Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Published on July 30, 2010 By Draginol In Elemental Dev Journals

As we move towards release many of the assets in the beta make their exit. We shall miss them (well, maybe not).

The finished quests start to get put into place, the finalized notable locations begin to be inserted and the unreleased spell books and special abilities start to get implemented.

The beta program has largely been about testing out systems and mechanics. Some mechanics, like the per city level building limiter, didn’t survive. Others, like influence based resource control, replaced them.

Memory Problems

The area we need the most help on right now has to do with out of memory issues. This is something we’re very concerned about because it’s not easily repeatable (but very easy for those who run into it).  So we’ll be asking users who run out of memory to get us their debug.err and their saved games so we can look at it. It could be as simple as some building in the game taking up some crazy amount.  It shouldn’t be hard to track down something that eats up over 100 megabytes per turn (or so you’d think anyway).

The other area we’d like to hear from you are all your ideas, suggestions and wish lists.  We want to make sure Elemental is something really special on day 1 as well as set the game on the path to evolving over time.

New Quests

One of the types of quests that I’m enjoying are the ones where you have to collect various items and bring them back to someone to get them made into a special item.  I’m looking at adding the ability to trade these items between players so if the AI players have found Midnight Stones (for instance) and you need one more to get the boots of eternal dodging then you can trade with them for that midnight stone (and vice versa if they need something the AI can come to you and try to trade for it).

Special Abilities

Here’s a sampling of some of the special abilities we’re putting in:

Poison Shot
Tangled Web
Deadly Bite
Rain of Stone
Flame Strike
Savage Strike
Drowning Strike
Crushing Blow
Searing Attack
Agonizing Fear

But if you have your own special abilities you’d like to see, go ahead and post them and explain what they do. Keep in mind, the more convoluted they are, the less likely they are to go in (e.g. Moonlit Dance – if full moon, target unit has a chance of doing a special dance that causes adjacent units to mimic dance draining them of their will to live if they have an intelligence less than 8 but greater than 4).

Anyway, we’re pleased with how the game is turning out. The only thing we’re sweating right now really is the out of memory issue.

Comments (Page 3)
on Jul 30, 2010

Yeah Special Abilities!

I really hope access to some special abilities are tied to regular unit design and unit scaling. 

Special Abliities tied to unit designg and training:

Shield Wall- increase defense to arrows and some ranged magic

Set Spear-increase damage if recieved a charge attack

Flaming Arrows - does fire damage and may set a tile on fire

Taunt -Target enemy charges defending enemy, used to break enemy formation and to draw enemy into traps, set spears etc. 

Set trap/Snare -spike for damage, poison for a DOT, snare to reduce movement

Charge- damgage bonus based on tiles moved

Climb - ability to move up and over walls, mountain, ruins and other tactical map features

Hide/Ambush- unit can not be seen except by adjacent enemy, free attack with damage bonus if enemy attempt to move onto or through.  Can be useful on both tactical battles or strategic map.

Siegeweapons - squads should be able to equip balistas, catapults and trebuchet to attack with.

Beserk Rage- unit charges and attacks mindlessly with bonus damage but player loses control of unit.

Scouting- increase visiliity on strategic map

Assess Enemy - ability to assess stats of enemy units like strength defense and hitpoints

Knockback - unit must have charge first, Enemy unit succussfully struck moves back a tile.  Used to break enemy formation and allow your fast units to get in rear arreas to attack archers, seige weapons and casters.

Reach- units with long polearms may attack without retaliation

First strike- get your couter attack in before the enemy even reaches you!

Disarm-target affected must use next attack to recover weapons instead

Sunder-Target defense is lowered.



Special abilities tied to equipment:

Armor of Fire - fire ressitance and damage shield --like immolate above.  High level versions could even gain health from exposure to fire.  Imagine some infantry equiped with these, chargeing into enemy ranks and then you showing the area with fireballs and firestorms!

Armor of Ice - cold resistance. Higher level version could reflect some magical attacks.

Armor of Wind- increased defense to range attacks, more powerful versions could allow flight

Armor of Earth - increase defense to movement impeding attacks and terrrain, increase resistance to lightning.

Weapons with a variety of elemental damage types and poisons.

Secondary Weapon - units with two weapons will use which everone is more effective against the target, and have a back up weapon to deal with warp wood, rust, sunder and disarm attacks.



I could spend all day thinking of this stuff!

on Jul 30, 2010

Dang, I like goodie huts, maybe just fewer of them. Civ's implementation works. Placed at the beginning and they don't respawn.

Shame to hear about the goodie huts. To be honest, most of my fun in Civilization came from exploring for goodie huts. I rarely played a game past 1000 AD.

on Jul 30, 2010

Not in beta but have read many posts and watched many vids on elemental:

Wish list would include:

Sovereign not being able to spam magic spells in combat as I have read in another post as this would seems to make tatical battles a little too easy (Do'nt know if this has changed) But something like casting one spell per tatical turn would seem more appropiate?

Wandering Monsters and mobs to have agenda of their own.

Main concern is a good A.I especially in tatical battles I like to feel Im entering a battles with a serious chance of defeat and not that Im entering combat just to go through the motions again. On this note battles that scale with you whether that would be your sovereigns level /your euipped items/ or just how far you have progressed and an A.I that can calculate all these factors and send appropiate obstacles for you to overcome against you. Too many games have you in so called God mode towards the end of the game with no challenges left but to plod along boringly to the end.


Set armour pieces to find and accumalate? Nightshade Plate, Summoners Garb, Thunder walker armour that sort of thing..Too wowish...maybe?

Finally Lots of big bad a*** boss mobs to battle


***Aditional*** Read somewhere that summoned monsters require gold to maintain, would it not be better to deplete a certain amount of mana each turn instead of gold for summoned minions?


Special abilities to include:


Think klaxton 449 already mentioned this one but "Charm" for me would be a must, nothing like getting some of the enemy units to fight against himself for a number of turns^^


One of my Own: Dopllerganger, clone one of your units so that a double appears and fights along side the original for a number of set turns or for the duration of that battle...damn just saw someone mentioned shapechanger above! Oh well great minds and all that






on Jul 30, 2010

GC2 suffered from too many goodie huts IMO.


You need a few, but they should require adventuring techs, or adventurers to see.


I agree there, or at least a setting that's more than on/off. 


I would also like a resources setting, from little to abundant. Heck anything that spawns on a map should have these settings imo, unless it's hard coded into the map.

on Jul 30, 2010


Sovereign not being able to spam magic spells in combat as I have read in another post as this would seems to make tatical battles a little too easy (Do'nt know if this has changed) But something like casting one spell per tatical turn would seem more appropiate?

Trust me... that is not at all how magic is working in B4... with a 30 int sovereign I have had Melting touch(up to 2xInt damage), fail to kill a 10 hp unit... hit for bloody 5.

on Jul 30, 2010

My thoughts:


Spells still need some work (I like the idea of one per tactical turn, maybe need some rebalancing then too of course.).


No more Goodie huts. No more Goodie... huts. Now. I spy a Major, major game-breaking problem with this. Say I am playing "Emperor Magnus Jeremiah Scott V, Earl of Cheese". I start out near No gold resource. I therefore get a piffling 0.6 gold per turn or something. I find a gold resource. I want to fund a city. But wait! I can't afford to fund a city! Where can i get the money? Goodie huts? No! From other players? Pah! They are not the fools. They shall leave me to die. So i either resign from the game or die a slow and painful goldless death of boredom and weakness.


Also, quests such as 'you must escort this chap to his estate'. I strongly feel if you are going to keep these, there should be scripted encounters. And at Least two different possibilites for 'that encounter', picked by a rng.


Possibiliy 1: The famed 'Warlock Edward Saxonite' finally catches up to your escort. He is his arch-enemy. You must fight him or surrender the escort.

I fight) Two options now.

I win. The chap i was escorting turns out to be an arch-criminal. I gain a little gold but lose diplomatic capital.

I win. The chap turns out to be uber rich. I gain heaps of gold at no cost.


I surrender him) Two options Now.

The Warlock thanks me and gives me the powerful "Staff of Rupert and the Strawberries."

The Warlock laughs, kills my escort and uses his corpse to summon "Steve, the spiffing zombie of doom". They both now attack my pitifully naive hero.


Possibility two:

You arrive at the estate. Something seems wrong. Your so-called 'escort' turns into a moustached vampire-zombie of doom.  He attacks your poor wee hero. If you defeat him you find a scroll on his body. It gives you the spell "summon fledgling vampire-zombie".


I think multi-path player-choice quests are the only way to go personally, unless you have something really rather interesting to offer in a quest. In terms of Interesting quest i mean, not reward.



on Jul 30, 2010

yeah, the spells need a minimum damage.  i have hit stuff for 0, 2 times in a row.

on Jul 30, 2010


Trust me... that is not at all how magic is working in B4... with a 30 int sovereign I have had Melting touch(up to 2xInt damage), fail to kill a 10 hp unit... hit for bloody 5.


this is a problem of the actual combat system


maybe ill make a post on this in the future but i dont like this much high RNG


basically a spell, ANY spellcan go from 0 to N

this is too much random, i hate it


there should be a small gap into spell dmg

on Jul 30, 2010

Trust me... that is not at all how magic is working in B4... with a 30 int sovereign I have had Melting touch(up to 2xInt damage), fail to kill a 10 hp unit... hit for bloody 5.


Ouch...was that due to the units resistances, or do spells have a roll of the dice luck factor associated with them?


**Aditional** Posted this as the above poster answered my question, the spells damage seem a bit too random then, wouldnt mind if they were based on the targets resistances for instance a fire spell only doing 10% dmg against a fire orientated/resistant (not immune) type creature.

on Jul 30, 2010

Knockback  Units attacked by this unit are knocked back a tile.

Explosive.  Unit damages units in surrounding tiles when it is killed.

Tactician.  Friendly units in adjacent tiles get attack/defense bonus.

Elemental resistance/immunity, or to particular slashing/bludgeoning/piercing damage weapon ty (half damage/immune to damage type X)

Vulnerabilities; eg fragile takes extra damage from bludgeoning, flammable takes extra damage from fire damage, cold-blooded takes extra damage from ice damage.

Incorporeal Nomagical attacks do at most 1 damage.  (Immunity is too strong).

Animator.  Creates a weak skeleton unit each tactical combat turn. Or:

Reanimator.  Creates a weak skeleton on the map each time a unit dies (or each time a friendly unit dies).

Blink/teleport  Can move to any tile on the tactical map each turn.  [Either have this take up all its moves, which might be too weak, or all but 1 move.]

Sunder; damages opponent's weapon or armor when it strikes.

Slow reload; can only fire every second turn [Useful trait for balancing powerful siege units]

Inaccurate; you choose target tile for firing a projectile, but there is a chance it hit adjacent tiles instead, or hits the target and then bounces [think tabletop Warhammer]

Bravery; bonus against units that are stronger than it. 

Gargantuan; takes up 2 or 4 tiles.

Burrowing; goes under ground, at start of next turn pops up in a target tile.

Trail of ice/dust/flame Changes the terrain type to tundra/desert/lava as the unit walks around the map (think age of wonders)

Forestkin; attack/defesnse bonus in forests

Icekin; bonus in tundra

etc. for other terrain

Prospector.  Can prospect on a tile; small chance of discovering a resource.   [But might be too boring/ MM intensive.]

on Jul 30, 2010

How about,

Eject - chance to throw an enemy unit out of the battle.  It wouldn't kill it, just maybe move it to an adjacent map square to be dealt with later.

on Jul 30, 2010

yea ... probably smaller gaps (not too small, but maybe Int/2 <-> 2(Int)) instead of 0 <-> 2(Int)

although 0 - Int/ N is probably acceptable if N is larger than 1

0 - Z(Int) is probably not acceptable imho if Z is larger than 1

on Jul 30, 2010

equipment Alchemy Kit ==> ability Dragon Oil - A limited charge, limited range thrown area-effect fire attack


on Jul 30, 2010

yea ... probably smaller gaps (not too small, but maybe Int/2 <-> 2(Int)) instead of 0 <-> 2(Int)

although 0 - Int/ N is probably acceptable if N is larger than 1

0 - Z(Int) is probably not acceptable imho if Z is larger than 1

A more adroit way would be for them to add the different armor types Frogboy talked about (i.e. Leather would have defense and armor against crushing/lightning/ice, but 0 or - against fire/piercing.

Then you could have certain spells with wider variances such as [Int/3 to Int*2] for say 'Thunderstrike' and more constant spells like Icebolt doing [Int*.66 to Int*1.33]

on Jul 30, 2010

Well yea ... I was just giving an example of a possible average.

If you have damage range as a variable, then some spells may become more attractive on virtue of simply being more consistent ... even if they have a lower max-damage