On the plane

By on December 6, 2010 2:39:03 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
+1484

Hi guys,  I’m on the plane heading to San Fran for various meetings on various things.  Anyway, we’re pretty happy with how the latest beta of 1.1 is working out. From here on out, we’re focusing on stability. More new features will come in for 1.2.

Sales of Elemental have been..unusual.  For the first day, Elemental was our top launch in company history. Then the infamous PC Gamer UK article came out and sales went to nearly zilch.  Since then, it’s picked up. Dramatically.  It has resulted in us not being able to project its future revenue because traditionally sales maximize in the first 30 days and then go down.  In Elemental’s case, sales (at retail especially) increased in October and further in November.  Word of mouth matters. 

The good is is that means Elemental has been able to stay at retail at full price.  Now, anyone who buys Elemental before the end of this year can still get the first expansion pack for free which is a pretty good deal.

The AI in v1.1 is much better than in v1.0 largely due to the threading of it which has enabled us to put in a lot of new algorithms that we couldn’t have realistically put into 1.0 otherwise you’d be waiting several seconds between turns which isn’t acceptable.

This week, Kael and the team are trying to get the game ready for v1.1.  The demo version probably won’t make it out until January due to marketing considerations (late December is a very bad time to put out a demo because coverage would be sparce).  But we’ll be putting up videos and such so people can see how much has changed.

Last night, the AI beat me for the first time on Normal. Now, if I was really focusing on it I could have totally won. But it’s a good sign that the AI has gotten a lot better and the strategic part of the game.  That said, I’d still rate the AI at being around a 4/10 (GalCiv II’s AI being a 7/10).  I am hoping to really get going on the diplomatic AI over the Christmas “break”.  If there are any diplomatic features you guys would like, feel free to chime in.

When Stardock shuts down for Christmas, I’ll be available quite a bit on irc.stardock.com #elemental to hang out, chat, and hear your ideas.  This is your game.

Next year, we’ll be bringing in an expert to help us begin the transition of our general engine to being a true modding engine.  We’ll be talking about that more in the future.

I also want to emphasize how much we enjoy hanging out with you guys on the forums.  Truth be told, the community of Elemental is really amazing.  Seriously, check out our forums and look at how people are.  It’s a great experience for all involved and we thank you for that. Your continued support and ideas fuel our motivation to keep making the game better and better.

P.S. I love free airplane WiFi.

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December 6, 2010 2:53:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,


Last night, the AI beat me for the first time on Normal.  

This is SO GREAT Frogboy! On Normal! Awesome!

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December 6, 2010 3:04:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Diplomatic option idea I saw from someone else:

 

Spend diplomatic capital/gold to bribe monsters to attack other factions.  Unsure if AI can handle this though.

 

 

 

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December 6, 2010 3:05:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

So do we get update before Christmas?

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December 6, 2010 3:07:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

No 1.1 update before Christmas?  I was going to spend tons of hours on my break playing around with it!  Great support and I will keep telling my friends about elemental but that did make me a little sad.

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December 6, 2010 3:10:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

He didn't say no 1.1 for Christmas, he said the demo wouldn't be out until January. But, if it takes until then to get it stable, then by all means.

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December 6, 2010 3:11:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would like to see factions band together to stop expansion of another faction that is getting too big/powerful. (band together for defense)

I also would like to see factions switch allegiance (fallen to kingdom or vice-versa) if a similar/ally faction is getting too big. (treachery)

Finally, I would like to see factions band together to demolish a faction between them. (dog pile)

This should result in massive wars, shifting alliances and interesting gaming.

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December 6, 2010 3:12:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Good news indeed, try to stay warm in San Fran. and keep grinding away on the stability. The AI handled me yesterday also, got surrounded and out resourced!

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December 6, 2010 3:18:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,

I am hoping to really get going on the diplomatic AI over the Christmas “break”.  If there are any diplomatic features you guys would like, feel free to chime in.


One word: personality.

Now that the AI can hold its own, I'd like to see the different leaders tending to act in different ways. I thought that this was implemented very well in GC2:ToA. I don't think the amount of character that this adds to the game can be overstated. Having said that, I understand that this is probably out of scope until one of the expansion packs.

As for a few (possibly!) more manageable additions I'd like to see...

1. Variable length treaties

2. Ongoing trade treaties (e.g., trade 4 metal for 1 horse per turn for 30 turns)

3. I don't think military strength should be the primary determinant of when a faction goes to war. I understand why this mechanic is in, but it really does make for a repetitive game experience. Now that the AI is respectable, maybe it won't have to rely on this mechanic as a crutch quite so heavily.

Thanks for all your hard work, I'm happy to hear that sales have picked up.

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December 6, 2010 3:22:33 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

A diplomatic feature that could be neat (especially in MP) would be to have a treaty (why not an additionnal option of the trade treaty) to buy stuff from the foreign shop while on it's territory. 

Let's imagine you have longbows while noone else does. Yo could sell the right to buy stuff in your land and hence sell bows to your allied (you wouldn't sell it to just anyone ) champions. How about a tax on every transaction ?

--------

Another thing that could be really neat would be to work on dynasties a bit more ... could be fun if the sovereign could die and have his heir get the throne. Because maybe you don't like the current ennemy sovereign, but his heir is a nephew of yours who likes you, and you could murder the father to make an allie out of an ennemy well this ain't really just diplomacy ... ^^"

 

Hope elementals sales will be good for christmas .

 

 

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December 6, 2010 3:22:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Quacko,
No 1.1 update before Christmas?  I was going to spend tons of hours on my break playing around with it!  Great support and I will keep telling my friends about elemental but that did make me a little sad.
I don't see where he says v1.1 won't make it before Christmas.  I just see that the demo is being held back.  I think there is motivation to release v1.1 in time for Christmas.  That's what I'm telling myself anyway lol.

 

More great news SD!  And bringing on someone to focus on modding is outta sight!  I didn't expect this and am Very happy to learn of it!  It is really something that SD has increased it's staffing with high profile professionals post-release.  Your making a statement here at an important juncture in PC gaming.  Long live the King! 

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December 6, 2010 3:24:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'll be honest and say that i really haven't fully explored the diplomatic branch, since it is wasn't ever really needed to win the game, so if these actually are in the game forgive me. However I'll take the risk of looking stupid and mention these anyway.

Trade Embargoes:- Agree with another faction to not trade or deal positively with another faction, i.e no caravans, no trade agreements and no marriage agreements.

Trade Resources:- I'm sure this is probably in there already, but i have never seen it. Could it be a good idea to actually trade resources with other factions for other resources rather than just gold? i.e 5 materials for 1 metal etc. This probably could be exploited though.

Open borders:- Sometimes you want entry through another factions borders, but you don't want a 99 turn peace treaty. Could it be possible for a shorter term open border treaty?

Lastly and a bit tied into my previous point. Can we make treaties variable in duration?

 

 

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December 6, 2010 3:29:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Blaze of Glory,

I would like to see factions band together to stop expansion of another faction that is getting too big/powerful. (band together for defense)

<snip>

Finally, I would like to see factions band together to demolish a faction between them. (dog pile)

This should result in massive wars, shifting alliances and interesting gaming.

I like these two ideas, as well.

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December 6, 2010 3:34:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Alstein,
Diplomatic option idea I saw from someone else:

Spend diplomatic capital/gold to bribe monsters to attack other factions.  Unsure if AI can handle this though.

yes, this got a lot of support when it was mentioned and i'd like to add my voice to that choir.

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December 6, 2010 3:49:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

"Diplomatic AI", lol.

Ok, can someone make video with "AI that can hold its own" (I know about recent Frogboy videos, but its fake you know.)? Because i see only dumb bastard that cant even build a city, and cant 'beat on Normal' 3 years old child. Maby something wrong with my computer? 

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December 6, 2010 3:51:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I hate to tell you this Frogboy, but you kind of suck at this game.

As a developer you are just wonderful and I am sure you are a very good person, but I would wipe the floor with you any day of the week in multiplay.

That needed to be said based on what I saw of your recent test games you posted. Now I could take you on as an aprentice, but I fear you don't have the months or bravado to take me up on this offer. Also, I would require you to listen to too many of my game ideas and the game would start to suck, because I am a terrible developer. Ah well: those who can, develope, those who can't, play.

Keep up the great work and think about taking some of the traits and stats that make heroes very cheap. I save so much on heroes that I can afford some very good equipment.

Why is everyone treating this post like the ideas section of the forum? This is merely a sit rep and invitation to irc.

Merry anti-christmas,

Seanw3

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December 6, 2010 3:58:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Awesome! Thanks again for an awesome game Brad!
Love how its been improving over time to!

Keep up the fantastic work! I will definatly be buying anything Elemental related in the future, having  a blast so far

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December 6, 2010 4:05:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Lonemessiah,
I'll be honest and say that i really haven't fully explored the diplomatic branch, since it is wasn't ever really needed to win the game, so if these actually are in the game forgive me. However I'll take the risk of looking stupid and mention these anyway.

Trade Embargoes:- Agree with another faction to not trade or deal positively with another faction, i.e no caravans, no trade agreements and no marriage agreements.

Trade Resources:- I'm sure this is probably in there already, but i have never seen it. Could it be a good idea to actually trade resources with other factions for other resources rather than just gold? i.e 5 materials for 1 metal etc. This probably could be exploited though.

Open borders:- Sometimes you want entry through another factions borders, but you don't want a 99 turn peace treaty. Could it be possible for a shorter term open border treaty?

Lastly and a bit tied into my previous point. Can we make treaties variable in duration?

I love your ideas, and I'll throw in my own which is a shard sharing treaty.

However you are very wrong about the diplo not allowing you to win. If you abuse it it's actually the easiest win. AIs in this patch aren't aggressive at all. They won't attack you unless you are really weak. Even when fighting each other they rarely make much headway. Just bribe and dynasty your way to an easy win. You win if you ally with everyone. Much easier then actually attacking someone.

But ya lots of cool ideas in this thread.

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December 6, 2010 4:06:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums



Why is everyone treating this post like the ideas section of the forum? This is merely a sit rep and invitation to irc.



[/quote]

 

Quoting seanw3,
[quote quoting="post"]
  If there are any diplomatic features you guys would like, feel free to chime in.

 

That is said, what I would like to see in the diplomatic treaties his some "specialist" treaties. Why dont we "exchange" some specialist (like blacksmith or channeler) and increase our metal/crystal/material/gold/mana output? It could be fun. Also, I totally agree on the "my army is bigger than yours so I will attack you" only mentality for declaring war. It should be more diverse, more personnalise.

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December 6, 2010 4:22:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Goldmos,


Why is everyone treating this post like the ideas section of the forum? This is merely a sit rep and invitation to irc.





 

Quoting seanw3,

quoting post
  If there are any diplomatic features you guys would like, feel free to chime in.


 

That is said, what I would like to see in the diplomatic treaties his some "specialist" treaties. Why dont we "exchange" some specialist (like blacksmith or channeler) and increase our metal/crystal/material/gold/mana output? It could be fun. Also, I totally agree on the "my army is bigger than yours so I will attack you" only mentality for declaring war. It should be more diverse, more personnalise.

 

You just gave me a terrific idea. We currently have been calling our population specialists. Maybe we could have guilds which allow the settlement to train a specialist of a certain type (blacksmith, merchant etc). Only 1 specialist could occur per 100 normal citizens to prevent spamming (maybe 250 citizens).

 

We could lend out the specialists to other factions like you mentioned.

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December 6, 2010 4:23:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Diplomatic features... That doesn't include an improved dynasty system, right? :/ Hmmm...

I would like to have the AI to try to trade with me, telling me what they want and what they offer. But that would suppose that the AI needs something and it's actually capable of noticing that I can help it.

More of UI thing than diplomacy feature, I suppose, but this is something I have forgotten to mention for MONTHS*: add a button like in Gal Civ II that automatically adds the money needed to make the trade/treaty to be accepted by the AI. We always end offering only the minimum needed to make it accepted so save us some clicks.

 

 

* what can I say? ¬.¬U

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December 6, 2010 4:26:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,
I also want to emphasize how much we enjoy hanging out with you guys on the forums.  Truth be told, the community of Elemental is really amazing.  Seriously, check out our forums and look at how people are, Lord Xia is my favorite poster and I would let him make babies in me if I had a womb.  It’s a great experience for all involved and we thank you for that. Your continued support and ideas fuel our motivation to keep making the game better and better.

 

I'm Brad's favorite.

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December 6, 2010 4:38:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Sales of Elemental have been..unusual. For the first day, Elemental was our top launch in company history. Then the infamous PC Gamer UK article came out and sales went to nearly zilch. Since then, it’s picked up. Dramatically. It has resulted in us not being able to project its future revenue because traditionally sales maximize in the first 30 days and then go down. In Elemental’s case, sales (at retail especially) increased in October and further in November. Word of mouth matters.

Buying my wife a new computer at Best Buy, I stopped to look at their games.  Spotted 1 copy of Elemental in the whole aisle.  I thought that was a good sign.   

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December 6, 2010 4:45:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Sethai,

Quoting Alstein, reply 2Diplomatic option idea I saw from someone else:

Spend diplomatic capital/gold to bribe monsters to attack other factions.  Unsure if AI can handle this though.



yes, this got a lot of support when it was mentioned and i'd like to add my voice to that choir.

+1 I have been a vocal supporter of this too. Mercenaries. Maybe even a building required to do so?

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December 6, 2010 4:47:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Great stuff Frogboy, I can't wait for 1.1 stable.

For diplomacy, I'd like to see something that resembles how it was presented in the Song of Fire & Ice, that is, that diplomacy is very much tied to one's progeny in some way which would provide some quite interesting diplomatic and tactics decisions.

I would like to see that alliances are tied to marriages of some sort. In order to secure an alliance with another kingdom, one must provide one of their progeny, while the other must pay for the dowry (the sex should be irrelevant though, just the mechanic should be like this). The dowry could be large, or even none, depending on the state of the other kingdom. For example, if a kingdom you are at war with and winning, wants to strike an alliance to stop their extermination, they might offer one of their children for marriage without any "dowry". You would gain control of it and they would enter an alliance with you, ensuring their continued existence and a support.

In a similar vein, non-aggression treaties could be estabilished by a mutual exchange of children, which will be assumed to be doing a training/apprenticeship on each other's kingdom. In realistic terms, such children would be serving as a hostage, in case your opponent broke the non-aggression treaty, allowing you to instantly kill them if they're within your territory or among your soldiers. Such a treaty could also be estabilished with children that are not yet adults.

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December 6, 2010 4:51:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Somebody remind me... what comes first?  1.2?  or the Expansion?

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