Demogod: Divine Updates For Demigod Inbound

By Alec Meer on May 20th, 2009 at 12:02 am.

That there wasn’t a demo of a game that proved so hard to describe in a single sentence is one of several perplexing decisions around the launch of Gas-Powered Games/Stardock’s action-strategy thingy Demigod. Stardock’s Brad Wardell has shoved up another of his irregular state of play updates, and alongside another apology for those awful multiplayer problems in the game’s first week, he reveals plans for a demo and two new Demigods. Waroo!

The post largely goes into exactly what exploded in those first weeks, exactly what’s been and what will be fixed, and whether he thinks this whole mess ultimately harmed the game. Interesting reading, and this bit really sweetens the deal:

“We’d probably already have a demo out if we hadn’t been messing with this. But yes, there will be a demo. In all likelyhood, it will probably be a multiplayer only demo since we want to reassure people when the demo comes out that connectivity is totally nailed and bullet proof.”

Which is a) great news and b) about damn time for folk who’ve held off from buying the game because they’re either not quite sure what it is or have been put off by the network-fail saga. I would guess at there being a pretty darn meaty new promotional effort once the multiplayer’s truly, finally fixed, in fact – almost a second launch for the game. Perhaps, too, that’ll be when these two new Demigods he mentions as being in development (no details beyond that) will launch.

Oh yeah – Wardell’s full post, ‘What the hell happened?’, is over here.

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34 Comments »

  1. LactoseTheIntolerant says:

    Ahh, at last. I’ve been dithering about whether to get this. A demo should certainly help me decide. It certainly looks like it could be a lot of fun, but my stack-o-games-to-play is currently at an alarming height. It sways and totters meanacingly over me whenever I’m at my computer.

  2. Serondal says:

    What’s DemiGod? Oh wait is this that game I baught and played for a few days then put on my self never to be played again? Ah well that’s good 2 more demi-gods I’ll never touch again ;)

  3. Meat Circus says:

    Now the wobbly tubes have been fixed, this game is huge stacks of fun.

    There’s barely any strategy to a Demigod match, it’s nothing more than brute force and potion spamming, so don’t go expecting any RTS-like depth.

    It’s really just a fun, magic-powered brawler.

  4. El_MUERkO says:

    I’ve yet to receive my copy from shopto :(

  5. Serondal says:

    Sorry to be the one to tell you this EL-Muerko, but it was pirated. 4 8 year old somali boys attacked the shipping van while it was in route, taking hostage the driver and running off with all the valuables including your game. Barack Obama had them sniped but sadly your game is now evidence and as such government property. You’ll probably be arrested and thrown in some dark CIA prison in Belaruse for 5 years only to be tortured then released without explation or money in Mexico to make your own way back to the United States. When you arrive you’ll attempt to kill yourself because your former life will be in tatters, your family gone ect only to find out at the last possible moment that it was all elaborate game set up by RPS to F@#$@# with your mind and there will be much champagne and pornography at this celebration/public suicide attempt.

    This al of course assumes you’re from the US, if not then what is in store for you is much much worse . . .

  6. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    @Meat: Not true! Sometimes people buy magic items instead of potions. And pull out quick-draw interrupts when the enemy attempts to use their own items.

    But you’re right about the brawling. And the fun.

  7. Tei says:

    I give this game now 4/5 stars. Still I think the Demigod team played the “You are a paid betatester” game with us. Some of these problems where unavoidable, not all.. the Demigod team is decidly guilty here.
    Now, lets all play this game, because it rocks! :-)

  8. DMJ says:

    So a Wot I Think for Demigod could be on the horizon? I seem to recall that RPS was holding off on it because of the humongo-fail networking.

    Not that it makes much difference to me – I already own (and enjoy) it. But reading RPS’s words always gives me pleasure through my optic nerve.

  9. Jad says:

    I agree so much on the no-demo criticism. Some games can get away with no demo: I won’t need one for the next Call of Duty game, because I know basically what I’m going to get and what changes there are will be small enough that a review will be able to go over them comfortably. But games that do something different, like Mirror’s Edge, or are not a generic example of one of the big standardized genres, like Demigod, need demos.

    From what I’ve heard of this game, it probably isn’t for me. But I will try the demo, when it comes out. And maybe it will turn out that my impression is wrong and this is the perfect game for me.

  10. Hrmm says:

    Problem is this game still isn’t fixed.

    Why does the rest of have to suffer lag because of one player’s crap connection? Why does one player leaving take whoever was arbitrarily connected through him out of the game when he ragequits? Why do I have to play another game for 10 – 30 minutes while I’m waiting to connect to a game?

    They really need to replace the P2P connection model they beta-tested in the best possible conditions amongst a handful of Stardock fanboys before kicking this out the door.

    “Well the customers who can connect are having a fun time” does not help those who couldn’t (like myself) out. If there was a compelling single-player, then maybe but playing arenastyle with bots doesn’t cut it.

  11. Dogby says:

    “alongside another apology for those awful multiplayer problems in the game’s first week”

    Are you kidding me? That shit still doesn’t fucking work!

  12. Frosty840 says:

    Personally, I’m feeling a bit narked over the lack of a demo, what with the game being a tremendous pile of suck.
    Would’ve been nice to have had the opportunity to find that out beforehand, if you ask me.

  13. Heliocentric says:

    A skirmish demo at release might have got me to drop cash. But now i’ll wait til i see the game in a budget bin. Why is it games like bf2 can handle 64 players with all the related gubbins but other games network stability fall apart at low populations?

  14. Rich_P says:

    Things that amaze me in 2009: multiplayer-focused games with awful server browsers and/or rampant connectivity issues.

  15. mrmud says:

    Experience…

    Neither GPG or Stardock have had experience with this kind of multiplayer game before and thats why there has been problems. Stardock have said so themselves, they just didnt know what to expect.

  16. SwiftRanger says:

    Things that amaze me in 2009: multiplayer-focused games with awful server browsers and/or rampant connectivity issues.

    Demigod isn’t the only game with those problems, both DoW II and L4D suffered (and to an extent still suffer) from multiplayer issues.

    At least be glad they’re trying to fix the NAT stuff, SupCom never got a real fix for that.:(

  17. Nallen says:

    Still I think the Demigod team played the “You are a paid betatester” game with us.

    I assume you mean unpaid, but yes, this is the GPG way. I loved Beta testing SupCom for them while they went about giving it the last 3 months of polish post retail.

  18. Rei Onryou says:

    What I don’t understand: You can (apparently) buy Demigod from Impulse in the UK, but the boxed release isn’t out until May 29th? Why?

  19. Jim Rossignol says:

    Because Atari are slowbies.

  20. Lorc says:

    Things that annoyed me about demigod:
    * When I first bought it, it ran at blinding speed with all settings turned to max… but only if I totally disabled the audio. Otherwise even on the lowest settings it ran in stop motion.
    * No Voip. No plans to add Voip.
    * Small skill icons blurry and indistinct.
    * Impulse friends overlay is useless for coordinating games because there’s no notification of new messages and no minimise option. Also prevents you using a functional system like Steam’s.

    Things I like about demigod:
    * They’ve gone above and beyond to get everything running properly. Even with all the connection problems the sound performance bug was fixed in the first week.
    * Very non-generic appearance.
    * Beautiful board game-like levels.
    * Straightforwardly fun to play. It seems that every demigod ets at least one overpowered-feeling “Suddenly, everything dies!” skill.
    * News sites that can’t parse information keep going on about terribly it was damaged by massive piracy. Ok, that’s not the game’s fault, but it still consistently irritates me.

    No Voip is baffling, but on balance I’m plenty happy with my purchase

  21. MonkeyMonster says:

    Q: What is publisher Stardock planning to do for Demigod players?

    A: The plan is to send out an email this week to users who purchased Demigod prior to today with a coupon for 50% off of Demigod that they can give to their friends.
    Ooooh – me, pick me, pick me please… :)

  22. verspunken says:

    @Lorc: VoIP is coming – it is being added to impulse in a near future update

  23. Lorc says:

    Wow – that’s really good news. I guess they changed their stance since I last checked the forums. Thanks for the info.

    Obviously it would have been better if the game had shipped with everything present and intact, but I can’t help being impressed by the enormous degree of support this game is receiving post-release.

    This sounds particularly interesting to me:
    “what we would like to allow is for people to mod AI players (LUA) and then submit them online and let them compete to see how they do. This would encourage good AI modding. “

  24. Dr Gonzo says:

    I do love this game but have given up on it for the time being. Singleplayer is pretty much crap and the multiplayer only seems to have a 1 in 4 chance of working for me. Can’t wait for it to all be fixed :D

  25. DK says:

    “Why does the rest of have to suffer lag because of one player’s crap connection? Why does one player leaving take whoever was arbitrarily connected through him out of the game when he ragequits?”
    Because that’s how P2P works. How every RTS works.

  26. SwiftRanger says:

    What I don’t understand: You can (apparently) buy Demigod from Impulse in the UK, but the boxed release isn’t out until May 29th? Why?
    It’s odd since in Belgium Demigod is up for sale (sans the GfWLive logo though compared to US version) already since the 15th of May (and that’s just a pure English version as well).

  27. cyrenic says:

    If anyone’s still wondering how/why the multiplayer was released in the state it was, go read some of the many journals Brad Wardell (“Frogboy”) has posted: http://forums.demigodthegame.com/forum/470

    Basically their biggest mistake (one Wardell has admitted) was to not have a big open beta before release.

  28. (fish) says:

    Why does the rest of have to suffer lag because of one player’s crap connection? Why does one player leaving take whoever was arbitrarily connected through him out of the game when he ragequits? Why do I have to play another game for 10 – 30 minutes while I’m waiting to connect to a game?

    1. Because the game needs to synchronise after each timestep, if this fails you get a desync and people will have inconsistant views of what is happening

    2. Because if they were connected through the leaver, as opposed to being connected to others directly, he has now lost his connection to the rest of the players in game.

    And as for the “GPG have no experience” comment, GPG made Supreme commander, which used a p2p system effectively. The difference with demigod is that Stardock opted to use a 3rd party library called Raknet to do the multiplayer connectivity. It would appear Raknet, while suitable for many connectivity scenarios, falls on its face when presented with others, and not enough of the failure scenarios were uncovered in the beta.

    Frogboy commented in IRC that DoW2, while not everyone’s cup of tea, got around this problem by using GFWL. So there you go…GFWL isnt a total pile of rubbish after all…

  29. Dogby says:

    Because that’s how P2P works. How every RTS works.

    Blizzard says hello? When was the last time you failed to start a War3 game? When was the last time everyone got disconnected from a game of Starcraft because one person left?

    You can’t use “well they had no experience!” as an excuse when there are 10 year old games that have done this perfectly. There is absolutely no excuse. I don’t really care WHY they messed up so bad, I only care that I spent money on a game that doesn’t work this far out from launch. I can easily say this has made me never want to buy a Stardock game ever again.

  30. El_MUERkO says:

    You have to wonder who makes calls like that, what retard at Atari thought “i know, we’ll release it in Europe a month late!”, i bet it was the same guy that decided Max Payne 2 (a game that took six hours to complete and had no multiplayer) would do just fine when it was released two weeks later in Europe, i declare a fatman against him! its like a fatwa but with belly sweat!

  31. Geoff says:

    I definitely sympathize.

    As a professional network engineer, I can tell you that NAT (and PAT, which is really what we’re talking about here) do introduce a lot of problems and limitations, and that P2P is a much more difficult architecture than Client-Server to design multiplayer games around. They’re not just incompetent, this is genuinely tricky stuff.

    Most of the really rock-solid multiplayer systems we know (the big MMOs, Battlenet, Xbox Live, etc) are based around the company providing a big robust server infrastructure for client-server apps (then usually charging you recurring money for it). Hell, even bit torrent isn’t really 100% P2P, it needs tracker servers to broker the whole thing for you.

    That said, clearly they should have tested for this. You can’t just put 20 beta testers on your company LAN and call it done. Obviously the testing needed to be more thorough before release, and as he says – they shouldn’t think of networking code as just something you can buy and plug in; it’s a crucial part of the game and should be treated that way.

    But I think their response has been excellent. Admitting the problems, working on them, refunding for those that emailed in their complaints, discounts going forward, etc. I feel bad for Stardock taking hits on this one, but that’s them paying for the cost of their mistakes. I’ll be buying it down the road, and I’ll be happy to give Stardock my money when I do.

  32. cyrenic says:

    @Dogby

    You can get a refund on Stardock games if they don’t work for you:

    http://www.impulsedriven.com/support/return_policy.aspx

  33. Dogby says:

    Can you get a refund even if you bought a physical copy at Gamestop? I had always heard of refunds being only for copies bought on Impulse.

  34. cyrenic says:

    From what I understand, yes, as long as you still have the receipt. That’s secondhand from a random forum post I read (and could be misremembering :D), so most likely you’ll want to call or email Stardock for more reliable specifics.