Sometime tomorrow we expect to release Demigod v1.1. This is definitely the biggest update since the initial release of the game. Gas Powered Games has been burning the midnight oil to make a fantastic update!
The full highlights will be released tomorrow but here are a few things:
Team conceding will be in. Random demigod option is in. Updated AI is in. Reduced experience and gold from killing priests and angels is in. Heart of life has been nerfed. Tighter integration with the new online system is in for custom games.
Now, one of the things we read on the forums are suggestions on how to keep the community growing. Let me touch on that here a bit.
First off, since the connectivity issues have been largely resolved, the number of open games sitting around has dropped dramatically. I’ve seen people post that this means the game must be losing popularity.
Technically speaking, the popularity of a game has no bearing on the # of open games. The # of open games is a function of how long it takes to get a game going. Ideally, a person creates a custom game, it fills up and gets started as fast as possible.
The only change is that now that connectivity actually works right, people can set up games quickly whereas at launch, well, let’s charitably say it took longer to get a game set up…
We are going to put up a page that graphs out the online population so people know when the best times to play are.
What determines the success of a game online is how many people there are online to play with at a given time. And that number has steadily been going up – at least since connectivity got fixed.
The Road Map
As many of you know, I talk to Gas Powered Games every day. Now, I have seen it argued that game developers will release a game, put out a patch or two and then abandon it. I want to assure you that this is not the path for Demigod. We believe the game needs long-term love and care to keep it growing over time.
While we are pleased to have another sales hit on our hands, we recognize that Demigod is different from other games in that it has the potential to keep selling strongly into the long-term.
This past week we nailed down with Gas Powered Games the plans for Demigod v1.2. The 3 big items are:
- Robust Replay support.
- Native modding support.
- Clan support.
We are also discussing passionately the development of more Demigods. GPG has come up with a really cool modding system for Demigod that would practically make mods be very similar to game options in game. It looks pretty sweet.
My 2 cents
Now, speaking just for myself, not even for Stardock here just my 2 cents as a gamer on what Demigod needs to keep growing. If I were the “god” of Demgiod and budget was no concern, this is what we’d see:
- New Demigod released every 60 days
- New map released every 60 days
- New favor items added every 30 days
- Pantheon and Skirmish experience enhanced to let players choose team joins
- Pantheon and skirmish would center around a particular player and add people to that joined game.
- Maps that support 1 on 1 games.
- Players could select the team size preference in pantheon/skirmish games (from 1 to 5 players).
- Ability to grab a group of friends or clan members to get into a game from outside the game.
- Native voice over IP.
- Significant game play enhancements every 90 days (i.e. some new game element).
- A robust way to control who you play with when you’re playing non-competitively.
- Continual evolution of balance and game play.
Those are the kinds of things I’d like to see. But budgets are finite of course and resources are more finite still. Sometimes there is “the guy” who is critical to make something happen but he’s not available to do X right now. I can tell ya, only a network administrator could even begin to adequately explain what mountains had to be moved in order for us to step in and build, largely from scratch, in 30 days a whole new multiplayer connectivity system that handles direct connect, NAT connect, and international proxy hosting on the fly. We had to basically take our top developers from across all projects and put them on this project. That is a feat that can’t be easily duplicated (and it was why I was so directly involved because I had to “steal” core developers from Impulse, Object Desktop, WindowBlinds, and Elemental to make it happen).
So one of the things to bear in mind is that recognizing what needs to be done and being able to do it are often two different things. If sales continue as strongly as they are now, I think we’ll be able to do most of what’s listed up there but only time will tell. Like I said, I’m just speaking for myself and looking at Demigod in a vacuum. But you can rest assured that we’ll do as many of them as we can and push for GPG to get in as many as they can get in or let us take care of it for them. It’s not as straight forward as it seems though.
I’m a big believer in treating games as assets. They can live long into the future. I played Total Annihilation for years after it was released. I’m sure there are people here who are like me in that way. Heck, I still code on Galactic Civilizations II’s AI on occasion for enjoyment.
So anyway, version v1.1 is about 24 hours away from release. We’re very excited to see how people like it and we hope it’s the first of many updates.