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
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
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’