Elemental multiplayer evolves

Published on Monday, June 1, 2009 By Brad Wardell In Elemental Dev Journals

As some of you know, we had to assign quite a few members of the Elemental team to help with Demigod after it was released.  Most of them are back on Elemental but a couple of our developers are still attached to Demigod to refine the multiplayer system in that game.  It’s been particularly challenging since initially there was virtually no “Stardock code” involved and now it’s thousands of lines.  So we have definitely “gotten involved”.

The good news is that it will likely benefit Elemental in the long run.  While Elemental is being designed to focus on the single-player experience, there are some multiplayer features that we feel Demigod must have that we’re going to develop that will be put back into Elemental too.

For example, personally speaking, I’m convinced that the only sure-fire way of totally making these games 100% reliable online is for us to just host the games.  I’ve asked our guys to look into finding ways to do that for Demigod in a future update that won’t require Gas Powered Games to change their code (so it will seem peer to peer to Demigod but it’ll actually be our servers doing it all).  This will be helpful for Elemental because we’ll have a lot of additional experience in this area.

Another feature we’re going to look at developing is letting groups of friends join into randomly generated skirmish games.  Right now, in Demigod, you can’t get a group of friends into skirmish games.  We want that to change in there and in turn it will be available for people who want to play Elemental.

Another idea we’ve had is for Elemental to have various game modes.  Basicially, vastly increase the number of winning conditions that people can put together in order to set up games that could be played in less than an hour. 

Some of the aforementioned flexibility is only possible because of the way the computer AI is being designed for Elemental.  Like in Galactic Civilizations, I’ll be coding the AI in Elemental. But this time, it’ll be moddable and I plan to make a lot of this available to the community during the beta to see if they can do certain game modes better than I can.

All in all, I’m definitely looking forward to all the options.