Saying Goodbye to June and Hello to the Next 90 Days – Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

Folks,

As we bid farewell to June, we depart it with new team members, lots of new stuff, and a brand new 90-day plan for Camelot Unchained. It’s been challenging for sure but as our testing has been showing, the game is evolving and growing every month. And speaking of things that grow, check out our Top Tenish list as well as the next 90-day plan for a large addition to the game. 🙂

Be sure to check out this month’s stream with Mark here!

And let’s get into the highlights of what’s been happening this month!

Top Tenish for June 30th, 2020

  1. DONE – Tech – Map Scaling Bug – AJ fixed some issues with the scale of the CU world map on the battleground zone. This was causing various map indicators such as plots, your warband members, and yourself to not show up in the correct locations.
  2. DONE – Tech – Plot Factions – Christina fixed a server threading issue which was manifesting itself by sometimes causing plots in the battleground zone to lose track of which faction they should be.
  3. DONE – Tech and Art – Building Lighting Issues – Updated CUBE buildings from the amazing builder’s brigade that now have added lighting fixtures as well as updates to the keeps themselves.
  4. DONE – Tech and Design – Fixes to Portals – Bull fixed some issues with our world editor which were preventing us from setting up new zone portals. Ben made quick use of this fix by adding new portals from the home islands to the battleground zone (and back).
  5. DONE – Tech and Design – RvR scenario as a Zone – Ben setup the battleground scenario to no longer be a scenario. This means players no longer need to queue into a scenario to enjoy it, and the changes in the world will persist between restarts of the server. Christina added tech to help support this including ensuring that certain entities in the world do not duplicate themselves every time the server starts up and adding debugging tools to do resets of the zone for development purposes.
  6. DONE – Tech – Status Persistence – for statuses which persist between logins, respawns, and zone transitions, we keep track of the time they are meant to expire and restore from that point. This is most important for a long running status. Say you gained a really bad debuff that lasts for an hour, if you respawn after 40 minutes, you’d only have 20 minutes left on the status.
  7. WIP – Tech – Player scale support – Player entities now have a scale modifier which allows them to be bigger or smaller then their default size. This will be needed to allow Giants grow as they age. Ben has been playing around with different sizes of characters to get a feel for what size range is going to work best for our playable Giants.
  8. WIP – Tech, Design, and Art – Giants! – As a team, we’ve created a detailed plan for how we’re going to tackle the new playable CU giants over our next milestone. Chris has already begun work putting together the design elements of the giants such as their banes and boons.
  9. DONE – Tech – Bug fixes to UI
    1. Boons hover tooltip used in character creation appear to have existed in wrong layer.
    2. Ability builder allowed you to build an ability with invalid components
    3. Duplicate chat messages were showing up in chat UI
    4. Getting hit while in travel model caused a visible (but unknown) status to show up for your character.
    5. Fixed a bug where fly up text when harvesting was duplicated in some cases.
    6. Fixed some cases where the item deploy UI was sometimes not appearing when attempting to deploy an item.
  10. WIP – UI Art – CU HUD Reimagination – Koo has completed his first pass of concept for UI HUD reimagination and has moved on to concepting the inventory reimagination.
  11. WIP – TECH – C.U.B.E. – Brian has been testing the newly-created plot and zone import functionality that Matt built for Offline Building Mode. This feature will enable users to bring forward their “old C.U.B.E.” files into more recent versions of the game client via a slash command and file selection dialog. Materials will get automatically re-mapped on import, but the original file will remain unchanged and a new copy will be placed into the modern blueprints file path.
  12. Done – Tech – Remote Config – For a long time each of our gameservers/zones has had a little text file that lived on it’s hard drive that encompassed all of it’s configuration. These were curated by hand and updated manually. This meant they could diverge, get out of date, vary in subtle (or not so subtle) ways, and cause issues when we pushed from development servers to playtest servers. We’ve rolled out our remote config service which gives us a centralized location for these config files, version controls them, and allows us to remotely update them. This significantly reduces the surface for error and time involved in keeping these files updated.
  13. WIP – Art – Scenario Defender Npc’s – Keep lords currently are all modeled, being rigged and animated currently. Tower champions have completed concept stages and are speeding along the modeling pipeline.
  14. WIP – Art – Crafter Barricades and Traps – traps have been completed as well as majority of barricades and implemented, while the last of stone and leather barricades finish modeling.
  15. WIP – Art – Environment – Along with alot team work with the awesome folks over in tech we’ve been working on new assets and implementation standards to support a heavy focus on performance. You may have noticed grass has changed but this will improve visually further as we are tweaking and working out best spawning values and adjusting this and other assets within the terrain mod while retaining performance. Stronger approach to trees to improve dated current assets, and we are working towards also bringing interesting points of interest for players to discover going into the next milestone.
  16. Done – Art – Animation – Audits/Fixes Animation audits for all races has been ongoing fixing capes, skirts, locomotion and vanishing items from players hands.
  17. WIP – Art – Animation – Wyvern – Animation has been started for the Wyvern.
  18. WIP – VFX – Cross has been hard at work with continual work on Devout class ability vfx alongside various other improvements in CU particles.
  19. DONE – Tech – Rendering Performance – AOIT Layer tuning – Did some shader work to collapse together the layers for order-independent transparency. This cuts GPU memory bandwidth requirements for rendering transparent objects in half. And that improves performance, especially on lower-end video cards.
  20. DONE – Tech – Rendering Performance – Impostor Quality – At long distances, we replace complex but non-moving objects with tiny pictures of those objects. This cuts way down on the number of triangles your graphics card has to draw. The quality of these has been significantly improved, which allows them to look good at closer distances, which means we can use them more aggressively to improve performance. Dense forested areas especially benefit from this.
  21. DONE – Tech – Rendering Performance – Impostor Speed – Previously we would store cards with all the angles of an impostor as a tiny mesh in the scene, and a Vertex Shader would set most of them to not draw. Now we use a Geometry Shader to emit only the card that faces you. While individually tiny, over a dense forest this improves performance by a consistently measurable amount.
  22. DONE – Tech – Rendering Performance – Concurrent Sorting – There’s a section of code that groups together all the renderable objects on the CPU into an optimal drawing order on the GPU. This code takes significantly better advantage of multiple CPU cores, which improves performance on multicore machines.
  23. DONE – Tech – Client Stalls and Hangs – Worked around a deep bug in our low-level threading library which could occasionally cause stalls on the client. Sometimes these would last a few milliseconds within a frame, so fixing them improves the consistency of our frame rate, but in the worst case they could appear as a permanent hang. No more!

The Next 90-Day Plan

As we did before, I’d like to share some of our goals for the next 90-day plan for Camelot Unchained. We did very well on the last plan, especially considering the circumstances and if we can do as well this time, we’ll have a game that all of our Backers can play and enjoy on 24×3 weekend servers. Let’s take a look at some of the items of the plan. First up, the two overarching goals of the plan and then, a list of the main items that we need to accomplish to meet those goals.

Overarching Goals:

  • 24×3 Servers
    • At the end of this milestone, we want to be capable of running our CU servers over the weekend for our backers. Nothing in our list is more important than this has a lot of things have to be working in order for us to accomplish this goal.
  • RvR Scenario Completed (Gameplay, art, tech)
    • Take the current RvR scenario, smooth out the rough edges and make necessary changes to make it feel like part of the world.

Art and Gameplay Deliveries

  • Upgrades to transferring/persisting statuses [Done]
  • Wwise Upgrade
  • Overmind (more requests)
    • Expand Overmind’s ability to work within CU and add more life/variety to the game
  • Completed Keep Lords
  • Completed Dragons (faction dragons)
  • Completed traps and barricades
  • Completed Devout Classes (Armors, Weapons, and abilities)
  • Tech to allow Support classes target Warbands
  • Add most of the remaining NPCS for the RvR scenario (no additional factionless ones) using existing art/items/fxs.
  • RvR NPC Defenders
  • Arthurian, TDD, Viking Giants running around in the game
    • Giants Kickoff Meeting Notes and Next Steps [Done]
  • Fall Damage (Fix) [Done]
  • Knockback and Channelling Integration for CU Characters
  • Existing Class Polish
  • C.U.B.E. Update
  • Reduced number of Mesh Simplifier Rendering Bugs
  • Crafter Class Designs completed in line with other classes
    • Concept art for unique crafter class for each Realm
    • Concept art for possible reduce of Vox Magus
  • Spirit Mages Designs Completed
  • Dragon’s Web
    • Backer Presentation of the Dragon’s Web with concept art
    • First pass at power system for an island
    • Design for Stage One Implementation complete
  • New NPC AI Behaviors (such as Patrolling)
  • Player Loading In Order
  • Continued work on Coastal lowland and warm forest biome combination

Now onward to some art action!

Your realm Regalia is on display as our Keep Lords have come to their completion. Starting with the Arthurian Lord Reynolds on the Left, followed by the Tuatha Dé Danann Lord Tiernan, then standing proudly is Viking Lord Skoglar, and last but not least the Center Keep Defender, The Abhorrent Lord.

A Lord is no Lord without his vassals, so in comes the Tower Defenders. First up is the TDD Knight of their Realm with his full concepting, the Tuatha De Danann Hero

Viking Knights here are introduced as the Viking Veteran, along with their weapons that have already been modeled.

And not to leave out our Abhorrent Knight.

Your realms might be getting equipped, but so are you! Devouts are currently getting decked out in their equipment sets, so make sure you also look at the newsletter for even more designs.

We know it’s rude to point, but in this case we’ll make an exception for the Points of Interest! If you hadn’t seen the #65 Newsletter we first talk about Points of Interest and showcase the Risen Temple for the Coastal Lowlands. We now have more concepts to show off here from the Coastal Lowlands; the Stoorwyrm Fossil Site and the Claws of the Cailleachan. If you’re wanting more though, look for this month’s newsletter!

Sparkle magic continues to be forged. Working on giving all the devout abilities their own special twinkle; be it plants and glory, or death and gloom, we’ve got you covered!

Crafters traps have finally sprung onto the battlefield in their full kit!

We have no intention of stonewalling you, but here you’ll see the Arthurian Stone wall bringing up the conclusion of images for this top ten!

Whew, a lot of good stuff in this update right? And we also have a newsletter going out as well so you Backers will have a lot to think about over the remainder of this week (and beyond).

As always, we thank you for your support and patience. Over the next 90 days you’ll see more of CU come together even more and as the summer heats up here, we’re hoping that we’ll be burning up lots of server time as well. Please stay safe, uninfected, and as kind as you can be during these very difficult times.

– Mark

Camelot Unchained