Dark Wisdom: Solium Infernum Tutorial

By Kieron Gillen on December 8th, 2009 at 6:23 pm.

God, it doesn't screenshot well, does it?

You may be wondering why, after the release of the full game and the demo, we haven’t posted any more about Solium Infernum. Is it because we find it diabolical in more than just its theme? Nope. It’s pretty nifty. Quinns and I are at work in a game at the moment, and will be diarying it up when it’s all over bar the screaming. We’d do it as we were playing, but it’s the sort of game where there’s a lot of lying and sneakiness, so having a blog entry describing exactly how I’m planning on taking all of Quinns’ Iron would be a bad idea. Anyway! Much like Armageddon Empires, its’ a tricky game to get into. Quinns found this nifty and funny tutorial online. If you had trouble getting into the demo, it’d be a handy thing to browse.

I really am not after Quinns’ iron. No, really.

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25 Comments »

  1. Railick says:

    Of course you aren’t after Quinn’s Iron, for he has none.
    (Edit) There should totally be an artifact in the game called Quinn’s Iron with a bad JPG of the Iron from Monopoly.

    Shadowcat “It hammers at my retinas like an evil woodpecker of pure energy”

  2. Tyndareus says:

    Really looking forward to an AAR. Armageddon Empires was refreshing and very interesting to play but in my opinion really suffered from the lack of a campaign to offer cohesion and long-term rewards. I hope Solium Infernum will build on AE’s strong points. It definitely has an intriguing setting (and for some reason I have no difficulty imagining Mr. Gillen as an aspiring archdemon :P)

  3. Clovis says:

    and will be diarying it up when it’s all over

    The meanining of this phrase can easily be misunderstood if stated out loud.

  4. Vinraith says:

    @Kieron

    Are there any AI in the game you’re playing with Quinns, or is it just you two? I’m really interested in hearing whether the AI can actually handle this game.

  5. Danny says:

    It has to be said; the way that tutorial was written is pure gold.

    • whalleywhat says:

      Yup. Handy and hilarious. I found, with AE, all I really needed was a leg up on the basic mechanics. I mean, what am I gonna do, read the manual?!?!

  6. moyogo says:

    This game reminds me a lot of Chaos in the Old World (there’s a review of it on downtimetown.com). They both seem really fun, I await your journals to confirm my suspicions.

  7. Kieron Gillen says:

    moyogo: RPS has been known to rock a game of Chaos in the Old World.

    Vinraith: No, all players. I’ve heard the AI is improving throughout the patches. I fear it’s never going to work like players though.

    KG

    • Vinraith says:

      “I fear it’s never going to work like players though.”

      My concern exactly.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Then again, when has that ever been the case? Maybe they should start adding the following to games with AI: AI opponents and allies may not act in the same way as human players.

      Whether the AI is good or bad isn’t the question here. There are plenty of bad human (hoo-man! *ahem*) players out there.

  8. Railick says:

    Are there ANY detailed strategy games where the AI is indistinguishable from a player?

    • Vinraith says:

      There are no detailed strategy games where the AI is indistinguishable from a very skilled player, but there are quite a few where the AI is sufficient to provide a satisfying challenge and, arguably, at least as challenging as your average/random player. I wouldn’t expect indistinguishable, obviously, but in the case of a game as constructed around “wheeling and dealing” as this one I’m concerned the AI can never even be an adequate opponent. If that’s the case, there’s really no sense in my picking it up.

    • Railick says:

      In my opinion, with this game, the best bet for them is to create several AI personalities and then at the start of each game randomly assign them to the AI players. So you’ll never know exactly how the AI is going to play their cards but each one is programmed to try and win the game a certain way. Maybe a sneaky AI, a back stabbing and lying AI, a brutal force AI ect. You wouldn’t know what sort of AI you were up against and the AI would be able to change its tactics if what it was meant to do it wasn’t working after a certain number of turns. In this way the AI would be more like a human player and would be much less predictable in my opinion.

    • Severian says:

      @ Railick

      This is actually precisely what Vic Davis, the designed of SI, did. There are more aggressive AI builds, more turtling-oriented, etc. I think he’s suggested that there are well over a 12 different AI personalities. The problem is, in my opinion (based on only 2 games so far against the AI), is that SI is so damn complex and strategies must evolve based on changed environmental parameters. Like: man, I was planning on building a Wrath strategy and totally rolling over my opponents but some a**hole keeps casting Deception rituals on me and pilfering/bribing my generals and artifacts. What the hell do I do now? I guess I shift my strategy to…

      AI’s struggle with that kind of strategic shifting, especially when the number of variables you’re considering in both short- and long-term strategic contexts numbers in the scores or hundreds.

  9. Heliocentric says:

    The nature of what the ai has to achieve under time pressure means you’d need hal to really have to horsepower to really understand the choices.

    But turn based games can have neural nets trained to play to game until they perfect it, not exactly fun to play against such an opponent though.

  10. YouAteMyCheeto says:

    Be quiet. Be more vigorous with the ointment.

  11. Senethro says:

    Shame the game seems to be dominated by builds with high charisma stats.

    • Severian says:

      still too early to tell whether charisma needs balancing. in single-player, against AI’s, charisma helps a ton since the AI’s aren’t devious enough to foil your plans at simply buying up everything in the bazaar that looks good. Real players aren’t going to be so foolish. Charisma builds may suffer against Deception builds who can still your stuff or Wrath builds that constantly threaten you and demand supplication.

    • archonsod says:

      It’s an easy build if you’re looking to turtle. I wouldn’t say they dominate though, an Intellect or Martial build can be just as effective if played to strength, it’s the cunning and wickedness that seem to be off.

  12. salejemaster says:

    The tutorial really helped a lot it finally got me into the game! Are there any more of these on the internets I’m still having trouble grasping what to do next :P?

    • Antsy says:

      Me. I bought this the evening it was released on the strength of my love for AE. I loaded it, went cross eyed and then closed the program. Love this turorial though, learning is fun!

  13. Hardlylikely says:

    Does it bother anyone else that they ask you to sign up for yet another web site account to download a 21 page PDF?

  14. pimorte says:

    I was excited about this game for a bit. Glad I tried the demo – the UI is far too clunky and the AI was tame like a kitten. :(

  15. Lim-Dul says:

    Wow – this game is brilliant.
    I’m an avid board gamer and this is actually EXACTLY like a fairly complex board game. I really like the “eurogame” approach to it, in that fighting is actually not necessarily a good way to win it – it is a means to do so but there are a plethora of other ways too, all that matters in the end are victory points (displayed on a “Kramerleiste”, I would assume, if this were a board game :-D), uhm, I mean Prestige Points. ^^

    Yes, the interface is slightly clunky BUT not much more so than for many other pseudo-board-game installments, some of which are made completely unplayable by the UI (Titans of Steel, which I tried only recently, comes to mind) and yet do not offer much depth. Being complicated != depth, by the way – Solium Infernum is NOT very complicated by TBS standards, let alone many board game (of the heavy variety) ones, and yet offers you tons and tons of options while allowing to execute only a few of them each turn.

    It may not have a tutorial BUT after reading what the main objective is and extrapolating from my board game experience I was able to jump into the demo straight away, even if my actions were sub-optimal at first. This is a very good sign indeed.

    I’d compare it to the boardgame named, here it comes, The Hellgame and it’s not only for the general theme but also the fact that there were multiple ways to victory, was similarly complicated and allowed if not required scheming – it was, however, much more combat oriented (combat with poor mechanics to boot, though alternate rules existed).

    I’m definitely recommending this one to anybody who can find a group of friends to play with. Mind you, with the amount of backstabbing, exploitation and devious plans required to win they won’t be your friends anymore after a finished campaign. :-P

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