So as some of you know, Demigod v1.2 is in private beta. On other games that we have published, such betas have been available to the public but with Demigod, this tends to split the MP community.
So here is where things are at:
Replays. These basically work but need some polish and some additional bug fixing. We are going to try to release this feature along with accumulated fixes and tweaks in the next few days.
Now, before I go further I want to point out that I get estimates from the teams and I relay them to you. Some people in the community take a missed date as me “lying”. We’re not lying, we’re simply trying our best relay to players what we’ve been told.
Modding. Modding is another feature that is pretty far along. The next update is likely to be called v1.19 and won’t include the modding because more polish and security needs to be added to the system prior to it being made available to the public.
Balance, Fixes, etc. I’m not as up on what’s happening on that end. Some people on the forums say the game “crashes” on them a lot. The big question we have is what is different about those machines versus everyone else’s? I play every day online and it doesn’t crash for me (i.e. the infamous “works on my machine”). Luckily, plenty of users have sent us crash reports and so a lot of work has gone into addressing this. With any luck, the next update will include these fixes.
The New Demigods
The two new free Demigods are being worked on. The art assets appear done but they still have to be scripted, tested, and hooked up. I had hoped to see these by the end of August in time for PAX but as with many things in game development, things can take longer than expected.
Ready to Play
The beta for this is rolling out today. It’s going to a select group of beta testers first and will expand from there was we gauge the robustness of the backend once it’s out in the wild. This will be a big deal for Demigod players since there’s hundreds of thousands of Demigod players out there but getting them together in a fun experience online with what is in the game is not always as easy as we’d like.
Future of Journal entries
I don’t plan to stop making journal entries but I do plan to stop letting people comment on them. Simply put, it’s too aggravating dealing with trolls so it was either blocking comments or just not creating journals. The phrase “don’t shoot the messenger” can only be said so many times.
There are people out there, particularly from certain competitive communities, that clearly have a different vision of what Demigod is or should be (i.e. a clone of some other game). As someone who plays (and gets crushed) online every day, I love Demigod. It’s a great game. It works well, it’s well balanced and I know most people feel this way too. But it’s not for everyone. There are other games that are much better suited for hard core competition than Demigod.
We had much the same issues with Sins of a Solar Empire. If you read the forums at certain points, you would think that the fact that Sins of a Solar Empire isn’t designed for the “competitive scene” somehow meant the game was doomed. I can also say, right now, that those people who are hoping Elemental will be targeting the competitive scene will be disappointed as well. Our job is to make games that are FUN to play in their own right. In that, Demigod succeeds, spectacularly.
There are few games out there that you can get a game going on the LAN with a bunch of buddies and be able to get them up to speed in a short amount of time. I.e. the counterstrike of MP. It was never our intent to have Demigod be a game that would require an hour or more of time to show people the basics of the game. The whole point is that it’s fun within minutes of sitting down and playing it. The skill (as I’ve learned the hard way online <g>) is subtle. Knowing which parts of a given arena to control or how to “build” your Demigod for a particular situation or a particular team.
Future of the Demigod forums
One of the things we’re going to become more assertive about is behavior on the forums. We have an access group called “visitor”. People with that access cannot post or comment. Those users aren’t “banned” they simply don’t get to participate on the forums.
One of the most commonly requested things we got at PAX from Demigod players was that we get rid of the toxic users on the forums more aggressively. This is something I agree with and so we’ll be more vigorously policing the forums. If you are angry at the world or can’t control your hatred of another person, the game, GPG, Stardock, ducks, or whatever there are plenty of forums out there that will cater to that but not our forums.
The Future of Demigod itself
We’ve said this before but it’s worth saying again, from Stardock and GPG’s perspective, Demigod is a long-term thing for us. We’re very happy with the game and we plan to support it and enhance it for the long term. The pacing of its evolution may not always be to the liking of some users but as we develop new things for other games, we’ll find ways to bring it back to Demigod as long as we think there’s sufficient demand for it. Things like Clan Wars and the like will make their way in from Elemental or other projects (for example) as long as people still want them.
But at the same time, we reserve the right to alter course based on our perception of what people want. So if the consensus of the community is they want feature X then we might do feature X and put feature Y on the back burner (which is what happened explicitly with clan wars versus modding). I’ve seen users say “They promised feature Y!!! Where is it?” without taking into consideration that feature X came up as a higher demand feature and was given priority.
In the meantime, I’ll see you guys online. I have games up nearly every night now as “Frogboy’s 3 on 3 fun!”. Feel free to join me. I only win 40% of the time so I’m not that good but it is almost always a lot of fun for all.