Got Beta 2? Please vote

By on February 25, 2012 1:19:05 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
+1469

If you’ve had a chance to play Beta 2, please take a second to go vote.

There's still months of work ahead of us but we're looking to see if we're on the right track.

Thanks!

http://www.elementalgame.com/journals

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February 25, 2012 2:39:46 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I need to be honest its a big improve from the 0.75 version but still i kinda miss something, will try few more games and see how it works out lets hope the beta 3 will be a even better.

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February 25, 2012 3:12:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I voted "good", though I wouldn't say it could stand on it's own as a "good" retail game in the near future.  But I'm confident it will get there now.  I wasn't always sure I would be.

I'm very pleased with the direction it's going, and optimistic about the things you guys are achieving.  There's a sound core with a genuine hook now to build on. Obviously there are still lots of issues and opportunities, but .86  reassured me after being ambivalent about .77

I think the company should be proud of the work they've put in here, the lessons learned, and the progress you've made.  Just stay the course, and don't get too anxious to release.

Thank you for not giving up, and for taking the course you did.  And of course for letting us be a part of it. It would have been easy to become much more guarded and closed off after some things.

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February 25, 2012 3:25:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It's a bit hard to vote on this in a way that expresses that yes, I think you are on right track. I voted good last time, because I thought the game was good for a first beta. I voted good again because I really can't vote excellent even if I think there has been some serious improvements.

If you want to collect "are we on right track" type of data, maybe you should ask "How does Beta 2 compare to Beta 1?" instead. That way it is easy to view the results, and it is easy to pick what to vote.

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February 25, 2012 3:39:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I really believe you are indeed on the right track guys. Masybe the game is still a BETA right now, but continuing the development like that to a full game with all those ideas I truly believe by Summer time you will have one of the best turn based games ever developed.

Just remember to re advertise as soon as you see that showing it out again will attract much more customers regaining a higher buyer momentum from even the one given now at January/February

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February 25, 2012 3:42:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

A lot of nice new features that make the game a lot better. The balance still needs a lot of work however in my opinion.

 

So yes it is on the right track, but it still has a ways to go.

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February 25, 2012 3:43:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

If the question is one of tracks to take, I vote excellent. Direction is flawless, just need to continue on. 

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February 25, 2012 4:27:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Gameplay wise a big step up.

 

Stability wise a megatonic-huge step down. Both .85 and .86 crash like crazy and don't even generate reports I can send in when it DOES crash. (yes I read the forum post about sending reports - the game does not make a zip nor err file, period. )

 

Then tack on extra bugs that did not exist before like not being able to walk past land-lowered mountains and I feel the update is merely "meh".

Not saying I didn't expect possible issues from adding all the new stuff...just being honest.

 

 

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February 25, 2012 4:33:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Sorry can't get a game going long enough to comment on, but still got my fingers crossed!!

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February 25, 2012 4:42:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Excellent, its a huge improvement from the last game, keep up the good work!

Its crashing less for me and also the AI is better!

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February 25, 2012 5:20:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting JBooker,

Sorry can't get a game going long enough to comment on, but still got my fingers crossed!!

Hopefully you're turning in bug reports. We're getting very few crash logs.

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February 25, 2012 5:22:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I voted fair, while I generally thing its a huge improvement over WOM, there are a good amount of little things that keep me from enjoying it for very long.

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February 25, 2012 5:31:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The gameplay is better and the AI does a noticeable better job. The new sounds are great. But i have more crashes and of course there are a lot of little bugs. (for example: can´t pass "lower land", in one game i couln´t hit endturn, but i could not reproduce it. Sometimes units are invisible in tactical battles after they took a hit...)

But again... this is the right track.

Thank you

 

EDIT/

After a crash... where can i find this .zip file? I only find the debug.err

 

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February 25, 2012 6:14:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

RE Reporting crashes:

http://forums.elementalgame.com/415288

I believe one change in beta 2 is that crashes are uploaded to the server via the Windows error reporting thingy.  So we should have a lot more to work with.

But when I hear someone having a lot of crashes, that definitely makes my antenna stick up since our testing lab is finding crashing to be exceedingly rare.  

 

Why crash reports matter:

The reason why crashing is important is because it really is often system dependent.  And I'd rather us nail that stuff BEFORE release so that we don't have people out there saying "Yea, those losers at Stardock tried to claim that their buggy crap game was stable and blamed all their problems on people's hardware."

As any game developer can tell you, the dirty secret of PC game development is yea, the OS + hardware + drivers are a big part of the story.

Hardware + OS + Drivers = Lots of variables to juggle

The most INFAMOUS and scarring example was a certain reviewer trashing WOM saying it was totally buggy because it kept crashing on him when it turned out that yea, on HIS particular nVidia driver running on Windows XP on that particular nVidia card it was very buggy  (because nVidia hadn't been updating their Windows XP drivers in awhile for that card).  

We can always work around any technical issue. That's why you can say "Well, I play <game X> all day and it works like a champ".  They've already worked around said issue.

Heck, I remember The Political Machine and a very specific but common embedded Intel graphics adapter that crashed 100% of the time IF you had never updated the drivers because the driver returned that it supposed feature X but it didn't really, it just crashed when that card feature was used. We had to put in a string compare into the code to fix it (check for that video card and ignore what it claimed it did).

Multithreaded programming is what makes FE's magical performance + AI possible.

And with FE, it's even trickier than what we faced with WOM because FE is so much more multithreaded.  How it behaves on a dual core system will be different than how it behaves on a system with 6 cores. 

Let me show you what I mean:

That's how many threads are running in Fallen Enchantress at once.  A missing semaphore here, a typo in a critical section there and you can have all kinds of stuff.  In WOM, we had relatively few threads (and you could tell with the late game performance).  Most games use very few threads.  But we use them because we can do a lot of very cool strategic stuff. 

This why there is no big "please wait" dialog in FE.  You get an hour glass but you can still interact with everything (Even build stuff). 

On Scoring the betas


If you think of it as a 5 star rating system (5 star = excellent....1 star = terrible) you might be surprised (actually, you guys are likely much more seasoned PC gamers so you probably wouldn't be surprised) how good a predictor for a metacritic score the surveys can be if you get enough voters.  Figure +/- 5 points either way.

We did this system with our previous games with the exception of WOM (because we had hired reviewers to internally review the game and give us a scoring...we won't ever rely solely on that kind of thing again).

Metacritic, which a lot of people don't like but is a fact of life, determines the fate of a game. A game that gets less than an 80 is basically doomed. Literally the sales difference between a 79 and an 80 is gigantic.  Seeing the sales numbers on Impulse for a few years really was an eye opener on why people care about metacritic.

Comparative Metatric


For those of you interested in what various games have done, here are some Metacritic scores:

  • Heroes of Might and Magic VI (77)
  • Crusader Kings II (84)
  • Skyrim (94)
  • Sword of the Stars II (44)
  • Stronghold 3 (47)
  • BF3 (89)
  • War of Magic (53)
  • Temple of Elemental Evil (71)
  • Sins of a Solar Empire (87)
  • Demigod (76)
  • Galactic Civilizations I (83)
  • Galactic Civilizations II: Twilight of the Arnor (92)
  • Master of Orion 3 (64)

 

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February 25, 2012 6:48:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Very interesting stuff, Froggy! So that explains why FE runs so smoothly on my Phenom X6 Core! I haven't had a single crash in Beta 2, and I only ever had one crash in Beta 1.

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February 25, 2012 7:03:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This is very important. I am running Vista  and have been clicking cancel when the checking for a solution thing pops up. I assumed this feature was smoke up my ass, but you are saying it will send you a report? Please make that more clear if that is the case. 

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February 25, 2012 7:06:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I had a game hang situation I uploaded yesterday, but I admit, I'm getting lazy on the crash reporting. It happens so routinely you get kind of numb to it after a while. Beta 2 does seem more stable in general, but I haven't hit a late game scenario yet, which is where performance and stability usually come off the rails.  I will try to be better on that.

 

Man, review score aggregates murder kittens.  There's some  nonsense on that list, but I wont sidetrack the thread by pointing it out. Real gamers know.

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February 25, 2012 7:09:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


I like the game a lot.    I think its on track to be a real classic.     There are some issues remainiing but at the rate they are being cleaned up SD will make it before it goes gold.

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February 25, 2012 7:14:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Much less stable for me than 0.77.  I've sent in 5 crash reports over the past 2 days.  I've had crashes within 30 turns of starting, and I have crashes late in the game.  I get about 30 minutes of play on each set.  Do you want each and every crash report? 

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February 25, 2012 7:19:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I believe one change in beta 2 is that crashes are uploaded to the server via the Windows error reporting thingy

 

You mean this "windows send report"  landed in SDs house? If this is the case i will do it for the first time since i use windows. ^^ 

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February 25, 2012 7:40:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I've only had one crash so far with 0.86 so far - seems to be an improvement over .77.  I didn't submit a bug report, but I did click the windows reporting thingy.  Hopefully that's enough, or is a submission of the debug still useful?

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February 25, 2012 7:45:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yes I have very regular CTD. Can happen at any time. Did not have any with 0.77.  I will lok into sending in crash reports, I have not that done that in the past.

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February 25, 2012 7:47:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yes, 0.85 and 0.86 are much less stable then Beta 1. I sent one debug.err file this morning.

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February 25, 2012 8:03:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The game is definitely more fun than WoM, but it's still not reaching MoM-level. The biggest issue to me is that there's still no significant difference between factions and channelers. It's a bit MoO3ish where "realism" is getting in the way of "fun". The backstory establishes that there are only men and fallen, and fallen are men who look funky. Most of the factions differ only in opinion, hairstyle, and skin condition. What they really need is strong unique abilities, unit traits, spells, something to make Relias and Carrodus more than just "the red one" and "the purple one".

I understand that a lot of work went in to the story and setting, and that there are lots of fine distinctions between Ironeers and Tarthans, and Trogs and Wraiths, but in the game, it's basically Kingdom and Empire, the only real "races". It's like playing MoM if the only races were High Men and Barbarians.

I really think that each of the factions needs a very strong identity, a clear sign of what they preserved from the cataclysm that others did not. The Civ-style starting techs don't do it for me, because they are a waste of perfectly good build points. Anything that is only a minor buff, or essentially saves you a few turns in the early game is junk compared to the traits that keep on giving all game long. Ciressa with her staff and extra spells should be the norm, not the exception.

I also feel that there is not nearly enough depth in the magic system. Everything is instant. There are no (non-game winning) spells that are so powerful you have to spend twenty seasons channeling them, no interesting global enchantments to fight over like Wind Mastery, or really different things like Chaos Channels. A lot more variety in summons would be nice as well, but I can see the issue inherent in Elemental using Greek elements rather than MoM/Magic's Order/Chaos/Nature/Destruction/Control scheme.

 

Ultimately, this is a low fantasy world, and since you've discarded most of the go-to archetypes, you need to work that much harder to create and differentiate your flavor.

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February 25, 2012 8:12:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

"I believe one change in beta 2 is that crashes are uploaded to the server via the Windows error reporting thingy.  So we should have a lot more to work with."

 

Awww....that may explain why I can't find the err files, etc. I've been saying cancel to it.

 

Is this the way we need to be sending reports now? I really wanna send some reports in...beta 2 is ridiculously less stable then beta 1. I think I've crashed about 22 times today in beta 2...and maybe crashed 6 times total while playing beta 1 an entire week.

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February 25, 2012 8:14:01 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Devon_v,

 

Ultimately, this is a low fantasy world, and since you've discarded most of the go-to archetypes, you need to work that much harder to create and differentiate your flavor.

 

Semantics, but Elemental is neither "Low Fantasy" by the accepted genre definition, nor by the levels of power and magic elements in play, which are profound and abundant. For reference, Lord of the Rings is generally considered "High Fantasy".

 

I really apologize for this post. It's like an involuntary response.

 

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