Baking a cake

By on January 20, 2011 10:07:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Derek Paxton

Join Date 03/2003
+173

How do you make a great game?  Take everyone's great ideas, put them together and it will be great!

Wouldn't it be wonderful if it worked like that.  But it doesn't, it's not even close.  I like to think of it like cooking.  You can't cook by putting all the things together that you like.  Putting all the things everyone likes together would be even worse.  One guy wants cake, another wants pizza, another wants a steak.  Throw them in a blender and....

Even for standard cake there are a lot of variations and preferences.  What might be the perfect cake for me might not be enjoyed by someone else.  Games are no different.

At the end of the day Fallen Enchantress cannot be the exact game everyone imagines.  There are too many different things that are hoped for.  And it's not to say that all the things hoped for are bad.

Explorable dungeons are a good example.  They would be cool to have, but they don't belong in Fallen Enchantress.  It's not just a resource issue (though that's part of it, the more we do the less we do well), it's about where do we want the player spending his time.  What is the actual game?  Done well explorable dungeons would break from the main game and have the player play a "minigame" for 10/20/30 minutes after which he would be returned to the main game (assuming he remembered what he was doing there).

There are some players that would enjoy that.  But the break would be a hurdle for most players.  We would lose players who didn't enjoy the 4x game and players that didn't enjoy the dungeons game (unless we made the explorable dungeons optional, in which case the time spent developing them becomes even more questionable).

So we have to decide exactly what Fallen Enchantress will be, and make the best version of that game that we can.  If you have read the press release you already know some information about Fallen Enchantress's direction.  It's about bringing the world alive.  Not green and fertile and happy, but alive as in there is always something new on the other side of that mountain.  Something unknown, wonderful or terrible out in the darkness.

It will be a lot of work.  We could have focused on other things.  But the cake we are making, the game that we want Fallen Enchantress to be, requires an interesting, dangerous world.  The ingredients have been ordered, the chefs are working, artists are preparing the frosting.  It's going to be fun.

ps. For those interested in explorable dungeons, I would argue that the wild lands in Fallen Enchantress deliver on that goal in way that's less jarring, more ingrained with the rest of the gameplay and doesn't use a separate map.

 

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January 21, 2011 7:07:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I understand the association that some people think that must be between the title and the content. Yet I find it unnecesarily forced. If Stardock wants to (sur)name Elemental based on its Books, more power to them. But yeah, some people would prefer it be named "Elemental: Wild Wild Wildlands" or "Elemental: Brave New World". To each his own.

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January 21, 2011 7:12:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

@Wintersong, is that one of the main characters from Suikoden III? If not it looks a lot like her.

Back on topic, I'm really looking forward to Fallen Enchantress! I keep reading exciting things about it.

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January 21, 2011 7:13:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Wintersong,
I understand the association that some people think that must be between the title and the content. Yet I find it unnecesarily forced.
A direct association is not necessary. But something indicating it's about the world could be better than something indicating it's about a single entity.
"Elemental: Wild Wild Wildlands"
The levity in this title is probably excessive for this particular product.
"Elemental: Brave New World".
This would be a poor choice, as the game bears little or no resemblance to the book of that name.

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January 21, 2011 7:24:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Oh, I wasn't really commenting on where the title should come from. If they want to link it to the books, that's fine with me. I just think they should have come up with a better name for the book.

 

(Note- this and the previous post were mostly in jest. Mostly.)

 

Edit: it would be like naming Moby Dick "Caucasian Whaler" or... naming The Odyssey "Greek Sailor."

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January 21, 2011 7:31:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Caucasian Whaler was my nick name in college, I really liked the fat bitches.

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January 21, 2011 7:53:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting StormbringerGT,
@Wintersong, is that one of the main characters from Suikoden III? If not it looks a lot like her.
Chris Lightfellow.

Quoting Cruxador,
"Elemental: Wild Wild Wildlands"The levity in this title is probably excessive for this particular product. "Elemental: Brave New World". This would be a poor choice, as the game bears little or no resemblance to the book of that name.
They were random examples as I'm not really interested in creating alternate names for the Expansion pack (not my job supposing that Stardock were to consider renaming it). So no problem with them being... unfit.

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January 21, 2011 8:02:14 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Derek ,

 

Please do not discount what was done in MOM or Age of Wonders with alternate maps unless this game engine is just completely incapable of being modified in that way....

 

It was always kind of creepy seeing that hole in the ground early in a game wonder what was there but knowing if I went too soon I'd get my butt handed to me... 

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January 21, 2011 9:40:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

CAKE!

 

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January 21, 2011 11:22:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Derek, it sounds like you worked in a kitchen at some point in your life, nice analogy!!  Do you know the most important part of a stew?  Here is a hint, it is not the meat!!

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January 22, 2011 12:31:12 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I have really mixed feelings about this expansion pack. It sounds like it will have lots of great stuff, and I really appreciate the thoughtful realism in Derek's post above. However, I'm a little confused and disappointed by the fact that this will be a separate product.

I feel that the stuff which is planned for the expansion is all stuff which ought to have been in the original game. A living world? Heck yeah! But why is it coming in an expansion, instead of a patch/fix to the original game? Elemental ought to be a living world. We shouldn't have to exit Elemental and emigrate to FE in order to find a living world.

Just to beat this into the ground, I want to recall Frogboy's words on these fora (Sep 2, 2010). He pledged that there would be no new game next year (meaning 2011), and that he would make things right. Even though FE is a branch of Elemental, it is not Elemental, and FE sounds dangerously close to a new game.

Frogboy and folks, please be careful. If you want to branch off ... well ... that's your choice. But please don't forget your commitment to Elemental. Don't rush off too fast. Don't let your visions of the future get in the way of what Elemental could be.

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January 22, 2011 12:32:04 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I have really mixed feelings about this expansion pack. It sounds like it will have lots of great stuff, and I really appreciate the thoughtful realism in Derek's post above. However, I'm a little confused and disappointed by the fact that this will be a separate product.

I feel that the stuff which is planned for the expansion is all stuff which ought to have been in the original game. A living world? Heck yeah! But why is it coming in an expansion, instead of a patch/fix to the original game? Elemental ought to be a living world. We shouldn't have to exit Elemental and emigrate to FE in order to find a living world.

Just to beat this into the ground, I want to recall Frogboy's words on these fora (Sep 2, 2010). He pledged that there would be no new game next year (meaning 2011), and that he would make things right. Even though FE is a branch of Elemental, it is not Elemental, and FE sounds dangerously close to a new game.

Frogboy and folks, please be careful. If you want to branch off ... well ... that's your choice. But please don't forget your commitment to Elemental. Don't rush off too fast. Don't let your visions of the future get in the way of what Elemental could be.

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January 22, 2011 2:19:55 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I have really mixed feelings about this expansion pack. It sounds like it will have lots of great stuff, and I really appreciate the thoughtful realism in Derek's post above. However, I'm a little confused and disappointed by the fact that this will be a separate product.

I feel that the stuff which is planned for the expansion is all stuff which ought to have been in the original game. A living world? Heck yeah! But why is it coming in an expansion, instead of a patch/fix to the original game? Elemental ought to be a living world. We shouldn't have to exit Elemental and emigrate to FE in order to find a living world.

Just to beat this into the ground, I want to recall Frogboy's words on these fora (Sep 2, 2010). He pledged that there would be no new game next year (meaning 2011), and that he would make things right. Even though FE is a branch of Elemental, it is not Elemental, and FE sounds dangerously close to a new game.

Frogboy and folks, please be careful. If you want to branch off ... well ... that's your choice. But please don't forget your commitment to Elemental. Don't rush off too fast. Don't let your visions of the future get in the way of what Elemental could be.

I think most everyone can agree that there are some deep rooted flaws with E:WoM. This has been readily state by frogboy on numerous occasions, and the good people at SD have done an amazing job in their attempts to address the technical shortcomings that many members of the community have run into. They have put out numerous patch designed to address these flaws and make Elemental a lot more fun to play. Yet, the point of a patch is not really to implement design changes or major changes to the core of a game. This is most definitely the realm of a good expansion, which the SD team is working to provide in the form of FE.

While FE is a stand-alone expansion, and in the most broad terms, comes "dangerously close" to a new game, it is the proper forum for the type of significant design changes that the community has hoped for. In fact, since a good portion of players will get the expansion for free and the rest should get a price reduction for owning E:WoM, I can easily say that any arguments, insinuating that frogboy might break his world, feel hollow. Honestly, FE not only sounds like a step in the right direction for a game with massive potential, but also is backed by team who have taken the time and effort to listen to and keep open lines of communication with the community.

As it stands now, Elemental does not appear to be abandoned, nor have the developers stopped producing meaningful patches to address community concerns. I, for one, can easily attest to the hard work of the mod community in continuing to produce meaningful additions to the game. In fact, no one is saying to simply migrate from E:WoM to FE, and no one has even begun to show any attitude with that directly in mind. Yet, it seems odd for one to claim that a game is lacking in one area or another and then moderately protest the creation of an expansion for attempting to address those concerns beyond the scope of the original game. It would appear that these protestations are not because FE is an expansion, but are due to the fact that it will be a separate entity altogether, which one believes will result in the original product stagnating and dying off. Since we as members of the community can only speculate as to the future of a given product, let us do so based on the information which has been readily given by the developers and not based on our worst fears. E:WoM is still getting patched and they have stated that FE will not be the end of E:WoM. Therefore, it is beyond reason to expose wild fears concerning the future of E:WoM several months in advance. This type of fear mongering only hurts that unique connection that our community has with SD.

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January 22, 2011 3:01:19 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

What about this for a future Elemental cake?

Best regards,
Steven.

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January 22, 2011 9:54:01 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting kenata,

I have really mixed feelings about this expansion pack. It sounds like it will have lots of great stuff, and I really appreciate the thoughtful realism in Derek's post above. However, I'm a little confused and disappointed by the fact that this will be a separate product.

I feel that the stuff which is planned for the expansion is all stuff which ought to have been in the original game. A living world? Heck yeah! But why is it coming in an expansion, instead of a patch/fix to the original game? Elemental ought to be a living world. We shouldn't have to exit Elemental and emigrate to FE in order to find a living world.

Just to beat this into the ground, I want to recall Frogboy's words on these fora (Sep 2, 2010). He pledged that there would be no new game next year (meaning 2011), and that he would make things right. Even though FE is a branch of Elemental, it is not Elemental, and FE sounds dangerously close to a new game.

Frogboy and folks, please be careful. If you want to branch off ... well ... that's your choice. But please don't forget your commitment to Elemental. Don't rush off too fast. Don't let your visions of the future get in the way of what Elemental could be.

I think most everyone can agree that there are some deep rooted flaws with E:WoM. This has been readily state by frogboy on numerous occasions, and the good people at SD have done an amazing job in their attempts to address the technical shortcomings that many members of the community have run into. They have put out numerous patch designed to address these flaws and make Elemental a lot more fun to play. Yet, the point of a patch is not really to implement design changes or major changes to the core of a game. This is most definitely the realm of a good expansion, which the SD team is working to provide in the form of FE.

While FE is a stand-alone expansion, and in the most broad terms, comes "dangerously close" to a new game, it is the proper forum for the type of significant design changes that the community has hoped for. In fact, since a good portion of players will get the expansion for free and the rest should get a price reduction for owning E:WoM, I can easily say that any arguments, insinuating that frogboy might break his world, feel hollow. Honestly, FE not only sounds like a step in the right direction for a game with massive potential, but also is backed by team who have taken the time and effort to listen to and keep open lines of communication with the community.

As it stands now, Elemental does not appear to be abandoned, nor have the developers stopped producing meaningful patches to address community concerns. I, for one, can easily attest to the hard work of the mod community in continuing to produce meaningful additions to the game. In fact, no one is saying to simply migrate from E:WoM to FE, and no one has even begun to show any attitude with that directly in mind. Yet, it seems odd for one to claim that a game is lacking in one area or another and then moderately protest the creation of an expansion for attempting to address those concerns beyond the scope of the original game. It would appear that these protestations are not because FE is an expansion, but are due to the fact that it will be a separate entity altogether, which one believes will result in the original product stagnating and dying off. Since we as members of the community can only speculate as to the future of a given product, let us do so based on the information which has been readily given by the developers and not based on our worst fears. E:WoM is still getting patched and they have stated that FE will not be the end of E:WoM. Therefore, it is beyond reason to expose wild fears concerning the future of E:WoM several months in advance. This type of fear mongering only hurts that unique connection that our community has with SD.

 

Wow, I'm glad you replied to this Kenata. I'm grumpy this morning, and am getting very tired of posts like the one you replied to. I wouldn't have been nearly as diplomatic.  

 

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January 22, 2011 11:50:04 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Tim-Bur,
Just to beat this into the ground, I want to recall Frogboy's words on these fora (Sep 2, 2010). He pledged that there would be no new game next year (meaning 2011), and that he would make things right. Even though FE is a branch of Elemental, it is not Elemental, and FE sounds dangerously close to a new game.

 

So??? Does this affect you on a moral level? Have you been robbed of your innocence? I don't care if they build an entirely new game in the Elemental universe, they are going to fix it. If they made the radical changes necessary to the original game, people like (some of the complainers) would do nothing but complain how they destroyed the original game, and they wanted that game fixed, not a new one built on top of it. Well guess what, now you can have the old game, and the new version! And you're getting it for free! Honestly there is nothing to complain about here. I'm sure there are other technical reasons for making a stand alone expansion that are completely valid. There are already some complainers who think the 1.1 patch changed the game too much from the 1.0 version. There's just no pleasing some people.

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January 22, 2011 12:31:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting troglyte,
 If they made the radical changes necessary to the original game, people like (some of the complainers) would do nothing but complain how they destroyed the original game, and they wanted that game fixed, not a new one built on top of it. Well guess what, now you can have the old game, and the new version! And you're getting it for free!
So simple and yet some people prefer to ignore it. As you say, there's just no pleasing some people.

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January 22, 2011 12:42:04 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tim-Bur,
I have really mixed feelings about this expansion pack. It sounds like it will have lots of great stuff, and I really appreciate the thoughtful realism in Derek's post above. However, I'm a little confused and disappointed by the fact that this will be a separate product.

I feel that the stuff which is planned for the expansion is all stuff which ought to have been in the original game. A living world? Heck yeah! But why is it coming in an expansion, instead of a patch/fix to the original game? Elemental ought to be a living world. We shouldn't have to exit Elemental and emigrate to FE in order to find a living world.

Just to beat this into the ground, I want to recall Frogboy's words on these fora (Sep 2, 2010). He pledged that there would be no new game next year (meaning 2011), and that he would make things right. Even though FE is a branch of Elemental, it is not Elemental, and FE sounds dangerously close to a new game.

Frogboy and folks, please be careful. If you want to branch off ... well ... that's your choice. But please don't forget your commitment to Elemental. Don't rush off too fast. Don't let your visions of the future get in the way of what Elemental could be.

 

Does it really matter if you get a good game as a standalone or a good game as an expansion?  How does it hurt you if it's a game others can buy as a standalone?

 

It's pretty much will be a patch for you anyways, as you're getting it free.

 

To me it's like

EWOM= Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns (as of 1.19 patch, which looks really good right now)

FE= hopefully Kohan: Ahriman's Gift.

 

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January 24, 2011 9:11:17 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Wintersong,

Quoting StormbringerGT, reply 52@Wintersong, is that one of the main characters from Suikoden III? If not it looks a lot like her.Chris Lightfellow.

Yay! Wish they did more on that particular series.

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January 25, 2011 9:45:43 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Kenata - Thanks for the thoughts. Please know that I wrote the above post because I was (and still am) really excited about Elemental. If I didn't care, I wouldn't have said anything. But I'll lighten up. I'm clearly a newbie, while you're clearly and old hand. You have a better picture of the future of things than I do. So if you and the other long-time folks think that my concerns are just 'wild fears', and that the connection between Stardock and the mod community has such potential, then I'll take some comfort in that, wish you all well, and be hopeful.

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January 26, 2011 2:24:38 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Kenata - Thanks for the thoughts. Please know that I wrote the above post because I was (and still am) really excited about Elemental. If I didn't care, I wouldn't have said anything. But I'll lighten up. I'm clearly a newbie, while you're clearly and old hand. You have a better picture of the future of things than I do. So if you and the other long-time folks think that my concerns are just 'wild fears', and that the connection between Stardock and the mod community has such potential, then I'll take some comfort in that, wish you all well, and be hopeful.

I think most of us have had 'wild fears', that is just part of watching someone else bake a cake. I personally had such fears and I know many members of the community have espoused such fears as well. Yet, you should take comfort in knowing that the developers have made time available to the various modders to answer questions, and in fact, if you look at the change logs, several modders, including myself, have been given mention numerous times for finding both issues and solutions with WoM. Stardock really is a unique developer/publisher in a time when most developers and publishers find their communities to be ravenous fanboys who won't be happy anyways. While the push up to FE may find the dev team becoming farther and father removed from the community as they ramp up into another crunch time, we as the community should put our fears on the back burners and take this time to discuss the various points we like and don't like in a civil and rational manner. This will go a lot farther in both strengthening the desire of SD to continue keeping an open dialog with the community as well as ensuring that the cake we end up with is one we all want to eat.

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January 27, 2011 9:32:37 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

hmmm, what's with the angst of having a game within a game... UFO: Enemy Defense was basicly 3 games in one and it sits on most peoples top 10 alltime lists.

... /throws hope of exploration~tactical system based on UFO:Defense combat system out of the window

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January 27, 2011 10:04:14 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting DrAtomic1,
hmmm, what's with the angst of having a game within a game... UFO: Enemy Defense was basicly 3 games in one and it sits on most peoples top 10 alltime lists.

... /throws hope of exploration~tactical system based on UFO:Defense combat system out of the window

+1

If I can't "remember what I'm doing" on the strategic level after exploring a dungeon, then there's something wrong with the strategic level, not the fact that there's a dungeon to explore.  It certainly didn't break up the experience in AOW - if anything it deepened the sense of exploration and discovery.  Maybe I'm thinking of dungeons differently; I would envision a slightly larger tactical map with FOW.  It would certainly make the quest system more interesting.

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January 27, 2011 11:19:03 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

So some (female) member of one of the Fallen races has access to the Enchantment book.

At least Ceresa is the only goold looking fallen character. All the other character looks like if they have a skin disease.

 

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January 27, 2011 11:32:52 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Just so you know, there is a post in the mods forum for specific requests for modding changes. If you are really concerned about certain limitations that you have run into, throw up some comment on that thread. Honestly, I disagree with your point about the only thing that can be done is value adjustments. This is simply not true. While you are correct to say that somethings have been hard coded into the engine, there are many interesting things even without effecting these particular pieces. If you look at the various mods which have gained some notoriety, these mods have done many incredible things despite the limitations.

All the mods so far are still the same Elemental game with a new flavor. It's like playing Star wars monopoly. Oh! it's star wars, but you are still playing monopoly.

I want to make a new game, not a different Elemental game.

In my point of view, if you place a variable in the XML, it means that the engine supports a modification of this variable. But there are many variables that has little or no impact on the game because it's hardcoded.

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February 17, 2011 3:36:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Alstein,
 I was thinking the same thing about those dungeons myself.  I knew it wouldn't work in MP period, and I knew I wouldn't like it personally in SP- so glad it's not in the game.

 

Hoping you guys hit it out of the park with Fallen Enchantress.

 

I really tend to dislike mini-games with my games, so fewer to no mini-games is a good thing.

Actully Dungeons would work in MP and SP if done like a tactical battle. In the Original Age of Wonders they had several sites that were called dungeon that you explored on a tactical map. They had monsters and treasures and generally would not last any longer then the normal Tactical battle in AOW. Granted these may not be in-depth dungeons like many of us would like to see but they were fun. There were several different types as well like prisons where if you defeat all the guards you would free the prisoners and hve a change for them to join your army. You had Crypts where if you killed the creatures they would rise again as zombies or other Undead a turn or two later etc.  These were a blast and worked well in MP and SP.  This is what I would like to see in FE.

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