Camelot Unchained takes aim at eliminating zone loading screens

Live it up while you still can, zone loading screens, because Camelot Unchained has its mind to wipe you off the map.

In this week’s newsletter, the team reports that it’s working to eliminate zone loading screens to provide more of a seamless experience. As with most projects, it’s a multi-step process that is a little more complicated than you might assume. Animation development continues apace, with improved walk and run cycles moving along in testing. The team also has created generic realm cloaks for easy visual identification during skirmishes.

City State said that it’s registered the trademark for Camelot Unchained and is still looking around for office space for the Seattle team. Get even more of your weekly ration of Camelot Unchained news with the team’s wrap-up video after the break.

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26 Comments on "Camelot Unchained takes aim at eliminating zone loading screens"

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Dean Greenhoe

Chunk lines in Vanguard. :) What a cluster. I do not foresee CU having similar issues.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Wow, I had no clue they wanted to make all zones instanced

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Mark Jacobs

You still have no clue about this OC, sorry. For our tests, we have split up all our islands on separate servers. This way we could, in theory, have some islands running on AWS servers in Virginia, others in Europe, others in MENA, and it would be invisible to the players.

The only things that are instanced might be starting-area battlegrounds and the “bubble” tech that we have been talking about since KS day one.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Im confused. So what exactly loading screens will be eliminated? From battlegrounds?

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Mark Jacobs

I know, it’s confusing (I’m not being sarcastic, it really is). Look at my response below to Styopa and see if that clears it up a bit. If it doesn’t, let me know and I’ll try again. :)

We’ve been really clear since even before the KS that we weren’t going to have an instanced world. Nothing has changed. If it had, I’d be the first person to call me out on that, I really would be.

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Sleepy

I’m sure I remember a similar announcement during the DAOC development process. I was thrilled about it at the time, coming from EQ with it’s very clearly defined zone lines it was amazing to be able to just wander continuously. Even if the grass did suddenly change colour when you crossed the ‘zone line’.

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Mark Jacobs

Nope, this is quite different. The seamless zone thing has been around since AC1 I believe, but what we are doing is a wee bit more complicated.

styopa
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styopa

Fantastic news.
I’m still curious that this seems like such a technological achievement when WoW (mostly) did it a decade ago. What secret tech did Blizzard have that’s been (apparently) lost to the ages?

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Davide Moriello

No secret tech. The time for develop something it takes the same amount every time. It’s not like they have done one mmorpg and now every mmorpg that comes out it’s developed in 2 months…

We know how to do seamless travel without loading zones, but the time for implement it it’s the same complicated in all different projects.

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Mark Jacobs

WoW didn’t do what we are doing. Our multi-server tech, when complete, allows people to play not only across servers (shard), physical Servers (think Servers running on different services, countries, etc.) and communicate/interact as if they were in the same server, Server or even game. Sort of like the old 60s/70s TV shows when Green Acres characters showed up on Petticoat Junction and stuff like that. :)

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Jason Kuropas

Pre-ToA DAoC is my favorite game of all time. I really do hope CU succeeds and turns out to be fun. I was initially extremely hyped when I first backed the project way back when, but recently have become more worried that it won’t appeal to my playstyle – there doesn’t seem to be much talk about solo and small-man play, instead leaning more towards zerg v zerg keep warfare (which I didn’t find fun at all in DAoC, honestly).

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Mark Jacobs

Thanks for the support of both Dark Age of Camelot and Camelot Unchained. I’m not sure why you think we are focused on zerg v. zerg keep warfare since we have not even confirmed that we have keeps in Camelot Unchained. :)

As a solo player myself, I can promise you that we aren’t forgetting solo and small group play. The difference is that in the Q&As and on the Forums, more people ask about zerg-busting than killing the soloers such as you and me.

Trust me, Camelot Unchained will support solo and small group play for a number of reasons, one of which is, as you might guess, my preference. :)

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Tandor

I have a lot of respect for Mark and I’m glad CU is progressing ok for those who have spent the past years complaining on every other game forum that that game wasn’t DAoC2. I hope they don’t end up disappointed again, but either way without PvE it won’t be for me. Still, if they can get it right there’ll be a niche demand for it, I’m sure, although whether the PvP-only crowd will settle for a subscription-only model is another matter altogether. It’s a huge gamble, but I do genuinely hope that it pays off.

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Ryan Keilhofer

This is a common misconception.

There is certainly PVE in this game. However that is not the focus, and all PVE is tied to PVP in some way. You may be get a quest to go into a dungeon to kill this boss guy, but that’s because he is blocking the war effort, or his entrails help fuel potions necessary to break some magical forcefield at a place of power. ( these are just made up examples I foresee occurring)

PVP is its center, but that doesn’t mean that no PVE exists whatsoever.

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Tandor

I’ve never seen any suggestion that it would have significant PvE questing, but in any event the game isn’t intended to be viable purely in terms of its PvE content, other than possibly through crafting (which again will be based in part on the war effort I imagine). It’s not a game intended for pure PvEers, whereas of course DAoC was very much aimed at both PvPers and PvEers.

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Mark Jacobs

There is a lot of PvE in Camelot Unchained, there just isn’t any PvE leveling of skills except for crafting skills.

So, if a pure PvE player wants to level their character, they have to engage in either crafting or RvR. OTOH, since our game’s leveling system is horizontal, a pure PvEer could play, have fun, and contribute without having to grind in RvR.

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Tandor

Thanks Mark for clarifying that.

Bit of a basic question I should probably know the answer to by now, but what is the situation re PvP – is it purely organised RvR in designated areas or is there non-consensual PvP more generally in the world perhaps with only very limited “safe” areas?

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Mark Jacobs

You’re welcome, thanks for your questions/interest as always!

Outside the safe cities it’s all open RvR, meaning that nobody from your Realm can attack/steal/etc. from you, but you are fair game for the other two Realms. That’s the big difference between an RvR game like Dark Age of Camelot/Camelot Unchained and a typical FFA PvP game.

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Mark Jacobs

Thanks Justin, and MOP, as always.

As to our loading screens, yeah, it’s a non-trivial issue in any MMORPG. It’s even more complicated when in our case not only are you moving between physical servers, you can also use abilities across servers. :) It’ll be worth the effort though when we make it happen.

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Sally Bowls

1) grats!

2) Physical servers? – how quaintly last decade. :-) Just because you swapped to a different virtual instance doesn’t mean you had to change physical servers.

3) As gracious as you have been to this site, you would think that they would offer use of the Massively yacht to help out in Seattle. Worst case, you could use your own. Larry bought a Hawaiian island and Mark has his 1.1 square miles of Kauai and you alpha males are so competitive; you will inevitably be expanding your Hawaiian freehold. You wouldn’t want to be the only one in your club without a yacht, so buy it now and get some tax deductible years of depreciation on it. And when you recruit from Austin, you want to promote Seattle’s nautical options. :-)

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Robert Mann

Very few large games are actually using a cloud system yet. In this case, he is stating that the game is using a server cluster where different servers cover part of the map, while they all interface via a control unit. *At least, that’s my understanding.*

So, to make a seamless system where you have people and, say, ballista bolts flying across that boundary… it is a change in physical server, but still running under the main unit’s direction and ideally without a noticeable delay.

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Sally Bowls

yeah most of my comments were whimsical at best.

A long time ago, I mentioned that a MJ interview on the state of cloud computing for gaming would be fascinating for me and how-clever-and-innovative-we-are would be good PR for CU.
On one hand, nowadays there is so much marketing hype on cloud-everything, I am sure it is way oversold, especially for time sensitive stuff.
OTIH, I hear so much resistance from the “that will never work” crowd and my response is “that is what mainframes said about minis, minis said about PCs and dinosaurs said about mammals.
It would be nice to hear where the state of the art is these days. But I think MJ is focused on progressing through some Greek letters at the moment.

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Robert Mann

Thought they might have been based on the rest of the context, but since I have run into people who didn’t understand that part before, figured it might be worth posting!

Ironically, where I ran into it was on a game where they had just posted an update about their server hardware…

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Sargon

Meanwhile, in Shroud of the Avatar, loading scenes threaten to take over the entire game experience.

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Robert Mann

Oh, are they worse than ESOs? I’ve lost count of the number of times I have sat there and said ‘Well, check back in an hour or close and re launch the game!’ Bugged me a lot!

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Tandor

That, together with the almost constant night-time and the whole overland map aspect. Those were the things that deterred me, while the new player experience which I thought was not too bad is, I see, going through a second reinvention!

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