Elemental: Back in the Thick of It

A Small Update as I Regain my Bearings

By on September 21, 2010 5:31:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

ScottTykoski

Join Date 03/2001
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Greetings!

For those who didn’t know (and I don’t know if anyone cares) I’ve actually been out for the last two weeks, ‘expanding my dynasty’, so to speak (baby #2). It was a nice dose of reality coming off a pretty rough month - but you guys have been around the forums, so I wont churn that bucket of woes.

Instead, I’d like to take a fresh look at where we stand right now. While my time away didn’t provide the rest I would have liked, it did get me out into a state of mind where I could reflect on Elemental with a slightly clearer head...plus I played some ‘Legend of Zelda’ to get back to my roots


1. Tutorial
Elemental is a big game. I feel bad that we shrugged off a tutorial, but that’s what happens when you’re so close to a project. “How could someone NOT know what what 16x16 button does...” What can I say...we’re dumb. There are A LOT of ideas being tossed around about how to improve gameplay, AI, and performance, but no matter what we change, it’s obvious that a tutorial made now has a 100% chance of being obsolete once the major patches roll out. So opposed to putting in yet another feature that will need reworked, we’re putting that effort into feature implementation and bug fixes...so no tutorial yet. But it’s coming.

Zelda Sidenote: Speaking of games that need better hand-holding, why would the ‘Meat’, necessary to traverse the 7th dungeon, be sold in a store hidden in a tree that you have to burn down half way across the world?!  WHY?!?!?! At least now I have the internet, instead of bribing the kid at school who had ‘Nintendo Power’

2. Better-er Graphics
By giving the player full camera control, we’ve sacrificed the ability to ensure the game looks good at all times. In marketing terms, it’s WAY too easy to make a crappy looking screenshot in Elemental...but you get the right angle, the proper objects and a nice zoom and it looks pretty slick (IMHO). We have some ideas for v1.1 that will keep the full camera control that we love, but also ensure the game makes for an interesting composition a higher percentage of the time.

Zelda Sidenote: I really love the retro-graphics movement going on right now in the indie/casual gaming scene. Obviously we have our work cut out on getting Elemental up to speed, but I would love to do a simple, retro-themed Elemental game done in the style of those old Beta intros. Perhaps in a year I can revisit that idea

3. Multiplayer
We’ve seen a few folks jump into the internal-tests we’ve been running....we’re normally playing in the afternoon, so feel free to search us out. It tends to be the art team, and they tend to be a bit ‘smack-talk’ happy, but a good time to be had none-the-less.

Zelda Sidenote: Anyone play Secret of Mana for the SNES? A Zelda style dungeon crawler that allowed up to 3 friends to play co-op? Old-school multiplayer at it’s best.

4. Updates, Updates, and More Updates!
We’ve been served a healthy slice of humble pie with Elemental’s release, but now we’re lucky enough to have a chance to redeem our ‘baby’ (I’m glad actually babies don’t get a metacritic score). If you’re reading this, then you’re keeping tabs on Elemental as we continue to improve it post-release, and for your support and continued feedback we’re immensely grateful. Hopefully all the great ideas we’ve received will be digested, organized, implemented, and accumulate into several groundbreaking updates that reach the potential mentioned throughout the reviews.


Anyways, I just saw the newest poll, and couldn't agree more on how the numbers are falling. Magic and combat are high on our priority lists, so I’ll be excited as these get hammered out.

Time to head home and help out with baby...then it’s back to Hyrule for further ‘inspiration’

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September 21, 2010 5:38:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Welcome Back, understood about the tutorial however possibly some good heavy duty Tool Tip Pop-Ups may help and may also be easier to update with new features.

 

Cheers; Snarl

 

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September 21, 2010 5:39:36 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Always glad to see updates from the team, looking very forward to the next batch of updates, and congrats on the new baby

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September 21, 2010 5:40:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Congrats on the baby, Boogie! Hope everything went well for you and mum and child no. 1.

 

 

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September 21, 2010 5:41:36 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Congratulations Boogie.

Hope the family are doing well.

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September 21, 2010 5:41:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

some good heavy duty Tool Tip Pop-Ups may help
For sure...was watching some Civ5 gameplay and was in awe of their slick tooltips.  Definatly something worth steal...er....borrowing

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September 21, 2010 5:43:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Glad to have you back.  Congrats on the new little one.   

 

I'm anxious to see how things continue to grow and develop.   Thanks for the update.   

 

Absolutely agree on the tooltips.   That would do a world of good.  Better than a tutorial if you ask me.

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September 21, 2010 5:44:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Always glad to see updates from the team,
Yeah, wish I had more juicy bits to talk about. It's still taking me a bit to get oriented...so many things that we CAN be working on. Just need to focus and make sure what we do is....

1. The proper solution to the problem,
2. Polished
3. Stable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I dont think I could put enough exclamation points on that last one

Good to be back though! Thanks guys!

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September 21, 2010 5:48:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Secret of Mana was utter win.

And snarl has the right of it, you can NEVER have too many tooltips. Simply because you can just throw in a checkbox to turn them off for the ppl that don't like them.

 

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September 21, 2010 5:52:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Congratulations on becoming a father BoogieBac.

As this article states, you guys do have a good record of fixing your mistakes, so i'll have a little faith and wait to see what happens (while playing civ5). At least i can continue to enjoy watching the game being developed.

 

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September 21, 2010 6:03:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Congrats on on the arrival of your new baby BoogieBac and thank you for the article on Elemental.  Whilst I don't post much on the forums, I do read them, and I've been a Stardock fan since the Gal Civ 1 days, so I have every faith that Stardock will continue to improve Elemental as time goes by.

 

Hope your reorientation goes smoothly.

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September 21, 2010 6:22:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Congratulations!!

How much food did it cost to build the crib?

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September 21, 2010 6:39:01 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Welcome back:) Interested to hear whats coming in the next couple weeks.

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September 21, 2010 6:57:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting BoogieBac,
For sure...was watching some Civ5 gameplay and was in awe of their slick tooltips.  Definatly something worth steal...er....borrowing

 

Really? Because I remember campaigning strongly for big sexy tooltips during the beta only to be shut down by Brad when he said (paraphrasing) "I don't want to have to move my mouse around to get information."

 

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September 21, 2010 7:04:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting TheProgress,



Quoting BoogieBac,
reply 5
For sure...was watching some Civ5 gameplay and was in awe of their slick tooltips.  Definatly something worth steal...er....borrowing


 

Really? Because I remember campaigning strongly for big sexy tooltips during the beta only to be shut down by Brad when he said (paraphrasing) "I don't want to have to move my mouse around to get information."

 

So?  Maybe they changed their mind...do you want credit for it?  Maybe if you ask nice.

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September 21, 2010 7:12:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Wieke,

Congratulations on becoming a father BoogieBac.

As this article states, you guys do have a good record of fixing your mistakes, so i'll have a little faith and wait to see what happens (while playing civ5). At least i can continue to enjoy watching the game being developed.


 

 

Don't have a little faith. Do or do not but try not . By the way, I'm buying this game my next pay check but if I could, I would have bough this at day 1. Continu your work, we love you . By the way, do you have any female on the dev team?

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September 21, 2010 7:26:04 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Congrats on the babby

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September 21, 2010 7:29:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting BoogieBac,

some good heavy duty Tool Tip Pop-Ups may help For sure...was watching some Civ5 gameplay and was in awe of their slick tooltips.  Definatly something worth steal...er....borrowing

There's no shame in borrowing, thats how innovation happens

If it's one thing Civ 5 does properly is giving the player information. It's so unobtrusive.

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September 21, 2010 7:31:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Snarl,
Welcome Back, understood about the tutorial however possibly some good heavy duty Tool Tip Pop-Ups may help and may also be easier to update with new features.

 

Cheers; Snarl

 

 

I thought that free hero guy you get in the beginning gives some nice tips. That's sort of like the pop up tips your talking about. Not as robust as your suggesting though, I'm sure...but it's not like their isn't "some" help anyway.

Scratch that. I'm getting too close to being argumentative...tool tips would be further help. I do agree, for sure.

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September 21, 2010 8:08:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Rune_74,

So?  Maybe they changed their mind...do you want credit for it?  Maybe if you ask nice.

Where the !$#@ did I ask for credit? I was pointing it out because I was surprised since Brad seemed so against it originally.

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September 21, 2010 8:21:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Stop at 2 kids!!!!

Having 2 kids leaves you and your wife in a man-on-man defense,  3 kids is a zone defense.

This means that the "best" behaved kid gets to do what they want.  "Best" is relative. If two of your kids are trying to set the house on fire and one is throwing cat poop on the walls, you have to live with cat poop on the walls.

(In all seriousness STOP AT TWO KIDS!!!!)

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September 21, 2010 9:21:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Congrats with Product #2. One child is great, two children is super. Not sure about three haven't got there yet. BTW Don't expect #2 to be anything like #1. Which makes the sequel (baby 2) even more fun.

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September 21, 2010 9:59:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Congrats on the new addition. I/we know you will redeem yourselves, so I plan to stick around and see where this takes us.  Welcome back.

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September 21, 2010 10:16:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Scott, congrats on the new kido.  Kids are a blessing, but those new ones can sure suck out your energy!  Hopefully you can do some work from home so getting out of the home isn't such a big deal and you can be around to help with diapers, bath time, etc.

On the update front, I have every confidence you guys will make some great strides to improve on the good foundation already laid.  One thought- if you have some ideas you're tossing around, throw them out to the community.  You'll get the feedback and it may help you avoid some of the pitfalls from before.

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September 21, 2010 11:12:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

congratulations on your baby - I know it can't have been easy for you or your family especially, so close to the release of a major title (and given what followed).

 

And yeah... a metacritic score (or even a brady games guide!) would be based off the... pre-release version, no?  the 'internal beta' so to speak?  and yeah, anything based on that ultra sound is just not going to help (except the gender)

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September 21, 2010 11:13:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Welcome back Scott!

You should get all the development team to play a game of Master of Magic and then rate Elemental as its "Spiritual successor" with it fresh in their mind.

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