mark jacobs

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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Camelot Unchained focuses on particles, trees, and the beta interface

I know most of you come to these Camelot Unchained posts hoping to hear about beta one. I can’t wait to write that post, believe me, and I’m pretty sure CSE can’t either. In the meantime, we’re digging into another weekly update from the team, whose highlight is the fact that the weekend tester build has been updated with a proper particle rendering system, the better to make your spells sparkle.

“This is the system we have been talking about for months. Included in today’s code-drop are almost a dozen new features, as well as some added functionality for existing parts of the particle/lighting system. The next step is for Mike and the art team to update/change existing VFX as test cases of the system. Like the animation system, this is a WIP, and will serve as the basis for our next major improvement, which will happen during Beta 1. In the meantime, the new system will allow our world to feel more alive, magical, and interesting. And more performant, as well!”

CSE has also uploaded some new images — some psychedelic ones showing off the lighting systems on water, some gorgeous blossom-draped foliage, and a first pass on bits of the beta UI. Don’t miss Mark Jacobs’ end-of-the-week summary vid below either.

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The many faces of Camelot Unchained

Terrible pun title in honor of April Fools’ Day! This week’s Camelot Unchained update touches on art, interface, and ability cooldowns, but the most interesting bits are surely the faces and the animation work.

“An image can only say so much about how actually playing the game will feel, but we want to emphasize the time and effort going into making the animations not only look good, but–just as important–feel good,” CSE’s Tyler Rockwell says. “In the past, our ‘jump’ only popped your character into the air and played a looping animation for the time you hovered. While Andrew re-hooks up ‘jump’ with the new animation system, Scott has worked out a jump with a prep and recover phase to smooth the in and out of the jump. This example also includes a pose specific to carrying a two-handed weapon, vs. having a shared pose for all weapons. Likewise, he’s begun working on a jump animation that will play when the player hits a certain velocity, to create a ‘running leap.’ The latter idea is still conceptual, but is part of our goal of making things ‘feel’ good.”

Check out the new art below, along with Mark Jacobs’ video update.

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Camelot Unchained shows off its weapon stances

While it’s certainly tempting to focus on Camelot Unchained’s progress in creating weeds (or as the devs put it, “the unsung heroes of the grass plains”), the star of this week’s newsletter is most definitely the game’s improved animated stances.

“We’ve been talking quite a bit about the progress we’re making on the new animation system, which has allowed us to see some of these assets for the very first time,” Mark Jacobs wrote. “The other exciting thing is that characters now use the appropriate animation within their stance, per the weapon(s) they have equipped.”

For a look at some of these stances, some environmental scenes, and, yes, the thrill-a-minute weeds, check out the new screenshots from the following gallery.

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Camelot Unchained completes first pass on working armor, shields, and weapons

Beta 1 is mentioned 14 times in Camelot Unchained’s latest update. I’m not saying it means something, but I’m sure feeling like we’re making some headway to it!

City State’s Mark Jacobs says his team has finished up the item update, putting its new programmer to work on crafting, demoed the new social UI, completed a first pass on the manual aiming system, promoted the experimental patcher, and tinkered with VFX rendering, plus there’s new artwork from the WIP place of power.

“As you can see, more and more, our engine is beginning to resemble a game,” he writes. “As part of this evolution, we are checking off item from Primary Beta 1 list: ‘First pass working armor, shields, and weapons in game.'”

This weekend’s test is open to all alpha and beta 1 players, but Jacobs warns that the animation system is a placeholder and physicians are busted.

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Camelot Unchained talks about development challenges and beta announcement

There are several notable quotes in this week’s progress report from the Camelot Unchained team. Mark Jacobs said that encumberance penalties are being worked into the inventory system and explained why doubling the programmer team hasn’t resulted in double development speed.

“The fact remains that for a programming team whose size just reached the double-digits, making a game like the one we are making would already be difficult. Making an engine at the same time is, in the eyes of many of our industry colleagues, a ride on the crazy train. Well, we are on that train, picking up speed, and we can see the next station in the distance,” he wrote.

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Camelot Unchained is putting its new animation system through its paces

One of the key foundations for Camelot Unchained was laid this past week, as the team introduced its brand-new animation system. Mark Jacobs writes in the weekly update that the system is only in its first iteration, but that it should be great to build upon going forward.

“Besides the obvious effects of this new tech, it also greatly improves the workflow of our animators,” Jacobs writes. “As with any teardown and build up process, we’re going from the bottom up, with a much firmer foundation, to support more functionality than we had with the previous version. We’ve already got much more variety in fidgets and idles, smoother walks and runs, and attacks that can play while you’re moving.”

You can check out the new animation system after the break!

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A peek at Camelot Unchained’s trees, forests, and C.U.B.E.

“Today’s update might be a little lighter on the tech side,” Mark Jacobs tells Camelot Unchained backers in his latest update, “but we have lots of art to show you as well.” Indeed, check out those trees. “Big trees. Like really big trees,” in a dense forest with climbable foliage. There are also some WIP model shots from the studio’s unfinished Place of Power (seen in the image above) and more work on the C.U.B.E. system that should have builder types excited.

“Over the last two years, we have talked about how C.U.B.E. and the building portion of Camelot Unchained was not going to simply be a Minecraft clone. One of the many ways we are fulfilling that promise is by allowing players to create and use round objects. This work-in-progress image shows our building morph technology being put through some tests. It is a cylinder morph around the Z (vertical) axis. Then another cylinder morph around the X axis was added, which combines all the changes of the original morph with itself. The result is that you get curvature around two axes. It’s definitely a WIP, but you can see how close we are getting to the point of bringing this to life inside the engine.”

This weekend, testers will be on a “major new version of [the] patcher. Check out the new images and the video update below!

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Camelot Unchained starts the year with a pair of weekend tests

Camelot Unchained is back to business as usual following the holiday break. Mark Jacobs reports that two tests are being performed this weekend with some of the game’s backers, with more tests planned for the future that should include a wider pool of players.

Jacobs ran down a list of all of the projects that the team is currently tackling, including work on structure destruction, item tech, art, crafting, and animation. There’s also some effort being put into guild features: “JB has been working on the underlying framework to hit our guild MVP feature set. The next step is to build a first-pass UI to expose those features to players. We’re excited about the progress on this, and hope to test it in the next few weeks!”

He wrapped up the relatively short (for Camelot Unchained, at least) newsletter with a peek at one of the game’s Places of Power, some animation poses, and the “crazy eyes” Luchorpans.

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Camelot Unchained recaps ‘roller-coaster’ 2016 with new pics

Camelot Unchained is wrapping up its development for the year with a recap of the team’s current efforts and a top 10 list describing “the roller-coaster” of 2016.

CSE boss Mark Jacobs says that over the past two weeks, the studio has continued its focus on network stability, particle performance, the ability system, and the physics server. “At 1800 bots, we’re seeing some great performance!” he writes.

Highlights from the year include the new Seattle branch, expansion of the team, the upgraded engine, reabilitation — a word we added to our dictionaries this year thanks to Camelot — big bots, and the Discord deal. Jacobs signs off with characteristic moxie:

“As always, and forever, I want to thank our Backers for their patience and support. I know that it has been pretty frustrating in a lot of ways, but here’s a screenshot [it’s the first big bots one below] that should strike fear in the heart of people who ‘just want to be alone,’ as well as those who might doubt that this little team in Virginia and Seattle can deliver on this game.”

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Camelot Unchained is working on its bot drowning problem

Camelot Unchained’s weekly update has arrived, and in it, the team outlines its latest projects: networking stability, particle effects performance, banes and boons, and the animation system. Oh yeah, and they fixed drowning. I love this one.

“Fixed drowning: Through all of our bot testing, we found a performance hit when a large number of bots all tried to drown in the same area. As our bots stress things as players would, fixing the issue gives everyone a nice performance gain, bots or not.”

There’s a check-in with art development on the Place of Power location and updated before-and-after shots that demo the lighting improvements made during the alpha. Aaaaand don’t miss the streamed update from the floating Seattle studio by Mark Jacobs himself, who’s in town to aid in the search for a more permanent office for the west coast crew.

During this weekend’s test, alpha players are asked to murder as many humans and dummies as possible while testing out new abilities. Check out the gallery and vid below!

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Camelot Unchained to integrate Discord, including voice chat

Camelot Unchained has a powerful new ally in its fight against your personal boredom. Mark Jacobs revealed a partnership this week that should bode well for the future of the game and its community.

“I’m pleased to announce that City State Entertainment and Discord have reached an agreement to work together on combining their cutting-edge tech along with that of Camelot Unchained,” Jacobs said. “It will help make Camelot Unchained a better and more immersive experience for our players.”

The agreement means that Camelot Unchained will be able to incorporate the full suite of Discord technology into the MMO, including text and voice chat services. Jacobs said that this will save the studio time that it would otherwise have had to spend on creating such features. Another bonus? Allowing players to access chat channels while logged out of the game.

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