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MMORPG | Setting:Fantasy | Status:Development  (est.rel 2018)  | Pub:City State Entertainment
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Columns: A Representative Year

By Tim Eisen on December 27, 2016

A Representative Year

I hope everyone had a merry Christmas, ate food, drank mead, PVPed etc. If you missed the December 16th update I recommend reading it at this conveniently dropped link HERE. Why? Because I believe updates like this are why many of us were willing to crowd fund a game (beyond just getting a game naturally) – to see developer’s sausage! Err…or rather, to see how their sausage gets made! It read like the intensifying “bad day” in the movie Goodfellas in the best possible way!


This update showed us what I believe many backers have wondered about, how a week at a game studio plays out! It was from CSE Producer Tyler’s perspective, it read fast, scattered and captured how chaotic a week of game development is. It did a great job of showing us how many unrelated things must come together to create single entities (in this case the place of power – pictured below) while showing how many extraneous items are continuously tugging away from said goal.

More importantly, updates like this give us a basis to understand game development and the time that goes into it. That’s important because understanding can make all the difference in the world when it comes to your fans. It’s easy to read bullet points interpret them how we want – right or wrong, updates like this one help give us a concept of time and effort which helps us understand (and be understanding) of development. Understanding is the difference between anger and empathy, which is a bit of a lost art in today’s detached (and often scripted if not robot) customer service. There is great power in personal customer service.

The December 22nd update was back to the user story format. I wouldn’t expect CSE to have the time or sanity to give us the inside look update every week but I do hope they continue to mix them in. They did note the bullet points will be getting condensed which hopefully helps with the volume and difficulty of translation. I’m sure a developer can read them and be in awe that CSE got so much done in a single week! Unfortunately, most of us are fans so something like “As a Developer, I'd like to improve, and add to, the SFX for re-abilitation. Fountaining bottle ability SFX - 4 variations. – Complete” and feel a mixture of confused, frustrated or worse, nothing; all of which shapes the backer’s view of development. Maybe they could code a bot that translates dev speak to fanboy basic?

Speaking of dev speak, CSE’s own top ten completions of 2016 was impressive. Allow me to try translating them.
Opening a studio branch in Seattle – Thank the almighty for this! CSE West is the savior of Camelot Unchained. Short term expensive for long term salvation!

Upgraded engine tech that now supports bloom, environment map based ambient lighting, etc. :) – The game is looking far better than I expected.

Upgraded visuals from the art team for biomes, armor, weapons, etc. – It’s looking far more detailed than I expected too.

The ability system: “We can rebuild it. We have the technology. This was the single biggest demon CSE has had to battle! Like all unknown unknowns, it ambushed them from stealth and crit the studio, the game and the backers! They are past it now, let us hope the next unknown unknown (if there is one) is less terrifying.

Big Bot testing blows through 1K requirement for Beta 1, passes 2.5K on its way to 3K – It’s hard to state how impressive this is, especially to people that don’t speak dev. The fact that in 14 years of MMORPGing I’ve never seen a MMO come close might help. That said it’s still a long way from launch, it will be interesting to see what the final number lands on.

New animation system in development – This sounds good but I have little on file to really grasp it. I didn’t even realize there was an old one! I guess this one is better.

Multi-server tech - This is fascinating. I’ve played on servers but now we are seeing areas (example an island) within a server that is also its own server! What next, an ability that spawns its own sever with this own physics? Hurm…that’s terrifyingly fascinating! Then again aren’t most fascinating things a bit scary?

Stability, stability and more stability – I’ve said it before, if this game claims any one thing stability will be it.

A Deal with Discord – A modern take on MMORPG chat/voice systems. The times they are a changing. When it comes to modernization of time tested MMORPG concepts I feel strongly both ways, intrigue and hesitation. I suppose we can’t have one without the other.

Lots of tool improvements in our editor and for general testing purposes – This one is for the devs and in turn it benefits the game and all of us.

Going to Abu Dhabi, Doha, and Seattle – Networking “Because, as always, who knows what may happen in the future?” Looking back at 2016, not a f-ing one of us! Difficult to see. Always in motion it is.

Lots and lots of blocks – Minecraft’s more rounded cousin continues to build impressively upon itself. Hopefully its building toward a merger with the combat portion of the game in 2017 so instead of C.U.B.E. we can just start saying Camelot Unchained.

In reflection, a rollercoaster year of development that could not be a better representation of the oldschool MMORPG experience – for better or worse! Thanks for reading, never underestimate the power of your clicks! They funded Camelot Unchained and created enough interest to allow this 1,000-word corner of internet real-estate to exist. I can’t thank you enough. The clicks we make now will shape the world for generations that click after us! Click strong! (Or tap for your kids with those fancy-touchy electronics.) I promise to write you next year! 

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.