Evening Update – Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015


Welcome to the final update of the year! It’s been a heck of a turn around the sun at City State Entertainment. We’ve had ups and down, highs and lows, and through all of that we’ve emerged as a stronger team with a better engine, well-positioned for the next year. I’ve said from the beginning of the Kickstarter on that we had the best Backers in the crowd-funded part of our industry. You’ve been generous with your donations, patient with our delays, and even more generous with your time and efforts supporting the studio and the game that we are making together: Camelot Unchained. As always, thank you all very much!

Before talking about all the great game news, I want to take a moment to truly thank all our Backers on behalf of CSE, and also say a special thanks to some of our Backers who have gone above and beyond in helping us in our efforts. Whether they are part of the Mod Squad, or just sending us yummies every so often, the efforts of you folks are much appreciated. So, we would like to send a special thank you to Mehuge, Gorjim, Saddie, Grimmlet, Agoknee, Rigowen, and Zamalek for their work in Mod Squad, to Foggye for heading up wiki updates, to The Pendragon and Tirudan for German translation, to Pouloum and others for French translation, to Harkrom for Italian translation, to Ichor for making video tutorials, to Endoria for quick German language help on social sites, to Oakblade for so helpfully answering questions on the forums and being positive, to Necromaniak for helping new CUBErs, to Ortu for adding to the ability builder UI, to Failboat for so many yummies and spirit-lifting gifts, and to so many more of you for all your awesome help. We love all you guys and gals, but I would be remiss if I didn’t thank these folks publicly for their efforts.

Now, as for the game. Yes, I’m now starting to call it a game, because as you saw on Tuesday, our engine is slowly evolving into a game. Over six hundred Backers and Bots were happily doing battle around the center of our test island (in a small space, surrounded by a dense pine tree forest meant to push the system), and performance was, as you folks saw, outstanding.

As we’ve said before, these Bots are even more resource-intensive than an average player. These Bots aren’t NPCs, they are separate versions of the game PC client that we spin up to do these tests. They actually consume more bandwidth, as they have more actions per minute than most players, and they never rest. With the planned optimizations we have in our schedule, we’d like to see if we can smoothly support 1K players in a small battle area by the opening of Beta 1.

BTW, during one of our impromptu tests we hit 3K Backers and Bots in that same small area before our physics system finally begged for mercy. 🙂 Oh, and as Tim told you during the stream, he’s not even running on an Nvidia Titan or dual cards. Supporting a lot of people in large-scale battles doesn’t mean anything if you have to have a super-charged rig in order to enjoy them!

Also, during our many tests, some folks commented that they loved the performance of the game, but were worried that because we seemed to only be using a handful of different models, the game would run much slower when we added the game’s real models into it. So, we made the bots have unique, constantly-changing models and textures for yesterday’s test. As we said during the Kickstarter and beyond, we weren’t “cheating” this way when Andrew designed and coded the earlier version of this engine, and yesterday and today. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvgjEMPfkYs ) we proved it. I love it when that happens. 🙂

Given the movie that just opened, I’m tempted to say “I find your lack of faith disturbing” but given the amount of B.S. that happens in the game industry, I can’t blame people who wanted to believe we were “cheating,” no matter what I said. Well, hopefully what you saw yesterday puts that issue to rest, forever! Yeah, the tinting was festive like a Christmas sweater, but it was there, along with 600 Backers and Bots, putting on and taking off different pieces of equipment during the test.

Besides the Big Bot Battles, you saw our latest pass on one of the new biomes for the game. After all, you didn’t think that our game was just going to be giant fields with a few trees here and there, did you? As always, we are creating these assets ourselves (specifically for our engine, because we didn’t simply use Unity or Unreal), but as you can see, things are moving along nicely on this front as well. The build becomes a world, and the world becomes a game.

In the stream of last night’s test, you saw 600+ Backers and Bots running around a small space in this new area of the world, with the vast majority of them being in your viewing frustum. Ask yourselves how many other games you’ve played where you could even come close to that number. Last night, we demonstrated that we could do what we set out to do: provide large-scale battles to our Backers without it being a slideshow. And we did it in the latest biome, a thick pine forest, and it ran great. It only gets better from here!

Here’s an extra shot of the new neutral pine forest biome:

Wonder where we are going with the world’s look and feel? Well, here are some pieces from Michelle and Sandra to show where that inspiration has come from. Let’s start with the Arthurians.

Next, the Tuatha Dé Danann.

And last, but certainly only least alphabetically, are our VIKINGS!

Besides all of that great technical progress, Tuesday saw a long-awaited reveal on crafting in Camelot Unchained. Besides the great coverage that we got from MOP ( http://massivelyop.com/ )and MMORPG ( http://www.mmorpg.com/ ), I was pleased to see/answer the questions (and of course, praise) that we received from folks. In case you didn’t see it, here’s a link to the presentation (http://camelotunchained.com/v2/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Crafting-Presentation-Part-Deux.pdf).

Like combatants, each of our crafters will have a unique look. Here’s a TDD crafter who happens to be a Silverhand.

Next up, an Arthurian.

And not to be outdone, here’s a look at your friendly neighborhood Dvergr!

Group shot!

Just as combatants need their weapons, crafters need their tools, and here is some concept art on their hammers.

And while that covers “Hammer Time, CU style”, the main tool that our crafters will have is their Vox Magus. The crafter presentation covers both the origin of the Vox (as a souped-up pipe organ)…

…to the evolution as it now stands, which is one badass combination crafting station and mini-factory. Here’s a concept piece for a prototype UI.

As you can see from the UI, the crafters are going to have an intuitive interface that will be part of a highly interactive system, whether it is for Taking (gathering, harvesting, farming, mining, etc.), Purifying (refining), Shaping (making alloys, altering the physical characteristics of the purified materials), or Making (assembling the items). But as always there’s a lot more, and you’ll find that in the crafter presentation.

It is my goal to create a crafting system that will stand the test of time, one that will be remembered as fondly as some of the other great crafting systems in our industry. I hope you all agree that we are moving in the right direction. My gut tells me that we are, and based on everything that we’ve been hearing since the first BSC Daze, our Backers agree.

Besides crafting, we will have a Merchant Guild, Crafter Guild, and of course, to haul stuff around, giant snakes!

Who needs snakes on a plane when you have planes on a snake, right?

And goats too!

All joviality aside, our caravan ideas are just a little BSC, but they should be fun and profitable for both attackers and defenders. There’s more information in our video presentation and the crafting document, which will be posted to our Forums before the end of the year.

Hmm, what could be next, I wonder? Yes, it’s User Stories time. And here is an update on them. There’s some pretty good stuff here. There were 23 existing cards with 73 completes, as well as 4 new cards with 22 completes.

As a developer we continually need to update our software.

Revise all code to be compatible with Visual Studio 2015 Update 1. – Complete

As a Backer I’d like to see general improvements in C.U.B.E.’s interface and functionality.
Move all user-generated files out of executable folder and into AppData. – Complete
As a Backer, I’d like to play in new biomes that change according to Realm ownership.
Concept research pass 1 – Determine visual language of each Realm’s environment. – Complete
Concept pass biome #1 – Neutral pine forest. – Complete
Biome 1 – Determine neutral asset list from concept. – Complete
Biome 1 Neutral – Create ground texture sets. – Complete
Biome 1 Neutral – Create grass and ground cover assets. – Complete
Biome 1 Neutral – Create small to medium assets. (Bushes, rocks, etc.) – Complete
Biome 1 Neutral – Create large assets. (Trees, rocks, etc.) – Complete
Biome 1 Neutral – Create terrain mods and integrate into world for testing. – Complete
As a Backer, I’d like to see the world begin to be propped out with generic fantasy items. – Set #6.
Generic dead pine tree on ground v1 – Complete
Generic dead pine tree on ground v2 – Complete
Generic dead pine tree on ground v3 – Complete
Generic dead pine tree stump v1 – Complete
Generic dead pine tree stump v2 – Complete
Generic boulder clusters – small, medium, large, as well as individual boulders. – Complete
As a Backer, I’d like to know about smaller changes that don’t have their own user story.
Fix saving of Assets and Cogs so that they are easier for programmers to use. – Complete
Separate preparation time adjustments from recovery time adjustments on abilities. – Complete
Create a tool to generate 2d maps from terrain. – Complete
Refactor character movement code. – Complete
Add more logging to client to improve bug hunting. – Complete
As a Backer, I’d like to see the world of Camelot Unchained continue to develop through its lore.
Gargoyles Becoming – Second Draft – Complete
As a Backer, I’d like to see the sky and environment transition from a sunny day to a snowy day.
First Pass: Snow VFX in camera. – Complete
Snow on terrain fades in and out during snow cycle. – first pass. – Complete
Create snow material. – Complete
As a Backer, I want to be able to own a plot of land and build within it. – First Pass
Plots owned by Realms use control point mechanic for testing the building system. – Complete
As a player, my character health is allocated to each body part which can take damage from different attacks and suffer wounds seperately from blood.
Integrate updated wound UI to client. – Complete
Create abilities to cure wounds. – Complete
As a Backer, I’d like a UI that is easy to develop mods and themes for.
Concept Pass 2 – New skill buttons UI and functionality. – Complete
As a Backer, I’d like to experience positionally-based audio and music within the world of Camelot Unchained.
Distribute sound files to client using the patcher. – Complete
Upload/download sound files to the database – Complete
First pass second audio concept: Combat intro/low music. – Complete
First pass second audio concept: Combat mid music. – Complete
First pass sound design new ambient music instruments. – Complete
First pass sound design: Realm-specific vocal layers for music. – Complete
First pass sound design: Large to small ensemble switch with instruments for music. – Complete
As a Backer, I’d like to know about all the smaller enhancements the MOD Squad makes to Camelot Unchained.
Perf HUD pages: Graphical info, network data, physics, integrated to client. – Complete
As an Italian Backer, I’d like to visit the Italian version of the Camelot Unchained website.
All newsletters translated. – Complete
As both a Backer and developer, I’d like to have more dev commands to facilitate testing, and general interactions with the player community.
Admin’s can adjust control game on the fly. – Complete
As a Developer, I’d like to preview full sound suites on animations.
First Sound Pass: Dagger animation concept. – Complete
First Sound Pass: Spear animation concept. – Complete
First Sound Pass: Staff animation concept. – Complete
As a Backer, I’d like Camelot Unchained to have ability-based sound effects. – Integration – First Pass
First Sound Pass: Additional wooden and melee weapon impact sounds. – Complete
As a Developer, I’d like to have a strong library of sounds to convey player movement.
First Pass Sound Assets: “Leafy” footsteps. – Complete
As a Developer and Backer, I’d like to see improvements in lighting and rendering.
Build out per-model data sections so that each instance of a model can have per-material properties. – Complete
Improve rendering performance of buildings, impostors, and more. – Complete
As a Developer, I’d like the Camelot Unchained website to convey its main features in a more concise and visually impressive manner.
Complete homepage. – Complete
Complete About Camelot Unchained page. – Complete
Complete C.U.B.E. page. – Complete
Complete new tertiary pages – BSC, Lore, Stretch Goals, Newsletters, etc. – Complete
As a Backer and Developer, I’d like some temporary vfx for testing new combat mechanics and tech.
VFX: Three stages of cold effect. – Complete
VFX: Generic periodic buff applied. – Complete
VFX: Generic offensive debuff applied. – Complete
VFX: Generic periodic debuff applied. – Complete
VFX: Generic trigger buff persist. – Complete
VFX: Generic periodic buff persist. – Complete
VFX: Generic trigger debuff persist. – Complete
VFX: Generic periodic debuff persist. – Complete
Update old vfx with improved flame cards. – Complete
As a Developer, I’d like to see improvements in the editor to facilitate my work.
Quality of life improvements to VFX editor. (Default parameters for particles improved.) – Complete
As a Backer in Beta 1, I’d like to have a sampling of light, medium, and heavy armor that can be worn in the game.
Generic high boot v2. – Complete
Implement first pass character masking to support armor system. – Complete
Generic vambrace – nude and underlayer versions. – Complete
Santa Hat for Xmas – Male human. – Complete
Generic tabard solution. – Complete
First Pass: Tinting system for testing. – Complete
Bots can swap armor parts to stress test client and server. – Complete
As a Backer in Beta 1, I’d like to play as a Crafter with basic gathering and crafting mechanics for testing.
Crafting Vision document pass 4 – Complete
Gather feedback from Backers and update design if needed. – Complete
First pass concept: Vox Magus UI – Complete
First pass concept art – Vox Magus physical model. – Complete
First pass Crafter concept art. – Complete
First pass Crafter tools concept art. – Complete
New Cards:
As a Backer, I’d like to test the updated female Valkyrie model.
Concept pass 1. – Complete
Concept pass 2. – Complete
Create base body concept and worksheets. – Complete
Model high poly sculpt. – Complete
As a Backer, I’d like to test the male Valkyrie model.
Concept pass 1. – Complete
Concept pass 2. – Complete
Create base body concept and worksheets. – Complete
Model high poly sculpt. – Complete
As a Backer, I’d like to see improvements in server stability, speed, and robustness.
General improvements to memory management, resulting in different CPU cores being less likely to stall when waiting for each other, improving client performance and server scalability. – Complete
Add “ContextSTLAllocator” to make our memory management code more usable to other programmers. – Complete
Chopped 500MB off the client memory usage in heavy scenes. – Complete
Integrate ParLL threading library into CSE code. – Complete
Rewrote ParLL interface to support modern coding conventions, lambdas and universal function references. (Similar to std::async) – Complete
Moved Async destruction to ParLL. – Complete
Added new ParLL features to support our existing threading patterns. – Complete
* Create a way for long-running tasks to run in the background without stalling the main game. – Complete
* Suspending and resuming serial context execution. – Complete
* Added atomic guardians to make the thread safety of a given system provable. – Complete
* Ported ParLL to 64bit. – Complete
Rewrote Timed Action Queue with new threading system – Complete
Rethreaded physics to use ParLL and be lock-free. (good performance increase) – Complete
As a Backer in Beta 1, I’d like to be able to choose from a list of classes to play.
Add Beta 1 classes to server. – Complete

But we have also been busy in other areas as well! We’re making progress on a newer, spiffed-up website, and here are some of the mockups for that. Take note that we will of course update these with images of our newer, better, prettier models, so don’t think that this is the final look!

Jon has been doing his usual great work on models, and here are some updated looks for our male and female Valkyries. First up, some concept art.

Next (nest?), full renders.

And, well because people have asked about trophies and other uses of certain parts of their enemies’ anatomy, here’s a cheery image!

And some wisp concepts by Mike! They of course look better animated!

So, I also want to take this time to acknowledge the efforts of everybody at CSE for their outstanding work this past year. This team has never wavered in their efforts to make a great game, and their work, whether as artists, community managers, designers, engineers, production, or writers has all contributed to make Camelot Unchained what it is today, and what it will become. I have been and will always remain proud of their efforts, and I feel privileged to be able to come into the office every day and work with such fine people. They have my love and respect, now and forever.

And an extra special shout-out to my studio co-founder, partner, and friend Andrew Meggs, for the many roles he fulfills on the team, besides being an awesome engineer and the most human of beings. And also, an extra nod to our turtle-loving producer Tyler, whose patience, warmth, and desire for hugs (which remain unfulfilled from me) are a key component of keeping this team sane.

And now, an additional thank-you to all of our Backers. Whether Founder or Builder, it is thanks to you that we are where we are. Your generosity, support, and kindness have meant so very much to us. We wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for you, and as I always say, we thank you for that. Speaking on behalf of everybody at CSE, thank you for your support, and we will never betray your trust. Camelot Unchained is the game you helped bring into existence, and when the new year begins, we will be hard at work bringing the game, and not just the engine build, to life.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and most importantly a safe and Happy New Year to all of our Backers, friends, and families, no matter where you are in the world. As a little present from us at CSE, Michelle put together some desktop wallpapers out of the class reveal images! Go here for the wallpapery goodness: (http://camelotunchained.com/v2/media/wallpapers/)

With respect, love, and my deepest gratitude,