Camelot Unchained’s big bot battle boasts benefits for beta-beseeching backers

What does a battle between hundreds and hundreds of bots have to do with fans eager to access Camelot Unchained’s long-awaited beta? Plenty, it turns out. In this week’s newsletter, the dev team reported that a massive simulated battle with crazy amounts of visual effects was actually highly beneficial in preparing the game for human testing and a “major milestone” in the game’s journey.

“Our push for client stability has paid off greatly,” the team said, “culminating in the successful testing of over 1,500 bots using abilities, which stressed both our item and particle systems, all with great performance! It’s a big win for us and our backers as this is one of our big requirements to for Beta 1.”

Looking for a more in-depth report (if that’s even possible)? Sit down with the developer week in review video below.

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33 Comments on "Camelot Unchained’s big bot battle boasts benefits for beta-beseeching backers"

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Mikka Hansen

Is the slaughterwolf still slated for the post-release? Because that was really dissapointing

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Sally Bowls

I am curious about scouts and spirit mages. But I try to restrain myself pre Beta. Hopefully, once we hit beta and they recover from their post-launch refractory, we will get an update on the AtBetaLaunch / AfterBetaLaunchButByLaunch / AfterLaunch status of classes/features. The project is big enough that I would be a bit surprised if the post Beta plan 100% matches the pre-Kickstarter plan.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Maybe silly question, but is there a difference between 1500 bots and 1500 real players? I mean would real players cause more lag since they actually spend internet traffic?

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Sally Bowls

Well, the bots can spell better and troll less. :-)

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Mark Jacobs

Hey OC, great question, here’s a quick explanation:

1) Bots are “headless clients” running on separate AWS instances. This means that on different instances (servers), we are running 1500 separate clients. They are headless, because in our case, they aren’t attached to real players at keyboards, monitors, etc.

2) Bots are almost indistinguishable to the server from players. They are started up from player characters we created just for that purpose. As such, they have full access to all the skills, abilities, etc. as players.

3) Because Bots = players, the server treats them the same way as players (except they don’t get to ask for refunds!) :) and as such, consume the same amount of network traffic as players. So when a Bot is firing off an ability, it has to send the same message to the servers that players do and in return, are sent the same amount of information from the server.

4) Bots, in general, consume a bit more network traffic than players since they don’t spend any time talked, go off for “botty-breaks”, etc., like normal players do. In some tests we actually had them chatting so they could test the chat system.

5) Bots are not “NPCs” because those things are usually controlled from the same server(s) instance(s) and are generally not networked like players. We will, of course, have NPCs too but no NPCs were harmed in the making of these screenshots! :)

So, in terms of whether are Bots are the same as players in terms of Internet/network traffic and also client stability (they can crash too), etc., the answer is 100% yes! Otherwise, if they weren’t, we’d be, to put it mildly, lying and even though you and I disagree about some things, I hope by now you and our Backers know that I refuse to lie, I just rather deliver bad news. FYI, I wanted to have these kind of Bots for testing in WAR. Unfortunately, that was vetoed. Fortunately, this time my partner/co-founder Andrew couldn’t have been more in favor of it and was a strong proponent himself. And thanks to the other engineers at CSE and the considerable time spent getting them up and running, they are really incredibly useful for these types of tests, then, now and forever.

FYI, interesting historical note, the concept of using Bots for this kind of testing goes way, way back, even to the origin of the MUDs. One of the earliest members of Mythic Entertainment, and a fine gentleman who worked for me at AUSI (my first company, maker of the world’s third MUD, Aradath), Darrin Hyrup, had a similar system to stress test our MUDs. Very helpful then, incredibly helpful now. For example, In Beta, we’ll be using them every few weeks to beat on the current build to make sure that nothing bad has crept into the code networking-wise. No matter how good the programmers/designers/artists, occasionally things go into the game that looks fine but when systems are pressured, bad things can arise. The Bots aren’t a cure-all, but used properly they can cut down on the number of times things seem to work great when 40 people are playing during testing but go to complete crap when 4000 people are playing the same build when it goes LIVE.

I hope this answers your question, I’m off for dinner and movie (Valerian) with Lady J. If I don’t see you again, have a great weekend!

And thanks again for the great question!

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Paragon Lost

Good points about the bots Mark and dating back to MUDs. Honestly I think that many people (players and folks on the development side at times) tend to forget how similar graphical mmorpgs are to their predecessors, MUDS.

I used to simply say that by and large mmorpgs were MUDS with a graphical shell tossed on top. That’s simplifying it of course but it is to extent an accurate point.

Anyhow great post, thanks for sharing and I hope the movie was a good one. :)

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Oleg Chebeneev

Maybe MMOs were similar to MUDs before, but they are not now. Modern MMOs are much more similar to RPGs, being quest and dungeons oriented theme parks. There are very few MUDs that have quests as core part of gameplay (Alter Aeon, Ardwolf). Vast majority of them focus on exploration, hunting or roleplay.

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Paragon Lost

You missed my point, what you are talking about and what I am talking about are different things. Something I was alluding to when I made my comment about the graphical shell on top of the code that text based multi-player game ran/run on, aka MUDS.

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Dean Greenhoe

A super awesome answer and a good read! :)

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julllllll

Gonna pledge as soon as there’s kind of gameplay / fun into it !

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Mark Jacobs

Cool. In the next few months we will hope to begin streaming some gameplay so you’ll get a good idea of what the game is like.

Thanks for your interest! I hope you decide to join us in the future. But if not, thanks for considering to do so and checking us out!

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Vlad Petrescu

Now if they can just change the graficx from Puke to Garbage that would be great ! also change the hole game cause it sucks ! :)

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Veldan

Have you been keeping up with this game at all? Recent(ish) screenshots don’t look bad at all anymore.

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julllllll

Go for those “next gen MMOs” we see all around using shinny graphics, copy paste gameplay, with 50 players on whole server and barely 4 players on screen. LoL :)

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Paragon Lost

Or those who are actually allowing no more than 10 or so players in any instanced version of their game. Good point julllllll. :)

shadanwolf
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shadanwolf

This is the only game I continue to wait for.

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Mark Jacobs

Much appreciated!

Coolit
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Coolit

1500 bots is seriously impressive! Game playability is king when it comes to these type of pvp focused mmo’s, so good job Citystate on reaching this number. I’m probably going to back CU down the line, it’s certainly starting to tick all the right boxes :)

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Sally Bowls

1500 bots is seriously impressive!

Yes, that is nearly as many as you find in a typical AAA MMO or ArcheAge.

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Mark Jacobs

1500 is indeed impressive. And in the main firework screenshot, we’re also showing a lot of particle effects going off at the same time. All of this was also running on a non-optimized build so we will get better performance when we move over to Fledgling from Hatchery.

I know the graphics look at bit lame in the shot above, but that’s because they are supposed to be the plumes from the firework arrows as they fire into the sky. When Mike C. puts in the real effects for the real abilities, they will also look great. Hopefully that ticks another box for ya!

And as I said above and always, thanks for your consideration, regardless of what you decide to do in the end.

gelfred
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gelfred

Good stuff, game looks to be making progress. I will probably back if there are servers for beta that are not just up in US times.

Still cant decide which factions classes I like the most!

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Mark Jacobs

We’ll be running servers in Europe and the US, an mainly over the weekends. Hopefully that will fit in with your schedule!

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Utakata

The header pic kinda reminds me of this for some reason: o.O

img-0989-jpg-1493959008.jpg
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Mark Jacobs

Hehe, I told Mike to make some quick firework arrows that would be visible at night and that is exactly what he did, didn’t he? :)

Tamanous
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Tamanous

They even peaked over 2k bots at one point. Some crazy testing back in swing. Grats to them all!

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Mark Jacobs

Thanks! And we hit 2.1K before that was too much of a load in that small space. :)

The best part was the fact that I could run through that moshpit while VFX were going off like crazy (360 archers). Almost sounds like we might be testing some of the tech for a proper siege eh?

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Sally Bowls

Grz! I am usually different; I am not so much “eager to access the beta” but think of the beta as a symptom, not a goal. I.e., what I want is the game and beta shall be a welcome milestone on that journey. Good news; good progress. ty. grz. KCCO

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Mark Jacobs

Thanks SB, as always!

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Sally Bowls

I was going to go Sansa and do a parody like “no need to respond Lord Jacobs, I will assume it was something gracious and professional.” But I respect, appreciate and enjoy your efforts here, so did not want any to think I was denigrating them in any way. Thx for this and TIA for your next appearance.

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Mark Jacobs

LOL, thanks. FYI, I love GoT as well! Some of the CSE folks come over to my house on Sunday nights to watch it, Lady J will make something delicious, and then we all geek out together.

This season has been awesome so far, hasn’t it?

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Sally Bowls

Absolutely. I follow way too many GOT podcast/youtubers I enjoyed American Gods as well. I may have to hurry if I want to see your movie today. Perhaps, you can tell us what you thought of it.

The most expensive indie film ever made, ringing up a $180 million price tag, Valerian has flopped at the U.S. box office with a dismal $17 million opening weekend. Since its July 21 release, it’s taken in a total of just $18.8 million.

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Mark Jacobs

Just got back. Visually quite good, but not The Fifth Element. A bit of a hot mess story-wise, and some of the dialogue was making the audience laugh for the wrong reasons. Most of the performances were underwhelming. OTOH, some really good CGI work at times and the scene in the dance club with the character Bubble (and her voice work) was almost worth the price of admission.

It’s a shame, so much potential for such a famous and long running IP and a super-talented director in Luc Besson.

Overall it was exactly what I expected.

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Paragon Lost

Sadly I’d also read that the story was a “hot mess” as you mentioned. Too bad, I really like Luc Besson.

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