The Art of the Starting position

Published on Saturday, August 11, 2012 By Brad Wardell In Elemental Dev Journals


The most delicate balancing act we perform in Elemental: Fallen Enchantress is the starting position.  How close should monsters be? How powerful should those monsters be? How near should we place more powerful monsters? How many resources should be near? How many goodie huts should be near? What about quests?

The user has considerable control over this based on their start-up settings. However, we all know that most people will go by the default settings – at least at first.  So we spend a lot of time playing around with these values along.



Here I’ve unhidden the map and turned on the grid in the cloth map view.  As you can see, there are lots of monsters here but they have all been carefully balanced such that a player should be able to defeat them if they are careful and don’t try to mow them all down (i.e. defeat means player is at full health).

Since the maps are randomly generated, including the continents themselves, it can be pretty tricky making sure that the resource placement and map itself remains fair. In a traditional land based 4X, there’s no magic. By adding magic, we significantly increase the challenge. 

However, when successful, the reward is great: unprecedented replay ability.