The Future of the Game's Mechanics

Don't Go Overboard Please

By on September 5, 2010 8:56:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

RavenX

Join Date 10/2008
+194

I was having a talk this evening with Admiral100, one of my Dragonlance Mod team mates, and we were discussing what would become of the game's core mechanics and what little information we've been able to gleam about it on the forums. In a latest Dev Journal Frogboy mentions certain "complexities" that need to be addressed and this really makes a few of us who actually LIKE the Game-Play in the current game to worry. Here's a direct Copy/Paste of part of our conversation, I'm Seerus Storyteller:

Seerus Storyteller: with all this "reworking" they are going to do I wonder if that will mean they're going to wait longer to give us those model importers
Admiral100: Yeah, I was wondering that myself
Admiral100: That's cool though, so long as they work on the game

Seerus Storyteller: with all this stuff Frogboy is talking on the forums I really hope he doesn't take giant leaps backwards in the games designs
Seerus Storyteller: he's already thinking some things are too "complex"....
Seerus Storyteller: nothing about the game is what I'd call "complex". it needs a LOT to be even half what I'd call complex
Admiral100: Yeah, I dunno what to say about that.  I get a scary image of them taking out a lot of interesting stuff- I hope they don't go overboard on retooling what needs to be done.
Seerus Storyteller: maybe we should be a little vocal about it on the forums?
Admiral100: Well, a lot needs to be fixed, that is for certain.  Hell, I wouldn't even know where to begin.  Is he talking about the UI being confusing or the game mechanics?
Seerus Storyteller: probably both knowing him
Seerus Storyteller: it's in his post about labor day status report or whatever he called it
Admiral100: Well, the UI is confusing.  Game mechanics seem pretty straightforward to me.
Admiral100: What they need to do is put together a comprehensive list on what they think they'll change, so I know if I should be bitching
Seerus Storyteller: yeah


People are saying Brad listened to "Fanboys" when making the game design for Elemental and I'd like to say that's %100 NOT TRUE and BULLSHIT. At it's Core, Elemental is a pretty kick ass and fun game. Of course right now you have to get past the technical issues and balance issues and fact that a lot of it isn't fleshed out or balanced well and there's not a lot of help in the UI, But, once you get past that and get into the game-play there IS a Very FUN Game there even if some aspects are bland currently.

What it needs is to be Fixed, Balanced, Refined, and most Importantly ADDED TOO.

It Does NOT Need to be Subtracted from or Dumbed Down or Made Simpler, AT ALL.

I think a lot of us right now are wondering or worried that when all is said and done what makes/made Elemental what it is, a Unique and Fun strategy gaming experience, will be stripped away and what will be put in it's place will be something none of us wanted to begin with. Many, Many, of the aspects in Elemental have been done Successfully in Other titles, so there's NO Reason why they can't be pulled off here. Most of the mechanic's designs are there, they just need to be made Working and then balanced and tweaked as necessary.

To me, those people saying he listened to the fanboys when designing the mechanics Obviously Never Understood what Elemental as a Game was supposed to be about anyway. This is a Grand Fantasy Strategy Game, please don't forget that when "Re-designing" anything. Please Don't Go Overboard when evaluating the game's mechanics. There's a Really Excellent Game buried under there. Please don't screw it up and turn it into simple bullshit. Fix it. Make it work as it was intended, and then Add To It.

Frogboy and Team, Please, stay True to what Made Elemental what it is at it's core when "Fixing" it. Don't get carried away with the "re-design".

Maybe me and Admiral's opinion on the mechanics might be in the minority, and maybe I might just be a little bit of a fanboy, but I think there's some "Good Game" buried in there and we don't want to see it get wiped out in the "fixing".

Thanks, and keep up the good work.

Edit: Admiral changed his forum name to Henry_Morgan.

Locked Post 49 Replies +1
Search this post
Subscription Options


Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 5, 2010 9:03:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I have to agree here. Complexity is not a problem. In fact, in my opinions, it needs more added - not necessarily more complexity, but more flavoring. For example, more buildings. (I would like to see a building available for each resource at each level, so that a town that focuses on a resource has a reason to grow.)

What needs to be fixed is the combat system. Right now, early game combat is ok, but late game combat is hosed. Champions are useless compared to groups of soldiers, and that really needs some thought put in to it before anything drastic is done. (I'm sorry, but I gotta fuss at Stardock for this one. Technical issues are understandable. Poor game design is not.)

With that being said, I am pleased with the progress so far, and I think this is shaping up to be a great game.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 5, 2010 9:14:36 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

"This is a Grand Fantasy Strategy Game, please don't forget that when "Re-designing" anything. Please Don't Go Overboard when evaluating the game's mechanics."

 

I think the above quote sums it up for me.  Sometimes when you are fixing things you can go overboard and go the opposite direction, therefore making a bad situation worse, if you get my drift. I got this game because it has great ideas, and I honestly think with some spit and polish and some monkey loving it can still become a great game.  You don't want to overhaul the game to where it becomes an FPS on crack...

 

Well done RavenX. 

 

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 5, 2010 9:18:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This post seems a bit unnecessary, seeing as how pretty much everything everyone is asking for is more depth and complexity.  I think you are reading too much into his statement - the complexity that needs to be addressed is more related to the lack of information and cleaning up clutter, imho.

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 5, 2010 9:20:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yeah, I would prefer a more complex and interesting game.  I think the worst issue with the gaming industry is that most games are dumbed down so everyone can do well. While this does help sales I suppose, it also kills the sort of games I have always enjoyed. ;/ It seems all most companies care about now is producing a nice cinematic so that we are fooled into thinking there is some content underneath it.

I hope that elemental stays away from the standards as I think it is a reasonable fun game that could become a great game. 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 5, 2010 9:22:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting fsovercash,
I have to agree here. Complexity is not a problem. In fact, in my opinions, it needs more added - not necessarily more complexity, but more flavoring. For example, more buildings. (I would like to see a building available for each resource at each level, so that a town that focuses on a resource has a reason to grow.)

What needs to be fixed is the combat system. Right now, early game combat is ok, but late game combat is hosed. Champions are useless compared to groups of soldiers, and that really needs some thought put in to it before anything drastic is done. (I'm sorry, but I gotta fuss at Stardock for this one. Technical issues are understandable. Poor game design is not.)

With that being said, I am pleased with the progress so far, and I think this is shaping up to be a great game.

Well said.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 5, 2010 9:22:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Confusing, overly-complicated UI and gameplay are closely related - that is to say, bad UI makes the gameplay seem more confusing than it'd otherwise be. Like the combat mechanics, specifically as they apply to squads: you might call this aspect of the gameplay complicated, and maybe it is, or maybe it's simple and intuitive. The problem is, we don't know, the UI ain't telling us. The UI is not just obstructive and uninformative, it's actively misleading; it's implying squads are combining their attack into one big roll, which they shouldn't be anymore.

Or take spell damage for another example; your fireball says it does a maximum of 32 damage, and you keep "missing" that guy in plate. The informed forum-troller knows that your fireball is doing a random amount of damage anywhere from 0-32, which can be blocked by that guy's plate armor, and anything that totals up to 0 or less damage comes out as a "miss." The math may be in need of balancing, but it's not too complicated - but god help you if you don't read the forums, because none of that information is ingame. Your average player is probably thinking "What the hell, how does a fireball miss at point blank range? Why do I keep doing 5 or 10 damage when it's supposed to be 32? Does armor block the damage somehow - how much if so?" The gameplay isn't too complicated, the UI just isn't explaining it to you.

I think many other instances of supposedly complicated game mechanics are similar - they wouldn't be so hard to understand if the UI (not to mention the documentation) explained the gameplay better. Fix the UI first, get it to expose all those mysterious game mechanics that are hard to grasp - and it should become obvious that the gameplay needs more complexity, if anything.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 5, 2010 9:25:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Answulf,
This post seems a bit unnecessary, seeing as how pretty much everything everyone is asking for is more depth and complexity.  I think you are reading too much into his statement - the complexity that needs to be addressed is more related to the lack of information and cleaning up clutter, imho.

 

If that's true, I'd be very happy. Look, I've been a regular posting here for two years now, I've seen how things go. It's best to MAKE SURE they understand what the community wants and is asking for. They aren't blind, of course not, but it never hurts to double and triple check.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 5, 2010 9:25:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I am going to have to agree here as well. Complexity isnt a problem. Hell the unit designer is a blast. Nothing like making exactly the unit I need/can use at the moment when I need it. I dont really see a problem with having a mana pool either. but hey who knows, maybe I will like the new way magic is handled too.

I like many I imagine, just dont want to see the game dumbed down. It needs more stuff added to it, so the player has to make choices in how they want to develop thier kingdom/Empire. I am sure you can find lots of solutions in the Mod forums. I know I have seen many myself.

Most of all give players a choice in how they want to talior the game to play the way they enjoy it. Unit design, magic system, city building,etc. Should all be options set-up when you start the game. I like to play Elemental this way and someone else will like it another way. Multiplayer games would just have to be agreed on or set up by the host.

I think the game is fun to play as it is now, OK tactical battles could use some love, yes. Still the basis for the game is there, it needs tweeking, stuff added to it(buildings,units,specialty items,etc).

What it doesnt need to become is some simplistic game, where your play style is chosen by your faction choice. Its the thing that drove me nuts about the Total War series. "Oh your the English, you get longbows." As if any other faction couldnt figure out how to make longbows. Seriously.

Freedom of choice is wonderful in this game. Build on that.

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 5, 2010 9:27:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Austinvn,
Confusing, overly-complicated UI and gameplay are closely related - that is to say, bad UI makes the gameplay seem more confusing than it'd otherwise be. Like the combat mechanics, specifically as they apply to squads: you might call this aspect of the gameplay complicated, and maybe it is, or maybe it's simple and intuitive. The problem is, we don't know, the UI ain't telling us. The UI is not just obstructive and uninformative, it's actively misleading; it's implying squads are combining their attack into one big roll, which they shouldn't be anymore.

Or take spell damage for another example; your fireball says it does a maximum of 32 damage, and you keep "missing" that guy in plate. The informed forum-troller knows that your fireball is doing a random amount of damage anywhere from 0-32, which can be blocked by that guy's plate armor, and anything that totals up to 0 or less damage comes out as a "miss." The math may be in need of balancing, but it's not too complicated - but god help you if you don't read the forums, because none of that information is ingame. Your average player is probably thinking "What the hell, how does a fireball miss at point blank range? Why do I keep doing 5 or 10 damage when it's supposed to be 32? Does armor block the damage somehow - how much if so?" The gameplay isn't too complicated, the UI just isn't explaining it to you.

I think many other instances of supposedly complicated game mechanics are similar - they wouldn't be so hard to understand if the UI (not to mention the documentation) explained the gameplay better. Fix the UI first, get it to expose all those mysterious game mechanics that are hard to grasp - and it should become obvious that the gameplay needs more complexity, if anything.

Exactly. I agree there is a huge lack of information that needs to be presented to the player. That is a UI issue, or lack there of, and Not a game-play issue based on poor mechanics, though there are a few of those too.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 5, 2010 9:45:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Agreed completely, Raven. The core mechanics of Elemental are good, they might need some explaining and retooling but certainly NOT a re-design of any sorts. I'd even go so far as to say that they need to be a little more complex.

Honestly, this game isn't too complex to begin with. You need food to grow, money and materials to build, iron for troops, crystal for magic, shards for magical power, research for research and development, and elementaium for BA equipment. Buildings usually do what they're supposed to but nothing is too complex or overly complicated. That why this game SHOULD BE easy to get into. Maybe we're suffering from a lack of gamer intelligence or something because I don't know what the problem is and many of the questions I am seeing reek of a lack of understanding or attempting to seek an answer to them. Too many people seem to be expecting free hand outs.

The combat system probably does need to be fixed, especially heroes. Totally agreeing with fsovercash on this one. Magic also needs a little re-working to be made more understandable.

Regarding the UI, it isn't too horrible. Look at Civ V's city screen and tell me that Elemental is REALLY that bad. I honestly think Elemental is a little better in some ways. Regardless, what Elemental needs is an "organization overhaul" for the UI and all the information presented. I want the ability to see a list of my settlements, a page with my heroes all listed with their stats, a better quest booklet, improved magic spellbook (many good design suggestions on the forums), an improved empire management screen, and an overall better layout for things. I want to click things and zoom to where they are, and to see summaries, see where data, income, and information are coming from. It wouldn't take too much work but Stardock can get it done.

But seriously, don't ruin this game for those of us who like it for what it is just to satisfy a few loud people who didn't know what it was to begin with. Elemental can work.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 5, 2010 9:52:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

All I want to see is:

 

 

1) Tactical skills/abilities:  these need to be beefed up.

2) Spells:  More options, beef them up a bit.

3) Quests: A better ability to randomly add quests.

4) RESISTANCES:  This is huge, there has to be elemental, magic, normal weapons...etc resistances.

 

Thats 4 top things to me.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 5, 2010 10:02:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would like to think we all agree that the heart of Elemental is solid, No one seems to disagree that it is not polished. I have enjoyed some of it, but there are areas where it seems it wasn't finished. Now, if "fanboys" like us beta testers are raising questions, what is the casual gamer, who doesn't come here to look at the journals, supposed to think?

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 5, 2010 10:08:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Agreed. All in all, the game in general needs to be polished up, including the UI to be more informative, and some of the other mechanics like economy, combat and quests. But by no means the game needs to be simplified more... I mean, taking the economy in this game for example: It's already simple enough. The population barely has a role in the production of resources, so it's all about "build everything = profit", you don't even have to think, you just build mindlessly.

I also wish they would improve the whole troop stack (party, squads) system as well. Like, give significant pros and cons to both having all troops joined up together or split (I'd kill to see more than 1 guy from a squad attacking at the same time). I haven't played this game that much, but I keep seeing the AI just keeps spamming individual units and not even parties. Also, being able to join or split units of the same class to form bigger or smaller squads would be great.

I want some huge battles, damnit!

 

Oh, and some mroe city management options would be awesome. Like, being able to tax cities differently, having cultural differences influence the cities (like, if you are human and you capture a fallen settlement with fallen population, you'd get a short period of resistance until things settle down and your people come to live in the city), being able to manage the population so they focus on a particular resource, etc.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 5, 2010 10:08:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Blaze of Glory,
I would like to think we all agree that the heart of Elemental is solid, No one seems to disagree that it is not polished. I have enjoyed some of it, but there are areas where it seems it wasn't finished. Now, if "fanboys" like us beta testers are raising questions, what is the casual gamer, who doesn't come here to look at the journals, supposed to think?

 

Um...what does this even offer?  Get over the release lets look forward please.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 5, 2010 10:18:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well I'm going to state a slightly different opinion. There isn't anything I would point to say "this needs to be removed". But if the designers decide that in order to make the game really good they have to cut out a certain feature, then I'm inclined to say more power to them. I'd rather have a few features which are really cool, which work together really well and which the AI can understand and use effectively then lots of features that don't work together well and which the AI can't handle. A mark of a good designer is knowing when to cut a feature that's not working. Normally this is something that should occur while beta testing the playable version, but unfortunately elemental never did that, so they may be forced to do it after release.

 So I do hope the the developers will be brave enough to make an executive decision to say that something needs to go if they feel it is neccesary, even knowing that there's nothing they can remove that won't make at least a few people call for their blood on the forums.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 5, 2010 10:19:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Best regards,
Steven. 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 5, 2010 10:19:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I believe he was referring to AI decision complexity, and that the AI currently is looking at problems in a more complex way than is necessary (n^2).

 

Refer to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_O_notation for more information on the specific type of 'complexity' that Brad is referring to.  It's a technical term used differently in a mathematical / comp. sci. setting.  He's not talking about the complexity of the gaming systems; he's talking about the math that he AI uses to navigate those system.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 5, 2010 10:48:33 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Rune_74,



Quoting Blaze of Glory,
reply 12
I would like to think we all agree that the heart of Elemental is solid, No one seems to disagree that it is not polished. I have enjoyed some of it, but there are areas where it seems it wasn't finished. Now, if "fanboys" like us beta testers are raising questions, what is the casual gamer, who doesn't come here to look at the journals, supposed to think?



 

Um...what does this even offer?  Get over the release lets look forward please.

um, stating the obvious at least. What do you have to offer?

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 5, 2010 10:50:46 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting StevenAus,
Best regards,
Steven. 

Hey Steven, um...where's the rest of your post man? lol I think the forums ate it. Hope you didn't lose a long post there as you tend to have good things to say.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 5, 2010 10:54:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Blaze of Glory,



Quoting Rune_74,
reply 14



Quoting Blaze of Glory,
reply 12
I would like to think we all agree that the heart of Elemental is solid, No one seems to disagree that it is not polished. I have enjoyed some of it, but there are areas where it seems it wasn't finished. Now, if "fanboys" like us beta testers are raising questions, what is the casual gamer, who doesn't come here to look at the journals, supposed to think?



 

Um...what does this even offer?  Get over the release lets look forward please.



um, stating the obvious at least. What do you have to offer?

 

Um read the thread and find out?

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 5, 2010 11:02:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting hairrorist,
I believe he was referring to AI decision complexity, and that the AI currently is looking at problems in a more complex way than is necessary (n^2).

 

Refer to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_O_notation for more information on the specific type of 'complexity' that Brad is referring to.  It's a technical term used differently in a mathematical / comp. sci. setting.  He's not talking about the complexity of the gaming systems; he's talking about the math that he AI uses to navigate those system.

I hope that's it then, I really do. If you're %100 right on that Ill be very happy and have nothing to worry about. I've seen a lot of companies over-react on stuff though and in a rush to make things better things actually get made a lot worse. I really don't think that would happen here with all of us around, but then again I've also seen them go against more or less what Everyone on the forums was saying. I don't like to point out bad things as I respect Frogboy and the Team greatly, but, in some respects if things people were saying here would have had more attention paid to them, things might not have been "as bad" at launch. I'm talking about mechanic decisions here, not the time-frame on when the game was launched, which I never had an issue with. I'm very glad to have Elemental Now and not of had to wait another 6 months. Also we have to understand time was a Huge factor on what things made it into release and what didn't. They didn't have all the time they needed to add everything they wanted to add to the game.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 5, 2010 11:06:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Rune_74,

Quoting Blaze of Glory,
reply 18

Quoting Rune_74,
reply 14

Quoting Blaze of Glory,
reply 12
I would like to think we all agree that the heart of Elemental is solid, No one seems to disagree that it is not polished. I have enjoyed some of it, but there are areas where it seems it wasn't finished. Now, if "fanboys" like us beta testers are raising questions, what is the casual gamer, who doesn't come here to look at the journals, supposed to think?

Um...what does this even offer?  Get over the release lets look forward please.

um, stating the obvious at least. What do you have to offer?
 
Um read the thread and find out?

I think what Blaze was offering was that he thinks we all agree the core of Elemental has solid concepts behind it. Tempers are heated right now and things are still going to be dying down for a while. Lets all help keep things chill so cooler heads prevail and Elemental turns out being the game it deserves to be. It's a work of passion and love and still has a long way to go to get to where it needs to be and I think All of us want to see that happen more than anything else .

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 5, 2010 11:07:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Raven, I was just saying that it would be good to send a PM to Frogboy if you want to make absolutely sure you have transmitted your message.   I don't mind particularly what changes are made as long as they are considered, but if you want to quadruple check (after the triple check ) your message has got through, go for it!

Best regards,
Steven.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 5, 2010 11:18:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Raven X,



Quoting Rune_74,
reply 20

Quoting Blaze of Glory,
reply 18

Quoting Rune_74,
reply 14

Quoting Blaze of Glory,
reply 12
I would like to think we all agree that the heart of Elemental is solid, No one seems to disagree that it is not polished. I have enjoyed some of it, but there are areas where it seems it wasn't finished. Now, if "fanboys" like us beta testers are raising questions, what is the casual gamer, who doesn't come here to look at the journals, supposed to think?

Um...what does this even offer?  Get over the release lets look forward please.

um, stating the obvious at least. What do you have to offer?
 
Um read the thread and find out?



I think what Blaze was offering was that he thinks we all agree the core of Elemental has solid concepts behind it. Tempers are heated right now and things are still going to be dying down for a while. Lets all help keep things chill so cooler heads prevail and Elemental turns out being the game it deserves to be. It's a work of passion and love and still has a long way to go to get to where it needs to be and I think All of us want to see that happen more than anything else .

You know, when you are not offering the benefits of women in chainmail bikinis, you are very insightful

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 5, 2010 11:25:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The main thing I'm worried about is dumbing down the magic system. I'd rather see a more complex system, if anything.

Another thing I wanted to bring up is people talking about the magic system being "weak." I think that has to do with most people using tactical battles, and the fact that shards currently aren't working correctly for spells in them. If the shard issue was fixed, and the damage calculation was changed so it wasn't 0-x, then magic wouldn't be weak. For example, assume a 20 INT (which is easy to get) and three shards. If damage calculations for Direct Damage spells were changed to something like INT x (random -50% to +50%) x (# of shards), then you would average 60 points of damage with three shards of the appropriate type. And from what I've seen, 60 points of damage will take out almost any monster.

The point is that the magic system doesn't need to be totally reworked. It just needs a fix for shards working in tactical battles, and a different damage calculation.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
Stardock Forums v1.0.0.0    #108433  walnut3   Server Load Time: 00:00:00.0000859   Page Render Time: