Fallen Enchantress - March BETA FAQ

Published on Tuesday, March 6, 2012 By Brad Wardell In Elemental Dev Journals

Greetings!  We haven’t done a FAQ in awhile so here we go:

S_DestinysGift_PaintingQ: Is Elemental: Fallen Enchantress an expansion pack to Elemental: War of Magic?

A: No.  Elemental: Fallen Enchantress is a stand-alone game. It exists in the same world and is a 4X strategy game, but beyond that, they are very different.

Q: How much does Elemental: Fallen Enchantress cost?

A: It’s $39.95.  You can pre-order it now and join the BETA. We plan to provide some additional goodies for those who own a copy of it prior to release.

Q: What kind of goodies?

A: Additional quests, monsters, and items.

Q: I have Elemental: War of Magic already, is there a discount for Fallen Enchantress?

A: Yes, if you registered War of Magic in 2010, you get Fallen Enchantress for free.  If you bought it in 2011, there is a discount.

Q: When will Fallen Enchantress be released?

A: When it’s done.

Q: No, seriously, I hate when people say that. Do you have any sort of time line?

A: This Spring we plan to release a BETA 3, in Summer we expect to release BETA 4. During Beta 4 we’ll evaluate where things stand.  But we still view the game as being in a good place but still months away from release.

Q: How much will the final game be different from the current game?

A: Probably quite a bit. We get into a lot of debates on this subject with beta testers because there is often a disconnect between what is part of Fallen Enchantress’s design principles versus what a user thinks “needs” to be in the game.

Q: Ok, that was pretty vague. What do you mean by design principles?

A: This would require a separate journal entry but broadly speaking, we mean that Derek Paxton (Kael) has a specific vision for Elemental: Fallen Enchantress which falls under a number of broad design principles. A common request is that the tactical battles be much more complex than they currently are. But one of the design principles of FE is that tactical battles should not decide the outcome of the strategic game. That is, no matter how good someone has mastered the tactical part of the game, it shouldn’t enable them to turn what would normally be a loss strategically into a win.  This is an intentionally vague concept since we want tactical battles to be meaningful but we don’t want someone to be able to win against 10 to 1 odds because they’ve mastered that aspect of the game.

Q: Does this mean tactical battles won’t be changing?

A: We have a number of changes planned. We just can’t commit to anything specific until we’ve had time to play through it via iteration.

Q: What areas of the game do you consider furthest along?

A: The general flow of the game is fairly far along in terms of having a solid core.  It’s not any particular feature. We are in BETA 2 presently, Beta 1 was to make sure the game was compatible (hardware wise). Beta 2 is designed to allow us to create a very tight core from which we can expand upon.

S_Domination_PaintingQ: What areas should we expect to see the game expand on?

A: Our recent poll confirmed that our beta group seems to be on the same page as us.  Making each faction be very different matters a lot to us.  Secondly, the city management is an area with a great deal of work ahead for it.  Not on the poll but diplomacy is an area we want to expand on.

Q: What is the future of multiplayer and why isn’t it planned for initial release?

A: 90% of the multiplayer features are in.  The issue is that we don’t want to split our resources between supporting multiplayer (from a bug testing / stability point of view) while also trying to do the same for the single player game.

Q: What can you tell us about the campaign?

A: It’s been designed and created by Jon Shafer (designer of Civilization V as well as having worked on the Beyond the Sword expansion for Civilization IV) and written by fantasy author, Dave Stern. Voice overs are being done by some of the people involved with Fall From Heaven and music provided by a team up musicians who worked on Civilization V and Galactic Civilizations II.

Q: I have heard that Fallen Enchantress is a different development team than War of Magic?

A: Yes. After the sale of Impulse, developers who had previously worked on Galactic Civilizations II were brought back from the Impulse team to the Games group to work on Fallen Enchantress. It is led by Derek Paxton (Kael) who had previously worked on the Civilization IV mod, Fall from Heaven and as previously mentioned the campaign was designed by Jon Shafer formerly of Civilization V fame.

Q: What is your role on Fallen Enchantress vs. War of Magic?

A: On both projects I am the Executive Producer.  I wrote some of the strategic AI for War of Magic.  In Fallen Enchantress I am the lead developer and am writing both the strategic and tactical AI. This is only possible because we sold Impulse so I have more time to devote to our individual projects.  Kael has the final word on design. It’s his baby.

Q: When will we see a trailer?

A: It’s being worked on.  Since Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion is coming out sooner, its trailer got the art team’s attention first. Now they’re onto the Elemental related work.

Update #1:

Q: How much will tactical battles change between now and release?

A: It’s too early to say. We have the broad requirement that someone should not be able to turn a clear strategic defeat into victory through “massive skillz” at tactical battles. But there are a lot of areas we are looking to expand on and enhance. We’re more inclined to find ways to make them more fun without them becoming more complex. Think MOO or MOM for what we’re looking for.

Q: Do you plan to use Steamworks in FE?

A: There are no plans to use Steamworks with Fallen Enchantress.

Q: When is the next beta?

A: We expect to release Beta 2-B this month.