Dominions 6, the history/mythology/pulp fiction/dark fantasy Turn based Strategy game

I really wish async MP games weren’t the only way to get mileage out of this series (or at least that’s how it’s appeared to me every time I tried it). I also wish they could start over with the client and hire a UX expert to build the UI.

I made peace with the game series, in the sense that I know it will be never be reworked and improved in the way I would like, because ultimately, Illwinter are an amateur game group. Not amateur in the despective sense, but more literal: game development isn’t their day jobs and they have said they don’t want it to be their day jobs. It’s a hobby, then.
(although, the code IS amateurish, they are people who have decompiled sections and confirmed it, they are not caching things which makes turn longer than they should be, and well, their 3d engine run similar to Cyberpunk in my rtx 4080!)

So in other words, they don’t want the company and the game to really grow and improve, so they won’t hire new people, it’s more a creativity outlet for them, and the fact that some other people than them and their friends like it (and they win money from it) is a bonus, not the end goal.
If you look at it from this perspective, things start to make more sense. What the game needs more, some new nations (in a game with freaking 96 nations already!) or a revamped UI?
The latter, but writing good UI code is boring and a pain in the ass, it’s lots of boilerplate functions; instead designing new nations and new mechanics for them and a new magical path is fun and more creative. So they do the latter.
So it seems to me their personal fun has priority over the player’s fun.

The triple-A software developers are just winging it with UI, why shouldn’t the 2 man shops do the same? :D

Haha, seriously!

Yeah, I totally get it. And it’s certainly not something I’d ever slag them over. But as a player, my priority is player fun, so a nerd can wistfully dream. :)

I agree, it’s a free market, they are in their rights in doing what they want, and people can buy it or not.

It would be awesome if someone like paradox would work with them on a game letting them lead design and direct the project, but provide support for more programming and art assets. But, yes, I think they are content with the way things are as it is more a hobby with great benefits it seems.

Yeah, I’d love something where they’re the idea people coming up with all the amazing stuff they do and let others do the “boring” stuff like UI, AI, etc.

Again, just talking about what I’d like not what I think they should do. :) I’m not about to boss anyone around on how to enjoy their hobby!

I don’t think most UX experts get complex strategy games. The more Paradox focuses on their UX design the more difficult the games become for me to play. I think their plan is for information to be contextual so as no to overload the player, but then nobody ever gets the contexts quite right.

Simple stuff too. Like, I think they are finally fixing it in one of the patches this fall, but Victoria 3 has been out for over 12 months now and the game still hides important events like the leader of your country dying.

Of all the companies to pick as exemplars of UX, i find it amusing you’d pick paradox. I know they’re out of favor right now, but I think Blizzard has always been the gold-stardard…

Wasn’t picking them as an exemplar of ux, but as someone who might be willing to work with them like they do with paradox arc.

But , how much experience have Blizzard with complicated turn based 4x? And it seems more realistic that Paradox would make a publishing deal with them than Blizzard :P

All I really ask for is to not have to go through too many menus to reach screens I need to regularly access and that any time I mouse-over a number, I receive contextual information such as mousing over gold income I ought to see at least a broad breakdown of my income vs upkeep and not need to click another screen to see that information.

I can think of any number of AAA titles that can’t even hurdle this extremely low bar, let alone indies which are often even worse.

But I definitely think this game could have a pretty broad appeal with Total War-esque graphics and some serious quality of life and UI redesigns. But as others have said I don’t really think it’s very likely because I feel like the guys who make this could have found an investor or publisher if that was their goal.

The nice thing about crappy graphics is that it makes modding the game a lot easier.

Even I, a complete incompetent when it comes to both art and programming, was able to create a Mod nation for Dominions 3, and I still have all the art I created for it, if I ever felt inclined to make a new mod nation.

I have no issue with the graphics. Simple is good when there’s a lot going on. Ok, maybe the spells could look nicer. But simple unit animations as they currently exist makes for less noise for my eyes when I’m watching things pan out.

But army organisation needs some work. That big green square where I try and get some sort of cohesive formation happening is at times pretty key to victory. How do I explain how much it is luck when I manage to get Vaetti units to sync with big axe wielding giants because of varying movement speeds etc. Either decide battles are going to be big, in which case cut out a lot of the rubbish spells that exist and make army organisation better. Or decide battles are going to be on a smaller scale such that unit recruitment, magic summons and single target spells are more meaningful (much like what Wild Rides were trying to accomplish).

Illwinter need to take the combat/battle system and release it as a standalone auto-battler. Wrap a dedicated progression/recruitment system around that and omg that would be sublime.

That sort of exists.
How To Use Dom 5 Army Builder - YouTube

Lots of new stuff since I posted this some months ago. If you haven’t checked it since August, I would take a look.

For example, today I added this bit, which I think it’s pretty cool:

  • There is a new level 9 research spell to make a permanent connection between a normal province and the Nexus in the Void plane (that’s the whole point of the new Nexus/void plane, seemingly, this single spell, so given it’s level 9, don’t expect to interact with it in most games!)
    This plane only consists of a single, unique province. The Nexus province has a 4 pearls magic site, and a guaranteed 20% Alteration Ritual discount.
    The connection being permanent, it can be used by the enemy if the province where it was casted is conquered.
    Travel to the Nexus is cheap movement wise, if you cast the spell in two provinces, armies can go from province A to Nexus to province B in the same turn.
    We don’t know any other details (does the troops have a penalty if they fight there without the void sanity skill? are you horror marked if stay there, or are there random horror attacks?)

It was also announced that one of the new nations will be Muspelheim, based on

That’s been in the works since Dominions 3 at least.

Glad they are finally making it, even if it means fire giants are no longer going to be a summon.

Yeah, I’m curious of how they will play. The good things with the new nations done in the middle of development of a new game is that they can more easily code whatever new thing that is needed for an idea of a new nation. So it’s easier they have new mechanics, etc.

Something I’m hyped for is the rebalance of lots of summons. Stuff like:

-Several summons have more units, around 60 - 100% more per gem. Some examples: manticores, sea dogs, forest giant, shade beasts, fire snakes, etc.
-Ogres are 30% cheaper.
-Level 9 blood summon spells are around 66% more effective. Some more than 100% (Ghost Riders).
-Abominations, Tarrasques and Ancient Presences are 15 gems, from 25 in Dom5.
-Tartarian Gate is 7 gems.

It’s like having suddenly 20 or 30 new spells, because many spells in Dominions were more a curiosity than anything else, as they weren’t really cost effective, so in practical terms they could well not exist in the game. Many people used Astral Corruption or Wish or Astral Nexus or Legions of Gold or Master Enslave or Flames of the Sky as high level magic but… who reached level 9 magic to summon a Tarrasque? Or a frigging Poison Golem?
So if that stuff is now usable, it’s like having an extra free dlc.