This week in MMO crowdfunding news, City State Entertainment stunned pretty much everyone by announcing that it will open a satellite studio on the other side of the country in Seattle, which will support a much-expanded team of programmers working on Camelot Unchained. Funding for the second studio is provided by the game's unnamed uber-investor and matched by none other than Mark Jacobs himself.
- The Kickstarter for post-apoc survival MMORPG Edengrad successfully funded at £41,535 (just under $60,000 US), and Polish developer Huckleberry Games is planning early access this September;
- Shroud of the Avatar released another excerpt of the audio book for its novelization coming later this summer;
- Fragmented pushed out another patch, this one fixing bugs and localizing for German players;
- ECO announced its next big patch, which is focused on the economy and is due out at the end of June;
- the folks behind the Elite: Dangerous novelization Kickstarter explained the results of its legal battle and delay;
- and HEX announced plans for a ladder system and tournament cleanup.
We're also bummed to report that Vigor Roads' Kickstarter ended this morning unsuccessfully with only $9,735 pledged toward its $25,000 goal. Developer NeuronHaze said it partly blamed itself for overconfidence and failing to prepare a game build for backers to see in time. That build is promised for late summer or autumn, the studio says, and early access is still planned for 2017.
Read on for more on what's up with MMO crowdfunding this week and the roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we've got our eye on!
Camelot Unchained is opening a new studio in Seattle.
On Twitch this afternoon, CSE studio founder Mark Jacobs told viewers that the second studio will expand the team an additional four programmers with more to come and is being funded by additional investment from himself and the game's chief investor. The deal has apparently been several months in the making. While the studio office itself is not up and running, the new staff is working as of this month.
Jacobs could not give a hard date for beta one but did say the outlook on the refactoring of the code that caused the delay is positive.
Camelot Unchained is losing its community manager, Jenesee Grey.
During yesterday's farewell stream with CSE boss Mark Jacobs, Grey explained that her insane commute (500 miles) was responsible for her amicable departure.
The studio has another big stream planned for this afternoon at 3 p.m. EDT.
Camelot Unchained fans know that there's always a lot to unpack from each week's lengthy newsletters. And while there's a lot to chew on from this Friday's report, perhaps the most interesting tidbit from it hasn't happened yet.
Mark Jacobs said that the fans should get pumped for a major announcement coming next week: "I have no doubt that the news we are going to deliver next Friday will bring a big smile to ALL of our backers (well, at least those who want to see us succeed). It’s a really good update, months in the making." And before you ask, no, it's not the beta date.
Jacobs reported that the team is mostly channeling its efforts into overhauling the ability system, a project that hasn't left a lot of extra time and resources for other tasks. In addition to several pieces of weapon concept art, the Camelot Unchained team posted four in-game screenshots of Tuatha Dé Danann landscapes. Check them out below!
Camelot Unchained's weekend post may be on the briefer side after the mega newsletter earlier this week, but it bears good news from CSE's Mark Jacobs:
"After a lot of hard work by the team, the first version of the new ability system is online this weekend for an IT test! It may not look like much now, but what our IT folks will be seeing this weekend is a big leap forward for our game’s tech. We are going to do a full livestream session when all the pieces are in place, but as of now we can easily create and use abilities via the new system. As part of our refactor, the 're-abilitation' team has taken a system that had tens of thousands of lines, put it on a diet, refactored it and replaced it with a streamlined system that is around two thousand lines."
You'll recall that the game's beta one phase was actually delayed specifically because the previous ability system was unable to properly handle the complicated skill and class design the team was throwing at it, which meant the team had to refactor the underlying ability code. And so here we are.
The latest Camelot Unchained update is all about the C.U.B.E. -- that is, the Camelot Unchained Building Environment. The player building tool has just hit a huge milestone. "Since we began tracking the game, our Backers (not us, just our Backers) have laid down over one billion blocks!" says CSE studio boss Mark Jacobs. "That’s a pretty impressive number of blocks, considering the size of our Unchained Community." Round structures are on the way too; Jacobs says to stay turned through summer for even more tweaks to the tool.
He also name-drops the Oculus Rift: "We are not planning on working on a Rift version of Camelot Unchained at the present time," he says. "However, we are certainly interested in seeing how it works with C.U.B.E."
There's a bit of news about new terrain art, new islands, new weapons, some 3-D models, new interns, and a student group that toured the studio and managed to emerge mostly uncorrupted. Check it all out on the official blog.
Still on the edge of your seat waiting for the Camelot Unchained beta? Well sit back and get a comfy pillow for your butt because it's not today, but it has been a good week for the team's progress nevertheless. A new dev update from CSE boss Mark Jacobs says the team capped off the week with its first test of a multiplayer CUBE build, the building module embedded in the game.
"We’ve made lots of improvements and additions to both the C.U.B.E. and game builds, but one of the biggest was another reduction of the memory footprint. With this build, we took about 500MB out of the client," Jacobs writes. "Now, this 500MB is also dependent on just how many blocks are used in C.U.B.E., but some of these savings apply to the main game as well, even when there are no blocks there. This will result in even more players with older cards being able to access the game, and another overall improvement in performance. We are also moving forward on other fronts quite nicely, and we’ll have more to talk about regarding some of them in June."
If you prefer visual eyecandy in your updates, good news: The team has also featured some concept art for the realms' swords and axes and an environmental shot to boot.
On its livestream this afternoon, Camelot Unchained boss Mark Jacobs told backers and watchers that technical issues have delayed the start of beta, which was anticipated literally any day now and has been delayed once already (as was the alpha before it). Jacobs explained that CSE discovered its ability system was unable to properly handle the complicated skill and class design the team was throwing at it, necessitating a refactoring of the underlying ability code. "We are going to be able to preserve a lot of the underlying code but have to change some aspects of it and the pipeline that an ability has to go through from button push to active in the game," he told us.
While it's frustrating news, Jacobs believes the retooling will ensure faster deployment of new skills in the future and will positively influence the crafting system as well. He told us that while CSE could have opened beta now and fixed the problem later, the team prefers to launch a beta with the permanent ability system in place rather than try to sneak one past the backers.
We spoke to Jacobs and Head of Code Andrew Meggs ahead of the stream to ask a few more questions; read on for their explanation.
The pieces are falling into place for Camelot Unchained's first beta, although it's not quite here yet. Mark Jacobs jumped onto the stage on Friday to share some of the "slow and steady progress" being made toward the next big phase of testing.
"All the components for our Beta 1 classes are currently in the game," Jacobs shared. "They are not all working yet, but they are in the game. Right now, that’s one of the biggest, and most expected, 'degrees of difficulty' in terms of moving into Beta 1."
Among the projects that the team has been working on include adding deployable objects, the group system, visual improvements to the world, environmental sounds, and the Pict race.
After talking with Mark Jacobs the other week about the difficulty of balancing Camelot Unchained's 30 classes, it got my mind thinking of MMOs that don't merely stop with a half-dozen or so classes in their roster. It seems like having a wide array of class choices used to be in vogue early on in the industry but has since been abandoned for a smaller field of archetypes that are easier to manage.
Me? I love choices, particularly with classes. My interest in a game gets a shot in the arm if I have a lot of prospects for alts -- the more, the better. So I started drawing up a list of MMOs with large class rosters and decided to make it into a full-blown column.
For the purpose of today's list, I'm not counting skill-based MMOs (which could be considered as hosting infinite classes). Also, for games that allow a measure of mix-and-matching between classes, I'm counting only the actual classes or powersets available, not the total number of permutations that could be created by their merging. So which MMO has enough classes to satisfy your appetite?
The crunch toward beta 1 continues for the Camelot Unchained staff this weekend. Last night CSE boss Mark Jacobs told followers that the team is working on lighting and rendering system bugs, the new character creation system, stats and damage states, item mass, performance, ballistae (video below), and crafted items.
Jacobs also emerged triumphant in the impromptu storytelling session he held at the request of backers Thursday night; the story revolved around Wagner's Ring Cycle, or more specifically, Andvaranaut, the ring itself, and the ensuing new Becoming tale is included in the newsletter.
"Next week we'll talk about how well the pieces have assembled, and what comes next," he writes. "In the meantime, I’ll say that as of now, Ben says we have over 500 ability combinations in the build. They aren’t finished yet (of course), but they are getting there."
The team behind Camelot Unchained is still hard at work making the game ready for its first beta test, but there's still plenty to discuss in the game's newest newsletter. If you've read any of the newsletters from the team, you know that they're chock-full of content, and this one is no exception. For those purely interested in system developments, you'll be happy to learn that the game's new lighting system is coming along, the game is moving toward its next emote-filled stretch goal, and crafting is being put into place (albeit without a UI, just old-fashioned slash commands).
There's also more information on how the game's crafting will work to differentiate between weapons and armor of the same type but with better or worse materials and what players can look forward to as part of overall game balance. Oh, and there are plenty of community updates. And possibly an entire novel about a young woman coming of age in 17th century Ireland. The point is that it's meaty.
If you haven't had enough of listening to Camelot Unchained's Mark Jacobs this week thanks to our pair of podcast interviews, then prepare for more tonight: The CSE boss has agreed to take on a live storytelling challenge at the behest of the game's backers. The backers will pick a relevant fairytale or legend, and Jacobs must write a CU-appropriate "Becoming" story revolving around it -- live and on the spot.
The festivities begin tonight at 7:30 p.m. EDT. And should Jacobs fail? Well, let's just say you should come with fitting punitive demands to humiliate him too! Brings new meaning to the name City State Entertainment, doesn't it?