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[KS Update] Afternoon Update – October 24th 2013

Folks,
 
It’s that time again and today’s update will be chock full of wonderful game development news. While there is no Becoming™ story and no fabulous concept art, instead we have lots of very exciting technical news and more than a handful of screenshots. It really was a great sprint for the programming team and while they haven’t had a chance to really show off their “chops” since the KS and Smackhammer demos, this sprint had some really cool, necessary and useful additions to the codebase. Here’s this week’s scorecard.
 

  • Camelot Unchained server code fully up and running.
    Completed.

  • Merge new network code into our rendering client.
    Completed.

  • Final concurrency and entity system on client and server.
    Completed.

  • Final integration of particle editor with build system.
    Completed.

  • Setting up physical build, patch, and DB in office server. Nightly builds and asset pipeline 100% armed and operational. Be able to patch and run the game within the office.  
    Completed.

  • Characters schema defined.
    Completed.

  • Characters stored and persisted in Database.
    Completed.

  • Basic text-based character creator/selector on client.
    Completed.

  • Animation behavior exports.
    Completed.

  • Animation 3d viewer player integration – Deferred – instead worked on Framework of system/editor/development which took priority and lays groundwork for 3d viewer work.
  • Finish protocol buffer integration.
    Completed.

  • Encryption – wrap TCP stream in SSL.
    Completed.

  • Encryption added to checksum validation to UDP.
    Miss.

  • Second pass on user editor for forums.
    Completed.

  • Coordination tools for build/edit/patch server.
    Completed.

  • Next race concepting complete.
    Late

    The Valkyrie concepts are about 80% complete with additional work being done on wings.

  • New CSE Logo animation complete.
    Completed.

  • Low res Arthurian male modeled, weighted, and ready for parts system.
    Completed.

  • First pass tech planning for our magic system VFX.
    Completed.

  • Banshee vfx polish pass in Unity.
    Completed.

  • Complete first pass on a few environment props.
    Completed.

  • BonusZbrush R6 retopology tool research.
    Completed.

  • Next race story complete Banshee.
    Completed.

  • Second draft of Magic system.
    Completed.

  • Second draft stats and skills.
    Miss.

  • New Reward tiers for backers.
    Late.

    -Work in progress.

  • Initial pass on next race or class.
    Completed.

  • Start next Founder contest.
    Completed.

  • Bonus – Finished Valkyries story.
  • Bonus – Completed story on next TDD race
  • Bonus – Completed first pass on a non-PC (maybe) race for Camelot Unchained. 

Our biggest accomplishment in Sprint 4 was pulling together our entire editor, build system, database, patch server, and patch client into a fully working pipeline. Anyone can now grab the patcher with a minimal install, run it, and then download/update the game’s assets into a working game client that connects to the Camelot Unchained server.
 
Since our editor and patcher are connected together into a single pipeline, an artist or designer can make a change to a model or piece of the world and have it immediately built and downloaded directly into the patchers currently running on their own machines, their immediate workgroup, or even the beta or live game (with appropriate safeguards, of course). This isn’t just about sending people data files (that’s easy). It’s about how we work, and being agile both internally and externally so we can respond quickly to what’s going on in the LIVE game. While this may not sound like something all that special at the moment, it is truly a very powerful tool for us both internally and externally. I wish we had this type of system in-place when Dark Age of Camelot went LIVE. It would have made things so much easier.
 
All in all, it was a terrific sprint for us, especially on the technical side. It’s really a lot of fun when you have internal tests that go quite well. Made us all smile. As I’ve said before, this isn’t the sexy stuff but it is the sort of thing that we believe should be done first so not only do you have more time to iterate on it but also so you really don’t have to worry about it working at launch.
 
 
In terms of our next sprint, here is the roadmap.
 

  • Working on infrastructure to support rendering in the editor, paperdoll views, GM and stats views, and other non-gameplay contexts.
  • Improving prediction and smoothing for character movement.
  • Basic combat up and working, with triggerable abilities that have cooldowns, can be cancelled, etc.
  • Building the framework for very-low-latency communication with the server on these, for that extra-tight game feel.
  • Last bit of initial work on data stream encryption.
  • Logins and accounts in patcher and game, and connected to the persistent character work from last sprint.
  • Ongoing character animation and editor work.
  • Continued work/fixes to pledge transfer system after internal test with usability and UI changes.
  • Finish work of functionality review with feature lock for initial testing of PTS.
  • Create a Transfer log viewer.
  • Evaluation of third party software for possible inclusion in game.
  • Environment art work: Tree set with LODs (Level of Detail).
  • Next producer letter to the community.
  • Evaluate survey tools for use in collecting Founder feedback.
  • Finish new CU video with new logo.
  • Animate generic Arthurian male.
  • Produce higher resolution vids from past updates for use on YouTube and elsewhere.
  • Initial concepting for new race.
  • Begin armor design research for concept artists and modelers.
  • Second pass magic system including vfx concepting.
  • Create vfx for future use with our editor when it comes online.
  • Bust of Valkyrie with first pass of ‘feather hair.’
  • First pass high res Valkyrie.
  • Final editing of the next Becoming tale for TDD race.
  • Final editing of the first Becoming tale for TDD NPC/PC.
  • First draft final TDD race.
  • 2nd pass stats skills.
  • Meet with team to discuss next pass on the magic system.

 
As you can see from our next sprint, we have a few items that are starting to scream “Game Incoming!” Hopefully the next sprint will be as successful as this one as we will be in November by the time it’s done and January is getting ever closer. Next week we’ll have two updates for you, both lore stories from yours truly and hopefully some awesome early concept art by the end of the week. As to the identity of the next race, all I’ll say for now is that the story isn’t nearly as dark as the Valkyrie’s origin tale and I think it is and the companion piece is a nice fit for the TDD realm and rather sweet.
 

In terms of the screenshots, here’s one of our animation editors hard at work.

 
Here’s a bit of placeholder (duh, no, really?) UI for the character selection screen from the LIVE client.

 
Here’s one of the least sexy shots but it does show the patcher happily at work while Dave is writing code.

 
The final shots show the first cut of the UI for the working tier transfer system.



 
See you on the forums!

 

-Mark