Camelot Unchained builds out Mages and clarifies how many people battlefields will host

    
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Not even the Seattle snows this past weekend could put a damper on Camelot Unchained. As its latest dev letter notes, City State’s multi-city dev team has continued working on performance improvements for siege rubble and buildings as well as character animations. The work on the Mage classes might pique your interest too.

“dB and Mike C. have been busy working on the mage ability SFX and VFX, focusing on the initial pre-built abilities available before we have the ability builder,” CSE’s Tyler Rockwell says. “We’ve begun hooking up mage classes to the character creator in the patcher. They don’t do anything yet, but it is one of the first steps to getting them into the game. […] Scott has completed the first shared set of mage animations we’ll use for testing. This week, he completed the right-hand animations for wands and scepters.”

Mark Jacobs is back for this week’s video Q&A as well; he covers one animation tweak that boosts framerate by 20% as well as acknowledges that the studio doesn’t really expect to host 4000 players online in a single battle – the tests it’s been running over the last few weeks, which have scaled over 3500 players and simulated players, are mostly to push the engine to its limit. The original promise was 500, but Jacobs seems to think it’ll wind up “somewhere north of a thousand” in the end and probably less than 2000 – but be completely playable while doing it.

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Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

I hope Mark will some day consider hosting something like a live concert in game, like Fortnite recently did. The engine should work perfectly for that task (if the client will also be optimized enough to let people actually see that many players on screen) ;-)

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Mark Jacobs

Heck yeah! In a NY minute. I think it would be awesome.

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Justin

Looking forward to this game. The only other game with battles at this size or larger that I’ve played are eve online. The fights in eve scale to such a point it really gets lame during massive fleet fights as ships are simply vollied off the field due to astronomical alpha and dps. It will be interesting to see how CU gets its players to spread out and avoids the whole realm fighting one battle in one location as players tend to congregate in one spot when it comes to mass pvp.

Hamblepants
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Hamblepants

I’m curious to see how they do this as well.

Especially if they make sieges take long enough that a strong force can’t ninja a valuable keep, then maybe that’ll require more of a concentration of forces to capture a keep and then > greater concentration…?

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Mark Jacobs

Thanks for your support and anticipation! In terms of everybody concentrating on the same keep, if it came to that we would have to gate it at some multiple of 1000. We don’t know what our limit will be but it will certainly be less than the number of people that can be on a server.

In terms of spreading people out, the key is give players a lot of things to fight for and reward them for both attacking and defending. How well it will work? Time will tell but I believe it will at least work as well as other designs but I do hope it works out better than that.

Hamblepants
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Hamblepants

I definitely agree that lots of places for players to fight over is a good idea to spread people out.

But specifically in a big siege at the enemy realm’s biggest + most strategically important keep: since a) our siege of that keep takes lots of resources, and b) since we can’t take such a powerful structure quickly, wouldn’t we be motivated to siege it with as many people as possible? I’m thinking we’d want the most people possible to give ourselves the best chance to succeed and the lowest chance of throwing away all those resources.

Maybe avoiding that scenario (and I want to avoid it) comes down to making sure that no one place is so much more strategically important than the rest that everyone from both attacking/defending realms has to be there to take/defend it…?

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Roger Melly

Sounds good to me .I will certainly buy it but …..

Can I ask one thing will there be a British pounds subscription because god knows what the exchange rate to the dollar or Euro will be by the time this releases . (Brexit and all ) .

/Sigh . I know we have shot ourselves in the foot . Not to mention putting the foot in the mouth .

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Mark Jacobs

While I can’t promise anything, mainly because everything is so up in the air with now, I think the answer will be yes. I’ll have a better answer for you once things shakeout over the coming months.

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Roger Melly

Yeah I know it’s sadly is up in the air right now god knows where the chips are all going to land . But thumbs up if there is a way of paying in UK pounds fingers crossed .

Top Chap :)

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Mark Jacobs

You’re welcome and I’ll certainly try to make it happen.

As to Brexit, I’ve been watching it with keen interest as my dad was British and I still have lots of family across the pond.

Once things resolve themselves, we’ll be talking to our payment processor(s) and given the size of the UK’s economy, I can’t imagine that will want to make it harder for you folks to buy things. But, as usual, who knows?

Vexia
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Vexia

They say leading a raid with roughly 10 to 25 (or 40, back in the day) players is like herding cats. From personal experience, that description is not too far off. I can’t imagine what it would be like for someone on one of the three factions trying to organize and give directions to hundreds of people at a time. Then there are things like supply lines to consider. I guess I’ll have to jump in and see for myself what it’s like when the time is right! But I don’t think I’d be the one calling the shots. :P

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Mark Jacobs

Hehe, it would frustrate me as well. That’s why I’m generally a loner in these games. I’ve played with a number of guilds over the years in other games, but usually just to talk to see how people felt about MMO, guilds, etc.

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

Actually, leading that many people is not THAT hard if you apply a basic commanding structure, where, for example, you have a main commander/general (whatever you want to call it), who only talks to platoon leaders, who in turn only talk to squad leaders, and so on.

Worked pretty well in Planetside 2 when I used to play as a member of certain Outfit ;-)

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IronSalamander8 .

Never played DAOC but have played WAR and been playing the emulator lately. We had a keep siege/defense over the weekend and there were so many people (roughly 300 total between Destruction and Order) and even after turning some settings down (which is ludicrous with my rig) I got kicked out of the game a lot so this is indeed good news.

I hadn’t really looked at this game too much until my more PvP focused friend mentioned this one so have been watching it more of late, especially after the frustration of being booted from the game mid-battle like that, and seeing the reports on this game being able to actually handle this kind of situation.

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Mark Jacobs

So far, so good. At 300 ARCs/players in the same battle, the server barely notices it and the renderer is not even getting warmed up. When you see great engines like the one that powers Total War or the Nitrous Engine from Oxide Games, we still have room to grow on the client side. On the network side, well, our cluster tests are kind of crazy. In those tests we bring in players and 2000+ ARCs and then yank them all together and let the ARCs cast AOE Knockback abilities that launch anyone around them into the air. Rinse, wash, and repeat every few minutes.

It’s sheer chaos and so much fun to watch. And then, just for fun, we can put on a VR headset and participate. Using a Rift and being part of that is not for the faint of stomach, it was definitely nausea-inducing for one of the wearers. OTOH, I love roller-coasters and I was loving it when I was in that test. :)

When we start livestreaming the game, we’ll definitely do a cluster test. It’s nothing more than a little bit BSC.

Thanks for checking on us, whether you decide to donate to us or not!

Oh, and while I’m lurking around here, if you have any questions, just let me know.

CU! :)

Hamblepants
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Hamblepants

What’s a cluster test?

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Mark Jacobs

In cluster tests we open the build to players and 2000+ ARCs and then yank them all together and let the ARCs cast AOE Knockback abilities that launch anyone around them into the air. Rinse, wash, and repeat every few minutes. We tend to do those as Impromptu or as part of the ARC tests where we yank everybody to a really small space within the battlefield.

Hamblepants
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Hamblepants

Cool, thanks.

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rafael12104

Man, those are awesome numbers in terms of the expectation. But hey, let’s do this!

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Mark Jacobs

Yep! And as always, one of the major wins for us is that if we can handle 1000 player battles at 30+ FPS, then we can plenty of bandwidth to make smaller fights look/feel better. And since most battles will be smaller of course, that’s a really big win for CSE and all of our players/Backers.

But yeah, it is kind of awesome. :)

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luxundae

Ah well. I don’t have a thousand friends, so I guess this isn’t the game for me :P

A thousand players in a single battle is a *huge* number! Congratulations to the City State team!

I look forward to seeing how players (and the game design itself) handle coordination at that scale. The biggest battles I’ve worked with in the past are Planetside 1/2, and those seemed huge by the time 200 players were involved.

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Mark Jacobs

Yep, no MMORPG has had large-scale/small space battles this size in the past, so it will certainly be an interesting learning experience for all of us. :)

And in terms of congratulations, thanks! We’re still not there yet but we had a good weekend Siege Scenario test. It wasn’t perfect, but the scenario itself ran flawlessly and we had lots of players and trebuchets damaging/destroying the main castle. Now, we still have the “bouncy towers” issue but it has improved since the first pass last month. But other than that and an issue with the scenario server, it was a fun test and validated our belief that we could have real-time, block-by-block building destruction networked across our servers/players.

Next big thing for us is getting “Characters 2.0” in which will improve both performance/appearance of all of character models and their animations. There will be glitches of course, as there are with any new/improved system, but we should have it all in and working great in a month. The best news is that we don’t have to stop testing to put that into effect, rather the opposite. We need to have more tests with players so we/they can spot and report the issues so we can fix them.

Thanks again for your congratulations!

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Eliandal

Hey now – we did have big numbers a few times in DAOC, Granarcs funeral being one ( of course, we did melt the poor server ;)!

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Mark Jacobs

Yep. Different age, different studio and cloud tech. For the time, the Dark Age engine was great and a testimony to the team that made it. Our expectations are higher for this game’s tech, as they needed to be.

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JoeCreoterra

I know you guys heavily modified it… but the NetImmerse codebase was never really meant for games like Dark Age (I likely don’t have to mention to you heh), so huge kudos to that team :)

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Mark Jacobs

Thanks JC. We had been working with that engine for a while before we made Dark Age and had a great relationship with the NetImmerse guys. None of the engines back then were really meant to do what we wanted to do but with the hard work of the team and their help/source code, we really pushed the boundaries of what you could do with that engine.