Elemental all-purpose thread

Well after a million years of being referred to as “not-MOM” or “unnamed fantasy strategy game” Elemental has finally been announced.

The website is now up at http://www.elementalgame.com.

If anyone here at QT3 has any questions, I’ll be happy to answer. ;)

Can I play it right now?

Only if you’re in the building. ;)

Brad, probably the only question we really need answers for is if we can recreate halfling slingers with adamantium weapons. Because after that … the rest is icing on the cake!

Just joking bud, great to hear you guys finally announced this title. I look forward to a lot of tidbits and dev info as it progresses.

I understand if some stuff is being kept internal, but here are the things Im wondering about:

  1. Are there non-military victory conditions?

  2. Does the game include a campaign? If so do you think the story of the campaign will attract gamers?

  3. How are you addressing the steamroller issue of TBS games (ie: spending the first half of the game building a massive army and the last half rolling it over all opponents as a repeatable strategy to every game)?

I love the pseudo cell-shaded art style.

Can we build walls? Us turtelers need to know.

Can I come drop by your building?

Looks and reads great.

I’d be interested in the city management.
I’m really hoping for something else than the standard “build one building at a time” approach from the Civ series and Galciv, which leads to boring build queues and -trees.
The ability to use the map sounds very interesting (like the greatly expanded ability to use cities as canals in the Civ games), and I hope that means city management is as inspired as this feature suggests.

This is all just my opinion, so take it with a grain of salt.

I think one way to particularly make this game great is to make sure there are a great many spells that have non direct-damage applications. Let me explain.

Typically, in the fantasy milieu, you will have the game designer saying stuff like: “There’s a HUNDRED different spells!” However, those spells typically look like this:

Fire bolt, Ice bolt, lightning bolt

<next tier>

fire blast, ice blast, lightning blast

<next tier>

fire storm, blizzard, lightning storm

There may be minor differences in their behavior but they are largely a palette swap. Nothing interesting here. Nothing to get your creative juices flowing and make you think about the game and the choices you make. Frequently, you choose between them for aesthetic reasons as much as anything else.

I think the key to making the spell system interesting is creative asymmetry between the spell schools. Part of what made MoM great was how they did this- have some schools be more about summoning and empowering, others about controlling (countermagic and the like) others about maneuverability. Have spells that deform the terrain on both battle and strategic maps, spells that affect commerce and research, spells that affect diplomacy. Go crazy with magic- “Pocket Dimension”, a spell that allows you to build a fortress redoubt in another dimension, only reachable by enemies that research the same spell OR that find a “key” item that is randomly spawned in a lair somewhere in the world when the spell is cast. Make a spell that tears the veil between worlds apart and randomly starts spawning units taken from elsewhere in the game’s metaverse- neutral units that attack all players! Have a spell that drains the casting wizard’s magic into the force of Steel, giving them special technological units and a huge production bonus at the cost of some or all of their spellcasting abilities! You could have a spell that, once researched, allows you to blast a spell out of an opponent’s spell book, at the cost of having to re-research that spell to cast it again. Go nuts!

I know what you’re gonna say: using the mod tools you, Mark L, can make all of this happen! Sure I can. I can make it happen in a chaotic, unbalanced fashion that always “feels” like cheating when played against the AI. The thing is, I have faith in you guys- I have purchased every major release you’ve made since GalCiv 1, so I know a thing or two about what quality game-makers you are. If you craft all of this* into the world, I will be able to play with the knowledge that it is well tuned and balanced, and it will feel “more fair” when I use it.

Anyway, here’s the tl:dr version: Creative asymmetry is the way to go! :)

Good luck on your game, and I look forward to being first in line to purchase it.

*these are just random examples off the top of my head, o’course


Looks great, can’t wait until it is released.

  1. Yes. Most of the victory conditions are non-military. Some of the previews may cover this so I won’t say anything until after the previews hit.

  2. Yes. I think the story is compelling but I’m highly biased.

  3. The mechanics in Elemental are a bit different than the typical 4X game because even in terms of warfare, there are very different paths. For instance, Player A may have a huge army ready to steamroll but Player B may have an incredibly powerful sovereign who can wipe out vast armies and Player C may have built up an incredible well of mana that can be used to decimate vast swaths of the world and all three of these things could come together at once based on which path players take and of course all 3 could lose to Player D who wins through the quest victory condition if they’re not careful.

Most important question: what version of SecuROM will be used?

Can we build walls? Us turtelers need to know.

Yes. One of the key game mechanics of Elemental is how cities are built. In Elemental, when a city grows, it gains a new tile which can be placed where the player wants it to go (as long as it’s adjacent to an existing tile). So cities are a multi-tile affair in the game. Now, how you choose to build up your city heavily determines how defensible or productive, or rich it is. Cities are only conquered when the keep tile is taken which could be in the utter center of the city or could be at the end of a peninsula.

Yay for not-MoM!

Hmmm, Michigan is a bit off the beaten path for me to drop by and play though. Guess I’ll have to wait.

It’s using a combination of SecuROM and Starforce so that the game will require a CD in the drive, a USB key to be inserted and the reading of a particular word on a particular page of the user manual (which won’t be hard since it’ll only have a 2 page manual naturally).

The docs, which we expect to be written by fans, will be online only which will be fine since the game will require players to be on-line at all times due to the by-the-hour activation checks the game makes to the single player mode.

Also, the game won’t work if you have any CD-ROM burning software including the built in media player software (users will naturally need to uninstall any media players including iTunes in order to play).

All of this will be integrated into the game by our eastern-european CD manufacturer (the copy we send there will be completely clean of course) so we’re confident that no pirates will get it…

I don’t have to worry about all that crap. I’ll buy it from Steam.

Good luck with the game. I’ll be avoiding previews because 18 months is a long way away!

Any particular accent required when reading the code word?

That’s a hilarious response, Brad… I’m just wondering how long it will be before someone finds it and puts it up on a gaming news site, thinking it’s a serious statement of intent. :P

Brilliant. That’s always kinda bugged me about Civ… no matter how big & sprawling a city gets, it always occupies the exact same tile. (It made pillaging the countryside feel kinda hollow, since I know I should be able to pillage at least a couple of those improvements.)

BTW… good name for the game.