Devs: can you update us on DLL plans & modding support

By on May 12, 2011 2:11:57 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

TCores

Join Date 02/2010
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1.2 is upon us, Fallen Enchantress is under work. 

 

Can we have an update on the DLL support you'd planned post 1.2 and give us some modding powers?

 

I am not confident right now in the future of modding on the Elemental line of titles, at least as I had envisioned it. Please understand I think you're doing great work here, but this is the state of modding in Elemental as I see it:

 

* 90% of the "mods" are actually just maps made with the map editor
* We have no ability to change core gameplay
* We have no way of producing dynamic, branching quests
* We have no way to produce new behaviours in the game
* Our changes are largely limited to tweaking values in XML
* Even community members like Wintersong have been basically limited to producing factions
* There are a handful of new tiles/models buried in the depth of the "other" category
* The rest of the categories outside of Other and Maps are essentially empty
* There's a great modder working on the AI, but he has a day job and it's called running stardock. No one else is able to contribute
* There's no appearance of change - the last thread I made on this topic has been floating on the front page for a month and a half

 

I don't want to contribute to a negative feeling, and I don't want to waste developer time, but I would like to know where Stardock plans to go from here. I can offer many compelling reasons to really hunker down and get the modding tools out there, but with Derek and Brad and Jon in charge, I'd feel like I'd be preaching to the choir.

 

So I'd like to leave this question out there: What is the holdup post-1.2 for making the Elemental engine moddable for us consumers? Have you sat down and discussed what it would cost you to strap on a scripting engine and start using it?

Now is definitely the time to think about whether you want Fallen Enchantress to have hard-coded missions written in C++ by junior developers with no garbage collection, limited modding community, and extensive bugtest/development cycles that require rebuilding the project, or whether you want a Fallen Enchantress that is relatively lean with excellent modding support, with a long shelf-life and dedicated long-term community that provides value back. 

 

Hope to hear something back.

 

 

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May 12, 2011 2:44:23 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

What he said.

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May 12, 2011 3:56:22 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Heavenfall,
What he said.

I generally agree with the OP. While I think the OP downplays the overall amount of additional content which has been created by the mod community, he is completely correct that certain aspects of the game are simple closed to the mod community. Most of us may not actually desire to change the game from a fantasy game into a space simulation, but we have no real method of changing even simple mechanics, such as modifying the melee combat calculation or allowing caravans to directly transport local resources from city to city. While I understand that a significant amount of time would be require to create a C++ or python mod system, there are many things that can be done with the XML to give greater power to the community. For instance, in the case of tactical combat, a simple game modifier could be created which functions the same as an attack - causes counters and costs the same AP as an attack - yet allows the user to specify a new calculation for the attack.

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May 12, 2011 5:08:28 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would love to be able to code some simple AI's - and perhaps even have some form of challenge or competition.  If we had a variety of Ai's for different factions that would give a feeling of personality to the factionsmuch quicker.

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May 12, 2011 6:00:32 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

They could be an alternative to the standard AI, so they wouldn't be giving away AI secrets.

Best regards,
Steven.

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May 12, 2011 9:10:57 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yeah, I agree. I understand that this isn't a top priority, but hopefully it's still on the list somewhere.

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May 12, 2011 10:23:04 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm very curious about this as well. When it comes to TBS games I am normally a prolific modder, but with Elemental I am afraid to dive right in for a couple of reasons. 

1. I have no idea what kind of support for modding we are going to see in the future. We were promised a lot of things in the "official" beta, but I have a feeling we may not see those things.

2. How will FE break our mods? Will FE be so different from WOM that mods will have to be completely rewritten? That would have been ok for me several years ago, but now with limited time, it would suck for me to have to completely redo a mod to take advantage of the FE expansion.

By the lack of activity on the modding forum, I think at least some other people feel the same way. 

 

 

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May 12, 2011 10:33:48 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I have a feeling any major mod support is being pushed to the back burner. I think they're going to put that effort into making a good mod layer for Kumquat, rather than for an actual game.

 

Seeing how much FE is changing, I highly doubt WoM mods will work "out of the box". 

 

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May 12, 2011 2:56:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think E:WoM mods being unusable in FE is guaranteed.

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May 12, 2011 5:38:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting jshores,
I'm very curious about this as well. When it comes to TBS games I am normally a prolific modder, but with Elemental I am afraid to dive right in for a couple of reasons. 

1. I have no idea what kind of support for modding we are going to see in the future. We were promised a lot of things in the "official" beta, but I have a feeling we may not see those things.

2. How will FE break our mods? Will FE be so different from WOM that mods will have to be completely rewritten? That would have been ok for me several years ago, but now with limited time, it would suck for me to have to completely redo a mod to take advantage of the FE expansion.

By the lack of activity on the modding forum, I think at least some other people feel the same way.

 

Speaking as someone who's hardly a prolific modder, but at least a chronic dabbler in modding most applicable games I've played, I hesitate with Elemental for the same reasons. Mainly '2', War of Magic's current state and all the promise surrounding Fallen Enchantress encourages a 'wait and see' attitude; I take it for granted that FE will break WoM mods, while fixing many of the issues that any WoM mod I made would attempt to address, so why not wait for FE and build mods on a better foundation? I'm optimistic for FE, although little to no news about its modding support worries me as well.

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May 12, 2011 7:13:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think Jon Shafer was hired in part to add more modding into FE, right?  JON!!!  JON!!!!  JON!!!!

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May 12, 2011 7:16:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Austinvn,



Speaking as someone who's hardly a prolific modder, but at least a chronic dabbler in modding most applicable games I've played, I hesitate with Elemental for the same reasons. Mainly '2', War of Magic's current state and all the promise surrounding Fallen Enchantress encourages a 'wait and see' attitude; I take it for granted that FE will break WoM mods, while fixing many of the issues that any WoM mod I made would attempt to address, so why not wait for FE and build mods on a better foundation? I'm optimistic for FE, although little to no news about its modding support worries me as well.

 

Exactly. You put it a lot better than I did.

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May 12, 2011 7:26:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Lord Xia,
I think Jon Shafer was hired in part to add more modding into FE, right?  JON!!!  JON!!!!  JON!!!!

This may be true, though as far as I know he has been fairly insular from the mod community.

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May 12, 2011 8:46:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would appreciate anything so much as a "I have seen this thread and have nothing to say," but more ideally I'd like to see a roadmap of what the plan is. If there is no plan, I'd rather just be told than left in the dark.

 

We hardcore modders have been waiting for more than a year now, very patiently.

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May 16, 2011 10:49:45 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums
Unfortunately, there won’t be a moddable DLL for War of Magic or Fallen Enchantress. It’s something we’ve wanted to do, but there aren’t the resources for it right now. The engineers have been busy working on implementing Derek’s new vision for FE and helping to improve WoM in recent patches. As Brad has talked about elsewhere, we’re currently hiring new developers to help out, but the priority for who we have available right now is making the gameplay for FE great.

Quoting Lord Xia,
I think Jon Shafer was hired in part to add more modding into FE, right?  JON!!!  JON!!!!  JON!!!!

I’m lending my experience and helping guide what we do with modding in the future, but I’m not personally implementing new modding features.

Jon
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May 16, 2011 11:44:26 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Ouch. Does that mean a killing blow for the Elemental modding community?

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May 16, 2011 12:28:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

That is very disappointing news, it's a shame to see modding support maintain its place at the back of the line.

Edit: So as not to appear ungrateful, I would just like to recognize the efforts of Cari_Elf and Akil Dawkins post-release in helping us understand the xml and 3d stuff.

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May 16, 2011 12:36:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

How many copies of Civ4 & BTS do you think were sold *because* of FFH2?

Best regards,
Steven.

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May 16, 2011 12:43:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I bought BTS for FFH2.  Very true, and I'm not even a big mod guy.

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May 16, 2011 1:15:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Crappy news.

One of the reasons I bought Elemental in the first place was because it promised great modibility.

Hopefully they do find these new developers to do just that otherwise they need to change the game description.

 

Key Features
  • A strategy game in an RPG world.
  • Randomly Generated Maps.
  • 10 Unique Factions.
  • In-Depth unit and character design.
  • Tactical Battles.
  • Rich, story-driven campaign developed by Random House’s Del Rey.
  • Incredible replayability.
  • Single player or Multiplayer (up to 16 players).
  • Plays on very low end hardware.
  • Takes advantage of the latest hardware.
  • Massive modding support.
  • From the people who brought you Galactic Civilizations and Sins of a Solar Empire.

 

 

 

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May 16, 2011 4:03:01 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Sorry guys, it's disappointing on this end as well.

Our first priority has to be deliver a solid, fun core experience. When we've accomplished that, it will give us the opportunity to flesh out the other parts of the game. As you all know, the launch of Elemental was rough, and being a small company means its impossible to address everything we want to at the same time.

Jon

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May 16, 2011 4:11:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Jon Shafer,
Sorry guys, it's disappointing on this end as well.

Our first priority has to be deliver a solid, fun core experience. When we've accomplished that, it will give us the opportunity to flesh out the other parts of the game. As you all know, the launch of Elemental was rough, and being a small company means its impossible to address everything we want to at the same time.

Jon

Yeah, that's disappointing, but understandable. It's nice to get word straight from the horse's mouth in any event.

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May 16, 2011 4:13:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 

Quoting Jon Shafer,
Unfortunately, there won’t be a moddable DLL for War of Magic or Fallen Enchantress. It’s something we’ve wanted to do, but there aren’t the resources for it right now. The engineers have been busy working on implementing Derek’s new vision for FE and helping to improve WoM in recent patches. As Brad has talked about elsewhere, we’re currently hiring new developers to help out, but the priority for who we have available right now is making the gameplay for FE great.



Quoting Lord Xia, reply 10I think Jon Shafer was hired in part to add more modding into FE, right?  JON!!!  JON!!!!  JON!!!!

I’m lending my experience and helping guide what we do with modding in the future, but I’m not personally implementing new modding features.

Jon

 

Let me start by saying I appreciate your quick response. If you wouldn't have posted this, I probably would have been checking the boards every single day (Like I have been) waiting for any news on the massive modding patch that was never to come.

The game (WOM) doesn't interest me and there is going to be no modding support. Now I can make a clean break from Elemental, go back to modding Dominions and come back when Fallen Enchantress is released just to check out the cool things you guys were able to do with the engine.

 

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May 16, 2011 4:26:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Haha, holy shit, we could really take apart that "Key Features" list.

 

  • A strategy game in an RPG world.  I would agree to this, it is a strategy game with RPG elements
  • Randomly Generated Maps.   There are really not randomly generated maps, there are a few maps.
  • 10 Unique Factions. LOL Really?  All the Kingdoms are exactly alike, and some of the empire races use different armor.  So I say three factions, Good humans, Bad small, and Bad Big.
  • In-Depth unit and character design.  In depth?  Really?  I'll let it pass, but it's not even as good as Alpha Centauri
  • Tactical Battles.  Technically, they are in the game, they just suck.
  • Rich, story-driven campaign developed by Random House’s Del Rey.  Rich, story driven Campaign?  If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you.
  • Incredible replayability.  I don't think so, in fact, it has the least replayability of any turn based strategy I can think of. But, only my opinion.
  • Single player or Multiplayer (up to 16 players).  I've never tried multiplayer, but I hear it does exist, can you really have 16 players?  I wouldn't know.
  • Plays on very low end hardware.  This could be true, no idea.
  • Takes advantage of the latest hardware.  Maybe, no idea.
  • Massive modding support.  Well, there seems to be a disagreement about the word "Massive"...
  • From the people who brought you Galactic Civilizations and Sins of a Solar Empire.  This is true.
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May 16, 2011 4:32:20 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Lord Xia,
Takes advantage of the latest hardware.  Maybe, no idea.

The latest hardware would mean 64-bit and DirectX 11, so no.

I would say it does not meet the requirement of multi-player as you are not allowed to play the game you purchased in multi-player (as seen by its lack of tactical combat).

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May 16, 2011 5:06:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Lord Xia,

Single player or Multiplayer (up to 16 players).  I've never tried multiplayer, but I hear it does exist, can you really have 16 players?  I wouldn't know.

The lobby allows you to create one for 16 players, but map sizes are limited to tiny and small so it would be REALLY crowded. That said I don't think there actually are 16 people playing MP Elemental, so creating a game to try it would prove difficult.

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