mark jacobs

Perfect Ten: The MMORPGs to watch in 2016

A long time ago on another website far, far away, I held a tradition of kicking off the new year by listing the top 10 MMOs that deserved attention and were likely to launch that year. These days, however, the industry has changed quite a bit, most notably with early access, open development, soft launches, and crowdfunding blurring the lines of testing and play.

Therefore, I felt that a slight change was needed with 2016’s list. Instead of rattling off 10 titles that I think are going to release in the following 12 months, I’m going to mention games that strongly bear watching in the new year. Some of them will undoubtedly release, while the rest remain in alpha or beta testing, but all could have an impact on the industry and in our online communities.

Because I’m limiting the list to just 10 entries, some up-and-coming games won’t be mentioned. I have my reasons (secret, dusky reasons), but if you disagree about these or the exclusion of any title, pipe up in the comments!

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Camelot Unchained’s Mark Jacobs on economy, crafting, and Star Wars Galaxies inspiration

In anticipation of the today’s livestream, Camelot Unchained boss Mark Jacobs spoke with us about the implementation of crafting and trade in the game as explained on the website on today’s stream. It’s Jacobs, so you know the answers aren’t bullshit.

Massively OP: Regarding merchant stalls in lieu of an auction hall: From other MMOs, I know that there will inevitably be one really great, convenient spot for stalls, and if you’re not there, you’re sunk without a search system. So first, is there going to be a “vendor search” system so people can tell what’s for sale and where? And second, how are you going to deal with demand for the stalls in the “best” spot? And if the answer to this is bidding wars and auctions for the best stalls, how are you going to stop uberguilds from dominating all serious trade? If the answer is extremely high rents, how are you going to ensure that people still sell the “cheap” stuff (like lowbie gear and consumables) that isn’t worth it to stock in high-demand, high-rent areas (this is also a serious problem in modern Ultima Online, for example, like reverse food deserts).

Mark Jacobs: Great question, but I hope you’re prepared for a long answer. However, since you and your readers know me, you knew going in that it would be hard for me to write a short answer to a question like this one.

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Massively OP’s holiday gift guide for the MMO hipster

I say this with nothing but love in my heart: Some of you guys are serious MMO hipsters. Heck, some of you guys were MMOs hipsters before the word hipster was popular again. World of Warcraft was the first MMO? Pff! You were there for the worst MMO launch of all time. You once camped jboots for 30 hours straight. You played Ultima Online on dial-up, for god’s sake. And now, you back only true indies on Kickstarter.

Oh no wait, that was me.

In celebration of MMO hipsters old and new, today I present you Massively OP’s holiday gift guide for that most discerning of indie hipster snob in your life – because you can’t just plop down a WoW gametime card on some people and expect gratitude!
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Camelot Unchained talks stretch goals, frost giants, and more

Camelot Unchained posted a new update on its website last night. It describes another productive week on the crowdfunded RvR sandbox, and it confirms that stealth is now an official thing thanks to the completion of the latest stretch goal.

The next stretch goal is called Send More Programmers, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. If the $250,000 goal is met, a new batch of coders will be hired to speed development on the game, though Mark Jacobs is clear about the fact that the extra hands aren’t needed to make CU’s current completion date.

There’s a lot more to the post, including bits about frost giants and new, unaltered screenshots from the current build. Be sure to click the link below to have a look.


Camelot Unchained boss talks classes, new hires, and more

Camelot Unchained’s end-of-the-week update was published earlier this weekend. Head honcho Mark Jacobs revisited the big class presentation reveal, and explained that the RvR sandbox’s class system will be “a bit less symmetrical than it was before.” In a nutshell, the game’s classes will not all have the same number of lines or abilities.

Jacobs also explained how CityState’s new engineering hires are already getting their hands on the game’s code and generally making a positive impact. You can read more about that as well as the classes, user stories, and more, via the Friday update link below.


Camelot Unchained adds new team members and injury system

It’s been a big week for the folks over at Camelot Unchained, as Mark Jacobs announced that the game has added two new members to the team. Thanks to a recent stretch goal, Senior Network and Server Engineer Marc Hernandez and Senior Graphics Engineer George Davison are now part of City State Entertainment.

“I cannot stress enough how important the additions of Marc and George are to the team,” Jacobs wrote. “We have gone from having eight programmers to 10 programmers in a single week. And not just programmers, but senior (10+ years) programmers.”

Camelot Unchained ran an “IT-only” test this past weekend with the first pass of the game’s injury and wound system as well as improved rendering performance. Jacobs also said that CSE will be starting a series of class presentations this Wednesday.

Source: Evening update. Thanks to Spykedruid for the tip!


Camelot Unchained’s dev team is shifting focus from tech to game

This afternoon’s Camelot Unchained update features a recap of the week’s news, including the DragonCon panel video and the 113-hour procedurally generated terrain achievement. There’s also a laundry list of tasks accomplished by the dev team relating to everything from improvements to C.U.B.E.’s interface to melee weapon combinations to Italian and German translations of the CU website.

There’s also a good bit of concept art in today’s post, along with an acknowledgment from Mark Jacobs that the dev team is shifting its focus to “more game than tech.” You can read all about that and more by clicking the link below.


Now you can watch Camelot Unchained’s DragonCon panel

Did you miss Mark Jacobs and the Camelot Unchained crew at last weekend’s DragonCon in Atlanta? If so, you can watch the entire one-hour panel on YouTube courtesy of some volunteer camera work. Included in the panel footage are a few vids that the dev team prepared exclusively for the DragonCon presentation, so it’s probably worth a watch for that alone if you’re a fan of City State’s forthcoming RvR fantasy title.

Click past the cut to have a look!

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Camelot Unchained’s weekend alpha sounds pretty successful

Did you check out any of Camelot Unchained’s alpha test over the weekend? If not, you missed a solid round of testing, according to today’s news update. Mark Jacobs writes that despite a snag brought about by the game’s cloud-based servers running out of hard drive space, the rest of the weekend test was basically flawless for nearly 60 hours.

“As I’ve said before, and I’m not sorry to repeat myself, our client/server tech is more reliable, for this stage of development, than any other game I have ever worked on,” Jacobs explains. “This is by no means meant to discredit the work I or other teams have done before, because frankly, the Dark Age of Camelot team was great and true, and the game was also remarkably solid, even during beta. However, the difference is that this time we have built our own rendering engine, using a physics system that’s usually client-side on a server, and have client/networking code that can already handle larger-scale battles without it turning into a slideshow (and the battles it can handle are only getting larger!).”

Source: Afternoon update; thanks Flying Dutchman!


Camelot Unchained’s talks Friday Night Fights, concept art, and more

Camelot Unchained is currently in the midst of a Friday Night Fights bonus round, but that didn’t stop founder Mark Jacobs from penning his customary Friday update. It features a lengthy section on user stories as well as a full body shot of the Fir Bog who debuted last week.

There’s plenty of fresh concept art in today’s update, too, along with another mention of the team’s plans for next month’s DragonCon and the associated build prep work.


Camelot Unchained gets a state-of-the-game update

Camelot Unchained’s website updated earlier this afternoon with Mark Jacobs‘ latest state-of-the-project post. Jacobs reminds backers and interested onlookers that CU’s current version is still an engine build rather than a “true game build,” though he praises it for its stability and says that it’s still quite fun to play around with even in this pre-beta state.

The update also contains a nod to yesterday’s animation video, a male Fir Bog character render, and a summation of how far the project as a whole has come over the past couple of years. “Today, I’m watching our backers play in an early version of that game, on a home-built engine that is currently doing some things that no MMORPG that I am aware of can do, including using PhysX on the server-side,” Jacobs enthuses.


Camelot Unchained shows off terrain, new animation vid

Is it Friday already? It feels like it because Mark Jacobs has checked in with a Camelot Unchained afternoon update. Today, he reports on progress with the RvR fantasy title’s networking and client code optimization, as well as improvements and additions to the UI courtesy of the “Mod Squad.”

Jacobs also mentions a new build which is being prepped for next month’s DragonCon in Atlanta, as well as an update on the game’s procedurally-generated terrain system complete with an unaltered screenshot. Finally, there’s a six-minute video in today’s blurb that focuses on CU’s melee combat animations. You can view it after the break.

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Camelot Unchained’s Jacobs on animations, the game engine, and more

Did you miss Camelot Unchained’s evening update last night? I did, but fortunately this isn’t radio and we can all go read it together. Mark Jacobs talks about a number of topics from the team’s newest hire (character artist Jon Young) to the game’s animation system and its homegrown engine. Thus far CU has made use of placeholder animations because there was no sense in creating the actual animations prior to their delivery system being in place.

The full post is worth reading if you’re a CU die-hard or you’re just curious about MMO design and project management. You can view it via the link below.


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