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 4)
on Jul 30, 2010

I like scooters's burrowing and Terrain bonus creature types!

I can imagine some badass dessert worm with both of those.

and ofcourse all the ones the same as mine!

I also like you starting to talk about weakness/vulnerbilities that some units may have.  I particullary see these being associated with some equipment, for example;

Short Sword of Vamprism- unit is healed for all damage it deals through melee, unit takes double damage from holy spells.

on Jul 30, 2010

We need exposes!


Expose to piercing

Expose to slashing

Expose to Crushing

Expose to (Insert elemental damage here)


How about stealth?

Units would be invisible depending on terrain and/or distance to enemy.


Death Strike - (Killing strike raises the enemy as a zombie or skeleton)

Arrow Fend - Unit with shield equipped has a low chance of getting hit by arrows


Also, Damage over time spells

Poison over time, other damage types over time: piercing, crushing, cold etc






on Jul 30, 2010

Mana Collector: Expend some multiple of mana (2x, 3x?) to store one additional mana over the spellcaster's Essence. (Trait could apply to both units and items?)

on Jul 30, 2010

Push - Knock the target back one or two tiles

Charge - Pass through the target while attacking, with a chance to knock him back

Trap(s) - Set or hide a stationary trap on the battlefield, which goes off when enemy enters that tile

Freeze - Turn liquid on map into solid ice, freezing units on that tile (may also occur due to ice magic)

Melt - Turn solid ice on map into liquid, submerging units on that tile (may also occur due to fire magic)

Wild Growth - Multiple variations:  thorn bushes that sting, vines that entangle, trees that obstruct

on Jul 30, 2010


This is great. The game needs more "persistant" quests. The one I'm actually making now in spare time is from a Leatherworker to collect pelts from (wolves, currently) and turn them into leather armor for my Sovereign/Champions. Mostly proof-of-concept stuff while I figure out how stuff works. These kinds of quests are great.

Also please consider quests that are not guaranteed to appear. Quests that begin from a rare item drop from a rare monster, or quests that begin by finding a rare monster, or very rare adventuring tiles (it's not every game that you'd find a dragon lair or a portal to some demon dimension).

Furthermore, consider varying what can be awarded or required by quests. Quests that require a specific unit ("sacrifice this guy to get <x>"), quests that reward technologies (like a tile for wargs, but you have to do a quest to learn how to tame/ride them to unlock the research that allows you to build the improvement and harvest them for unit mounts), etc.


I'd like to see quests have a % chance to appear condition on them. That is I make a an "abandoned sorcery tower" tile and have a few of them appear on the map. Those could do things like this (I haven't had a chance to make quests yet due to work and Starcraft 2, so maybe it's already possible):

- 25% You find nothing

- 25% You find a tome

- 25% You find refugees using it as a makeshift refuge, who offer to join you and give you what they found

- 5% You find a map to an ancient buried ruin. Sending troops to dig it out (takes 10 turns) uncovers a reward.

- 5% You find a map to a cave with a treasure

- 5% You find a map with a cave to a treasure, but a dragon happens to already own that treasure

- 5% You find a tome with a powerful ritual. Spending essence and sacrificing a champion lets you complete the ritual, reanimating the champion as a Lich and giving him the "Raise Corpse" combat spell.

- 2.5% You find that the tower really contained a shard, and you gain control of the shard

- 2.5% The tower collapses when you try to enter it. Next time, check the stability of a crumbling ruin before wandering in! (You suffer a death and have to resurrect at town, but gain +1 wisdom for your experience.)



You could also make ones where every tile your sovereign moves over has a 0.01% chance to trigger something, or every city conquest has a 2% chance to start a quest (resistance leader that needs handling or some such).

on Jul 30, 2010

Mana Fury - point of mana Unit is below maximum, Int is raised by 1. (i.e. at 2/16 you have +14 int)

Revelation - Unit is able to see all equipment and abilities of enemy units.

Essence Flare - Unit converts HP into Mana at a Int/5 ratio

Destabilization - makes Target Defenses 0 for Con/10 turns.

Triage - Reduces all Damage taken by all of your unit by Essence/10

on Jul 30, 2010

I saw this post at work and I was going to write a post with my ideas but a lot of them have been covered by others. I'd just like to say that I'd like special abilities to work as "kits" that you can apply during unit creation. Each unit would probably only get one of these ability kits and certain kits would only be available to certain factions in order to make the factions more diverse. Kits could also be upgraded through research. For example, level one ice arrows could have a 25% chance to freeze the target for one turn. Level two ice arrows would provide an additional 10% chance to freeze for two turns.

on Jul 30, 2010

Ability kits are a nice idea. 

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.

Wow, you missed all the fun ! If it's about exploring for free stuff I mean lots of games out there about that. I don't give a damn about that so, good thing they are gone tbh

And I hope that asking for special abilities less than a month before release doesn't mean the combat will get imbalanced as hell? ... I mean I can also copy 500 spells from other games like half of the ones above did but why ...

on Jul 30, 2010

Nemesis/X-bane: Unit gets bonus damage against the specified unit type. IE, after driving the giant spiders into the pass for the third time, the 1st Freeland Archers gain the trait Spiderbane, or Nemesis (Spider).

Unstoppable Charge: Unit can move X squares, damaging any units in its path and knocking them aside.

Blood Frenzy: Killing an enemy unit grants this unit enhanced accuracy/damage for 2 rounds. Making another kill within that time limit has a cumulative effect both to duration and magnitude of bonus.

Feint: This unit can opt to make an attack that will do no damage. On a successful hit, the target's defense drops to 0 (or some arbitrary percentage hard-capped at a maximum negative modifier) for the remainder of the round (or for the next round as well). This represents the target committing its attention and defenses toward the feinting unit.

on Jul 30, 2010


And I hope that asking for special abilities less than a month before release doesn't mean the combat will get imbalanced as hell? ... I mean I can also copy 500 spells from other games like half of the ones above did but why ...

Don't be like that. No idea is really new. In fact if I looked hard enough I could prolly find your post verbatim on a much older board for another game.

The point of throwing these ideas out is to give them more fuel for the fire.  The bigger the flame the better the game.

on Jul 30, 2010

Please add some sorting options to the spellbook (or have you already?). For example by: spellbook, level, type, duration, etc. 

This way you can more easily see what new spells you get when you collect a new book, I'd really like to be able to see what extra goodies I get when I find or I'm given  that new book, you could maybe use bookmarks at the top of the book to take you to a specific group.

This way you could still sort by stage (probably a better name) so you can still see what you've learned, are learning and not learned (again probably a better description can be thought off).

on Jul 30, 2010


That the game utilizes an organic satellite community growth method. So that way, as your city grows, it naturally gets supported by larger and larger communities that do not live directly in your community center but support it.

You know like the real world. But that hasn't ever been replicated at all in fantasy games, because of the unusual suspension of disbelief that there is gigantic vast distances between cities. (Wrong.. cities grow as more people come to them, but then support communities develop to feed that community and then house those new communities. Pretty much as has been through the last 6,000 years of human history.)


And I'm quoting myself here.

Now.. my idea in this case. With some basic general ideas, to make kingdom level play a LOT more fun.

When you found a village, because that's what we do at step 1. We then grow that village into a small town. And from there, we grow it into a large sized town, then to a city, and finally a metropolis.

One thing you can do... to make city leveling more organic, and bear a semblance of reality, even if it is fantastic reality, but reality. Is to after choosing the bonus you get for your town going up a level.

More people should come into your kingdom. And they do that by building a village nearby. A village that you don't build anything in. It just has a static baseline, houses, etcetera. But now is part of your kingdom. (And also helps project your kingdom borders organically as well.) The distance away should be something like 4 squares give or whatever feels right in testing.

Without a lot of fluff here.. this is what I'm talking about.. all bullet point like.

Each time your city levels, you get to build upon your community and thus the kingdom.

  • Level 1, baseline. This is the starting point. For your self built cities.
  • Level 2 Village becomes a Small town (Level 2).
    •  Benefit: You gain 1 new level 1 village to place within 4 squares of your village.
  • Level 3 Small town grows into a  Large town (Level 3), 
    • Benefit: You gain 2 new villages to place within 4 squares of your town.
  • Level 4 Large town grows into a City (Level 4), 
    • Benefit: One of your villages becomes a small town. And you also get to place a new level 1 village within 4 squares of either your city, or that level 2 small town.
  • Level 5 City grows into a Metropolis (Level 5).
    •  Benefit, Another one of your villages grows into a small town. And you can place a new level 1 village within 4 squares of your city, or a new town that was made.


Those numbers are purely arbitrary. But they give the idea that not only as your city grows, people come to live under your Kingdom/Empire banner, for protection and out of some loyalty. Those new villages and small towns, can be mechanically designed to act as bonuses to the baseline, offering more people coming from your villages when building troops, and what not. You can station troops in them, and will have a reason to defend them as well. They could contribute gold, or food, or research ... whatever seems like it will make the gameplay deeper, with more going on.

And then there is the other side of it.. you still go off and build new cities yourself as normal with Pioneers. And they eventually attract people, and when it's all said and done. It will feel much more fantastic, yet realistic. People will feel like these things matter. Hell those villages, could even have little name tags, or simply be nameless. They could help extend the borders, but also like the ideas of forts, allow troops to be stationed in safe areas. And we'll also have reasons to want to build troops to defend our kingdom against the wild monsters out there.

And they could also act as natural caravan points for road construction. And the 10 square minimum for city construction would still stand, based upon the actual growing city.. the one's that can grow into Stage 4 or 5's. Yet still have villages that maybe grow closer together over time. With a sense of real roads. As once a new community is placed after your city levels up, it builds a road to this new village. Thus a new spiral of roads are built as well.

And another bonus to them is that they create the illusion of larger growth but without requiring more micromanagement. The key to them is placement. Once that is done, they act as part of your city, but you don't build anything in them. So that way, your creating a sense of depth, without the extra complication.

This also has the other added benefit of avoiding the need to spam cities. Because you'll have a larger area, and the five or so real cities you build will really span a good chunk of the map. But also feel.. real. Fantastic, but real. Without the fatigue of dealing with late stage city development, that many people despair.

It's a sleight of hand on one side. But then it also presents strategic possibilities. Including a realistic source of gold and some foods from those villages. Flowing to the city so that way they could be captured. Denying the primary city the benefit of that village.

I think that makes the case. And from testing, the recent phases of the beta, and seeing the current fluidity of the city situation, still being radically altered. I think this could present a new and organic feel. And Not something seen in any other game, so it'll be a new experience, that may set the trend, for 4X build style games.

But that's just my major Wishlist idea.

on Jul 30, 2010


Quoting Leto2626, reply 54

No idea is really new. In fact if I looked hard enough I could prolly find your post verbatim on a much older board for another game.

The point of throwing these ideas out is to give them more fuel for the fire.  The bigger the flame the better the game.


I would beg to differ, my idea on satellite community growth is actually a new idea, and hasn't been replicated in any other game that I know of. This would be the first of it's kind if it were to happen here.


But I do agree, that more ideas are a good thing. And there are many they can explore now!

on Jul 30, 2010


I would beg to differ, my idea on satellite community growth is actually a new idea, and hasn't been replicated in any other game that I know of. This would be the first of it's kind if it were to happen here.
But I do agree, that more ideas are a good thing. And there are many they can explore now!

Actually you should definitely try 'Dawn of discovery'. You very much do satellite and specialized cities for production/food :}.