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....


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 ***
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).


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 10)
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on Aug 30, 2010

I agree with Mistwraithe. Especially Mana Regaining should be linked with a basic skill, maybe (Int + Ess)/20 or something. Or it might depend on the number of shards you control. Or a combination of some things, there could even be buildings supporting that. In any event, having effectively ONE point of Mana per turn isn't exactly doing the name of the game justice - after all it's called War of Magic.

on Aug 30, 2010


Quoting VermillionChaos, reply 127

If a Sovereign or a Champion is killed he should return to the capital after 10 turns with 1 HP and 1 Mana and it should not be the end of the faction.

Or, if the Sovereign is killed, his corpse is returned to the capital, and there the heir can do some type of ritual, or build a temple of resurrection, something that takes many turns, and while he is doing the ritual, temple, etc, the kingdom is in some type of revolt, even there can be pretenders to the crown, and we can have a civil war

on Aug 30, 2010



   First of all Its a wonderful game brought me back to my  younger days.  My machine is  a bit struggling to run the game buts its all good.  I really appreciate the efforts you guys put in the updates.  Its my first time to buy a stardock game and it will not be my last.  Great game, Great effort 2 out of 3 is not bad  

on Aug 30, 2010



Summoning must be done in a city that have a Summoning Circle
Summoning Circle can be researched from the Magic Tech tree
Summoning Circle requires at least one Crystal to be 'linked' to a city (within the city area of influence)
Can only summon creatures related to a 'linked' Crystal

Create a high level spell that can Teleport a Crystal to the area of influence of a city with a 'Mage's tower' (should be one per faction building)

I like this idea a lot. Unfortunately it nerfs down the ability of the magic system and makes it even less useful than it is now. This should only be done if the non-summoning spells are empowered a bit first.

Alternatively, I'd love to see this as a mod. You should make an individual post in the mod forum if you haven't done already so that this idea doesn't get lost

on Aug 30, 2010

Heh, I'd just like normalized damage ratings.

I think you could do this with Attack vs Defense AND Damage vs Resistance

that way, you can have crazy attack scores and normalized damage, or low attack scores and normalized damage.


basically, damage can be something sane like  5-10, while you can still have an "attack" score of 0-20.

also, some "or most" people could have a resistance score. Like, most people could have 0-2 resistance, and true bad-asses might have 0-5 resistance (or more)


I dunno, I just think battles would make more sense if these things happened.


So basically, Random Attack scores (as is), Random Defense scores (as is) ... Normalized/logical damage scores (new) ... and some people having a low/random resistance to mitigate damage (new)



And (here's the best part) spells could just be Damage vs Resistance.

I mean, I don't mind spells doing jack shit if its on the strategy map, but if im risking my neck on the Tactical map, they better be stronger (basically, spells as they are now might as well have 5 range and castable on the strategy map ... and just be stronger/more reliable on the tactical)

on Aug 30, 2010

Using the (current) logic of rings and amulets, I should be able to weild 100 staves to get an attack rating of 300.  And, I should be able to wear 50 suits of Leather to get a defense of 100.  They say you should wear layers in winter, right? 

on Aug 30, 2010

But if there's NO plan to provide one (because it's difficult to make, because it's too costly or what have you), then people, we DESERVE to know.

Truly random maps are defiantly in the pipeline. We figure there are around 80-100 man-hours left to get them up to speed (they were working pretty well at one point, but got messed up along the way, plus we need that stamp intergration, ways to ensure players dont start in blocked sections, etc.)

No fears, we're not ignore it...just trying to get some other items hammered out first.

In the pipeline in defiance of what?  Are there naysayers in the building? 

on Aug 30, 2010

The point system is dead how can you play 1,000,000 turns and get a 6 point loss.  The strategic spells are all low on the spell points per use and strategic spell can't be used when a freind is in the way a major flaw i beleive.  These are my dissappointments I have no other dissppointments I would say I am more satisfied then expected.   It can make a 12 hour night feel pretty rewarding other than lossing and getting 6 points. -Jeremy Sr.

on Aug 30, 2010

Such a nice engine you have, Stardock guys, here are some thoughts on making magic system more interesting (and sorry for my bad english .

+1 for MoM-style spellbooks: amount of spells in each School should depend on number of spellbooks picked in the beginning, magic schools should be pure elemental (say, Destruction = Fire, Alteration = Earth) or elements combination (Water + Air = Illusion). Moreover, making each spellbook to contain less spells (randomly defined at the game beginning, higher level spells are less likely than lesser ones) and giving it a distinct name (random names, as for cities&heirs) would allow to trade spellbooks like resources and champions or obtain them in quests. This way spellbooks will be much like Magic the Gathering booster packs . Again, looking at MtG side: it would be nice to see some counterspells.

Also, +1 for summoning circle (but allow summoning of lesser creatures in the field). Two other kinds of magical buildings seem very promising to me: magical towers (mana accumulators) and magical forges. First one (name it a 'Crystal Sphere' - perhaps, should be limited to 1 per faction) accumulates mana up to certain amount, so each channeler firstly depletes his own mana pool, and then takes mana from the Sphere. A channeler defending the city where Sphere is built will have almost unlimited mana (which makes such cities extremely hard to siege) - but this is ok as long as we can cut off nearly all his resources. Magical forge is the building which should allow magical items design. Yes, they should be designed (as the units), and not become available via Tech Tree advances. Maybe, Magic Tech level should limit amount of magical power and/or School alignment for these items.

Another idea about magic system seems very interesing, but less realistic (in terms of game balance): shards spell bonus should be not only number-based, but also distance-based. E.g., sorcerer casting a fireball in the tile adjacent to a Fire Shard could not only instantly burn to ashes entire army, but also himself due to intensity of Fire elemental powers near the Shard. This can be done via defining several zones of Shards power intensity, the maximum is 1-2 tiles surrounding the shard, the mininum intensity is 20 tiles and more (zone ranges are map size-based). This would force sorcerers to think twice when selecting a place for The Final Battle .

The idea on being unable to build troops wearing metal armor in cities without linked mines could add some depth to game strategies, but it contradicts with 2 things: caravans and global resource pool. I'll try to be more clear: caravans link the kingdom/empire with a net of roads, so the city without metal mine theoretically can receive metal by caravan. AFAIR, this approach was used in Civ III (don't know about Civ IV, haven't play): if we have an Oil resource, we can build tanks, for example, in each city that is connected via road or railroad to the city near this Oil. But here, in Elemental, we have a global resource pool, which doesn't work together with resource availability via roads. Still there is a solution: introduce a Warehouse building (yeah, let's add some logistics from economic simulators into a fantasy game . So, resources gathered near city go directly to its warehouses, then, we can create caravans (1 caravan per city limit is too hard), each will carry fixed amount of resources from one fixed town to another. Quantity of resource being transported each turn is based on a distance between cities and the caravan size (which also could be 1, 4, etc...). This way all existing caravans should be placed on their own screen, and should NOT respond to Tab cycling .

I consider first suggestion as almost necessary, others are interesting, but also very discussable.

on Aug 30, 2010

I think its time for a NEW JOURNAL...




on Aug 30, 2010

it will get better


Hopefully, before Civ V comes out. So far, I've had some fun but tons of grief with Elemental, and I have trouble seeing me come back to it once Uncle Sid delivers the goods.

on Aug 30, 2010

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)


And please add an option in the menu to put the LOD levels back to pre-1.05, where citizens didnt fade out so quickly (honestly that change didnt improve my fps much anyway, and just made the cities look dead from a normal zoom distance).
(look how gfx greedy we can be, at the SAME TIME as we whine about fps)

on Aug 30, 2010

Honestly I am not interested in CIV, kinda bored of the historical game. I'm sticking out with this game for the long haul, but at the moment am having difficulties enjoying it due to the performance problems. I hope they push out a fix for this soon.

on Aug 31, 2010

I was super hyped for Civ5, but i must say, after elemental's city build mechanic, i know i'll just wish Civ5 had the same "place your buildings freely" mechanic when i play it.

on Aug 31, 2010

One thing that frustrates me though, is the ultra slow and unchangeable mana regeneration rate, sigh.

Yes, this makes magic very unfun.  Give us more control over the mana regen rate through stats, buildings and/or level ups.  So far the only thing I found that effects it is a building that needs to be built in a level 5 city I believe.  That's just to long of a time with having only +1 mana regeneration.

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