Evening Update April 22, 2013
It’s time for Part Two of my “Building a world” update. Before we proceed however, a little housekeeping stuff. First, we’re getting close to that all-important final week for our Kickstarter. We should pass 1.3M later tonight and our numbers are continuing to grow, albeit a bit more slowly than we all would like. While I expect that we will get a last-minute surge, it would be nice if our surge wouldn’t have to be so large. From our end, we will be begin tomorrow talking more about the lore of Camelot Unchained, followed by the races, classes (including a description of the BSC idea I have for stealthers) and much more. I am hopeful that these updates will help convince some additional fence-sitters.
Secondly, our big reveal for the building, housing and mining systems in Camelot Unchained was extremely well received by our backers as well as people outside our group. We saw a nice bump on Sunday but as per above, we need to keep bringing in new backers.
Third, programming has been awfully busy with Andrew happily integrating SmackHammer's networking code into the Unchained Engine and Tim has been working on a demo of how the Building System could look in Camelot Unchained. I don't have an ETA at the present time for when they will be ready for demonstration but knowing them, it will be in the next day or two.
As always, we have the best backers in the brief history of Kickstarter. You folks are simply amazing!
Building a world – Part Two
In Part One of this update, I detailed some of the keys elements of the game’s building, housing and mining systems. Now it’s time to address blueprints and then talk about how all of this will play into the core RvR aspects of Camelot Unchained.
One of the unique aspects about Camelot Unchained’s building system is the concept of blueprints. Building structures in an RvR game like Camelot Unchained will certainly be fun in the beginning. However, if you have to manually and slowly rebuild the structures every time the enemy realm destroyed them, it could quickly become a “quit point” for many gamers. That’s why we are using blueprints to both enshrine the hard work that our builders do and to also make rebuilding destroyed structures faster (not fast) and easier for them.
Blueprints do not allow a player to instantly rebuild a structure, especially a complicated one. However, they do allow the builder the ability to simply “build by the numbers” as opposed to having to rebuild every cell, prefab or construct manually. Blueprints also allow the builder to get help, from his realm mates or even an NPC, on his rebuilding process (which speeds up the time it takes to build/rebuild a structure). There are two different ways that players create blueprints in Camelot Unchained.
The first way is by successfully creating a structure, any kind of structure. Once that has been accomplished, a player can choose to have the structure magically translated into a blueprint himself (if he has chosen to also study basic architecture skill), ask another realm mate to do it for him or to pay for an NPC member of the Architecture Guild (working name) to do it for him. Once this is done the player will be able to keep the blueprint, trade it, sell it and/or rent it out to other players. These plans are not skills in the traditional sense so you don’t want to lose them. If that happens they are gone forever so you’ll want to keep them nice and safe.
The second way a player can make a blueprint is through an architect’s interface. Using the interface, an architect can build a prefab and/or structure on “magical paper” and then build it himself or have it built by another player. This interface should be easy to master for anyone who has played “city building” types of games.
In terms of their overall place in the game, think of blueprints as items. They can be bought, sold and traded by players. Players can also rent blueprints to other players for a single use. A house built with a blueprint cannot be blueprinted, even if it is changed, to protect the creator of the blueprint. Players can also submit certain types of blueprints to the realm for review and, if approved, possibly included in “Realm Approved Blueprints” for other players to buy and use themselves. Blueprints are also discoverable - found in the Depths and other places. Finally, blueprints have their own levels. If a high level architect makes a blueprint, it will have some additional bonuses to it such as increased durability, lower production cost, etc. While non-crafters can build certain structures (based on the rating of the structure) crafters will simply be much better at it than RvRers.
Blueprints are an exciting aspect of our building system and we believe that they are also a nice addition to the genre, no matter what game uses it. To summarize, blueprints in Camelot Unchained:
• Can be created from combined prefabs + cells.
• Sometimes allow players to hire NPC builders (builder/player is faster, better though) to complete them.
• Can be duplicated if permitted by creator.
• Allow construction to proceed faster if multiple players work off the same blueprint.
• Allow faster and easier reconstruct/repair.
• Can be rated with crafters’ blueprints having a higher rating and RvRers a lower rating.
• Can be sold/traded & discovered.
• Can be approved by the Realm.
• Can be used as a base and then decoration/decals can be applied.
Since I first described these systems, there have been a lot of questions about how all of this fits into the core RvR systems of Camelot Unchained. Hopefully, I can answer some of them with this update but if not, more updates are coming.
First, each plot of land will have permissions attached to it. Players and/or the realm are able to claim certain plots of land and these permissions determine who and what can be done to the plot. Certain plots cannot be built on, others will allow certain player(s) permissions to do so and others will be tightly limited as to the item(s) that can be built on it. For example, to help discourage intra-realm griefing, a mine might have excavation permissions but not building permissions or the building permission might be limited to builders of a certain skill level. These permissions are not binary so expect us to spend a lot of time getting this just right as they play an important role in these systems.
Once you have permission to build on a plot outside of a safe area, that the enemy can destroy structure. Now, unlike as suggested by the video, the destruction will take some time, depending on how the building is constructed, what it is made out of by the builders and how it is reinforced. You won’t be able to simply walk up to a stonewall, swing your might hammer and then like Jericho, the walls come a-tumbling down. Strong, well-built walls will require a lot of force to make a hole in them, let along knock them down. You might be able to climb over them with ladders but also don’t expect that you can simply run a builder up to the wall and he’ll instantly make a stone staircase, that’s not how building works in Camelot Unchained. Building is not a slow, laborious process but it isn’t as fast as it is in games such as Minecraft. Frankly, if the system worked like that, it would discourage people from protecting structures and add in the likelihood of keep trading. If you can destroy a structure though, your side will gain some items from the rubble. However, rather than destroying the structure, you builders can help you deconstruct it.
Deconstruction is simply construction in reverse. Builders go to the structure that has been targeted for deconstruction and they take it apart. Deconstruction is also a skill so players get better at deconstruction the more that they use it. The higher the skill level of the builder(s), the more of the structure the builder will be able to recover. Accidents can happen during reconstruction so it’s not an automatic “I-Win” button for the victorious side. Players can also capture a plot, not destroy the structure and then decide to occupy and use it.
While builders are better at building and salvaging, RvRers can still participate in this aspect of the game; just don’t expect them to be very good at it! They can get better over time, before they reach the soft-cap, and cannot get any additional skills after that. RvRers can also repair certain items (“field repairs”) but their skill level will also limit them to what they can do in this regard as well.
An item that is left unattended will degrade over time whether it is part of the action or simply left in an open field. Areas that are also more unstable will have higher degradation rates as the Veilstorms will have a greater effect on them. This will help cut down on possible “builder spam” that could result as the game matures and builders have more resources to “play” around with. Additionally, the storms will also be a mechanic that we would employ in the event of heavily unbalanced server populations.
While mining in one’s home areas is a necessary part of the game, most of the really good stuff is found in the more dangerous parts of the world, including the Depths. Holding on to these mines and getting the supplies out, even if your time of control is short, is an important aspect of the game. While I know this will, at some level, encourage zerging - mining is not a fast snatch and grab operation, so the zerg will want to protect the miners and try to hold on to the mine for a while and that means stopping or leaving a squad or two to protect it.
Supply lines are also an important part of RvR. While we don’t want RvRers spending all their time escorting caravans of crafters and/or materials, the ability to weaken an enemy’s supply lines can play an important role in siege warfare. Besides the obvious advantages of slowing down the enemy’s building efforts you also get a new set of luggage for your trouble!
Finally, while we will have some ruined structures outside of the limited safe zones, players will build most of the important structures. Through utilizing a combination of crafters, builders and RvRers, certain magical items will need to be built. For now, let’s call one of these types of items, stabilizers (working name). With the Piercing of the Veil and the Veilstorms, the world has become a very dangerous place. These items help keep the world as it should be, fighting off the influence of the storms and lessening the destructive power of the storms. Realms will want to repair/build these items as quickly as possible to both strengthen their hold on captured territory but also to gain other benefits from them. These items can be housed in any type of structure but, of course, the more secure the better. Stabilizers are only one of many types of items that players will both build and protect in RvR; others will be powerful relics of another age or legendary items that were created by the storms.
Here’s a summary of how RvR and these systems are intertwined:
• Al plot have permission levels.
• Players who capture a plot have to weigh the benefit of Salvage vs. Destroy vs. Capture.
• Crafters are better at salvaging, and they gain bonuses for deconstructing.
• Destroying a structure means less resources gained.
• RvRers can build simple constructs to help in RvR. They can also repair, but not as good as crafters but better than NPCs but not as close to skill of a crafter.
• All structures/prefabs have limited durability especially in RvR intensive areas.
• Supply Lines are an important part of RvR as well. Players need to keep the supply lines open as long as possible to allow materials to flow.
• The deeper players push into contested area, the better the rewards.
• Structures (such as keeps) can be built free form or from approved plans. Plans can be submitted to the realm for approval.
• Player can sacrifice structures to prevent them from falling into the hands of the enemy.
So ends Part Two.