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Camelot Unchained Revealed

Follow my journey in Camelot Unchained.

Author: gylnne

Camelot Unchained Bat Shit Crazy Days are Upon Us!

Posted by gylnne Saturday June 28 2014 at 6:50PM
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With a little delay Bat Shit Crazy Days are coming soon! Mark your calendar for the week of July 14.

 

"Today on our Live Stream (tasty linkage here), we announced the “set in stone” date for the BSC Days: Monday, July 14, 2014. The schedule for this four (possibly five)-day event will include:

1) Lots of giveaways from outside of the family – We have a number of sponsors who have donated some cool items to this event.

2) Lots of giveaways from our family – We will be giving away tiers, upgrades, CSE points, etc. My goal is to give away something each hour of the BSC Days.

3) Lots of presentations – Expect magic of all kinds during the presentations. We will cover a wide range of subjects, from Backer-related stuff to tech and design.

4) Lots of Q&A time. Every morning after the first one, Jenesee will be answering selected questions from our Backers regarding the previous day’s presentations.

5) And a whole lot more!

These BSC Days are a big thank-you to our Backers for their support over the last year, and has a lot of new information for them and other interested parties. So, expect a lot of fun, some technical difficulties (it’s our first major event of this kind), and lots and lots of information.

Have a great weekend, all!

And as always, thanks for your support!"

-Mark

Foundational Principle #11 Sandboxes are great fun for kids and adults as well!

Posted by gylnne Friday June 20 2014 at 8:33AM
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Mark continues with Foundational Principle #11.

"I love sandbox games (SBGs) but the word sandbox has already fallen into the category of overuse by game developers seeking to use this hot buzzword to describe and build hype for their games. While Minecraft was not the first sandbox game, it has really earned the right to be described as the epitome of this type of game, as it is was and continues to be brilliantly iterated on by Mojang and the Minecraft community.

However, applying the term to an MMORPG is a bit of a stretch for most MMORPGs because of the many fundamental differences between them and games such as Minecraft. So, before we begin, let me categorically state that “CU is not a true sandbox MMORPG” just as I believe the vast majority of MMOs/games that are calling their games SBGs are not true SBGs.  IMO, a true sandbox MMORPG would allow the player to build out his stats, skills, alter the world, etc. without most of the fixed conventions and limitations that are found in CU and most other RPGs.

However, I do believe that we and other MMO developers can learn from and adapt the concept of SBGs but we should not promote our games as “The One Sandbox MMO to Rule them all” unless they really are true SBGs.  In concept, CU will be a MMORPG with a limited number of strong sandbox systems, especially in RvR, that will help differentiate it from much of the competition.

One of my goals with CU’s design was to look at the concept of sandboxing in terms of all relevant systems and determine where to best apply it. In doing so, I looked at all aspects of this game including character skills, classes, magic system, crafting, building, etc. to determine where we would be best served by utilizing a more building block approach to the system(s) or much more rigid approach. In terms of the physical world, I looked at applying the concept of a truly open world to CU’s RvR system, since the terms open world and sandbox are not necessarily synonymous.

However, you cannot spell sandbox without the word box (well, you can try but don’t enter a “spelling bee” and hope to win it) and as such, there will be multiple boxes in this game to help ensure that things can’t get too far out of balance. In some cases, it will be a very large box (such as RvR); in other cases, it may be a very small box (such as the class/skill systems) as needed for balance, overall gameplay enjoyment, and, of course, practicality. As usual, let us see how these concepts fit into my vision for various aspects of CU’s design.

IMO, in a true SBRPG a player’s actions within the game would dictate character evolution and progression. There would be no restrictions on what weapons he uses, what armor he wears, what spells he casts, actions would have consequences, etc. While there still has to be some kind of box around it, just as in Minecraft where you have a limited number of core “recipes” for items, an SBRPG needs some limitations as well. A player’s statistics will increase/decrease based on what players do within the game; using heavy weapons will increase strength, using magic will increase attunements, etc. and other statistical changes will also be based on what happens to the character within the game.

While CU does have a strong class system, we will not impose strict limitations on armor, weapons, etc. based on classes but there will be trade-offs that the player will have to consider for wearing and using certain items/materials. Therefore, while we get some “sandbox points” (SBPs) for a character’s statistical evolution and non-class limited weapons and armor, we also lose points for the strong class-based system (though there are elements within the class system that will garner more SBPs when we talk about them during the Kickstarter).  Thus, as far as character/class system is concerned we may have some sandbox elements in our game but we cannot in good conscience call it a true SBRPG."

Continue reading here:  http://camelotunchained.com/en/foundational-principle-11/

Camelot Unchained--The Storm Riders

Posted by gylnne Thursday June 19 2014 at 10:17PM
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Storm Riders

"This race of altered humans are proud to serve as “shock troops” for Arthur, whenever and wherever the need arises. Their culture is largely devoid of humor; they are way too serious for most other Arthurians. They are fearless in battle and are particularly resistant to any spells or abilities that seek to alter their minds. Sacrifice is nothing to them.They will readily lay down their lives for their beloved leader and Realm. Storm Riders embody the phrase, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one”.

Come and sit, friends, and l will tell you a tale of Arthur’s most trusted subjects, the Children of the Lake, also known far and wide as the fearless Stormriders. While other mortals cower and flee before the Veilstorms, the Stormriders embrace their coming and stand before them in defiance. Despite this, they are not a reckless folk but rather are ruled by law. They bind themselves to Arthur’s code and their own law, called the Rider’s Oath. This code, you see, forms the blueprint for their whole society, the definition of what it means to be a Child of the Lake.

Being an organized people, Stormrider society is divided into five castes: the warriors, the scholars, the merchants, the makers, and the hearth-keepers. Each caste represents a wide range of ability. Warriors do not simply fight with sword and shield but face their realm’s enemies on whatever battlefield they must, meeting their opponents with the strength of magic or steel. Scholars approach life’s difficulties with thought and study and share the secrets they discover throughout the realm.

Makers build or shape their solutions, while merchants call upon who they know, what they own, or how they can bargain to resolve conflict. Lastly, the hearth-keepers face the world with wisdom and a parent’s intuition. Not by birth are these castes assigned but by each individual’s choice and whatever the caste a candidate chooses, male or female, the Stormriders respect and honor this choice. No greater sin is there among them than to force or coerce a person into choosing a caste. By this freedom of choice and strength of will are the Stormriders defined.

If you were to try to pick a Stormrider out in a crowd, it might prove a challenge for they appear human enough. However, the Stormriders have one physical trait that announces their coming: a small jewel in their forehead. This jewel is a mark of the caste and it draws its power and color from the Stormrider’s body. While the Stormriders are essentially human, their life cycle is not. They stay in a child’s form for nearly twenty years, all the while learning from the elders and masters of each caste.

The elders encourage the young ones to pursue what their heart desires. Girls learn to take up arms just as boys learn to keep the hearth and home. To the Stormriders, the freedom of choice is far more important than the shape of the body. This freedom applies to every member of his or her own race and, in their opinion, to all the other races of Arthur’s realm.

When the child is ready, the young one kneels before the elders of the chosen caste and asks for admittance. Once granted, the child is then led to the Lake of Storms itself and commanded to drink deeply from its Veilstorm-infused waters. This taste of magic awakens the might of the soul, and the child’s body begins its transition into adulthood.

During these formative years, the adults of the caste challenge the young one’s choices, so to ensure that he or she is making the right decision. There is no shame in changing one’s mind at this stage, for the young heart is fickle and it takes great maturity to listen to its true calling. The elders also instruct the child in the complete Rider’s Oath. In part, it goes a bit like this: without faith, our purpose will not shine brightly / without conviction, our faith is but an illusion / without honor, conviction can be turned to evil.

There is more, but only a Stormrider may recite it in full and it is very long for it is contained within and is also the history of their people. Only once a child fully embraces the Rider’s Oath are they allowed to request to face the trial that determines whether they can become a Stormrider. Kneeling once again before the caste’s leaders, the adolescent humbly asks embark upon his or her final and most dangerous test. Candidates that are deemed ready will spend this night preparing for their final trial.

The Stormrider saying of “As is the mind, so becomes the body” is especially true this night. For before facing a Veilstorm the candidate must focus on a single goal, to desire nothing else but to be the living embodiment of their caste. There is no proscribed way for this vigil and sometimes it takes the form of quiet reflection, other times a candidate may recite the Rider’s Oath again and again and some candidates have been known to try to exhaust themselves physically through manual labor.

Continue reading here: http://camelotunchained.com/en/races-2/storm-riders/

Camelot Unchained Question and Answer Live Streaming June 20th at 12PM EST

Posted by gylnne Thursday June 19 2014 at 9:59PM
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Mark and Andrew will be live streaming tomorrow giving you updates and answering questions about Camelot Unchained!

Join us here: http://www.twitch.tv/citystategames

Andrew Meggs has a great read on making a game out of the web and how this could change things.

"Some people put games in browsers. By doing it the other way around, we can make better games and empower users at the same time that we increase our connection to them."

"Today I want to talk about our plans for the UI, but it’s a much deeper thing than just making windows and buttons. It’s recognizing that once an MMO is launched, the world belongs to the players who live there as much as it does to the developers who built it.

It’s admitting that, as a small studio, we won’t be able to exactly support every single player’s individual playstyle, and that there’s as much talent and creativity spread through the larger community as there is inside our little office. And it’s embracing the fact that in 2013, your ability to connect to something shouldn’t stop when you walk away from a desktop PC.

A few years ago I came around to an idea: This whole “web” thing is probably going to be around for a while. That sounds silly. It should sound silly, because it’s so obvious. But for whatever reason, most MMO developers haven’t gone all-in on it yet.

There are “browser-based” MMOs, but most are just taking a traditional MMO and putting it in a web page, without making the most of what that enables. There are MMOs that do an increasingly good job of exposing their data through a web API (EVE and WoW are standouts in this regard), but even then it’s a backdoor view into the game rather than the game itself.

That’s what brings us back to the UI of Camelot Unchained. Over the years I’ve worked with and/or built various UI toolkits. Scaleform takes advantage of all the Flash authoring tools out there, and it’s really big in AAA games — we used it on Skyrim. For Warhammer Online, we used a custom solution of Lua and XML — which was really familiar to players who were already making UI mods in Lua and XML for a certain other MMO.

But there’s another option out there that isn’t getting as much use in games as it should. A toolkit that more of our players have experience developing for than anything else out there. A scripting engine that’s been optimized for years by a team of the brightest minds in the industry. A runtime that’s extensively tested every day on hundreds of millions of PCs and renders straight into DirectX textures ready for use in games.

I’m talking, of course, about the ever-present HTML and JavaScript. Each section of our in-game UI can behave as a little fragment of a webpage, with the same CSS and PNGs we all know and love. Whether we’re going to use Chromium or Mozilla or Awesomium or some other implementation isn’t the most important thing here; it’s all the additional possibilities that open up for us beyond just having a fast, cheap, flexible, and extremely moddable UI.

First and foremost, because all of our UI will be implemented as web page(s) overlaid onto the game, our UI can also be put directly onto web pages. Have you ever wanted access to your guild chat from someplace other than a full-on game client? It’ll be right there at www.camelot-unchained.com/guildchat (link doesn’t work…yet). This won’t be some lesser, limited version of what you have in-game; it will be the exact version from the game. Access to characters? Statistics for your realm? The state of the war and frontiers? All there.

Obviously, anything that depends on your character’s physical presence at a certain spot in the game world won’t work in a meaningful way if you’re not connecting from the fully logged-in game client, and there’ll be things that we limit for security or spam-fighting.

But as a general rule, your entire in-game social life and much of your economic life will be accessible from anywhere, in any modern web browser, without plugins, in exactly the same form as when you’re running our big shiny standalone 3D desktop client.

Continue reading here:  http://shinytoys.org/blog/making-a-game-out-of-the-web

The Bounty System-Camelot Unchains New Stretch Goal

Posted by gylnne Tuesday June 17 2014 at 5:59PM
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Well another stretch goal has come and gone at Camelot Unchained.  The "Writer Cometh" was recently obtained.

The new stretch goal looks to be a very interesting concept I have not seen much in MMO's and how it plays out will be worth seeing.

"The Bounty System

Taking bounties to the (Bat Shit Crazy) level, our bounty system applies the real-world concept of bounties to our game, and then adds so much more.

Bounties can be offered by any one of three entities: by the Realm (all the way up to the king), by a Guild, and by individual players. Bounties can be placed on everything from certain NPCs in the game, to creatures found in The Depths, to the most well-known players in the land. These bounties are not daily quests, nor are most even repeatable.

Can you be the player that earns the favor of King Arthur by taking down one of the most notorious players in the Viking Realm? Can you return that soul shard for someone of your own Realm? What about that guild from another Realm, which has been harassing your town? Or, what about that special piece of land or structure you need to control? And it doesn’t stop there. Our bounty system will also reward the player who gets a bounty placed on them, and there’s still more to tell!

Stay tuned for more information on the system for this Stretch Goal over the coming weeks."

Read more here:  http://camelotunchained.com/en/founders-tiers/

 

Foundational Principle #10, Pride,pride, everyone pride

Posted by gylnne Wednesday June 11 2014 at 6:19PM
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Foundational Principle #10 has to do with pride.

 

"…. Slaying all the bad guys, breaking their pride. Burn this, burn that, can you break their Pride?

First, thanks and credit to the Canada’s Five Man Electrical Band from whose work I have drawn upon for the title of this blog posting. Secondly, the concept of “Pride” is truly an important principle for Camelot Unchained and, IMO, should be as well for any game that features RvR as the cornerstone of its design.

I have chosen to use the word “Pride” to encompass a wide range of individual prides such as racial pride, class pride, guild pride, realm pride, server pride, etc. all of which must be present in CU it is truly to succeed over time. As usual and without further ado, let us see how the concept of these prides applies to CU.

I’ll start by addressing the issue of realm pride as that is the first choice that players will make during CU’s character creation process. There are truly no “good guys” or “bad guys” in CU, at least in the traditional sense, as each realm’s actions are motivated by their instincts for self-preservation and survival. The influx of power through the Veil destroyed the world that existed before the piercing and these three realms and their leaders are pitted against each other, jockeying for survival in a very harsh and hostile environment. Of course, each realm views its motives and actions through its own filter as being pure, noble, and the best solution to the world’s problems.

The Tuatha De Danann are simply trying to restore balance to the world and to begin to prepare for another apocalypse; the Vikings are looking for new lands to settle on and rebuild, and the Arthurians are looking to unite the world under Arthur’s banner and civilize and tame a hostile world. It is CSE’s job to ensure that each of these three realms, divided as they are currently, are different enough from each other so that they do not feel homogenized but at the same time, we must ensure that each realm is appealing to players.

Amongst other tasks, we must create enough lore and backstory to give our players a good understanding of each realm, its inhabitants and why that realm believes it is the best hope for this troubled world. An important part of that lore and backstory will belong to the races that inhabit each realm and serve as its leading citizens.

Racial pride is an important part of realm pride and just as with the realms, we have to construct each race to be unique, interesting, and appealing to gamers. If prospective players do not connect with each realm’s races, they probably will not join that realm and if enough players feel that way, well, there will be a massive realm imbalance and that alone could doom the game to failure. Lore and backstory will help but it has to go even further than that with the individual races. As we did with the realms, we will not homogenize the races and, as we are following the rock, paper, scissor approach, every race must have their own advantages and disadvantages, strengths and weaknesses, etc."

Continue reading here:  http://camelotunchained.com/en/foundational-principle-10/

Foundational Principle #9 Forced Socialization, good or bad?

Posted by gylnne Sunday June 8 2014 at 4:37PM
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Mark continues with Foundational Principle #9 Forced socialization was good, then bad. Is it time for a comeback?

"Over the decades MUDs evolved from their mostly solo-friendly roots to the first generation of MMORPGs (Meridian 59, UO, EQ, etc.) where group play was not only encouraged but quickly became a necessary component to leveling up characters and gaining the best gear. More recently, the genre has further evolved (or devolved, in many peoples’ opinions) to where solo-play to level cap is not only possible but can be the most efficient way to do so when one factors in the leveling time that is “lost” when players seek a group, getting that group organized, choosing the right targets, etc.

Additionally, when you also factor in things such as  “ninja looting,” at times seemingly endless debate about tactics, targets, etc., solo-play becomes an even more appealing behavior. Dark Age of Camelot certainly was a pacesetter in establishing this trend since back then, we specifically wanted to make the leveling grind less rugged than in Everquest for example, by decreasing the amount of time people needed to spend between fights, no long boat rides, etc. Finally, as games that are more recent have blurred (or shattered) class distinctions, grouping within MMOPRGs is probably at an all-time low, especially for players who are not part of guilds or the like.

While many players have enjoyed this change, especially at the beginning of this rather slippery slope  (for example, I’ve always been a solo player), one of the things that I have been pondering over the years is what has been lost because of these changes. IMO, for the purposes of this FP, it boils down to two words, community and Community. I’ve already talked about the role classes will play in CU so I won’t reiterate that now but rather, I’ll address how both the crafting/housing systems and other group activities can help nurture and foster both types of community.

Over the years, I have both written and spoken about the use of community and Community as non-interchangeable words.  Here, I will use the word Community to refer to the current supporters of what will become CU’s core players if our Kickstarter successfully funds.

 While these Foundational Principles are the first step in helping to build a Community for CU, they are simply good first steps as the building of a true Community will take more time and effort than my simply waxing poetic about the MMORPG we hope to create. However, when taken as a whole, these FPs, my interviews, talking/interacting with players on forums has already created a small but energized player base with a number of players already setting up fan sites, helping spread the word about CU on forums, guilds talking about the game, etc.

The best part of this for me is that while they are helping to build our Community, small as it is right now, I have also been getting gathering of useful feedback, suggestions, etc. that have been quite helpful in both validating my vision for CU and exciting the CSE team. While these methods aren’t forced on the players in the same manner that long boat rides, lengthy downtime between encounters, etc. were in certain MMORPGS, the results are quite welcome and similar; we have a group of people who are excited and working together to help us accomplish our goal, bringing CU to life.

 Again, this Community may be small in numbers now but if our Kickstarter successfully funds, its contribution in helping to spread the word about CU will be anything but small. No matter what the outcome of the Kickstarter, this Community has my thanks and gratitude for the efforts that have made on our behalf whether in spreading the word or simply interacting with each other and me on various forums."

Continue reading here: http://camelotunchained.com/en/foundational-principle-9/

How Does It Feel To Have Something You Created Shut Down?

Posted by gylnne Tuesday June 3 2014 at 2:23PM
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Being a backer of Camelot Unchained I get the pleasure of conversing with Mark Jacobs in the backers forum. Does he really show up and talk to everyone there? Yes he does and to be honest I have never seen a more accessible developer anywhere in all the games I have played.  I realize that may sound like a fanboi statement but it is true.

Not only is he accessible but the man truly cares for his "backers" and his "employees", which in today's cutthroat business world is a breath of fresh air to me.

Which brings me to the title of this post. Even though Mythic Studios was created in 1995 by Mark and Rob Denton, Mark in the forums like any of us had to work through the announcement of Mythic closing down.

When he did comment about it his first concern was for the employees and their families. And if you are interested in what he said about the closure here is a good read:

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2014-05-30-former-mythic-boss-eulogises-the-fallen-warhammer-studio

Mark continues with Foundational Principle #8

 

Over the course of my long career, I have spent a lot of time (some have said far too much time), hanging/lurking around forums, talking to players, gathering feedback, etc., but I have always considered it an important part of my job description. The advantages of this approach have always been readily apparent to me especially when I see a post that really catches my eye. A number of weeks ago a player on one of the forums that I have been spending quite some time on wrote a post that has become this Foundational Principle.

When I read it, I saw that it both encapsulated some of the principles I pushed for in WAR (some of which were approved by the senior leadership team, others were met with dark stares and raised cutlery) and said it as well (probably better actually) than I could say myself. I want this game to be something you play every day not for the leveling grind, not for the gear grind but simply because playing the game is both fun and challenging. IMO, adding some elements of chaos/randomness/whim to multiple game systems and gameplay, will be a net gain for CU.

This game will not be a linear, theme-park style world where you pretty much know what the outcome of most of the fights will be before the battle begins and that someone’s “Guide to riches and success in CU” will be all-knowing and 100% accurate, but rather, a game that will evolve and change over time.

Now, what does that mean for you as the player? Injecting randomness into games very often meets an ill-fated reception from a vocal portion of the player base.  While many players do want to embrace a bit randomness here and there (usually when it benefits them), when the die roll goes against them, well, a lot of scream of outrage can ensue such as the ever-popular “Your randomizer is broken!”  One could easily paraphrase Benjamin Franklin’s line in the film 1776 (sadly, it wasn’t a real quote) to say that “Randomness is always good when it works to our advantage, it’s only when it works against us should it be made illegal.”

Over the years, my feelings about randomness in games have careened wildly along the track.  As one might imagine, I currently believe that as we have made MMORPGs more and more handholding and predictable, we have lost much of both the joys and sorrows of having something really random happen to players whether it is during the course of a pitched battle or simply when just walking down a road.

Continue reading here:  http://camelotunchained.com/en/foundational-principle-8/

One CSE Promise About Camelot Unchained I like

Posted by gylnne Tuesday June 3 2014 at 1:49PM
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One of the promises City State Entertainment is making to it's players upfront is this:

We will release the compiled server code if we shut the game down.  

"When the day comes that Camelot Unchained is shut down (only WoW will apparently live forever), we will make all the complied server code (and adequate installation and operations documentation) available through a code repository, without warranty of course and under the appropriate license(s) so that gamers can get the game back up and running.  In the event that we shut the company down, we will also add the source code to the repository unless prevented to by law/legal agreement."  http://camelotunchained.com/en/foundational-principle-14-cse-subscriber-promises/

Why is this important? Because what this actually does is give the players who fall in love with a game the chance to play it always, even years after it is shut down.

I have always felt it is a shame the MMO's, we spend some of our lives in, are at the mercy of accountants who decide they aren't worth enough money so we will just mothball the whole thing and convince the players they are tired of playing it and they need to give us their money for a new shiny thing we are creating. LOL, well what if I am not one of those who are tired of playing?

Now I realize the games are made by companies who have investors and if the game is no longer a good investment then moving on is important. But why not give the players the ability to continue playing?

CSE is full of a lot of talented people who are gamers themselves and I appreciate they can see the issue from a gamers point of view instead of just a business one.

On a side note it is a lot easier to accomplish this being an indie company than working for the large mega corporations who could careless about their customers wants and needs.

Apparently other companies are agreeing with this. According to this article not only is Asherons Call and Asherons Call 2 going f2p in August they are also doing this by the end of the year:

"As for player-run servers, Turbine plans to offer up a "basic" Asheron's Call server and client download by the end of the year, supported by new sub-forums." http://massively.joystiq.com/2014/05/20/asherons-call-1-and-2-go-free-to-play-in-august/

So for the folks who have enjoy those 2 games they will be able to play them for years to come. This just seems right to me, how about you?

Camelot Unchained Bat Shit Crazy Daze are coming soon!!

Posted by gylnne Monday June 2 2014 at 5:36PM
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So you are probably wondering what are Bat Shit Crazy Daze? Glad you asked! Here is a video explaining it all.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfwBDXM5YxE#t=12