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Three Moves Ahead: Episode 9 – Brad Wardell, Demigod, Elemental and a Prize

April 21st, 2009 by Troy Goodfellow · 8 Comments · Gas Powered Games, Podcast, Stardock, Three Moves Ahead


This week, the panel has a special guest. Stardock’s Brad Wardell joins Troy, Tom, Bruce and Julian to explain just what was up with Demigod‘s botched multiplayer launch. We also get a little bit of information on Stardock’s upcoming fantasy turn based strategy game, Elemental: War of Magic.

And stay tuned to the end, where we give the details for a prize drawing.

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8 Comments so far ↓

  • spelk

    Well done for getting this episode out in double quick time! I’d like to pass on kudos to the Three Moves Ahead team on a thoroughly captivating podcast, I’ve tried many a game centered podcast and most of them meander from giggly in-jokes and guffawing, through to dull reading from a script. TMA has me gripped and thinking about games I play and enjoy, and I think the TMA personalities play off well with each other in an interesting way, presenting many facets of the debate. Consider me an avid listener. Also well done on getting Stardocks’s Brad involved in this episode also, refreshing to have an industry/developer join in the normal TMA debate.

    Now then, when are we going to get some debate going over Endwar and Stormrise? :)

  • Mike

    I have to agree with spelk that the Endwar discussion would be great. Endwar is my RTS of choice and I never got a good debate on it on any of my other favorite podcasts. I’m eagerly awaiting this discussion. I think it would cement this podcast on my itunes subscription list.

  • Black Dawn

    Great podcast guys! Very interesting to hear of the triumphs and troubles of Stardock.

    Personally, I admire Stardock as a company and own most of the games they’ve made, but I feel that all of their games are missing and element (or elements) that keep them from being classics. Gal Civ shares the problems of other 4X space empire games, in that the early game drags on at a very slow pace and late game you can steam-roller your opposition. Sins is fun, but multi-hour multiplayer games are hard to coordinate, and I find that the races are not differentiated enough.

    Master of Magic and Age of Wonders (which is a great MoM rip-off) are some of my all-time favorite strategy games, so I hope that Stardock manages to find that perfect balance of single player and multiplayer experience this time around.

    Kudos to you guys for setting that interview up!

  • Thomas Kiley

    Elemental sound really quite interesting. Good podcast, although I think I preferred the others which were more focused on game design issues. Would love to hear more about opinions on other review styles though…

  • LintMan

    I have to a least partly disagree with the comment that “Demigod is multiplayer only” and that single player skirmish is just as fun. Yes, as a single-player-only guy, I’d say the mechanics of the game are pretty fun, exactly like playing UT3 or CounterStrike against some bots can be fun – but in the end, it’s just not that satisfying. The argument that CS was “designed to be multiplayer” doesn’t really hold water. I think most single player gamers want/expect something different from games then just getting the multiplayer gameplay experience playable offline. If all we wanted was the multiplayer gameplay experience, we’d probably be playing multiplayer. For some reason, it seems that fans of multiplayer are unable to understand that.

    Anyway, so while I admit that I’ve had some fun with Demigod, I definitely wouldn’t recommend it to single players as a good “single player” game. It is what it is: a good multiplayer game that you can play by yourself against the AI. For most single players, that probably won’t be very satisfying.

    Also, good reporting there to press Brad on the story behind Stardock doing the MOM sequel. I would have loved to see a Stardock-made Star Control 4, but at the same time, I’m not sure Stardock has the writing/humor talent to really do it justice. None of their games really display strong storytelling skills (or effort), and that’s a big part of SC2’s greatness. (Though in any case, it’d still be way better than SC3). Ideally, though, Toys For Bob should be allowed to make SC4.

    Elemental sounds interesting. I’m glad to hear they’re scrapping the GalCiv economy model, which was a mess. It always struck me as something where they looked at how Civ did it, then changed things around a fair bit, tweaking things by “feel”, without really understanding how to balance it all. So in the forums you ended up finding out things like your “50%” economy bonus actually has a square root applied to it or that the population happiness bonus percentage is applied to a non-linear base morale step function so that a satisfied population at 23999 citizens is in riots at 24000.

    Sorry of all this sounds like I’m bashing Stardock – I really do like theem as a compnay and I do like GC2, but I have been disappointed with SoaSE and now Demigod.

    Lastly, if Bruce happens to read these comments: I laughed at your Easter reference.

  • LintMan

    Doh! That first line should be ‘I have to a least partly disagree with the comment that “Demigod ISN’T FOR multiplayer only”’

  • Dietrich

    I jumped over to this podcast after Julian mentioned it on Gamers with Jobs, and I’m hooked. Insightful, and with a unique approach. Keep up the awesome work!

  • Justin Fletcher

    I think he was joking, but hopefully you didn’t really try to talk Tom out of asking Brad about Fall From Heaven II. It’s the elephant in the room, and I’m glad Brad addressed why he thinks Elemental will sell when a very similar sounding Civ4 mod is free.

    That’s the kind of stuff I’d like to hear more of when you have developers on the show. I’m not saying be combative; just keep it real. Brad certainly seemed game for that type of question, and I think other developers would too, as long as it was presented with respect.