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
Vengeance
Sanctuary
Deadly Bite
Immunity
Blink
Rain of Stone
Flame Strike
Maul
Sprint
Savage Strike
Confusion
Drowning Strike
Crushing Blow
Dominate
Hurricance
Backstab
Tremor
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 7)
on Aug 02, 2010

I didn't scrutinize the whole thread, but I like the idea of armor sets you quest for.

 

I would also add that there should be a bonus, either to defense or a special ability, for getting the complete set.

 

I, too, am not sure that removing goodie huts is a great idea because of the need for initial cash influx.

on Aug 02, 2010

I think, this was mentioned before but goodie huts - to conquer the "boringness" could provide encounters with various enemies (like e.g. in the old Warlords series). Encounters could scale in difficulty. Fewer huts is a good idea. Early xp and gold for founding your first kingdom...

on Aug 02, 2010

Stacking auras are bad. Buffs should (almost) never stack, it leads to critical mass issues. The only buffs that should stack without limit are ones that are based off of time (eg, each successful attack you make increases your attack by 1)

However, auras are great. 

on Aug 02, 2010

Rings:

- Different sizes: Small, Medium, Large

- 2 small + 1 medium per finger

- 4 small per finger

- 2 medium per finger

- 1 large per finger

 

When talking about sizes, think wire vs jeweled. A wire ring would be tiny in width, and you could easily put four of them on one finger where you would normally wear a ring. However, a wire ring would offer only a very minor benefit. A large jeweled ring, however, might offer a huge benefit, but you can only put one of those on a finger. So you could have 40 ring slots and rings would take up different amounts of slots, from 1 to 4. A large ring would take 4 slots, a medium ring 2 slots, and a small ring 1 slot. When you run out of slots, you can wear no more rings. 

The same system could go for amulets, bracelets (forearms), anklets, arm bands (biceps), ear rings, etc. Magical jewelry should automagically resize itself for a perfect skin-tight fit on whoever wears it. It should fit fine under any armor. 

 

Speaking of armor, why are leg coverings and boots not allowed to be worn at the same time? That seems ridiculous. The same goes for wrist-guards and shields? 

 

As for the memory issues... I get them all the time. Every game crashes because of them. I have 8 gigs of memory on Win 8 Ultimate x64. They only occur when I have lots of cities and more than 4,000 population and am 500+ turns into the game. After crashing out and loading a new game, it takes hundreds more turns before I get another crash. But, as I continue to go, eventually I get to a point where taking any more turns results in an out of memory issue. Each time I have to load, I get fewer turns before I get the next crash due to out of memory.

 

on Aug 02, 2010

these rings are magical. I imagine that putting on ten thousand rings would overload your body with magic  

2 rings is the industry standard for the amount of rings any character can have and I think it's best kept that way. We don't want commanders wearing 20 +.25 combat speed rings. This falls under buffs stacking like the aura guy. 

on Aug 02, 2010

awuffleablehedgie
Stacking auras are bad. Buffs should (almost) never stack, it leads to critical mass issues. The only buffs that should stack without limit are ones that are based off of time (eg, each successful attack you make increases your attack by 1)

However, auras are great. 

 

I think different buffs (i.e. the names of the buff) should stack. So if one buff is Blessing that gives +2 defense and the other is Protection that gives +3 defense - you get +5 defense.

If it was 2 Blessings or 2 Protections - those would NOT stack.

Same for debuffs.

This would open up combos between and within stacks while not letting people just put 15 of one buff in a stack and get +30 to something.

Could also have an upper and lower limit like in Warlords 3. I believe in Warlords 3, the range was -2 to +3. So if you had the scenario above, you'd get +3 defense. However the +5 would be used during the calculations.

Like if an enemy had a debuff that did -1 defense. Well, your stack would still get +3 (+5 + -1 = +4, which is over the limit, so it get capped to +3)

With this system, you could still stack up the buffs/debuffs but the final result would be capped within a range.

on Aug 02, 2010

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).

There are lots of good ideas I'm seeing people put up so I won't list a bunch (ok I changed my mind, see end of post).  What'd I'd like to know though is there a way to limit what abilities are available?  There isn't any class ability tied to units that I can see so what is to stop me from making a unit that can backstab, do a crushing blow, spit acid and bring down a rain of stones?  Having all abilities available to everyone dimishes the uniqueness of each one and in turn makes them less interesting.  Not to mention you will inevitably end up with some super-combos that everyone will start taking.  I'd like to see the abilities limited in some fashion.  You can do this through tech, race, stats, classes or whatever just don't let them get out of control.

As far as actual abilities for heroes I also hope they make sense.  I see you have an ability called Deadly Bite.  I think it would be rather odd to see my human hero have this skill for instance.  Also you have another called Poison Shot.  This sounds like an arrow so it should require that the hero owns a bow to use it.  Personally I would like to see most supernatural like abilities come from items and not skills.  Skills should be things like backstab, crushing blow, sprint, etc and maybe a few special spell-like ones for heroes that are from a magical race or have essence.  Maybe you could make spell-like skills require that the sovereign invest essence to give it to the hero.

Here are a few abilities also.  Some of these are not combat related as I'm not sure if you are referring to abilities you get when you level up or just combat abilities in general that are used in tactical combat.  I haven't read through all the posts so forgive any repeats.

Mana Drain - only through items or for supernatural units

Life Drain - only through items or for supernatural units

Mana Duel (you and target caster have a mental duel that lasts a number of turns, loser is severly damaged and loses all mana.  Winner loses 1/2 mana.  How long it lasts depends on difference in skill level)

Mana Focusing (spells cost less to cast or you get a mana bonus)

Ability bonuses (like +5 strength for instance, just give them nice names like mighty or tough as nails)

Shard mastery (you pick one element that you get bonuses with, could even give a small penalty to other elements but then the bonus would need to be more significant)

Camoflage (unit is harder to see on the campaign map, only shows up if another group is adjacent or has some counter ability)

Various resource improvement abilities (hunting: gives +1 food, etc)

Duel wield - hero can now wield another weapon in his offhand

Critical strike - each blow has a chance (or increased chance) of dealing double damage

Pathfinder - unit reduces movement costs for every one with him in rough terrain.  Allows movement through mountains (1 square per turn regardless of movement rate)

Forestwalker - unit moves through forest like they were plains (can have similar abilities for other terrain)

Some ability that gives a morale bonus to the army the hero is with

Rapid fire - hero can fire a bow twice as fast

Dirty fighting - blinds the target for one turn causing them to have greatly reduced attack for 1 turn

Terror - unit causes great fear in units.  All units with out terror get a small penalty to morale at the start of combat.  Any unit attacked directly by this unit loses twice as much morale as it normally would

Disciplined - unit is more resistant to morale loss

Quick strike - unit gets 1 extra attack per turn if using a weapon that does not give a combat speed penalty

Dodge - unit gets +2 defense in melee

Damage resistance - unit picks one type of damage that they become more resistant to (maybe 10% resistance)

Weapon expertise - pick a type of weapon, get medium +attack and small combat speed bonus with that weapon

Stench - only through items or for supernatural units.  Unit smells so bad that anyone attacking them gets -3 attack and -2 defense

Ok, think that's enough for now.  Need to do some other stuff.

on Aug 02, 2010

Honestly, I think 2 rings per hand is reasonable. One on the index and one on the ring finger.

Therefore 4 rings, 1 amulet (neck), and 1 pack

 

Although ... multiple packs isn't always a bad thing as long as similar boosts don't stack.

For instance ... if you want a "Ninja" type you could give them a "Wall-Climbing pack" + Invisibility/Stealth Cloak

on Aug 02, 2010

Tasunke
Honestly, I think 2 rings per hand is reasonable. One on the index and one on the ring finger.

Therefore 4 rings, 1 amulet (neck), and 1 pack

 

Although ... multiple packs isn't always a bad thing as long as similar boosts don't stack.

For instance ... if you want a "Ninja" type you could give them a "Wall-Climbing pack" + Invisibility/Stealth Cloak

 

 

I look at it this way. I am the guy founding the kingdom. I have 4 rings on my finger that do spiffy things already. I find another ring that gives me some uber cool ability. Am I going to take off one of my four rings to put that on? Keep dreaming. I'm just going to use one of my other available fingers. I would easily put 10 rings on and not even think twice. If the rings were tiny, skinny little things (like a single piece of wire), I would just put them on a finger where another ring is already. This is one case where I think making it realistic to what people would normally do is a bonus. You just have to make sure that the rings that offer +0.25 combat speed are rare enough, expensive enough, and big enough, that you cannot put that many on. Make them large rings. Then you can fit a whopping 10 of them on your hands. So, you get +2.5 combat speed. That's not huge. Is it better than one of the other rings you might want to wear? That's probably a tough decision.

My point is, don't limit what's possible through gimmicky hard limits. Limit them by what's realistic. If you want to put a limit on something, do it by actual physical processes instead of some arbitrary, off-the-top-of-your-head cap. Using ring slots and rings of different sizes adds variety and another interesting aspect to the items and the game play while providing meaningful and believable limits. The same thing goes for arm bands, amulets, bracelets, and anklets. They come in different sizes and you can only fit so many on your body. How many depends on the size, and the bigger ones would tend to offer the more powerful enchantments. 

I also agree that limiting enchantment stacking is a good thing. Magical items with the same enchantments should not stack (you apply the highest one only), but different enchantments that buff the same trait in different ways should stack. 

 

on Aug 02, 2010

I'd rather that rings be more useful (actually worth my time) than be some crappy +0.25 combat speed.

Granted, a character probably shouldn't get more than +2 combat speed from any combination of rings.

That being said ... like minded rings shouldn't stack. Or rather, the largest bonus on any ring is the one thats applied.

Example: you're wearing 2 rings, one gives +1 combat speed, the other gives +2 attack and +0.5 combat speed. The net effect is +2 attack and +1 combat speed.

Example(2): 2 rings, 1 gives +4 attack and +1 defense, the other gives +2 defense and +1 HP regeneration.

Net effect is +4 attack, +2 defense, +1 HP regeneration

 

//game effect ... sure you can find a ring of speed that gives +0.25 combat speed by killing mooks or questing for old ladies, but if you want to find a GOOD ring ... you might have to search in the Lost Necropolis, etc ... to find that +2 combat speed ring, or that +3 HP regeneration ring, or that Immune to Status Effects ring, or that +5 spell resist ring, or that +4 attack +2 defense ring.

on Aug 02, 2010

egable
Rings:

- Different sizes: Small, Medium, Large

- 2 small + 1 medium per finger

- 4 small per finger

- 2 medium per finger

- 1 large per finger


 

I also agree that limiting enchantment stacking is a good thing. Magical items with the same enchantments should not stack (you apply the highest one only), but different enchantments that buff the same trait in different ways should stack.

I may hate myself for agreeing with him but I do ...

on Aug 02, 2010

Sorry, I should have been more clear. Buffs of the same name (even different tiers. Eg, "Restoration I" and "Restoration II") should not stack. Buffs with similar effects should ("Restoration II" and "Protection", maybe they both give health regen, but Protection also does a defense bonus). 

Again, 10 rings is a TERRIBLE TERRIBLE idea. No, it is not realistic. We are talking about magical rings that do crazy things like make you move faster. There is no realism involved. If you are a typical power-whore and seeking greater and greater power, yes, you might try to cram as many rings onto your hands as possible. That is an "in character" descition to make. However, there are "Rings of Power" and cannot simply be worn in massive amounts.

See:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PhlebotinumOverload

 

"No matter how tempted I am with the prospect of unlimited power, I will not consume any energy field bigger than my head."

— Rule 22The Evil Overlord List

No. You cannot wear 10 rings. A justification of "overloading" on too much magic is perfectly reasonable and believable. 
on Aug 03, 2010

The following abilities are basically the same except each 'Path' produces a certain land type when the unit moves around the main map. Thes are passive abilities. They are from AOW:SM

Path of Life - Where ever the unit moves the land around them spring life.

Path of Death - Where ever the unit moves the land around them dies

These are just two examples but you could put in more.

Also

Seduce - Ability to make the opposite sex do your bidding. Not as powerful as Dominate.

Flame Strike - unit struck takes fire damage and burns for 3 combat rounds

Holy Strike - Unit takes Holy damage

Death Strike - Unit takes Death damage

Poison Strike -  Unit takes poison damage. Poison for 3 rounds. Weaken an ability of devs choice

Physical Stike - Normal physical damage

Cold Strike - Does cold damage. Chance to freeze the target hit for 3 rounds.

Also using the same types of damage above you can put into breath weapons that are short range cone attacks that has an area affect.

Fire Breath

Cold Breath

Death Breath

Holy Breath

Poison Breath

Other abilities:

Different degrees of healing. You can name them what you want but a primitive break down can be as follows:

Healing 1, Healing 2, and so on. Each one more powerful than the last.  You can add Mass Healing for healing a whole stack. And this could also go like, Mass Healing 1, Mass Healing 2 etc. 

Entangle - Plants hold the unit for 3 turns. Unit can do anything. This can of coarse be adjusted as Devs see fit.

Web - Same as above except that it can be easily burned and cannot be used with creatures on fire.

Trap - Similar to the above two abilities except after the 3 turns creature/unit trapped has a chance of becoming enslaved.

All the abilities that I listed above come from AOW:SM and I suspect that there were similar abilities in MOM. These as well as many more abilities in these games for hero's and units made the game very very fun to play and made tactical combat very memorable.

 

 

 

on Aug 03, 2010

awuffleablehedgie

Again, 10 rings is a TERRIBLE TERRIBLE idea. No, it is not realistic. We are talking about magical rings that do crazy things like make you move faster. There is no realism involved. If you are a typical power-whore and seeking greater and greater power, yes, you might try to cram as many rings onto your hands as possible. That is an "in character" descition to make. However, there are "Rings of Power" and cannot simply be worn in massive amounts.

 

You know, what might be interesting is that the more rings (or maybe magical items in general you're wearing) the higher the chance of some random negative effect (similar to the randomness of the Clumsy trait). So there would be a risk/reward to piling on the magical items. Say maybe your essence takes a perma-drop, you lose all your mana, you lose some points off a stat, etc.

That way, there may not be a limit needed, but instead there's a built in scaling risk/reward effect after, say, 2 rings.

 

on Aug 03, 2010

A better way to do that is just having forging or being able to combine or improve upon enchanted items (this is a feature coming in the Expansion being released in a year since it's following up on Forge of Making or whatever). 

You can combine two rings together to get the combined bonuses (or 3/4ths the combined bonuses, or whatever). However there is a % chance of the forging just failing and losing the rings all together. If a person makes the risk and fails, they can always save-game rinse. 

It's also probably easier to program 8D 

% failure is also a dangerous game to play. Unless it is very very small it's more likely to fail then it is to not. Say, 5% chance of failure? By 14 turns you're more likely to fail than you are to not.