FE: Promises, promises

By on November 5, 2011 6:09:54 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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For those of you new to Stardock’s games, let me say, welcome! We’re glad you’re here!

For those of you who are veterans, thanks for hanging out with us.

I want to make sure users are fully aware, because it comes up sometimes, that we have intentions/plans for many things and on the other hand we have promises/requirements/obligations.

The former means, we intend to do something but it is not a guarantee. The latter means, yes, it’ll be in there.

Let’s start for the promises for FE:

  1. It won’t be released until we are happy with it.  Now, truth be told, I was pretty happy with WOM.  I was, as many may recall, working 100+ hours per week for the entire Summer before it was released.  With Derek in charge, I can go back to my traditional Executive producer role (ala GalCiv and Sins of a Solar Empire and to a lesser extent Demigod) which usually involves me pooping on the game for months prior to release and telling everyone internally how terrible the game is. I much prefer to distribute the insults rather than aborb them.
  2. The campaign will be good and engaging.
  3. The randomly generated maps will include randomly generated continents. WOM had randomly generated maps on pre-built continents.
  4. There will be a lot of spells. I don’t know what the final count will be. But they will be interesting, important, and exciting.
  5. There will be a lot of soul to the game. The players will talk to you in interesting ways. There is a lot of backstory for pretty much everything.
  6. There will be a lot more quests. There’s a ton of quests in FE. And unlike in WOM, where the quests were virtually all written by me in the middle of the night in the final several weeks (don’t ask me why I had to write these…) these quests are a collaboration between fantasy author David Stern and Toby (associate producer).
  7. Tactical Battles are totally different than WOM. It’s all initiative based now. No more “rounds”. Eliminates a ton of potential cheese and makes magic and tactics matter more.
  8. EVERYONE who bought Elemental: War of Magic in 2010 will get FE for free. Automatically.

Now, let’s talk about intentions for FE:

  1. We intend for there to be spells with a casting time that can then be countered.  This is almost certain to make it in but we have not made it a “Requirement”.  It’ll be based on how “fun” they play out.
  2. We intend there to be multiplayer of up to 16 people. However, it is not a requirement. If it would result in a lot of resources being siphoned off from the single player experience or would, on its own, result in delaying the release, it’ll get cut.
  3. We intend to have vastly more modding abilities in than any game we’ve ever made.  Actually, this is more close to a promise because the game is almost exclusively XML driven because of the project management system (coders don’t implement game design, the producers do and it’s XML driven via spread sheets and such). The AI makes heavy use of this. 
  4. We intend to have a almost completely new sound track. This isn’t a promise. We’ve gotten a lot of new music and effects in and have put them in but we wouldn’t delay the game over making sure all the music and sound is new.
  5. We intend to have Fallen Enchantress at retail. But because we won’t commit to a release date, we can’t promise this.
  6. We intend to have significant faction differentiation. In War of Magic, the Empires all shared the same tech tree and the Kingdoms had their own. Other than that, each faction only had minor differences.  Now, all of the factions are humanoids (we don’t have a spider race, for instance) but we intend for each faction to look and play very differently. How successful we are on this will be in the eye of the beholder.  But we will be making a best effort here to make them as different as we can as budget allows (i.e. we’re not willing to push the date back so that we can have an insectoid race.
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November 5, 2011 6:45:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

You are getting way too savvy with your marketing speak. But I guess people need this nowadays. Drop a vague reference and the sense of entitlement could last you a lifetime.

In before ponies.

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November 5, 2011 7:28:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

We intend to have vastly more modding abilities in than any game we’ve ever made.  Actually, this is more close to a promise because the game is almost exclusively XML driven because of the project management system (coders don’t implement game design, the producers do and it’s XML driven via spread sheets and such). The AI makes heavy use of this.

 

Music to my eyes.

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November 5, 2011 7:53:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Great to know, cause It's really needed that you're crystalclear on this (otherwise some people will be like: "BUT YOU PROMISED <random feature> SO WHERE IS IT?!?!")

 

Will the intentions that do not make it in time be included in a content update?

But then again it's better to put it all in the releaseversion so it gets a higher score.

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November 5, 2011 8:05:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Sounds great. I'm really liking that list of promises (especially the free part. ). I really hope you can nail the "soul" part, as that'll make or break the game, in my book. And on the topic of faction differentiation, I just want to say thanks for not pulling out the tired elf and dwarf schtick. It takes far more creativity, and reaps far more benefits, when you can create truly unique, imaginative factions that don't rely on the cliches we've come to expect from a lot of fantasy worlds. I hope you can do that with FE.

 

Regarding multiplayer and music, if they can't be completed before launch, couldn't they be patched in after release?

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November 5, 2011 8:15:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums
  • We intend to have a almost completely new sound track. This isn’t a promise. We’ve gotten a lot of new music and effects in and have put them in but we wouldn’t delay the game over making sure all the music and sound is new.

Ah well that's something. I'd be interested in hearing what improvements were made because (as my recent thread highlighted) the SFX in WoM was pretty piss-poor. Hopefully we'll have something better than the wierd generic grunts of charactors. I get the overall feeling they were pretty much an after-thought, which was a pity as they are so important for immersion.  

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November 5, 2011 8:26:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

All sounds good to me. Though about that whole

But we will be making a best effort here to make them as different as we can as budget allows (i.e. we’re not willing to push the date back so that we can have an insectoid race.
part.. Well, Stardock doesn't need to worry too much about that. Right Heavenfall? About that instect race mod..

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November 5, 2011 8:36:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Will the AI be doing quests this time around?  That would make a big difference in breaking the human/AI dichotomy, where the AI players were noticeably different from the human players.  That, and having a more intelligent AI rather than HP/Monster Immune/Production/FoW cheat etc. megaboosted AI.

Best regards,
Steven.

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November 5, 2011 9:15:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting StevenAus,
Will the AI be doing quests this time around?  That would make a big difference in breaking the human/AI dichotomy, where the AI players were noticeably different from the human players.  That, and having a more intelligent AI rather than HP/Monster Immune/Production/FoW cheat etc. megaboosted AI.

Best regards,
Steven.

That's the intent. The XML of the quests is supposed to guide the AI through how to complete quests.  In WOM, I was expected to C++ code my way through the quests and that just turned into a huge nightmare since I would have had to literally look at every quest and then write C++ code (i.e. IF quest == damsel in distress THEN take damsel to Y) -- and that was the simplest one).

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November 5, 2011 9:49:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Will there be a user-friendly and integrated quest editor, and the ability to easily share and swap quests?  This would be fantastic for the game's longevity and fun.

Best regards,
Steven.

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November 5, 2011 10:27:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting StevenAus,
Will there be a user-friendly and integrated quest editor, and the ability to easily share and swap quests?  This would be fantastic for the game's longevity and fun.

Best regards,
Steven.

No.  I wish.

Maybe someone could write one.  It's just XML output.

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November 5, 2011 11:37:54 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yeah for Counter-spells! That sounds like a very cool spell system. To bad about the quest editor though...

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November 6, 2011 1:08:04 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Everything sounds good. Lots of spells, some new music, lots of soul, etc.

 

One point I will comment on however.

 

  1. We intend there to be multiplayer of up to 16 people. However, it is not a requirement. If it would result in a lot of resources being siphoned off from the single player experience or would, on its own, result in delaying the release, it’ll get cut.

I'd rather that there was a fantastic single player experience first and foremost. Multiplayer can come at a later date. That is my preference anyway.

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November 6, 2011 1:22:08 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would tend to agree with Thormodr.  Make single player great first, and then provide some excellent Multiplayer at a later date.  Since you don't have to have multiplayer on release you may as well take the time to do it properly, after succeeding at making the single player experience fantastic.

Best regards,
Steven.

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November 6, 2011 6:28:07 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Thank you Brad. Everything sounds really good. I repeat myself, but i can´t wait to play FE.   And i´m glad that disease and cancer are no promises anymore.

We intend to have significant faction differentiation. In War of Magic, the Empires all shared the same tech tree and the Kingdoms had their own. Other than that, each faction only had minor differences.  Now, all of the factions are humanoids (we don’t have a spider race, for instance) but we intend for each faction to look and play very differently. How successful we are on this will be in the eye of the beholder.  But we will be making a best effort here to make them as different as we can as budget allows (i.e. we’re not willing to push the date back so that we can have an insectoid race.

 

Will there be a different playstyle between the races? (pariden, tarth, umber etc.....)

 

 

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November 6, 2011 7:26:57 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think he means that the aim is for each faction, ie. country (Pariden, Tarth, Umber etc.) to play differently.

Best regards,
Steven.

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November 6, 2011 9:24:40 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think you are right. I hope so.

This point always confused me a little bit. Do we talk about differentiation between factions (Kingdom and Empire) or between each "nation" (Pariden, Umber, Tarth etc.)?! But i think thats because of my bad english.

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November 6, 2011 9:52:55 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

In this case, he's talking about the difference between each of the Kingdom nations, and the difference between each of the Empire nations.  I think in FE there won't be a separate choice for Sovereign and Race like there is in WoM.  So the aim is for each of the factions to play differently, but you won't be able to play Wraiths that live in Pariden, or have Relias preside over Urxen.  I can understand that because it creates balance and lore problems, each faction will have their own "race" or version of a "race", whatever that this, such as Tarthans (Irane - Kingdom), Altarans (Relias - Kingdom), Kraxans (Karavox - Empire) as different types of humans for example.

I think Sovereign and Race will be tied together into Faction, and each Faction will be associated to either Kingdoms or Empires, but the aim is for each Faction within each group to play differently (not just be a "one of those Kingdoms" or "one of those Empires").  But even though there are different Races, they all look basically like humans (ie. "humanoids"), so that will not change.   However there should be significant or noticeable gameplay differences for different Kingdom Factions and Empire Factions.

At least that is what I understand with what I've read about FE.   Others are welcome to share their thoughts!

Best regards,
Steven.

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November 6, 2011 11:15:16 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

EVERYONE who bought Elemental: War of Magic in 2010 will get FE for free. Automatically.

A bit disappointed at this.  I hope if this is fun to play there will be dcl for us to pay for, otherwhys I kind of feel cheap.

We intend there to be multiplayer of up to 16 people.

Biggest thing : Make it fun.  Elemental isn't going to be competitive.  Let us fight AI together.  Or each player has a team of AI.  Wild things that lead to fun. 

 

Typically stardock's betas are parts of the game - why not full release the beta after the regular beta - get an idea of how the majority feel about it.  And those pesky bugs.

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November 6, 2011 11:28:56 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I want ponies....god damn it...

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November 6, 2011 11:45:45 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well, I hope that all features that don't make it into FE get into the 2nd FREE expansion that was promised to E:WoM buyers

Things like factions being not all humanoid but like in Master of Magic

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November 6, 2011 11:57:47 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Free doesn't have to mean cheap - there are plenty of things you can do in life that don't cost much but are very much worth doing.

Best regards,
Steven.

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November 6, 2011 11:59:20 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Windexglow,
EVERYONE who bought Elemental: War of Magic in 2010 will get FE for free. Automatically.

A bit disappointed at this. I hope if this is fun to play there will be dcl for us to pay for, otherwhys I kind of feel cheap.

We intend there to be multiplayer of up to 16 people.

Biggest thing : Make it fun. Elemental isn't going to be competitive. Let us fight AI together. Or each player has a team of AI. Wild things that lead to fun.

Typically stardock's betas are parts of the game - why not full release the beta after the regular beta - get an idea of how the majority feel about it. And those pesky bugs.

Ya I feel a little cheap when I hear I will get FE for free. Even if they also give me the 2nd expansion for free I will be buying a hard copy anyway. To support the team and because I am old fashioned and like hard copies of things like books and games.

I agree being able to play with friends is important. We however won't be competing as much as having fun. All the feature removed from WoM multiplayer made it pointless to play even if it was faster and fairer...

Everyone who owns WoM or preorder FE will get the Beta, I am not sure what your asking.

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November 6, 2011 12:20:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Dear Lord Xia -

We are happy to inform you that a special new service is being added to GameBreakers Repulsive® in conjunction with the release of Fallen Enchantress. 

We have contracted with a well known Russian gaming company to supply unique DLC for FE, written to customer specifications, for the unbelievably low price of $9.99.

Peggy, from marketing and acquisitions, will be contacting you by email to make arrangements for the "Lord Xia wants Ponies" DLC.

Please supply her with all requested personal biographic, demographic, and financial information in order for us to make this a truly once in a lifetime experience for you.

Your fellow Fantasy Gamers @ GameBreakers Repulsive®

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November 6, 2011 12:25:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Is FE giving us cancer a promise or intention?

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November 6, 2011 12:31:02 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Of the intentions, I'd personally rank #1 and #6 the most important to me.

I'd rate those higher then promise #2 even.

 

I really hope you get a good tactical AI down- I think for a game with magic, you guys would be the first to get a good tactical AI if you pull that off.

 

 

I'll feel bad if FE is free if it turns out to be as awesome as you guys say it is.  Feels like you guys are promising the moon.

 

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