city state entertainment

The Mark Jacobs-fronted studio making Camelot Unchained.

Camelot Unchained teases beta with a new ‘guiding principles’ doc

If it feels like we’ve been waiting for Camelot Unchained’s beta forever, well, it hasn’t – it’s only been half of forever. And the wait is almost over, if the first part of City State’s brand-new beta 1 doc is any guide.

“It’s been a longer road to Beta 1 than we expected it would be last year,” CSE’s Mark Jacobs begins. “For that, you have our most sincere and humble apologies.” After admitting he’s “committed more money to the studio than” planned, he says the result has been worth it, such that “by the time you read this, [CSE] will have moved achingly close to the first of the SNS trials, will be back up to 2.1K ARCs/Bots, the new ability, animation, and VFX systems will be performing as expected, and the programmers’ focus will have turned more heavily than ever to gameplay and not tech.”

The doc itself outlines the beta’s “guiding principles” for a “minimum viable vision” — namely, that it should be solid, intermittent, accessible, and more about fun than the tech-oriented alpha. While this is just the first part of the larger doc we’re told is incoming, it does tick off a number of specific features on immediate order, including improved UI, help files and links for newbies, updated patcher and player count, daily issues, class/race combos, attribute clarity, unique player names, and starting gear.

Plus? A peek at the login screen, which is slick!

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Camelot Unchained lays the groundwork for NPCs

Bot battles is the phrase on everyone’s lips over at Camelot Unchained as of late. The team said in this week’s newsletter that it has begun to test the new build of the game with loads of bots and players at the same time, creating epic fights for all to experience.

Playtesting aside, the team has plenty of pots on its project stove, such as player-to-player trading, a giant lighthouse, and healer effects. And even though Camelot Unchained is a primarily PvP (or RvR) game, there is work being done on including NPCs to flesh out the game world.

“Colin started the planning process for building our NPCs, both to support our needs for Beta 1 and also farther down the line,” the letter writes. “At the basic level, NPCs can act as signposts, offering information to players as they approach. Therefore, we need to be able to manage the text strings for each NPC and allow them to trigger actions when a player approaches.”

The team also displayed some of the work being done on mace attacks, which you may view after the break.

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Camelot Unchained will invite beta 1 backers to big bot battle testing next week

In the future, alpha testers (and everyone else) will all be fully replaced by robots, no doubt. But right now, Camelot Unchained is putting bots to work alongside their human compatriots in the form of big bot battles. This week, City State says, it ran two tests with the bots in prep for beta 1.

“We brought in 250 Bots and went up to over 1200 Bots, which ran around LIVE with our Alpha and IT Backers. The majority of these headless clients were ‘melee’ and the rest were ‘archery’ Bots. In some tests, we were able to handle about 2K Bots total (most of the Bots were fighters, the rest were archers), which is twice the number we set out as a goal during the Kickstarter. While we have hit 2K before, these were the first LIVE tests with our Backers using the new animation system and the heavily modified VFX system.”

Even better? Beta 1 backers will be invited to these tests next week.

The studio has likewise been working on client stability, siege engine tech, item damage, and enviroment and item art and effects. Check out the new images and recap vid below!

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Camelot Unchained state-of-the-build letter says it’s ‘driving towards Beta 1 at full speed’

Those who follow Camelot Unchained closely know that the team ends every week with a super-sized update letter on the project’s progress. But if that’s not enough communication, each month brings a newsletter big enough to fill a small novella. So find a comfy reading spot and settle in for the 36th newsletter about this fantasy MMO.

To give followers a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the game, the team illuminated how the game designers communicate with other developers: “Even at a glance, it should be easy to guess why a game designer would sometimes need to talk to a programmer or an artist. However, it is hard to convey the extent to which these conversations sometimes have to go, or the difficulty of communicating what might seem like simple ideas between people that have completely different frames of reference.”

The Camelot Unchained crew also crowed about its recent success in cramming 2,100 active bots onto a small playfield, demonstrated modeling techniques for art, and delivered a state of the build. As the team has said in past weekly updates, the recent focus has been primarily on client stability, more active bots, player inventory, a first pass at siege engines, and a fun side project that brought fireworks into the game.

“We’re driving towards Beta 1 at full speed,” CSE’s Brittany Aubert noted.

Source: Newsletter

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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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Camelot Unchained stabilizes the game engine and shows off inventory UI

Check out Camelot Unchained’s first pass at a player inventory UI. What do you think? Looks pretty sharp, doesn’t it?

This glimpse was part of this week’s development newsletter. It sounds as though the team also made a big step forward with client performance: “Call it scene-locking, call it broken, call it a PITA, but the good news is that Andrew and George made major changes to the system so that the engine is a lot more stable than it was three weeks ago. Now, is it ready for a real alpha test? Unfortunately, no.”

The team has hundreds of bots back in the game running it through its paces, and hopefully an alpha test will commence next weekend. In the meanwhile, you can hang out with the devs and see some more work on weapon animation after the break.

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Camelot Unchained works on an indoor space for players to explore

After last week’s truncated update, the Camelot Unchained team is roaring back with another one of its extensive and informative newsletters. Lots of progress on numerous fronts was reported, including functional siege engines, expansion of a mine, smoothly animated archery, realistic blood splatter, and about 150 hand-crafted icons for the new user interface.

It sounds as if supporters of the game will have a treat to look forward to enjoying: “Dionne finished a rough pass last week to figure out some of the basic scale of interior spaces. This week, she has continued to build new pieces with added props. Our first goal is to get an interior in-game for backers to explore and provide feedback. ”

If you have some spare time today, feel free to sit down with the devs for an even longer report on the week’s doings after the jump.

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Camelot Unchained zeroes in on client stability

Following an “explosive” test over the Independence Day extended weekend, Camelot Unchained’s devs spent the shortened week attempting to zero in on some of the issues that caused client instability.

“We got straight to work with a big focus on client stability,” the team said in this week’s newsletter. “We’ve always said we want to make sure the build is stable, not only for beta, but as we go. On top of this, we’ve got a team that has grown not only in volume but also in skill. Sometimes, as was the case this week, you find you’re dealing with issues from old code that you are now much more capable of improving.”

The truncated newsletter discussed work being done on shadow optimization and player inventory UI as well as dishing out an early glimpse of an underground mine. For a more in-depth look at the MMO’s progress, tune in to the weekly update video after the jump!

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Camelot Unchained: Explosions, music, and death to getting one-shotted

Camelot Unchained’s Mark Jacobs helms this week’s studio update, with a peek into the team’s progress on shadows, archery and combat animations, siege engines, CUBE structures, inventory functionality and art, ability VFX, realm portals, mines, and terrain assets. Testers, make sure you practice explosives safety during the holiday:

“Happy Birthday, America: Gabe fixed an issue preventing our impact explosions from remaining in the scene. Doing so gave us the great idea of making our bow and siege abilities a bit more patriotic for the holiday weekend.”

Meanwhile, the studio’s latest newsletter features news on a fresh programmer hire, the game’s unique music system, and a positively massive segment on game speed by CSE’s Ben Pielstick. Specifically, he discusses the pacing of combat and the desire to avoid one-shot kills, no matter how logical, in order to keep new players and endgamers literally on the same playing field.

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Pitching a tent in Camelot Unchained

City State’s Tyler Rockwell has returned again this week to helm another Camelot Unchained update, and my favorite part is the tents. Seriously, how many MMORPGs have tents at all? Let alone a dozen or more of them? I’m looking forward to structures that are somewhere between “bank box” and “McMansion.”

There’s plenty of serious stuff, too. Rockwell says the team’s been focused on shadows, animations, more seamless zone transitioning, item stacking, one-handed weapon combos, two-handed sword animations, resource nodes, and back-end architecture. There’s also a look at the game’s burgeoning dock assets, so when you’ve packed up your tent, you can sail away. Check out the new pics and test videos!

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The Daily Grind: Which MMORPG developer would you most like to meet in person?

Be you press or player, one of the advantages of going in person to a convention (or any other gaming event!) is surely the chance to actually meet and talk to individual developers. You can get a partial read on developers from their written words and even their speech on streams, but nothing beats actually talking one-on-one with a dev, looking him or her in the eye, asking tough questions out of PR handlers’ hearing, and chasing a conversation down unexpected paths. I’ve been wowed by devs and community leader whom I didn’t expect to be so amazing — and similarly, I’ve been let down by veteran designers I thought were much more impressive on paper than in person. Sometimes both at the same event!

Which MMORPG developer would you most like to meet in person?

(That’d be Camelot Unchained’s Ben Pielstick in the header working on polearm animations, by the way!)

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Camelot Unchained creates inventory screen mockup

As Camelot Unchained transforms from a ramshackle collection of ideas and features into a cohesive product, it’s neat to see glimpses of the game that it’s to become. Even something as seemingly mundane as an inventory screen can be exciting in this context.

In this week’s newsletter, the team shows a mockup that it is using to create the character gear and inventory screen. One interesting design element that the team is working on concerns the relationship between inventory and speed: “We finished off the first part of encumbrance penalties item on the Beta 1 Checklist. The weight of items in your inventory now affect player’s movement speed. Movement speed is also affected by exceeding one’s carrying capacity stat.”

The Camelot Unchained team continues to work on many features for the upcoming beta, including rendering improvements, seamless zone transitions, and torches (in each faction flavor). The studio even has a guy out back swinging different tools and recording them to make a database of sounds for weapons.

See how the inventory screen is being designed below!

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Camelot Unchained is chasing ‘a game to be proud of, not a minimum viable product’

Is beta one here yet? Nooooope. But Camelot Unchained continues barreling down the track toward it, as outlined in its latest weekly update. City State’s Tyler Rockwell explains that the devs are… watching you. “Rob even co-opted a wall-mounted TV in the office, so he can work while he watches performance changes as players interact with buildings,” he writes. You’re famous!

The team’s also been working on siege engines, player damage improvements, bots (expect a name change on those too, so no more “I like big bots” jokes), ability effects, and gear performance. On the art side, there’s been progress on polearm animations, the interface, helmets, torches, docks, and nodes.

This weekend’s alpha should be focusing on VFX, archery, crafting, and buildings. “We want to focus as much time as possible on the most important goal of the studio right now: getting into Beta 1 with a game that we can be proud of, and not a Minimum Viable Product,” Rockwell reassures players. The weekly wrap-up plus a few other new images and videos are below.

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