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Legendary Heroes–February review

By on March 1, 2013 4:39:20 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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SNAGHTML524315fLast month a lot of time was spent on Fallen Enchantress v1.3.  We also used that time to do a lot of play-testing of Legendary Heroes.  The more we play, the more we think players are going to like it. 

Memory

We are going to delay the beta one more week. We were planning on having it come out next Thursday. But after talking to the marketing team, it was decided that the question of 32-bit support needed to be answered by the time pre-orders start.  That is, will Legendary Heroes allow 32-bit users to play on the new “Huge” map size.   

So I’ll be spending this weekend doing memory profiling to see what can be done to see if 32-bit users (and yea, there’s  a lot of them out there) will be able to play these huge maps. 

More Game Help

The annual Stardock report is going to be coming out soon. One of the things it’s going to touch on is that Stardock used a lot of the money used from the sale of Impulse back in 2011 to create a fund to help launch new start-ups.  We haven’t announced any of these new entities yet and won’t be for awhile. But the bottom line is that there’s a lot of game projects floating around here and as I’ve said many times in the past, I don’t like designing games and Kael has crazy amounts on his plate and Jon is full-time on “At the Gates”.   So we’ve gotten some help…

We’ve brought on board someone many of you know – Soren Johnson (designer of Civilization IV) who has come to Stardock, at least for awhile, to oversee the design of all our games.  Obviously, my boss, Derek (Kael – I run Stardock but Derek runs the game studio and in the game studio I’m the lead programmer so I execute his directives, yes, it’s weird) ..anyway he will still be the one to ultimately approve and massage these designs but we’re grateful for Soren’s help.  So please give Soren a warm welcome.  I think his impact on our upcoming (think 2014/2015/2016) will be pretty obvious.

One last thing

This is going to be a big thing next week but Stardock has a killer app for Windows 8 that’s being announced and made available next week. Start8 continues to grow in popularity, I think this new app will be at least as popular.

We’ll keep you guys up to speed. We read the forums and try to incorporate what we can.   We’d like to send a particular shout out to the Penny-Arcade forums for coming up with the “Swarm” mechanic which has really changed (for the better) the tactical battle mechanics. 

That’s all for now. Cheers!

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March 1, 2013 4:50:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Tease! 

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March 1, 2013 5:13:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Soren Johnson? Civ IV's design is far better tan Civ V's design. In fact I still keep Civ IV installed in my hard drive. So... Welcome Soren Johnson!

About 32 bits support... Thanks for remembering about us. I have an old 32 bit PC with Windows 8, and FE runs almost as fast on it as it does on my parents' new 64 bit PC.

And yes, I have installed Start 8

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March 1, 2013 5:14:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

So when are you finally going to announce your next 4x to everyone else?     Also your killing off 32bit support for this next 4x right? (hope so) 

 

Wow times flies, already time for the next report...   

 

Welcome Mr. Johnson! 

 

Delay as long as you need to. Can't wait for the next expansion. 

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March 1, 2013 5:21:02 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Got a few emails already regarding Soren.  Here's a general reply:

I'm not sure how many people remember this but back in 2010 we released this game called Elemental:War of Magic and it was kind of crummy. When we evaluated what went wrong we realized that the problem was that we were spread too thin and didn't have a dedicated game designer (in the sense that the position literally didn't exist here). Apparently writing "Make a Master of Magic game with good graphics and MP" on a napkin wasn't sufficient direction and left a lot to interpretation.

When Derek (Kael) joined us, we quickly came to appreciate how important a good game designer is. Kael is now in charge of all of Stardock's games and in fact whenever I'm working on the game side of things, I implement his directives (at least until we can hire a senior lead developer for the studio -- software developer? >15 years of experience? Apply!). My friend Jon Shafer joined us and worked on Fallen Enchantress and another game (that hasn't been announced yet). Once he had finished that he wanted to try starting his own studio (Conifer). Some Stardock people are working on that in their off-hours (Legendary Heroes and At the Gates share the same art lead).

Right now, we have a lot of titles in pre-production in various places and Derek apparently wants to be able to go home once in awhile ("Come on Derek! I need 5 more games designed this week! Quit tightening the graphics on level 3!") and Soren, having recently left Zygna, gave us an opportunity to work together for the next few months and so here we are.

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March 1, 2013 5:21:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Shame to read about the delay, but that gives me a bit more time to decently finish my 1.3 game.

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March 1, 2013 5:26:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I love Civ5.  That is great to hear.  I can not wait for Beta, and to see how this new game/expansion is.

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March 1, 2013 5:28:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Awesome to hear, keep up the good work!

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March 1, 2013 5:37:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yay, Soren Johnson is one of my favorite game designers/AI programmers. Now you just need to get hold of Brian Reynolds.

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March 1, 2013 6:18:04 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

And Jon Van Caneghem!

 

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March 1, 2013 7:17:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

wow, nice to see that Soren Johnson joins Stardock. that's really good news. Looking forward to all the games that will be released in the next years

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March 1, 2013 7:36:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Great news! And, what a team you have now, with so much 4X gaming expertise   Can't wait for those announcements on what you guys have been working on and what you'll be in the near future. Will you be announcing titles soon?

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March 1, 2013 7:42:36 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

So I wlll need to purchase LH right?  I just wanted to make sure because I had read somewhere that there had been mention of those by WoTM, they would get this free.  I only saw that the one time, so I want to make sure if I have to buy this, which i will happily do.  This is a good direction I think.

 

Also welcome to Soren Johnson.  I loved Civ 4 and played it for a long time, just like Civ 5 and all the others.  Im enjoying Civ 5 as well, and like some of what they have done...but then again, isnt that the way it is?  LOL we always wish they would do what we want and honestly it prolly wouldnt work out.  Even Lord Frog mentioned some stuff he wanted to do, yet in the end it just wasnt feasible.  Live and learn right?!  

 

And new projects to come....does that mean a return of one of the best space turn based game ever(which I wont name due to me not wanting to be smacked around)?  My wife still asks me if that cat race is in any other game(I discussed this in another thread so wont go back to that).  I guess she thought they were cute...

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March 1, 2013 7:49:01 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Just give me LH already!!!

(Oh, and welcome Soren )

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March 1, 2013 11:59:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Wow! Welcome to Soren!

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March 2, 2013 12:06:03 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I vote no on letting 32-bitters play on huge map size, if I get a vote.  It's time to wean folks off of 32-bit.

 

That said, one of the things I think you guys really do well at Stardock is making games run on limited resources.   GC2 and FE both run really well on mediocre rigs.  (which I think is smart)

 

Soren's pretty big news.

 

 

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March 2, 2013 12:11:34 AM from Little Tiny Frogs Forums Little Tiny Frogs Forums

Well, I am a big beliethe in trying to make the code as efficient as possible.  I'm willing to spend my weekend trying to do what I can. and I have that opportunity thanks to Soren since I was scheduled to go over two game designs that now I won't have to do.

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March 2, 2013 12:17:53 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Since it's delayed can you spoil us with some more screenshots?

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March 2, 2013 12:19:27 AM from Little Tiny Frogs Forums Little Tiny Frogs Forums

I will try over the weekend. Memory debugging is extremely slow so I should have  time to do that.

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March 2, 2013 12:49:07 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Alstein,
I vote no on letting 32-bitters play on huge map size, if I get a vote.  It's time to wean folks off of 32-bit.

That said, one of the things I think you guys really do well at Stardock is making games run on limited resources.   GC2 and FE both run really well on mediocre rigs.  (which I think is smart)
 

Soren's pretty big news. 
 

I vote on letting the 32-bit users choose their own fate, for good or for ill (if my vote counts too). Afterall, even Brad has admitted that there are many 32-bit users still out there.

Now, I'm no programmer, but in the old days when a game was installed, we gamers would get the options laid out in front for custom installation. I'm not just talking about "choose your directory of install", nor do I refer to the common custom choices of 'which sound card you have' or 'how many buttons on your joystick do you want to play with'. Many games had several layers of install, depending on how well your computer was able to perform. I don't know how much investment of time, money, and resources this type of request would contain, but if possible for what SD would consider to be a reasonable amount, please consider it.

During install, could we please receive the option whether or not we want to tackle huge maps. Granted, there probably is 32-bit machines out there that cannot operate FE with on a huge map. But I would be hard pressed to believe all 32-bit machines couldn't do it. Mine operates dual core for example...

During install, could we please receive the option whether or not to have the little meeples installed? I've been watching ver 1.3 very closely to see how much memory it's consuming, and I've pleasantly found out that the worst case has been only 840,000 K (from the task manager window). HUGE congrats to SD over this cause during many of the betas and even still in 1.0, that number could climb as high as 1,940,000 K on my machine. Please consider allowing customers make their own choice whether they feel they can run the game with meeples or not. If it doesn't work for some 32-bit users, all it means is a reinstall...

 

Perhaps this is a bit of an aside, but I was wondering if any thought has been given for the flatting of hills/mountains when city development occurs close by since I first mentioned it in beta 4. Often times, a tile(s) is flattened, yet the characteristics of that tile are maintained. Throughout the course of a game, it can be quite annoying to path your units over flat grassland only to be jipped by the 1/2 movement penalty along the way.

Thanks

 

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March 2, 2013 1:13:14 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Alstein,

I vote no on letting 32-bitters play on huge map size, if I get a vote.  It's time to wean folks off of 32-bit.

 

You are, of course, ready to defend against the 32-bit ninja squad, I suppose.

I just don't think Stardock is. Granted, there's good reason for suggesting people upgrade to a 64-bit OS, but the company that makes FE has to take into account just how much of its customer base actually dwells in a 32-bit universe. And that's still considerable.

 

I strongly suspect in a year or two many of these will have moved on to 64-bit systems, but right now, planning a feature for the 64-bit crowd seems premature.

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March 2, 2013 5:03:23 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This wouldn't be bricking the game for 32-bit folks.  They just couldn't play on the largest map size. 

This would save Stardock a large amount in optimization.

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March 2, 2013 5:06:06 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting jmccrea,

So I wlll need to purchase LH right?  I just wanted to make sure because I had read somewhere that there had been mention of those by WoTM, they would get this free.
Good question .

Also will Stardock give us a Steam key of all Elemental ( Demigod , GalCiv series , SoaSE series )  games that we own on our Stardock account ?

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March 2, 2013 7:38:58 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Welcome Soren.

@32 bit huge maps. Is it worth the effort? ? Is it even viable to optimize memory to the point that OOMs are totally avoidable?

 

Speaking of Soren and OOMs, I remember one of the games Soren worked on still crashes with OOMs to this day and the company always insisted it was my PC.. but of course im running 10x the specs I was back then and it still has OOMs. Plain and simple it hits the 32 bit limit, has very little to do with what system you were running at that point. Still love the game, still one of my top all time 4x, but I still remember the OOMs well. (think I only finished 1 out of 3 or 4 games on it due to those, because I like big maps)

 

Point is that if you can't cross that threshold to remove the potential to OOM with 99% certainty don't bother adding the map size for 32 bit users IMO, its likely only going to lead to frustration.

 

Removing an option for 32 bit users > than requiring people to fully upgrade their system for a shittily optimized engine *cough* Frostbite *cough*

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March 2, 2013 7:40:05 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Civilization 4 was my favorite of all the Civilizations. (V was too experimental and III was too easy to exploit.)

Fall From Heaven II was my favorite of all Mods, for any game, ever. (Even beating out Desert Conflict for Battlefield 2)

Having the lead designers from both of these come together is like a dream-team come true.

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March 2, 2013 7:45:27 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

As someone who often lags in owning the latest and greatest technology, I appreciate that SD is trying to accommodate 32 bit users. (Although, this time around, I'm in the 64 bit camp, and it's a non-issue for me)

 

 

 

 

 

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