Eador. MotBW — Return of Multiplayer

November 21, 2017  |  Eador, Эадор  |  4 Comments

Hi everyone,

There’s been a lot of complaints regarding non-working multiplayer in Eador. MotBW, so it’s high time we address it and explain what’s going on with it.

mp_revive

First of all, the original netcode for the game’s MP was not very good, it could often lead to desync. We managed (hopefully) to rewrite and fix this part now. Secondly, we’ve been hacked, believe it or not. Perhaps, you remember the epidemic of the virus-cryptographer? Well, it got us too. We found ourselves in the shoes of a grandpa who pressed some button and and then had his screen full of naked ladies. All of the server’s data was encrypted and held hostage. But we don’t want to give money to terrorists, so just wiped out all our hard drives.

So what happens now? Today we’re releasing a new update for original MotBW, fixing multiplayer and improving the game’s stability in general. To play MP, you’ll need to register one more time — use your Steam/GOG key to do that. If you’re having problems with registering, write us to support@snowbirdgames.com, we’ll see what can be done.

The game’s netcode can be described by the term ‘legacy software’. This means that the functional is in there and it works, but works pretty bad. To completely rework it from the ground up is too expensive, to fix completely — impossible. We did rewrite a pretty big chunk of the code, as we already said. But unfortunately, we just can’t afford to rewrite the whole MP part of the game. So we ask you to understand any possible problems you may have with MP.

Eador. Imperium — Update notes (October 31)

October 31, 2017  |  Eador, Эадор  |  3 Comments

Hi everyone,

Small update today, to follow up the last week’s patch! A couple of improvements here and there as well, suggested in the support e-mail :)

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Update notes 2.65.3:

Highlights:

– Added soundtrack to victory screen after completion of the Epilogue campaign.
– Frost furies now get “Fire arrows” upgrade instead of “Magic shot”.
– Sentinel hero now gains “Crippling blow” ability instead of “Magic strike” upon reaching level 10.
– Profit from buildings which increase income by the percentage of your total treasury is no longer capped at 500 gold.
– AI players set to Inactive no longer suffer from rebellions and random events capable of defeating them prematurely.
– In order to get “This is the end” achievement, you need to load an autosave from the ending of last mission of the Imperium campaign and repeat its final scenes.

Fixed:

– Provinces under siege no longer can have a rebellion.
– “Mass insanity” ritual no longer targets the player’s capital by mistake.
– Fixed an error with the “Aura of Healing” ability working twice per turn.
– Fixed an error with the Sentinel hero’s ranged attack value being displayed incorrectly.

UPD:

Hotfix 2.65.4:

– Fixed an error with “Repair all” button being disabled when there are damaged items in the castle treasury.
– Fixed an error with wrong shop inventory at the “Knowledge store” special site.

UPD 2:

Hotfix 2.65.5:

– Fixed crashes upon finishing story campaign missions.

Eador. Imperium — Halloween + New campaign

October 26, 2017  |  Snowbird  |  9 Comments

Hi everyone,

Today we’re returning with a new update, that might even be called an expansion of sorts. We’ve seen a lot of posts saying “I’m ready to buy DLC for Imperium if you make it” — so here’s some new content coming your way.

halloween

We’re not selling it though. Why? This is an epilogue for the original story in Imperium, which was dramatic and even tragic at times. You may have heard of the professional term “Russian ending” — it was used in the era of silent films. As you’ll see, our taste didn’t change much since 1910s. We won’t spoil anything, just want to make a little statement — we think it’s a bit stupid and indecent to sell important pieces of a story. Halloween is coming, so this is a proper occasion for a new scary story campaign. Those who can beat it, will also see what new units we’re adding in November.

Of course, we don’t just want you to be scared to death. With the newest patch we’ve also included some general fixes and improvements for the game, which, now that we think of it, may sound even spookier. We’ll note here, just in case, that this is a small part of a larger update still being in the works. Don’t worry, that one is coming soon too!

The game itself will be selling at a 60% discount throughout the Steam Halloween sale.

Enjoy!

Update notes 2.65.1:

New:

– New “Epilogue” campaign.
– The “Imperium” campaign no longer requires completion of three previous campaigns to be unlocked.

Fixed:

– Fixed an error with the heroes’ ranged attacks.
– Fixed an error with the hero’s items being redistributed upon changing weapon to two-handed.
– Fixed an error in buildings browser in the construction mode.
– Fixed an error with summoning spells.
– Fixed an error with some scrolls in the loot needing repair.
– Fixed an error in interaction with a dwarven province in “Gold rush” Arena scenario.

Eador. Imperium — Patch status and evolution of DLC

October 16, 2017  |  Eador, Эадор  |  9 Comments

Hi everyone,

We got two topics for today. The first one is, of course, about the upcoming patch status. The work is still going, our Eador programmer is doing his best day and night. He’s lost his human form a long time ago, but now he seems to be gradually losing his communication skills as well — in the last few days he only talked to us with basically two phrases: “got any more Red Bull?” and “The patch is coming”.

allied_forces

So, it’s coming, but slowly. Why does it take so long for some of the updates to release? We talked about it before, but maybe it’s worth delving into again.

Eador is built on the engine that takes its roots from 2004. A dozen of programmers worked on this engine, without keeping any documentation at all. For the original team this choice of engine was justified in 2010 (it’s already been seven years, oh boy), when the work on Eador was just getting started. But, unfortunately, we can’t just drive back in time inside DeLorean and shout “Stop! We’re from the future! Just use Unity!”.

This is why it takes a lot of time in some cases. Right now we want to rework the hiring system: move unique units from sites right into the castle. So that after constructing something you could have access to “winter units” right from the garrison. In the process, it turns out that the entire drag-n-drop system is literally mined with errors, that, for some unknown reason, have not blown up yet. So we put this new functional away for a bit and start working on the basic functional — that is already present in the game from the player’s view. Only now it’s being written anew, clean and with no errors.

The second topic is a continuation from the comments to the previous post — sales and marketing strategy. Let’s take DLC, for example. For the most part, DLC in general can be dismissed at this point, it’s a relic from 2009. How many people who bought your game, will also purchase DLC for it? We can’t share our own numbers, but this is true for most cases — about 10-15% will buy good DLC. It makes sense to make DLC if the game sold around 1 million copies. Or at least 100 thousand. If it’s less than that, then it’s more about thanking the fans than a commercial project. Allied Forces DLC for original Eador. Masters of the Broken World came out in 2014, but the sales recouped its production budget only recently.

You could notice that DLC as small additions of new content is not really trendy these days. Some developers do still release them — for example, Paradox’s games receive tons of DLC, as their production is cheap, and the audience is gigantic. Also, today’s DLC is more about cosmetic items for successful online games like Rocket League or Rainbow Six: Siege. We’re not taking into account giant expansions for games like Dark Souls or The Witcher 3, which are called DLC by default as well.

What’s definitely trendy now though is lootboxes. These things are ethically ambiguous, and the psychological mechanism behind them has been known for the longest time — research on it is closer to the nature of drug addiction and gambling than narrative or strategic thinking, that much is clear. But lootboxes and their abuse in some cases did not just come out of nowhere: games are extremely expensive, income doesn’t get any higher, and the attention span of players is getting shorter with each day. If you follow the industry, we suggest reading the opinion of people from inXile (Wasteland) and Daedalic (Deponia) — it’s panic and horror all around, no one is sure that their company will still be alive by 2020.

However, we don’t want to make people feel bad for our studio with this post — we got no plans to launch Patreon or ask for donations. No plans to add lootboxes in Eador either (only if you really, really would want that yourself). We’d just like to take this opportunity to learn more about your opinion on this topic. How do you choose your new game nowadays? How many strategy games per year do you need? Do you read gaming press at all? And how did you end up with us? :)

Eador. Imperium — Response from Alexander the Developer

September 22, 2017  |  Eador, Эадор  |  14 Comments

Hi everyone,

We got a number of questions directed to Alexander the Developer on our Steam forum, so we decided to follow them up with some answers. Since Alexander himself will delve into philosophy, postmodernism and Keynesian economics in his response, we’d better start off with news about the upcoming update.

At the moment we’re working on the hiring UI, and in case with this engine it means changing some part of the groundwork without dismantling the house. Why we decided to change the UI is another story — we’ll try to get to it in a separate post. The basic idea is to move a part of the hiring from sites into the garrison, plus add unique garrison fortresses for provinces, which will enable hiring of special units. By the way, we already have two new units of the highest rank — right now we’re balancing them out.

Now to your questions, asked in this thread.

alx_response

It should be noted that Alexander is extremely happy with the warmest community’s response to his in-game message. Over the summer the game’s rating went up from 56% to 83%! Such rating growth and very kind words do wonders to our morale. For this we thank you very much! On the other hand, a higher rating didn’t really help with the game’s sales…

Seven dollars. This is how much the project Eador. Imperium managed to earn on Steam on the 18th of September. And after Valve’s share and taxes, it’s even less than that.

This level of sales would means that either a person with a salary of 200 dollars a month will work on the game from this point (a person nearly impossible to find), or the project’s support is slowly put on hold.

So these are the options for now. How did we end up here? Let’s reflect on this a little bit.

Our tournament’s winner speedyappraisals: «I am confounded as to why this game has not sold more. Perhaps marketing, I don’t know because for game play and strategy I have yet to see a game that comes close.»

So there are different kind of marketing. For example, product marketing. We develop a game for some specific audience, and the game basically sells itself. Our sales tell us that either our audience didn’t really like our game (not reflected by the current Steam rating), or this audience is just too small. Or something went wrong with another type of marketing — promotion.

This is mostly about showing the complete product to the largest possible number of people. Luck and money are key factors here. You need a good budget to work with YouTube “influencers” — this implies a variety of possible cooperation. Or maybe you created a meme game, and the Internet will do the rest for you.

As a game, Eador is not really funny and can’t produce much hype. It’s quite slow, looks like Heroes of Might & Magic on screenshots, but is very different gameplay-wise. Of course, the project also had stability problems — this is the part where we complain about the game’s ancient engine we inherited and the old team’s management blunder.

Returning to our two options. To be honest, we don’t have a definite answer at this moment. Not sure what the best way to go about this is. So for the nearest future, we don’t plan any immediate changes in the support plan for the game — while we still can pay the bills. However, the decision will have to be made at some point.

If we are to stick with Eador in the future, maybe in the form of a new a completely reworked game — how do you imagine it to be? More of HoMM, more of Civilization or Crusader Kings, perhaps? Let us know.

Eador. Imperium — Tournament finished!

August 28, 2017  |  Eador, Эадор  |  4 Comments

Hi everyone,

The Imperium tournament is now over, and we finally have our 4 winners!

imperium

Here they are:

  • Crescent Isles — v_chernenkov (22 turns)
  • Lakeland — speedyappraisals and batbI4 (37 turns for both!)
  • Gold Rush — Narimalys (77 turns)

Congratulations! These results look very impressive, but we do have some questions for you :)

Please contact us at support@snowbirdgames.com — don’t forget to attach your savegames and a brief description of your way to victory! If everything looks fine (we’re sure it is), we’ll proceed to rewarding immediately.

Big thanks to everyone who participated. Hope you had fun!

Eador. Imperium — Extending the tourney & Status update

August 18, 2017  |  Eador, Эадор  |  4 Comments

Hi everyone,

There will be no update this week, unfortunately — but it is coming out during the next one! This patch turned out to be quite time consuming: around 10-15% of of the entire game’s code was rewritten. This is not the most reasonable way to do things (refactoring on the go!), but this is where we are right now. The game should become a bit faster, a the errors caused by Imperium.dll should be reduced.

tourney_extnd

While we still hope that we can improve the current Eador engine to the best of our abilities and fix the most annoying problems as a result, we can’t help but worry that eventually we’ll have to move to another newer engine. We’ll try to make a definite decision on this in September. After all, rewriting the code would require 100% of our resources that could be spent on a new game on a new engine. These are just our internal doubts and reflections, which we believe we should share with you.

Now to the tournament. First of all, we decided to extend it for another week, till August 28th — the tourney scenarios turned out to be more difficult than we expected. Secondly, the prizes — of course, we won’t be giving out another copy of Eador to the winners. Any game on Steam you like will be yours!

Eador. Imperium — Tournament conditions

August 9, 2017  |  Eador, Эадор  |  No Comments

Hi everyone,

We wanted to give a quick update on conditions for our ongoing tournament.

First of all, we already see some potential winners on all scenarios — that’s really good! Secondly, we also see there are some suspicions in players’ honest conduct here and there. We won’t be calling any names, but all contestants and their turns can be seen in the leaderboards anyway.

tourney_upd

So, to eliminate any doubts in clear and fair victories, let’s introduce our version of doping control to the tournament. Every winner will need to provide us with the savegame from the map he/she placed first. If the map was somehow hacked or some cheats were used, we’ll be able to see it. If you found any exploit — that’s your right and it shows your ability to approach the game creatively. So a win by means of exploiting the game is still a win (we’ll just consider this when creating new scenarios).

Besides the savegames, we’ll also ask all three winners to share their path to victory with us. What strategy did you choose? What challenges did you face? People need to know their heroes!

Lastly, about the next update — it’s currently in the works, and we hope it’ll be ready by the next week’s end.

Eador. Imperium — Tournament start + Update 2.64.2

August 2, 2017  |  Eador, Эадор  |  3 Comments

Hi everyone,

Update 2.64.2, that includes tournament maps and new rituals for speeding up the game’s progress, is now out for all players.

Together with this, we announce the start of our first little Eador tournament! Winning conditions are pretty simple: the player who’ll manage to finish a scenario in the least number of turns will be declared the champion (more on this in this post). The tournament season will last until August 21st (UPD: August 28th), and we’d like to award the three winning players with a Steam game of their choice. Shall we start then?

tourney_begins

Update notes 2.64.2:

New:

Added Arena mode to the game. Tournament scenarios track the number of turns you have spent to win. Those who achieve scenario goals in minimal time will enter the leaderboards. 3 scenarios are available on the Arena:

  • Crescent Isles – fight for archipelago against one AI enemy.
  • Lakeland – fight against 3 AI enemies in the world where magic is banned.
  • Gold Rush – accumulate 500.000 gold!

Added 4 special booster rituals, granting special advantages in exchange for worsening your turn score and a comparable boost to AI enemies:

  • Midas’ Touch – A Master blesses both you and your enemies with enormous treasure of gold and gems, and grants you knowledge about your provinces.
  • Call Champions – A Master blesses both you and your enemies with a treasure of gold and gems, and grants your hero experience and a cadre of mighty units.
  • Awake Sentinel – A Master blesses both you and your enemies with a treasure of gold and gems, and grants you a mighty Sentinel with an entourage of war machines.
  • Summon Lich – A Master blesses both you and your enemies with a treasure of gold and gems, and grants you a puissant Lich with an entourage of undead.

These rituals are only available in tournament scenarios, and can be optionally enabled in Sandbox mode.

Fixed:

– Fixed a bug with Shipbuilders Guild line of capital buildings and Wharf line of province buildings failing to reveal fog of war over the water, thus preventing sea crossing.
– Fixed a bug with Reincarnation and other abilities activated by unit death failing to trigger. (special thanks to user paladin_66)
– Fixed the Engineer ability ignoring its area of effect.
– Fixed an error with a rebellion caused by Mass Insanity ritual failing to capture the province if a hero was present inside.

Eador. Imperium — Update 2.64.1 (Preview access)

July 27, 2017  |  Eador, Эадор  |  1 Comment

Hi everyone,

Today we’re launching a new update in the preview access. We always need your feedback, but this time — especially! The update fixes a few bugs and, ideally, improves the game’s stability. However, that’s not the most important about this one — more on this below. The update itself is available in the closed branch on Steam, it’s not officially out yet.

To access the branch, select Eador. Imperium in you Steam library, right click, choose ‘Properties’ and head over to the ‘Betas’ tab. Enter this access code: Y4T2pM245ndC. After that, you’ll be able to choose ‘Public preview’ branch ‘from the drop-down list.

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Tournament maps

We’ve added new special scenarios for those who consider themselves the best at Eador. They can be found in “Campaign” -> “Arena”. The player who’ll manage to finish a scenario in the least number of turns will be declared the champion. If this event will prove to be of interest within the community, we’ll be happy to provide some prizes.

While the update is in the preview access, the results on these scenarios won’t be recorded. We just give some time to try them in advance!

Speeding up the progress

Might be a controversial thing for some , but at the same time — very useful for others. We’ve added 4 rituals that greatly speed up the game’s pace. Here’s how it works: in 3-4 turns since the beginning of the game you are able to summon a powerful hero with the army, or get huge riches, or hire good guards. But in this case, your AI enemy gets the very same advantage as you.

Why do all of this? This can be of use for those players who are tired of the early game — building a barn, a library and a smithy time and time again — giving them an opportunity to get into action right away.

If you don’t want to see these “booster” rituals in the game, they can be turned off in the Sandbox setting. Needless to say, these rituals won’t appear in Imperium’s campaign.

We do have some worries about balancing these rituals, so please let us know what you think. Thanks!