A Quick Journal before we sleep for 48 hours straight...
Published on August 27, 2010 By ScottTykoski In Elemental Dev Journals

So launch week has come and gone. It’s certainly been...exciting?  Anxiety producing? Wonderful? Crazy exausting? All the above? 

Brad is currently taking some much deserved time off with his family, and, with v1.06 out the door, the team is about to do the same. We’ll be back Monday, but before then, I wanted to bring everyone up to speed on what we’re working on....

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1. The Mega Feedback List
We love feedback . Good, bad, ugly, whatever...this is as much your game as it is ours, so it’s with great excitement that we visit countless forums, lurking in the shadows as Elemental is discussed. Hear a muffled cough as you discuss the magic system on forums.penny-arcade.com? Just us   No reason to be afraid.

As suggestions/complaints/bugs are posted, anywhere, they get cobbled into a master feedback spreadsheet with a column called “Count”. The more an Issue is complained or talked about about, the higher it climb on the list, giving a better view on how the entire WORLD feels about the game..it makes me feel very Adrian Veidt.

Current major issues being addressed internally...
- Magic System Numbers (currently rolling 0-x, meaning high level spells missing)
- City management screen
- Cursor/Selection Funkiness in Tactical Battles
- More informative UI across the board
- More Maps
- Overall balance (overpowered late game units, overpowered peasants, etc)

2. Performance Issues
People with awesome rigs are getting crummy performance. This is the next major ‘bug’ on our list, and we’ve made some major headway. Most of the issue lies with the LOD on zoom technology that fades things out as a zoom percentage is reached. As overall zoom range, specific LOD levels, and new tile diesigns are tweaked and added, the game seems to be displaying many objects, in general, when zoomed out. Code is being tweaked to make batching faster and tile designs are being tweaked to simplify better as the user zooms out...

Debug Message:  *** TD Details: F_Town_02 ***
Closest:0
Closer:0
Close:19
Mid:44
Far:14
Farther:3
Farthest:17
Total Objects:97

The fallen Town, for instance, clocks in at 97 objects, many of these being dupes that get batched together. Unfortunately, we don’t start fading out objects until the ‘Mid’ zoom level...right before the cloth map is enabled (at its default value), so even zoomed out pretty far we’re still displaying all 97 objects when we could probably get away with 40-50.

So while there’s no ‘silver bullet’, improvements across these areas of the LOD system should help performance issues considerably.

Oh, wait, Jesse just fixed some code and is now seeing a 10-20 fps boost...so apparently there WAS a silver bullet...and apparently he’s saving the details for his own change log    But good news, regardless! (jesse: so hovering over a city that used to give me 25fps now gives me 42-43)


3. AI Prep
Brad may be off the grid, but I can only imagine the AI plans he’ll come back with. To that end, we’re going to be cleaning code to make it easier for him to access specific circumstances that the AI can intelligently react to (how many times have you gone back on peace treaties, how many wars have you started, how many wars have you successfully fought back against, etc).


4. Playing the Game and Brainstorming for the Future
This is what I’m most looking forward to. We’ve been in 100% ‘make the game’ mode, giving us no time to enjoy our creation (I’ve snuck in a few hours, but always feel guilty about it). Now that we have time to play, we also have time to brainstorm what WE want to put into the game. Many times this will synch up with what you guys want, but it’s amazing what the team will do, even in their free-time, to make the game better (my ‘wouldn’t it be cool’ feature is a spell that locks escape routes, making a given T.Battle a fight to the finish).


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So that’s where we are, three days after release. There are other issues being addressed - we’re on the lookout for future Win7 64bit ATI issues, and balance/pacing will remain high on our priority lists, but more than anything, we look forward to hearing what you guys have to say about the game....for good or ill...in the weeks and months to come!

Now, seriously, time for bed.


Comments (Page 1)
on Aug 27, 2010

it will get better

on Aug 27, 2010

Pantasd
it will get better

I have no doubt on that.

on Aug 27, 2010

Truthfuly the only only thing i really would like to see is the unit creator for monsters and such. Armor plated dragons and deamon wielding swords would be myth and legend. Maybe research how to make them in spell, proper facilities in war, materials in conquest, and of course diplomacy is the creature themself.

Ir be able to... be other 'races' but i know thats more of a mod. Being dragon hehe. drake offspring...

on Aug 27, 2010

As suggestions/complaints/bugs are posted, anywhere, they get cobbled into a master feedback spreadsheet with a column called “Count”. The more an Issue is complained or talked about about, the higher it climb on the list, giving a better view on how the entire WORLD feels about the game..it makes me feel very Adrian Veidt.
There you go, giving some people reasons to spam.

 

 

Have a nice (and relaxed) weekend!

on Aug 27, 2010

Excellent update, I am one who will be making my purchase very soon

on Aug 27, 2010


.... but it’s amazing what the team will do, even in their free-time, to make the game better (my ‘wouldn’t it be cool’ feature is a spell that locks escape routes, making a given T.Battle a fight to the finish).

That's gotta be a spell called Thunderdome

on Aug 27, 2010

Thanks for the update, Boogie-san Get some rest this weekend, you guys have done awesome with patches this week!

on Aug 27, 2010

It's good to see that the team is constantly working on making this better; because to be honest, it needs a lot of work (i.e. game breaking bugs that are still affecting me). I think it's good you're putting bugs and such first on your list, but with the constant overarching complaints about fundamental game issues, this should never be far from your minds. There's key issues in the magic, tactical battles, overall fun factor in the game that need to be addressed. But I have faith that with time you guys will make this a solid game worthy of being on every strategy fan's list of games to play.

Also I think it's pretty amazing that THIS much work has already been put into this game in 3 days; that's pretty outstanding for support after release.

on Aug 27, 2010

THIS is the kind of post I love from Stardock!!!

WTG guys! Can't wait!! (Make it quick, eh? lol)

on Aug 27, 2010

Is multi-player going to be available next week?

on Aug 27, 2010

Thank you for keeping us up to date! Get some sleep.  Look forward to seeing what next week brings.

on Aug 27, 2010

Thanks for the update.

There is one thing that I hope you guys keep in mind while making changes to the game (this was brought up by a poster in a thread about unit customization being 'toothless'). There needs to be an overarching game plan to Elemental. Right now the game is simply a collection of neat features that don't really interact with one another.

What I suggest you do is take a sheet of paper and just write about the game. Write a guide on how a player is supposed to 'win' a match. Define the early game, middle game and late game. List and describe what kind of things a player should be doing at each stage. What technologies should a player focus on in the early game? What about a bit later? What should prompt a player to switch from researching the civilization techs to adventure /military/magic/diplomacy techs? When should a player start making forward observers instead of regular observers? When does a player need to build a harbor? When should a player be making their second city? What strategic opportunities is the player presented with by taking a second/third/etc... city earlier than his opponent? When should the player research the military armour and weapon techs as opposed to the magic weapon techs?

 

When you are thinking of and answering these questions try to have a vision, or direction for the game. Do not make it 'open-ended', it just makes it harder for you to balance things and defeats the whole purpose of this exercise.

 

Good luck.

on Aug 27, 2010

on Aug 27, 2010

@ marlowwe

If I had to take a guess (and my psyche won't let me go without making one), I would say those questions will get asked and answered naturally as the AI starts to come "alive" in the post release updates.

on Aug 27, 2010

 

 

SD, thank you for making open ended games that have more than one  strategy, and more than one way to win, other than one certain way with a specific time to build harbors, and the choice to pursue conquest or diplomacy or technology, with complete control over your empire and units. Please continue to add more options for diversification and continue to refine the viability of multiple strategies and abilities, allowing for effective open endedness, like you did in Gal Civ 2.

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