The goal is to have the Legendary Heroes beta out this week. It’s been held back mostly because we’re having trouble with the self-shadowing.
Shadows are a pain in the butt. In Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion, more engineering hours were spent on the self-shadowing than anything else. But ya gotta do it. It’s one of those uncanny valley things.
Derek (Kael) and I have been going over various UI elements, particularly regarding the behavior of selected units. Most of you don’t know this but Derek and I lived together for a year. When he first joined Stardock, he lived in Ohio and until his family could find the right place here in Michigan, he lived with me and my family. I can honestly say, now that they have their own place, we really miss having him live with us (my 6 year old in particular asks when Derek is coming home). So a lot of day time gets “wasted” now discussing game stuff like when units should be centered on the screen or how much we wish we could steal and clone Soren Johnnson’s brain.
You’d be surprised how much time can be spent discussing the best way to implement shadows. Baking vs. dynamic. How realistic should they be? How much perf should they be allowed to use (memory vs. GPU). As geeks, we never get tired of this stuff.
I’ve spent too much time playing Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm. Tom Chick, aka, the meanest man in the world, has a review on it. Personally, I’m loving HOTS but having not played SC2 since it was relatively new, I’m not sure how much of the awesomeness is in HOTS and how much has evolved in free updates. In either event, Blizzard deserves a lot of credit for turning a strategy game into its own ecosystem. I am particularly impressed with their AI which provides a good, if decisively non-human, challenge.
I’m getting a lot of emails regarding post LH DLC. Yes, we plan to make it but we basically want to focus on making LH as good as we can and then after release find out what people want us to make.
Yes, we’re still hiring
We’re looking for more experienced game developers. Stardock pays well and has lots of fringe benefits (personal fitness trainer, nutrionists, movie days, etc.). There won’t be any MP in any of the Elemental games until we can hire at least 1 more network developers. We want MP. I agree with the arguments for it. I think LH in particular lends itself to it. But I have to have coders who can do it. I’ve literally got 2 people on the games side of the company who can do that work and they’re working on future games that absolutely have to have MP.
I am still hoping we make this week for LH. The current plan is for LH to go “gold” this Spring. We’re friends with the Snowbird guys and we agreed we’d come out after they come out so that no one is stealing the other’s thunder. Here’s my plug for Eador: Masters of the Broken World. If you want to see a game with a good use of shadows, check that game out. Talk about a beautiful looking game. They have another game coming out that I think has been announced called Caribbean (think 17th century RPG). Keep an eye on Snowbird. As a child of the 80s, I get a great deal of joy interacting with game developers in the former Soviet Union. It just goes to show how much better the world is today than it was 30 years ago.