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MMORPG | Setting:Fantasy | Status:Development  (est.rel 2017)  | Pub:City State Entertainment
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Columns: CSE's Sausage

By Tim Eisen on March 22, 2016

CSE's Sausage

(Sits down to write CU column, opens up all the updates since the beta crunch started, closes browser, shuts down computer, opens beer and pours libations for EQN and Wildstar Devs, cries.)

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A lot, “a lot” is roughly number of CSE updates we’ve seen over the last few of weeks (30 plus youtube videos alone). It’s almost like they planned for this or something (stirs his pot).  After being in a lull (by their standards) for a few months it’s nice to see CSE firing in all cylinders. It would be impossible to cover everything, or even almost everything CSE has been showing us so I’ll have to go with...bullet points! How exciting!

As the above screen shows, CSE is testing buildings and destruction by placing thousands of castles with millions of blocks on the client…and its holding! It’s happening! MMO history folks!

New patcher is gorgeous! I’ve seen a number of patchers in my day but as is, it’s one of the coolest to cross my screen.

 I prefer text updates to video (hey, it might be oldschool but the written word is kind of my thing)

Granddaddy PC’s (8 years old in one case) are running the game well even though optimization has only begun! (pours libations for his own recently expired PC) Sleep well Icarus, you were good to me but you flew too close to the sun…(cries)

Is Rey Luke’s daughter? 

Necromaniak is a CUBE maniac! I bet all of his shoes are organized by color, lace length and heel to toe decline. Amazing creations, I hope to someday watch them burn, out of respect.

Right when I think I have a ceiling for the complexity of MMO development, its shattered and I realize I wasn’t even close. My respect for MMOs both past, present and in development continues to grow throughout this experience.

After a few years of development, the only thing that’s for sure about CU is that nothing's for sure! The aesthetics seem to be settling in but all of the mechanics are seemingly open to evolution.

Speaking of the aesthetics the art for the game continues to hone in and improve as it does. I’ve always been a fan of their style but I was genuinely blown away some of the recent work.

The class icons are looking nice but the gold border is too thick for this guy, besides I’m more of a silver fan. /shrug

Is this a crunch or a marketing opportunity? Maybe it’s a crunch cleverly made into a marketing opportunity by making a challenging situation into a beneficial one?

Max designed a Depths board game, cool! Glad to see Mark found a way to keep Max around and utilize his talents. He’s been a great addition and while I’m not into board games I know many backers are. Does the board game project mean he finished all of the lore? If so, tell me more about dragons!

The armor is looking realistically functional but intricate, it’s a great mix of both worlds.

Galvatron is cooler than Megatron who is by far cooler than Cy-Kill.

If you listen to a single stream, I suggest “Classes with Ben!”. If it inspires you to listen to a second one, I suggest Tidings with Tyler to get a nice overview of all things CSE development.

Ben and Bull speak different languages and Tyler has a really big monitor.

Hauling will not be in Beta 1 which I expected but wanted to note because hauling.

Crowdsourcing has led to great results so far. Mehuge = Legend.

As has long been the case the “User Stories” are where the real meat and potatoes of development are hidden, so someone should read them for me then tell me what all of them mean.

I have seen CSE doing things that I have never seen any other game, not just MMORPGs, but any game, do. Does that mean those things will make it to launch? No, but the fact that they are laying the foundation to make MMO history with these mechanics now in testing keeps me clicking every update like it’s day one of the Kickstarter.

Questions

Is that a phylogenetic tree of life in the lower left of the above screen? If it is I just became even more of a fan!

Mark said the attention the community gets during the crunches is a welcome distraction but is this too much? It seems like months of planning to get all of these streams and interviews lines up, then again these people make virtual worlds so what would take me months likely took them their 15-minute coffee break!

Is this type of development the norm? By “type” I mean trickle, trickle, trickle, EXPLOSIONS OF THINGS! CSE has done it a few times now, and each time I was left with an inbox full of updates and a rekindled sense of wonder at what a feat these games are. I’m not questioning if this method is working, take a look at the results if you aren't sure, I’m just genuinely curious about the work flow/process of making MMOs. As each update leaves me more impressed at the scope of developing these games, I find myself more intrigued by, as Andrew put it, how the sausage gets made.

Some jobs (like shark tank cleaner) require you to have a bit of a screw loose. I’m beginning to think MMO developers are the shark tank cleaners of game development! I guess that means MMO fans are the kinds of people that jump into the tank on a dare. As a backer it can be scary at times, but I’ve eaten lots of “by the recipe” sausage for the last 10 years, and I’ve never recommended it to anyone. As nerve racking as it can be, I’m glad CSE seems to be making their sausage with a recipe that is equal parts memory, boldness, experimentation and most importantly, love.

Tim Eisen / In my columns I walk the line between fan and critic as I document the development of Camelot Unchained, Crowfall, and Chronicles of Elyria.