Camelot Unchained details development updates on UI overhaul, tech improvements, and more

    
37

We come to the end of another week, which means it’s time for another installment of City State Entertainment’s Top Tenish for Camelot Unchained. CSE says its new Coherent UI is coming along nicely, and now that “the core update loop for the HUD [is] in place, along with basic mouse and keyboard input,” the team is working to update the rest of the UI elements to prepare it for internal testing.

And as always, the team has been doing a lot of work on behind-the-scenes tech stuff as well. Work on improving the ability builder continues while the audio and visual teams make strides toward implementing VFX and SFX for block destruction. The art team hasn’t been slacking, either, as character model and animation development once again secures a prominent spot on the Top Tenish list.

You can check out the details of the development of all these features, as well as previews of some of the works-in-progress, in the post on the game’s official site. And if that’s not enough Camelot Unchained information for you, you can scroll on down below for CSE’s latest hour-long End of Week Wrap Up Q&A livestream.

newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Slaasher

After reading the comments below I have concluded that I guess I have a different view. In my almost 25 years of MMO gaming I have found that it usually takes 5 – 7 years to develop a full game.

BY my calendar CU has been in development since 2013 which means realistically they have a year or 2 left before I would call it late. Going through many game forums that are under development I see the same comments as below everywhere:

“this game is taking too long…”

Its just the way it is… games take a long time to make. /shrug

Reader
Lucky Jinx

You’re spot on. I don’t think many people really realized how long the development cycle is for an MMO before crowdfunding brought games to our attention at the very early stages. CU is well on schedule.

Reader
Slaasher

Well MJ has admitted getting the engine and running took longer than they would have liked but yeah, this game is not out of whack with what ive seen in the past for similar projects.

Reader
Mark Jacobs

Thanks for the support. Yeah, we’re late and we know it which is why we’re doing the things we’ve been doing to make up for it. The good news is that things have been moving along at a very nice clip for a while now and we hope that we can continue to pick up speed over the next six months once we finish with things like the 64-bit client, Coherent integration, etc.

It’s going to be a very interesting year, that’s for sure, one way or the other. :)

Thanks again for the support, patience, etc.

shazanti
Reader
Loyal Patron
Kickstarter Donor
shazanti

When my husband & I backed this game years ago, I recall him asking me when I thought it would actually be released (neither of us believed the 2015 Kickstarter date, because Stuff Happens, and MMOs are huge and take so much work). I said something like “If things go perfectly smooth, maybe *beta* in 2015. I really don’t think it’ll be live until 2017 at the earliest. These things take years, and so much Stuff could Happen.”

That means it’s only a year out from my ‘at the earliest’ guess, and I’m not bothered by that, nor is my husband. I would probably feel a lot different if there weren’t the absolutely wonderful updates, but being kept abreast of the project at every step means we never feel left out, forgotten about, pushed aside- none of that. Certainly it would have been great to have already been playing this for years, but I haven’t found my patience truly tested yet.

Reader
Avin

It sounds like my path has been very different than others. The timeline of the game has been great for me and in the meantime I’ve enjoyed the process too.

I heard about the game after KS, probably when Mark did that 2-part interview on the podcast. I was winding down a few years of heavy involvement in the SWTOR community (blogs, podcasts, guild, etc) but kept CU on my radar. I’ve been quietly following the process and at some point bought the most expensive pre-order I could find on their site since I missed the KS and was having a good time following such an open development process.

I’ve not had time/energy for alpha involvement, partially because my day job now involves managing a development team and a QA team (in financial software), but am still very interested in the game. I plan on being an active member of the community at launch (maybe found a guild, maybe blogging about the economy in game, we’ll see) and am happy to wait for the right version of the game for that launch.

Reader
Mark Jacobs

That all sounds good to me. Thanks for the support and especially patience with us. They are both appreciated!

gelfred
Reader
gelfred

Its plodding along. Still enjoying occasional tests and the updates. Ill enjoy it when it gets there. Unlike most people who seem forever soured, im enjoying MMO games that are currently released.

Improved UI should make it come a lot closer to an enjoyable testing experience, clunkiness is understandably present currently.

I think with the systems proposed and their complexity, good UI and tutorials are crucial to the games success. Having to web search every damn thing can be a huge problem.

Reader
Mark Jacobs

I couldn’t agree more when it comes to our game, UI, etc. This year’s updates are really important ones for us and so far, so good.

OTOH, I’ve said that before so…

:)

Reader
Mr Ish

I’ll admit that, like others, my excitement has been somewhat suppressed with the delays and such, but as a KS backer and aging MMO’er it will likely be my last MMO so I’m willing to give it more of a wide berth.

Roll on NDA lift!

Reader
Mark Jacobs

Agreed. I want us to be able to show off the game’s engine, and then the game, in the way it deserves. Fortunately we know what we have to do to get there and are well along the way.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Dean Greenhoe

Following the development of this game since day one has been a longer journey than I anticipated. This journey has bin quite rewarding as to seeing how a game is actually developed with all of its ups and downs. At this point in time I am just grateful for the journey up to this point.

Currently I feel this game will finally launch when it is ready and not when some suits say its time to start milking the gamer community.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Armsbend

Kickstarter is a great opportunity for gamer to discover how important those suits are are to a game being created. Games created without suits involved that people actually want to play can be counted on one hand minus a few fingers.

Reader
Tom Powers

I have to agree, it can be great. I was surprised with Pathfinder: Kingmaker. Looking forward to the new Camelot, but not holding my breath. I’ll take a look when it is ready and decide. Just getting fed up with all the hype for mediocre to crap MMOs ;)

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Armsbend

You can’t blame us. The new MMO news is so thin it doesn’t take very much to get us worked up.

Reader
Mark Jacobs

Generally, the suits contribute very little to the game’s development other than giving the team the budget/studio support that can make a difference. A number of MMORPGs have been able to pull in resources from other studios within a publisher in order to get a game out. SWToR is a great example of that as Bioware was able to pull all sorts of resources from other studios at EA in order to deliver that game. Even with that, SWToR was late and way over budget.

This is not to defend our lateness but as the history of game development has shown, games at major publishers can be late even with all the resources they can get, and studios without those kind of resources can also deliver on a great game without being horribly late. In our case, we are taking the time to do it right and did so without asking our Backers for more money. We simply made the decision to go out and get additional funding from investors who are letting us do things the right way.

Will Camelot Unchained be a successful game? That’s up to the players to decide. OTOH, we are taking the time to build the tech that can allow us to be successful at launch rather than rushing it in order to start making money as soon as possible. That way leads to failure, almost every time. Our way doesn’t necessarily lead to success but at least we can say we did things the right way.

And one other thing I know for a fact and that is if we rushed the game, people would blame us/me for rushing it instead of taking our time. And unlike WAR, if we rushed this game, it would indeed be my fault and I won’t allow that to happen.

Armsbend, I know we lost you (and others) months ago but OTOH, if Camelot Unchained emerges from Beta as a great game, many of the folks we lost will return and others, who have been waiting for us to launch, will join us. I’m willing to take that gamble, as our the investors, and like them, I was willing to back up my faith in our team with my own time, money, and hard work.

As always, time will tell.

Reader
Ryan Jones

If the MMORPG genre continues the way its going when CU launches you will be in a great spot. Everyone with be foaming at the mouth for something MMO worthy to play. I’ve yet to see a developer make Unreal engine work with good fps “Cough” Ashes of Creation”….. and Crowfalls combat feel gimmicky IMO. There’s nothing else on the horizon for MMORPG’s that I can think of atm.

Reader
Jim Lucas

I was excited for this. Absolutely love DAOC. Honestly though, anticipation is evolving into indifference because it’s taking so long.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Armsbend

They lost me about a year ago. Nail in the coffin once they delayed the playable alpha, or beta, or whatever it was.

Reader
Mark Jacobs

And yet for the last year you come into the comments to tell everybody how we lost you because we missed deadlines, just like almost every other MMORPG that’s ever been in development, including the most successful ones of all time.

Think you would be used to that by now AB. :)

Hopefully we’ll win you back when we launch!

Reader
ting

You lost me after the decisions with Toa, Imperator Online, and Warhammer Online and I still comment. Most kids today don’t even know what Mythic brought to the MMO genre with DAOC. I personally think you pigeonholed your own development by trying to develop a game engine on top of creating an entire game with the limited resources you had. This remains one of the primary reasons why I didn’t invest. Win me back at launch.

Reader
Mark Jacobs

Works for me. :)

And BTW, which decision with Imperator? Making it or killing it because it wasn’t coming out the way I hoped?

As to making our own engine, if we had gone with Unreal or Unity we wouldn’t be able to make the game we wanted to make. Now, if you said we should have set our sights a little lower, like a 300 person battle, that’s one thing. The bottom line is that it’s 2018 and no developer using any of the existing commercial engines has been able to deliver on a large-scale (500+) player battle while maintaining a high FPS in a LIVE game. That was the goal we set out to do and if Andrew/I believed we could have done that with any commercial engine, we would have used it. Now, we still have to deliver on the game but tech-wise, we’re in really good shape overall.

And just for fun and frolic, you can actually run through a large-scale battle and play while wearing a VR-headset. It’s not what we are going to do for this game, but the fact we can do that with 500+ ARCs/Bots is pretty impressive in its own right.

Making our own engine was a risky decision. I bet a lot because I believed that we could do that. While I could still be wrong, the fact is that our engine can handle the kind of battles that are going to give Camelot Unchained a shot at being a very unique game. It won’t be for everybody but we weren’t trying to make that kind of game. The same held true for IO. IO failed to live up to my expectations so I killed the project. I know I won’t be doing that with this game.

Thanks for keeping track of what we’re doing, I do hope you decide to join us at launch.

Reader
Avin

To each their own, but the decision to make the engine the game needs is one of the primary reasons I’ve supported it and want to see it succeed.

I’m a big fan of the Star Wars IP and SWTOR will always have a special place in my heart, but the poor engine choices made to accelerate development of SWTOR haunt it every day. CU needs a powerful engine focused on its needs to succeed and I’m glad Mark and the team have held the line on that.

Reader
ting

I personally felt at the time of DAOC’s large scale success as your flagship game, those resources would have been better served going back into the game rather than announcing another MMO a year later. Hindsight is always 20/20

I loved DAOC fights and can remember a time when I got 2-3fps during a relic fight. Given the current landscape of Westernized cash grab MMOs there is no doubt I’ll try the game once it’s delivered. I think as long as your game can compete with a DAOC Classic release it will be a huge success and put you in that position of also making a great game engine to licence.

Reader
Mark Jacobs

Ting, thanks. The decision to do Imperator Online was 100% mine and my reasoning was simple, we could do both. Don’t forget, we didn’t start work on IO right away. We announced it and then I spent a lot of time working on the vision for it. At the same time we were staffing up our Dark Age team like crazy. Keep in mind that when we launched, we only had about 24 developers and the CS team. So, my thinking was that we could expand Dark Age (we did) and keep spending a lot of money on it (we did) and deliver great expansions (okay, ToA wasn’t great) while working on Dark Age. Even after WoW came out we still spent money on the game so it wasn’t like IO took focus/money away from Dark Age. Once we saw that WoW had hurt all other MMORPGs and that our expansions didn’t matter, we knew we couldn’t bring Dark Age back up to its previous numbers.

As to competing with Dark Age, we’re different games so I’m not worried about that.

Thanks for the past support, I hope you like what you see from us in the future. Personally, I think the RvR is going to be epic. It will be up to people such as yourself to determine whether it is epic fail or epic success. :)

Cheers!

Alex Js.
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Alex Js.

I am curious about you mentioning that Unreal Engine wouldn’t be able to handle large battles… Can you go into a little bit more details as to why? Would Amazon’s Lumberyard engine be a better choice?

Reader
Ryan Jones

Mortal Online is the only game I’ve played using Unreal that has amazing FPS. I have a fairly high end computer as well. Unreal engine is horrible for frame drops. Looks pretty though!

Reader
Reht

Lumberyard was years away from being released when they started developing CU.

Reader
Mark Jacobs

At the time CryEngine/Unreal/Unity were not at all suited to large-scale battles. Each of those were/are great engines but they are not focused on doing what we need an engine to do. So, we decided to write our own. Too much hubris? Maybe, but I had/have faith in Andrew’s brilliance and a great team.

As far as Lumberyard, as per below, it wasn’t available yet, it was still CryEngine and it too couldn’t handle a 500-player battle at the time.

Thanks!

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
JoeCreoterra

Just to add to what @Mark Jacobs has said, as I’ve worked with both proprietary engines and UE in this genre, there are a ton of reasons why building a custom engine geared towards your actual game can be better than an off the shelf solution.

First off is that with the big engines you are going to have to have to reimplement the entire occlusion culling / lod system if you want to support play counts that high. Of course with an MMO you’re going to rewrite the entire networking stack as well, and be able to dynamically balance N clients on the screen and their LoD/visuals and how often they should be updated, etc. Interest management isn’t only hard on the server, but it’s also hell on the client. Been there, done that, wasn’t fun, took 5 times longer than planned.

Now once you realize how much work you’ll need to modify a generic engine you’ll then find out that syncing to a new version quickly becomes “do we burn a week or more merging” or stick with the current version. On one hand you can lose a ton of time and productivity, on the other hand you don’t get bug fixes and new optimizations/features.

I could list at least 5-6 big things that are generally done with every MMO built on a generic engine, but I’m pretty sure all of the data is out there.

Now don’t get me wrong, using a generic engine can be great but it’s always going to depend on your game. With anything non-MMO you have a deterministic amount of actors based on your game design… you can design around that. With an MMO so many things are dynamic and you have to design for so many worst case scenarios it hurts… trust me ask Mark :) For some MMOs that’s feasible, but for others such as CU, there are some pretty hardcore requirements they need to hit in order to have the client eek out enough performance and not become a slide show.

Not only that but I couldn’t name a single MMO using UE3-4 that hasn’t heavily modified the render system and completely rewritten the network architecture from the ground up. Physics? Forget it unless you’re meaning only client side fluff… otherwise you’re going to make a ton of changes and/or rewrite there too.

This isn’t a knock against UE… as I love using the engine and toolset, but there are times when modifying something built for generic use just isn’t going to cut it (or be the best use of your time) in comparison to a custom engine.

TLDR: Looking at the CU requirements I would have been worried if they tried to off-the-shelf it with a generic engine and pull off all the rendering/physics changes in the engine and rewrite the networking stack while keeping the engine up to date in order to support their vision and build the game they want. I’m really glad they chose to tailor an engine specifically for the game they are building, as the game design is really different in comparison to the average game requirements.

Reader
Mark Jacobs

JC,

+1, QFT, etc. I just just let you answer that question for me, you said it better than I ever did!

Now all we have to do is prove that our decision was the right one. I think we have already done that, but I’ll wait till the jury’s verdict comes rolling in after we start streaming.

Thanks for the great write-up!

Mark

Reader
Salamander Ham

One day they will actually release this ‘game’

….one day.

Hamblepants
Reader
Hamblepants

One day lol. Gonna be a while… :/

Reader
Mark Jacobs

I don’t think it will be as long as people fear but longer than they would like.

But as per above and always, time will tell.

Hamblepants
Reader
Hamblepants

I hear that.

Every time I hop in testing, I see a game* that’s laser focused on making what was promised.

That is what’s making me confident in the game’s development.

I’m just wistful, waiting and watching it get patiently brought to life.

Keep rocking on.

*game-to-be.

Reader
Mark Jacobs

Thanks HP, much appreciated!

Hamblepants
Reader
Hamblepants

You’re welcome :)