Bring Out Your Devs #2 – Friday, February 21st, 2014


Tis’ a fine Friday afternoon here in beautiful, downtown Fairfax, Va. and in addition to Tyler’s Producer letter, I have the 2nd part of the Bring Out Your Devs™ with yours truly. Because it took so long for me to get to this, I made this BOYD extra-long as well. I also tried to get some new folks into the swimming pool so there will be some names that you haven’t seen before here in this BOYD. All goes well on Camelot Unchained™ and this was another good week for us and I hope for our Backers. The new Builders have acclimated well to our forums, we’ve had two great live stream sessions with Michelle and Sandra and in general things are moving along nicely as donations to our game continue upwards. As always, we are deeply grateful for this and we will continue to earn your support through not only our hard work but our open and honest lines of communication with all our Backers. As our new Backers are finding out, while it’s hard to shut us up, we do like to listen and communicate back with you directly on our Forums and with our IT folks on our chat server. 🙂

Have a great weekend everyone!


Bring Out Your Devs™ #2

Lilium asked: Will there likely be an open beta before release? I have a feeling that open betas increasingly unpopular were with time, although it constantly gives ugly bugs in the releases that you previously uncovered with a broad mass of players in no time and would have been resolved. Backer and The Pre-Orderer are simply not to be compared with such a player tide. … and yes, there will be bugs again – no question Nevertheless, one could avoid the really big mistake in release order, I think.

I expect that we will have a limited Open Beta of some sort. We don’t have the resources to have a large-scale OB but we will certainly open up the game to more players than just our Founders/Builders and their beta invites.


balog lucas asked: Will there be the possibility of combined catapulted? Will there be mass incantation or more?

If by this you mean, is it possible that two or more players can work together to achieve a certain effect within the game, the answer is yes.


JM_Harleik asked:During the presentation of The Depths, you mentioned the presence of traps created by players. Is it the same on the outside of the depths?

Yes. We need to keep our crafters engaged in the game and not just by making armor, weapons, etc. Adding the ability to make traps that can be used by themselves or players anywhere in the world would be a nice addition to the game and for crafters.


Hellraise asked: how do you go about creating meaningful innovations and/or refinement in your game design? Most of the Olden Gods of Game Design seem to struggle with this (all the Peter M, Sid M, Chris R, Lord B, etc..) as they either keep rehashing the same formulas or try doing innovation just for the sake of it? How do you keep your feet on the ground and make sure that what you come up with is actually fun, makes sense and is not the same old with better Fx? (and no you can’t answer: I use the Founders  )

Keeping my feet on the ground is easy these days as I no longer have the very limited jumping ability I did when I played ball back in my youth. 🙂  As to being sure that what I come up with is fun, there is no way other than to play the game and have other people play the game. I’m always looking for good ideas (besides my own) from within the team or outside, from our Backers (sorry).


Dazed asked: Will the buffs and debuffs be separated on the screen or smashed together in confusion like in DAOC?

Hopefully our UI will have advanced a bit since the old days at Mythic. If not, well, I think tar and feathers are in order.


Sornin asked: In some games, attacking and defending a fortified position leaves classes without ranged prowess feeling a bit useless. How do you intend to ensure classes without any ranged attacks, or at most poor ranged attacks, can contribute in sieges?

Launch them via catapult? We’ll see what we can do so the poor, weak, defenseless tanks have something fun to do during sieges. 🙂


Meddyck asked: Were you the one who came up with the BSC idea for Imperator aka “Romans in Space”?

That’s on me, 100%. I still believe that Imperator could be a have a fine MMORPG, especially given the subscriber expectations at the time I came up with the idea. It might still sound crazy to some but when we postponed Imperator we got a lot of negative feedback from doing so. It really was a shame, I had a totally cool backstory that I never got to talk about which explained how the Roman republic was saved and how Imperial rule was abolished. Defiantly one of my finest plot twists as it was based almost entirely on fact with only a little bit of fiction thrown in to make it happen. 🙂 


Nazon_Katts asked: Additionally to another round of crowdfunding, would you consider crowd investing for CSE, too?

Crowd investing is a great idea but given some of the things that the SEC are considering doing to both the concept of crowdfunding and/or crowd investing, I’m not sure how much longer either are going to be truly viable.


Jagp asked: Did you get any negative or cynical comments or responses after the kickstarter?

Yep, still do occasionally, not at all surprising or upsetting though and I’m used to it. Sometimes it happens on Massively, sometimes on Facebook and I can just imagine what’s being said about me in other places. 🙂 I’ll just stick to what we are doing here whether it is in terms of game development or communication with our Backers and let both of them be the yardstick that I and CSE can be measured against.


Fanglo asked: Companies like Pixar put easter eggs from previous films in future films. Mythic did something similar by adding a hidden alb zone in Warhammer Online. Will CSE add any easter eggs from March on Oz in CU?

I’m a big fan of good Easter Eggs and I’ve always pushed for that type of stuff whenever possible. I suspect we will have some fun stuff in Camelot Unchained too!


Sinikin asked: In the future (Post launch) do you plan to maintain us as founders for advice on the game and for the purpose of internally testing future expansions and classes just like we are being utilized for the game pre-launch?

Absolutely. We’re in this together, both for the short- and long-term.


Peter_kokocha asked: Will the backer forums remain open and private throughout the lifespan of CU to allow us backers  more personal communication with CSE about future xpacs, patch notes , ECT then the rest  of the masses ?

No. As per the Kickstarter and beyond, the Backers forums will evolve to the next stage once the Citizen tiers open (just as we have moved from just the Founders forums to the Backer forums and then once the game launches, they will become the game’s forums. We will always maintain an Internal Testing group and they will have their own forums but we are not going to maintain multiple forums for the players of the LIVE game and I don’t think the game’s supporters will want us to. However, we would consider have a special section like the Something to Think About discussion thread where the Backers and CSE can communicate in a very limited way. The reason I believe this is the right thing to do is that once the game goes LIVE, the new players will need the support/info/insight that you Backers can provide.


Zoltan asked: What flavor of pie would you prefer to be thrown at you by the Dragonwhale backers?

Blueberry, cherry and Boston cream in that order.


Guinness asked: Will the small races be able to ride a larger race, if that race had mount transformation, or speed transformation.

As per the forums, I’m a supporter of that idea and that was one reason for my work on the Phouka. Will it happen? I don’t honestly know but I think it is one that I would like to see.


Sethman asked: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “pshhhh we expected that” and 10 being a “HOLY SH*T” moment, could you rank the biggest surprise/secret you have in store for us right now. PS.. you have to at least give us a hint

10, but no hints.


Mirelind asked: MJ how did you become enthralled in Arthurian Lore and that which surrounds it, be it Celtic or Nordic/Viking? Have you done a degree in history or literature? Or just an interest that sparked as a kid? Or did you have a mentor figure that told you of stories/myths? Or just a movie/book buff like some of us?

My first influence was my mom as she pointed me to a number of Arthurian books that captured my interest as a youth. That, plus my love for film meant that I was destined to continue to be enthralled by this kind of stuff forever. In college, I met Professor Locke at the University of Rochester and his classes about mythology, legends and Jungian interpretation of the same, just lit a real fire under me. Plus, I was always interested in history, mythology, etc. So, when D&D came out, well, the outcome was reasonably predictable. 


Tumtumm asked: just don’t understand the Middle Eastern Investors, If they actually paid attention to the Web casts and such they would of known your stance on this game, why invite you out to their country and make an offer…. Let alone why would you go??? Oooh shiny Jet let  me ride it?

As to why I would go? Simple, part of my job as President is to investigate interesting opportunities for the studio. I think that they thought it could be a great way for them to not only make an investment in the studio but also that I could work with them in their country as well. I just couldn’t afford to take the amount of time away from the studio here that would have been required, plus, I think that the amount of time that they wanted from me grew as we got to know each other better. As far as flying on their private jet, I fly commercial, never have flown on a private jet and don’t have any real interest in doing so.  


Skorj asked: Will you be instrumenting the code to collect statistics on combat (damage done, time stunned, whatever, by class and ability used and so on)?  I’d feel better if game balance decisions were based on “real” world performance in game, as opposed to how stuff works in theory, or anything said on the forums!

Getting a proper metrics tool for Camelot Unchained is incredibly important for us and we need to have it in place when alpha-testing begins. We didn’t have one during the development of Dark Age of Camelot and the one we had for WAR was really helpful at times (other than the parts that were broken).


Phyl asked: What inspired you to do what you do? can you define a single moment? life is good when you love what you do, and do what you love.

I agree. The single most life-changing moment for me was when I was still in college and I was in the basement of my then-girlfriend’s house in Rochester and I was reading a Time magazine article about the year’s coolest Christmas gifts and in the list was Dungeons and Dragons. The writer described it as something like “one particularly indecipherable game called Dungeons and Dragons.” After reading that I headed to the local store, bought the game and my life’s focus began to change after that.


Drellannor asked: The weather does affect the vision of the character and the distance spells (in times of heavy rain or fog for example). 

If we implement a robust weather system, as we hope to, then yes, I think that weather should affect combat. 


Ortu asked: how integrated do you envision CU being with various web and mobile services out of game?

Based on our current raise, not as much as I would like. We’re not aiming for FB, Twitter, etc., integration in the same manner that TESO is gunning for but, OTOH, we are not shooting for the same numbers/audience that they are targeting. I think we will have some fun bits in the game at launch and our web-based UI is pretty cool but beyond that, we’ll just have to see how we do with stretch goals. 


ReducedToRubble asked: How important do you feel that music is to establishing realm identity?

Very important. I hope we can either get a good, cut-rate score from a young composer or raise additional money so we can afford to go with an experienced team. As many of you know, I’m a huge movie and movie score buff so I relish the opportunity to get something special for Camelot Unchained.


I hope you enjoyed this super-sized BOYD, there will be more coming from me and other members of CSE over the coming weeks.