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Massively exclusive: Jacobs on Camelot Unchained's Kickstarter home stretch

Jef Reahard

Camelot Unchained's Kickstarter odyssey is almost complete, and as of press time there's a little over a day remaining. City State's fantasy RvR sandbox stands at just over $1.82 million out of its $2 million goal, so Mark Jacobs has penned a dev diary designed to push the game's funding over the top.

He outlines the many challenges inherent in managing both a Kickstarter campaign and an ambitious MMORPG project, and he hits the highlights of the former which include three faction RvR, Minecraft-style building options, and a custom engine that has easily handled hundreds of simultaneous players at well over 200 frames per second. Finally, Jacobs thanks CU's current backers, whom he says have given unprecedented support to the tune of a $160 average pledge.

Jacobs' full diary is readable after the cut.

Dev diary

As I write this, the Camelot Unchained Kickstarter is getting close to the end, with about 38 hours left to go. Our total stands at $1.73 million. Every comparable game has had a strong final day, so while we haven't reached our target of $2 million yet, we're pretty hopeful.

No matter what happens, I'll be forever grateful to our backers. They have been simply awesome. Right now, our average pledge is around $160. This is completely unprecedented. I've looked at quite a few crowdfunded games, and not a single one has been in the same ballpark. Some have raised more total dollars, but they have all done so by attracting larger numbers of people at a lot less per head, more like $55 to $60. We knew Camelot Unchained was more of a niche game, and because of this, we expected / hoped our average would be higher. But as they say, "never in our wildest dreams..."

But this is just one aspect that happens to be quantifiable. How do you measure sheer enthusiasm? Or the level of emotional buy-in? Or positive attitude? I can't, but if I could, I do know our fans would be off the chart. As a result, they have inspired me and our entire team far beyond anything we could have expected or even imagined. For this too, I am eternally and deeply grateful,

I'm also incredibly proud of our team. Every single person here has give more than I could have dared to ask. We knew when we started that with only 12 of us, planning and executing a Kickstarter campaign would involve a lot of work. We were prepared for that... or so we thought. The sheer immensity of the task exceeded all our expectations. Thankfully, everyone rose to the challenge, working not only long hours but weekends as well to keep us on track. We had to deal with the usual spate of illnesses and injury, and today's fun and frolic with Amazon Payments servers being down for four hours certainly was a very unexpected challenge.

Assuming we stay the course and fund, we'll soon begin an even bigger adventure, actually developing the game. Making an MMOG, even a focused one, is a monumental task. I'm under no illusion that it will be easy. What it will be, however, is rewarding and fun. It has been a long time since I've had the opportunity to interact so closely with a game community. With their help, I believe Camelot Unchained can be something special. My job is to make sure it is. I renew my promise that my team and I will spare no effort to fulfill the faith our backers have shown in us.

I'm pleased to say we've already made some very positive steps in this direction. A prime example is the early work that Andrew Meggs has done on our engine. When we looked at a number of commercial solutions, it was evident that we would need something optimized to our focus on large-scale battles, not a "jack of all trades" designed to support many types of games with different demands. As anyone who has participated in or even seen our tech demos can attest, we've come a long way in only a month or so. We've had hundreds of players running around and fighting in a small area, plus particle effects, and have consistently run at more than 200 (well, not to be boastful but we peaked at over 1200) frames per second, all the while playing with other users around the world.

Another highlight is our building system. Crafting will be an integral part of our game, and our crafters will be able to do a lot more than make weapons, armor and other equipment. They'll also construct houses, other buildings, defensive structures, etc. using a very flexible building block-like system that uses a combination of individual "cells" and larger "pre-fabs". They'll also be able to "blueprint" their creations so they can be duplicated, rebuilt or repaired more rapidly than starting from scratch each time. This is unlike anything I've ever seen in an MMOG. In fact, it's much more in the vein of sandbox-like building games such as Minecraft.

Of course, the heart of Camelot Unchained will be RvR among the Arthurians, Tuatha Dé Danann and Vikings. I invite anyone who enjoys this type of gameplay to check out what we're aiming to create. If you like what you see and read, there's enough time left to make a pledge. :)

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