A Small Update as I Regain my Bearings
Published on September 21, 2010 By ScottTykoski In Elemental Dev Journals


For those who didn’t know (and I don’t know if anyone cares) I’ve actually been out for the last two weeks, ‘expanding my dynasty’, so to speak (baby #2). It was a nice dose of reality coming off a pretty rough month - but you guys have been around the forums, so I wont churn that bucket of woes.

Instead, I’d like to take a fresh look at where we stand right now. While my time away didn’t provide the rest I would have liked, it did get me out into a state of mind where I could reflect on Elemental with a slightly clearer head...plus I played some ‘Legend of Zelda’ to get back to my roots

1. Tutorial
Elemental is a big game. I feel bad that we shrugged off a tutorial, but that’s what happens when you’re so close to a project. “How could someone NOT know what what 16x16 button does...” What can I say...we’re dumb. There are A LOT of ideas being tossed around about how to improve gameplay, AI, and performance, but no matter what we change, it’s obvious that a tutorial made now has a 100% chance of being obsolete once the major patches roll out. So opposed to putting in yet another feature that will need reworked, we’re putting that effort into feature implementation and bug fixes...so no tutorial yet. But it’s coming.

Zelda Sidenote: Speaking of games that need better hand-holding, why would the ‘Meat’, necessary to traverse the 7th dungeon, be sold in a store hidden in a tree that you have to burn down half way across the world?!  WHY?!?!?! At least now I have the internet, instead of bribing the kid at school who had ‘Nintendo Power’

2. Better-er Graphics
By giving the player full camera control, we’ve sacrificed the ability to ensure the game looks good at all times. In marketing terms, it’s WAY too easy to make a crappy looking screenshot in Elemental...but you get the right angle, the proper objects and a nice zoom and it looks pretty slick (IMHO). We have some ideas for v1.1 that will keep the full camera control that we love, but also ensure the game makes for an interesting composition a higher percentage of the time.

Zelda Sidenote: I really love the retro-graphics movement going on right now in the indie/casual gaming scene. Obviously we have our work cut out on getting Elemental up to speed, but I would love to do a simple, retro-themed Elemental game done in the style of those old Beta intros. Perhaps in a year I can revisit that idea

3. Multiplayer
We’ve seen a few folks jump into the internal-tests we’ve been running....we’re normally playing in the afternoon, so feel free to search us out. It tends to be the art team, and they tend to be a bit ‘smack-talk’ happy, but a good time to be had none-the-less.

Zelda Sidenote: Anyone play Secret of Mana for the SNES? A Zelda style dungeon crawler that allowed up to 3 friends to play co-op? Old-school multiplayer at it’s best.

4. Updates, Updates, and More Updates!
We’ve been served a healthy slice of humble pie with Elemental’s release, but now we’re lucky enough to have a chance to redeem our ‘baby’ (I’m glad actually babies don’t get a metacritic score). If you’re reading this, then you’re keeping tabs on Elemental as we continue to improve it post-release, and for your support and continued feedback we’re immensely grateful. Hopefully all the great ideas we’ve received will be digested, organized, implemented, and accumulate into several groundbreaking updates that reach the potential mentioned throughout the reviews.

Anyways, I just saw the newest poll, and couldn't agree more on how the numbers are falling. Magic and combat are high on our priority lists, so I’ll be excited as these get hammered out.

Time to head home and help out with baby...then it’s back to Hyrule for further ‘inspiration’

Comments (Page 2)
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on Sep 21, 2010

Congrats on the babby

on Sep 21, 2010


some good heavy duty Tool Tip Pop-Ups may help For sure...was watching some Civ5 gameplay and was in awe of their slick tooltips.  Definatly something worth steal...er....borrowing

There's no shame in borrowing, thats how innovation happens

If it's one thing Civ 5 does properly is giving the player information. It's so unobtrusive.

on Sep 21, 2010

Welcome Back, understood about the tutorial however possibly some good heavy duty Tool Tip Pop-Ups may help and may also be easier to update with new features.


Cheers; Snarl



I thought that free hero guy you get in the beginning gives some nice tips. That's sort of like the pop up tips your talking about. Not as robust as your suggesting though, I'm sure...but it's not like their isn't "some" help anyway.

Scratch that. I'm getting too close to being argumentative...tool tips would be further help. I do agree, for sure.

on Sep 21, 2010


So?  Maybe they changed their mind...do you want credit for it?  Maybe if you ask nice.

Where the !$#@ did I ask for credit? I was pointing it out because I was surprised since Brad seemed so against it originally.

on Sep 21, 2010

Stop at 2 kids!!!!

Having 2 kids leaves you and your wife in a man-on-man defense,  3 kids is a zone defense.

This means that the "best" behaved kid gets to do what they want.  "Best" is relative. If two of your kids are trying to set the house on fire and one is throwing cat poop on the walls, you have to live with cat poop on the walls.

(In all seriousness STOP AT TWO KIDS!!!!)

on Sep 21, 2010

Congrats with Product #2. One child is great, two children is super. Not sure about three haven't got there yet. BTW Don't expect #2 to be anything like #1. Which makes the sequel (baby 2) even more fun.

on Sep 21, 2010

Congrats on the new addition. I/we know you will redeem yourselves, so I plan to stick around and see where this takes us.  Welcome back.

on Sep 21, 2010

Scott, congrats on the new kido.  Kids are a blessing, but those new ones can sure suck out your energy!  Hopefully you can do some work from home so getting out of the home isn't such a big deal and you can be around to help with diapers, bath time, etc.

On the update front, I have every confidence you guys will make some great strides to improve on the good foundation already laid.  One thought- if you have some ideas you're tossing around, throw them out to the community.  You'll get the feedback and it may help you avoid some of the pitfalls from before.

on Sep 21, 2010

congratulations on your baby - I know it can't have been easy for you or your family especially, so close to the release of a major title (and given what followed).


And yeah... a metacritic score (or even a brady games guide!) would be based off the... pre-release version, no?  the 'internal beta' so to speak?  and yeah, anything based on that ultra sound is just not going to help (except the gender)

on Sep 21, 2010

Welcome back Scott!

You should get all the development team to play a game of Master of Magic and then rate Elemental as its "Spiritual successor" with it fresh in their mind.

on Sep 21, 2010

Congrats on Baby ... metacritic gives Boogie Baby a 7/10 with a potential to become a 9.5/10 

on Sep 21, 2010

what about bugs? It is still pre-beta.

on Sep 21, 2010

I'm one of the folks that was thrilled about this game and was an early adopter.  I've since got a refund and won't be following the elemental dev journals for awhile.  I'll be checking the journals again in about 6 months with the hopes of rebuying as things are fixed and take shape.  I've been a big supporter of SD, demigod, and elemental.

All of that said - thank you so much for all of the dev journals.  I really appreciate how you fellas at SD always try to keep the community in the loop, regardless of how much people vent and voice complaints.  Please keep up the dialog and keep working at it.  I wish you nothing but success and hope you turn elemental into something that people will still be playing 5 years from now and I hope that SD succeeds in the future. 

Froggie and Boogie - thanks for showing me that developers are quite human and willing to share what they are thinking about.  There's plenty of good and bad, but the degree of openness surely makes stardock unique.  Thanks again - I'm sure I'll be a future SD customer. 

edit - and of course - congrats on baby #2 - hopefully he/she has more essence than you and your wife and is OP

on Sep 22, 2010

Can I ask a really good question?  WHY IS FULL CAMERA CONTROL IMPORTANT?  Is StarCraft 2 hurt by not having "Full camera control"?

on Sep 22, 2010

Resources ... spread ... too ... thin ... I'd say y'all should worry about graphics after the fact of improving mechanics.

Heck, even UI after the fact of improving mechanics.


Mechanics + Stability (new stability fixes each time a new mechanic is introduced)

then UI

and then pretty graphics

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