As Elemental players know, I had been on Elemental since early this year. Then…Demigod was released and the online experience for that game has been a total cluster. So I had to “assign myself” to Demigod to figure out what the deal was and make sure it got fixed.
In my view, too many moving parts. I’m not a huge fan of multiplayer-centric games in the first place. I’m particularly not a fan of peer to peer multiplayer-centric games on the PC because on the PC, unlike on the console, the developer is stuck writing this stuff – or in Demigod’s case, the publisher had to go out and license stuff which turned out to be a disaster.
But now my time on Demigod is starting to come to an end – at least in terms of it dominating my life. I’m looking forward to working on a game that we’re both developing and publishing so I don’t have to take a beating for things I can’t really do anything about.
I had to assign both Cari and Jesse (our two top game developers) to Demigod to largely rewrite the multiplayer system. This will have an impact on Elemental’s schedule. Sorry. People paid good money for Demigod and you know me, I am not about assigning blame or caring whose fault something is so my attitude is that the problem had to be solved quickly.
They’re still on Demigod this week working with developer Gas Powered Games on a slew of new APIs that will let the game be expanded well into the future. Then they can get back to Elemental next week.
Demigod’s impact on Elemental
The good news is that because we ended up having to develop our own multiplayer module to help with Demigod, we can use that on Elemental. Now, to be crystal clear: Elemental is a single player centric game. It will have multiplayer but to be honest, I’m not willing to sacrifice a single feature of the game for multiplayer. So if multiplayer is your main thing, you might as well stay away from Elemental.
That said, here are a few things that multiplayer in Elemental will have:
1. Multiplayer games will be hosted by us. Period. No peer to peer. Not even hosted on the user’s box. Our servers. No ports, no proxies, nothing. We’re hosting it.
2. I’m killing off the bots concept. People hate them. I thought they were cool but they’re too much work only to be hated. So there won’t be artificial players.
3. We will support empires (clans), scheduled games, and group join from the start since those features will get added (by us) to Demigod.
Fewer moving parts
We are revisiting the way the economy works in Elemental to simplify it. There’s been some positive developments that I can’t talk about yet. The short version though is there will be likely be a lot lot lot more story to Elemental than anything we’ve done before. Each sand box game should feel like an epic story if we do it right. We’ll see.
I can say that Beta 0 is not going to happen in June now. We might be able to do an Alpha then but that will only go out to a very tiny number of people (maybe 100 tops). I’m reserving 10 places and the rest will come from the pre-order pool as a lottery with points given to those who have GalCiv II + Sins + Demigod. Beta 0 would likely be July at this point but I’ll know more at the end of the week.