Afternoon Update - October 16th, 2014
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)-