Countdown: 5 days to release

By on October 18, 2012 4:25:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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As someone who has played PC strategy games since, well, since there's been PC strategy games to play, the thing that often stifles me is the late game.

Often times, strategy games will bog down due to sheer wait time between turns or just collapsing under their own weight in micro management.

Fallen Enchantress attempts to solve this through the use of a multithreaded game state architecture.  What this means is that while you're taking your turn, a bunch of different things get spun off into their own threads. That is, the game multitasks within itself to speed things up.

We did this with Galactic Civilizations to a degree -- there was a background thread that handled the computer players turns.  But in the age where people have multiple CPU cores, we can do so much more.

So each turn, the game will create a thread for each player which includes all their stat updating, AI strategizing and general garbage collection. The more cores you have, the faster it'll get.  

Below is a video of very late game. If you're familiar with 4X strategy games, note how fast turns move despite there being hundreds of turns and 3 other players in the game.

Fallen Enchantress will be released on October 23rd.  

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October 18, 2012 4:42:36 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It is really fast end game. SD has done a wonderful job improving the overall performance of the engine.

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October 18, 2012 4:45:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'll second that. Even on my aging PC, the game turns go by quickly. Much quicker than other turn based games, such as Shogun 2 or Civ V. I guess I don't quite need a new PC yet. Sigh.

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October 18, 2012 4:53:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Threads for each AI?  You remind me of when I'd play Sargon via external cassette deck loader on my old TRS 80 Model 2.  If you wanted the computer to play its best, the documentation said, it could take up to 30 minutes to analyze a position, which it would of course only do once you'd finished a turn.  So you might want to settle for a lower ply.

 

Not fun times.

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October 18, 2012 5:03:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It was a remarkable feature I found back in GC2 and one I had hoped Firaxis might have looked at.  Several times after the launch of Civ V, where gamers with even high-end machines would gripe about turn processing taking one, two or more minutes while they could do nothing but twiddle their thumbs or catch up on a novel, others would casually remark in sympathy for Firaxis, 'Well, what do you expect with so many things going on that can only be processed afte the player completes their turn' and upon several such threads I remarked, 'Stardock figured out a better way years ago in GalCiv II.'

Its definitely a big feather in Stardock's cap that I am very disappointed the 'big boys' like Sid haven't caught onto.  Yes, TBS players are a lot more patient than RTS or certainly FPS players, but watching one core at 100% while a turn takes several minutes to process while the other cores are barely twitching at 5% is beyond frustrating.

No getting around it, my system is aging ... Phenom II 9600, which is a quad 2.4 GHz core.  I don't have the means to keep my system up to date ... but, aside from loading times (when the game initially starts up, before the intro movie shows) or starting a new game (or loading a saved game) which takes 2-5 minutes, FE plays very smoothly even on my dated system, and I like that.

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October 18, 2012 5:13:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm surprised you haven't patented this/ more folks would use this.

It's a great feature.

 

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October 18, 2012 5:25:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


quite astounding. Another gold star for Stardock!

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October 18, 2012 5:36:05 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Awesome work on this but im curious about HEAT.  After playing Civ 5 and noticing heat issues on my gaming laptop that cost me 3k...Im wondering what you have noticed on your rigs running this.  I know there's a difference between laptops and desktops, but after Civ 5, im always trying to be aware of heat now.  I still cant entirely figure out why that game runs so hot, but just wondering if you guys have noticed anything with the latest version of FE?  Im not trying to turn this into a troll thread on Civ 5(which i love btw), im just curious if the more threads and more work the computer does if your heat increases as well and if you have noticed anything.  I would guess from most other companies that the instant answer would be "No heat problems have ever been documented" or whatnot.  Stardock certainly isnt that way, so I know I can get a honest answer from them.

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October 18, 2012 5:39:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Truly remarkable indeed. I must say that version .99 was a massive boost in overall performance. Game is really smooth now on my laptop. And for the endgame with so many things going on that's quite an achievement.

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October 18, 2012 6:02:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Computers that fail due to heat from their own processors are the fail of either the computer manufacturers for failing to include a sufficiently robust cooling system to handle their computers actually getting used at the power the manufacturers advertise, or the user if the user overclocks the system and the system resultingly fails due to heat or (as my sister did) the user does something extraordinarily as stupid such as trying to pretty up their laptop by putting something over it that covers the laptop's heat exhaust.

Software is software.  Blaming software for CPU overheat is a bit like blaming a broadcast television station for your television overheating and catching fire, your mobile phone carrier for your mobile phone overheating, or a gas station for causing your engine to overheat when there was nothing unusual about the fuel they were selling.  There are very few valid cases for software being the genuinely responsible culprit behind hardware failure, namely purposefully-written software that intentionally takes advantage of a specific hardware flaw, generally a computer virus.

 

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October 18, 2012 6:38:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Brad, did you grow up in Fargo, ND?

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October 18, 2012 7:02:43 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Looking good, but you'll want to correct that typo in the cavalry unit name (assuming it's a unit that ships with the game). You've got it as "Calvary" instead, which is a very different thing.. (Noticed it when you were showing off the enemy units invading your territory, just before you examine the enemy sovereign's stats.)

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October 18, 2012 7:51:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Brad grew up in FArgo ND??  Thats just down the road from me...and i lived there for 10 years.

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October 18, 2012 8:06:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Brad, any idea why roads sometimes make those circle/square patterns? I've seen that in one of my games, and I noticed it in your example as you were going to attack the Altar main city.

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October 18, 2012 8:54:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Awesome vid. Nice to see the CEO getting his butt kicked. I kid...

So, about those unit designs:

Question#1: If you design units for a said race, is that unit available for all races, or just that said race?

Question#2: If you design units for a said race, and in future game the AI is able to build those units, will they build them if your a bad designer?? Does the AI understand how to differenciate good designed units from bad designed ones?

Thanks

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October 18, 2012 9:07:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

" The more you play it, the more it changes. "  -- rough quote from Frogboy,

following upon his observations that when you design great new units, they sort of permanently enter the "combat rolls" (table of units),  such that they can be used by the AI players against you, in later games. 

That is a terrific design feature! -- and not one that I can recall seeing in any other 4X game.  (Someone will probably prove me wrong; by coming up with a counter-example ... but certainly, it is not a common design feature.)   It is easy for those of us who have been following the Beta for 6 or 7 months, to take this kind of feature for granted; but really, this is one of those great executions, of a great idea, that lifts E:FE above the common run of more typical 4X or TBS games.  

This is just one example of why E:FE is such a great game.             

 

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October 18, 2012 10:26:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Looking great!

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October 18, 2012 10:30:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Now that the balance is more stable, I hope the core units get some touching up. I think some of their trait choices and lack of any trait choices is hurting their chance to succeed. I can't think of a melee unit that doesn't need Charge for instance. Even Iron Golems need this to work as a respectable tank.

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October 18, 2012 10:36:02 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yes, I agree!  Devs, could you please go over the core units?

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October 19, 2012 12:54:11 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I REALLY wish you would make the Pariden buffing phase happen all at once... it makes late game battles very tedious.

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October 19, 2012 2:10:07 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting jmccrea,
Awesome work on this but im curious about HEAT.  After playing Civ 5 and noticing heat issues on my gaming laptop that cost me 3k...Im wondering what you have noticed on your rigs running this.  I know there's a difference between laptops and desktops, but after Civ 5, im always trying to be aware of heat now.  I still cant entirely figure out why that game runs so hot, but just wondering if you guys have noticed anything with the latest version of FE?  Im not trying to turn this into a troll thread on Civ 5(which i love btw), im just curious if the more threads and more work the computer does if your heat increases as well and if you have noticed anything.  I would guess from most other companies that the instant answer would be "No heat problems have ever been documented" or whatnot.  Stardock certainly isnt that way, so I know I can get a honest answer from them.

I cannot say in your case, but my laptop had issues from the start when it initially shipped.  A few Bios and vBios later it's all good.  When it shipped with the older bios it overclocked the gpu faster than it needed to.  A quick google search or checking out the manufacturers forums can give you an indication whether something like this could be the case for you too. 

I can play for hours and my machine barely gets warm.  I have noticed the time per turn advantage and it is really awesome.  

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October 19, 2012 2:45:38 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Thanks Supreme Shotgun...ill check into that then and see what happens.  If you had heat issues and this made it go away thats helpful to know!

 

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October 19, 2012 8:42:12 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Wow Brad you suck as a strategist and tactician. lol You should have attacked that town with another force before going in with your sovereign goup. It seems this strategy works in every other game I play as I march around the map with a pre-assault group and then the assault group. The pre-assault group whittles them down and the main group finishes them. As one or the other of the two groups loses units I usually have a line of reinforcements coming up from behind to replenish them. Easily works in the Total War games.

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October 19, 2012 8:49:15 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting jmccrea,
Awesome work on this but im curious about HEAT.  After playing Civ 5 and noticing heat issues on my gaming laptop that cost me 3k...Im wondering what you have noticed on your rigs running this.  I know there's a difference between laptops and desktops, but after Civ 5, im always trying to be aware of heat now.  I still cant entirely figure out why that game runs so hot, but just wondering if you guys have noticed anything with the latest version of FE?  Im not trying to turn this into a troll thread on Civ 5(which i love btw), im just curious if the more threads and more work the computer does if your heat increases as well and if you have noticed anything.  I would guess from most other companies that the instant answer would be "No heat problems have ever been documented" or whatnot.  Stardock certainly isnt that way, so I know I can get a honest answer from them.

I run my system with a window air conditioner blowing through the vents and side panel area. NOTHING can overheat myiiii system. Don't need no water cooling don't even really need fans except in extreme winter times and down here in the south there's not much of that. Last I checked with system running max power I had a 24-30 celcious range and in the old days I remember it would run in the 50's to 60's with just system fans cooling it.

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October 19, 2012 11:58:23 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting UmbralAngel,
I REALLY wish you would make the Pariden buffing phase happen all at once... it makes late game battles very tedious.

 

Second this.

 

Hope the 1st turn invisible spellbar, that happens a lot with this buff, is gone too.

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