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CAMELOT UNCHAINED


Re: CAMELOT UNCHAINED

Message par darkrain » Lun 12 Août 2013 00:00

N°55


Folks,

Happy Monday all! While Monday is not most people’s favorite day of the week, I’ll try to make it just a little bit better with today’s update. We got a bunch of things to cover so away we go…

First, over the last two weeks we made three offers to people to join our team on a full-time basis. Fortunately for us, all three of them have accepted and they will be starting with us in the first half of August. Once they do, we will have a full-time producer (who also is a very skilled and experienced environmental artist, double-duty FTW!), a gameplay engineer (who also honorably served in our country’s armed forces for eight years, including two tours in Iraq) as well as surprise hire of a community manager (we weren’t even looking yet). All of these people fit in well with my belief in giving people opportunities not based solely on their previous experience in a role but rather their potential to grow into a role. That approach usually worked out quite well back at “old” Mythic Entertainment and I am confident that these people also have that potential. For those doubters among you, remember that when Mythic Entertainment went into development on Dark Age of Camelot nobody on that core development team had ever worked on an MMORPG nor even a game with a $1M+ budget. Hopefully we can have the same success with these and other future team members as we did more than a decade ago. Once they start work here I’ll do a proper introduction but I think the Camelot Unchained Community will like them as much as we at CSE do.

Next up is our first stab at a product road map. Once we have the producer onboard we will get a lot fancier with this but for now we want to start each cycle (1-2 weeks at the start, one month or more after that) with an update about what is going on in the studio and what are major goals are for the cycle. John Smedley’s crew did a great job with Planetside 2’s roadmap and we will definitely be drawing on it for inspiration. Keep in mind that as usual, this schedule will change as necessary and there will be times where we won’t want to talk about what we are working on. For this week, our goals are:

Complete deployment of first pass of Camelot Unchained networking code with documentation. Yes Virginia, sometimes programmers do actually document their code.
First pass at main server loop for Camelot Unchained. This is not the F# code that was used for SmackHammer but an all-new server loop.
Internal testing of a first pass at a CSE patching system. This system will be developed using SmackHammer and eventually deployed for Camelot Unchained.
Internal testing of a first pass of our account editor for Camelot Unchained. We’re almost there so hopefully by the end of the week we’ll be able to say that we can edit accounts more easily than we currently can.
Update to the Camelot Unchained website. We’re almost finished with a quick revamp of this so I expect that this will be an easy one to make.
Internal testing of the UI/web interface. We hope to have C++/java-script communication working so we can push data to the JS layer. That's one of the most important parts of the UI that will let us expose things like player health, party members, and other game data to the UI. We also hope to break the UI up into smaller more modular frames than we are currently using.
Complete first art pass at the next race for Camelot Unchained. We have two possibilities right now (both are Arthurians) and one of them is definitely a little easier than the other but we’ll see. One draws heavily on a Scottish legend while the other, well, it’s different and also not so different at the same time.
Continuing work on main animation system for Camelot Unchained. This is an ongoing process and while there isn’t anything cool to show yet, it’s important groundwork for the game.
Continuing work on the building system for the game. As per above, nothing exciting to show yet but things continue to move forward.
Continuing work on SmackHammer client and server as needed.
Next Becoming™ story for one of the two Arthurian races mentioned above.
Complete first pass of updated levels for free version of March on Oz. This game will be released for iPads first and then we will move it to select Android tablets. Mea Culpa on this one, I wanted to have them done last week but life (and migraine) interfered.
We also have a number of other interviews for team members and I’m continuing to talk to a number of potential hardware/software partners.

Next on today’s list is a SmackHammer progress report and UI work. SmackHammer worked very well last week and over the weekend with improved performance in terms of memory usage and the new networking code. It’s not perfect yet but it’s working pretty well considering the limited amount of time we put into it. Late last week we made some tremendous strides with our UI/web integration. As part of today’s mass of screenshots I’ve included a shot that shows the integration of an IRC channel on the main screen.

Finally, it’s time for my favorite part of any update, new concept art. This week it is the Hamadryads and, as usual, our team did a fine job. This week though we had a special guest star as Mike Milano (our modeler) lent a hand in the process. Like most of the other concepts, I asked our team to let their minds wander but with some very different instructions this time. First, I told them to think of the Hamadryads in a different way than is usually seen for this type of creature. Secondly, I told them to study both Guild War 2’s Sylvari and the Dark Age of Camelot’s Sylvan and make sure that our Hamadryads weren’t clones, or even close to, those races. Also, the artists were tasked with incorporating many different elements into their concepts, including insects. What they did with those instructions is, in my opinion, quite interesting. Each of the pieces includes a reference to the thing(s) that they used as inspiration for the piece. We also have two “tail studies” as well since we hope to give the Hamadryads a tail attack along with other unique abilities. Oh, and before anyone says “You gave female Hamadryads high-heeled feet!” please note that when I saw those concepts I said the exact same thing to the artists and Michelle just looked at me and said “High heels are pretty. They also make them more eleganter!” and Sandra nodded in agreement. I bow to their artistic vision and note to that some of the males also have unusual feet. As usual, this is early concept work and there are even more pieces that will go up on our website. I hope you enjoy the Hamadryads!

That’s it for this week’s scheduled update.

-Mark

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Re: CAMELOT UNCHAINED

Message par darkrain » Lun 12 Août 2013 00:01

N°56

Another goodness filled update for you on this beautiful Monday morning (well, at least here in Fairfax, Va.). First, let’s review last week’s road map.

Complete deployment of a first pass of Camelot Unchained networking code with documentation. Yes Virginia, sometimes programmers do actually document their code. Status: Completed.
First pass at main server loop for Camelot Unchained. This is not the F# code that was used for SmackHammer but an all-new server loop. Status: Completed.
Internal testing of a first pass at a CSE patching system. This system will be developed using SmackHammer and eventually deployed for Camelot Unchained. Status: Completed.
Internal testing of a first pass of our account editor for Camelot Unchained. We’re almost there so hopefully by the end of the week we’ll be able to say that we can edit accounts more easily than we currently can. Status: Completed.
Update to the Camelot Unchained website. We’re almost finished with a quick revamp of this so I expect that this will be an easy one to make. Status: Mostly completed with the programming team awaiting some guidance from me.
Internal testing of the UI/web interface. We hope to have C++/java-script communication working so we can push data to the JS layer. That's one of the most important parts of the UI that will let us expose things like player health, party members, and other game data to the UI. We also hope to break the UI up into smaller more modular frames than we are currently using. Status: Completed.
Complete first art pass at the next race for Camelot Unchained. We have two possibilities right now (both are Arthurians) and one of them is definitely a little easier than the other but we’ll see. One draws heavily on a Scottish legend while the other, well, it’s different and also not so different at the same time. Status: Completed.
Continuing work on main animation system for Camelot Unchained. This is an ongoing process and while there isn’t anything cool to show yet, it’s important groundwork for the game. Status: Completed.
Continuing work on the building system for the game. As per above, nothing exciting to show yet but things continue to move forward. Status: Completed.
Continuing work on SmackHammer client and server as needed. Status: No work was done on SH other than on the patching system.
Next Becoming™ story for one of the two Arthurian races mentioned above. Status: Completed.
Complete first pass of updated levels for free version of March on Oz. Status: Completed.
Not a bad week. :)

As to this week’s roadmap, some of the things are the same but there are also some new entries to the list. As always, we are including all of our major doings here, even if they aren’t related directly to Camelot Unchained.

First pass at technical roadmap for some key features of Camelot Unchained.
Continuing integration of UI/Web. Implement two-way communication between client and web server.
Continuing work on SmackHammer-based patcher.
Bring new programmer up to speed, work on implementation of new interface for particle system.
Implementation of early stages of new animation system via code.
Next revision of the new Arthurian race. Possible final version for Friday but most likely next week.
Limited design work on UI artwork for demo purposes.
Final pass at Hamadryad model, possible animation and rigging by Friday but most likely next week.
New Community Manager comes online by end of the week.
First pass at Becoming™ story for another possible Arthurian race.
Internal testing of new March on Oz free version for iOS and Android (no in-game store yet).
Final revision of our Company Handbook with legal and team.
Continuing discussions with certain hardware/software folks for possible partnership deals.
Today also marked our first “2 for 1” day for new employees. Joining our crew are Renee Machyousky and James Brown. Renee will be acting as our Community Manager and also replace the irreplaceable Anna Luu when Anna’s husband's assignment in the U.S. Armed Forces takes him out of the Washington, D.C. Mail carriers, delivery folks and cold-callers will rejoice since nobody messed with our Anna (well, and survived). Fortunately for us, Anna will still be working with us, albeit remotely and we will all miss her terribly. James is joining us a Gameplay Engineer and has won the contest for “Coolest Programmer Name Evar!” hands down. Next week our Producer will be joining us after he completes his cross-country move.

The final part of today’s update is the introduction of our next possible race, the Arthurian Stormriders. I conceived them as a human race with a cool backstory that also drew on and echoed some of the Arthurian legends (albeit in a very general way). There’s definitely some “read between the lines” stuff in there and, I think, a pretty cool race. As a bonus, this is the first story that has been edited/worked on by someone in addition to myself. This story had a volunteer copy/developmental editor who worked with me on the material and I hope, this time, you all enjoy the story and the writing style itself. She did a great job and I couldn't be more pleased with the end result!

The Stormriders
------------------

Come and sit, friends, and l will tell you a tale of Arthur’s most trusted subjects, the Children of the Lake, also known far and wide as the fearless Stormriders. While other mortals cower and flee before the Veilstorms, the Stormriders embrace their coming and stand before them in defiance. Despite this, they are not a reckless folk but rather are ruled by law. They bind themselves to Arthur’s code and their own law, called the Rider’s Oath. This code, you see, forms the blueprint for their whole society, the definition of what it means to be a Child of the Lake.

Being an organized people, Stormrider society is divided into five castes: the warriors, the scholars, the merchants, the makers, and the hearth-keepers. Each caste represents a wide range of ability. Warriors do not simply fight with sword and shield but face their realm’s enemies on whatever battlefield they must, meeting their opponents with the strength of magic or steel. Scholars approach life's difficulties with thought and study and share the secrets they discover throughout the realm. Makers build or shape their solutions, while merchants call upon who they know, what they own, or how they can bargain to resolve conflict. Lastly, the hearth-keepers face the world with wisdom and a parent’s intuition. Not by birth are these castes assigned but by each individual’s choice and whatever the caste a candidate chooses, male or female, the Stormriders respect and honor this choice. No greater sin is there among them than to force or coerce a person into choosing a caste. By this freedom of choice and strength of will are the Stormriders defined.

If you were to try to pick a Stormrider out in a crowd, it might prove a challenge for they appear human enough. However, the Stormriders have one physical trait that announces their coming: a small jewel in their forehead. This jewel is a mark of the caste and it draws its power and color from the Stormrider’s body. While the Stormriders are essentially human, their life cycle is not. They stay in a child’s form for nearly twenty years, all the while learning from the elders and masters of each caste. The elders encourage the young ones to pursue what their heart desires. Girls learn to take up arms just as boys learn to keep the hearth and home. To the Stormriders, the freedom of choice is far more important than the shape of the body. This freedom applies to every member of his or her own race and, in their opinion, to all the other races of Arthur’s realm.

When the child is ready, the young one kneels before the elders of the chosen caste and asks for admittance. Once granted, the child is then led to the Lake of Storms itself and commanded to drink deeply from its Veilstorm-infused waters. This taste of magic awakens the might of the soul, and the child’s body begins its transition into adulthood.

During these formative years, the adults of the caste challenge the young one’s choices, so to ensure that he or she is making the right decision. There is no shame in changing one’s mind at this stage, for the young heart is fickle and it takes great maturity to listen to its true calling. The elders also instruct the child in the complete Rider’s Oath. In part, it goes a bit like this: without faith, our purpose will not shine brightly / without conviction, our faith is but an illusion / without honor, conviction can be turned to evil. There is more, but only a Stormrider may recite it in full and it is very long for it is contained within and is also the history of their people. Only once a child fully embraces the Rider’s Oath are they allowed to request to face the trial that determines whether they can become a Stormrider. Kneeling once again before the caste’s leaders, the adolescent humbly asks embark upon his or her final and most dangerous test. Candidates that are deemed ready will spend this night preparing for their final trial. The Stormrider saying of “As is the mind, so becomes the body” is especially true this night. For before facing a Veilstorm the candidate must focus on a single goal, to desire nothing else but to be the living embodiment of their caste. There is no proscribed way for this vigil and sometimes it takes the form of quiet reflection, other times a candidate may recite the Rider’s Oath again and again and some candidates have been known to try to exhaust themselves physically through manual labor.

As I have said, the Stormriders embrace and defy the Veilstorms. It is not from the riding of a mere animal, no matter what size, that the Children of the Lake have earned their other name. The name is born from the tradition of the final test, the riding out of the totality of a Veilstorm. It is a terrible and solemn ritual. A pair of elders leads the nearly grown youth to a ceremonial place where a Veilstorm bolt once split a rock in twain. They strip the youth bare and bind one arm and both legs to either side of the cleft rock. In the free hand, the candidate holds a sacramental knife, forged of the purest steel, and inscribed with his or her true name. The elders leave the adolescent alone and naked to face the full might of a Veilstorm. Some scream, some shout, some sing, some weep, and the rare, strange few stay silent, but no matter how the candidate cries and struggles, the elders do not intervene.

The storm changes the youth before their very eyes: pulses of light drift beneath the skin, ribbons of energy course through loosened hair, and beams of light shine from the pupils. Subtle lines crisscross their body from the paths of raindrops; each track signifies a lost impurity. When the storm passes, the elders rush to the candidate, unbind, and wrap him or her in warm towels and blankets. Then, they rigorously scrutinize the candidate for any anomalies. A candidate affirmed in his or her chosen caste discovers that the storm has bestowed gifts upon him or her: great strength or energy, a swifter mind or sharper senses, heightened talent or impressive fecundity, and so on, as befits his or her new role. When the elders confirm that the candidate is whole and well, they announce the arrival of the new adult as a Stormrider. Then, a joyous celebration is held with songs of past triumph, dancing and revelry, and such food and drink as you can only imagine, friends.

Know this, though: not all candidates who stand before the storm pass their trial. If the candidate uses the knife to cut the binding straps, it is considered a sign of weakness. If the youth is unchanged by the Veilstorm, the nascent Stormrider must leave and never return. If malevolent change has taken place, the candidate’s fate is most terribly sealed. There are also some who enter into the first Riding with a weak will or darkness in their hearts. For this, the storm punishes them, twisting their bodies and minds to match the void within them. Some of these abominations realize what they have become and beg for a swift and merciful death. These imperfect candidates are given the choice to either take their own life by using the ritual knife, or to die with dignity at the hands of the elders. Regardless of their choice, they are then given a proper burial and the honor of keeping their birth name. However, friends, there are those who fail completely and become true monsters. For them, there is no salvation. They are put down like the raving beasts they are, and their name and history is stricken from the memory of the people, never to be spoken of again. Harsh, I know, but such are the traditions of the Stormriders. There are also a select few for whom the storm chooses a different caste than the one pledged in their youth. These transformed young adults face a choice between death, exile, and Riding the storm again. Nearly all choose the latter. Those who fail the second test almost always become true monsters, but those who pass are forged into something new, something chosen by fate. They are called Stormchosen, and it is said that they are destined to do great things.

2028You must be wondering, friends, who I am to know these secrets. Let it be known that I am one of those from whom the Storm had other plans. Alas, friends, I did not have the courage to face the terror of a second storm, so I chose exile instead. Thus, here I am, cursed to wander this world and share the story of my filing. As to my name, I was once called Medraut.

Thus ends the tale of the Children of the Lake.

------------------------------------------------------

I’ve also included some shots that show off our UI/Web interface in action with both an IRC channel on the main display as well as a familiar web page. I've also added some additional environmental concept art to add a little color to this piece.

That’s it for today!

-Mark
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Re: CAMELOT UNCHAINED

Message par darkrain » Lun 12 Août 2013 00:02

N°57

Folks,

Time for a smallish Friday afternoon update. First, our new folks have had a great first week here. James has hit the ground running and not because we are chasing him with a mace but rather he has been successfully thrown into the deep end of the pool. Renee is also learning the ropes here and I expect you’ll see more of her next week and right now, she is currently working on her first major update.

Our programming team continues to make fine progress on the core tech and tools. Nothing really sexy to show you today but we’ll have a bit more to talk about next week. I know our tech updates so far have not been earth-shattering, ground-pounding, roof-raising types but that is what happens when you build your own engine from scratch instead of licensing tech. Things may take a bit longer but at least they are 100% geared to what you are doing and your game’s needs. We expect that it will pay off in the end.

In terms of our artists, we’ve finished another round on our Stormriders and they’ve also been working on the Hamadryad model. For today’s update I’ve included a “jewel study” that shows possible implementations of their jewel including different techniques for their placement on their foreheads. We also have some very early concept art for the Stormrider trials and well, wait till you see our “colorful” piece for the Hamadryad. More than just a piece of concept art and less than a model, it is a realization of a possible female Hamadryad by our modeler. As always, these are still early pieces and very subject to change over the next few months as we begin to lock down our art direction. For now, it’s just like college; it’s all about experimentation, tests, hard work, failure, success, and alcohol.

For me it was a very good week. My next Becomming™ is nearly complete as is our handbook (finally) and my biz dev conversations have been going very well. I’ve been tinkering around with some system design ideas in my free time as well. Also, I had a truly BSC idea that has been very well received by the team so it was a very productive week personally and bringing in the new people made me smile.

Tonight we are sending Anna off with some terrific Indian food and while she won't be in Virginia for a few years, she'll still be working with us remotely. She's an amazing recruiter, a fantastic person and a joy to have as part of our team. Her presence in the office will be missed by everyone except the cold-callers and uninvited guests to the studio.

So, enjoy the new art and have a great weekend everyone!
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Re: CAMELOT UNCHAINED

Message par Silma » Lun 12 Août 2013 12:12

Merci Dark :)
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Re: CAMELOT UNCHAINED

Message par darkrain » Mer 14 Août 2013 22:40

N°58


Project Update #58: Afternoon Update - August 13th 2013
Posted by City State EntertainmentLike
Folks,

Sorry for the delayed weekly update; it has been a busy week. First, Tyler Rockwell has joined our crew as CSE’s Producer. He has an interesting “welcome to Virginia” story that he may share but he is now onboard and catching up with many months of Camelot Unchained Kickstarter updates, videos, Foundational Principles and other assorted CSE stuff. As I mentioned in a previous update, he is also an accomplished environmental artist so our Founders can expect to see him show off his skills in future updates. I have no doubt that the talents and experience he brings to the team will be quite helpful in bringing Camelot Unchained to life. FYI, I’m really looking forward to what he can create based on the environmental our concept work to date and what we will do over the next few months. Exciting times. Secondly, here is a status update of last week’s goals:

First pass at technical roadmap for some key features of Camelot Unchained. Status: Completed.
Continuing integration of UI/Web. Implement two-way communication between client and web server. Status: First pass completed.
Continuing work on SmackHammer-based patcher. Status: Completed, moving to next stage.
Bring new programmer up to speed, work on implementation of new interface for particle system. Status: Completed.
Implementation of early stages of new animation system via code. Status: Mostly completed.
Next revision of the new Arthurian race. Possible final version for Friday but most likely next week. Status: Completed.
Limited design work on UI artwork for demo purposes. Status: Missed. We didn’t have time to do this last week.
Final pass at Hamadryad model, possible animation and rigging by Friday but most likely next week. Status: As expected, it is being rigged this week.
New Community Manager comes online by end of the week. Status: Completed.
First pass at Becoming™ story for another possible Arthurian race. Status: Completed. Story will be posted later in the week.
Internal testing of new March on Oz free version for iOS and Android (no in-game store yet). Status: Completed.
Final revision of our Company Handbook with legal and team. Status: Completed. Team is reviewing it now.
Continuing discussions with certain hardware/software folks for possible partnership deals. Status: We are close to a deal with one, others are also moving forward.
Not bad, not perfect but not bad at all. In terms of this week’s list, it will be closer to two weeks due to what we are trying to accomplish but we’ll see…

Build out patching system into “asset build” system for Camelot Unchained. What this means is that we will essentially be using our patching system to build an internal studio patching system. This is a big process and will involve multiple programmers doing a lot of different tasks over the next two weeks and more. Rather than trying to "pad out" our tasks, I'm including all of them in this item.
First pass at editor for world and asset infrastructure for Camelot Unchained.
Continuing work on particle system for Camelot Unchained.
Concept art for next Arthurian race.
Fully rigged and animated Hamadryad.
First pass at modeled Dvergr.
Final Becoming™ story for another possible Viking race.
First pass for another possible Viking race.
Community’s first Q&A/AUA (Ask Us Anything) with Founders. We want to come up with a clever name for it so we’ll be creating a thread/discussion/contest on our forums to aid in our quest. If any Founder comes up with a name we decide to use, prizes will be involved.
First Producer’s letter to Camelot Unchained Community.
Free version of March on Oz enters friends and family testing on iOS.
Continuing discussions with certain hardware/software folks for possible partnership deals.
That’s it for today’s update. I’ll post another update later this week revealing the next possible Arthurian race. FYI, it is also based on some well-known legends.

On a truly personal note, it’s good to have the new people here and watching the studio grow again. The new folks are fitting in quite nicely and I think our three newest team members are going to add a lot to our studio and our games going forward.

Today’s early concept art features lots of different male Stormriders, some with jewels, some without and all have different musculatures. We also have two environmental concepts, one for a possible “trial chamber” and the other, well; it should be an easy caption for you Arthurian folks to figure out.

-Mark
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Re: CAMELOT UNCHAINED

Message par darkrain » Jeu 15 Août 2013 00:08

Le n°58 tout frais ci dessus et ci-dessous le lien à mettre en favoris pour les fainéants (comme jaba :mrgreen: )


http://camelotunchained.jeuxonline.info/
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Re: CAMELOT UNCHAINED

Message par darkrain » Ven 16 Août 2013 23:48

N°59

Project Update #59: Afternoon Update - August 16th 2013
Posted by City State EntertainmentLike
Folks,

Today’s update revolves around the unveiling (see what I did there!!) of another possible Arthurian race. Reading through the tales & legends of our three realms reveals a great deal of similarity between these stories. This is understandable given the relative proximity of the three realms and the mixing of the cultures and people over the centuries. One of the many things that these realms’ stories have in common is the central role that animals play in many of them. It is therefore not surprising that today’s race is drawn from one of those animal legends, the Cait Sith.

Personally, I’ve always been a fan of cat-based races (one of my early MUDs had a cat-based race called Prendorians) whether they are the Thundercats, Kzinti and many others. So, naturally the thought of adding a cat-like race appeals to me. Cats have, of course, played a prominent role in many diverse and geographically distinct societies over the course of human history. In Scotland, the Cait Sith were feared (as well as placated if one was seeking aid) by local residents. They seem to me to be the perfect addition to the ranks of the Arthurians as one possible “legendary” race. While the Cait Sith (or Cait Sidhe) are present in both Scottish and Irish mythology, I’m going with the belief that the legends are derived from the Kellas cats that were unique to Scotland.

In bringing forth our interpretation of the Cait Sith, the goals I set were:

They must not be like the Thundercats or other truly anthropomorphic cats. Not that I don’t love the TCs (huge fan, I would have loved to re-imagine the IP) but the world doesn’t need another cat-like race that is more human than cat.
The CS must be badass. Cats are predators and our CS must look like the meanest, scariest, ”top of the food chain” being in the Realm.
The CS must have a uniquely feline society. These are not cuddly, cute or sexy feline skin-suits but rather a race of beings that evolved quite quickly and have retained many of their feline traits rather than adopting human ones.
The CSE should be tied them into the Arthurian legends in a way that could reflect both popular local opinion (fear) and the concept of Arthur as a unifying force within his realm.
To consider the possibility of them being shape shifters as well.
While the artists are happily creating some really cool cats, I present to you the next Becoming™ tale, that of the Cait Sith.

The Becoming™: The Cait Sith

---------------------------------

Younglings of Clan Kellas, gather around me to hear another tale of our people; there will be plenty of time to play furball afterwards, before the setting of the yellow orb. Today’s tale centers on how we evolved, aided by the Great Storms, from pets and helpers of the Furless ones to the perfection of our current form. As future leaders of our clan, always remember that those who do not know their own past will never be able to truly understand the future, so sit patiently and learn from this tale.

When the storms first lashed through this world, our ancestors were barely as large as our newlings and they walked upon four paws in the manner of food. Many of us lived in the wild, though others of us lived amongst the Furless, assisting them, comforting them and sadly, taking our food from their hands. It is for this reason that we will never take food from another’s hand, even if offered in friendship, for doing so implies subservience.

As the power of the Great Storms changed our land, so too did they change us. Over turnings of the world too numerous to count, we slowly grew in stature and intellect. Our minds were the first to exhibit the change and we awakened to things beyond the world of sights, smells and simple thoughts. Sadly though, as we gained intelligence, the Furless became ever more suspicious of us and of our ultimate intentions. Long-told stories of us as evil beings, stealers of souls and other such lies became accepted as truth. With their world crumbling around them, the Furless needed someone to blame for the disaster and as we had also grown in stature, many of the Furless vented their rage on us. We were driven even from the rubble of their homes, and hunted for sport. As a sign of their so-called superiority, they wore our beautiful fur and skin stripped from our slain.

Faced with our own extinction we did what any rational beings would do, we fled deeper into the Changing Lands (where the storms were strongest). Many of us died on this pilgrimage and to this day and till the end of all seasons, we will honor those that died on that journey. We still hold our Midnight Lament on the anniversary of our journey’s end.

When we reached the heart of the storms, we saw that we were mostly alone in a land that we could not recognize by sight or smell and we deemed it a good place to stop and lick our wounds. Fueled by the power of the storms within this area, our ancestors’ alterations accelerated and we soon became upright and gained the claw of clutching (referred to by the Furless as an opposable thumb) and even greater intelligence. Within but a few seasons we became the most feared predator in these lands. We hunted and killed what we needed for food and put the suffering out of their misery, yet we never hunted for sport, for that is the way of the Furless and we abhor it.

As the fury of the storms abated, our kind began to disseminate into what remained of the world. Without the power of the storms, the Changing Lands were no longer suited for hunters such as us. Unfortunately, when we did so we began to encroach upon the territory of our former subjugators. Observing the changes wrought upon us by the storms served to reinforce their fear and hatred of us. We quickly fell to them as we lacked their armor, weapons and strange magic. Once again we were forced to flee and we did so, back into the Changing Lands. Devoid of a home, our males were furious at what they perceived as cowardice and they argued for fighting to the very last. By this time though, the males were greatly outnumbered by the females of our kind. It was then that Moireach, whose bloodline was pure, took charge of our clan and our race. She used her cleverness, not just her claws, to lead us down a new path over the coming turnings.

Life was hard for a time yet over the many seasons, through guile and cleverness, we learned much about the Furless; their magic and technologies. Our society evolved and soon we were strong again. Moireach told us of a dream she once had before the coming of the storms, of a Furless who was lost in the world. In that dream she saw that he was both a victim and a leader, both weak and strong and that his life was going to be in our paws. During the dream there was a great storm and as his life hung in the balance, she woke up. She told us to wait for that day and so we did, patiently, quietly, forever watching the Furless, stalking them without the hunt, awaiting that sign.

And so it came to pass that many seasons later one of Moireach’s female younglings, was out hunting what the Furless call Abominations; our kind calls them the Suffering. This young one had not properly scouted the area and as a result, a simple hunt turned into an ambush. She'd disabled a handful of them when she heard a shout from the nearby woods and a young Furless emerged from the trees and ran as straight as a hunter toward its prey. Thinking that she was the target, she turned her attention to the oncoming Furless and swung her Clawsword at him. As the youngling tells it, the Furless let out a shout of surprise, ducked the swing, rolled, and ended the suffering of one of the youngling’s attackers. He then bravely engaged the remaining attackers but he found himself quickly overwhelmed and near death. Our youngling then shook her head in consternation and leapt back into the fray to save the Furless’ life. Together they dispatched the other attackers and sat down to clean their wounds, (the Furless didn’t have the decency to offer to clean her wounds as custom dictates) and they eyed each other warily. The Furless identified himself as Arthur and he told her that he had come to this land to hunt abominations and to see if the rumors of “cat people” were true. Yes, my younglings, he called us “cat people”, a vial phrase that insults both our ancestors and ourselves. Rather than immediately ending Arthur’s life, our youngling was gracious enough to simply stand up, grab a rock and hit him, gently, over his head. She then tied him to his mount and sent him back to his lands. She also left him with a very special scratch as a reminder of his visit. Upon her return home, she shared the story with the rest of the clan and much respect was shown her.

Many turnings later our seers felt that a particularly nasty Malevolence was heading our way soon. As we have done for many a season, we moved our clan into the subterranean shelters we'd built long ago. As we were completing the move, we sent out scouts to survey the land, looking for any younglings that may have gotten mislaid during the move. One of our scouts was the youngling who was out earning her stripes and who should happen to be there, but Arthur. Though he was aging in the way the Furless do, she recognized him and questioned him as to why he was foolish enough to be outside and so far away from his home during such a storm. “He has about as much sense as he has fur and claws!” she thought to herself. He explained that in his lands the seers (he called them Stormwardens) had detected an incoming Malevolence that was heading straight for our home and he came to warn us and offer us shelter with his people. Warn us? As if we, who were so changed by the storms, couldn’t feel it in our fur when a storm approaches or that we were as ignorant of ways to protect ourselves as we were in former times. The youngling couldn’t decide whether to be insulted, laugh, roar or just shake her head in dismay. What she did was to offer him the protection of our lair, for the storm was coming on quickly. He grudgingly accepted her offer and he became the first Furless to willingly, if not fearlessly, enter our shelter.

As the Malevolence raged above, Arthur told us of his vision for the future of his race and for this thing he called a Realm. He told us of how he wanted to bring all of the survivors of the Piercing together and build a new society from the rubble of the old world. This society would be egalitarian and would work together to create a better world than what had gone before. Surprisingly, his vision (while mildly insulting to us, after all, we are not mere equals with the Furless) stirred some of our hearts. We saw in Arthur a male who was not solelyinterested in showing off his strength but who wanted to lead his people. As the storm reached its zenith, Arthur’s vision became clearer and the youngling was visibly shaken. Like her birth mother, she had the capacity to have visions and this was her first. She refused to say what it was but she ran out of the room and down the tunnel. Arthur followed her, worried about what he had just witnessed and soon others of our clan followed as well. When they reached her, she was deep in the throes of the vision. First visions are sometimes turbulent and she lashed out with claw and tooth, wounding Arthur, yet he would not strike back. When she came out of it, she refused to share what she had seen and was visibly shaken by both the vision and the harm to Arthur. Arthur stayed with our clan until he was healed and when he left, the youngling was nowhere to be seen.

Turning upon turning passed and we had heard about the works of Arthur, and the eventual splitting of his liter-mates. One season after that sad day there was a gathering being held in the fortress of Arthur. Sneaking into that meeting was the youngling. Rather than harm any Furless, when one chanced to see her, the youngling allowed herself to be brought to Arthur. While others bowed before him, she simply purred but kept her mouth closed as to not display her teeth. Arthur, much to his credit, accurately interpreted the gesture and asked her why she was there. The youngling told him that when she heard of the Betrayal, she called on our clan to offer their help to Arthur. After much wrangling, the clan agreed and she was sent to tell him the good news. There was a tumult in the hall with many voices raised in disapproval and threats. Arthur silenced his people, walked over to the youngling and bowed most graciously and properly expressed his gratitude. As the youngling walked out the door Arthur called to her and said, “Wait. Before you go my lady, may I know your name?” Ignoring the insult of being called a “lady” (which the youngling knew was unintended), she looked back to Arthur and said “Your kind do not have the patience nor the vocal capacity to properly speak my full name. Some of your kind have called me, Gwenhwyfar, so you may call me “Gwen”. With a shake of her tail, the pure white youngling walked out the door but not before walking over to one of the most vociferous critics. Looking down at him she smiled and with a deft flick of her claw she cut a string that the man was using to secure his clothing. She exposed the claws in her right paw, and in her left she held the string up over his head, making it appear to jump by raising and lowering it. The man’s eyes grew wide, he reeked of fear, and a small trickle of liquid flowed down his pant’s legs. Gwenhwyfar then released the string and as it fell slowly to the ground she walked out the door, purring contentedly.

And now my younglings, you may go play some furball.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

I hope you enjoyed this tale; it is my personal favorite so far.

We had a fun morning today at the studio. The Syndicate™ is holding their annual SyndCon here in Fairfax and the studio went en masse for a visit and Q&A. Much fun was had by all. There was also a surprise (at least to us) visitor; Richard Garriott dropped in before his meeting with the fine guys and gals of the guild. Between the Richard and myself we must be over 500 years old in "game developer years" especially when you factor in employment history, Kickstarter, multiple MMORPGs, etc. :) Talk about your two old war-horses. Man oh man; it does seem like forever since I first played Ultima on my Apple II in my girlfriend's (now my wife) apartment in MD.

Today's bonus concept art is a bucolic forest scene.

Have a good weekend everyone!
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Inscription : Sam 31 Mars 2012 14:48


Re: CAMELOT UNCHAINED

Message par darkrain » Ven 20 Sep 2013 00:07

N°60

[KS Update] Afternoon Update – Sept 6th 2013


Folks,

As per our Kickstarter update, there seems to be some new problems with using their editor for this type of update (either that or they are sick of us sending out all these updates :) ) so today’s update is being posted on our website.

Time for another big update from you know who! As usual, let’s review our last road map.
•Build out patching system into “asset build” system for Camelot Unchained. Status:
Completed.

We began testing the new system yesterday and its looking good.

•First pass at editor for world and asset infrastructure for Camelot Unchained. Status:
Completed.

•Continuing work on particle system for Camelot Unchained. Status:
Completed.

•Concept art for next Arthurian race. Status:
Completed.

•Fully rigged and animated Hamadryad. Status:
Completed.

•First pass at modeled Dvergr. Status:
Completed.

As you can see from today’s art, we made a number of changes to the basic model.

•Final Becoming™ story for another possible Viking race. Status:
Completed.

This tale is about the Berserkers and as I said at the end of the last update, “I hope you go crazy for them.”

•First pass for another possible Viking race. Status:
Completed.

•Community’s first Q&A/AUA (Ask Us Anything) with Founders. Status:
Miss

/

Completed.

We would have liked to get the AUA done at the same time as the contest but there were so many good names, we wanted to hold off on the AUA under we had a cool name.

•First Producer’s letter to Camelot Unchained Community. Status:
Late.

The letter should go out Monday.

•Free version of March on Oz enters friends and family testing on iOS. Status:
Miss.

We focused on Camelot Unchained and didn’t spend any time on MoO last week.

•Continuing discussions with certain hardware/software folks for possible partnership deals. Status:
Completed.


Not a bad update cycle but these are the “salad days” so we can’t get cocky. In terms of our next cycle:
•Continuing work on the animation system with improved blending and playback, and implementation of Lego-like system for assembling/rendering character models.
•Next pass at internal account editor allowing players to merge accounts, add FPs and first pass at adding sub-accounts to main accounts.
•2nd pass world and asset editor.
•Client-side work on loading/assembling assets.
•First pass at player controlled models in new C# server.
•Fully animated and rigged Dvergr.
•Concept art for possible Viking class.
•Work on UI system for particle effect creation.
•Full integration of JIRA (project and issue management system) to replace current use of Mantis for everybody at the studio.
•First pass at some environmental concept art.
•Completed story for possible Viking class.
•First pass “Vision document” for stat/skill system for Camelot Unchained.
•First pass “Vision document” for magic system for Camelot Unchained.

In terms of today’s Becoming™ tale, let me start this off with a quote from one of my favorite movies “You wanna get nuts? Let’s get nuts.” Today’s story is about a race that is usually considered a class in the vast majority (if not all) of games to date – Berserkers. I’ve always loved these guys and initial plan was to have them as a melee class within the game. However, it might be a bit BSC and a heck of a lot of fun if they were their own race. I thought about it and I decided that the idea of a Berserker Mage or Berserker Healer was just way too much fun. So, I came up with a tale for them that is also tied into some rather important Viking and Camelot Unchained lore. I hope you enjoy the story and are intrigued with the concept of having Berserkers as a playable race as opposed to a
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Inscription : Sam 31 Mars 2012 14:48


Re: CAMELOT UNCHAINED

Message par darkrain » Ven 20 Sep 2013 00:08

N°62

Ah jeez where to start? The team has slowly introduced me to all the burger joints in the area so I am currently sleepy with bacon'y burger goodness. But I digress.... (Note: I do that often.)

This first "Producer Letter" is mostly going to be introduction to me and a little storytelling about my move and first weeks at CSE. Future letters will focus more on what we’ve been working on to keep our backers up to date. On with the intro...

First off I am many things, husband, father, producer, comedian, hugger, gamer, pragmatist, nature lover, and more. There's two other things I have always been. One, an artist, and two, a hard worker. When people ask me about getting into the games industry the first thing I tell them is, "It's a pile of hard work." I'm really serious about that. It's not that it's a requirement of long hours or difficult problem solving, that could be said to be part of any job. Here however you have an industry a lot of people want to work in. So how do you actually get in and then survive? Well that's number two.....a hard worker! My definition of hard work is more specific though. Hard work for me is working when you don't have to. It's going beyond your current task. And most importantly, it’s looking for problems to solve. If you don’t see them, you’re not looking hard enough. I’m excited to apply that work ethic here at CSE.

I’ve been an artist from an early age. However I am also very into fish, animals, and nature. Like most kids I wanted to be a vet or something. So around college age I started attending UC Santa Cruz with a focus in Marine Biology. After two years of chemistry and biology classes I quickly realized I had no working concepts of this thing they call math. So after failing Chem 1C twice I started to seriously ponder whether this Marine Biology thing was going to make me happy. So I'm pondering this idea late one evening on a plane to Oregon to visit my girlfriend. I'm sitting between two businessmen in suits who are reading the business and sports sections. There I am, ripped jeans and a gaming logo t-shirt drawing an Alien ripping apart a Colonial Marine. Suddenly I hear from the aisle, "You draw that?" (Now of course I want to look up and say, "What?! Me? Noooo.. I'm just holding this pen to keep it warm.") However I don't do that. I look up and the flight attendant is looking at my drawing. "Hey Janice come look what this kid drew." So now I have three flight attendants fawning over me and clearly annoying the two businessmen.

20282028Here's the life changing moment, "You going to school for that?" "Uh no." I reply. "Marine Biology actually." "Man," hand on hip, finger pointed at my drawing, "If I had that talent I'd be doing that for a living."

One year later I’m living in the back studio at my parents house, covered in charcoal, 3am, watching Star Trek: TNG, trying to get my homework done. I'd convinced my parents I can make a living as an artist and I'm currently attending the Academy of Art College in SF. I kept two jobs during the summer then worked my ass off in art school. I can easily say I spent three times as much time on my homework in art school than when I was doing Marine Biology.

One day in school I asked a friend if I could visit him at his work at EA in Redwood City. My friend tells me, "Bring your sketchbooks. You have a bunch of great stuff in there. We have a new Art Director and Technical Art Director from PDI (Remember? Antz?) who would love to see that stuff.” (My sketchbooks were full of the usual stuff 20 year old males draw. Dragons, girls, girls riding dragon, Disney characters doing non Disney things to each other, you know. The usual. So I'm hesitant but bring two along.

So I meet these two guys and they are laughing their asses off looking through my books but also commenting on how good some of it is. Then the art director looks at me and asks, "So where's your resume?" "What resume?" I ask. "You're here for the internship right?" "What internship? I reply. I'm not the quickest to pick up on things. "We need an intern who can draw. Do you want a job this summer?"

And that is how I got into games.

I interned with EA and then was hired full time. Over the next several years I had the opportunity to work with some truly talented people on some very fun games. I quickly got bumped to lead positions, overseeing first, objects on a project, then whole environments, then entire teams on site and overseas. One thing you learn with modern games is the importance of organizational skills. My last project, Godfather 2, was much more production than art. I'm proud to say, "It may not have looked all that great, but we got a massive amount of assets completed and assembled with a tiny team in too little time."

I then got picked up at a start up with some serious capital creating a social MMO. I started as the Outsourcing Producer/Artist, and then later added Lead Environment artist to my duties. So yeah, lots of work to do, again, with a small team.

So a couple of years later I'm a full time Dad looking for work. Full time Dad - totally awesome! Full time Dad for over a year? - not as awesome. Kids are both amazing and exhausting. I needed to start working again as I was beginning to feel unfulfilled. I needed some art, some challenge again. So I start looking for work. And lo and behold there's this small company in Fairfax doing a Kickstarter campaign for a fantasy MMO. Four words there.... Fantasy, MMO, small, and Fairfax! - Because you know, there's a Fairfax in California less than a half hour from where I was living. Awesome! Of course the joke is on me here. We're talking Fairfax VA?!

CSE contacts me and asks what I'm interested in doing, why I applied, etc. This is the usual first phone call where they make sure you're willing to relocate to Virginia. Yeah.... that's where I faltered. Virginia!? It's not an issue of the state it's more an issue that I have a family I need to move across the US, and more importantly my safety zone doesn't extend too much farther from my wacom tablet and my kitchen. I let them know I'd be interested in an art or producer role and I'd have to check with 'the wife' about moving.

My wife says “Hell yes!” She has family in Georgia and was looking for an excuse to start a new adventure. And so begins the five hours of skype calls being grilled by this Mark Jacobs guy. I’ll be honest here. I had the toughest most honest first interview I’ve ever been in. And it was awesome. That may sound odd but Mark had a very honest and down to brass tacks way of interviewing that while nerve wracking, made me like the guy way more. Mark goes on to talk about how he runs the company like a family, honest and fair while still working hard. Very appealing. So paperwork gets signed and now the real work begins; getting everyone across the US.

The plan is to have myself and my daughter fly out to Georgia and stay with my Mother In Law while my wife, her Dad, our two dogs, the two sulcata tortoises, and my four turtles, drive in my tiny Honda Civic across the US to Georgia. My wife is completely excited about this drive and I just count her crazy. She likes road trips. Go figure!

We drop the reptiles off with a friend in Georgia and head up to Virginia where we are renting a “Master bedroom with private entrance on the second floor and shared kitchen.” I put this in quotes because when we get there my first words are, “Uh honey, this is a one story home. And I don’t see a private entrance.” So we start looking around as the woman renting this place to us is out at the time. Wandering around back, looking for our “private entrance,” it soon becomes clear that one, this woman is a hoarder, and two, she’s totally misrepresented this living space. “Private entrance” turns out to be the back door. “Master bedroom” turns out to be a tiny little room with a twin bed down the smallest of small hallways. “Shared kitchen” is actually five feet of walking space to get around all the clutter. So yeah, welcome to your new home!

It took us two minutes to turn around and find a hotel. We hung out at the hotel for about a week. Turns out the one my wife chose also housed The Syndicate’s convention so I was lucky to geek out all weekend playing board games with a fine group of fellow gamers. This game called “Seasons.” Very fun!

We did find a great place to stay. I have to throw this in to give you, the readers some perspective on my family’s newfound happiness. In California, north of San Francisco is a County called Marin. Like most of the Bay Area it’s expensive to live there. We pay about 4.20 for gas and our one bedroom apartment cost $1550 a month. However in Virginia, we found a wonderful four bedroom house, wrap around yard, with large fenced in backyard for almost the same price! Excellent.

As of this writing I’ve been at work for three weeks. The first couple of days amounted to Mark telling me to slow down. I was all gung ho to get the team on task tracking software, meet with everyone, figure out what was being worked on, etc. You know, classic first day jitters. Instead Mark wanted to make sure I knew literally everything about Camelot Unchained. I watched all the KS videos. Read all the updates, and read piles of posts and discussions in the founders forums. There is a real appreciation here for the people who are going to play this game. It’s something I find refreshing and exciting as it’s something I’ve never been able to take part in when I worked for larger companies. Plus here player feedback is really being discussed! Such a novel idea! (Idear?)

My favorite conversation with Mark was in regards to how many MMO’s I’ve played. I listed off WoW, Tera, FF11, Rift, City of Heroes, DC Online, and some crazy Korean one I can’t remember. His answer, “Ok you haven’t played many and you should check out Dark Age of Camelot.” His point being I needed to understand former DAOC players better as they represent a majority of our backers.

Since then I’ve helped to add some oil to the CSE machine by slowly integrating some task tracking software I like. The engineers are working like mad men on the main engine while the artists continue to crank out concepts.

* Our Code monkeys are working on the internal patcher system. A task that has the team deep in shark infested code waters.

* The networking goddess that will oversee all our players continues to grow in power as our engineers collectively eat, pray, and code for her. * Andrew and I, along with our artists have had some very productive, and exciting, discussion around our terrain building engine and the armor swapping system. I love problem solving!

* We now have very basic character importing into the engine! Yesterday the code was off by “four bytes” which made the character import look like something out of the movie “The Thing.” - four bytes! Hilarious!

* As you saw in the recent update Tim showed you the UI integration we are working on. That was a group effort between him and two of our artists, Mike and Michelle who provided the art assets of our ‘vanilla’ UI.

* Our speed machine character artist is making tweaks to an exciting, and as yet, unseen new race!

* Our account editor grows daily in capabilities.

* Our animator, who is a machine btw, is not only applying basic and combat animations to our characters but also researching different game’s combat animations as one of our goals is fluid and fun combat.

* Sandra and Michelle, our pixel pushers, are continuing to hammer out concept for yet unseen races and ideas that literally spill forth from Mark’s head.

I’ll take a moment here and just commend the team structure here at CSE. We have almost daily discussions over pretty much everything in the game. The whole team is involved if they want to be. We spent a good hour just talking about hands for the Cait Sith. Very organic here. Additionally, because we’re all video gamers, board gamers, and readers, we constantly converse about the world building, lore, races, etc. Typically these start with Mark turning from his keyboard and saying, “So what do you guys think about this?”

So that’s the long short version of how I came to be at CSE. Apologies for rambling. I tend to do that. I’m very excited to be in a position to support this team. I see myself as the sniper on this team. You know, the guy who helps everyone else get their jobs done. And yes, I am that jerk in Battlefield sniping you or the healer in LOL keeping your enemies up! We have a long road ahead of us and I look forward to hearing from our alpha and beta testers in the coming year. Please feel free to ask me questions. I can also field some questions around gardening, cooking, animal care, and parenting if you feel inclined.

-Tyler

P.S. I've included one of our earlier pieces of concept art which will serve as a not-too-subtle hint to what our modeler is working on right now. :)
Dernière édition par darkrain le Ven 20 Sep 2013 00:09, édité 1 fois.
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Re: CAMELOT UNCHAINED

Message par darkrain » Ven 20 Sep 2013 00:09

N°63

[KS Update] Morning Update – September 19th 2013

Folks,

Today’s “mid-stream” update is brought to you from my couch, since my reliably, unreliable back has decided to repay me for working in a twisty little passage attempting to fix some video equipment in the house. As such, this update is centered on one thing, and one thing only Vasili, the introduction of the first “To be a…” tale for Camelot Unchained™. Like our race concepts, this class is not set in stone and it serves to introduce a possible class for our game and to spur discussion on our forums regarding it. We intend to unveil more class concepts during the next two years than the game may launch with (depending on stretch goals of course), so today we start down that path.

Today’s class is the HelBound™ and as the word Hel would suggest, they are a Viking class. Members of this class have sworn allegiance to the “Greater Power” Hel and they would fill the role of a “healer” class for the Viking Realm. However, as the story lays out, they are much more interesting than just a plain ole healer. Oh, and as to what a Greater Power is and how Hel fits into our world, you’ll just have to read the story to find out. There are lots of dangling bits/hints (and a few participles too I’m sure) and we’re not going to fill in all the blanks just yet. We’ve got lots of nice shiny new concept art as well, including some cool looking weapon concepts to go along with this class concept. You’ll also notice that we’ve included some basic armor concepts for the class as well. As always, these are all very early and rough concepts; especially factoring in how much our artists accomplished in a little more than a week!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


To be a: HelBound™



Somewhere below a long dormant volcano, a steady stream of Vikings filed into a cavernous room deep within the volcano’s bowels. Clothed in the customary two-toned robes of HelBound initiates, all the races of this Realm were represented here. As they took their places standing before a statue of Hel, the initiates were greeted with a rich and pungent cocktail of odors; ash, death, power and sweat emanating from the nervous bodies of those who had journeyed to this forsaken place to take their final vows. Though this volcano’s fury had not been felt since before the coming of the Veilstorms, the room was still far too hot for most Vikings and many of them began tugging at their heavy woolen robes, visibly uncomfortable in the sweltering haze. Once assembled, they waited for what seemed like hours and some succumbed to the combination of blistering heat and noxious fumes and had to be carried away by senior HelBound. Minutes turned to hours and then, without warning, the room turned much colder, the unwholesome fumes were replaced by that of the fjords on a crisp fall morning. As the temperature plunged, more initiates found themselves “kissing earth,” and they too were carried off and dumped unceremoniously at the mouth of the cavern, the robes stripped from their trembling forms. The congregation, its ranks now thinned, began to huddle together both for warmth and security not knowing what was to come next. Slowly the room’s temperature shifted again and it reached a point of balance between hot and cold. Even the room’s odor was indiscernible; it was neither pleasant nor offensive. Balance achieved, the cavern was then filled by the booming of an instrument that could be best described as the dysfunctional marriage of drum and horn. At the final “boom” a man wearing the robes of the Speaker of Hel emerged from the base of the statue to stand before the depleted gathering. Wearing his Death Helm, which like all true HelBound helms covered only one half of his face, the Speaker channeled the rune of “Ear” and began his oration.


“Attend me supplicants of Hel, the true and most benevolent mother of the nine worlds,” intoned the Speaker of Hel as the now obviously shaken supplicants drew closer to him. “You have chosen to follow the one true path, which is most wise. However, if you think this path is an easy one, you are as mistaken as those fools in the Cursed Realms who believe they can save our world from destruction. Listen carefully now as I relate our history and what it means to earn the right to become HelBound.

“Hel is not a goddess, as the ignorant may believe. As you have learned, she is one of the Greater Powers, beings so transformed by the Veilstorms that they have become transcendent humans. From your initial studies, you doubtless understand her evolution was both powerful and painful, as the duality in her appearance testifies. Like many of the Greater Powers, it was her inner strength that both protected and transformed her through the power of the Veilstorms. When her metamorphosis was complete she was left a being that simultaneously walked in multiple worlds. Wherever she passed, she brought both life and death and she fed off of this, growing ever stronger. Until one glorious day, she transcended both life and death to become what she is now.

“Becoming a HelBound means pain and pleasure, power and weakness for we are as our mother, creatures of a dual nature. Once you take this vow you are forever bound to her and you acknowledge that your existence in this world is transitory. She will mark you so that all who encounter you will know your true allegiance and fate. Wear her mark proudly for so long as you do, you will be able to call upon her gifts to further her purpose in this world. On the glorious day that your existence in this world ends, you will join our mother in her realm and serve her as she watches over the nine worlds.

“Newcomers will go through the ceremony of rebirth after which you will receive your first HelMark”, continued the Speaker in icy tones. “HelBound may walk different paths in the service of our beloved mother and you must choose wisely. Do not mistake this choice for mere illusion, nothing could be further from the truth, this choice determines the runes that are gifted you by Hel herself. While you are expected to learn other runes in your journey, these core runes embody what Hel can expect from your service.


“If you choose the path of life, you will learn the runes of magic that are attuned to the healing arts. If you choose the path of death, you will learn the runes that will bring death upon your enemies. For us, blood is what opens the path to the Veil and through the shedding of blood, you summon and control the magic of your runes through your connection with and devotion to Hel. Each time a HelBound casts a spell, their bond with Hel grows stronger. This bond is continually strengthened as you serve and sacrifice for our Realm.

“Upon choosing a path a weapon will be given you, and this weapon will bond to your very soul. This bond can be transferred to another weapon in the future, but you may only have one weapon so bonded to you at a time. Alternately, you can choose to use your own hands as a weapon. While not as effective as a crafted tool, choosing your hands as a weapon will cause a permanent rune of power to be etched upon them. Over time, Hel will harden your hands so that they take on the aspects of a crafted weapon.

“Once the final ritual of binding is complete, you will be able to call into battle valiant souls who have passed from this world; these souls will aid you in your endeavors. This is Hel’s greatest gift to those who serve her. Unlike the Cursed Realms, we have always recognized the importance of our ancestors and we are thankful for the gifts their passing has bestowed upon us. As a HelBound you can summon fallen ancestors to merge with you and share their strength and power for a short time. Much like your bond with Hel, the bond with your ancestors will strengthen and you will be able to call on different aspects of these and other ancestors as you grow stronger. Call on them, though understand, there is always a price to pay for power whether it comes from the Veil or from Hel herself.



“So my little Helions,” the Speaker said almost kindly, “what say you? Are you ready to take on the challenges and rewards that come with serving our most gracious mother? If so, I have one final thing to show you before you make your decision.” The Speaker then slowly removed the finely etched, two-toned robes and as he did, there were gasps of horror from a few of the supplicants. Only then did they behold the true price he had paid for his devotion. His body seemed liked two entirely distinct halves, held together by sheer force of will. One side was lifeless, covered in thick cords of necrotic flesh, while the other half seemed all too alive and was covered in a writhing mass of foreign organisms. “This is the price I pay for serving our Lady and I would gladly do so again. It is up to you but always remember, choice matters.”

Standing before the assembled men and women, the Speaker smiled inwardly knowing that what he said was mostly true. There were a few things about his chosen path that he wished weren’t part of the bargain with Hel. He had learned all too well just how much choices matter, especially when dealing with a demi-god who used to be your daughter.



So ends this tale.

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I hope you enjoyed this tale and especially the concept of the HelBound. We are pretty pumped about this class ourselves as some of the mechanics that are described in the accompanying story are quite intriguing and just a wee bit dark.

Here are some additional bits of wonderful artwork by the team. First up are some mask studies. As you can see, there is a lot of variety with the masks.




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These masks are masks that are created after the HelBound summons the spirit of an ancestor to join with him/her.

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Here are some additional edged weapons with showing them with their effects on and off.

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Here are some rough concept pieces that show how the duality that is Hel can be displayed via armor.

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See you next week!
-Mark





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