If you’ve been through Stardock betas, none of what I’m going to say is going to be news to you.
But for everyone else…
Most companies – the smart ones anyway – carefully control the message. You won’t see early screenshots or quick sketches shown to the public of most games because internally, most games change dramatically during their development.
We game developers like to give the impression that we have the MASTER DESIGN from the start.
We know what we’re doing.
From the start.
Many well known games that seem genius today actually started out very different. But gamers don’t know that.
But I’m not a game designer. Not really.
I’m a gamer who happens to make games. That’s how most of us at Stardock feel. We are GAMERS first.
Our games are not a work of art or a craft or even a job.
They’re games designed to be fun and we’ll do whatever we have to do to make sure they’re fun.
With Elemental, we have an unprecedented budget (for us) to work with.
- We did Galactic Civilizations II with 3 programmers and 2 artists in 18 months.
- We did The Political Machine 2008 with 1 artist, 2 developers in 6 months.
- With Elemental, we have 8 developers and 7 artists.
Still small but it’s really not but we can do a lot with relatively few people.
And for those who are interested in seeing how the game industry those reading these journals can see the iterative process of how things are done – including when we change our minds on things.
It also means we’ll be very open about what games we like and get influences from.
Here are some great games we play and can look at for ideas for instance:
Let’s see if you guys can guess all these games from their screenshots:
The Soul of a game
One of our major goals for Elemental is to ensure the game has a soul. What I mean by this is that we don’t want everything abstracted to the point where the player doesn’t feel like they’re IN the game. That’s one of the reasons why we’re not having Orcs and Elves in the game. If someone else wants to make those fantasy races, that’s fine. But we want Elemental to have a very definitive game world that it is in that brings the player into the game’s world. Then, later, if they want, they can add in their own orcs and elves and what not into the game.
But we don’t want to just have a bunch of different factions and races that are simply generic and just different stats. That was a problem in Galactic Civilizations that I don’t think was really solved until Twilight of the Arnor which finally gave each race its own unique technology tree.
In Elemental, I just think there’s so much more possible because we have the luxury of making a game with you guys instead of simply foisting a game on the public. There’s just too much of an opportunity here to make something that’s new but brings forward some of the best elements from games we all have played and loved.