mark jacobs

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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Camelot Unchained implements torches (bring your own pitchforks)

City State’s Mark Jacobs is back at the helm of the Camelot Unchained weekly update this round, with news of his team’s efforts on terrain, performance improvements, seamless zone transitions, the API server, the salvaging system, siege weapons, ambient sound and music tracks, knockback animations, and the pleasantly named wounds and trauma code.

“We’re revisiting the rough first pass of the wounds and trauma code to make use of new code written while we wrapped up encumbrance. At the same time, this pass will also fix several long-standing bugs in the system, like dummies not respawning, and issues with bleeding to death. No one likes issues with bleeding to death, amiright?”

There’s also the usual assortment of images, including a super-detailed look at the work-in-progress unitframes and… torches. A whole bunch of torches. What could go wrong, right? Pitchforks next week?

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The Game Archaeologist: How Sceptre of Goth shaped the MMO industry

When it comes to text-based MMOs created in the ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s, the sheer number of them would blot out the sky. There are certainly more multi-user dungeons (MUDs) than I’ve ever been able to get a handle on when I’ve tried creating lists of the most important to know, but I will say that there are a few that seem to pop up more than others. The original MUD1, created by Richard Bartle and Roy Trubshaw, was certainly a watershed moment for online roleplaying games. Learning about DikuMUD is pretty essential, considering its impact on graphical MMORPGs that we still play today.

But there’s another title that often goes unnoticed, unless you keep an eye out for it. It’s a MUD that keeps popping up when you look into the history of the MMORPG genre, one with ties to key players and design concepts that are still active today.

It’s the MUD that shaped the MMO industry, and it was called Sceptre of Goth.

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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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