Unveiled: Camelot Unchained Newsletter #16 - City State Entertainment
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Team Tidings

-by Max Porter

Well, happy end of November! For those of us that celebrated Thanksgiving, it’s an especially delicious and fun time of year. On top of that, it’s been a great month here at the studio, with tons of progress on the build of Camelot Unchained™ and a lot of awesome things happening. You can see how we’ve been knocking down our user stories here, and in our updates, how we’ve been conquering the obstacles in the push toward beta. Between all that and our livestreaming, not to mention our reveals, we really do try to keep you all informed on how we’re moving along!

Fall is fading, and the beginning of winter’s touch can be felt here in beautiful downtown Fairfax, Virginia. The bright leaves have mostly fallen, leaving the trees in their customarily bare Winter Court costumes. ;) It’s starting to get cold, but it’s cozy inside our office, where things continue to heat up with the intensity of the City State Entertainment™ team’s concentration. 

In the office, we’ve got a new UI programmer joining us. He sits next to JB by the windows, and his name is also James! With three Jameses in the office, we’re going to have to watch ourselves. He’s a cool guy, is very into lemons and citrus-flavored food, and has jumped into things right quick, updating the Chrome Interface Library. For more on the direction we’re headed with the game’s user interface, head to the Tech Central article further on in the newsletter! 

We’ve been running a lot of tests lately, mainly focused around the server autoscaling work that Marc has been doing. More on that in the State of the Build section, below! Overall it’s been going well, with bugs squashed and challenges conquered. It may not sound sexy, but it’s actually pretty cool to move through these development stages, knowing the fun things they will support in the end! 

There’s a lot more on all of the above in our epic-sized newsletter! Read on for news, articles, information, fun stuff, lore, and other awesome things. Please enjoy this, the sixteenth issue of Unveiled


We were super excited to launch the Camelot Unchained shop of swag! A lot of work by both us and our excellent partner Merchline went into making sure that we could offer the best possible prices and quality to our Backers. It’s been great to see all the orders pouring in for the cool stuff! Our first pre-sale ended on the 20th, but don’t worry, you can still pick up swag, until we run out of the total inventory we ordered. And we’ll be doing more of those sales in the future! 
We’ve been moving along well on our “Send More Programmers!” stretch goal, and that will get even better when we drop in the funds from Merchline after our swag sale! Thanks for the support, and thanks for pushing this SG forward. It’s an important one, and one that can only help, not hurt, the game’s development. 
As mentioned above, we’ve got a new programmer in the office: a UI guy! James is going to be working on making our game’s user interface awesome, and we’re very excited to have him join the team. We’ve also got some cool artistic folks waiting in the wings to help Tyler “build out the world with props,” as he would say. Exciting stuff! Here's a picture of UI master James:
Also of note is the new, much larger map we’ve dropped into the game build! It’s approximately 64 times bigger than the one we had been testing before. At 173.35 square kilometers, it’s roughly the size of Washington D.C., or six Vatican Cities! It’s a big jump up for the game build, and we’re pretty pumped about it. 


-by Jenesee Grey

This is where we talk directly to you, the Community!

Happy fall, Community! 

Things continue to roll forward! A lot of testing and impromptu testing has brought our Alpha, IT, and Beta 1 players together pretty frequently lately to try and break things regarding physics, projectiles, and proxies, oh my! It’s nice to see faces (well...usernames!) beginning to appear more often and getting to know one another, becoming familiar to us all. As people continue to play in the game they discover certain commonalities, and a few of our Backers have taken a shine to building together in C.U.B.E. They have even started working together on something called the “city planning project,” where they discuss Realm-building aesthetics, blueprinting, and ideas for three major cities, one for each Realm. The really cool thing is how everyone works together on the same project, adding their unique spin and skills to the final look. It’s a wonderful example of sharing talents to build something even greater. If you are interested in joining the group, which is getting revved up to begin building something new, please message Foggye in the forum. 

The art team has been really busy doing livestreams and updating the current races with concept art and 3D sculpting. Jon is even taking photos of some the team to use in his models, like the scruff from Mark’s beard for future male faces and my hair for the female Luchorpán! Come join us for more, and watch Sandra’s stream on YouTube for new Pict race concept art.

Now for a featured Community question! I hope you have been joining us for the class trio reveal livestreams lately. We will be changing up the Community question a bit to highlight my very favorite questions asked and answered during the Q&As, starting with the Devout Archetype. Not only will this give you a chance to ponder some of the information that flew by so quickly as Mark and Ben were sharing, but it gives those who may not have had a chance to watch the videos live or on YouTube a chance to hear some extra information! Thanks to Tarsir for his awesome transcription. 

So, here’s our first highlighted question and answer from our first class reveal stream, which was on the Devout trio!

Community Question!

Q: Will the Devout archetype players have to specialize into healing or damage? Can they be a jack of all trades? Or choose to focus on damage or healing?

Ben: Being hybrids, they sort of do a little bit of both. You can orient yourself towards one or the other, but since you are a hybrid, you need to be able to handle both of those. The HelBound is the Devout class that goes the hardest in one direction or the other, because they are sort of a dual mode class, in that you can go into life mode and you can go into death mode, and you can do different things in each one, and swapping back and forth isn't necessarily always a great idea. So they tend to have a little bit more of that duality than the other ones, but as this archetype, you are not meant to go one route or the other, you are supposed to be in between, you're supposed to be doing both things.

MJ: One of the things that people have asked us, and this really also started during the Kickstarter, was how can you make hybrids effective, right, because people always say or complain, depending on which side of the argument you're on, that hybrids generally are not great classes in many, if not most, MMOs. And what Ben said here--that you should be doing both--is really important, because that's one of the ways we can make them a viable class, right?

Ben: That does have a lot to do with how to make hybrids good, because in the instance where you have hybrids that are just not as good at DPS and not as good at healing…if this is the type of hybrid you're talking about, which we are, then you're just either a bad healer or a bad DPS, and why wouldn't you just pick a real DPS or a real healer? If you're able to do both of those things, and you're able to do them, more importantly, simultaneously, then you're not just picking one or the other. You're not just a poor version of something else. You're able to actually do more, and that makes up for when you're not doing as much.

MJ: Exactly, and that's really important for you guys to keep in mind, whether it's for this hybrid class, or other hybrids that we'll certainly be talking about over the lifetime of this game.

Hot Topics

The new, bigger map size (about 64 times bigger…174 sq. km, or roughly the size of Washington D.C.!) is the talk of the forums, along with the class trio reveals.

Join the discussion on the forums on our website to bring your thoughts and ideas to the discussion table!

Look What You Did

Really, truly awesome fan fiction entries for our Thanksgiving-inspired Realm celebration contest! Every entry on an imaginary Realm holiday was amazing and fun to read, and we thank you all so much for making us smile. Here is Failboat’s rhyming, humorous entry on a holiday for the Arthurian Realm: 

A time of thanks and revelry, where for one night we forget the wars we wage in Arthur's name...

Abbots craft and dispense a fantastic brew, unlike the Malorts you would drink with a Viking crew. Flame Wardens prepare the most epic of feasts, by roasting and searing the most succulent of beasts. The Enchanted dazzle all with their divine transformations, while Specters eat in the shadows to retain their spooky reputations. The Blackguards let loose, sans arrows this night, while Black Knights lament the moat that still gives them fright. Dread Callers are the most curious of cases, possessing their pets when full to continue stuffing their faces.

Wave Weavers captured then stuck in cages, form fountains of delight for those of all ages. Trees set aflame are catapulted towards the TDD lair, a sure sign of the apocalypse for the heathens dwelling there. Minstrels sing songs giving thanks for the meal, while a deranged Morrigan chucks calves thus providing the veal.

Though when the sun rises the fun will then end, as our hatred consumes with no chance to mend.

Awesome! For our next contest, well, we’ve already had some of the big guys up for some cool fan art. How about we show the little folks some love? Create some fan art for the Luchorpán, and show it off in the thread you’ll see pop up in the Fan Art section of the forums. Check out the Luchorpán Becoming™ story for inspiration! 

Thank You

Once again, Failboat spoils us. This time, it was with some stunning tins of Lebkuchen (special German gingerbread) for the team to indulge in, appearing in all shapes and sizes. Thanks Failboat, these traditional treats are delicious! 
Joyousgard popped in to drop off some brew, fresh off the manufacturing line, to make our weekend even more special. It was fun hanging out! 

Thanks so much for the support and sweet show of caring while we work on Camelot Unchained.

Dose of Design

-by Ben Pielstick

On the Road to Beta

As you may recall, back in July we regretfully announced the delay of our Beta phase of testing. Now here we are in November, deep in the midst of putting together all the bits and pieces we need in order to deliver the long list of important features that will take Camelot Unchained from a solid tech foundation to the first stage of an actual game. I realize it might be a little bit difficult to look through our ‘Beta 1 Feature List’ and imagine what the game will be like with all these new things in place. So, since we’ve been busily hammering out details over the past few months, I thought this would be a good time for a brief overview of the CU Beta 1 gameplay experience.

The first big change, as you might expect, comes right at the start of character creation. Though the choices will be fairly limited to start out with, you will finally be able to select a combination of race, gender, and class for your character from a list of those available to your Realm. The stats you select will all have useful effects on your character, and the banes and boons lists will get a big update, including many like those you may have read in our recent class reveals.

Once you’ve created your character and loaded into the game world, you will find yourself on a safe island in an early version of what will eventually become the capital city for your Realm. This doesn’t include what will later be a much friendlier guided starter experience, but we’ll do our best to provide instructions, along with some built-in videos, to help you get going if you haven’t been involved in our earlier phases of testing. From there things are largely up to whether you chose to play as one of our combat classes, or as a crafter class, each of which will have a basic starter set of abilities to cover everything you should need to get started in the game.

If you decide to play a crafter, you will have the chance to work through a basic version of the full crafting cycle, from going out into the world and gathering resources, to refining those resources into useful crafting materials, to taking those materials and creating usable items. Since virtually everything in Camelot Unchained is crafted by players, the things you can make will include many things: weapons and armor equipped by characters; structural building blocks used to create anything from a small house to a massive castle; and even a basic working siege engine to knock those houses and castles down. Each step of this process will start off simple, and the selection of resource types and items that can be crafted will start off small, but over the course of beta we will expand and enhance the crafting feature set to make the whole logistical process much more interesting, with a lot more options. Even what we have to start with should offer a lot to potential crafters who want a chance to try honing their skills and driving forward the war for their Realm.

If you decide to play a combat class, there will of course be plenty of combat to engage in, whether shooting enemies full of arrows as an archer, hacking and crushing enemies with an assortment of melee weapons as a fighter, or doing your best to heal and cure the wounds of your allies to keep them alive as a healer. To start off with, you will have a basic set of pre-created abilities from a list of starter components available to the class you select, but you can readily modify and build new abilities using those components, as well. As you use your abilities in combat, these components will increase in proficiency through a very basic first version of our progression system. After enough practice, you will unlock more components that can help you further customize your character’s ability set and refine your play style.

At first, this progression will only cover about a month of average play time, but should prove very helpful to those interested in getting the most out of their class. Over the course of the beta testing cycle, we will add far more to the progression system, in addition to making more classes available, as each one reaches a playable state. Though we will start with less in beta 1 than we will have later on for combat, initial testing will establish a strong foundation, and a lot of time will go into improving on combat and making sure it is as fun and engaging as possible as we move forward. When it comes to venturing out into the world beyond the safe island for your Realm, you can try going out on your own, or you can form a group with your fellow beta testers to roam the contested territory comprised of three unique neutral islands, plus one vast central island. This is far from the number of islands the world will eventually grow to have, but should be more than enough space to play in and get a sense of the scale of islands that will eventually be found in the game world. Though we will be offering temporary portal transportation to get between islands until we are able to get ships in place, the distances involved in travel within the islands will also be significant. To help with this for now, we will be offering some temporary speed abilities that would normally be the responsibility of classes that won’t be ready for the start of beta.

In your travels, you may simply set out to gather resources or hunt down enemy players to fight, or you could turn your attention toward our first version of ‘places of power’ to gain their benefits and secure them for your Realm. A basic version of our plot claiming and territory control system will also be available to allow you to choose a place in the world, and (provided you’ve accumulated enough materials) build yourself a home or a castle, or just about anything you can imagine within the limitations of physics, using our free-form building system.

Of course, building wouldn’t be much fun without the ability to knock things down, so you can also engage in siege battles to destroy structures built by players of opposing Realms, or at least knock holes in their walls so you can get inside and capture them. Don’t worry too much about enemies sneakily launching an attack against your home while you’re busy elsewhere though, as you will be able to hire NPC guards to keep an eye on things while you are away and alert you if you if they run into trouble. Guards can only do so much, however, so the best way to make sure your house is still standing when you return is to coordinate with other players and make sure your Realm’s territory is well-protected. You might even consider forming or joining a guild to help you out, and possibly lead you to join in on the large-scale battles involving hundreds of players that we expect to see on a regular basis. The ability to handle battles on a massive scale has been a big part of every phase of our testing, and will still be right from the beginning of beta.

So, although beta 1 will be far from a finished game, it will be the first time most of the major pieces come together in a way that is meant to be fun and exciting in addition to being stable and functional. We’re all working hard to deliver this list of important features, and looking forward to the day we can take the big step of moving from alpha testing to the first phase of beta. There is still quite a while before spring though, so for those of you anxiously waiting we very much appreciate your continuing patience and support. As always, we look forward to hearing from you on our forums, and will continue to send out regular updates on our progress as we steadily continue down the long road to beta.

Developer Quote

  “The world will continue to get real, fill out, and become the kind of world that I believe our Backers wanted to see from us." -- Mark Jacobs


-by Scott Trolan

Last month, we told you about the process of updating our current models to meet new texture map requirements. At that time, we had the male and female armored humans updated. As of this article, we have prepared the armored male and female Luchorpán and male giants for all Realms for implementation. So, we’ve made quite a bit of progress on that front! 

Below you can see Jon’s new female Luchorpán model. If you take a close look, you’ll see he used Jenesee’s hair for reference. Jon has plans to incorporate more references of CSE employees into character models, like beard stubble from Mark and Tyler!

Sandra and Michelle have made some outstanding concepts illustrating the TDD’s Silverhands. As you can see below, the concepts are an amalgamation of beauty and the grotesque, representing the bane and boon of such a cursed but powerful extension of one’s self.

Currently, Sandra and Michelle are at work concepting a brand new race: the Picts! You may have seen the first part of their Becoming story in a previous update. Also noteworthy is Michelle’s work on a beautifully dark promotional tryptic image, so look forward to that reveal when it is completed. 

Mike C. has integrated the use of Adobe Aftereffects into his VFX pipeline, and is hammering out mesmerizing new visual effects to meet Ben’s design document on casting, healing, and all things in between. Meanwhile, James K. is making progress on UI elements, and working closely with our new UI programmer, James H. 

Now, back to Arting It Up! Gobble gobble, everybody!

Tech Central

 -byJames "JB" Brown

A Less Gooey GUI

I'd like to talk to you about the new direction we are taking with our client UI development. I'll briefly talk about the choices we've made, how these choices help CU, and our path for the future. Lastly, I’ll talk a bit about how you have the opportunity to help and be a part of the Camelot Unchained UI dev team!

When setting out to decide how to structure out UI for Camelot Unchained, we looked at several different factors:
  • Maintainability: The most important factor, to me. Coming back to the code for the UI 3 years from now, will I be able to know what's going on? Will someone who's never worked with this before be able to work with it? 
  • Ease of Use: How much time will it take the average hobbyist web developer to pick up and go making UI mods?
  • Familiarity/Community: Is this something that is widely used and accepted in the web development community? Are there many users that are finding, reporting, and getting any bugs fixed? Will there be many community-made tutorials, videos, modules, and questions answered?
  • Longevity: Is this technology going to be around 5 or 10 years from now? Anyone who's a member of the web development community knows that there are new things popping up and others dying every day. I'm known for being a framework junkie, always bringing up new things I find around the web in the office. "Hey check out this new library, it's only a month old but does this awesome stuff!" When it comes to a long-term project, these "flavor of the month" libraries just won't cut it.
Instead of going to Plain Jane JavaScript (JS), we opted for TypeScript (TS). TypeScript, a superset of JavaScript, meets all of the above four criteria, unlike plain JS. TS gives us maintainability through modern programming patterns with ES6 syntax and a strict typing system, which--although optional in TS--we require in our internal development. If you know JS, you already know TS, for the most part. There is a very small learning curve in using TypeScript, as you have to learn the newer ES6 syntax if you've been only using ES5. TypeScript is getting more and more popular, it's being used in some of the larger frameworks now and I only see it growing in this area. Lastly, TS is a product of Microsoft and Google...yes, they are in fact working together on this. With the support of these two giants, TypeScript is going to be around for a while.

With that decision made, now to look into how to actually structure our UI with some kind of framework as a guide. There are hundreds, thousands even, of JavaScript frameworks out there, but we have a list of requirements already laid out to help break down the list into a much more manageable size.

After a review of the most well-known frameworks we chose React + Reflux. React is one of the newer kids on the block, with less than two years in the open-source world. It was developed by Facebook for internal use, but has taken off since its 2013 release and is now used all over the Web. React has a very small learning curve: After reading the documentation, I was up and running with React in about an hour! React’s component hierarchy structure makes it very easy to reuse code, and lets you really know how everything ties together, both huge pluses to maintainability. With the support from Facebook and other web giants such as Netflix and Instagram now heavily using React, it is going to be around and supported for a while.

The final decision: How do we put all of this together and how best to share code among different UI modules? To me, this one was a no-brainer. We'll use npm, node package manager. This comes with with Node.js, the typically server-side JavaScript runtime built on Chrome's V8 JavaScript engine. Npm has over 200,000 open source libraries in its ecosystem, the largest ecosystem of open source libraries in the world. 

Now, just "using npm" isn't exactly a solution. Npm is, after all, just a package management system. The solution lies in how we are going to use the power of npm! We broke up our shared UI code into several packages that can be plugged in as needed for use in any UI Module, as well as for use in a javascript based project outside of our UI as well. These packages were published to npm, so that they can easily be installed and used within applications from a simple single line install command on the command line, such as 'npm install cu-core,' to get our UI core library.

To glue all this together, we make use of our cu-build-tools library that was developed for the purpose of simplifying the build process required to handle the compilation of TypeScript, SASS, and bundling the npm packages for use in a browser environment. This awesome library was built by two members of our Mod Squad (I'll get into what Mod Squad is a little later), Saddie and Zamalak. They wrote over 9000 lines of code for the build tools while I helped add a measly 156. Thanks very much to you both!

That's a small glimpse into the decisions we made and why we made them, but what does this even mean!? How does this affect you? And why am I even talking about this? Well, these decisions are huge for the future of Camelot Unchained, at least when it comes to our UI. Now that we have met the criteria I listed above, we will be able to easily continue development on all aspects of our UI in the same way for years to come. 

Perhaps you have you heard from some studios that "we can't fix that or change that system because of `legacy code`". That statement really boils down to one of two things: The developer who worked on this is gone and no one else knows how to work on it, or the code is in a state where the programmers are afraid to touch it and break more things, be it due to organization, spaghetti code, or just the fragility of the system. With this system in place for our UI, you will not ever hear that statement from CSE. Our UI is being developed from the ground up to be clean, organized, readable, and maintainable for the long haul.

Now when it comes to community mod developers, they also have access to our tools, libraries, and source code for our entire UI. The same principles apply to them, allowing a mod developer to understand how our UI works and better understand how to develop new addons and/or mods to our UI. Mod developers can make use of the same shared libraries that are used on the official UI to save themselves time and make the whole development process smoother. Happier mod developers means more UI addons and mods for all!

Even more important for mod developers: they do not have to follow our UI development pattern. They can develop mods and addons using whatever web development techniques they are most comfortable with. Our libraries are also provided pre-compiled and bundled in plain JavaScript, ready to be consumed by their mods! This gives complete freedom and flexibility to community mod/addon developers, so they can develop in any way they want.

Our UI libraries are not just restricted to UI use! These same libraries can be used within community websites or even mobile apps (if built using JavaScript). Having an extremely open API and UI is something that we have talked about since the Kickstarter, and this is a major step in that direction.
Community mod developers are awesome, but there is even more that the community can do to help make Camelot Unchained have a great User Interface. That is where the Mod Squad comes in! The Mod Squad is a part of the CSE dev team, made up of community volunteers who work with us to develop the official UI for CU, along with several other projects. Recently, they’ve started on our patcher UI, going for a completely new look for our patcher with even more features, such as a built-in chat client!

Aside from the benefit of being able to tangibly contribute to Camelot Unchained, there are even more benefits to being a Mod Squad member. Similar to the Backer Rewards talked about by Mark a couple weeks ago, and previewed on the Scout class reveal stream, Mod Squad members also have a point system. Members earn points based on contributions made to the official UI, which they will be able to spend on rewards (similar to Backer Rewards, along with some unique Mod Squad cosmetics), pledge tiers, CU merchandise, or even cash them out for a check in the mail! We really want to thank our helpful Mod Squad members for their assistance in making Camelot Unchained great.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Mod Squad and putting your web development and/or design skills directly to use on Camelot Unchained, we would be happy to have you on the Mod Squad team! The process to join is rather simple, and you can find instructions on the forums in the "UI Modding & Hacking" section. Currently we have an amazing force of around 30 members who are actively working on several UI-related projects.

I look forward to seeing the amazing addons and mods developed by our Community as we get closer to release!


State Of The Build

 -by Brian Green

In a previous State of the Build, I wrote about the importance of good tools. Game programming tends to focus a lot on the visible and gameplay aspects, but good tools are vital in helping with complex programming tasks. Especially in a game like Camelot Unchained, where we are relying on technology to help us create large sections of the game.

One of the useful tools we use is metrics. "Metrics" is a term for programming code that will measure other elements in the code. For example, metrics could track damage and ability usage to provide information to guide future design discussions. This is important for creating a fair, competitive game. Metrics can also measure things like code execution time to find inefficiencies. This part is important for allowing Camelot Unchained to accomplish the goal of having large battles with hundreds of people on a side.

A great example of how metrics are helping would be the recent auto-scaling system that one of the new senior programmers, Marc Hernandez, has implemented. His first task was to program some ways to measure performance on our servers. Using that performance information, he developed a system so that the server can start up or shut down the proxy "mini-servers" that manage user connections to the game server. This allows us to dynamically allocate resources to servers as demands increase, but we don't need to keep those resources around during times when few people are logged on.

Metrics have also helped us identify some other potential issues with the performance of our code. For example, when we put a lot of the bots on a server, we noticed that sometimes the server would get into a bad state where some actions were taking significantly longer than they should. We suspect the problem is that some actions are taking a bit too long, and thus causing cascading failures in other actions. As I write this, I'm running a test where hundreds of bots are using very specific abilities to narrow down the behavior initiating the problem. It's a bit repetitive, but having metrics available speeds up the process and can provide information about where the problem is happening.

Of course, metrics aren't a silver bullet. The first thing to remember is that you only get measurements that you set up; if you're not measuring the right thing, you might not get the information that’s useful for addressing a problem. There's also a danger in measuring the wrong things. You might be measuring one thing that obscures the actual problem lurking in another area. Even if metrics show a problem, you often need to do a fair amount of investigation to figure out the actual cause of the problems you're measuring. Years of experience come in handy when dealing with metrics, because that experience gives you hints at what to measure and what measurements are important in each situation.

However, metrics have been a tremendous help to the development process so far. We expect that the metrics framework Marc has created will continue to bear fruit as we continue into Beta and beyond.

And, as is tradition, a selection of patch notes for the past month:
  • Put in new, much bigger map for testing! Here are some stats on it: 174.35 sq. km, a hexagon which is 16.384 km from corner to opposite corner. Roughly the size of Washington D.C., or six Vatican cities! 
  • Added dynamically scaling proxies. Proxy servers should start up when existing proxies come under load, and should shut down when not needed.
  • Improved mesh simplification greatly.
  • We updated to a new version of PhysX on the server and refactored the server-side physics.
  • Found a bug in PhysX that was causing projectiles to collide and blow up when not actually hitting a target. Thanks to our partner Nvidia for a speedy fix!
  • Added bounding boxes to entities for more accurate spatial state queries.
  • Plots now have flags on their corners in order to show ownership.
  • Fixed a bug where non-projectile abilities (notably abilities using the Touch or Direct components) were not triggering cooldowns.
  • Friend and Enemy target UI elements were updated to the new UI system.
  • Fixed crash when people were jumping off the edge of the world.
  • Block selection range is now 4x bigger in each axis.
  • Improved bot behavior to make them a little less "crazy". It was for their own good. I'm sure they will never come after us for revenge.

Backer Spotlight

-JB asks Saddie

For this month’s spotlight, we feature one of our awesome Mod Squad folks: Saddie! As you may have read above, the Mod Squad is an official group of community volunteers who are all about making the UI for Camelot Unchained awesome! JB posed a few Q’s for Saddie’s A’s on the subject.
Q: Why did you join Mod Squad?
A: I joined Mod Squad because i love the concept of building a UI out of the web. Using the web as a platform allows us to make use of all the tools and libraries out there, saving us time which we can spend on the UI itself. I was also extremely interested that Mod Squad would be building the UI out of new technologies (things like Node.js, browserify etc.) without having to support legacy web browsers (as the client is all chrome)

Q: How have you contributed to Mod Squad thus far?
A: So far I have contributed towards the module build system, generation tools to speed up development and some development on the core libraries. Most of my time has been spent adding features and fixing issues with the Build System. The build system (is not the most exciting project in the UI) was one of the first projects I contributed towards. It allows all other libraries and modules to be compiled and developed. I have worked alongside a few other Mod Squad members to get this system working and across different OS's and setups.
Q: How do you feel about contributing "free" work on CU?
A: I feel great about donating "free" time to CU. I want CU to have a really great UI, I believe that my time/effort along with all the other contributors will help that happen. By allowing people to collaborate and contribute to the UI, CU will be able to have many more hours put towards the UI than would otherwise be possible.
Q: Have you done anything similar to this before? Do you do this kind of work professionally as well?

A: I have a background in Web/App development and have been working with the web for a number of years. I have a strong interest in Open Source projects and have made contributions to various projects along with managing a handful of my own open source libraries/tools. CU will be the first time I get to build anything "game" orientated, even if it is only the UI, which should be fun.
Q: What are you currently working on with Mod Squad?

A: I am currently working on an updated PerfHUD module, which will combine the Net/Phys/Perf HUDS all into one window along with allowing users to minimize/maximize all the information. This new HUD should hopefully make it easy to add new debugging windows/pages into the same space, which will be useful if there are new types of debugging information that need to be displayed in the future.
Q: How do you feel the concept of the Mod Squad will affect CU in the long term?

A: I believe that Mod Squad will be able to look after the UI as the Game grows. Hopefully the UI will be kept up to date and fresh. In 3-4 years the UI should be up to date with the "then" latest web technologies, allowing the UI to always feel "New".
Q: What are you looking to get out of being a Mod Squad member?

A: A Great UI! I am looking to have fun working on a Game that is of great Interest to me, along with having other people to discuss ideas on new improvements or mods. 

Lore Corner

-by Max Porter

Behold the continuation of the Tales of the One True City story, penned by Mark Jacobs and edited by Max Porter! This story provides background for one of the most important parts of the Camelot Unchained world--Camelot itself, the “One True City!” This part of the story picks up right after the events of parts one and two. Please enjoy!

 Tales of the One True City - Part 3

The passage was well-hidden in a niche behind a massive pillar in the corridor outside Arthur’s sleeping quarters. It was so narrow it was almost invisible unless you knew it was there. Or unless someone with the curiosity and razor-sharp senses of a Cait Sith happened by.
The couple made their way into the dark and twisting tunnels, which traversed the space between walls and floors in dusty nooks and crannies dimly lit by tiny cracks between stones. They passed through the outer keep and around a bailey, over the kitchens and between barbicans to the inner keep. It was very cold in the passage, and snowflakes drifted in through the eyeslits to settle softly here and there on the stone floor. 
Sigurd’s chambers were only slightly warmer. The heap of burning logs in the enormous fireplace was balanced by the great window thrown open to the frosty weather. Grey and orange light glinted on the gold-tasseled pillows on the bed and the silver-handled knife collection laid out on a richly carved ebony table.
Sigurd burst up from a leather chair by the fireplace, a huge axe in his hand. His eyes were wild, and he let out an inarticulate roar of surprise. When he saw who it was, however, he laughed. “My Dvergar architects won’t be happy you found that. You have an interesting idea of the laws of hospitality, my brother.” He kept the axe raised. 

Gwen grinned sharply and proffered her furry hand in a graceful gesture. “Sorry about that, Sigurd. We needed your full attention, in private.”

Sigurd glanced at the fireplace and sank back into the sagging leather chair with a heavy sigh. “Alright, if you must. Have a drink, it’s all that’s left of my new brew.” He waved them over to the chairs nearby. 
Handing the Cait Sith a mug of steaming-hot beer, Sigurd eyed Arthur thoughtfully. There was an edge to his voice now, unrelated to the heavy drinking he had somehow already managed to accomplish. “So tell me, brother. What is so important that Gwen had to disrupt my court today?”
“Come now, Siggy. You know damn well you had no more interest in holding court today than you ever do. Gwen did you a favor. You had some excitement, knocked over your chair on purpose, and now you intend to drink yourself blind for the rest of the night,” Arthur replied, as he sipped the hot drink from his silver goblet. The mulled beer wasn’t half bad; a mix of cinnamon and cloves, with other spices underneath, made it strong and bittersweet. It was a nice change from Sigurd’s usual attempts to come up with new combinations of ingredients to make his brothers violently ill. 
The king of the Vikings drew his thick red eyebrows together, his mouth set in a hard line. “Never call me that, little brother. Makes me sound like one of your dogs in the kennel.”
“Little?” Gwen took a full swig of mulled beer. “We may be in your frozen wasteland, but that is not how you refer to this king.” 
Sigurd’s brows drew closer together. He growled like a big cat himself. “It’s a term of endearment. Besides, he is little, compared to me.”
“At the rate you are going, brother, so will a second-stager,” said Arthur, referring to a mature Golem of his Realm. “You really need to cut back on your indulgences a little.”
“Indulgences,” roared Sigurd, “Are you mothering me? Do you need that title in addition to king, wise man, and creator of the Edicts? What next, I wonder? The once and future king of the world?”
“Oh, stop it, Sigurd,” said Arthur, “You know damned well that I had nothing to do with that silly myth. I have no interest in ending the Grand Bargain. Besides, that is what I came here to discuss.”
Nodding in acknowledgement of Arthur’s deference to the kingship that the three brother-kings shared over the land, Sigurd relaxed in his favorite chair with a thunderous “Harrumph.” Arthur smiled inwardly at that noise, because for all of Sigurd’s bluster, that sound and the manner that his brother sat in the chair resembled nothing so much as one of his great hounds after a long day. Sigurd continued,“Yes, brother, I’ve gotten heavier over the last few decades...but that’s because I have to spend so much of my time at the damn court instead of the Stormlands, doing what I do best: killing abominations. So tell me, brother. What is your latest scheme?” 
Arthur placed his now-empty goblet on the table next to him and glanced at Gwen for strength. He took a deep breath. “We are running out of arable land faster than we expected, and our Realms are growing ever-larger, now that folk no longer die of age or disease. The people need somewhere to go, and they need it tomorrow, not next year, and certainly not in decades. You cannot deny the truth of this.”
“Bah! It is you and our other brother who needs the arable land. My Realm’s population is nearly stable, and we reclaim all the land we need to grow,” said Sigurd. 
“That is because many of your people live underground or in the high mountains, and run around doing all manner of fatal things, just to prove their bravery,” said Arthur, “You know damned well that the children of Danu cannot live there, and neither can many of my Realm. Stop acting like you don’t understand, brother. I know you do.”
“So what? Yes, I know my people are stronger. I forged this land and its people, as you forged your own,” replied Sigurd, “Is it my fault your people are weaker than mine? Why should they suffer for your mistakes?”
Gwen put her goblet down on the table with a sharp clink. Her hazel eyes had changed to a piercing yellow as she leveled her gaze at Sigurd. “Arthur’s mistakes? You bloated, bearded, ball of a man! Our people are anything but weak, and you know it. How many times have we come to your aid? How many battles did we fight where you and your damned horde would rush into battle like mice to cheese? Just listen to what he has to say!”
“Bloated?” roared Sigurd, “Bloated? I’ll run circles around you before I split you in two!”
“By the looks of you, brother, the only running you’ve been doing lately is to the brewers and the butchers!” said Arthur, rising to his feet. His hand dropped down, perilously close to drawing the sword Excalibur from its sheath. Gwen was already tense, her claws clenched on the arm of her chair.
“I will have at you now, little brother,” said Sigurd with a voice like ice, rising to his full height. He loomed over them like a red-haired mountain.
“Boys! Stop that nonsense right now,” said a familiar voice. It was Brynhildr, Valkyrie and wife to Sigurd. The two brothers froze, and the hackles that had risen on Gwen’s neck relaxed slightly. However, there was something in Brynhildr’s tone that reduced the two Storm-brothers to looking like two young boys who had been caught with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar.
She stood almost as tall as Sigurd as she entered the room at a slow, regal pace. Her wings shimmered, raised to their full glory, and she did not look pleased. She nodded to Gwen and turned her dark eyes on Arthur. “Tell me of your grand plan, also.” 
Arthur took a deep breath, and forced himself not to glance at Gwen. He could feel her eyes on him, willing him to speak. “Remember, brother, the land that sank beneath the seas. It was good land, fertile, and not tainted by the Veilstorms. I can take a third of my working stabilizers and use them immediately.” 

There was a long pause. 

“To do what?” roared Sigurd, “Make more fertile land on the bottom of the ocean?”

“No. I must speak with my Council of the Wise, but I believe that if we put certain stabilizers underwater, they will be drawn to other stabilizers on the surface. It’s a matter of aligning them properly and pouring power into them. There would be some sacrifice involved.”

“Now this gets interesting! Who do we get to kill?” said Sigurd.

“Yes Arthur, do tell. Who will pay the price for this new adventure?” said Brynhild warily.

“I will pay the price,” said Arthur. 

Gwen sat up stiffly. She wasn’t prepared for this. “No, you will not,” said Gwen firmly, “Our people will stand firm on that. They will willingly give their lives to save yours. Besides, I will not permit it.”

“There is nothing to be concerned about, my love,” said Arthur smiling, “The sacrifice is a small one, and one I can make easily. I am the youngest of my brothers and it is my duty.”

“It’s bold, Arthur,” said Brynhildr at last. 

Gwen said loudly, “Daring, as befits a Storm-brother and king.” 

“Arthur,” said Brynhild, “How do you know this will work? And if it does, what comes after that? I know you king of the Britons, brother to the best man in the world. You play a deeper game than you’ve shown.”

“If my brothers choose to join me, we will then raise additional land to share between us. And, in the center of this risen land, we will build the greatest city in the world,” said Arthur, his words filled with conviction and his eyes gleaming with madness or faith…or possibly both. 

Sigurd grunted, and collapsed back into his chair, which shuddered and nearly collapsed. “You ask me to give up my stabilizers to raise new land that my people do not need? To build a city that I do not want? Why? This is not bold, it is insanity!” 

Brynhildr raised a wingtip toward her husband, who leaned back as though in fear she would strike him. “This world lost its sanity a long time ago. But,” she added, this time aiming a wingtip at Arthur, “Would Sigurd be expected to sacrifice some of himself as well?”

“There is no denying that sacrifice is required,” said Arthur, “Again, I will consult my Council, but once we raise a third of the land, the sacrifice required will be greatly lessened. For the final third, almost no sacrifice will be required.”

“Hah! You think that you are better than me, and want to play the role of the noble King Arthur who saves us all,” said Sigurd, “Sacrificing more of yourself to raise the land, so you can tell your people of your great deed.”

“No, not at all!” said Arthur.

“Playing at the once and future king, eh? I thought you had enough of that!” 

“Sigurd, all I was…”

“You think me dumb because I am strong, that you can trick me?”

“...trying to do was…”

“That I am some fool.”

“...save you some years because I am the youngest and…

“A catspaw for your Gwen, perhaps!”

“I love you and my other brother dearly!”

As the tempers and temperature in the room continued to rise, Brynhildr walked to one side, motioning that Gwen should move with her, and Gwen complied reluctantly. As the Storm-brothers continued to yell, Brynhildr, wife of Sigurd, mother of the Valkyries, Queen of the Vikings, raised her wings to full extension. She began chanting and her wings glowed white. As great power flowed through her wings, the room’s temperature dropped. Two white spheres appeared by her hands. She hurled these orbs at the two kings…

Who were struck by two old-fashioned snowballs, right in their glowing red faces. Dismayed and angry, the men turned towards Brynhildr, their eyes glowing dangerously. Unfazed, Brynhildr unleashed another volley at them. Gwen, retaining her poise and dignity as a proper Cait Sidhe should, remained regal and silent. However, her tail was another matter. She made a snowball herself, and hurled it at Brynhildr. 

As the snowballs started to fly, raucous laughter was heard by the room’s attendants, who had, as usual, been listening in on the conversation. The troop of men they had secretly summoned in case of bloodshed relaxed and went back to their barracks.

Hours and some wet clothes later, the conversation resumed.

“I’m not saying it can’t be done,” Sigurd growled still a little grumpy. “But even those beyond the Veil would call this madness. Even if I went along with you, and sacrificed our greatest treasures to raise a new land from beneath the ocean, what then? We fight over who gets to live in the city?”

“A fight we would win,” Gwen muttered, unhelpfully. 

“Is that what you seek Arthur? Another war?” asked Brynhildr, but she already knew the answer.

Arthur’s eyes burned with a passion that even Gwen had rarely seen. The deamhan in his blood was pushing him onward.  “No, never. I want the city to belong to all of us. To my brothers, their Realms and mine. Our people will work together to build this city and it will be the seat of power for all of us. In that city, we will put a table that is round, with none of us at its head. That city will be called Camelot and it will be the One True City in the world. Moreover, as brothers we will rule from the city together until eternity ends or our final rest begins.”

Before Sigurd could rise to that comment, Arthur continued, “There are more and more people to support on the land that remains. We are, for the first year in eons, truly running out of time.”
Sigurd snorted. “No, you are running out my patience. My…”
“Husband,” said Brynhildr softly, “Wait. Please, for me, be silent for one moment.”
Sigurd was taken aback by his wife’s soft words. It was utterly unlike the fierce warrior-woman he married. He was silent.

“Arthur,” said Brynhildr, “How do you know this will work? And if it does, what comes after that? You are Sigurd’s brother, and should know the insult you have given.”
“I truly do not know for certain if it will work. It should work. Must work. However, I don’t know the outcome. I can promise you this: I will risk my people’s land first,” said Arthur, “Regardless of what my brothers choose to do, I will take the stabilizers from my lands and have them placed deep within the ocean.”
Gwen hushed Sigurd before he could answer, whispering, “Arthur speaks with Myrddin’s voice. The voice of prophecy.”

“Be forewarned,” Brynhildr added sternly. My support of your plan has a cost to you, Storm-brother. You must swear an oath that you intend no treachery, no matter how well concealed, or how well-meaning, towards this new land and city. That every word you spoke today is true and that you will not seek to control this new city of yours, once it is built.”

Gwen’s already impressive hackles were raised even more by Brynhildr’s choice of words, but she said nothing. She would not forget.

“Easily done,” said Arthur, quickly drawing Excalibur dropping to one knee. He held the tip of his beloved sword a short distance above the ground. 

“I swear by the sword Excalibur, as King of All Britons, and as Storm-brother, that everything I said today is true. I further swear that I will not seek to rule these new lands and the One True City.”

“While they stand,” added Brynhildr.

“While they stand,” Arthur repeated. He put the palm of his left hand under the sword. He then pierced his own hand, and blood flowed freely from the narrow but deep wound, spilling onto the flagstones. 

“I swear this all by blood, power, and soul!” he said, and with those words the blood on the ground glowed brightly as Arthur’s own power and soul flowed into it. The blood pooled and puddled into the shape of a small puzzle with interconnected pieces.

“So it is done,” said Arthur, picking up the hardened puzzle and handing it to Brynhildr. 

Brynhildr accepted the OathSign, bowed slightly, and folded her wings. “It would be a new life, Arthur. One we do not yet know.”

“Hm. Indeed.” Sigurd rubbed his chin and locked eyes with his brother. “But the Vikings have never feared the unknown.” At long last, he nodded. 

Arthur leaned back in his creaking leather chair, exhausted. If this was what it took to bring Sigurd along with him, how in the name of god was he going to convince his other brother? 

Seek for the answer in Tales of The One True City part 4!

Bonus Images!

We couldn’t let you go without showing you some of the truly amazing C.U.B.E. projects by Gnôl Neanias. This Backer has taken on a “fortified town”, and is producing buildings that can only be called works of art! 
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