Camelot Unchained’s 57th newsletter dropped this week, providing a run-down of what City State Entertainment has been up to the last month for those who haven’t been keeping up with the weekly updates. Audio improvements, siege engines, projectiles, building placed objects, color grading, chat, abilities, NPC behavior, server performance, VFX, art, and so on were all on offer this month.
CSE Game Designer Ben Pielstick also embeds a discussion on every editor’s favorite thing: deleting stuff. No really, it’s about prioritizing what makes a final cut.
“Almost every game has to make cuts and additions while going from what was originally envisioned to what eventually is delivered,” he writes. “As such, one of the most important things developers do is determine what can be left out, and what absolutely has to stay in, so that the game fulfills the goals that were set out for it. This might sound a bit negative, but in fact, a lot of the time removing unnecessary complexity helps to streamline the experience, and actually makes the game better in its final form!”
How do you decide what’s worth keeping and what falls to the delete button? There’s no “mathematical formula,” he explains, but it’s down to how much “impact on the player experience” a given feature has – how often it’ll be encountered and how the player will feel about it – as well as how long it’ll take to implement.
“Whenever considering adding or removing features, it is important to try and go through the game experience with fresh eyes, imagining what a new player would feel who doesn’t have the background of all the changes that have come and gone over the course of development. This is something external testers and early adopters in of games are very helpful with, which is one reason games across the spectrum, Camelot Unchained included, have moved toward showing works in progress to players early and often, and taking non-developer feedback into consideration.”