Unveiled: Camelot Unchained Newsletter #5 - City State Entertainment
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Team Tidings

-by Max Porter

Welcome to our fifth newsletter, which happens to be the last one of the year. Happy holidays to you all, if you have some you’re celebrating! 

It’s been a great final month in an exciting year. We’ve come quite a long way, and though there’s a good distance to go yet, we can look forward to lots of big things to come. 

We’ve been punching out out P.A.T. checklist items like prizefighters, all while doing our absolute best to keep open lines of communication with our wonderful Backers. Over the last year, we’ve hit all kinds of awesome Stretch Goals for Camelot Unchained™, from giants to the Bounty System, and even one to bring on a Writer, a goal very near and dear to me :). Now we’re in the midst of The Sound Engineer Cometh, which is coming along nicely. 

There are so many developments to talk about with our latest builds and announcements, I hardly know where to begin. How about putting in stamina, as an alternative resource to health, or the very beginnings of a building system? Then there was the recent release of the Drengr vision document, detailing the wide-open Path system that Mark is proposing for classes in Camelot Unchained™. Things have really heated up here at City State Entertainment™, even as the season has gotten colder. You can find out more as you dig into the juicy newsletter below. 

We’re going to be on a bit of a break here over the holidays, only to come out swinging once again next year. Many thanks if you are one of those cool folks who have decided to support us! As a small gesture of our gratitude, please enjoy this, the fifth issue of Unveiled. 
As a special treat from Andrew Claus Claws, here's a screenshot from a build embraced by winter's blanket! The Frost Giants sure are happy this year. 

Dragon Accident Report

We always try to stay on top of the latest news regarding the dangerous creatures that have reportedly been haunting the skies in recent months. However, some of our good people have been laid low by what must have been a close brush with one of these creatures, as they have been out of the office for some days. Without their support, news is limited on the latest accidents. Speculation is running rampant that one of these mysterious entities planned all of this, and manipulated events such that disease spread throughout our ranks. We ask that citizenry keep an eye on the skies, and make sure to beware infection. Enjoy an accident-free holiday season! 


As we passed the halfway point of our stretch goal The Sound Engineer Cometh, we also neared a milestone $3M in donations. “Thank you” doesn’t begin to express how we feel about the opportunity to make this game for you folks! 

As promised for the Sound Engineer, we’ve released a clearer description of the job. If you’re interested in making amazing audio for Camelot Unchained, take a look! 


-by Jenesee Grey

Welcome to the section where we talk directly to you, the Community! Here is where I take your thoughts on the forum and attempt to give you more information on some of those unanswered questions!

Q. Which classes (actual classes, not archetypes) have been confirmed so far?
Everything seems to be a "concept" so far and might be changed. Can we expect some information on the first few classes before Christmas? (Presents?!) -Endoria

Lets take a look at the word Archetype, because that might help clear up some misconceptions. Among other things, Wikipedia tells us it means “forms which embody the fundamental characteristics of a thing," or a "'pattern,' 'model,' or 'type.'" There will be one archetype per class per realm. Right now we are looking at Mage, Healer, Support, Archer, and Fighter as Archetypes, which typify what we want in our classes without yet having a vision document or specific details of what encompasses them.

We have confirmed HelBound as a class, and very recently we revealed the Drengr document, with lots of details on the Viking Warrior class. We also revealed the Path System, which should help clarify some of the directions you can take that Warrior class. It has been a busy and very exciting few months! I am looking forward to our Arthurian Mage vision document, which is likely to be next, for those caster lovers. I know you hate to hear it, but everything is evolving, and will continue to do so until we are satisfied that it is the best fit for the game (and may even evolve after launch, if necessary!). We don’t want to create fully-fleshed, 100% detailed classes (beyond vision documents) until the ability system framework is in place, which you will see in P.A.T. #3.

We all want the classes to be cool, and here at CSE we hope you will continue to give feedback that helps us to achieve that!

Q. How long does it take to build whole client&server (Rebuild all on "All.sln")? Do you use unit testing to test elementary things?- Honza

Thank you Honza, it takes about 6 or 7 minutes to rebuild with speed! As for your question about unit testing, we don’t, actually. The process has a bit more redundancy, to make sure things are thoroughly checked. The programming team is a very cohesive unit that works as a whole organism, geared toward building the game. After our programmers finish coding, we test in the office, after which each programmer submits code reviews of their work to get feedback from each other and streamline things. After the reviews, the code is submitted to our cutting-edge test build on the Hatchery server, where we get feedback from our Internal testers, any final bugs are corrected, and finally it is put into Wyrmling for all of the Community!

Q. What is CSE's current vision of an "extender pack"? Why is it being used instead of "expansion"? I ask because I am looking at getting all "expansions" for free by purchasing it with my founders' points. I am curious if they are the same thing or something completely separate. -Ultima

This is a good question, and one we haven't gone into much detail about. Extender Packs are additions to Camelot Unchained that add to the experience of playing, and are free to all who are paying a subscription already. We want to make sure you get all the new goodies as we make more, and as a thank you for supporting us each month. What will they be? New weapon types, new path options for classes? We can’t say, yet.

Expansions are a different thing altogether. Expansions are new content to the game that supplements or are an addition to the game on a larger scale. These represent a significant amount of time and/or resources from our team to create, and will have an additional cost associated with them, which we will do our best to price attractively.

We always have to be mindful of how this will impact the balance of the game for those who choose not to get the expansion. All of this will be considered before we undertake any expansions. One thing at a time, let’s worry about launch first! ;)

Q.*Could be a really stupid question*
#8: There will possibly be a global/realm/island/region chats for players realm coordination? If not, why not? -- And what about custom chats groups? -Caemma

Chat is a very flexible thing, and will be very customizable. Realm chat currently exists in the P.A.T.s, as well as global chat, but this will be expanding for the final game. There might not be pre-built global chat but you will be able to form your own channels for small groups, regions, friends, or whatever strikes your fancy to enable you to have multiple ways of interacting socially. Of course, this is strictly within your own Realm ;)

As for chat outside the game, you might already be a part of our Trillian/Pidgin XMPP chat, which right now is for Internal testers but will be open to all players eventually. This is what you see on the front page of our website! You will be able to log in to those “out-of-game chat channels” as yourself and as your character for “in-game chat” when you are actually playing the game.

Hot Topics

Did you read our Viking Warrior class vision document? There is a lot of discussion on that particular Realm on the forums. Also a deep debate on Realm pride is brewing in the Multiguild thread. Come on over and voice your opinions!

Don't miss out on these and other great discussions in our forum!

Look What You Did

Thanks to everyone who’s participated in our contests! Last time, we asked you to look back over the past year, pick an image, and give it a caption! Behold some funny!
For our next contest, ‘tis the season to think about one’s Community, no matter what holidays you celebrate! Write up a short poem or song lyric that sums up your feelings on the vibrant, exciting CU Community, and post on the thread you’ll see in the Fan Fiction section of our forums. Winner gets published in our next newsletter, with many thanks! :)

Thank You

Thanks so to everyone who voted for us on the Massively polls, they’ve been lots of fun! Also, huge thanks for these shot glasses from Lords of the Dead! They are super cool, and we’ve already made extensive use of them for toasting during our office holiday party!

Dose of Design 

Ben Pielstick

Building Motivation for Building

Now that we're in the process of creating the very first version of our long-awaited building system, I thought it would be a good time to shed a little more light on what you as players can expect from it. This topic was was somewhat derived from forum conversations, so hopefully those of you who asked questions related to building will find some of them answered here, at least in part. 

Unlike RvR games of the past, which have featured maps full of pre-placed structures carefully laid out to serve as static objectives, the world of Camelot Unchained, while it will have some important pre-built structures, leaves the dynamic creation, capture, and destruction of keeps and castles firmly in the hands of our players. But why even bother building fortifications? They take a lot of time, effort, and money to construct and maintain. They can be captured or destroyed by enemy players, so what is the value of such things, beyond looking cool? 

Firstly, we aren't dismissing the value of owning a cool-looking structure. A lot of games have tried to push players into housing by way of special buffs or experience bonuses, but we're not doing that. If you want a small house just as a place to keep your stuff, go for it. If you want to spend hours building, upgrading, expanding, decorating, and making it awesome so you can invite your friends over to be impressed, go for it. We don't feel that many of you will need a whole lot more reason than that to build, and we don't want to push you into having to pick out a plot of land and take up the role of part-time interior decorator if all you want to do is go out and kill your enemies. 

As for structures on a grander scale than personal housing, those are much more easily built through the cooperation of multiple players. Once that happens, these structures start to become important for more than just aesthetic reasons, and take on more gameplay-related features. The most obvious value of anything from a wooden fence to a stone wall is as a combat fortification. As you should expect, it will be easier to fight while defending a structure than in the open field, so having a hard point to fall back to is always a good idea. The height and strength of walls, the number of choke points, and the use of any built-in traps or fixed defenses will make a big difference on the battlefield. 

Additionally, there are economic benefits to building structures for crafting. These benefits can apply to not only the final creation of items, but to creating item parts, refining materials to make those parts, and even gathering raw resources from the world. While crafting can be done individually at personal crafting stations, large-scale collaborative crafting requires structures with a large footprint to be able to contain them. This won't give big guilds an advantage over solo players in terms of the highest-quality specialized products, but it will be easier to mass-produce common mid-range commodity items that guilds need a lot of, and for which the resources are readily available. 

Resource gathering is a major reason to locate these large fortified structures in remote locations. When located far from the safety of a Realm's capital city, the greatest quantity of resources may be gathered and denied to players from opposing Realms. Also, the further players advance into enemy territory, the higher the odds are of finding high-quality resources which players of the enemy Realm would not have been able to use, providing extra incentive to push as far into hostile lands as possible.

Finally there are a few systemic benefits structures can provide, given construction of the proper facilities. These are things like veil stabilizers as referenced in the BSC map presentation, as well as local markets, caravan and shipping routes, and other such features we haven't talked about yet which can help players to regroup, resupply, recharge, repair, recover, and respawn.

I should also note here that the ongoing control of structures, and by effect territory, is also a major factor in the daily rewards handed out by each Realm. While keep trading won't do much for you, making sure that your Realm controls as much of the world as possible each day, based on your relative participating population, is going to be a large part of what playing the game is about.

That's about all for this segment, but look for more of our building system as we check off more of the boxes on our PAT3 list. If you've seen some of our recent screenshots, don't worry, as progress continues you'll get to see our piles of cubes evolve into epic medieval fantasy structures you can be proud of.

Developer Quote

“The thing I love most about MMOs   is seeing players turn the world     into theirs instead of ours.”
    - Andrew Meggs


-by Scott Trolan

Season’s Greetings from the Art Team! As you know, we all had a blast playtesting the PAT #2 build last month with our IT backers. Seeing iterations from 500 to 2k unique NPC’s and Players spell casting all at once has opened our eyes to how characters will be visually represented in large-scale combat. The visual impact of these results has really furthered our discussion on how we plan to artistically represent magic and melee combat and avoid “over the top” visual noise. Sandra, Michelle, and Mike C have spent a great amount of consideration in their latest VFX concepts to figure out how to best convey meaningful information while at the same time making it look like, well... MAGIC!
-- A fun problem to solve :)

This past month has proved to be a month of trials and tribulations on how best to implement our latest character, the Stormrider. He is not only our test case for character creation and armor, but new longsword melee combat as well. He has really been put through the rack. Assuredly, his sacrifices are paving the way for all the bloodthirsty, land-hungry, soul-suckers yet to come.

This year was a year of solid foundations and successful groundwork. Building off of those accomplishments, 2015 will be a year to behold. From the Art Team, we thank everyone for their constructive feedback and praise - we have been amazed by your support, and we are so thankful to be making a game for you all. Happy Holidays everyone!

State Of The Build

 -by Brian Green

Despite illness taking out much of the team for more than a few days, we had a productive month. We're working toward an exciting Alpha, ready for early in the new year.
The highlight of the month was the very first pass of the building system. This very early version was very simple, with the ability to place blocks only attached to other blocks, but we were able to spell out the very important message that "Vikings Rule" (no doubt some other Realms will put out a similar message soon). Then collision was added, and more blocks, and now the server actually saves structures. It's still pretty simple, but the internal testers have created some amazing works of art.
The other big change was regenerating resources. Health now regenerates over time! We can adjust the speed, and set rules like "your health doesn't regenerate for 10 seconds after you take damage." In addition, we have stamina as a resource. Abilities will cost stamina, and if you run out of stamina, you will be fatigued and slowed. Stamina uses the same system as health to regenerate over time, and we can set special rules to start and stop stamina regeneration as well.
And now, the highlights of recent patch notes:
Added cones as a new shape for collisions and areas of effect. We will create some cool new ability options very soon!
  • Stamina regenerates as 1% of your maximum stamina per second. It does not regenerate while moving, and for 5 seconds after you stop moving. These values will be adjusted for testing purposes.
  • The basic building system is in. There are new keybinds to place and remove blocks under your mouse cursor, and another button to cycle through different block types. Again, this building system is for testing purposes, and does not reflect the system in the final version of the game.
  • Arced projectiles can be set to have homing features, allowing them to adjust their position as they arc toward the target.
  • Maximum health and stamina, as well as health and stamina regeneration, can be adjusted via the ability system.
  • Fixed projectile collision detections. Projectiles now detect for collisions continuously while traveling, meaning collisions will be reported more accurately.
 And as a little Holiday present, let me reveal one of the major pieces coming in the new year: ability crafting! Players will be able to gain components and build their own abilities. Expect a major update on ability crafting next month.

Tech Central

 -by Dave Hancock

As a special treat, we have Dave’s high fantasy take on a Tech Central article, written as a knight’s letter to his lord! 

To our most humble king,

    As December raced towards its conclusion, and with it the year, a haze of germ-filled plague descended upon our noble code warriors. Many were stricken, including myself, like those who were foolish enough to venture into a Veilstorm without thought of the consequences. It was a bleak time for our noble order, but one for reflection on the challenges overcome in the last year by our valiant warriors, with many triumphs and much progress made on our epic quest set upon us by you, our most noble king. None in the order were safe from the trials and tribulations of the Board of Review this year, for our order uses it to uphold their sacred duty to the pattern we weave into the foundations of the world. 

By sticking to that duty through the past year, much of the world was woven anew. Thousands could partake in the testing of our world for the first time, it became vibrant and more duck-filled, and what was once incorporeal became solid. What used to be a life filled with four actions became a life of choices, of archetypes, and of a powerful magic that courses through the very heart of our world. Where once the time in our world stood still, it now moves vibrantly through seasons, and with it we brought light to the world to illuminate even the darkest nights. Drawn from the binary soup that swirls within the fabric of our weave were born races to walk and fight amongst the trees, both round and square. The tools for our kindred knights, the Order of the Pixel and the Bone, have also come a long way in the last year, providing them the means by which to bring the world fully to life, which is crucial for those who will come after us to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

As myself and my noble brethren recovered from the plague that had stricken us, we found ourselves with stronger constitutions, and a drive to push the weave of the world further than ever before. We gave those brave enough to venture into the incomplete world the ability to build with the blocks of creation, to construct and place towers to symbolize their factions, and rumblings of warriors with changeable gear began to circulate. One of the order began to bring wind to the world, another brought the arcane communication between the world’s controller and its nodes, by which all can see our world further along its path to completion. Yet another of our members began sculpting the way in which users interact with the abilities of our world. As you can see, a busy time lies before our order, but it is a challenge we greet with a smile, for it is our greatest honor to weave the fabric of the world for those who will enjoy it, and for you our great king who showed us the path we were to walk.

With the greatest respect to our king, on behalf of the lord protector of my order
Sir David, Member of the Knights of the World Weavers

Backer Spotlight

-by Mehuge

Backer Spotlight: MeHuge, Internal Tester 

This months spotlight is for our Backer Mehuge, who is a member of our Internal Testers. He has been doing some very interesting and helpful things, by modding our UI and so on!

Q. Mehuge, how did you learn to program?
On a ZX81 bought with money I had saved up to towards buying a motor bike. That pretty random decision (I had never even seen let alone used a computer at that point) changed my life for ever. I locked myself in my bedroom every night and taught myself how to program, just making it up as I went along. I later went to college to learn 'how to program' but that didn't really teach me much, but did help me find a job. It was there that I really learned how to program.

Q. What are you working on right now?
At work? It is a cross platform PDA client written using HTML5. The sort of thing your delivery guy/girl or the person who comes to fix your boiler uses to record the delivery/job. The client receives job tickets, those tickets are like mini applications written in XML that the client runs. Interesting if you are into the technical stuff (which I am) but otherwise quite dull. At home? Well, I am working on Camelot Unchained user interface :)

Q. I know you have helped make a scoreboard for the game, so what other cool additions have you been working on?
The scoreboard web page, actually started out as an in-game score board UI. The beauty of the Camelot Unchained user interface is that it is made out of the web. When CSE_Tyler asked me if I could write a scoreboard web page, I simply lifted the in-game score board I had written, along with the in-game game control UI CSE_Bryce had written, combined the two, tweaked some styles and voila! I had a working scoreboard that ran outside the game showing the current in game score.

Other things I have or am working on are
- a heat map UI, which shows where the recent action is in the form of a heat map based on the kills REST API that the game already exposes (which includes location). It's a nice little UI but it won't work by the time the game is released because I understand location will be dropped from the kills API.

- a tweaks UI. This makes it easy to fiddle with all the internal client settings which we currently have available, things like draw distances, shadow settings, and some other interesting 'tweaks' you can make to the client that probably won't make it into the final game.

- a graphical performance HUD UI. Takes the metrics and other info the client makes available, things like network rate, latency, health, target health and draws them in a moving line graph. Much nicer than looking at a set of numbers, allows you to visualise those metrics over time.

- other stuff (bug reporting UI prototype, add-ons manager …)

Much of the UI development I am doing in the client at the moment is experimenting just to see what is possible. It is too early to be developing UIs that I expect to use when the game goes live, it is still a moving goalpost.

I have also worked quite closely with CSE_Bryce on several occasions (via IRC and GitHub), usually in regard to client UI bugs, but have also provided input on some aspects of the design of the framework. There is already some bits of code of mine in the official UI (submitted via GitHub) - how cool is that? Something to add to my CV for sure!

Q. What drew you to this game?
In a word, DAoC. I was introduced to DAoC by some work colleagues, and was instantly hooked. Never played an MMORPG before. Played DAoC for around 5 years together with a wonderful guild (White Rose, EU Excalibur). Between then and now, I spent a lot of time signing up for and playing beta's and alpha's as a way of combining my passion for software development (well, the testing aspect of that) with my passion for MMORPG games. This has kept me entertained.

I never really found a new home though. Warhammer Online came close, particularly during the long beta. The thing is, I really like PvP (even though I am not particularly good at it) and not many MMORPGs focused purely on PvP and I always found the amount of PvE required to be competitive in PvP to be annoying. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy PvE when I choose to do it.

Then a guild mate pointed me at Camelot Unchained, this was before the kickstarter. I read all the foundational principles (as they were released) and I just thought 'man, this game is for me'. It is PvP from the ground up. It is going to be old school in some respects, and not hand holdy. It will also encourage community. It has three realms! Sounds perfect. What's more it is being made by the guy behind DAoC and some Andrew bloke ;) (who by the way turns out to be one of the most talented developers I have ever come across).

The kickstarter was amazing, really got to find out more about the game, and the developers, and the IT tier was a no-brainer for me, the chance to work alongside game developers testing a game that did not even have any client or server code yet. YES, get in there!

Q. What do you like about being in IT?
Being in IT is awesome (but it is not for everyone). We get to hang out in IT chat and chat with the CSE devs, Mark and Andrew and other like minded backers about the nitty gritty bits about building the game, and also for me I get to hang out in the IT uidev channel with a few other backers and CSE_Bryce (and his epic beard) and we talk about UI stuff.

Mark and Andrew have assembled a really great team of developers who really seem to know their stuff, and it is awesome to be able to share the CU journey with them all be it from the point of view of an internal tester.
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