problems.  I hope you can walk away from this and realize that when you dive into a completely new realm like Elemental, you are ready to accept that you'll be spending a ton of time on last-minute fixes before you release the software.

Sadly, I probably will not pre-order the next awesome game you guys make, as I feel that my pre-order for Elemental wasn't money well spent.

That said, I think Elemental will rock someday.  Maybe not for another six months, but it will rock.  When that happens, the price will be well worth it.

And last, I think Stardock is a great company with amazing potential.  GC2 with all expansions is still my favorite game.  Brad, you piss me off sometimes, but I prefer a CEO like you to the faceless ones in just about every other company - your problem is that you talk too much, which is a better problem to have than never interacting with the community.  Your team is amazing, too, and I hope you are compensating them well (money as well as more intangible benefits), because whether or not I like Elemental in its current state, they've certainly proven they're dedicated as hell to it.

Anyway, just my two cents.

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August 25, 2010 9:57:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Don't forget about the missing tech tree for custom Empire factions.

 

That's kind of a big problem.

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August 25, 2010 9:59:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yes, thanks for the hard work over the last few days.  I didn't realize Elemental would cause such a reaction by certain gaming sites.  Am I even playing the same game?  I have had little to no problems with the game and eagerly await your return for AI updates!

Also, since this was my first time being a beta tester for a game, I feel to a lesser degree the way you do about the game.  The beta testers and developers have put so much time and energy into this game that it makes me angry when others claim it was rushed out unfinished and is unplayable. 

Ignore them and continue to improve this great game! 

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August 25, 2010 10:07:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Keep making the game great, its potential is off the room.

There will always be negative people, its best to ignore them and stick to constructive criticism.

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August 25, 2010 10:07:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I just want to thank you and the entire team for this game. Lots of work to do, but I look forward to fruits of the labor.

 

Go and get some much needed rest

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August 25, 2010 10:19:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Brad just wanted to say thanks to the crew and yourself!! It kinda of saddens me to hear these bad reviews of the game, but I never pay attention to reviews of the media I consume! Granted my taste are odd but they brought me to this game. I have said it before but I have been waiting on a game like this for YEARS! I really believe that the industry has lost it way chasing Dollars instead of trying to make quality games. Also I don't trust people who make a living telling others what to like or buy. If you need a critic to tell you what you like you have other issues that need to be addressed first! 

       To work as hard as you all did and hear reviews like that must be spirit crushing. No one likes to have their effort shat on but these critics seem unnecessarily hateful in there articles. Anyway I am having fun with it so far and think I will continue to do so for a long while. It also would appear I am not the only one so enjoy your time off and come back fresh and ready to prove them wrong!! 

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August 25, 2010 10:25:04 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Good work!

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August 25, 2010 10:25:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,

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.

This line really spoke to me and my shelf of 'games I own but no longer play and have only played once' and my HDD of 'games I've been playing since I was in college.' The latter form a really short list (almost all of which began with the same labour of love and bugs and leaks and crashes that Elemental has now) and after several days of going at it with Elemental, this game is definitely seated amongst them. Both for what it is now, and what it will be tomorrow. It may not be the sort of game that'll suit everyone, or even most consumers, but it's one that suits me, and that's all I care about. Thank you, Stardock. I hope you guys get some good relaxation time from all this helter-skelter soon.

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August 25, 2010 10:27:01 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Yes, this game has terrific promise.

My requests:

-Please focus on bugs first an stop with the features for a bit.

-Please then focus on balance, and my 15ish hours of play over the last few days means that this is going to become important fast. I already have a set strategy that seems pretty obviously "best" and that is a real sign that balance is far off still. The Action Point feature is great, but needs a lot of work... with a good amount of TLC, all of the tools are there to make the tactical mode excellent.

I am one of the players who wants multiplayer, but I'd prefer that to be put off until the above areas are well under control. The game has plenty of feature, just needs dubug, polish, and a lot of balance to be a classic.

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