On the plane

Published on Monday, December 6, 2010 By Brad Wardell In Elemental Dev Journals

Hi guys,  I’m on the plane heading to San Fran for various meetings on various things.  Anyway, we’re pretty happy with how the latest beta of 1.1 is working out. From here on out, we’re focusing on stability. More new features will come in for 1.2.

Sales of Elemental have been..unusual.  For the first day, Elemental was our top launch in company history. Then the infamous PC Gamer UK article came out and sales went to nearly zilch.  Since then, it’s picked up. Dramatically.  It has resulted in us not being able to project its future revenue because traditionally sales maximize in the first 30 days and then go down.  In Elemental’s case, sales (at retail especially) increased in October and further in November.  Word of mouth matters. 

The good is is that means Elemental has been able to stay at retail at full price.  Now, anyone who buys Elemental before the end of this year can still get the first expansion pack for free which is a pretty good deal.

The AI in v1.1 is much better than in v1.0 largely due to the threading of it which has enabled us to put in a lot of new algorithms that we couldn’t have realistically put into 1.0 otherwise you’d be waiting several seconds between turns which isn’t acceptable.

This week, Kael and the team are trying to get the game ready for v1.1.  The demo version probably won’t make it out until January due to marketing considerations (late December is a very bad time to put out a demo because coverage would be sparce).  But we’ll be putting up videos and such so people can see how much has changed.

Last night, the AI beat me for the first time on Normal. Now, if I was really focusing on it I could have totally won. But it’s a good sign that the AI has gotten a lot better and the strategic part of the game.  That said, I’d still rate the AI at being around a 4/10 (GalCiv II’s AI being a 7/10).  I am hoping to really get going on the diplomatic AI over the Christmas “break”.  If there are any diplomatic features you guys would like, feel free to chime in.

When Stardock shuts down for Christmas, I’ll be available quite a bit on irc.stardock.com #elemental to hang out, chat, and hear your ideas.  This is your game.

Next year, we’ll be bringing in an expert to help us begin the transition of our general engine to being a true modding engine.  We’ll be talking about that more in the future.

I also want to emphasize how much we enjoy hanging out with you guys on the forums.  Truth be told, the community of Elemental is really amazing.  Seriously, check out our forums and look at how people are.  It’s a great experience for all involved and we thank you for that. Your continued support and ideas fuel our motivation to keep making the game better and better.

P.S. I love free airplane WiFi.