City State Entertainment’s August 19th Camelot Unchained (CU) update was small but it had some big news. “While it is still just a bit too early to declare victory, it's safe to say that our client is almost back to where it was stability wise, before we made the major code pushes we made this summer.” Unfortunately, a column it does not make! So I went back in time and dug into the update from August 12th. It was one of the standard User Stories updates that you all know I just love to mine for content. Let’s see what I can interpret from my top seven completions. (For the record City State picked thirteen from which I picked the seven I was most interested in interpreting.)
1. Added a way to set up abilities that fire off "subskills" based on tags. An example of this would be an ability that shoots a fireball with "fire, projectile" tags, and an iceball with "ice, projectile" tags. We can have these do different things, but more importantly, we can really easily make a buff that adds knockback to all of your projectiles, and another one that adds explosions to all of your fire abilities!
This is one of the mechanics that I’ve always felt could make CU special to many players-the ability to customize your spells and moves. Most games give you a fire ball with a burn damage over time attached to it. Here you make a buff and link it to fireball creating a third action. This is going to get deep!
2. Work continues on physics sub-zones. As we've mentioned before, this work will allow us to expand our island size, and is part of the road map to a large, multi-zoned, world.
One little line with such great gravity. This is the work which leads to the actual game world. I cannot stress how important that work is. Once the world exists, the full world, a MMORPG begins to feel-at least the good ones do. I’m excited to see if the CU world has that magic.
3. Abilities can now target body parts using the new ability system. If you’d like to test this out, you can use the Broad Cleave ability to take out your opponent's legs. This is also shown on the updated player health UI.
Really, really? I can cleave someone in the legs but no mention of shooting an arrow to their knee? MISSED OPPORTUNITY. For combat this is a giant leap. Body part targeting has been a thing we PVPers have long dreamed of. I hope it can be done but in the same breath I wonder if there might be a good reason it hasn’t before? Complexity is a double edged cleaver.
4. Player and target health UI widget - JB has been quietly knocking off all kinds of tasks. One of which is a first pass at a working player health widget that uses the newly returned body part health system.
We saw a preview of this quiet gem not long ago. It subtlety reminded me of a pulsing club light made up of a bunch of tiny white pills. Subliminal messages or visual UI in action? Maybe both. That reminds me, I heard if you play the DAOC intro music backwards and apply math to it, it unveils MJ’s favorite class! Ok, I just made that up. We all know (and by all know I mean my own theory is) his favorite class was and is all of them. Not unlike this aspiring wordsmith the man likes to alt!
5. You know all those cool CU weapons you’ve seen Jon modeling on stream? We’re now laying out the material pipeline to maintain their awesome visual fidelity. This work will begin appearing in game next week, for testing.
No the weapons of CU are not getting married but their aesthetics are. They are establishing the necessary steps required to retain and maintain the look of the weapons. More or less I take this to mean the three realms identities are being (dare I say) locked in. If that is what this means I’m sure some of us have some aesthetic feedback to provide going forward.
6. During testing, Tyler did some auditing of the forest we densely populated for testing previously. He’s currently making some large audits to the assets, and we should see an improvement in framerate there. This work will also dictate how we build assets moving forward, to maintain good framerates.
No Tyler is not doing CU’s taxes. According to Wikipedia a software code audit is a comprehensive analysis of source code with the intent of discovering bugs, security breaches or violations of programming conventions. What I believe it means here is Tyler is cleaning up the forest code to establish a good preset code base from which they will grow more forests/other things.
7. We’ve pushed the second wave of gifting to applicable Backers, so they can hand out the tiers included in their Pledges. Really excited to see lots of new faces in game, as gifted tiers are handed out.
Boy, this one feels long overdue. I don’t know the complexities but I assumed, during the Kickstarter, that this process would have been completed a long time ago. Maybe they wanted to wait until they had something more for backers to gift? I consider it one of those things people have long asked for, and should be happy to receive.
While it’s not always clear the completions seem to be telling a much larger story. They have gone from almost entirely foundational implementations to larger mechanics, aesthetics and a growing game world. I’m sure we will experience more ups and downs, leaps and back steps but for now the pace seems to be increasing nicely.