A quick note from Brad on Elemental

Edge...network...painful..

By on August 29, 2010 4:45:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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Greetings!

I'm pretty far from a good net connection so I'll keep this brief  

Let me say that I'm glad that most people seem to like the game.  This message, however, is for those who are disappointed with Elemental so far.

Stardock is not just a game studio but it is also a publisher.  What does this mean?  Well, historically, the way it works is a game is released and if people don't like it, they're supposed to buy some expansion pack for it that "fixes" things that people thought should be in the original version. 

We don't have to do that because we're both the studio and the publisher.

That means we can release free "expansion packs" for Elemental until such a high percentage of players love the game that only then can we discuss sequels or paid expansions.

Having had the opportunity to finally get out of the office for the first time in months has let me look at the game (and ahem, play the game for crazy amounts) of time from a new perspective.

I should also say that regardless of sales or reviews, our commitment to Elemental will not be affected. As some of you know, most of our company's revenue doesn't come from developing games. Even if the game didn't sell another copy, we would still continue our update schedule. 

So what will be the concrete results of this?

1. In September we will release v1.1 which will be the first major revision to the game that takes into account the feedback we're getting from players. This will be a  pretty substantial change. In particular, character creation, magic (think, shared mana pools), 

2. We are going to go ahead and make a more traditional tutorial. I'm not a fan of tutorials but some of my grognard friends have had trouble figuring out the mechanics which means to me that we have to do something about that.

3. We are going to move Book 2: Magesa out of a future expansion pack and into the base game in a future "mega" update, likely late Fall.

4. As mentioned on the forums back in July-ish, we plan to make a new DVD gold master available to those with limited Internet connections later this Fall.

5. As discussed (I think) last Winter, I will be taking a sabbatical this Fall specifically so I can dedicate time to AI and modding so that others, long after me, can use the Elemental engine to create other things (you will need to know Python to really go crazy with it).

6. I will NOT be ceasing my postings on other forums.  The guys on Qt3 and Octopus Overlords and elsewhere are my friends. I'm no more going to stop posting there then I would stop going out with my friends to movies and other "public places" where, heaven forbid, someone datamining my comments might find a "gotcha moment". Those people are my friends both on the forums and outside the forums. Interacting with you guys is a major reason I like making games in the first place.

7. To those reviewing the game: I would urge you to review the game prior to v1.1. I say this because v1.05 (the release day version) is the version of the game that was originally released and if that version of the game is considered flawed then my view is that Stardock should suffer the consequences for that. We appreciate the kindness and patience many people have shown.  I just think game studios, including Stardock, need to be conscious of what they release and not expect to "patch themselves out of trouble". I do believe Elemental is, by far, the best game we've ever made but I also agree with most of the criticisms I've read too. The state of PC entertainment has changed since 2006 (when we released GalCiv II) and it is our responsibility to stay with the times. 

In short, we love this game. And we love this community.  We're not going to be leaving this game to work on some other game.  We're with it and you guys for the long haul. 

I won't be around to answer questions until next week so I hope this answers some questions.

 

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August 30, 2010 4:18:24 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting cfehunter,


Oh noes, the horror. The thing is at some point the game company has to offer a service that's better then what you get when you pirate, otherwise you have very little intensive to pay up other then pure charity


That's not the point, they set their own standards and they should abide by them

Exactly. At no point did anyone tell them to advertise or claim this game was DRM free. They did that themselve, in the mainstream media even and then ran out and told the reviewers to review the "other" version. I do take issue with that, and am not going to be apologetic about it no matter what the fanbois say.

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August 30, 2010 5:22:11 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,


That means we can release free "expansion packs" for Elemental until such a high percentage of players love the game that only then can we discuss sequels or paid expansions.


 

You guys know what that means??......it means all and I mean ALL who love the game start bitching from now on until the end of days....so we NEVER have to pay for expansions.......hahahah

 

 

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August 30, 2010 5:43:39 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,
Let me say that I'm glad that most people seem to like the game.  
 

While I am glad to hear you stating now that your dedication to this game and to ALL members of this community appears to be high no matter what anybody says about it, I hope that you will not confuse "most people" with "many fans on this website".

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August 30, 2010 6:05:13 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,
Greetings!
In short, we love this game. And we love this community.  We're not going to be leaving this game to work on some other game.  We're with it and you guys for the long haul. 

Oh yeah! Froggie & Stardock

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August 30, 2010 6:20:48 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Das123,
Thanks for the update Brad, but with all respect no-one from Stardock has ever commented or addressed what many have been saying since the beta versions that the races are boring and one-dimensional. You have listed the easier XML fixes (magic and research etc) but the whole concept of essentially just having a single model with coloured skin that players can dress up with items just doesn't cut it, sorry.

In fantasy games I think players are not looking for traditional real-life races, rather they expect the fantasy races to be distinct species. And some of the races comprising more than just a single species.

It would be preferable to simply have lots of different race-specific buildings to create the armies where you select skeleton archers, bone wizards, vampires etc than the paper-doll approach we have now - which is terribly limiting. It seems like the design objective to allow people to build their own soldiers through paper-doll is a limit on the possibilities rather than a benefit.

And having all of one 'faction' sharing the ability to build on the special sites like Darklings, or spiders, isn't enough of a differentiation. Each race should have its own unique units.

Another thing, the whole taxonomy is very limiting. Instead of:

Faction --> Race
(where the unique buildings are tied to factions.)

it should be:

Alignment --> Race (Species) --> Faction
(where there are unique buildings in all three levels.)

There is so much to like about the direction this game is heading but if the races aren't addressed it is ultimately just going to be the "same-ol' same-ol'" time after time.





The other major issue is the way tactical battles are fought. If sharp vs blunt weaponry don't actually mean diddly-squat in terms of choosing armour and fighting battles then why have them in the research tree?

Ideally the choices made with weaponry etc should have a 'paper - rock- scissors' effect in battles.

And as others have mentioned, there should be many different defensive factors. Defence vs magic should not just be based on your dexterity and armour, as an example.




Finally, I really believe in you guys and if it was any-one else I would have put the game away and gone on to something else. I know it will take time to really get this game humming but if making the races different is too hard to address properly I'd like to know so I don't raise my expectations of what the game could be.

 

 

Totally agree. The game is boring. Army and cities are almost the same and units lack special abilities. I didn't know it was part of the original game design and i am really disappointed. In the end this is a fantasy game.

However i clearly remember  Brad saying that cause this is a pc only game they could have a lot of different creatures and object with respect to extended pc memory.

Really console dumbed down games have bigger variety.

 

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August 30, 2010 6:36:23 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

After reading this thread I feel like throwing up.  To many sickening sycophants patting Brad on the back for a disaster.  His post shows nothing but severe damage control, and point #7 is just disgusting (reviewers should review what's pressed on the disk since that's when the developer says "it's ready", not the game after 5 patches).

Quoting ,

Let me say that I'm glad that most people seem to like the game.

I think you are mistaken.  Even reviewers hate the game.  I think the 1UP reviewer sums it up:

 this game just isn't fun.

http://www.1up.com/do/reviewPage?cId=3181116&p=1

Call me a "steam fanboi" and call me a "troll" Brad, but you gotta admit, I was right.  

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August 30, 2010 6:47:11 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

September for a patch is vast,i hope first big advancements will be in early september,that's all i hope...

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August 30, 2010 6:48:01 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

That 1UP review talks about the robust multiplayer in the game.   It's laughably obvious the reviewer hardly played the game.


The way I look at it- if you delayed 6 months, the game in Feburary would not be as good, as the game will be since it was rushed out.  Look how many things were fixed the week around launch.  If the game was still in beta, it would have been slower going.

 

Since I pre-ordered, it doesn't hurt me any.   My concern is solely what this does to future Stardock games, especially as pre-orders won't be as high, and that's what determines the budget. 

 

There's no real point in going over the past repeatedly, to me at least , what needs to be done is what Stardock is going to do, improve the game and try to set things up for the future.   This is why I think EWOM when the "free" XP comes out, deserves a re-release- to see if the public is willing to give Stardock a 2nd chance.

 

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August 30, 2010 6:57:32 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting arstal,
That 1UP review talks about the robust multiplayer in the game.   It's laughably obvious the reviewer hardly  played the game.

 

Wow, just WOW....2 quotes from the 1UP review:

"A huge contributing factor to both the ease-of-use (or lack thereof) problem and the A.I. idiocy is the total failure of Elemental."

"So, is it all a disaster? Well, the A.I. problems are fixed to some degree by the robust multiplayer (if you can find friends willing to slog through the ugliest visuals since finger-painting class)

I am speechless...talk about haters..

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August 30, 2010 7:08:44 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting arstal,
That 1UP review talks about the robust multiplayer in the game.   It's laughably obvious the reviewer hardly played the game. 

If you noted the "editor's note", they pointed out MP was not available at the time of review, and that he was quoting the Elemental website's feature: Robust multiplayer.  The reviewer was saying that a shit AI CAN be redeemed in a "robust multiplayer".

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August 30, 2010 7:14:40 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting jshores,
The comment in the original context conveys they did a good job, but the times (gamers / industry) have changed, becoming more demanding. In reality, the state the game was released in would not have been acceptable in 2006, or even 1996. The Hubris refers to writing an apology and punctuating it with a sentence that suggests they didn't do anything wrong, it's really the fault of the industry, gamers, whoever. They need to let go of that pride and fix the product! 

You'd have a point if the release version of GalCiv 2 wasn't well received at the time of release, and it was arguably in worse shape than Elemental.

----------

Quoting Vallu751,
For those who say that "Stardock always comes through", have you played Twilight of the Arnor? Are you aware of the problems that still exist and aren't being worked on? The non-expanding AI races? Planetary building for AIs, example here: http://forums.galciv2.com/339593. And then there's the thread "So Twilight is broken... and there seems no real interest in fixing it" here: http://forums.galciv2.com/363497.

You should visit one of the Civilization IV fan forums some time.  You might be surprised how many quirks still exist in that game that will never be fixed, yet that series is considered the gold standard of turn-based strategy games.

----------

Quoting cfehunter,
And if you are going to claim the game is DRM free, the reviewed version of the game should actually be the DRM free version of the game.  The game isn't DRM free it just employs DRM in a more subtle way.

Making you register your game to impulse in order to patch it rather than releasing patches as executables freely available to download is STILL being treated as potential criminal as far as i'm concerned.

That's not DRM.  DRM stands for "digital rights management" and refers to a very specific form of copy protection.  What you're describing is really no different than the registration process you need to go through before you can post on most internet forums, so by your logic, a large portion of the internet employs "DRM" making the term pretty much meaningless.

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August 30, 2010 7:29:51 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Mtn_Man,
That's not DRM.  DRM stands for "digital rights management" and refers to a very specific form of copy protection.  What you're describing is really no different than the registration process you need to go through before you can post on most internet forums, so by your logic, a large portion of the internet employs "DRM" making the term pretty much meaningless.

Actually, DRM is NOT a specific form of copy protection, it is ANY protection method.  Forcing customers to register to receive patches IS DRM.

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August 30, 2010 8:28:10 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Oh, I was just thinking, there really should be Cities on the tactical map when you're fighting in a siege. There should be City Walls that the player can put units on like in Age of Wonders. Just a thought. It would do a lot for tactical combat I think. Also it seems that units can walk through a lot of things on the tactical map. Like rocks and trees and cactus's. Units should have to go around these things and not be able to walk through them.

 

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August 30, 2010 8:43:36 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting szeratuls,


 

Totally agree. The game is boring. Army and cities are almost the same and units lack special abilities. I didn't know it was part of the original game design and i am really disappointed. In the end this is a fantasy game.

However i clearly remember  Brad saying that cause this is a pc only game they could have a lot of different creatures and object with respect to extended pc memory.

Really console dumbed down games have bigger variety.

 

 

This is not the reality and the variety of the asssets and potential of the engine is more than other game.

they could take the same engine of galactic civilization(like blizzard do)and add more variety,i thin this one is better choice,sure the start point is more basic.

For console beh,take an example,let me think,dragon age,not much variety due to the limit of the consoles.And is more simple in elemental add content,structure you can make with editor in game and other things.

you italian like me,what city from?

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August 30, 2010 8:47:06 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

All you can do now is move forward. I was shocked by the 'shared mana pools' idea, but then I thought about it, and I realized this might make me level up a stat other than essence for once on my channeling heroes.

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August 30, 2010 8:49:53 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,

Let me say that I'm glad that most people seem to like the game.  

[...]

Well, historically, the way it works is a game is released and if people don't like it, they're supposed to buy some expansion pack for it that "fixes" things that people thought should be in the original version. 

[...]

That means we can release free "expansion packs" for Elemental until such a high percentage of players love the game

[...]
 

Thank you!

I'm not sure that's the way it works, though. Normally, people buy a game and if they don't like it, they NEVER buy the expansion pack. The expansion pack is for the people who LIKED the game.

So I think you are on the right track in getting people to like the game. Those free "expansion packs" (fixes?) will surely help. Then, they can buy the expansion pack.

Until then, are you sure that you have your target group in focus? When you write that "most people" seem to like the game, that confuses me a bit. Which people are those? The most loyal fans? The people on these boards? Reviewers? Gamers in general?

 

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August 30, 2010 8:50:26 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting caeldrin,

Quoting szeratuls, reply 130

 

Totally agree. The game is boring. Army and cities are almost the same and units lack special abilities. I didn't know it was part of the original game design and i am really disappointed. In the end this is a fantasy game.

However i clearly remember  Brad saying that cause this is a pc only game they could have a lot of different creatures and object with respect to extended pc memory.

Really console dumbed down games have bigger variety.

 
 

This is not the reality and the variety of the asssets and potential of the engine is more than other game.

they could take the same engine of galactic civilization(like blizzard do)and add more variety,i thin this one is better choice,sure the start point is more basic.

For console beh,take an example,let me think,dragon age,not much variety due to the limit of the consoles.And is more simple in elemental add content,structure you can make with editor in game and other things.

you italian like me?what city from?

 

Well as many others said before me elemental is not a map editor but a game. So they are not supposed to sella a "potential" game but a complete one.

Second blizzard sell only complete games and this is the reason why they are so famous for their delays. And however this is not a sequel of galciv so you are pointless.

Dragon age as you mentioned it has few monsters and creatures cause it is multiplatform. However there are a lot more creatures in that multiplatform game than in elemental. (spiders are nearly 60% of nasty creatures in elemental)

In the end the greatest mod that a common gamer can create with elemental editor is a repaint of an existing model so stop talking about modding as the holy graal.

 

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August 30, 2010 9:02:03 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

More easy to make a complete game with an engine tested from warcraft 3 and the gameplay not changed from 1998(and more money for sure)

the delay for sc2 is beacuse they had to work at wow for one year also.

Elemental is incomplete and basic im with you in this,but the example with blizzard dosent make sense.Blizzard make a sequel with the same gameplay of the predecessor,and same engine of warcraft3,more simple,less risk.

dragon age different genre but for an rpg is important the single player campaign,it is all the game there.eelemental,like other 4x game,are sandbox games.

You dont use the same model but assets,i hope and i think they'll add more.

I thik is more than a map editor,moddability is not just map editor,and the same we can say for the tools.

 

 

you make confusion with mod and with create sovereign maybe in game.Mod is one thing,custom sovereign or race another.

said that i hope that became better and they'll add varierty to the game without mod.

Mod was holy graal for civilization series and other games also.

 

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August 30, 2010 9:04:42 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Actions speak louder than words, but its good to hear nonetheless.

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August 30, 2010 9:04:46 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Rune_74,
Quick can you name 2 gamers that don't have internet access?

I didn't for 11 years and neither did all my friends in my old neighborhood who played PC games. We all lived in a very rural area where the cable company said it wasn't "cost effective" to run cable internet lines. Counting the number of people without internet isn't easy either, because without internet, they can't get on the internet to complain about not having internet. It's a catch 22.

 

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August 30, 2010 9:07:02 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I do believe Brad and the rest of the team will work on this until it becomes a much more polished game. I just question how long that may take.

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August 30, 2010 9:08:03 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting caeldrin,
More easy to make a complete game with an engine tested from warcraft 3 and the gameplay not changed from 1998(and more money for sure)

the delay for sc2 is beacuse they had to work at wow for one year also.

Elemental is incomplete and basic im with you in this,but the example with blizzard dosent make sense.Blizzard make a sequel with the same gameplay of the predecessor,and same engine of warcraft3,more simple,less risk.

dragon age different genre but for an rpg is important the single player campaign,it is all the game there.eelemental,like other 4x game,are sandbox games.

You dont use the same model but assets,i hope and i think they'll add more.

I thik is more than a map editor,moddability is not just map editor,and the same we can say for the tools.

 

 

you make confusion with mod and with create sovereign maybe in game.Mod is one thing,custom sovereign or race another.

said that i hope that became better and they'll add varierty to the game without mod.

Mod was holy graal for civilization series and other games.

 

 

Your attacks to blizzard are simply off topic. Even bred said he loves sc2 and is in the platinum league. So as we are talking about elemental stop to come here just to show you are a blizzard hateboy.

The same about dragon age, and, again you are pointless, where is the link between the single playe campaign of dragon age and the variety thing we were discussing? i can hear the noise of your nails on the mirror.

In the end mods may be additive to a game but you can't delegate to them the developer work and for sure not everyone is able to create a mod.

 

 

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August 30, 2010 9:09:36 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

spiders are nearly 60% of nasty creatures in elemental

 

perfect

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August 30, 2010 9:13:53 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

i didnt say that sc2 is a bad game,i have bought it.I have said that is more simple and less risk to make a game with and engine already in use,and a gameplay already tested.just it.i like sc2.But blizzard choise an easy way,i dont hate sc2 as a game

Singleplayer campaign in DA is that and that will remain.A story,and that is.You can create other campaign but the game is the story and the campaign and is the centre of the game.

in game like elemental or other 4x,you add unit or variety and you make them playable many many time in sandbox mode,i see this difference.

I see the civ4 mod,and than dragon age mod,and i see that modding is importan for this type of game.if it was'nt blance mod for space empire 5 I'wouldnt play it.

but i repate elemental need some work for me and im happy brad says that will evolve also in the next months

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August 30, 2010 9:14:27 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Dale_,
Actually, DRM is NOT a specific form of copy protection, it is ANY protection method.  Forcing customers to register to receive patches IS DRM.

According to the almighty Wikipedia, the term digital rights management "is used to describe any technology that inhibits uses of digital content not desired or intended by the content provider. The term does not generally refer to other forms of copy protection which can be circumvented without modifying the file or device, such as serial numbers or keyfiles." Emphasis mine.

Sure, you need to register to get the patches, just like you need to register in order to post on these forums, but once you've downloaded a patch, there is no mechanism in place to prevent you from copying the install directory and transferring it to another computer.  For that matter, you can go to anywhere.impulsedriven.com and download an up-to-date standalone version of the game that can be installed without restriction on any computer you want.

In short, Elemental is not protected by DRM.

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