PAX 2009: Stardock
PAX 2009 is under full swing, and your faithful Media Whores are here to bring you all the latest info from the PAX show floor. Today’s first stop for me was Stardock, developer of cult hits Demigod and Sins of A Solar Empire. I’ll make no qualms about it, I’m a total fanboy when it comes to Stardock. Demigod and Sins are two of my favorite PC games from the last few years. Hit the jump to see all the awesome stuff Stardock showed.
As an avid fan of Sins of A Solar Empire, I’m very excited for the new updates coming to the game. Ironclad Games is planning on implementing a completely new Diplomacy system into the game. As of now, only enemy AI players can give missions, and it’s not always clear why they like or hate you. The new system will let players see motivations and reasons for what the AI players do, like why that red player won’t stop attacking you no matter how much money you give them. The game will also have a third research tree, called Diplomacy, that will give your empire new ways to interact with other players. Though the developers weren’t specific, there will also be some new forms of espionage that will take place as well. There will also be major, but unspecified, changes to the pirate system.
Even though Sins was released almost 2 years ago, Stardock and Ironclad Games are still committed to updating Sins. Some of the above features will be free updates, others will be part of a new upcoming micro-expansion. If you’re a fan of Sins of A Solar Empire, be prepared for even more greatness.
Demigod is also getting some major updates in the near future, and players should be very excited about them. The first update is a replay system, which is absolutely necessary in a game that is designed to be a competitive online experience. The replay update will be a small patch that should be out within a few weeks.
The next major update to Demigod will have a large amount of content. There will be two new Demigods added to the game. One is a lightning based Guardian type, who sits back and throws large amounts of electricity damage. The other is a new Assassin type developed to specifically counter enemy Demigods that are ranged hit-and-run. The unnamed Assassin class will have speed boosting and short-range teleport moves that can be used to counter ranged enemies with blinding speed.
Mod support is also being added to Demigod, which has been a long time coming. There were a couple mods given as examples: One adds a new tier tree to the fortress that allows huge waves of mobs to spawn for a short time, another added an interface option to show all your teammate’s health and mana onscreen. Stardock will be monitoring mods and, taking a page from Blizzard, might integrate really good ones into the game for later patches.
Stardock’s newest offering, Elemental: War of Magic was also shown off at PAX. The game is still in a very early state, but already it looks to be very original and a lot of fun. The game is a turn based strategy RPG, in the vein of other 4x games like Civilization. You control a hero (or villan) who leads a civilization in rebuilding a destroyed version of earth. The game will ship with a robust map editor, which is the same tool used by the developers to make maps.
Speaking of maps, Elemental has a mode called Cloth Map. Once you zoom out to a certain point, the game changes from 3d to a 2d map that looks like… well, a cloth map. You can actually play the whole game in Cloth Map mode, and the first beta will actually only run in Cloth Map mode. Elemental: War of Magic looks to be another great game from Stardock’s in-house development team, and I know I’ll check out the beta.
All in all, I think Stardock had a very strong showing at PAX this year. Even though the only new game they are showing is at least a year out, the amount of support they have for their older games is fantastic.