Solium Infernum - from the creator of Armageddon Empires

Love the art and the themes. I'm heavily into DAO and MW2 so I'm not sure if I'm willing to take the full plunge yet, so I'll just stick to the demo for now, at least until DOA falls.

I'll be willing to join any play by email games.

Gunner wrote:

At least I can stop the compulsive refresh game now.

I kinda like how refreshingly old school Vic is about distribution and sales. No preorder option, no outside distributors like Steam or Impulse. Its not that I wouldn't rather have this game tied to one of my accounts, I just like the idea that there are some developers out there who are able to think for themselves and not completely follow the newest trends.

Yeah, I believe the way he put it is that his games sell to such a niche market that there is no point in him losing any money to Stardock or Valve even if there cut is reasonable. He's totally indie and his games (well, the one I've played) are so fascinatingly designed that even though I would have much rather paid $20 or $15 for AE, I'm fine knowing that this man can keep coming up with interesting games. At the end of the day, for all its shortcomings, AE was a completely different video game than I had ever played. I'll pay for that novelty.

Oh, and I basically started this thread not only so I could obsess even more over the game, but so we all could hook up to do some play by email. Any suggestions on how we should go about that? PMs would keep any spam from interfering, but there's got to be a better way.

I wanted to pick up AE but never did. If there's a GWJ PBE group that would definitely push me over the edge to pick this up though.

As for spambot-free hook-up methods we could do a Steam group, maybe a Yahoo group, or I could put up a wiki page at that requires a password to view.

It's live. I'm only seeing a PC version. Sorry, Adam.

Demo link is borkimated.

Haha. Oops. I didn't even bother. I'm downloading the full game without issue.

Liquid, the SP game of AE is lots of fun. You could also ask in the Wargamer's Corner for pbem opponents.

Wow. Looks like I'm going to go read the manual. To play, as far as I can tell, you have to create an avatar. There are premade avatars for the AI, but you have to make your own . . . and I have no idea what I'm doing.

Okay, last post from me for a while. The demo is up, the link on the page is broken, but you can still download the demo here.

Thanks for the link. I'll sink some time into the demo on one of the laptops at my folks tomorrow.

Definitely not going to be a purchase for me; the demo runs at some fixed, tiny resolution in the middle of my 30" monitor. He doesn't even have the game switch to a fullscreen res; there's no difference between "full screen" and "windowed", except that you can see the desktop in windowed mode.

Great game or no, that's so dumb that he's not getting any shekels from me.

Got everything up on my machine and have played around a bit. Looking forward to the manual before my first real game though. As with AE, the art and atmosphere are really treats for me.

One interesting thing I saw on the main page was an Armageddon Empires + Solium Infernum bundle pack for 10% off ($53.95). Might be worth it if you missed the AE train and have tried out both demos.

Malor wrote:

Definitely not going to be a purchase for me; the demo runs at some fixed, tiny resolution in the middle of my 30" monitor. He doesn't even have the game switch to a fullscreen res; there's no difference between "full screen" and "windowed", except that you can see the desktop in windowed mode.

Great game or no, that's so dumb that he's not getting any shekels from me.

Wasn't AE the same except it might have just stretched the smaller resolution for full screen? Both are pretty much designed for the windowed mode. Probably because all of the graphics and interface are hand created for that one size.

I played a long game against the computer. I think I'm getting the hang of it. There are a few issues with interface that could be ironed out: When you draw an event card, for example, there is no way to find out what it is unless you have to discard and choose between them, or if you go to "play event". Instead, it should just tell you which one you've drawn.

Other than that, the flavor of the game is spectacular! I managed to gain prestige by hurling insults across the border at my enemy, and before he could respond, a crevasse opened up underneath two of his units, swallowing them whole. He took the insult rather than declare vendetta.

Oh shi, it's out already? Well, now I know what I'm doing when I get back from work!

I might even be up for some multiplayer at some point, once I get a hang of the system.

Downloading as we speak (very slowly). I'd love to join some games with GWJ folks. It's difficult for me to play most organized multiplayer games lately due to the time commitment, but a PBeM game ticking away at about a couple of turns per day sounds like the perfect way to keep things going with GWJ.

won't support my Netbook resolution...crap, this would have been a perfect game for that.

Malor et al, I believe the game is fixed at 1024x768.

Malor, it sounds like your monitor is set not to stretch smaller sizes to fullscreen, is that right? Maybe you change that?

Patch 1.01a is out. It fixes the issue of there being no default avatar for you to choose and forcing you to make your own before you can play and a prestige issue. This is for the full game only, the demo has been updated (which, I'm assuming, means yall need to re-download it).

Oh, it's a manual patch. Just extract it to the game folder. For more specific instructions see here.

Argh! The Mac version's status is now uncertain, and the site has now been scrubbed of all references to it. Vic posted in the SI forums:

Hey Guys,
I really apologize that I haven't been clearer on this. Right now I don't know when or even if I'll be able to offer a Mac version. I'm going to do my best but I need to solve some technical problems with the file input/output slowness that makes the Mac version of Armageddon Empires so slow....and I'll need to update it so that it doesn't have to run in Rosetta. I'm really sorry if people thought the Mac was coming out today. I should have posted that beforehand.


Malor, it sounds like your monitor is set not to stretch smaller sizes to fullscreen, is that right? Maybe you change that?

It's not actually changing resolution, it just opens a 2560x1600 screen, fills most of it with a background bitmap, and then sticks original-size game graphics in the middle. Sensible games just open a screen at the correct resolution, rather than filling in space they're not using with a tiled bitmap. There's really no difference between windowed and full-screen modes; I'm not sure why he even put them in.

This monitor is non-scaling (on purpose), but I do have the NVidia card set to scale outputs properly, so when I run pretty much any other game at a non-native resolution, it's scaled properly. Even DOSBox does this right with the ancient 640x400 titles. This game doesn't.... ergo, no sale.

I could work around it by dropping my desktop resolution to something stupidly low before running the game, but I'm just not willing to do that anymore. Too much extra work, and it screws up my ability to flip back to the desktop to do anything else between turns.

(to clarify: I don't care about the low resolution itself, that's fine, it's the postage stamp in the middle of the screen that I object to. )

Downloading the full version from BMT Micro is like being stabbed in the eyes with a fork.

This game looks pretty nifty.

Since I bought Dragon Age for the new computron and have proceeded to play it exactly zero times, strangely skewing to the console version, perhaps this could be my first real PC game!

Vic's response about the resolution issue, for what its worth:

Vic Davis wrote:

In order to not have to deal with screen stretching from wide screen monitors I decided not to auto change the resolution for the "Full Screen" version...instead you get a dark picture box around the game play area. You can set your screen resolution to 1024 by 768 to get a full screen effect. Windowed mode is really nice as well.


So far I've gotten all the way through the manual and played through 15 turns. At first the interface really grated with me, but its improved a lot since then with a bit of familiarity. I think this is because it seems like it was a goal to make anything you want no more than two clicks away, meaning that if you know what you're doing you can get there quickly. The trade off is that until you're familiar enough it can be a bit hard to figure out where to actually go.

Gameplay wise, all I have to say is that this is certainly different to what I'm used to. The best way I can describe it is taking the heavily constrained parallel (vs. sequential) game logic of Armageddon Empires to even more of an extreme.

What I mean is that for most traditional strategy games everyone is pretty much doing the same actions in a sequential decision tree, and your strategy comes in in determining how you execute these shared actions. Think Civ4 with everyone researching technology, building units, engaging in diplomacy, etc. Its not a question of if you'll be doing any of those, but how. For AE and especially SI, the player is presented with a huge array of potential actions and you have to focus on maybe one or two. Its very interesting, but takes longer to adjust to and come up with a viable strategy.

I also imagine this type of game design is much more difficult to program an AI for. So far I haven't been getting a good feeling on this front. I've pulled a good deal ahead of my opponents and it seems like they're not doing much at all. Couple that with Tom Chick's recent warning about the same issue and I think we may have found the biggest weakness SI has to offer. I know I need to put a lot more time in before I can make a definitive judgement, so my plan is to stay optimistic till then. If nothing else, I have a lot of trust in Vic to really try to continue improving the game post release.

On a final note, thought I'd share the flavor info for the praetor Morax that I bought off of the Infernal Bazaar:


Morax has “befriended” many a mortal and in the process wrought torment laced with delicious irony. One of his favorite gags is to grant the tormented a cursed immortality that sends the victim on an endless quest to find their true identity while hounded by recurring amnesia. – From “The Nature of Man” vol. x

What a great reference. Its things like this that make me love indie developers.

I'm finding that the AI plays relatively conservatively. I am able to get away with certain bluffs because the AI isn't willing to risk a confrontation or give up its lead. This is a direct result of not being able to attack anyone directly. You have to insult them, demand tribute, etc. Once they don't accept your terms, you can declare vendetta and THEN you can attack.

I'm liking it quite a bit so far.

Found a pretty good slideshow tutorial that walks you through a few of the common screens and initial things to do. Worth a gander to get a feel for the great artwork if nothing else.

Thanks for that Gunner. I still kinda suck at this game, meaning I haven't developed strategies, but I also have been playing a bunch of games I picked up on Holiday deals.

If you guys find any more interesting links I'll add them to the OP. I'm waiting on Bill Harris to put up hisplay guide as I'll certainly link to that.

So is anyone looking for some mp? I'm actually still working to figure out the interface, so probably not really ready but I'd be willing to jump in and learn!

I'm always down for some MP

I'll be up for mp in the future, but I still haven't quite got my head around the game. Too much on my plate right now.

Anyway, a new patch is out with numerous bug fixes and some ai tweaks. Get it here.