Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.

In every Stardock game ever, from 1993 on, the “flavor text” was done by whoever had a moment to throw something in there.

Often times, it meant I did it since I type 120wpm and could crank out a lot of stuff.  The GalCiv technology descriptions are notorious for this.

In War of Magic, we decided that we would keep the tongue in cheek text to a minimum which in reality just made it dry and boring.

Since we didn’t enjoy doing it and our fans really wanted to see our games start having some “soul” to them, we hired Sci-Fi writer, Dave Stern full time. He’s been with us since January and the results will be pretty obvious in Fallen Enchantress.

Screenshots:

I’m not a marketing person so these screenshot are taken by me in the debugger so keep that in mind (i.e. all graphical enhancements are turned to min for max performance in the debugger):

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So Dave would write up a lengthy story along with something short for the in-game part. We would then be inspired to come up with game mechanics around it.

For example, in WOM, the Urxen were described as “Like Trogs but less warlike but more productive”.

In FE, Dave wrote a story about the history of the Urxen and their lives under Lady Umber. This in turn allowed us to come up with some unique traits that simply didn’t exist in WOM like Wanderlust and Serpent’s pack. Wanderlust lets players have Exploration technology early and Serpent’s pack lets them recruit a special type of unit in game.

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Goodbye…”Random” name generator

I am sure people will miss our random name generator.  Instead, Dave Stern wrote up hundreds of different names that made sense based on which faction they were for and whether they were male or female.

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The creatures of Elemental have also gotten their lore updated.

So for example, Rock Spiders are no longer described as “big tough spiders” but rather:

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And of course NPCs now are individually described:

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Now, is all this necessary?

We think so because each game plays out very differently and these familiar creatures and characters will provide a general continuity.

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Turn 1.

A big objective is for the world to seem alive and interesting worth exploring. Each tile should mean something. Every expansion to your empire a victory. Every character important and valuable.

Will it be worth it?  That’s hard to say.  We think it’s worth it. Our primary objective with Elemental has been to create a brand-new PC fantasy strategy franchise.  We learned a lot with War of Magic and have applied those lessons to Fallen Enchantress. And one key lesson was imbuing the world with lore to bring the player to the world and make it theirs.


Comments (Page 1)
on Oct 22, 2011

Love the individual backstories for champions. That's the sort of fluffy content that E:wom mostly missed.

on Oct 22, 2011

I'm glad that we're getting a bit of proper lore. I've got some qualms about this stuff, though.

The leader information strikes me as a bit vague and general; assuming these are the default leaders that AI will use, there should be a pinch more information about their past exploits. Kul-al-Kulan's amounts to "I HEARD HE'S MULATTO" and what we have for Carrodus is a fairly boring resume and then a hole with no explanation of how he might have rose to prominence.

Leadanna's fluff is excellent, giving us all the information we need in addition to being pleasant to read. Amusingly enough, it would make an adequate backstory for a sovereign, with the "last of my house" bit in there. Although with her fluff, I'd think Int would be a bit higher.

In "Rock Spider" fluff: "for their various uses" is shit. Either specify some prominent uses (two is ideal) as ", most prominently X and Y" or omit the phrase.

 

And I didn't mind the GalCiv technology information. Taking WoM out of that vein is fine, but I hope this doesn't mean the next iteration of GalCiv (whenever that might be) will be similarly humorless.

on Oct 22, 2011

rofl......., uhmm..........., I know you don't want to give us all the info on the games details, but I pray you help me with this one.... What is Leadanna's third trait on the top left (the red one) for I'm affraid to continue guessing after I thought of what the effect might be: "smells of rotten clams" -7 to charisma as she seems to be at least a 13 charisma to me

 

ps I tried to keep this appropriate as much as possible, hopefully only those with the same mind frame will understand

on Oct 22, 2011

Now, is all this necessary?

 

Absolutely! Beside the other important stuff (i don´t repeat it) this is exactly what is needed. Especially the flavor text for the champions. I read Leadannas text only for one time and i don´t have to scroll back to remember her name or to have a picture of her in mind. Something that never happend in/with WoM.

 

Thanks frogboy!

 

EDIT/

But... maybe you could give me some advice, how to manage this, after your "lore post".

 

I think you should assume that FE will suck and give you a disease.
 
Assume that all your worst fears about it are true and give up hope now. You'll feel better.

 

on Oct 22, 2011

Looks good.

on Oct 22, 2011

Do the rivers always need to flow from N, S, E, W or can they also flow NW, NE, SE, & SW? I think they would look better by mixing up the directions a bit. This makes sense to me because unit movement from a tile is a choice of 8 directions - why rivers only 4?

I'm not sure if it's possible but coding rivers to flow from highlands to lowlands would be nice - I'm sure you've looked at that. It would be less than ideal to see a river flow from a lowland grassland into hills or mountains.

Like the lore stuff, it will certainly help with immersion.

on Oct 22, 2011

Fantastic! I always enjoyed reading the lore (GalCiv2 techs were great!) Lore can drag you into your game and before you know it hours are gone and not minutes (thank god for in game clocks).

on Oct 22, 2011

Great stuff, but the grammar needs a bit of work..  Are you sure that an author wrote this...?

on Oct 22, 2011

This is one of those little things that can make a good game very good, or a very good game great.

 

I like this.

 

 

on Oct 22, 2011

Really going to enjoy reading those. This is what is meant by polish. Glad to see FE is getting everything it needs to be a great game. 

on Oct 22, 2011

Love the lore. I believe putting resources behind it is worth it.

I share the concern with Allan about rivers. It would be really good if they could flow in 8 directions insead of the four displayed so far. Also, the river in the screen stops abruptly and makes no sense.

on Oct 22, 2011

It pours down into an aquifer I bet. 

on Oct 22, 2011

not to dampen the mood Brad and sound like a record player, but just imagine if Stardock had of listened to more than one WOM beta tester before release about the lack of game immersion?

 

more dialogue.. more flavor text.. lore.. whatever you want to call it.. some compulsion to play the game because of its immersive story like qualities that want you to find out more about the world.. .. this is what WOM needed but I'm glad that you are now attempting to bring more immersion into FE..

on Oct 22, 2011

Flavor text will be a huge improvement. I'm really looking forward to FE, can't wait for the beta.

AlLanMandragoran
Do the rivers always need to flow from N, S, E, W or can they also flow NW, NE, SE, & SW? I think they would look better by mixing up the directions a bit. This makes sense to me because unit movement from a tile is a choice of 8 directions - why rivers only 4?

I'm not sure if it's possible but coding rivers to flow from highlands to lowlands would be nice - I'm sure you've looked at that. It would be less than ideal to see a river flow from a lowland grassland into hills or mountains.

Like the lore stuff, it will certainly help with immersion.

Agree with this.

I love the fact that we're getting rivers, but now they just need some appearance tweeks so they don't look quite so garish. 

1. headwaters square looks like the river just jumps out of the ground fully formed. If its going to look like this make it look more like a spring and not just a dead end of a river. Alternatively, make it look like its consolidating from other smaller streams and brooks.

2.The river looks like its floating above the surrounding ground level rather than below it. This may actually be how the engine in rendering the river, but someone needs to do some optical illusion trikery to make it appear otherwise.

3. No river I've ever seen has a uniform muddy bank down each side for its entire length. Very the banks a little more. Add some trees, add some rapids, secluded pools, sandy banks, larger boulders, small pebble beaches, a waterfall effect if it goes over a steep change in elevation, etc.

 

 

on Oct 22, 2011

Obviously Elemental simply required more time for the craftsmanship's varied efforts. And additional craftsman. Some really good ones apparantly. All of you on the team are creating an inevitable masterpiece. Looking nerdaliscious

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