Sorry for the lack of serious updates since the end of March, but that doesn’t mean things have been quiet around the studio! We’ve been hard at work on Camelot Unchained™, and there is lots to talk about today. First, things are moving along nicely on the hiring front. We’ve had lots of good interviews, and have more scheduled moving forward. Nothing to report yet, but who knows, maybe we will soon.
Secondly, we are getting closer to the current Stretch Goal, and are preparing the next one. No big hints yet, but I think you folks are going to be really excited about this one. It’s not a hiring Stretch Goal (yay!), and it’s one that I think will surprise and excite some people. It’s a clever one that keeps both the spirit of the Foundational Principles and to the statements I have made in the past about what we would like to do.
Third, work is progressing well on our wiki, where we are ramping up to a point where we’ll ask for more help. Thanks in part to the work of some of our Backers, we are already up to 100 entries, and more are on the way. Hopefully the wiki will be ready for its turn in the spotlight within the next couple of weeks!
Fourth, Seid gegrüßt! As you may know, we recently launched the completed French version of our website. We are very excited to welcome more of our French Community into the fold (http://camelotunchained.com/fr_v2), and make it easier for our existing Backers to get updates and information. In a similar manner, we have been working on our German website, and much of it is completed due to the hard work of our German translation group. However, we need YOU to get over the last hump toward launch. So, if you are you excellent at writing in both English and German, and if you are willing to help proof and add new content in our large group, we could use more volunteers. Help us complete this project and add the CU DE website to the internets! For those of you who have already helped us, thank you so much!
Fifth, as we’ve been talking about for many months, we are going to open some new Builder Tiers and move some of the unsold Founder Tiers over to the Builder’s Store in the coming weeks. Builders will finally have a guild pledge tier, and the ability to buy some other tiers that have been available since the KS. As I’ve said on the Forums, these Founder Tiers are the higher-end ones that our Founders have had access to since the beginning, and since they have gone unsold, we are going to move them over. To be fair to the Backers who were able to pledge early for these Tiers, we will also change the Tiers a bit in terms of what the Tier costs, and is comprised of. We’ll give our Backers plenty of notice before this happens. Again, this only applies to the higher-end unsold Tiers; we are not going to issue new instances of closed Tiers, because, well, that would run counter to what I’ve said in the past.
Sixth, for those of you not in our Alpha testing, things are going very nicely. We’ve had a less-than-expected number of bugs, but on the other hand we have had a nasty one: some players don’t start in their proper position in the world (they actually appear under the world), and we still haven’t been able to track that bug down. Other than that, things are moving along quite well, but until we eradicate this bug, our hope of having an Alpha test this weekend is rapidly evaporating. That said, if we figure it out before the end of the day, we may still have a test this weekend, but it’s not looking good right now. OTOH, our Alpha and IT folks should keep one eye on their mailbox, because if we do get a possible cause found, we will run impromptu tests today.
Seventh, it’s time to talk about how we are going to track and report progress on our Alpha, going forward. So far, we have used a couple of different methods to communicate the game’s progress. For the pre-alpha period, we used the P.A.T. checklist, which worked out really well for our Backers. The thing is, the nature of that kind of checklist would be less useful over the next 15 months. So we have been talking about the best way to keep our Backers informed in a way that is better for both us and them. What we have come up with is using the concept of “User stories” with a bit of a twist.
In short, a user story is a “description consisting of one of more sentences in the everyday or business language of the end user or user of a system that captures what a user does or needs to do as part of his or her job function.” (Source: Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_story). How does that apply to us? Well, we will break down the major tasks that we are working on in a more game-friendly manner. For example, a user story might say “I want to nock, aim, and shoot an arrow” or “I want to summon a wind storm,” or other things like that. We think that this will result in a more concise way for Backers to track our progress, while at the same time still providing a lot of background info as well.
The background info will be listed as a “backstory” to the user story. The backstory will contain more technical details than what is contained within the user story. The plan is to have some mock-ups to show by next week, and then start to implement them quickly after that. We think that this will be a very good way of communicating with our Backers over both the short and long term. To give you a bit of a hint (not a tease) as to the kind of things you will be seeing in the “user stories” section, in the coming weeks:
- I want to destroy a building
- I want to nock, aim, and shoot an arrow
- I want to see some clouds in the sky
- I want to blueprint some designs
- I don’t want to create all the terrain by hand
- I want to see some “final” information on character stats
And so much more…
Internally we are calling the user stories “epics,” and it fits nicely for some of them. As per above, this is a better way for us to work internally, as well as with you folks, because there is a lot of discovery involved in each user story. This discovery will be talked about in the backstory part, and that part of the story will change, along with everything else. All in all, I think it is interesting, and more importantly a useful way to look at things. Some folks among you might remember when Mythic Entertainment began using the term “Strike Teams” (I based that idea on my favorite TV police drama “The Shield”) to address certain issues within the game. Well, I think this too is a good way to organize, and well, strike teams are so 2002. BTW, next week we will also open a thread in our Forums to list the current User Stories while we are building out the tech for our website.
And that wraps up today’s update. From all of us at CSE, our thanks and we hope you have a great weekend!
Sorry about not having any art for today’s update, Michelle and Sandra have been working hard on the supporting art for the next Stretch Goal and it’s too early to show it. OTOH, there is a lot of it to reveal over the course of the SG. And, without engaging in too much hype, it’s pretty awesome. As I told them during the last review, it was a home run from both of them!
P.S. For you Alpha folks, don’t forget, the Crafting Document Part II has been up in the Alpha area for a month now, and we know that many of you haven’t checked it out yet. Now would be a great time to do so!