Camelot Unchained completes ‘first 30 days of beta 1’ doc

With the Seattle base a go, Camelot Unchained is pushing forward. City State’s Tyler Rockwell says the team has been hard at work on terrain optimization, zone transitions, portals, particle performance, crafting recipes, environment assets, and UI tweaks. Crafters, this one should leap out at you in particular:

“Crafting: Mark completed his first pass on his ‘First 30 days of Beta 1’ document and handed it off to some members of the team for commenting. This is the document that he spoke about two weeks ago. Once it goes through the rounds here, it will be passed on to our Backers, so they know what to expect for the opening of Beta 1 and a little bit beyond.”

Meanwhile, Mark Jacobs returns to helm a Q&A for the weekly round up — and don’t forget to check out the latest art uploads!

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23 Comments on "Camelot Unchained completes ‘first 30 days of beta 1’ doc"

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Solaris
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Solaris

High level backer here. Happy with what I’ve gotten to experience of the game and happy to wait until the game is done. No one in the business is more ethical and caring than Mark Jacobs.

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Mark Jacobs

Thanks so much for that. Nice to read, especially as I’m finally calling it a night and making my last rounds of here and Forums before I head to bed.

Thanks for your support, patience, and very kind words, they are appreciated.

Good night all and thanks Bree and MOP as always!

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Angel of Def

So glad they aren’t rushing this, and I am glad I backed this game when it first came out. I’ve backed 2 games, this one and E:D, happy with both. The fact they aren’t making the same mistake every other single developer seems to make by rushing releases and milestones before done, and the fact he has the history (yes, even with my opinions on ToA being a failure) of having one of the BEST PvP systems that I enjoyed (RvR) makes me happier then I have been in a long time with a development studio.

I guilded with a couple of guys who know him in real life (Carnage HOOOOOOOOO! Where you freaks at now that Cohh left to stream?? Koroz needs some pvp!) I’ve worked with a couple of people who have worked in his studio and all around regardless what I think of his design decisions I feel as though he has the games best interest at heart. That is whats sorely missing from this industry, and more importantly this Genre.

Praise the developers who care about our hobby/careers and call out the ones who don’t. So here is my praise for City State. Thanks guys and keep up the great work.

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Mark Jacobs

Thanks, the “I feel that he has the games best interest at heart” is one of the things I have always believed in. None of us can be right all the time, but I try to make sure that every decision I make is based on what’s best for the game, and not best for my ego/pride. Unlike so many people we see in the spotlight, I’m not afraid to say I/we have made a mistake (this attitude/approach even pre-dates my “Mea Culpas” from the Dark Age days) and even more importantly, I’ll do what I need to do to correct it. If anybody needed any more proof of that, just look at what we are doing with Seattle. Lots of unexpected and additional development costs to the game and I haven’t gone to our Backers, “helm in hand” asking for lots more money via beg-a-thons or other device.

I’ll do what I have always done, tried to make great games that hopefully, people enjoy.

Thanks again for the awesome compliment, that means a lot to me.

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ting

Blah blah blah delays blah blah blah delays. They were way too ambitious trying to build a game engine for a crowdfunded game. One of the reasons I never backed the game. I’ll buy it if it ever comes out to jump on the hype train. Anything is better than Rob’s garbage getting killed by a freeshard.

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Mark Jacobs

I think that as Improbable just showed, being ambitious but being smart is not a bad thing. My #1 mistake, which I’ve admitted before, was underestimating the difficulty of getting engineers to move to Virginia. As Seattle is proving, it was the location, not the nature of the game that scared people off. We could easily double the size of the Seattle team within a few months if I wanted to do that (I don’t), We now have about the right number of people, with the right talent we need to make this game. And as the last few months have shown, we’re making rapid progress. This weekend we’re testing the full crafting loop and the new/improved VFX engine.

Fortunately for us, we kept the scope of this game within reasonable limits (no crazy pre-launch Stretch Goals). Once we get into Beta 1, we are actually closer to launch than most people think simply because we solved/solving the technical problems first, and not just rushing a game into “Buy Me” Betas/Cash Shops/Cash Grabs/Early Access stuff. We’re taking our time opening Beta 1 but that doesn’t mean we’re taking our time making the game, they are two very different things.

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DasSchaf

Luckely they had the power to make it as great as it is now and didn’t canceled the project like it happened e.g. to EverQuest Next

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ting

We are talking about the same guy who tanked his own studio for additional development funding in order to duplicate the WoW money printing machine. It’s anyone’s guess if he does it again once the juice runs out. Props to Mark for at least trying, he could be sippin Mai Tais on a beach for the rest of his life with all the money he put into his game so I’ll remain the sceptical optimist.

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Mark Jacobs

Umm, no. As I’ve said and the public records indicate, I was only a minority owner of the studio when we sold to EA and as everybody who was involved in the decision-making would tell you under oath, I only went along with the decision for three main reasons:

1) I extracted certain protections from EA for the studio, not myself, for my team. In exchange, one of the things I had to give them was a 4-year employment agreement with a 4-year non-compete with huge penalties (like most of the money from my share of the deal) if I left early. If I had been the kind of “tank the studio” for whatever reason, I could have gotten more money, less strings, but I refused to do that.
2) My former partner promised me that if I was unhappy, we would leave the studio together. We all know how that turned out.
3) If we didn’t take the offer on the table from EA, the main investor would trigger a clause that would have forced Mythic to pay all its cash + some additional money to pay off the subordinated debt that TA Associates (our biggest investor cash wise) had on the company. That would have forced me to lay off about half of the studio until I could find additional funding for Mythic. Now, would they have actually done that? I don’t know but I make games, and unlike some people, I don’t play games with peoples’ jobs/lives.

Does that sound like someone who tanked a studio? After that, we were EA’s studio. And, BTW, thanks for the props (I’m not being sarcastic). And, FYI, I’ve said all this stuff before, nothing new here.

Now, did I make some errors, design-wise, with WAR, yep, absolutely happy to admit that. But making a WoW clone or even to hit those numbers, I never said that and never aimed for that. I also have my original design docs that indicate the opposite. :) I wanted to make a great RvR game, told EA that our sub numbers would be in the 300-400K range and that nobody could be WoW but WoW and everyone who tried would fail. BTW, if I had told them we could get those numbers, our valuation would have been a lot higher, but I refused to do that, unlike certain studios who promised really big numbers and of course, didn’t hit them.

I’m not perfect, but I never told EA or anybody that I wanted to hop aboard the WoW money train. I actually said the opposite.

As always, I’m not perfect, especially not as a game designer, but I never tanked the studio for any reason, not to compete with WoW,not to get a big check, and not even when I was disgusted at some of the stuff I saw at EA, I still put in crazy hours until the day EA and I parted ways.

And as to the Mai Tais, yep, you’re right, I decided to put my own money in trying to make a MMORPG that is, in so many ways, different from others. I can’t guarantee success, but as posts like this show, I’m still putting in crazy hours. :)

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Veldan

I think you just fed the troll, but +1 for developer interaction on MOP

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Mark Jacobs

Maybe, but I’m not as quick to call troll as I used to be, and I’m all out of cookies these days.

Thanks for the +1.

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ting

Believe it or not, some of the harshest critics can also be some of the biggest fans. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet Mark and a few others after the first Roundtable in D.C. I personally never worked for Mythic, but loved hearing stories from Scott and others about a small passionate studio doing whatever it took to be successful. Including, building white box servers from the local PC store at the 11th hour because DELL wouldn’t offer lease terms, or reserving a parking spot outside the building to get line of sight for a wireless connection across the street to a separate CSR office. Even Mark killing Microsoft’s plans to use the name Mythica. I swore there would be a Funcom Unchained battle at some point.

As an outsider, I can’t even guess on a reason why you made a deal with Games Workshop when serious design issues started to appear in the flagship game for Mythic. Once development for WAR locked into a two realm system, the idea of any “great” RvR game went right out the window. Once Matt left after the EA merger, the writing was on the wall at least for me. While your intentions were pure for your studio, I still think the choices to get the IP when you already had a successful one still lands on your shoulders. Were the systemic funding issues because of that deal is anyone’s guess. Plus, it’s hard to say leasing a well-known IP wasn’t an attempt to boost sub numbers.

With that all said. Would I work for you? I would. Will I buy your game? I will. Do I hope your risk unbelievably pays off? Absolutely. I even hope that success puts your studio in a position to acquire your original IP only to sunset it for a sequel or future expansion for CU. I do wonder sometimes if your opinion on MMO sequels being doomed to fail still stands considering where we are today.

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Mark Jacobs

As to the biggest fans/harshest critic thing, yep, I do indeed know that. I’ve never been a “I only want to hear praise” kind of guy. Do I like it when people like what I bring to the table, yep, I’m only human, but I have no use for false praise.

As to why Warhammer, that’s a really great question that I haven’t been asked a lot, especially in context of Dark Age and WoW. What I have said before and still holds true is that it was a decision that the decision makers at Mythic (myself, Denton, Matt, and all of our investors) were in favor of at the time. Our investors saw it as a way to boost our profile to get a higher buyout (they are investors, that’s their job, nothing wrong with that), the team thought it was great IP. And I was 100% in favor of it assuming we got from GW some things that were very important for us in terms of creative license. We got almost everything we wanted and thus we moved ahead and licensed it. I loved working with GW as they were as good as their word. Was it a perfect relationship? No, none are ever that way but they were the best license-holder that we ever worked with. Nowhere was their any issues with improving Dark Age of Camelot while still working on Warhammer.

Now, as you know, Mythic spent a lot of money on our Dark Age expansions and we grew the team accordingly. However, in the post WoW era when our expansions hadn’t been as successful, we had a decision to make. Put a ton of money into Dark Age (or go to a Dark Age2 which I wasn’t a fan of because of its effect on our then-current players) or go with different IP. So, we made a decision to go with Warhammer when GW and Climax’s MMO had failed to even launch. GW had asked us if we wanted to use the IP before that game was killed (we had a long-standing relationship with them) but out of respect to a fellow developer, I told GW that we wouldn’t talk about a deal until they made a decision on it. I also said to them that if they killed the game, they should take a number of months to talk among themselves and decide whether they even wanted to go about working with an MMO developer right away. Many months later they came back to us and asked if we were interested in the IP. I said yes which made all the decision-makers at Mythic and especially our investors very happy.

As you know, we still continued to put development funding into Dark Age of Camelot post-WoW and even post WAR but the problem was that WoW had sucked the life out of the MMO market as well as the PC market. That is a very well-documented fact and as WoW continued to flourish through hugely expensive expansions, no MMO launched post-WoW had the kind of heat that game had. Even if we poured the same development funding into Dark Age that we had into Imperator (which had a total budget of about 10M ) Dark Age wouldn’t have been able to keep up with WoW’s expansions simply because Blizzard is Blizzard and they had a huge warchest/budget. Even WAR didn’t have the same budget of Vanilla WoW. :)

As to systemic funding issues, there weren’t any, I’m not sure what you are referring to? We had 10M+ in cash at the time EA bought us, that’s one of the reasons we got such a good deal at the time. If you are referring to the post-EA and the decreased spend on Dark Age of Camelot, that was a budgetary decision enforced on us by EA since it was their studio. If you mean TA, they never, as I said, used the nuclear option since I agreed to try to sell the company. If I’m misunderstanding what you were saying, please let me know.

Karma_Mule
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Karma_Mule

I’ve been doing my best to “forget” about CU until beta comes along, but maybe just perhaps I can start letting a little bit of anticipation build! :-D

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Koshelkin

Ha, can’t manage that. I’m checking regularly for updates, perusing the build notes etc. I’m not feeling bad about it either. I also hope I’ll get access to the Beta 1 doc soon. D:

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Mark Jacobs

I would expect to see the Beta 1 doc around the same time we announce the official date for Beta 1.

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Koshelkin

That’s one day too late and not one day too soon if you take my meaning.

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Mark Jacobs

LOL, yeah, I know but when we announce the date, there will be lots of discussion. Like Goldilocks, our Backers will fall into different camps of “too soon”, “too late”, “just right’ and I want to be able to spend time focusing on that, and not the feature-list (which I know will make most people happy). Doing it my way means I’ll be able to talk to our Backers in a very focused manner about the date and that we haven’t tried to distract them in a Wizard of Oz kind of way.

And before anybody thinks that I’m saying this because our Beta 1 date will be 2020 or something like that, not at all. I just know what to expect from our Backers because well, we are all human and I’ve been doing this for a long time.

But, as always, times will tell. :)

Thanks for your interest, support, comments and patience, as always,

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Koshelkin

Oh 2020 would be too late for me(I think) but I have faith it will come earlier. I’m a rather patient person and have alot to do, so I can wait, I still would love to be able to get a glimpse of the product closer to the vision™. After SWTOR managed to drive me away I’m in desperate need of a PvP game with western design sensibilties.

Cheers to you and your team, it’s nice to see a dev team working on *their* game for a change instead of working off the checklist they got from the market research team. I think I can feel some of the passion which goes into the creation of Camelot Unchained.

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Mark Jacobs

2020 would be too late for me too. If that was our Beta 1 date, I think I would lost whatever remains of my sanity after making online games since the 80s. :)

You’ll get more than a glimpse of that in Beta 1, promise. And I don’t make a lot of promises as you know. One of the things I did add from the original Beta 1 schedule I think almost all of our Backers will like a lot. I don’t mean to tease, but I do think it’s a great add. I will absolutely talk about this before Beta 1 begins.

Thanks again for the kind words and support. I know it hasn’t been an easy road, and it has been a long one, but as I was asked in a Q&A, I can see the light at the end of tunnel again. I saw it last year, only then it was an incoming and unexpected train of pain, this time, it is a very different kind of light.

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DasSchaf

I heard the document is about 33 pages long. Hopefully we get to see Beta in the next months.

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adri

The lasted date is 31st of Dec 2017 ;)

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Mark Jacobs

The doc is long but part of that is the format I used (bullet point items) and the fact that it included things from Beta 1+. Ben and Brittany have finished their first pass and there wasn’t a lot of “OMG Jacobs, WTF are you thinking!” I’ll be making a 2nd pass on it this week and then Andrew will get to mark it up if he sees anything that we hadn’t planned on already or that for some reason have become undoable.

And we run the kind of studio where they could say that to me and not have to worry about their jobs. :)

wpDiscuz