Hi Everybody! 1.1 goodies

By on October 19, 2010 11:24:22 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Kestral2040

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Hey guys and gals, sorry its taken me so long to introduce myself here, been busy working on 1.1 content for you all.  I am the 'less-exciting-than-Derek-Paxton' new Associate Producer on Elemental, Toby Sarnelle.  

 

For a little quick background on me: I have been at Stardock for a year now, however, I was just recently moved over to the games team.  Those of you who have been around here for the last year may have seen my posts in the Elemental Army forum, I was the primary developer for that and worked a lot on rest of the Elemental website (among other things).  I'm a huge fan of all types of games from all genres and have been playing for over twenty years now.  As a sample of stuff I enjoy, some of my favorite games of all time include Final Fantasy 6, Mass Effect, Dragonforce (for Saturn), Starcraft (and 2), Diablo 2, Sins of a Solar Empire and Civ4.   Oh and I'm an enormous Penny Arcade fan.

 

Anyways, enough about me, I'm here to tell you guys about some of the cool new stuff I've been adding for version 1.1.  The primary additions for 1.1 are that we are shifting to a global mana pool for all spell casting and we are integrating your population into your production further as had been talked about long ago.  

With the global mana changes will come a re-organization of all the spells in the game (along with the creation of a bunch of new ones).  Elemental spell books will again be picked up through research, we didn't like the idea of having them as initial Sovereign editor choices as they are so tied to whatever shards you happen to find in the world.  Its never fun trying to guess what you will run into when making your character so now your starting spell book selection will be non-shard restricted utility spells and you can research the Elemental magic you need based on your surroundings.  

The way global mana will actually work is similar to any other resource; you will be able to build magical shrines in your cities that provide a steady stream of mana that will accumulate over turns until you cast spells.  Also in an attempt to simplify some of the confusion over spell damage and how it is affected by your INT we are going towards more flat damage numbers for spells which your intelligence will not be increasing.  This should make it easier to balance damage numbers across spells and the rest of combat (another thing I will be getting to for the patch).  Obviously this combined with the mana changes basically eliminates the old purpose of the intelligence and wisdom/essence stats.  Going forward they will now be used instead as requirements for a unit to cast a particular spell.  

 

Population as a resource.  We have always tried to stress that Elemental is a game of individual citizens, unlike most other 4X's.  This was initially accomplished by causing you to use a population of a city when producing a unit; the population of your faction is literally drafted into military (or other) service.  With 1.1 we will be embracing that idea and applying to the rest of your city production with our new Specialist system.  

Highlights of the Specialist system:

  • Every citizen that joins your Kingdom/Empire will be added to your specialist count on the top resource bar.
  • Buildings will now require a number of specialists to get up and running, now instead of robots you need people to operate that Blacksmith  
  • As you use specialists the count at the top of the screen will update to let you know how many specialists are currently in use compared to your total specialists available (think supply in Starcraft).
  • You will also be using specialists to make units so it will be up to you to balance when to expand and when to build up an army.
  • If you decide to change your plans you can always demolish a building or disband a unit and re-assign those specialists to something else.
  • Because of this new limiting factor on your production we have allowed a bunch of improvements that were previously one per city to instead have as many in a city as your population can support.  This should allow for much more diverse and specialized cities rather then just making one of everything, everywhere. 

As a final note, in another attempt to reinforce the importance of your population, we are changing the way gildar is produced (and consumed) in cities across the board.  In 1.1 your primary income is paid through taxes on your populace.  For every citizen in your Kingdom you will generate a small amount of gildar, however, to help keep your income in check as you get larger and larger most of your improvements now cost a small amount of gildar per turn to maintain.  Don't worry about paying twice, however, as buildings that require maintenance no longer have an up front gildar cost.

 

These are just a sampling of the changes coming up in the new patch, although they are our (well my) biggest focus at the moment.  I'm also planning on going through and trying to balance armor and weapon values among other things.

Anyways, back to work!

 

-Toby

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October 19, 2010 11:43:01 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,

 As a sample of stuff I enojy, some of my favorite games of all time include Final Fantasy 6, Mass Effect, Dragonforce (for Saturn), Starcraft (and 2), Diablo 2, Sins of a Solar Empire and Civ4.   Oh and I'm an enormous Penny Arcade fan.

Hi Toby! I think we'll get along just fine.

The specialist changes sound good. Is it going to affect the Egalitarian trait at all? (ie: more specialists because your female population can do things too aside from cook?)

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October 19, 2010 11:45:19 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Toby - sounds great.  are the specialists going to be a "global" resource ala the rest of the resources or are they city specific?

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October 19, 2010 11:49:41 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I really need to get work done faster so I can stockpile time and have the opportunity to spend a few days in Elemental after the patch. I've been enjoying it so far, but, improvements, Yay!

Also, quick question. Will there be any changes made to the dynasty system? I am currently able to marry my grandchildren between themselves, as in, brother and sister married. And it kinda bites that I have to lose my daughters if I want additional children, it would be nice to marry them to heroes. Also, if heroes weren't as fragile as a fruit fly, that would also be nice.

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October 19, 2010 12:00:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

sounds good.  looking forward to it.

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October 19, 2010 12:01:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting docbates7,
Toby - sounds great.  are the specialists going to be a "global" resource ala the rest of the resources or are they city specific?

global, people do move don't they?  

 

Quoting Tridus,
The specialist changes sound good. Is it going to affect the Egalitarian trait at all? (ie: more specialists because your female population can do things too aside from cook?)

for 1.1 we are keeping it 'simple' with outside interaction like that but I would expect there will be specialist boosting traits in the future. Good idea wrapping it into Egalitarianism.

 

Quoting unacomn,
Will there be any changes made to the dynasty system? I am currently able to marry my grandchildren between themselves, as in, brother and sister married. And it kinda bites that I have to lose my daughters if I want additional children, it would be nice to marry them to heroes. Also, if heroes weren't as fragile as a fruit fly, that would also be nice.

No changes for the dynasty system are planned for 1.1, but that doesn't mean they wont be coming in the future.

 

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October 19, 2010 12:01:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Great update, thanks!

 

1) The changes to citizens being used to run buildings sounds like a great idea. Any chance that we can have our Hero units also use one of these slots? They could then apply their skills to that building, so if you have a Hero unit with the 'Farmer' ability, they could add a bonus to the building. We could also add passive XP gain for a Hero that is assigned to work in a building so that they can develop further. If more abilities  and skill trees are added, this could be a good way to allow  for that to be developed for all of our Hero units. 

2) I think the ability to open up city design a bit sounds interesting, and will allow more gameplay choice. If a player has the needed workforce and can afford the maintenance, they can build up a city and really specialize it. Anything that makes the cities more developed and interesting is good in my book.

3) As part of #2 and #3, it sounds like we will see some UI changes so that players can easily select each building and manage them. I like the sound of that. Maybe let us also rename them, so we can personalize cities. Much more fun to have 'The Roaring Lion Pub' than 'Pub #5.' Also still hope we can tie events and quests to the buildings, especially if we can have our Hero  units working in them.

3) Very glad that taxation is going to be more effectively implemented. Hope we can get some tax sliders as well so that we can have that gameplay choice. A 'Happiness' stat would really help make city management more important, and the tax slider could obviously impact that.

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October 19, 2010 12:18:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

global, people do move don't they?

works for me.  actually i rather like the idea of having a massive capital city generating citizens, then (theoretically) shipping them off to the hinterlands so i can expand my kingdom.  bwahahaha. 

but yes, like the idea.

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October 19, 2010 12:30:04 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting docbates7,

global, people do move don't they?

works for me.  actually i rather like the idea of having a massive capital city generating citizens, then (theoretically) shipping them off to the hinterlands so i can expand my kingdom.  bwahahaha. 

but yes, like the idea.

actually I guess I kind of misspoke, its less like they are moving and more like a commute   basically I'm saying on their taxes they still live in your capital, that will be their 'home city' even if they move out to work in another city.

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October 19, 2010 12:36:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Kestral2040,
Quoting docbates7, reply 2Toby - sounds great.  are the specialists going to be a "global" resource ala the rest of the resources or are they city specific?
global, people do move don't they?  

If "people just move whereever needed", population growth of a particular city would be irrelevant because every city could be balanced on the fly to house the desired portion of your empire's specialists.

That would make city levels pretty absurd because some stinking hovel with an important resource tile could have [insert high number] specialists working there.

IMO, the number of specialists that can work in a particular city should mostly depend on that city's actual population although it sounds reasonable to allow a city to exceed this value by maybe 20%, drawing some unemployed extra specialists from unspecified "nearby cities".
With no such "local" limit, the best constellation would probably be a lot of suburb / farming communities that do nothing but grow food and breed population (for the spec limit) and one megaplex capital where all specialists work in order to stack the production bonuses sky high.

 

BTW:  Less Exciting Than Derek Paxton Associate Producer  - how big is your business card...?

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October 19, 2010 12:44:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I am the 'less-exciting-than-Derek-Paxton' new Associate Producer on Elemental, Toby Sarnelle.

 

Hi Toby .

 

I cant wait to play elemental with the upcoming changes. It sounds good, but i have to play it before i can say anything.

 

So Magic and Population are two "big points" for 1.1. Beside bugfixing and balancing, will there be another "big point" ?  

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October 19, 2010 12:49:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Gazz_,

Quoting Kestral2040, reply 5Quoting docbates7, reply 2Toby - sounds great.  are the specialists going to be a "global" resource ala the rest of the resources or are they city specific?
global, people do move don't they?  

If "people just move whereever needed", population growth of a particular city would be irrelevant because every city could be balanced on the fly to house the desired portion of your empire's specialists.

That would make city levels pretty absurd because some stinking hovel with an important resource tile could have [insert high number] specialists working there.

IMO, the number of specialists that can work in a particular city should mostly depend on that city's actual population although it sounds reasonable to allow a city to exceed this value by maybe 20%, drawing some unemployed extra specialists from unspecified "nearby cities".
With no such "local" limit, the best constellation would probably be a lot of suburb / farming communities that do nothing but grow food and breed population (for the spec limit) and one megaplex capital where all specialists work in order to stack the production bonuses sky high.

 

BTW:  Less Exciting Than Derek Paxton Associate Producer  - how big is your business card...?

its more like commuting, like I said...  the thing is that with this change it IS less about the location of your people as the sheer number of your people.  So to some extent you are correct, a good strategy will be to have specialized cities that are very good at certain things, however, you will not want to go too far with that as a lot of the best improvements now require higher level cities.  Thus you will still care about the population growth of particular cities to unlock the really good % boost improvements.  

For instance if you were making one city that was tons of housing and pop growth that city would be high level but then all your production outposts would be lower level and you would miss out on improvements that reduce your build time in that city or increase material/metal production.  Some people will think the trade off is worth it, however, others will prefer to have a large well rounded city that has all the Achievements they can get producing as much as they can.  Not every improvement can be built a million times, particularly the ones that apply % modifiers.

 

edit: oh and as for the business card, I'll let you know when I get my new ones

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October 19, 2010 12:57:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

basically I'm saying on their taxes they still live in your capital, that will be their 'home city' even if they move out to work in another city.

ahh gotcha.  not quite what i was thinking of.  Well hopefully that'll be something you and the crew can tweak on post 1.1.  I mean it makes sense to either physically move the population to the city that requires it the specialist population for the building or require the population "organically?" w/n that city.  I mean if the idea is that a blacksmith takes a specialist (presumably b/c the blacksmith will be "working" there) how can you get away with having the specialist in your capital and, say, a city on the other side of the map w/the actual blacksmith shop.  I like Gazz_'s solution of regoinality.

 

--edit. just saw your post to Gazz_. that makes a bit more sense to me (at least). thanks!

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October 19, 2010 1:01:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

If you guys want to hear his voice, he's on some of the Impulse TV episodes.

Take a look at Eschalon Book II. Cute voice, yeah? I'll take him as Associate Producer if he releases podcasts and such. 

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October 19, 2010 1:02:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

When you revamp the city's you should add sounds into them and notifications when troops or buildings are complete. Some people tend to explore and battle and not stare at there citys.

 

Just another one of my love tips.

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October 19, 2010 1:06:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Some ideas and blind feedback/suggestions I have, based on this informations.

 

Spell requirements:  Maybe do it this way


INT: this will determine the spellls that can be cast (as suggested above), and have an effect on negating resistance to spells.

WIS: Determines amount of mana that can be consumed in a turn by the unit.  Allows for higher resistance to spells.  (Wisdom is traditionally the save vs spell stat)  Spells can take 2 turns or more to cast in some cases, such as summons, teleports, etc.  (think Age of Wonders here- but on a unit level, not wizard/channeler level)  I'm unsure if the AI can handle this though. 

CHA: effects the power of summoning and mental spells, instead of INT.  Maybe also effects the maintenance cost of summons.

 

(CHA needs to be useful)

 

Specialists: I know Brad has said 10 pop= 1 specialist, but I'd like to see it more complicated then that.

 

Suggestions on this end: certain techs would decrease the specialist ratio.

 

Soldiers dying are pernament loss to specialists, as I understand it now,.  I see potential for negative feedback loop game design issue here ("slippery slope")  Maybe have the loss recover over 20 turns, you would get (.005*specialist ratio)(max specialists-free specialists-used specialists) back per turn.  Maybe adjust this as a war exhaustion stat?  (longer you are at war, the lower that first number becomes?)

 

Maybe conquered cities provide a lower specialist ratio, or none initially, and you'd have to build them up the same way you do soldiers.  This could make steamrolling a little more difficult/ early rushing a little riskier.

 

No idea if these are good suggestions or not, but some ideas that popped off the top of my head.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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October 19, 2010 1:09:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

So I guess FOOD and PRESTIGE are much more important now, as you'll want to maximize their use to gain the largest population.

A small city with only 10 inhabitants would be rather useless, compared to a larger city with 1500 inhabitants.

How does these population changes affect the city leveling system (primarily, the city leveling system seems to be in place to limit the best buildings from being made quickly, or cheaply, in small towns)?

Does the capital city start with a "larger" population to help the player get off the ground, or is that the intention of the initial farm?

Will you do a balance check of prestige and housing between empire/kingdom? Empire gains shanties (houses) much faster than Kingdom, but never really get up to speed in terms of prestige. Regarding prestige, Kingdom early on gains access to the Pub (1 prestige) and soon after the inn (2 prestige). Empire only has the Monument (1 prestige). Kingdom also have the unique Palace (7 prestige!), and the unique Great Theatre (+100% prestige). Empire only has the unique Statue of Kir'Tion (+50%).

Not to mention the dreadfully unbalanced Royalty trait, both for sovereigns and (since 1.09) for recruitable champions (*sigh*).

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October 19, 2010 1:10:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Welcome Toby!  I'm liking all those additions you've listed for v1.1.  Population as an applied resource is a big win for me!  And the citizen based tax economy is huge!!  Cities will have life to them.  And the 4x TBS balancing problem of city spam, is balanced with variable maintenance costs based on population size.  This makes perfect sense to me.  The bigger populace a market services, the larger and more costly it must be.  Assigning more populace to a market allows it to be more productive.  Make choices, manage resources, and enjoy building stuff within realistic parameters.  Very nice!  I think these additions add flavor, depth, and even a bit of realism to the game.  Evermore this game evolves into something special.  Uniquely better than the rest.

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October 19, 2010 2:09:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Looking forward to the indented changes To be honest, I think the direction is the right one. 4x games - TBS especially - should have more depth. More depth means more choices and as we have plenty of time due to the fact that there is no time limit or reaction time needed. If you additionally balance the +xx% per improvement that the scissors ends are not exploding (as currently) but more calculate-able, having meaningful balance with regards to prestige for city levels and a bit more balance the buildings per city level, I think it could be the right direction to make city building meaningful and a very big improvement to the current system  

 

Looking forward to 1.1

 

BTW: As it seems that the timeline for 1.1 has been a bit postponed (after Octoberish now), my the engine gets the ability to change treats/feats for existing units? With such a change a skill-tree for Heroes / Champs / Sov would be possible to improve that area as well

BR

Wyl

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October 19, 2010 2:12:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I suggest not calling things that produce mana as shrines unless you intend to require people to "worship" at the buildings. Or am I wrong and mana is generated by faith? From what i've experienced playing mana is generated by magic things, not religion. Shrines are generally associated with religion or places of rememberance of people lost.

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October 19, 2010 2:29:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

A shrine doesn't have to mean that.

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October 19, 2010 2:32:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Heavenfall,
So I guess FOOD and PRESTIGE are much more important now, as you'll want to maximize their use to gain the largest population.

A small city with only 10 inhabitants would be rather useless, compared to a larger city with 1500 inhabitants.

How does these population changes affect the city leveling system (primarily, the city leveling system seems to be in place to limit the best buildings from being made quickly, or cheaply, in small towns)?

Does the capital city start with a "larger" population to help the player get off the ground, or is that the intention of the initial farm?

Will you do a balance check of prestige and housing between empire/kingdom? Empire gains shanties (houses) much faster than Kingdom, but never really get up to speed in terms of prestige. Regarding prestige, Kingdom early on gains access to the Pub (1 prestige) and soon after the inn (2 prestige). Empire only has the Monument (1 prestige). Kingdom also have the unique Palace (7 prestige!), and the unique Great Theatre (+100% prestige). Empire only has the unique Statue of Kir'Tion (+50%).

Not to mention the dreadfully unbalanced Royalty trait, both for sovereigns and (since 1.09) for recruitable champions (*sigh*).

Food and prestige are definitely very important following this, they were even before this fix as they limited your expansion potential, but now will be even more crucial.  As a result we are making sure that there is a balance for Empire and Kingdom players for food options and prestige.  They will not be mirrors of one another, however, they should hopefully end up with you in the same place.

 

Capital cities do not start with a boost, but it only takes a small number of citizens to get your city up and running.  It shouldn't be much more limiting in the early game than waiting for initial materials.  The change will be that there is this eventual cap (presented by food/housing) on buildings, as opposed to materials you can accrue with no limits.

 

Royalty trait is on the board for re-tooling.  It was imba before this patch and would be absurd after, will get looked at

Quoting Alstein,

Specialists: I know Brad has said 10 pop= 1 specialist, but I'd like to see it more complicated then that.
 

Since this time we have re-evaluated and decided that for simplicities sake we will just have (for now at least) the 'specialists' really just be all your citizens.  It speeds up the game with the numbers we have in place and is less confusing then having a player seeing two different numbers representing people in his cities/Kingdom.

 

Tactical: I would love to get something in Elemental to help draw more attention to the events at the top right of the screen and will be trying to get this in at some point in the future but its out of scope for 1.1

 

Wylaryzel: skill tree is out of scope for now (but a cool idea), but for the final release we are hoping to get some reworked special abilities in.  These are the kinds of things that we are trying to get in there but if we don't have time may get pushed.

 

Melamine: that's very nice of you, I was actually one of the people in charge of ImpulseTV from a development end (if you look in that forum, I wrote all the posts about games featured on it) and I would LOVE to do a podcast some time if I have the opportunity  I like to talk.

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October 19, 2010 2:39:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Sorry for following up again, but if you have a small starting city that is like other cities, then this city still needs to produce 1 material and 1 tech at the very least.

So how exactly is the city spam issue solved? I mean I understand that there will be great benefits to building large towns, but - is there something actually promoting the player from not building large towns AND THEN a small town in every little nook and cranny? (edit: other than "it's annoying and takes time")

Just curious.

 

Edit: I guess this is how I imagine it in 1.1. The workshops, arcane labs and tech producers aren't limited to 1 per city anymore. So while you can build these in smaller cities, it's actually beneficial to build them in your large cities instead - because in the large cities, you have buildings giving +% bonuses to the entire city. In other words, the starter structures have a very low population requirement (in fact, none at all?). Am I way off?

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October 19, 2010 2:49:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Specialists= citizens is a good idea.   Prestige can be used to show a more advanced empire probably more elegantly then what I suggessted.

 

 

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October 19, 2010 2:54:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Hi Toby.

Like the global mana.

LOVE the research spell books individually (finally - choice rather than process!!!).

Not sure about pop because of city spam. Sounds OK but I hope there are worthwhile rewards for fostering a large city AND also a reason to develop other cities individually beyond just claiming ground. Can see a problem with all resources being used on the capital while you have a swag a of small cities claiming the resources. Would like to see a reward for specialist cities like some buildings give a bonus in one resource but crimp the bonuses of other buildings in the same city. Eg; Blacksmith decreases army production time but gives a city-specific penalty to mana. So your barrack cities are not your magic resource cities.

Finally, will we get racial/faction/allegiance diversity in 1.1? Talking about:

  • Unique tech trees
  • Unique spells
  • Unique units
  • Unique bonuses
  • Stronger diplomatic polarities

Thanks.

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October 19, 2010 2:54:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yeah, I can have my super study city!!! Thank you, I'm more thrilled than ever

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