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Camelot Unchained is a counter-revolutionary RvR-focused MMORPG from Mark Jacobs and CSE set in a post-apocalyptic yet familiar world.
Camelot Unchained is a counter-revolutionary RvR-focused MMORPG from Mark Jacobs and CSE set in a post-apocalyptic yet familiar world.
Camelot Unchained is a counter-revolutionary RvR-focused MMORPG from Mark Jacobs and CSE set in a post-apocalyptic yet familiar world.
14,873 backers pledged $2,232,933 to help bring this project to life.

A More Epic Battle, and a Technology Mini-Roadmap (April 11, 2013)

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Good afternoon from Andrew! Thanks to all of you for checking out the video last night. Here’s a small update, showing the same engine demo but with 1000 characters instead of 500. Epic indeed! A few things I wanted to emphasize:  

  • Under the hood, we’re not drawing the same character hundreds of times. We’re actually loading up hundreds of copies of each model, because our game engine has to support hundreds of unique models. No two characters in the world should be exactly the same. We’re going to have a huge amount of character customization in Camelot Unchained, as I’ll detail in an upcoming post.
  • We’re still missing level-of-detail also known as LODing. Normally, game engines will have multiple versions of each model, some for up close and some for far away. When a character is 100 pixels high, there’s no reason to render him with 10,000 triangles. Triangles that are smaller than a pixel just don’t contribute anything to the scene, but they do slow things down. But right now we’re doing that, and fixing it is my project for, literally, today. That should get our frame rate up even higher, which then gives us room to max out effects and environments -- but those are things that we’ll fit in around the characters. The characters are the thing. They’re the reason for going custom with this.
  • The animation is really rough. That’s not the fault of the renderer. It’s also not the fault of our animators -- they just had a couple of hours to do a very quick take on this. For an example of what they can do, check out this trailer, which we did all in-house. Funding them to do that level of work on Camelot Unchained is a big part of why we need to do this Kickstarter.

Now, where we’re going with things: Over the next week, I’ll continue tweaking our engine and drop in an effects system. A lot of people have been saying “but how fast will it run with effects???”, so we’ll answer that for you. We’ve got a really powerful design for the tech, heavily inspired by something the tech director on Wildstar showed me back in the days when we worked together at Troika. (The game industry is a very small place.) A little story on that -- on one of the projects we had at the time, an artist came to me and said his level was running a little slow, and I found out that he’d accidentally spawned out five million invisible particles that were bouncing around forever. The fact that we could sustain that on 2002 hardware gives me great optimism for what we can do on modern hardware and taking advantage of GPU computing.

That brings me to the next goal over the remaining three weeks, which is to connect this front-end demo to the back-end server tech we showed you for “CSE SmackHammer”. When you can use DirectX 11 as a baseline (entirely reasonable for a 2015 launch), there’s a huge amount of work you can offload to the graphics card, and that’s a good thing for us. Right now, with 1000 characters, we’re hitting around 6% CPU load. That gives us all the room we need to do the kind of prediction, decoding, and lag compensation we’ll need to handle the networking for a ton of players and “real” projectiles in a very dynamic world. I’m looking forward to sharing -- and maybe even playing in that demo -- with you!

-Andrew

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    1. Missing avatar

      Michael Smith on April 13, 2013

      Looks good for an early test :)

      Also good news for going to develop it with DX11 in mind please also consider making it 64bit as well every gamer should be running a 64bit os these days and even more so in 2015.

    2. Missing avatar

      Jeffrey Paquette on April 12, 2013

      Man this looks great even with the basic animations. The stats at the top are particularly impressive.

      I know PvP/RvR is different from PvE for obvious reasons, but some things ring similar for myself. One thing that is similar is the size or scale of the battles. I am an Ex-Evercrack addict and the main thing that made the raids amazing for myself was the collaboration of 100+ people to take down a boss. The whole scale of it all just felt epic. As time went on in the MMO industry, raid sizes became limited to 18 or 32 or whatever they may be now in most games. I have tried the limited raid size stuff and in comparison it just felt like a group killing the yard trash before the big guy type of thing, lame really.

      What I am saying is the size alone of the RvR/PvP battles ahead will make them epic.

    3. Missing avatar

      Awkwardpain on April 12, 2013

      Hey, wondering about being able to walk through allied / enemy models in the game. On one hand it seems almost needed with the amount of people you want on the battle field. But, are what way are you planning on going?

    4. Missing avatar

      Richard S on April 11, 2013

      Glad he clarified those were unique clones so this would be the same even if they were unique characters.

      Very impressive! If this games keeps it up we'll be seeing battles like the one at the start of the Fellowship of the Ring movie with the human/elf alliance assailing Mordor. Only players will be controlling each of those figures - the mind boggles!

    5. Peter McKenzie (Mirelind Alb Merlin) on April 11, 2013

      @CSE team it looks AMAZING! Can't believe you can squeeze all that in on the engine. I literally am in disbelief/shock.

      Question time, will run speed or animation affect the fps ups and downs?

    6. Tenebrus on April 11, 2013

      Looks awesome. It looks like you guys are locking down the video and on machine processing lag. I look forward to see how you guys are going to attack network lag from large scale battle updates. I remember we used to hang just outside the border keeps in DAoC and could tell when a large raid was forming or ported in due to the fact there would be instant network lag.

    7. Curtis Miller (Gylnne) on April 11, 2013

      Wow, cannot wait for this Andrew, epic battles, 500 on each side? Indeed epic.

      Thank you and your team for pushing boundaries.

    8. boxfetish [Mr. Safety] on April 11, 2013

      @Bradley Daniel. Actually, he said 500 to 1000. And I am erring on the low end that spectrum because as they flesh out the game they may discover that it will be easier to meet the less optimistic number in the range given...

    9. Tom M. on April 11, 2013

      The frame rates didn't seem to faultier. fluid motion, in either the 500 or 1000 which is quite nice.
      I do hope that when trees and other solid objects hold to the same high value. i.e. the girth of the tree skin encompasses the region of the tree. (if you hide behind a tree you aren't forced to walk around open space to circle the tree)
      CSE I raise a glass of cheer (mine is JW scotch) Salute!!

    10. Harry Torque on April 11, 2013

      @Robert CU is realm-vs-realm, so you're always fighting other races and it will be easy to distinguish enemies - and TDD and Vikings look quite different, as I'm sure will Arthurians.

      What I'm a bit concerned about is how much memory does all that customization require. If there are a thousand characters, that's potentially 1000 helmets, chest armor, pants, boots, gauntlets, belts, weapons and shields. How long will it take to load all that into memory, and how much memory will it take?

    11. Harry Torque on April 11, 2013

      That looks amazing. Amazing.

      It's another thing whether it makes sense to put 500 chars or 1000 chars on-screen at the same time, and it just ends up being a big mess. Then again, maybe we'll finally get to re-enact some scenes from Braveheart :D

    12. Missing avatar

      Steel Thunder on April 11, 2013

      On the topic of the video, I absolutely LOVED watching the characters in the background move up and down the hills and into the edge of the crowd with no issues (no disappearances, stuttering, etc). I'm assuming, however, that there will still be line of sight limitations. What will that distance be like? Will we be able to see characters further into the distance than what was shown in the video? Either way, it was all very impressive. :)

    13. Missing avatar

      Steel Thunder on April 11, 2013

      @Jay Blanchard - I agree. I also miss the 8 man groups. :-\

      @Daniel Pixley - Running GW2 fine with both an AMD processor and graphics card on almost max settings. No major issues in WvW unless 100+ on the screen. Perhaps driver issues? I think I might have changed some buffer settings for my graphics card to smooth it a bit further. Also, I saw an improvement when I upgraded from XP to 7. Hopefully no one has less than Vista when the game releases or even when the game reaches Beta for that matter.

    14. rexbinary on April 11, 2013

      Right over the hill out of view is Stonehenge Barrows.

    15. Missing avatar

      Steel Thunder on April 11, 2013

      @Maxx Kilbride - Windows XP is the only popular version of Windows that doesn't support Directx 11. Both Vista and 7 are currently running Directx 11. Since XP's security patch support ends in 2014, anyone who hasn't upgrade by then will be hacker/virus bait. As such, it is a no brainer to use Directx 11 as a baseline.

      As for porting the game to Linux or OSX, we can only hope that WINE and other initiatives succeed in porting DirectX 11. It's that or hopes that at a later date they extend their engine to also support OpenGL.

    16. Dennis Wynjadal on April 11, 2013

      So does this mean we'll not have the good old DaoC "inc lag"? ;) Damn how will we be warned that there's an Albion Zerg incoming? :P

      And what about the lag ghosts? Will I not be able to confuse my enemeis by lagging all over the place? :(

      ;)

    17. Missing avatar

      Robert Lofstrand on April 11, 2013

      Looking good so far. Of course it will eventually need to render environmental objects, clouds and sun in sky, maybe weather effects, stray mobs and so on. But still 1000 characters even without the rest is very impressive. And I am further impressed that you plan to allow for lots of character unique detail but frankly I have never understood why this wasn't one of the things that studio's cut down on more. There is a reason that armies have historically worn uniforms, so you don't stab the wrong person. of course even that wasn't consistent and would depend greatly on if your kingdom was rich or not but historical variations aside, why not have uniforms when you go into formal battles? Perhaps with something to distinguish ranks easily but more or less, in a large scale battle I would think most people will be mostly concerned with who is clearly an enemy, not what armor bits they have collected. Perhaps I am wrong, but that is my 2 cents.

    18. Malorian on April 11, 2013

      @Tokajer I'd imagine that much of their staff are familiar with DirectX, I don't know how much more difficult it would be to do the work in OpenGL but it would be nice to have the option to port more easily. Since if this game is anywhere near as good as DAOC was, I'd love to be able to drop Windows (it's only gaming that keeps me using it)

    19. Ceph on April 11, 2013

      @Andrew
      How many ducks can battle at the same time? By the way there is one on your hat watch out!

      Seriously, Nice job , can't wait for this project to fund! Looks like epic tho g are coming

    20. KimGee on April 11, 2013

      @Mr. Andrew Meggs

      If you are like my husband, your favorite part of your job is coding. Making presentations to customers/clients? Not so much. I just want to express my thanks to you for the work you do and making video messages to us presenting your and your team's work.

    21. Rory Phillips on April 11, 2013

      Epic sieges here we come!

    22. Missing avatar

      Jay Blanchard on April 11, 2013

      I'm glad to see that lots of people will be able to occupy an area at once. Large-scale battles are certainly fun, to a degree. I had far more fun participating in 8man gank-groups than in large scale battles though. They were more focused, more challenging, more fun. Constant large battles get boring. There's less strategy, less impact of the individual, and ends up feeling like a meat grinder. And on the topic of group size, a lot of games since DAoC have reduced group size from 8 to 5 and I think that had a negative effect on community building. I hope you guys are planning on 8man groups still. Not only does a larger group size add more variability in composition (do I have room for 2 healers? maybe an extra dps?), it forces you to pick up people you don't know to fill your group, if you're short. I met a lot of people by picking them up to fill out our 8man, and filling in for others' 8man.

    23. Missing avatar

      Jiiub Rorgash on April 11, 2013

      for players they just said they are aiming for 500, which is really high and more then enough, anything above is just awesome tho :P

    24. Bradley Daniel Cavanagh on April 11, 2013

      @Boxfetish MJ has already stated he wants to optimize for 1,000 in a previous update or in a foundational principle (unsure which)

    25. boxfetish [Mr. Safety] on April 11, 2013

      @christian: game will likely be optimized for 500 simultaenous characters so I am not sure being able to render 10000 is really important.

    26. Don Kramer on April 11, 2013

      @ Jonathan - that means turning your tri count stats on while modeling. Always model in quads, it's cleaner and easier to work with / high poly.

    27. Don Kramer on April 11, 2013

      @ Johnathan - all graphics cards use tris to calculate geometry in video game engines. Quads is great for Zbrush / etc. However, because the graphics card renders that way, you should not just model in quads, but also look at your tri count when modeling at all times.

      Hope this helps.

    28. Don Kramer on April 11, 2013

      @ MJ - you managed 12m tris in constant movement + the recording software taking the video feed with zero LOD or optimization on those things? Hot damn. My machine would chew through that like it was tissue paper.

      That is -extremely- encouraging. :-). For any of you who are curious, a 1000$ machine under current standards would be able to enjoy this game. :-)

      Love it. Love it. Love it. I'm nerding out pretty hardcore ATM.

    29. Missing avatar

      Jiiub Rorgash on April 11, 2013

      well if it runs that well on a shitty mac book :P im not worried about my computer as it is now running the game, and really not worried as by 2015 it will be ALOT better

      its a nice tech demo showing a clear understanding that other games doesnt seem to have for its player base, even if told. YOU NEED TO DRAW ATLEAST 300 players without problems or your PvP will be broken.

      and clearly you know this fully well and with the future work its only going to get better. i think the problem will arrive with server and internet and not computer.

    30. Austin France on April 11, 2013

      what are your plans for threading and multi cpu support?
      will fps ever be affected by texture loading for instance or network updates?
      obv you can't really control fps drops due to paging cause by low memory conditions, just just about everything else should not affect fps

    31. Tanos on April 11, 2013

      @Emil: Game mechanics like damage does not effect framerate in general, but it affects network traffic and therefore can lead to experiencing lags, but for graphical reasons they should not be relevant.

    32. Missing avatar

      Kanishka Jayasekara on April 11, 2013

      Nice work Andrew. Good to see a DX11 title, I have been waiting for an MMO to fully use DX11 for awhile now.

    33. Missing avatar

      Emil S on April 11, 2013

      What about calculations like players dealing damage/loosing health depending on thier stats? Wouldn't that heavily affect the framerate too when you have so many people in one place?

    34. Missing avatar

      Tokajer on April 11, 2013

      Real cool Andrew!
      But why using DirectX11 instead of OpenGL 4.x ?
      please correct me when I'm wrong -> With OpenGL it would be easier to port CU to other platforms?

    35. Jonathon Baxa on April 11, 2013

      Hey guys, an odd kinda question for you here.

      As a 3d modeler in Maya I was always taught to use quads in all my models, no triangle geometry at all if possible. Supposedly it renders faster, because quads can be infinitely subdivided.

      I'm just kinda curious here, but is that design theory relevant to your character models at all once you take them out of 3ds max, and put them into your game engine? Say if your TDD model was made entirely of quads, would it render better in your game engine than with the triangles it has now, around the neck area and such?

      Also is 3ds max pretty much the industry standard for games instead of Maya?

      Not really a relevant question, I apologise. I guess I've always kinda dreamed to be along side a Dev team like you guys, creating games I loved. Getting a little too old to travel down that path sadly lol.

      I love the updates by the way, every single day I find out some more information that makes me like this game, and the development team even more.

    36. Missing avatar

      Ben Pierce on April 11, 2013

      @Evangelos The lag you are seeing is the fact that the animations aren't complete. The swinging arms are missing everything between the start and finish.

    37. dante`afk on April 11, 2013

      am i the only one seeing that this is lagging or kind stucking for a bit?

    38. Chad Stovern on April 11, 2013

      Super cool to see; especially since I have almost the same MBP as Andrew. I'm really pumped to see all the future updates as the tech progresses.

    39. Missing avatar

      Joshua Dyck on April 11, 2013

      Loving the updates and the fact you've learned from what was great about DAoC and also what wasn't. Can't wait to see more.

    40. René Skyggebjerg (Freudinio) on April 11, 2013

      Loving the updates and the enthusiasm. Keep up the good work. 950 to go! :)

    41. Tenacious on April 11, 2013

      I love technical updates, and I'm sure that should encourage people for pledging, keep going that way ! :))
      My guild just pledge the first GUILDMASTER SPECIAL <3

    42. Dan aka Boulderbolg on April 11, 2013

      Great looking stuff so far. I am really hyped for this project, and I hope the Kickstarter makes it. I am not much of a hardware guy, but I do know that some games these days run better on certain platforms (e.g. GW2 runs MUCH better on Intel processors; would I have known that I would not have purchased a comparable AMD). Are you projecting much difference in the game's performance based on the player's hardware manufacturer (Intel vs AMD, Nvidia vs Radeon)?

    43. Tanos on April 11, 2013

      Looks great, but as long as there are no world, no structures and no effects it is hard to say anything about the frame rate. But it is amazing what you have build in such short time, so i think it will even get better as it evolves.
      Just for my own curiosity: How do you make the characters walk around there, is it just a bit scripting?

    44. Zift Ylrhavic Resfear on April 11, 2013

      @ Ronald Edwards
      I'm using firefox and i didn't have any problem with any video so far.

    45. Brandon on April 11, 2013

      Awesome job on this! In just a few short weeks, this went from an awesome idea to being the beginning of something really, really cool. Good work.

      On to the next part, the fact that the ticker shows upwards of 100+fps during the scene where there are still over 300 enemies on screen at once is amazing. When the LOD is done, that number should even increase more, to probably ~125fps, depending on the scenario, right? That's incredible to think about, especially when I, as a player, think of raiding in the night against 200 or so other players/enemies, how epic those small skirmishes can become because of the high fps/low lag.

      Great job, again. :)

    46. Bradley Daniel Cavanagh on April 11, 2013

      @MJ and @Andrew - absolutely fantastic work! My uncle introduced me to DAoC back when it was fresh and I was a baby faced kid, and I remember my awe at 100 players fighting over the keep....what you have created has reinspired that awe. Really looking forward to this.

    47. Bradley Daniel Cavanagh on April 11, 2013

      If, seriously? They created the system and animations in under a month. Relax. If they decide to put in collision they will. This is to show that the created system can easily handle 1k players onscreen at a given time.

    48. Missing avatar

      lf on April 11, 2013

      not so good
      collision are still mising! ='(