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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If all developers were like City State. Can’t wait until next week.


This is going to be an awesome game and it’s refreshing that the dev team are so transparent and open with the community.

It’s actually one of the few kickstarters I think will hold true to the original “vision” and have truly large scale battles with no instancing in an open seamless world which is as good as it gets in my opinion.

Mark Jacobs

Thanks. We’ve held to our original vision so far and I see nothing changing going forward, at least as of now. Unexpected things can of course change things but so far, so good. :)

Russell Hunt

This will be the last MMO I play for some time. I really enjoy Mark’s candor and still think WAR could of been one of the best MMO’s ever had it just been given more time. Great steps here CU team and wishing the best for you.

Mark Jacobs

Thanks! Yeah, WAR should have been better than it was, the development team that worked so hard on it, deserved that as did the players.

And thanks for the good wishes, and I’m glad you enjoy my candor, cuz that’s never going to change.


Live and learn.
I think I speak for everyone, but please continue to take your time, and do it right.
A delayed game is eventually good, a rushed game is forever bad.
And fortunately or unfortunately, you’ve experienced that first hand.

But in either case, it’s clear you’ve come out better for it. And at this rate, as will CU.

Mark Jacobs

Thanks, yeah, I think I’ve grown/matured/mellowed (in some ways) over time. Heck, when I was younger, I couldn’t write a graphic novel to save my life. Now, I’ve got 5 written, one about 90% written, and ideas for more. It’s certainly weird how things work out.

I do wish you spoke for everybody. Not a week goes by where we don’t get refund requests based on the delay, some of them quite insulting, I really don’t know why some people have to be nasty on their way out the door. I understand the refund requests but man, why do they have to be rude/nasty too? We don’t treat our Community that way so it always takes me a little by surprise.

Fortunately though, we have a tremendously loyal Community, with some really special folks scattered throughout it and they more than balance out the nastiness. And just to be clear, people who ask for refunds are within their rights and I understand. People who ask for refunds and feel the need, at the same time, to say we’re incompetent, dumb, etc. are just being mean/nasty, especially when there is no need.

But when we get into Beta and they see what they have been missing/lost, well, maybe they’ll believe me the next time when I say certain things or, at the least, be nicer when they ask for a refund for our next game. :)

Thanks again for the kind words and support, they are appreciated.


I think I get that negative reaction, even if I think in this instance it is unfounded. I had an experience a few years back with Guild Wars 2, where I left in a pissy huff, and said as much at the time. Thou a great deal more respectfully.

And even now I can’t let go of my bitterness. Because from my position, they (the developers) betrayed me and the good will and money I gave them.
This is because I originally came over from the original Guild Wars (which was my first MMO (sort of)), and I had grown a fair bit of respect and good will towards Arenanet.

So going into GW2 I carried that same good will, and was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and support them when I could. And in the beginning at launch they and the game was worthy of that good will.
Except they didn’t stay that way, or rather they barely moved an inch.
The game honestly didn’t develop in the first 2.5 years I was playing, the classes were almost identical to how they were at launch, the game was quite shallow, and new/permanent content was few and far between, only just picking up content creation as I left.

And what was Arenanet’s response during all this? Silence.
Their official position (after the first half a year or so) was to simply never talk to their players, never promise anything, and never talk about upcoming features until they were basically finished.
In essence the players had nothing to look forward to.

I felt this was the ultimate act of disrespect towards their players. After spending so long doing so little, while all the while trying to milk whatever you could from their players, then to then act like they were not even worthy of their time, how could I not find that reprehensible?

I came to the conclusion that these were no longer the developers who made the game I so adored (even if the warning signs were present early in development), and thus no long worthy of my time or money.
And believe me, I am still bitter as hell over this and I will never give them the time of day ever again, no matter what they do. No matter how much they might improve, no matter if the old guard cycles out, no matter what they achieve, it will never be enough to bring be back.
I will never let this bitterness go. All I have left is my hatred for them.

I know this isn’t an entirely rational position to take, but I can help that that’s the way I feel.

So I can understand why people do stupid shit for irrational reasons.
Once people get it in their heads this feeling of betrayal, there ain’t much you can do about it.

Mark Jacobs

Yeah, I get that. I guess I just see things a little differently because we do pay refunds and have stuck to our KS vision/goals. It would be one thing if we had changed up our plans, cut features, or added new and exciting ways to take people’s money, but we haven’t done any of that.

But yes, I get the disappointment you and other gamers can feel about being let down by a game or team. I felt the same way about Civ 3, as I was a huge fan of Civ 2, and I didn’t like Civ 3 due to the way its AI was really cheating on the higher difficulty settings. I was sooo pissed that I smashed the CD so I wouldn’t be tempted to reinstall it and get frustrated again. :)

In terms of being let down by us though, that’s one of the reasons I/we work so hard on things other than pure development for our Backers such as our updates, newsletters, livestreams, etc. As far as I know, there is no other developer that puts the kind of hours into the behind the scenes stuff that we do. We might not put out shiny videos, but anyone can watch as we develop the game and can interact with us during livestreams of almost every aspect of our game’s development. By the time we go live (before the heat death of the universe, I promise MOP!), we will probably set a record for number of hours livestreamed by our team. While that isn’t the same as delivering on the game, at least our Backers can see/read about everything that is going on in the studio, on almost a daily basis.

Thanks again for everything you’ve said about us and for taking the time to post your last comment, I can imagine that wasn’t the easiest post to make. Stirring up feelings and all that.


Np, and cheer up.
The take away is that people have baggage, and as a result may act irrational or terrible towards you, for reasons completely outside of your control. Often times it had nothing to do with what you did or didn’t do. People are messy.

So try not to take it personally when people storm off in a huff.
As long as you continue to be open and honest, and deliver steadily on what you promised, most people are still going to support you.
And maybe even some people who do storm off may come around when they continue to hear good things down the grapevine.

But if there is anything you’d want to improve on, it would be the image and conveyance of information of your game. I said it once before, but for new players coming in it’s rather difficult to get a full picture of your game, where it’s at, or where it’s going unless you keeping up with it from week to week.
And even then it’s difficult.

Because while I and many appreciate the constantly live streams, the format is however just an information dump. It’s raw, unfiltered technical information that is difficult to parse.
So it’s difficult for a layman or casual observer to grasp just what is going on, what is being developed, or what the bigger picture is.
The emails help, but they are often just as dense.

So some people may leave out of frustration, not because the game isn’t being developed how they want, but because they can’t understand what is being developed.

So if I were to call it anything, it’s that you have a problem conveying information in a way that is clear, concise and easily digestible for a general audience.
(not you personally, I mean company wide)
It’s essentially too much information. Which is a little ironic.


I would just like to say that I have been impressed with the amount of information that flows out of the City State. It is a great change to see a dev team & company take a honest open approach to development.

No hiding behind smoke and mirrors and lawyer speak. These guys just come out and say it rather it is good or bad news (like the beta delay). I would take a open dev team that is willing to say hey the game / tech is just not upto our standards and delay the product over a team that will try and hide there issues behind smoke and mirrors.

I am a beta backer and while the delays have been a little heart breaking, the information flow and reasons are well worth the wait. I say continue to take your time and do it your way / the right way. We will all be here when you guys are ready to release your product.

Keep up the amazing work! Full steam ahead!

Mark Jacobs

Thanks so much for that, it is greatly appreciated. As I’ve been saying on the Forums, we will reward our Backers for their patience. Not only with a better Beta than they expected, but in other ways as well.

Patience may be its own reward, but it doesn’t need to be its only reward. :)


Players vs bots, I’m game.
I’ll happily try to break you netcode.

Mark Jacobs

And your help will be most welcome!

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Dean Greenhoe

Great update. It was incredibly smooth running through middle of the bot battle. Was even chased by another player at one point and everything ran smoothly. The future is looking very bright.

Mark Jacobs

Thanks! Yeah, it was pretty smooth but we want to get it even smoother. 1K Backer and Bot Battles in the space that we will use for this and future tests is one thing. 1K Backer and Bot Battles while a castle is being sieged, well, that’s another challenge. So, even bit of FPS we can gain and even more tightening of our network code will be done during Beta. Fortunately though, both the FPS and network code are solid enough, performance wise, for the opening of Beta 1.

Thanks for jumping in the test, hope to see you in there next week as well!


2,000 mobs in an area is a remarkable achievement. Did the models have collision detection?

Mark Jacobs

Yep, Realm-based collision detection running off the server, not the client, utilizing a modified version of Nvidia’s PhysX.

And thanks for the kind words. It is a pretty unique achievement, one which a few senior programmers we interviewed for a job said couldn’t be done (they didn’t get hired) . So happy that our team proved them wrong.

Sally Bowls

Is there anything you can comfortably share about the PhysX? Does it mean your servers will need to be special hardware – e.g. stuffed with nVidia graphics cards – and thus non-virtual/cloud?

Mark Jacobs

Happy to share. Nope, the code runs great on our AWS or other cloud instances. We can move it anywhere we need to in the future.

Mark Jacobs

Thanks Bree and MOP, as always, for the coverage.

If folks wonder about the FPS on the screenshots, they were taken with a varying amount of Bots in there (as the article says). For reference’s sake, using the numbering scheme of MOP:

Camelot4 – 43FPS – 510 Bots + players
Camelot5 – 51FPS – 510 Bots + players
Camelot7 – 36FPS – 750 Bots + players
Camelot8 – 35FPS – 750 Bots + players
Camelot9 – 34FPS – 1005 Bots + players

One of the items I have in the queue for an upcoming build is to actually have our Bot/player counter working on Fledgling, and not just on Hatchery. :)

FYI, we have some changes going in next week that will get us another boost in FPS and longer-term changes in progress that will get us another bump. And of course, the engine is still nowhere near fully optimized.

Thanks again Bree and MOP!

Sally Bowls

Oooh number porn; thumbs up. So doubling bots reducing fps by only 20%. I have no idea but that seems like good scaling.

Mark Jacobs

The numbers can be a little misleading in terms of scaling because we always had a lower number of archery Bots than melee Bots after we hit 500. The reason is that the firework effects + 250ish Bots = lots of particle effects and triangles. We’re still optimizing the engine so at about 200K, the VFX system starts to slow down a little. OTOH, we know how to get a big increase for Beta 1 and a bigger one for after Beta 1 launches. And you know me by now, I want to be honest and upfront about things.

OTOH, even scaling Bots to those numbers, melee or not, is pretty big deal. It will be an even bigger deal when we get some additional performance boosts from incoming improvements. Our KS goal was 1K players with a playable FPS; we’re aiming for 2K now and a playable FPS now. :)

Off to dinner/movie (Atomic Blonde) with Lady J. Thanks SB, see you all later!


What a difference a few (OK…so 15 or so ;P) years make eh? I can remember Docoloth relic raids (2003? ish – before NF) where we’d run with 2 warbands, and his specific instructions were to keep most of the groups away from the relic keeps (never worked) to avoid slideshows (always happened!) We used to put a LOT of people into the frontiers, but it was never close to that many, and the performance was nowhere even close to that!

Mark Jacobs

Hehe, yep, a few things have changed over the decades.

I can’t wait for the day that the Bots are replaced totally by players. Now that will be a lot of fun!

Sally Bowls

Well AB was rated better than Valerian; will you take one for the team and tell us your review of Dark Tower if you can still catch it?