The Death of Demigod

I’ve been playing Demigod since release (bought it back in beta, but since it was MP only, I never played). Funny thing is, it’s the first game to get me to play multiplayer. And I loved it. Well in the last couple weeks the number of players/games available have dropped off significantly. It started a few weeks ago, when Supreme Commander 2 came out. Than we had Dawn of War 2 Chaos Rising and finally Command and Conquer 4.

So, the game that brought me out of my shell and into the multiplayer world is teaching me it’s final lesson, that of waving goodbye to a game I still enjoy playing, but unable to due to lack of players (no, there are still games around, but it can take longer to get a game going than it is to play the actual match).


Guess you better pick up Warcraft III and DOTA now, huh? :)

Heroes of Newerth, obviously ;)

Send me your email and you can have a beta invite.

I was kind of crushed that this game didn’t take off. I’m blaming the technical problems at launch.

It’s like DOTA for people who aren’t on their 17th Red Bull of the day.

I heard the netcode was terrible for this game. A friend of mine bought it thinking it would be an interesting substitute for DotA, but said that the multiplayer was so unbearably laggy that he quit playing after the first week or two. I think he uses the game box as a laptop stand now, so it wasn’t all a waste.

If you need a replacement, definitely consider playing Heroes of Newerth.

yeah the launch killed it, me and a few friends have it, and i haven’t logged on since December , and that was to see the 2 new gods they added.

what really sucks is they went for these complex background 3d maps, while cool looking , it killed the possibility of map making by the users.

GPG didn’t seem to talk it up much, instead focusing on SupCom2 and now Kings and Castles or whatever its called =p

Launch problems schmaunch problems. Demigod suffers now because there was never a Steam release. Get GPG to put it on Steam tomorrow for $20 and you’ll have a community.

Yeah, I walked into a few stores today and didn’t even notice a single box on the shelf. Maybe I just didn’t notice it considering I wasn’t actually looking for Demigod, but I certainly don’t remember the fairly distinctive cover. Obviously, if it isn’t on a shelf, to a new player, it then doesn’t exist.

In stark contrast, there was a Diablo collection sitting pride of place on the shelves. 10 years on and people still buy it?

I think it is a bit unfair to say that having Demigod on Steam would increase sales. I was a little turned off from Demigod because of the fear of going up against ADHD players, as is the case in DotA. Plus, there didn’t seem to be too much exposure surrounding it. Sure, I knew about the game, but there wasn’t anything that told me that there was new, different, exciting things to look forward to when playing it.

Matt isn’t serious. He just likes to taunt Brad Wardell. I believe it has something to do with politics.

Oh, so you think I’m wrong? You may have noticed that a certain new Gas Powered Games release, for some unknown reason, is on Steam. I have a guess!

How healthy are the multiplayer communities of other small niche games on Steam, for example Shattered Horizon?

Shattered Horizon has a niche?

No, you’re right. Impulse’s multiplayer service for Demigod was broken at launch, and it still isn’t functional enough to compete with real online services like Steam, or even GFWL. Brad Wardell talked and talked for months leading up to release about how great Demigod multiplayer over Impulse was going to be, and most of us believed him because any developer that talks about DRM like Brad is sacrosanct to PC gamers. One week after release, and it was obvious that he was in way over his head. I can’t find it now, but I remember an interview with Chris Taylor, several months after Demigod’s release, where he said GPG won’t be using Impulse in the future. It was a terse reply in an otherwise affable interview. Stardock clearly dropped the ball with Demigod. I understand all of that. I agree with you.

What I’m referring to in my previous post is how you like to make an appearance whenever Stardock is mentioned and say something critical. It seems like you have a chip on your shoulder. I don’t really care about that, but I don’t believe you when you say you want Demigod on Steam. You know that’s not possible. Desirable, yes, because a design as great as Demigod’s deserves a real community and a functional online service. But not possible.

And that you name-drop Steam, Impulse’s biggest competitor in your post? You’re just trying to rub it in.

Demigod never (and still doesn’t) use Impulse for its multiplayer connectivity.

On launch, Demigod used Raknet (hence the Raknet logo at the bottom of the Demigod site). This was the solution Chris and I agreed on after it became apparent that GPGNet wasn’t going to be a feasible option. We looked at GameSpy and Raknet and went with Raknet.

When the launch MP experience crashed and burned, the Impulse team was assigned to create a custom solution for Demigod which is what is used today.

The only thing Impulse was involved with was listing of available games and in making available services to receive data from the game.

Multiplayer connectivity, matchmaking, etc. won’t be part of Impulse::Reactor (Impulse’s platform) until the Summer 2010 release of version 2.

Incidentally, Steamworks in 2009 didn’t support peer-to-peer connectivity so even if we had been inclined to use it, it wasn’t an option.

Yeah, when games I love lose their MP support, they turn into LAN-night games for me. Sucks when it happens.

It’s unfortunate that in this instance Impulse essentially gets the bad press for something that isn’t entirely their fault. A lot of gamers can’t really distinguish between the fine lines on these things and are quick to assign blame to the easiest or most public target. I don’t really have any hard feeling towards Impulse as I didn’t have any problems getting a refund for my purchase of Demigod after it was clear the multiplayer wasn’t going to be functional for a while.

I switched over to playing Heroes of Newerth, but then again I also played a lot of DotA back in the day so I’m used to the style of play and community that surrounds that game. It’s not quite like jumping into a tank of sharks, but it is a bit like jumping into a tank of toothless piranhas. They’re not going to seriously hurt you, but they will gum you quite a bit in unpleasant ways.

That’s what happened with the game in general. People kept bashing Stardock as if they made the game, when they were clear they only published it. In their forums, people blamed Stardock for any and everything that they disliked with the game, even though it is a very well balanced game, with 10 different Dg’s to choose from, all of whom play VERY differently from each other. I couldn’t believe the amount of criticism.

But I also remember how many people complained that Sins of a Solar Empire didn’t have a campaign. I was like, huh? I approached it from the 4x view, where there is no campaign. But I realized that there were alot of people coming from the RTS world, who were used to a SP campaign.

Well the competetive bunch came into DG and ripped it a new one, even though the alure of it was that you could learn it in 15 minutes. The focus seemed to be of a more casual, fun experience, but the vocal hardcore wanted more.


Yeah, I do think the game would have a resurgence of community if it came out on steam for 10-20 bucks on a weekend sale.

Maybe Brad just needs to slash the price. $30 for DG today obviously isn’t going to grow the community.

I think Caesarbear is right.

Putting it on Steam or whatever would not have a material effect. I think people far overestimate the impact of additional channels. Most channels are fungible but that’s another discussion.

But having thought about Demigod a lot over the past year, there are a lot of things that could have been done (with hindsight) to have made it more popular.

The crummy MP connectivity at launch certainly hurt the game. But that’s not what kept it from having a huge community. The lack of community features built into the game (and I’m not talking about what Steamworks OR what Impulse::Reactor v2 would provide).

I mean things like in-game clan support, pre-made team signups, built in tournaments. Multiple leagues.

Many of us on Qt3 are in the Starcraft 2 beta. That beta gives just a taste of the kinds of MP features Demigod really could have used if it wanted to sustain a long, large community.

But that would only be the start. Then you would have to be committed to rapidly plugging up exploits - which is expensive and really not practical under the traditional publisher/developer business model that Demigod exists on. The stat handling in Demigod is largely pointless at the competitive level because it’s so easy to cheese it.

From purely a design standpoint, Demigod is more of a traditional RTS except limited to games of 3 v 3 or higher (to put things in perspective, in the Starcraft 2 beta, only 1 on 1 and 2 on 2 are enabled for testing because that’s what most people want to play).

My opinion is that the best way to rejuvenate Demigod would be to lower its price pretty dramatically. It shouldn’t be “free” but I think it should be much less expensive. I’ll see what I can do.