We got our beta 4 milestone done a bit early so the team got Tuesday off to recuperate.
So tomorrow, with any luck, we should have beta 4 released. After that, the beta is closed to new users and we move towards release next month.
We’ve really had a blast working on Elemental. I was talking to some friends today on how Elemental is different (in terms of development) from other games and the big difference is, on a sequel or when using an established engine, if something isn’t done, you an always rely on what’s already there. By contrast, in Elemental, nothing is there.
The team is trying to get in the built in uploading and downloading system in Beta 4. I've told them it isn’t a requirement for beta 4 but they’re obsessed in letting people be able share their stuff. The campaign for Elemental was done entirely via modding tools so players will definitely be able to create their own cool stuff.
Some of my friends have been wanting to try the beta but I keep warning them off that beta 3C will cause them immense pain and agony. It’s just that bad. Really though, anyone who wants to “play the game early” should just wait until release. The beta program, as you guys have seen, is a real beta program. Utter pain right to the end. It’s been great though. To me, this is what it’s all about. How often do brand new games get made these days? And here, we’ve been able to interact with like minded gamers to put something really special together.
Tomorrow afternoon I’ll try to put together a bit of a mod tutuorial. The modding tools are reasonable solid but we don’t really have any documentation put together. So if you’re the type that needs docs to get going, you’re probably going to want to wait.
The big things modders should be able to do right away that could make a big difference to gameplay will be:
- Better “notable locations” (aka goodie huts). Ours are pretty boring. We’re going to do a lot more with this. But modders starting tmorrow should be able to start making their own.
- Better “quests”. Our quests in beta 4 are pretty boring. I plan to go over this in the next couple weeks but I think modders will soon freak out at what is possible with the quest system and shame us on this. Elemental could be described as an RPG engine made into a strategy game. :_
- Better factions. This will be something to see. We took customizing factions out of the game setup and while we won’t have a fancy UI in beta 4, to anyone technical, they should be able to do some pretty cool stuff. It’ll probably become increasingly obvious why we moved custom faction creation out out of game setup and into modding.
There’s so many good experiences in this beta to take to heart. If I had to name two things I would do differently I would have made stability and performance as two things we would have addressed earlier. Beta 4’s performance is close to release level. Stability is much better but we really need a couple more days to look at memory management.
I have to say, we’ve had so much fun on this project. Elemental is something we’ll be working on for years to come and we’re excited to watch it grow with the community.