Live from beautiful, downtown Fairfax, Virginia, it is City State Entertainment! As per our update last night, we are Live Streaming from our office as we attempt to meet our estimated date for Alpha release. It might be another long day here but, you Backers deserve it, for the way you have supported us both financially and emotionally since the Kickstarter began!
If all goes well, we hope to announce the opening of Alpha sometime today. We also hope to have some impromptu chat sessions with members of the team and maybe some quick contests. We are going to try to have fun today but our main focus is to fix the two nasty bugs that are currently holding up Alpha. You can watch and participate (we hope) in the fun and frolic at http://www.twitch.tv/citystategames.
For our IT and Alpha folks, as we hopefully eliminate the nastiness still lurking in the shadows, you can expect us to send out multiple emails about impromptu tests. If you can jump in and help us, well, that would be great. Remember, the Alpha launch date you help save may be your very own! :)
As usual, our deepest thanks and gratitude for your support. I've always said that words alone are not proof of such things but it is deeds that count the most. Well, here's an example of exactly what I mean by that.
Today’s Kickstarter update is a rather special one for Camelot Unchained™ and for City State Entertainment. Yesterday, we entered the Pre-Alpha Testing period, and I wanted to share some thoughts, screenshots, and feedback that we received from Backers .
First, the servers ran from 3PM Eastern Time through Midnight Eastern Time without a single crash. As a matter of fact, the only time the servers were down yesterday was when we took them down so we could increase the server capacity and then reopen them. Other than that, nothing went wrong with the servers yesterday. We peaked over 500 simultaneous players without a hitch.
Secondly, even though the battles took place on a very small battleground (400x400), it held more than 150 people without any system-wide slowdowns during the day. We then upped the limit to 200 people, but we didn’t get enough folks joining those instances to hit server cap at that point. Hopefully, we can test that on Friday or Sunday! What was especially cool, given the size of the battleground and all the magic flying around the space, players fought happily in a generally lag and latency-free war, even when people were connecting to our AWS servers from all over the world. Most of our European players were extremely pleased with what they saw in terms of the game engine’s performance during yesterday’s 3PM test.
Thirdly, the game’s server-based physics (not client-based like the vast majority of games), performed beautifully. Projectiles tracked across the world nicely, and players quickly learned that rocks and other hiding places are not just there for looks. It was a lot of fun to see the reactions of players when they discovered that our BSC talks about Nvidia’s PhysX system and our A.I.R. system were much more than hot air. Steam clouds were created, projectiles arced, darts tracked and followed players as they tried to escape, while the server happily kept track of these and updated the world state accordingly.
Fourth, the character creation system was also a big hit with our RPG fans. While the current Banes and Boons system is nowhere near final, the vast majority of players loved the idea and the amount of customization that they will have to work with at launch.
Fifth, major problems were non-existent, and while there were a number of issues with older video cards/CPUs and OS versions, these were in a tiny minority rather than the majority. We are actively working with the players to update our F.A.Q. with the known cards/OS version with issues, just as we did with the previous AMD card problems. However, we’re going to fix those issues sooner rather than later (as soon as we get some build machines up with the older cards). Now, this doesn’t mean you will be able to play Camelot Unchained with a 7-year old machine with Windows XP, but we are addressing any known issues with cards as a priority item (even if we have to say that we can’t currently support a card that doesn’t support DX11).
Sixth, the biggest objections from the players were things like: slower movement speed than they expected, longer cast times, liberal use of cooldowns, no cast bar, and some other things that they thought were final game-design choices. As we stated in the F.A.Q., this Pre-Alpha Test is for testing the engine, not for testing the game design of Camelot Unchained since this build is an engine-test build, not a game design build. For example, movement speed was slowed down in the battleground because it is meant to mirror movement speed while within combat and not a “sprint” or “travel mode” or road-based travel. However, we are upping the speed just a bit now, to make it faster for people to get into combat.
Longer cast/ability use times were put there to make testing the interrupt system easier. After all, if abilities are firing off so quickly that interrupts are almost impossible to get off, how can we test the interrupt system? As for cooldowns, we’ve been very clear that Camelot Unchained will not have a GCD, but that cooldowns on individual abilities are an option for us. In the current build, all of the fighter abilities have cooldowns because they don’t have a “stamina” or other use-based mechanic to prevent them from simply spamming abilities. Once that is in place, the use of cooldowns on all fighter abilities won’t be as necessary.
Finally, I want to share a selection of thoughts and comments from our Alpha-testers forums from last night.
Camulorix – “What I also liked is the fact that you can run from bolts and hide behind an obstacle. In other MMOs you see the bolts and can't do anything about it. And sometimes a few team mates got in the way and blocked my spells :/
I see great potential for group play: Protect the caster by blocking enemy fire.”
Zamalek – “Great success CSE, you should all be seriously proud of the strong beginnings you worked so hard on. Seriously, seriously, proud. I'm sure this game is going to make me proud as an investor, heck, I'm already proud.”
Malv – “I liked to see some action going on. Liked the fact that I was not lagging at all, and my fps was not dropping even with all the zerg around me. I can only imagine the possibilities once the engine is optimized. “
Gavyne – “Thanks for the fun today, had a great time.
-This build is a huge improvement from what we saw during BSC days. Glad to see good progress being made, it was worth the wait even though I initially didn't appreciate the alpha delay.
-Character creation is money, Banes & Boons add a great customization touch to creating your characters. It'll be awesome once we can tweak the looks later. Modern MMO's want to take you right into the game, I miss character customization that used to be there in MMO's like Asheron's Call.
-Spell system is awesome! Being able to see projectiles travel such long distance is really cool. Being able to use terrain & objects to block from getting hit is sweet and unique in MMO's. I've always liked the real-time projectile system since Asheron's Call days, glad to see it make a comeback with CU.
-Healer class is fun to play, this is a great start for healer classes in the future. There was a big difference fighting alone vs having a healer support behind me. This is good, it makes them a wanted class. Quick escape is a nice ability for healers.
-Caster class is fun & powerful, as Mark promised. Very vulnerable when melees get in range, but you take the bad with the good.
-Game was smooth when there were close to 200 people on the server, I didn't crash once.
-I saw shadows moving with the sun, good shadow effects.
Tizia – “I had SO much fun ! I made all 3 chars and was going to try them all out a bit. but could not stop playing my tank. :D and played for 8 hours.”
Blackdaze – "1. I liked the slower combat! I heard it was half speed of what you were expecting which is nice. Right now w/ the movement speed, cast speed, etc it was more if you were in the right place at the right time to hit anyone.
2. I enjoyed seeing all of the spells flying through the air, sometimes into nowhere, firewalls, pillars rising the ground, glowy pools of health, etc. It gave kind of an epic sense to the battle when there is all of that going on rather than directly hitting your target always.
3. The performance was pretty good, better than XXXX (MJ-I edited this out of respect for the game that was named) already which seemed to chug when there was 200 people in an area, even on a modern computer.
4. UI already looks pretty crisp and clean, still needs some tweaks but overall really good for this early. Probably the most desired tweaks for this early would be: numbered hotbar, cast time indicator, different chat room for death spam and a picture of your character on the UI.
5. Patching system works really good and the patcher loads fast.
Overall, I'm definitely happy at what I see! “
Coldsteel - "Congrats CSE the engine Rocks thus far, I love the physics part of the engine, it is like Andrew morphed an mmo engine with a 1st person shooter engine taking the best parts of both and getting rid of the trash. I enjoyed the testing. Going in I had braced myself for a low alpha build glitchy as hell and buggy, what I found was a fun game that was giving me 25-60 fps not bad for my 3 yr old gaming laptop. Had 6-7 hrs of fun actual play the mini map was fun love King of the hill type play! At the end of the day I am so glad I bought the forever package, but CSE team this being pre-alpha you have raised the bar high for yourselves, I have complete faith that you are headed to making the best game I've ever played. Keep up the awesome work!"
I could go on and on, but the forum thread is already 5 pages long. If you are a Backer, please head over to our Forums and check it out yourself. I think you’ll be very pleased at what you see there!
Well, that’s about it for walls of text, now it’s show and tell time. I will end this update with some nice screenshots we took yesterday. None of these screenshots was touched, retouched, or airbrushed like a super-model, other than to put our watermark/P.A.T. mark on it and/or to reduce its size for this update. We won't alter screenshots to make the game look better and In the immortal words of Damon Wayans brilliant Homey D. Clown, “Homey don’t play dat!”
As always, I want to thank our Backers and testers for their amazing support and for the team at CSE for their fantastic work to date. It is a privilege for me to be among a team of such great people, and the Community we are building with our Backers.
P.S. Now that we have a nice, stable build up for our Pre-Alpha folks, our team will go back to building and breaking new stuff. Internal Testers, you have been warned!!!! :)
As to the screenshots (these are at a lower quality for this email, our website will have them in their full glory)-
I’m pleased to welcome you to our first official newsletter for the Camelot Unchained™ community. We will initially be creating these newsletters as monthly peeks and updates on the game that your support is making possible! These newsletters will cover everything from the game itself and the people making it, to community questions, new contests, and beyond. The newsletter will replace most of my weekly (or semi-weekly) updates and do so with all the panache, flair, and style that we can muster. In other words, don’t expect too much! :)
In truth, we hope that you folks will love these updates as much if not more than the Kickstarter and website-based updates from myself and CSE. Now, I’m not vanishing from the community update scene (I’ll still be stalking the forums, IT chat, critical updates, etc.), but I wanted to find a way to get a consistent flow of information to the entire community, and this is the best way that I know how to accomplish that and still allow myself to do what I need to do on the business and design-side for the studio. We are, as always, looking for feedback, so please join us on our forums if you have something to say about the newsletter, including what you would like to see become a part of it.
FYI, going forward, the team and I will also be doing more video updates, Live Streams, etc., so I believe that the combination of these newsletters and those community updates will ensure not only that our Backers continue to get a ton of information from us, but that we set a new bar for the amount of open, honest, and direct communication between all of the people who want to see Camelot Unchained be a great game.
Thanks to Max, Jenesee, and everybody else who contributed to this, our first issue of the Camelot Unchained newsletter, on our Unveiled or which is attached below.
P.S. Again, please join us on the forums to discuss this and future newsletters!
After a bit of a delay in May/June, the BSC Days of July will be starting at 10AM EDT/2PM GMT today. For those who haven't seen our previous updates, this week is dedicated to our Backers, without whose support none of this would have been possible. We are going to have a week full of presentations, live Q&As, contests, and much more. Among other things, we are going to talk about our magic system, combat system, world map, and crafting, as well as technical presentations from Andrew and the team. I’ve attached the full schedule to this update, so you can follow us and participate in the contests at our social links, forums, etc., which I have added below. BTW, most of the contests are open to everybody, not just our Backers (though we have some Backer-only contests and giveaways as well throughout the BSC Days and beyond).
All of our presentations will be found on our YouTube channel later in the day that they are initially presented: https://www.youtube.com/user/CityStateGames
As I always have said and will continue to say throughout the life of this game, thank you to all our Backers. Again: Without you, none of this would have been possible. Speaking on behalf of everybody at CSE, we will never forget it.
Today is a very special day for both City State Entertainment and our Backers. It was a year ago that our Kickstarter successfully closed its campaign. Since that day we have continued to unlock our Stretch Goals and the total amount raised from our Backers and our investors (including $2M from myself) is now over $5.6M. None of this would have been possible without your help and we are so grateful for it!
This update, #99 is a rather important one for us. First, this week saw our reaching the $2.6M Stretch Goal which unlocked the Giant Races of Camelot Unchained. Over the past month we’ve been releasing various bits of concept art for the Giants of the Vikings and the Tuatha Dé Danann. As part of today’s update, here are two additional concept pieces from Michelle and Sandra that show the Arthurian’s Giants, the Golems as well as a possible race for The Depths™ and elsewhere. As always, I hope you enjoy them. First up are two of the Arthurian's Golems.
Pretty cool huh? Next up is a possible Giant for The Depths!
Next up are 3 concepts for other Arthurian Golems.
Another part of this update is to let you know that hiring for the CSE team has been going fantastically well these past few weeks. We have 4 new programmers joining us over the next 4 weeks as well as a talented young Web/UI designer. With these new hires (3 of the programmers come with significant MMORPG development backgrounds), our little team now is well positioned going forward. This means that our programming team will be at 9 people by the end of the month. We do wish that we had been able to find these folks earlier in the development process but better late than never. I expect that once the new people are fully up and running here that updates to the game and to Internal Testing will proceed much faster.
Speaking of Internal Testing, starting next week we will be inviting certain non IT Backers into IT (free of charge of course) as a way of thanking them for their support both on our Forums and outside those comfy confines. This will be an ongoing process over the rest of the game’s development cycle.
Next, we woke up this morning to a rather unique and awesome surprise from one of our Backers, FriarJon. He created a video (he wrote the lyrics and sang) that simply blew us away. I won’t spoil it for people so head over to our Forums or to this link here to enjoy his efforts.
Finally, and most importantly, we are in the process of preparing a very special event for Camelot Unchained. All I’ll say about it in text is that its working title is “BSC Days in May.” For all the details, please listen to the video, it’s much more fun that way! This is going to be an important event for Camelot Unchained and our Backers and I hope you all are as excited as we are by what we will be presenting this month.The video can be found here or at the bottom of this update. Again, you WANT to view the video, it will be worth it.
Again, our deepest thanks and appreciation. It’s been a great year and without your help we wouldn’t have even made it this far. So, from all of us at CSE and especially from Andrew and I, thank you all very much!