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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.
14,873 backers pledged $2,232,933 to help bring this project to life.

Afternoon Update - July 29th 2013


Happy Monday all! While Monday is not most people’s favorite day of the week, I’ll try to make it just a little bit better with today’s update. We got a bunch of things to cover so away we go…

First, over the last two weeks we made three offers to people to join our team on a full-time basis. Fortunately for us, all three of them have accepted and they will be starting with us in the first half of August. Once they do, we will have a full-time producer (who also is a very skilled and experienced environmental artist, double-duty FTW!), a gameplay engineer (who also honorably served in our country’s armed forces for eight years, including two tours in Iraq) as well as surprise hire of a community manager (we weren’t even looking yet). All of these people fit in well with my belief in giving people opportunities not based solely on their previous experience in a role but rather their potential to grow into a role. That approach usually worked out quite well back at “old” Mythic Entertainment and I am confident that these people also have that potential. For those doubters among you, remember that when Mythic Entertainment went into development on Dark Age of Camelot nobody on that core development team had ever worked on an MMORPG nor even a game with a $1M+ budget. Hopefully we can have the same success with these and other future team members as we did more than a decade ago. Once they start work here I’ll do a proper introduction but I think the Camelot Unchained Community will like them as much as we at CSE do.

Next up is our first stab at a product road map. Once we have the producer onboard we will get a lot fancier with this but for now we want to start each cycle (1-2 weeks at the start, one month or more after that) with an update about what is going on in the studio and what are major goals are for the cycle. John Smedley’s crew did a great job with Planetside 2’s roadmap and we will definitely be drawing on it for inspiration. Keep in mind that as usual, this schedule will change as necessary and there will be times where we won’t want to talk about what we are working on. For this week, our goals are:

  • Complete deployment of first pass of Camelot Unchained networking code with documentation. Yes Virginia, sometimes programmers do actually document their code.
  • First pass at main server loop for Camelot Unchained. This is not the F# code that was used for SmackHammer but an all-new server loop.
  • Internal testing of a first pass at a CSE patching system. This system will be developed using SmackHammer and eventually deployed for Camelot Unchained.
  • Internal testing of a first pass of our account editor for Camelot Unchained. We’re almost there so hopefully by the end of the week we’ll be able to say that we can edit accounts more easily than we currently can.
  • Update to the Camelot Unchained website. We’re almost finished with a quick revamp of this so I expect that this will be an easy one to make.
  • Internal testing of the UI/web interface. We hope to have C++/Javascript communication working so we can push data to the JS layer.  That's one of the most important parts of the UI that will let us expose things like player health, party members, and other game data to the UI.  We also hope to break the UI up into smaller more modular frames than we are currently using.
  • Complete first art pass at the next race for Camelot Unchained. We have two possibilities right now (both are Arthurians) and one of them is definitely a little easier than the other but we’ll see. One draws heavily on a Scottish legend while the other, well, it’s different and also not so different at the same time.
  • Continuing work on main animation system for Camelot Unchained. This is an ongoing process and while there isn’t anything cool to show yet, it’s important groundwork for the game.
  • Continuing work on the building system for the game. As per above, nothing exciting to show yet but things continue to move forward.
  • Continuing work on SmackHammer client and server as needed.
  • Next Becoming™ story for one of the two Arthurian races mentioned above.
  • Complete first pass of updated levels for free version of March on Oz. This game will be released for iPads first and then we will move it to select Android tablets. Mea Culpa on this one, I wanted to have them done last week but life (and migraine) interfered.

We also have a number of other interviews for team members and I’m continuing to talk to a number of potential hardware/software partners.

Next on today’s list is a SmackHammer progress report and UI work. SmackHammer worked very well last week and over the weekend with improved performance in terms of memory usage and the new networking code. It’s not perfect yet but it’s working pretty well considering the limited amount of time we put into it. Late last week we made some tremendous strides with our UI/web integration. As part of today’s mass of screenshots I’ve included a shot that shows the integration of an IRC channel on the main screen.

Finally, it’s time for my favorite part of any update, new concept art. This week it is the Hamadryads and, as usual, our team did a fine job. This week though we had a special guest star as Mike Milano (our modeler) lent a hand in the process. Like most of the other concepts, I asked our team to let their minds wander but with some very different instructions this time. First, I told them to think of the Hamadryads in a different way than is usually seen for this type of creature. Secondly, I told them to study both Guild War 2’s Sylvari and the Dark Age of Camelot’s Sylvan and make sure that our Hamadryads weren’t clones, or even close to, those races. Also, the artists were tasked with incorporating many different elements into their concepts, including insects. What they did with those instructions is, in my opinion, quite interesting. Each of the pieces includes a reference to the thing(s) that they used as inspiration for the piece. We also have two “tail studies” as well since we hope to give the Hamadryads a tail attack along with other unique abilities. Oh, and before anyone says “You gave female Hamadryads high-heeled feet!” please note that when I saw those concepts I said the exact same thing to the artists and Michelle just looked at me and said “High heels are pretty. They also make them more eleganter!” and Sandra nodded in agreement. I bow to their artistic vision and note to that some of the males also have unusual feet. As usual, this is early concept work and there are even more pieces that will go up on our website. I hope you enjoy the Hamadryads!

That’s it for this week’s scheduled update.


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    1. Creator Antibodies on August 4, 2013

      I wouldnt be spending so much time/money on the website. I'm finding these updates more informative than event the forums.

      The Hamadryads look cool. I'm a bit wary of any feature creep on the appendages of any races you are adding. Think of the armour issues you will have if you don't base races around a common animation frame etc.. You don't want to be making a million tweaks to every piece of armour you put in the game to ensure that they work well for all races. Look at the Charr in Guild Wars 2 .. anything non-humanoid is cool and all but impractical for developing content for especially on the small scale that is Camelot Unchained.

    2. Creator Donald S Brooks on August 2, 2013

      Looking really nice and i like the concepts so far. Great job and kudos all around. :)

    3. Creator Curtis Miller (Gylnne) on August 2, 2013

      Very nice art work! Your team is doing an excellent job.:)

    4. Creator Kappen on August 1, 2013

      The males might need something to make them more studlious.

      SP02, 03, and 05 are simply inspired. You can see a race emerging there. Those feet were what I imagined when first reading of the Hamadryads in the text above. All the models are interesting, but some look like they may be a little too close to the TDD.

      As a suggestion, how about appendages that would sprout from different places on different characters, more akin to branches than tails? It would allow a little more variability and randomness from character to character. Also, maybe a growth period for the "limb", which could be relatively short, 1-4 weeks play time, but grow stronger, allowing better abilities. It could, however, be 'broken' in battle and have its effectiveness limited or completely lost. If completely broken, a new 'branch' could be grown, but maybe not necessarily in the same spot, and the growth cycle would start from the beginning. The player would have access to the rest of the character and abilities, but that one aspect would have to evolve again, and be a little different than the last time.

      Depending where it is on the model, different abilities would be available. Maybe below the knees (or knots, whatever they have), something that roots into the ground for added defense. A little higher, a whip attack ability (reaver-style), or a leafy-bush-in-the-eyes blinding attack like someone waving pom-poms at you. (j/k...sort of) And, just because two Hamadryds have limbs in nearly the same place, it doesn't mean they necessarily would have the same ability.

      This race also lends itself to camouflage, like the insects you used for inspiration. It easy to envision one of these guys being in a forest of similar looking trees, and just stopping and blending in. I picture the actual form hardening some and being fairly difficult to notice. It would come with a steep price, maybe a minute lockout on ability use or something, but a new level of camo.

      So many possibilities here. Congrats to the artists, once again, for "going yard."

    5. Creator Rob Greenwalt on July 31, 2013

      I stopped reading when I hit the "draws heavily on a Scottish legend" part. I cant wait to see what this is!

      Tha an seo math fhien!

    6. Creator Tyler (Kermichil - Hib/Guin) on July 30, 2013

      I love the insect look. I didn't notice the picture of the actual animal used for inspiration at first, but once I saw it; it clicked! Love it!

      Also, on the heals. I like them. They add a spindly edge to the models. Insects have slender precarious legs, I think the tripod type heals helps bring that out.

    7. Creator Andrew on July 30, 2013

      Looks good (especially 299944 and 299945). Now for the actual character models! :D

    8. Creator Telyn on July 30, 2013

      I love the overall look of the art. The tails are awesome. I have to throw in with those who don't like heels on the females. I can't imagine why women defending a tree from a devastating storm in the middle of a forest would be wearing heels. I like the tripod root feet, though, because those make sense.

    9. Creator Medwynd on July 30, 2013

      Definitely like the look of md01, 07, & 08. I think the wing concept of sp05 could be interesting as well. Since people seem to be focused on the feet, I like the heeled look. I didn't view them as a heel but more as a tripod type foot for stability. I didn't even think it looked like a heel until I read the other comments.

    10. Creator Sandra Snyder on July 30, 2013

      I like the "high-heeled" look on the female. That wing span is cool; could it be "shield" type weapon, poisoned maybe? I agree that tail whip could be some kind of weapon as well. Awesome art work. Great job!

    11. Creator Jagp on July 30, 2013

      @Sethman Imagine a liquid based race. They would be able to change shape for some extent.

      *whispers* Swamp monster race *fades away to the shadows*

    12. Creator Andras Szucs on July 30, 2013

      Sethman's question is quite good and I like the idea too. It could add to the customization a lot if certain classes would have altered bodies instead of having a shield and sword out. (maybe add it as a toggle option?)

      It should still be obvious to the enemy that they're facing a defensive tank of course.

    13. Creator Martial Marino on July 30, 2013

      Hi all,

      like this update, good concept art very much

      The seven is just awesome, good inspiration, good continuation in this way!

    14. Creator Laurent Vandesquille on July 30, 2013

      Very nice concepts indeed.
      I also totally agree with Fabrizio Pestilli's comment below about tails and wings.

    15. Creator Night on July 30, 2013

      The designs are really good! It makes a nice change to see a 'nature' based race that isn't all leaf-y. The insect-y look is definitely a neat idea.
      However I'm going to have to throw my lot in with the nay-sayers in regards to the heels. They look brilliant in the art, adding a special elegence to the designs, but... they look incredibly impractical. Perhaps if there was an additional 'side' heel? As sort of a stabiliser? That'd probably help appease all fans. Something more akin to SP-04/05 but less 'root'-y and more defined.

    16. Creator Austin France on July 30, 2013

      Loving the concepts, they are great. I like SP03 it just jumped out at me as awesome.

      Also excited that there has been progress with other parts of the engine, particularly the web/UI interface.

      I note you mentioned smackhammer server loop is written in F# and that your writing a new server loop for CU, is the new server loop in C# or F# ?

    17. Creator Fabrizio Pestilli on July 30, 2013

      I Like the less human variants (from sp02 on) better.
      Love the tails and wings, but IF they are there, they NEED to be somehow implemented into the game (wings do let me fly, tail lets me sting/slash/grapple/cling/whatever), otherwise it'd prefer not having them.

    18. Creator Tenacious on July 30, 2013

      Hamadryads concepts are awesome ! As usual, you did a great job ! :)

    19. Creator Bill on July 30, 2013

      Anyone else miss Mark giving these updates with a video? I do like the more concise, detailed text-based as well, but his enthusiasm got me more excited and I would like to see more video updates in the future if possible.

      Looking forward to the next 'Becoming' story. Loved the last one.

    20. Creator Strone on July 30, 2013

      thanks for a great update, mark! very informative. kudos to your artists!
      (and my two cents about the heels - while aesthetically interesting, they can easily end up looking grossly impractical, bordering on silly for a combat game. if keeping them in, please tend towards how they are depicted in sp-02 and sp-03, rather than md-08)

    21. Creator Shaz on July 30, 2013

      I have to be a nay-sayer, I'm afraid. I despise (and honestly, 'despise' is far too mild a term) the propensity designers seem to have to put female characters into high heels. It doesn't look elegant to me, and is as fitting in a combat oriented game as boobplate and plate/chainmail bikinis. I am so, so, so very sick and tired of seeing it in game after game. Apologies to Michelle & Sandra. :/ Other than that, the Hamadryad concept is truly amazing, though!

    22. Creator Truman Barney Arrowsmith Mid/Bors on July 30, 2013

      Loving it! I can't choose. Just put them all in :P

    23. Creator Mark De La Rosa on July 30, 2013

      Those bug themed woodfolk are so awesome. And I could see them having a lot of very awesome race-specific boons. 1000 times yes.

    24. Creator City State Entertainment on July 30, 2013

      [MJ] @Grumpy - You're welcome.

      @Fruz - Thanks! I hope we can get some pretty cool customization options in the game, especially for creatures such as these.

    25. Creator Grumpy on July 29, 2013

      @MJ, thank you very much for sharing the "product road map". Although I certainly do not "need to know" as someone who is very excited about the next few years, it is neat to be part of the process. If nothing else, to see where "WE" are going next :)

    26. Creator Fruz on July 29, 2013

      Amazing pictures ! A lot of instersting basis ( love SP-02 ), this makes me excited on how this race will interact with the game =). This could allow a great customization of the character too, with so many possibilities.
      Great job ! Keep doing that plz ^^

    27. Creator Sethman on July 29, 2013

      SP-05 is very interesting. The wing reminds me of both a potential weapon or shield. As well as the tails/stingers of SP-02 and 03. At a conceptual level, has there been any thought on whether a race's body could be a weapon/shield or a representation of a weapon/shield for attack/defense? Instead of actual items being displayed, the body is altered.

    28. Creator CU inc! hib/pry on July 29, 2013

      Damn! Amazing art and great to hear that you will be sharing some of your to-do list along the way. Also happy to hear that you've managed to find and hired some new people. They sound promising to say the least

      Good times ahead!

    29. Creator Grishnakk on July 29, 2013

      Wow, overall very impressed with the direction of this concept artwork and hoping that there will be the potential to mix and match tails with body types etc in character creation. Some great ideas here using some of natures smaller/less common creatures as inspiration.

      SP-02 has to be my favourite of the bunch though (Followed by SP-03). As for the high-heel feet, I'm of the opinion that it works on some but not so much on others. I don't think the heel is a concept that should be scrapped completely, but possibly just make it an optional feature for the race.

      Thanks for the update, as always.

      Hopefully can catch the next network test - I saw the post too late and by the time I woke up/logged on no-one on the servers. I was getting rubber banding w/ my 290-330ms though.

    30. Creator Pierre-Yves, Midgard on July 29, 2013

      cool. cool cool cool.

    31. Creator Ed B on July 29, 2013

      MD-07 is my favorite as a playable character. I like the artistic flair of SP-02 and I hope it makes it as a NPCs.

      Nice work!

    32. Creator Amine (Zubei) on July 29, 2013

      Really digging all of these. Tough to choose one really. SP-03 is probably my favorite though. I could see one of those as a Veilwalker for sure.

    33. Creator Peter McKenzie (Mirelind Alb Merlin) on July 29, 2013

      I like SP-03! Plus the feet don't bother me too much they kinda look like roots arching into the ground. Maybe some more focus towards making them more contorted and twisted could make people like them more :P

    34. Creator Collin on July 29, 2013

      Wow...just wow. I am blown away by this concept art, you all have done a fantastic job on this round of art. Really, just wow. I am so excited to see these ideas blossom and take life.

    35. Creator St. Pam of the Errata on July 29, 2013

      I love this concept...except for one detail. I -really- do not like the built in heels on the females. It was something that really, really bothered me about the Asmodian females in Aion. The rest of the concept is absolutely fantastic, though.

    36. Creator Tom M. on July 29, 2013

      All the artwork looks Great! Your talents have no bounds. Thanks for sharing your visions!

    37. Creator Tom M. on July 29, 2013

      A flying race! That would be kwel!

    38. Creator City State Entertainment on July 29, 2013

      @Paul - Thanks! Don't forget Mike M. too. He might not have any of his pieces in for show but some of the elements of his pieces were very influential. As to the Nvidia card, we're getting in some cards from them actually. They too are excited about what they have seen as have a few other folks have been. :)

      @Hjoranna - Unfortunately, that's not the case. I hope you'll come to think as highly of our new CM. As per the update, I wasn't even looking but she pushed herself into the job. I think you'll love her personality, energy as well as her love for Dark Age of Camelot.

      @Royce - Thanks! Using SH as a testbed for CU's tech will end up, I hope, being one of my best ideas.

      @Robert - I hope so!

      @Jagp - I'll pass that on to the team.

      @Eric - Glad you liked my story/direction, I just wish I was a better writer. As to the concept art, I know our team is thrilled at the initial response.

      @Laeesh - Glad you liked what you saw.


    39. Creator Paul V. Rotondi on July 29, 2013

      Utterly, utterly impressive. Once again, I'm completely blown away by the concept art. So many plant species with spiky or club-like flowers for your artists to choose from for the tails...Brava, ladies, Brava!!!

      I foresee a complete rebuild of my PC in my future...Nvidia Titan card and top of the line Ivybridge processor are calling to me...I want to see this at max resolution and all high-end options on. My wife will kill me by the time I'm done building the PC for this game, but it will be SOOOOOOOOO worth it.

    40. Creator Hjoranna on July 29, 2013

      Anyone else hoping the surprise community manager is Tweety?

    41. Creator Royce Love (Zenimer) on July 29, 2013

      I loved playing SH when the testing was going on, felt like no lag or issues with net! Also I love the concept art, all of it, rely interesting and honestly, looks right with the high heels look, over non high heels look. Great job guys, keep it up!

    42. Creator Robert Horne on July 29, 2013

      With that out of my system, this concept art is fantastic. If your game can live up to this art then I can see myself spending a whole lot of time on my PC in the next couple of years.

    43. Creator Jagp on July 29, 2013

      Awesome update!
      @MJ! Here is a nice tip: You and especially your artists should take a look at the Cerambycidae insects. They look really nice, they are very diverse and have a deep connection to trees.

    44. Creator Eric Reyes (Kenluin) on July 29, 2013

      Awesome arts! Awesome TDD race concept plus story :D diggign the different types of tails too:)

    45. Creator Laeesh on July 29, 2013

      addicted already =(

    46. Creator Roq on July 29, 2013

      The tails look quite long enough already. I'm sure that if I had a tail that long I wouldn't be looking for a longer one.

    47. Creator KPK02 on July 29, 2013

      I can just imagine the fun of whipping people in the face with a flowered tail. And I feel a bit silly. I actually took a moment to look up "eleganter" thinking it was some sophisticated word I didn't know.

    48. Creator Matthew Kramer on July 29, 2013

      My face when I saw the concepts : O_O

      My mind when I saw the concepts *kaboom*

      Mark, you've got an absolutely stellar concept artist duo there. They think so far outside of the "norm" without actually going so far outside of the norm that it's a turn off, that I can't begin to describe how happy I am.

      You know, as well as many others, how big a proponent I am for feline races. That = irrelevant right now. You've managed to make a dryad sexy. Drop dead sexy. That art = epic.

      Please pass this along to your artists. -----^

      PS: Those tails are wicked!

    49. Creator Tierless on July 29, 2013

      I like how innocent SP-02 looks, then you realize she has a stabby stabby in her tail.