Camelot Unchained doubles down on development in the beta home stretch

    
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Saying that it needs to “double down” and push hard to get the beta build finished for next month’s launch, the Camelot Unchained team noticeably increased its output this week with 20 items on its to do list.

Among the many projects that the developers were tackling this past week include shaping the Arthurian Physician class, stress testing the builder system, sorting out the crafting system, load testing servers, upgrading the trade window UI, and building props to populate taverns and banks.

As for Camelot Unchained BetaWatch (ooh, that’s a catchy title we should steal), it’s still on track: “As you all know, we had set our original feature lock date as June 12, which was this Tuesday. The good news is, many of our core Beta features have landed, things like skill improvements, scenarios, and our ability to have a complete game loop. However, some work just isn’t where we want it to be, and so we are moving forward with a bit of continued feature work to deliver the experience we want for Beta 1 Day 1. We are still hopeful for the 4th of July!”

Get your full end-of-week wrap-up from the Big Kahuna after the break!

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jay

@MJ don’t know if you will see this, but a friend of mine was asking me a question. I honestly don’t know the answer to it. Will animation canceling be a thing in CU? IE can you start an attack, and then use another skill to cancel the animation of the first skill while still getting it’s effect, in order to increase DPS/frontload damage etc?

You see this in many competitive games like BDO etc. And while not a fan of it, if you don’t use it you are at a massive disadvantage in those games. Personally I don’t understand why you bother to code in animations, if you have a system that just allows you to cancel them into another attack myself lol.

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vinicitur

This was addressed at one point in one of the streams a long time ago and if I remember correctly MJ said that there would be no skill canceling in the game.

I have no idea exactly where they are atm on the subject seeing as I am eagerly waiting for beta to get in the game.

hamblepants
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hamblepants

Yep – the length of your animations is set by the parts that make up your skill, and there isn’t any way you can modify that timing while still getting the effect of the ability.

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Michael18

A game’s late until it ships, but it sucks forever.
So take your time :)

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Buddy Barlow

I’m trying to think like that myself.

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Buddy Barlow

I can already feel the doubt among the team over at CU and already i’m personally not looking forward to the July 4th “Beta delayed” stream.

As the weeks go by a lot is getting done but there’s so much more to do before they hit that B1. I don’t know if i can deal with with another beta delay,i’ll just forget about the project if i hear that dreaded “delayed” word once more. And if my assumptions are right and that this project was too big for the budget and the size of team.. it’ll be a domino effect of broken milestones for the next few years.

Seriously hoping this goes off on July 4th, i’m ready to play and test what will most likely be my last MMORPG for the next coming years since it’s my dream game. But i have 1 more in me, i think we have given enough of our time and patience to the team…now it’s time to put up or shut down.

Sorry for being blunt but people can only support things for so long before they start losing hope. In development since 2013 and were not even into a technical beta… that’s a shit ton of time for something that’s still very barebones.

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Buddy Barlow

Mind you… 1-2 week beta delayed? Fine, fair enough… i can swallow that.

But no more multi-month delays.. i mean they’ve had December 2015 as a estimated delivery date (alpha?beta?release? Not sure) But we are now 3+ years from that date and we don’t even have a actual playable beta, this isn’t a good look.

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Mark Jacobs

Hehe, well, I’ve been very clear about how tight things are so I wouldn’t be surprised if we had to announce a short delay. As per below and my updates, GDPR cost us a few weeks and we’re trying to claw back the time. We’re still on schedule, but it won’t take much to push us off of it.

And the scope of this project was fine, we had two major setbacks from (2013-2017), both of which we have dealt with. First, was an inability to attract people to Va. We dealt with that by setting up a studio in Seattle. The 2nd was our ability system which we rewrote from the ground up. The good news for our Backers is how we dealt with the delays. We didn’t ask for a single extra dime from them via telethons, item sales, etc.

And in terms of a good look, all I/we care about is doing it right. That’s more important than optics at this moment. I’ll happily trade some grief over another delay for giving our Backers what they deserve, a solid Beta 1 that shows what our engine is capable of rather than push it out just to say we hit the milestone. The vast majority of our Backers would rather us delay than come into a Beta 1 that was unstable, had cut major features, etc. just so we could hit an arbitrary date. And, of course, the 2nd best optic of it all is that we are still paying full refunds (albeit slower than I would like but I’m the one with access to the PayPal account and I’m swamped). Not many in this space are doing that even after the KS closes, and not when they are late.

We’ll just have to see what happens over the next 2 weeks.

All that matters is that at the end of the development cycle is the game great, good, bad or really ugly. If it is the first two, the vast majority of people will be happy with their backing. And that’s what we are aiming to do, even if it took/takes longer than expected.

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Estranged

The latest delay was not your fault. I’m fine with giving you guys that time as a buffer. Just set it to the last Friday of July?

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Dean Greenhoe

Just get the bata up and running.. much will be learned from the crush of new logins and client downloads. After the launch and the inevitable hiccups and fixes… CU will be officially live. Then throughout the following year we can start plodding through building a true game world.

The journey begins for many new adventures.

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Mark Jacobs

Yep. Beta 1, Day 1 should be interesting, that’s for sure. :)

K38FishTacos
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K38FishTacos

“Hopeful for” — Uh oh. But still, don’t kill yourselves and get it done right. Making the July 4 deadline can be good for CS’s morale, but I can understand if it slips a week or so (or go for Bastille Day? July 14). Funny how deadlines work in this world. If it’s a paper you have to turn in at school (or tax forms) you turn it in no matter how shitty it is. If it’s art (hopefully) we have to be a bit more flexible.

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Armsbend

I think they should rush it regardless. I mean that. If they miss this, what I consider a hard date, I’ll stop paying attention personally. I won’t be the only one.

If you can’t follow a promise, one built up for a year +, I don’t have much time for your charity project.

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Mark Jacobs

I do understand that but keep in mind that when we announced the Beta 1 date earlier this year, we hadn’t yet come to terms with the amount of time we would have to spend on the GDPR compliance. That’s cost us about two weeks of several key engineers’ (including Andrew) time as well as a lot of other peoples’ time, including mine.

And a release date, whether for LIVE or Beta is not a promise, you know that Armsbend, I even explained that when we announced the date. Promises we will do anything to keep (one of the reasons I kept paying refunds out of my own pocket), but this wasn’t a promise. Gamers always say that want developers to be honest, but sometimes it bites us in the butt. We could have either not given a date or simply doubled the date we thought but instead, we added only a little pad to the schedule (which I told our Backers we did) and was as accurate as we could be. If I had doubled the date, people would have been furious and much mocking would ensue so we tried to give an accurate date.

Right now we are still on track but the time we spent on GDPR had a greater impact than we thought it would. If we had that back, we would be in good shape. In my case, I was consumed by the GDPR compliance, and that set my work back on crafting. It would be one thing if we were late because we’d been running into bugs, people weren’t working hard, our estimates were wrong, etc. But this time, unlike last time, bugs are as expected, people are working their butts off (just like last time), and our estimates have been pretty spot-on and there’s been zero scope creep. But Andrew, JB, Tim, me, and other folks really got hit hard by compliance and while we’re working overtime to make up for it, we won’t hit break even. So, it’s still too close to call victory or defeat now.

And BTW, this isn’t a charity project, I’ve put more money into this game than the Backers. That doesn’t excuse us for being late, but it does mean we’re not a charity project. :)

Hopefully we won’t lose your attention.

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Bannex

This is likely one of the only crowdfunded success stories in mmos lol. Sill waiting to see some current gameplay before investing.

hamblepants
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hamblepants

Waiting to see if its your cup of tea, until youre sure, is the most sensible approach i can think of.

Im pretty excited for when they start showing gameplay.

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Mark Jacobs

Us too. The new animations are getting better and better, as is the world itself. My hope is that the first few months of Beta 1 will bring about even more changes to the game, and not just bug fixes. But as always, time will tell.

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Mark Jacobs

Keep waiting Bannex, no worries there. If it were me, I’d wait till just before we change the Reward Tiers. That way you’ll be able to see videos of the game’s progress before you make a decision. We’ll announce when the tiers are changing which I’m sure will be covered here.

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Bannex

In all honesty I have no doubt you’ll make a quality game. I just want to make sure the game is one I’d actually play. I have tons of games in my stream library I’ve never even installed!

If I like the gameplay I’ll be in regardless of reward tiers. Just the dialog from MJ alone is worth the investment.

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Mark Jacobs

I couldn’t agree more with that approach, as I’ve always said here.

So, you would be for the dialog with me? Ooooooh, I see a potential upsale here! A special Lootbox that allows you to dialog with me (or somebody pretending to be me)!!! No, wait, a really super-duper, special Lootbox which we will sell ahead of time but if it unlocks, you then get to buy another Lootbox!

My mind is aglow with whirling, transient nodes of thought careening thru a cosmic vapor of invention.

:)

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Bannex

You had me at lootbox!

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Mark Jacobs

:)

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Brother Maynard

I recently visited the CU website and discovered that many of the game systems they’re building and the core design behind the game are exactly what I’ve been missing for years. And I mean exactly, lol.

The whole approach of having wide variety in factions and classes, to the point that each plays completely differently is to me absolute gold. One of the best examples of how much fun this could be was the original C&C series back in the ’90s. It’s a shame more companies don’t embrace this philosophy – it’s risky, yes, but the rewards in terms of options available to the players and the enjoyability are well worth it and definitely far surpass any of the bland game design in the name of ‘balance’ by the likes of Activision.

Also, the spell design system is excellent. I mentioned it a few times here on MOP: the system Bethesda made for Daggerfall was ingenious and from the looks of it, that’s exactly what CU is aiming for.

So even if there are not many vids of polished gameplay – with what CU shows mostly being prototypes to test the tech behind the game (I imagine they were made to test the network tech and determine the optimal performance capacity / budget) – I am ready to invest. Unfortunately, for the moment CU only seems to be working with PayPal (no credit cards as far as I could see)…

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Armsbend

Playing crunch time hours or still avoiding it?

hamblepants
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hamblepants

MJ confirmed no crunch this time around – which I’m glad about, that team works hard, rest and recovery is needed.

Vexia
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Vexia

Good! I was getting ready to come on here and tell everyone not to work too hard and take care of themselves. Which still applies but now I won’t have to get mean. :P

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Armsbend

Providing this project launches I’d enjoy reading a detailed Q/A on the game biz with and without crunch – seeing how it’s a relevant topic these days – and this team has members who have experienced both. For science. It would make a good gamasutra article I think.

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Mark Jacobs

I’d be happy to do that for MOP, Gamasutra, whichever is interested.

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Mark Jacobs

Umm, I said I hoped we weren’t going to need to crunch. We’ll make a final decision on that on Monday. If we need to crunch for two weeks, we will. I hope we won’t, but we might need to do that. If we fail to hit our Beta 1 date, it won’t be because we didn’t do things the right way.

hamblepants
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hamblepants

Ah ok, I misheard then.