First, thank you everyone who in previous journal entries who have submitted questions to be answered. Anything that reduces my work load makes me happy. Frankly, eating and breathing on my own is a continuing resentment.
So let’s dive right in:
Q: Does the Gamestop acqusition of Impulse affect the free expansions to the Elemental universe customers of War of Magic were promised?
A: Not in the slightest. Stardock Entertainment is a separate business (Stardock Entertainment, Inc.) from Impulse (Impulse, Inc.).
Q: Where does War of Magic stand?
A: We’re still working on v1.2 of it. Without getting too technical, the memory issues that the game has boil down to what is called heap fragmentation. Sins of a Solar Empire pre-allocates its memory and then dishes it out from there. Elemental: War of Magic grows and shrinks in real-time. Over time, memory becomes fragmented and eventually a block can’t be allocated. There are differences between Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 on how this is handled as well as very different effects based on how much memory is on a given video card and the driver model in question. Suffice to say, that’s why v1.2 is taking awhile is that we really want to do it right.
Q: What happens to War of Magic after v1.2?
A: v1.3 is being developed concurrently with v1.2. That’s because v1.3 is pure features so v1.2’s delays don’t affect that. It just means that v1.3 will come out a lot closer after v1.2 than originally planned.
Q: If Fallen Enchantress is in development, why continue with War of Magic?
A: There’s a lot of mundane reasons. But when the beta program for Fallen Enchantress starts, users are going to quickly realize that Fallen Enchantress isn’t an expansion pack. It’s like like Dark Avatar was to GalCiv II. It’s radically different. The second reason is that War of Magic has a lot of potential to continue into the future on its own track. The third reason is just because we like working on it. Our games are labors of love.
Q: When will Fallen Enchantress be done?
A: We don’t have a set complete time. The full team is working on FE right now other than myself and my mini team which is working on v1.2/v1.3. We are not going to have an early public beta of Fallen Enchantress. Its beta will come out largely feature complete. So right now, it’s likely to be a Fall 2011 thing but it could be later. The requirement for Fallen Enchantress is it won’t be released until we are certain it be an overwhelmingly positive experience for our customers. To that end, we have eliminated as many conflicts to that objective such as sacrificing a retail date for it.
Q: Are the hardware requirements for Fallen Enchantress going to be the same as War of Magic?
A: Fallen Enchantress will use Pixel Shader 3 instead of Pixel Shader 2. One of the reasons for this is because Pixel Shader 2 drastically restricted the amount of environmental texturing we could do (i.e. brown brown brown) in Elemental: War of Magic. In Fallen Enchantress, we want the world to be visually much more enchanting and interesting and not be restricted by a hardware requirement (the current pixel shader version is v5.0 to put things in perspective). DirectX 9c is still the standard used here.
Q: Any news on the modding front?
A: Yes. Jon Shafer and I have been working on the mini-campaigns for Elemental: Destiny’s Embers. And so as we work on those we uncover weaknesses in the modding tools that we have been trying to get addressed which in turn should make modding even easier in the future.