Extract ‘er? I hardly know ‘er! – Monday, December 19th, 2022


It’s been a year, hasn’t it? A long time ago, in an office not so far away, Mythic Entertainment was on the verge of shutting down. Similar to now, we had spent a lot of time pitching Dark Age of Camelot to every publisher that would listen to us and getting rejected every single time. Fortunately, as the clock ran down, I was able to land the deal that not only saved the company, but allowed us to deliver on the best RvR-centric MMORPG of all time. And now, while the situation wasn’t quite as dire (at least it wasn’t when I went into “dog and pony” mode), I delivered a home run for the studio. This deal allowed us to keep our independence, expand at a rate that we haven’t seen before, and change the company’s ability to deliver on our goals for the studio. It was a frustrating, maddening, and infuriating process, especially when I kept saying, “No, no, a thousand times no” to crypto-based projects, and then being told by some that I needed to get behind this whole Web3 thing. But fortunately, I and the investors stuck to our plan, and ultimately we were rewarded with a deal. Since then, while I haven’t returned yet to be a mostly full-time designer, we have hired like crazy and have brought in a highly experienced MMORPG senior Design Director to focus on Camelot Unchained and help get it out the door. I’m excited to add him to the team and I look forward to working with him this year.

With the raise of this money, not only has CSE been given the opportunity to level up our efforts as a company, but it has also allowed me to take a breath and relax. In January, I will begin focusing on what I like to do best, design – and envision how to make CU the game that it needs to be. As if that weren’t enough, we also have some new siege updates that cover your Trebuchet, Scorpion, and Magic Mortar ammo needs. There are new pathfinding & targeting improvements, “fresh-baked” imposters from Wylie, and info on where we are with the highly anticipated UI overhaul for CU. Without further adieu, we give you the Top Tenish for Holiday 2022.

Top Tenish For the Holiday Season 2022

  1. WIP – Siege Updates:
    1. The myriad “fire this type of siege ammo” abilities have been condensed into one “Fire loaded ammo” ability per engine (covering Trebuchet, Scorpion, and Magic Mortar for now).
      1. Ammo items have been created to serve this purpose, and can be loaded into appropriate siege engines to be used. Ammunition will need to be acquired and loaded into appropriate siege engines to be able to use them.
      2. Some ability tech was improved to have abilities look up ammo from a container (so, siege engines, for now) instead of needing to specify a specific ammo item type ahead of time.
      3. In addition to ammo matching preexisting siege attacks, several new types of ammunition have been added and are WIP (functional, but unpolished) – these include unique faction Scorpion bolts, an area denial anti-personnel Trebuchet munition, and an early example of Alchemical Mortar shells.
    2. The Siege Engine entity type has been removed, and all the game logic from it has been combined with the Item Entity.
    3. When multiple NPCs attempt to control the same siege engine, they no longer can get into a confused state where they are controlling the engine (but do not think that they are), nor do they attempt to control a siege engine that someone is already controlling.
    4. Design has set up a tent for the future release of this feature to allow you to claim ammo. These tents will be located on each of the home islands – more information can be found in this month’s newsletter.
    5. Expect to see this update launch in the next few weeks, and we will continue to add more elements for siege in the months to come.
  2. Done – Tech + Design – Extraction Event:
    1. Phase One of the Extraction Event is here! And if you haven’t tried it out with a few others yet, it can be found in the Frozen Tundra Concept Zone.
    2. The Extraction Event uses what is known as the Vox Messoris, which will be a specialty device of the crafters to do mass harvesting events. It’s for those who want a little more spice to their harvesting activities and don’t mind pounding down some beasties that come up to stop you or having to deal with potential PvP encounters.
    3. It’s all about that creature life! We don’t have many elements of PvE, but when it comes to opportunities of PvPvE, we’ll tango. The Extraction event will have the following 3 new NPC beasties: the Burrow Dweller, the basic thug of the hive; the Blooming Dweller, which acts as a support healer for the Dweller collective; and the Kunal Dweller, the King of the Hive. For the moment, only the Burrow Dweller is active, with the other NPCs coming in a future update.
      1. The strongest of these types has a new interaction with a somewhat underutilized mechanic – disruption.
    4. Be sure to check out this month’s Winter-Bound Newsletter for more details on getting into the zone, and interacting with the device.
    5. In addition to this first pass, we’ll be adding more elements to the Extraction feature after the holidays, so stay tuned.
  3. Done – Tech – NPC Pathfinding Improvements: Mike D fixed two major issues in our pathfinding system:
    1. The first was a bug in navmesh generation that caused the pathfinder to produce paths over obstacles that were too tall to be traversed by the NPCs, resulting in a lot of stuck NPCs. With this fix, NPCs will correctly determine that they are unable to go over the obstacle and will plan paths around the obstacle accordingly.
    2. The second issue involved NPCs getting stuck on complex geometric features in the environment while trying to follow their path to their target. There is now logic that helps the NPCs detect that they are stuck, and issues a new path request to lead them out of trouble.
  4. Done – Tech – Baked Imposters: Wylie completed the new baked imposters capability. “Imposters” are low-resolution 3D facades of in-game models that can be rendered extremely efficiently as substitutes for the real models when such models are far in the distance, with no loss of apparent realism in the scene. Previously, we generated imposters on-the-fly at run time, which incurred a higher than desired performance cost. With this work, imposters are pre-generated as part of the offline content build process and no longer negatively impact performance.
  5. Done – Tech – NPC Targeting Improvements: Mike D completed the first batch of NPC targeting improvements, which fixed several bugs in how NPCs choose enemies to attack or friendly units to heal or help. Additional work continues for further fixes that will land soon.
  6. WIP – Tech – Patcher/Launcher – We’ve been working on some updates to the core tech of both the patcher and the launcher. We’ve improved the patch client’s stability, and ability to handle larger assets. We fixed some issues that were causing slow downloads for many users. Those most affected by these issues could see as much as a 20x improvement in download speed, though the number varies based on configuration and location. For users who use the experimental launcher, we’ve fixed the issue with the white screen. Rolled into these updates are also a bunch of low-level improvements and updates to the launcher’s rendering engine. Our plan is to release the experimental version of the patcher today, then go live on Thursday, assuming we don’t run into any issues with testing.
  7. WIP – UI Overhaul: As you know, over the past few months, we have started the long journey of overhauling the Camelot Unchained UI, to improve almost every aspect of it. Here is a list of all the things we’ve been working on thus far:
    1. Upgraded Redux to RTK.
    2. Added Anchor controls to HUD Editor.
    3. Moved WorldSpace UI into a standardized React entry point.
    4. Moved Dev UI from client project to UI project.
    5. Created new Client DataSource architecture, unifying baked, temp, and server data sourcing.
    6. Created new BaseHUD architecture.
    7. Restored asset detection functionality.
    8. Simplified and unified multiple components and systems:
      1. CSS transformations from 3 to 1.
      2. ContextMenu implementations from 3 to 1.
      3. Tooltip implementations from 3 to 1.
      4. DragAndDrop implementations from 2 to 1.
    9. Rebuilt several components to the latest architectural standards:
      1. LoadingScreen
      2. ZoneName
      3. HUDEditor
      4. HUDNavMenu
      5. SelfUnitFrame
      6. FriendlyTargetFrame
      7. EnemyTargetFrame
      8. Buff / Debuff Lists
    10. There’s still a lot of work to be done here. It will still be some time before you folks get your hands on the new CU UI, but we wanted to update you with our progress as the year closes out. Much of this work is laying out a framework that UI developers, both at CSE and in the community, can use to bring their visions to fruition.
  8. WIP – Tech – Interactions Improvements: Rob landed numerous improvements to our interactions code. Logic that was previously scattered all over client and server has been significantly unified, cleaned up, and debugged, resulting in a much more maintainable and extensible system. Work continues with a focus on increasing the degree to which interactions can be data-driven and specified entirely by Design, rather than being hard-coded.
  9. Done – Tech – Animation Debugger: The gameplay team completed the first version of the Animation Debugger GUI that will assist Art and Engineering in tracking down often very difficult animation issues.
    1. The new tool allows any animation to be selected and played in real time in the game. Time-scaling, pause/play, and bidirectional frame-stepping controls give the user a means of carefully evaluating every frame of the animation for every bone in the skeleton, including attachment points that are often the source of mis-registered weapons, torches, visual effects, and other items meant to have motion synchronized with the main character animation driving them.
    2. The tool also allows the user to examine detailed information about every bone being animated. This powerful first version is already being used to debug existing issues and for planning improvements to our animation system in later updates.
  10. Done – Tech – Misc Server Management Improvements: We’ve got a grab bag of different improvements to managing our servers:
    1. We improved the logs produced by our Physics, Building, and Proxy servers to get better data and make it more accessible.
    2. We added health checks to our Progression server, so we can be notified when it’s having issues and easily check in on its current status.
    3. We significantly streamlined the process for bringing shards online and offline.
  11. WIP – Tech – Server Configuration Improvements: We’ve had a ton of improvements for multiple facets of how we configure servers. The sum total of the improvements mean that build promotion, configuration, and deployment is faster, more consistent, less error prone, and more automated.
  12. Done – Tech – Coherent Binding Updates: We have updated our use of Coherent (the UI backend layer) to fix several crashes and make things more efficient in general. Please be on the lookout for UI regressions.
  13. WIP – Walking Updates:
    1. Walking animation now hides player weapons.
    2. Updated the walk status icon to not look like a running character.
  14. Done – Harvesting Updates:
    1. Harvesting abilities costs have undergone a balance pass and now cost less Fortitude.
    2. The combat log no longer shows progress for empty harvest tracks.
    3. Fortitude costs for harvest now occur at the start of the loop phase instead of the end.
    4. Harvest tools now take both hands in the player’s inventory.
    5. Some harvest tools have updated models.
    6. We’re actively attempting to flesh out our harvest nodes tracks, which includes updates based on biomes. You’ll see some of these updates actively on the Golden Plains Testzone, and if they haven’t made it in already they’ll be active in the near future!
  15. WIP – Trait Updates:
    1. Many of the character traits which affect a character’s max health are now mutually exclusive; you cannot pick one that negates the other.
    2. Traits for the new races as well as stats have been approved, which also means that scripting has begun! We should have these in place when each race is released.
  16. Done – Design – Bug Fixes:
    1. Players will now face away from a door when using it (instead of always facing the same compass direction).
    2. Fixed the status stack grouping for Physical Rend (which was in the elemental group instead of physical).
    3. The healing versions of Bog Ooze and Singing Stone are now only compatible with Life tagged components.
    4. Songs such as Overland Travel and Energetic Enigma now properly restore player stamina while in use.
    5. If a player teleports out of the spawn protection area, they correctly lose the spawn protection buff.
  17. Done – Tech – A Whole Lot of Bug Fixes:
    1. Fixed a building server crash that could sometimes happen when repairing buildings.
    2. Fixed a memory leak in the patch server that could cause it to become unstable after several months.
    3. Fixed a rare bug in the patch server that could cause it to stop updating properly.
    4. Fixed a rare hang that could sometimes impact Physics, Building, and Proxy servers.
    5. Fixed an issue that was preventing Discord accounts from being linked.
    6. Fixed Empath’s Condensed Projection projectile so that it no longer disappears shortly after casting it. This bug was caused by two issues:
      1. If a projectile that is visibly represented by a particle comes in from the server with a different set of particles than originally predicted, it would be recreated but not restarted.
      2. In this case, we also should have been correctly predicting the projectile but were not due a tagging mis-match on the server side.
    7. Fixed multiple issues with projectiles made from particles which caused them to disappear shortly after casting. Example: the Empath’s Condensed projection particle.
    8. Renewal Transference now correctly deals damage back to the caster.
    9. Fixed an overmind bug in which actions could go off too frequently in some very specific corner cases.
    10. Fixed a bug where Open Heart could last forever if Karmic Defense wasn’t applied.
    11. Fixed a bug where statuses were not always caching their effects properly.
    12. Fixed a bug where the vox UI could become softlocked if too many jobs were started at once.
    13. Updated empath runes so that various combinations that made no sense cannot be built. For example: Renewal Transference + Self Administration
    14. Woven orb no longer disappears just because you or an enemy touches it.
    15. Fixed some cases where healing effects were applied to both the caster as well as allies when they were meant to only apply to allies.
    16. Fixing alchemy results which modified ability stability and damage/healing output.
    17. Fixed a case where the physics server would leak and eventually run out of memory.
    18. Fixed a server crashing issue with destroying stacks of items on the ground.
    19. Fixed bugs with manual aiming + siege engines so that the animations pause at the correct spot.
    20. Stone healers will shoot arrows instead of appearing to shoot stones when using a bow.
    21. When a player logs back in while dead they will no longer start regenerating health.
    22. Fixed the Taxing Shout so that it only modifies the stamina cost of shouts and does not affect non-shout abilities.
    23. Fixed the math for the Effortless Voice trait so that it will correctly set the stamina cost on a shout to 0.
    24. Fixing the Vengeful Spirit trait which was reflecting your own melee damage back to you instead of the melee damage of others onto them.
    25. Fixed piercing projectiles so that they play their flyby SFX.
  18. WIP – Art – Animations: The Animation team continues to work on advancing all the race permutations of animations for the up-and-coming St’rm, Hamadryad, Valkyrie and Cait Sith updates.
  19. Done – Design – Harvest Updates:
    1. All harvest tools now take up two hands on the player’s paper doll.
    2. Fortitude costs to use harvest tools have been decreased.
  20. Done – Art/Design – Harvest Tool Implementation: Kara and Nathan have been working hard to bring all the shiny new harvest tools into the game. Each realm has its own variant for each type of harvest tool (Butcher Knife, Gathering Sickle, Logging Ax, Pickaxe, and Sledgehammer), with icons made by Michelle. Available now, at a Harvest Tent near you!
  21. WIP – Art – Armor Concept: David and the rest of the Concept team are working on some great new Heavy Armor concepts for each of the Realms. They should be a bit of refresh from the current designs that also emphasize common elements each Heavy Armor will have moving forward. Art for these should be coming in a future update.
  22. Done – Art/Design – Weapon Concepts: The Concept team has finished concepts for all of the basic weapons, and they are rapidly moving through 3D thanks to Nathan! We plan to expand the amount of weapons later on, but this will be a solid foundation for now.
  23. WIP – Art/Design – Weapons 3D: We’ve now progressed to the point where nearly all of the basic weapon sets for each Realm are complete! Swords, Hammers, Maces, and Axes are all complete, with the only basic weapons left to work on being the Polearms (Mauls, Halberds, Bardiches, and Spears) for TDD and Vikings. The complete weapon list is below:
    1. Swords – Dagger, Shortsword, Longsword, Greatsword
    2. Axes – Axe, Great Axe, Halberd, Bardiche
    3. Hammers – Hand Hammer, Medium Hammer, Warhammer, Maul
    4. Maces – Mace, Great Mace
    5. Spears – Spear
  24. WIP- Design – The Dragon’s Web: Mark continued his work on a subject near and dear to his heart, the Dragon’s Web. This resulted in over 132 new items laid out, as well as a simulation of a potential castle siege. He also spent some time diving deeply into the heart of the component/ability system and, fortunately for all of us, did not attempt to write any code for it!
  25. WIP – Business Development: As Mark explained during his recent livestream and as has been covered in the gaming press: (https://venturebeat.com/games/city-state-entertainment-raises-15m-to-fund-games-with-massive-medieval-battles/)This is the culmination of a long year+ effort for Mark doing the “1000s of dogs & ponies” thing to preserve and expand the studio. With these funds, CSE has already expanded the team significantly, with more team members coming on all the time. The plan is to increase the team size up to sixty. More on specific hires, starting next year!

Now let’s move on to the Art extravaganza!

First up, we’ve got the different Realm variants of all the basic weapons! From razor bladed Arthurian Bardiches (smithed by Sir Gillette And Sons) to the spike ball Viking Maces (definitely not allowed at your local bowling alley) to the elegant but solidly built Tuathan Hammers (the muscle car of hammers, emphasis on the muscle) – there’s a wide range of weapons for a wide range of violent tastes, whether your fancy be smashing, piercing, or slashing your way downtown!

Harvest Tools! With the new Harvest feature from last update, we’ve added unique Realm versions of every Harvest tool – the Butcher Knife, Gathering Sickle, Logging Ax, Pickaxe, and Sledgehammer. Now you too can harvest resources in Realm-flavored style!

Another big feature is the Extraction event – complete with spidery Burrow Dwellers baddies that will knock you about, smash up your Vox, and just in general make your Extracting life a whole lot harder!

Next up, some long-awaited updates to Siege – in particular, ammunition abilities that appear depending on what types of ammo you have in your inventory! Go out and grab some of the new ammo from one of the Siege tents, and have fun lighting all your friends (and foes) on fire or freezing them to the spot!

And finally, animation has been working on the rigs for the St’rm and Hamadryad – moving them closer and closer to full functionality in-game.

So, now you have a better idea of what we’ve been up to recently, and especially for all of the things that I have been busy crafting over the last year+. We will, of course, keep you updated on our progress. And we want to thank all of you for your continued support of CU and CSE. As always, I thank you for your patience, support, good and kind wishes, and patience (I can’t say this enough), it is all appreciated. Happy Holidays to all! We’ll see you in the New Year!!!!


Edit (12/21/2022): Here’s a link to the livestream for this update.