MarkJacobs · CEO City State Entertainment

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  • The Most Wanted MMOs of 2017 a Columns at MMORPG.com

    Bill,

    Thanks for the mention, much appreciated!

    FYI, I've been telling folks that they should expect a longish Beta (not years and years and years...) for us since we are focused on getting it right for release. As an RvR-focused game, we can't afford to launch the game in a broken/semi-broken state. We will take our time, add classes during the Beta process, and continue to iterate on the game we have said we are going to make for our Backers. And of course, there are no worries about adding new and exciting features, BSC ideas, etc. during development as we have publicly said (and backed that up with our Stretch Goals, FPs, etc.) that we aren't going to go down that path. It should be a fun Beta for our Backers as besides the main game itself, we will be regularly testing large-scale battles once the first wave of classes are in and working well. That should be a lot of chaotic fun. :)

    Thanks again and I want to wish you, the team, and the readers/posters here at MMORPG a Happy New Year in advance.

    Mark
  • The Players' Choice 2015 - Most Anticipated Awards at MMORPG.com

    Thanks Bill! We're watching you too!!!! :)

    In all fairness, we shouldn't be included in the list because, well, I'm less interested in winning a poll, then I am in disappointing people. Once we get into Beta, we'll have a realistic timeline for our launch. We missed our last estimated date and in my opinion, it would be BS to give out a date now. I've seen too many devs do that (including us). Bill asked me about the date and my answer was as it is here. We'll announce that date when we are confident. So, MMORPG/Bill did what they should have done, not include us. Fair is fair, and I support not being included in the poll 100%.

    OTOH, on Tuesday we'll be doing some livesteaming that should make people who are concerned about our ability to deliver on the game, a lot less worried. :)

    Thanks as always Bill and company!
  • Really quiet here, is this game stalled?

    Twisted77 said:
    Camelot Unchained is definitely a game I might want to give a significant amount of precious game time. 

    However, almost all the games in alpha/beta on MMORPG.com have a lot of hype and forum activity... this one rarely has a post every few days.

    Are people not excited for this game?
    I think, as per below, that a lot of people are just waiting for us to get closer to a game and further away from our focus on tech. CF, because it is using a pre-existing engine, was able to have more game to show for their game than us. OTOH, our engine is coming along quite well and I expect that we will be showing LIVE gameplay (and not just tech) much sooner than later.

    Thanks for your interest, the good news is that it won't be much longer to see what our hard work on our engine will mean to the game.

    DMKano said:
    People are excited for a final product that's good.

    Most people are - is it done yet? No? - call me when it is.

    Fans that follow CU might find the development cycle exciting - most players don't care until it's done.
    Couldn't agree more.

    ste2000 said:
    I believe most of the fans moved to Crowfall which looks in much better shape than CU.
    I suggested months ago that the CU Team was wasting their time with the C.U.B.E. Feature, time they should have used to make the actual game.
    Mark Jacob replied to my objection that it wasn't the case and developing C.U.B.E. wasn't slowing down the game development.

    I am in no position to doubt his words but the fact is that since then we haven't seen anything new coming from City State while lots of exciting news came from the Crowfall Team.
    Crowfall and CU share pretty much the same player base and I suspect that Crowfall is going to come up on top and hijack this niche from City State.


    It's simple enough to see if I've been lying by just checking our updates/website/builders. We've added precious little to CUBE over the last year and a ton to the rest of the game. As to CF hijacking this niche, as always, time will tell. :)

    CrazKanuk said:
    ste2000 said:
    I believe most of the fans moved to Crowfall which looks in much better shape than CU.
    I suggested months ago that the CU Team was wasting their time with the C.U.B.E. Feature, time they should have used to make the actual game.
    Mark Jacob replied to my objection that it wasn't the case and developing C.U.B.E. wasn't slowing down the game development.

    I am in no position to doubt his words but the fact is that since then we haven't seen anything new coming from City State while lots of exciting news came from the Crowfall Team.
    Crowfall and CU share pretty much the same player base and I suspect that Crowfall is going to come up on top and hijack this niche from City State.


    At this point I'd be interested to know what IS slowing development if not that. I mean over a year ago he was asked re: beta delays and gave the answer "Certainly not 8 months. Right now, we are looking at weeks, in terms of the core ability code." in reference to beta NOT being delayed until 2017. 

    That being said, it's not that uncommon should they find core framework problems. It's also possible that once that was fixed they had to reset the timer on beta launch to ensure quality, depending on the impact of the changes. 

    You might be right, though, this type of delay may well have given Crowfall the opportunity to hijack the niche. 
    I've said, not a few times, that "re-abilitation" took longer than we expected mainly because the deeper we dove into the existing code, the worse it looked. We ended up throwing out all of the previous code and had to start that part of the process was scratch. At the same time, the team in Seattle was being built out and that was also a distraction as doing so took a significant amount of my time, and a not-insignificant amount of time from Andrew. The good news is that is all behind us, the team out there is now filled and the next 60 days are going to see a flurry of activity on both tech and gameplay.

    Cotic said:
    Latest newsletter http://mailchi.mp/citystateentertainment/unveiled-camelot-unchained-newsletter-34
    The Dose of Design section is quite informative.
    Thanks, Ben did a great job on that.
    Crowfall has continually eclipsed this game on this site.  Really it's eclipsed it in general, as there's just so much more and so much new/different about crowfall vs a DaoC reboot.
    Actually, it's kinda the opposite. If you are looking for new/risky systems/mechanics, you might want to read what we're doing. We aren't a Dark Age of Camelot reboot as so many of our systems/mechanics demonstrate. This is NOT a knock against CF, which does also have some interesting stuff, but my comment is in reference to the fact that we are not trying to reboot Dark Age of Camelot. 
    waynejr2 said:
    Twisted77 said:
    Camelot Unchained is definitely a game I might want to give a significant amount of precious game time. 

    However, almost all the games in alpha/beta on MMORPG.com have a lot of hype and forum activity... this one rarely has a post every few days.

    Are people not excited for this game?

    All I need is a release date.  I don't need them to spoon feed me information about the dev cycle.

    That isn't going to happen till we're in Beta 1. Putting a release date for a polished release (not an MVP) before we hit Beta 1 would simply be BS and I'm not going to do that to our long-suffering, and patient, Backers. :)Kyleran said:
    From the newsletter you will see there is a flurry of information and activity, busy busy busy.

    But no word on when something playable will be available, doesn't appear to be anytime soon.

    Sooner, rather than later, if the next few weeks go well.

    Thanks all, for your support if your Backers and/or interest if you're not. 
    Rawynwaynejr2Twisted77DullahanSlapshot1188Viper482Marcus-xyzercrimeRealizerYashaXand 6 others.
  • Camelot Unchained - Sailing Against Time - MMORPG.com


    meddyck said:

    I don't expect this game to have a soft launch. There may be months towards the end of beta when most systems are complete and server(s) are up 24/7 to give CSE the chance to fine tune everything to ensure it is polished and fun before launch. But there will still be a hard launch before which everything will be wiped and only after which will CSE start requiring monthly subscriptions be paid.



    I think longer development time raises the expectations bar for how good the game needs to be at launch. Backers would have accepted a game that was a bit dated graphically in exchange for good performance in large fights and maybe wasn't innovative and awesome in every mechanic that launched after 2 1/2 years. They will expect something much greater for a game that takes say 4 to 5 years to develop. That's true even though there may be good reasons such as hiring difficulties for the longer development time.


    Correct. We have no plans for a soft launch, MVP, etc. We owe our Backers more than that.



    Speaking of time (which is, oh by the way, money), I wonder when (if?) will CSE reach for more investors? I'm afraid we won't hear anything concrete about that anytime soon.


    Why afraid James? If anything, it should give you more confidence in the project that we are not putting an emphasis on getting new Backers or investors but rather, we just keep working on the game. We've been very clear that we are not looking to further monetize our Backers, beyond their tier donations, by constantly selling our equivalent of ships, telethons, etc. We could, it would be oh so easy to do that, but that's not the way we do things.

    Tim and MMORPG,

    Thanks as always for the column/coverage!
  • Camelot Unchained - Mark Jacobs & the Philosophy of CU - MMORPG.com


    mmrv said:



    Ozmodan said:




    mazut said:


    3 faction is good at start but become more and more unbalanced in time, especially if the sides are fixed.




    Actually, unless one side is decidedly weaker than the others, it generally balances out.  DAoC was quite balanced until they gave a long quest line overpowering powers.  That had nothing to do with factions, just who had time to play all day for weeks on end.






    This is an utter and complete lie. I was a hardcore DAOC player and it was NEVER balanced in the frontiers and everyone knows it. Always one if not 2 sides dominated not only by numbers but often simply in overall balance of better classes and synergy. The mechanics are never in place for the 2 weaker factions to truly work to overcome the power faction either. The most common occurrence in daoc was "xx faction out zerging tonight lets go play alts", and months would go by where one faction would own all relics on each server.



    Mark Jacobs is a cancer, money grabber, always has been always will. You are cheering him on for what is DAOC 2.0 with the entire PVE content removed to cut costs, this game is taking forever to come out because he is constantly screwing over employees with his cheap ass money grabbing tactics.



    If you had the courage to say that publicly, with your real name, you'd be surprised what you found out. But instead, you throw out stuff like this through the anonymity of the Internet, whereas I'm standing here, my real name, no alias, etc.

    You can say anything you like about Dark Age, my skill as a designer, etc. but if you actually had a clue about how people at City State Entertainment and old Mythic (pre-EA) were treated, you would realize how wrong you are. OTOH, you probably just don't care.

    And if you would really care to know, you can look up what happened to Mythic after both Dark Age of Camelot was a success (Matt Frior wrote an article about it for Gamastutra) or after EA bought us. Unlike some other successful developers, I shared the proceeds and didn't keep them all for myself or the original co-founders (which EA wanted me to do and not share the proceeds with the team).

    And if you don't believe me, well, get a lawyer and I have my lawyer send your lawyer some documents that will prove it. This is not a threat, this is a chance for you to be educated on what I have done and really do for the teams that work with me. And, if I'm so cheap-ass, why did I open a studio in Seattle, funding a lot of the game's development myself and more?

    Like I said, you can hate me, think I'm a crappy designer, that's your opinion and you're welcome to it, but saying what you said about how I treat my team is both a lie and libel.
  • Camelot Unchained - Beta incoming any time soon?

    So, if you folks don't mind me jumping in here, I'd just like to say a bunch of things:

    1) I am embarrassed, and I've said so many times (as you folks have noted) about the delays. Most of the causes were unavoidable, but not all of them were. For example, we had to open the studio in VA or there wouldn't have been a studio.

    2) Our refund policy is unchanged, and will remain unchanged until we give our current Backers 30 days notice of a change. We would never just close off refunds without giving all of our Backers a chance to ask for a refund.

    3) In terms of another key difference with CU/me, I and the other investor have a big stake in this. I've already committed more money to this game than I expected to because of the opening of the studio in Seattle and the delays. 

    4) We haven't done any addition fund-raising rounds, either through equity crowd-funding or telethons. The other investor and I are taking these expenses onto ourselves because we are late. There are other devs who have way more personal money than me and aren't doing the same. I also haven't paid myself, in any way, in four years other than my health insurance (I need to do this to be on the company's coverage).

    5) Whether I'm likable, a good guy, or the spawn of Satan, the choice is yours of course, but the one thing that I can say about myself is that as I promised here, there, and everywhere during the Kickstarter, that I would not disappear, hide, etc. from our mistakes and our Backers. I have kept that promise 100% as posts like this show. I'm constantly on our Forums, reply to personal emails (albeit slowly), here, MOP, and other sites occasionally. I apologize and explain delays, I give updates about everything that happens in the studio (subject to typical HR considerations/privacy considerations when somebody leaves/asked to leave).

    Now, does that merit additional leeway from people? I would like to think so, especially because of 2-4. We're not perfect, but we have treated our Backers the way I want to be treated as a backer of other KS games as well as a gamer myself. Delays happen in making games and even more so when you are trying to do something really difficult and then compound it by making our own engine that can handle large-scale battles. The good news is that over the last two weeks we showed our Backers that we could back up our words with something no other MMORPG has been able to do to date. While that doesn't earn me any additional consideration from non-Backers, the fact is that our little studio was able to do something that has eluded every MMORPG studio to date by showing 1K Bots (fully autonomous, bandwidth-eating, networked PC clients) & players all running around on the same map, in the same small area and using abilities while shooting off fireworks while still playable on a minimal spec machine. And, BTW, we had people calling in from Europe (we set the test time to be more advantageous to our European Backers), MENA and beyond, while our servers were in Virginia, and the game was extremely playable. One of our MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Backers and I were in touch during the whole test and he was, quite frankly, surprised at the engine's performance on both the client/server side. He was/is a very happy guy right now. 

    Sorry for the long response, I had more to say than I thought.

    Thanks all for comments, interest (even waning/waned), etc. I don't expect people just to take me/us at our word and we will be livestreaming some sessions before we go into Beta 1 so you will be able to judge the merit/truth (or not) in what I said here.

    And as usual, I won't comment on other devs, their habits, or their games. 
    SedrynTyrosConstantineMerusExcessionKyleranRealizermeddyckcameltosisJamesGoblinjimmywolfvito11and 1 other.
  • Camelot Unchained - 500 Player Battles - Possible?

    Just jumping in here for a quick post because it's getting late and it was a looong day. So I'll keept it fairly short (for me at least) and sweet.

    1) Is 500 player battles possible - Of course it is. As noted above, Planetside 1 & 2 had larger battles than that. Yes, they pushed a lot of stuff to the client to achieve that (we don't) so it's not totally on point but it is a useful data point.

    2) As of our last internal video we had 1500 Bots running around without any major lag and my FPS was well over 30 at the time (3 year old normal PC, 1 GTX970). Now, because it was just Bots and not Bots + VFX + abilities that too is a data point but not proof of 1K battles yet. I was running around in the video through the moshpit of 1500 Bots and performance was great. Perfect? Nope, but my FPS always stayed high enough to play normally and the UI was responsive.

    3) There have been some good explanations (not all were totally correct) about the issues with large-scale battles in games. It really boils down to 3 major points: how hard your PC has to work, how hard your video card has to work, and how hard our servers have to work per frame (FPS). We need to be able to pass a ton of data through the network to your PC and back again and then both ends of the equation have to process that data and make magic happen on your screens so the game looks/feels/plays right. Really simplistic explanation I know (it's late, I'm tired) but it is accurate albeit missing tech talk/buzzwords/etc.  highlights one advantage that we have over most other game engines and that is that our engine is fully multithreaded on both the client/server side. Multithreading allows us to take advantage of all the power of the client PC/servers that run the game. This gets us more power to play with than the average game. As many of us know, multithreaded engines are a pain in the ass to create, a major PITA. This is one of the things that slowed us down a bit more than we hoped it would. OTOH, now with both AMD and Intel embracing the "moar cores plz!" philosophy, our engine is well-positioned for the continuing growth of the average PC but also for this game.

    4) Bots, while not players, once they begin firing off abilities again, will then be closer to an actual player during an actual battle in terms of the network bandwidth they eat (they currently eat more than a player who is just moving around), and in terms of the VFX that are fired off that eat up the processing power of the card/PC. This will be the next major test of our engine and we're getting close (maybe this week) to having Bots back to their old selves again. In older tests we did have more than 1K Bots firing off abilities under the old ability system and the old animation system.

    5) FYI, we aren't cheating in any way to get our numbers. Nobody here said it or hinted at it, I just wanted to make that clear. We are still using our server-side physics and non-friendly collision systems. 

    6) There are ways to further optimize performance on the client side that we haven't begin to work with yet. We expect to some additional savings there once we do.

    7) We couldn't have done this without building our own engine according to the key senior engineers at CSE and Andrew (who knows a wee bit about engines).  

    So, that's a quick summary. Do I think we'll get to 500 people in a battle and have 30 FPS on less than a 10xx series card? Yes. Will we have it when you are sieging a castle and the castle is collapsing around you and lots of siege engines are firing? Yes. Can we get to 1K or more with lots of crazy VFX going off while multiple parts of the castle are collapsing? I think so but I can't attest to that yet because we're still implementing the next stage of our VFX system. Once we are in Beta we will move to the second stage of implementation for that system that will get us other speed increases. Plus, I know we can get a lot of savings with the VFX system once we start playing with optimizations. But, as you folks know, I'm not big on hype in terms of CU (I made that promise with this game and I've stuck to it) so until I actually see the new animation + ability + VFX/SFX systems working in complete harmony, I'll stick to the facts, and nothing but the facts. :)

    Now, can things still go wrong? Absolutely. OTOH, our Bots do a really good job of beating on the important network/server based systems. And one of the things I'm budgeting for Beta 1 is setting up a local server cluster that runs the maximum number of Bots 24x7 with the latest builds of the game. That will shake out a lot of issues. We didn't have that tech nor cloud services for Dark Age nor WAR, though I wanted our own version of Bots for the later. If we had that capability then, things would have been different. I'm fortunate that we can do so for Camelot Unchained and that my co-founder Andrew, and the rest of the team, were totally behind it. Our Bot system will be pretty useful and unique when we are done with it,

    Great question and some really great posts/analysis here, well-done all!

    -Mark

    P.S. Night all!


    JamesGoblinmeddyckcameltosisExcessionlaseritThaneDiegoMarquezMadFrenchieKinkyAmraConstantineMerus
  • Camelot Unchained - A Thirst-Quenching MMORPG - MMORPG.com


    TimEisen said:



    donger56 said:


    This is yet another crowd funded game that we can start tracking in years behind schedule rather than months at this point. I appreciate the fact that they took the time to make their own engine that does what they need it to, but it might have been a mistake. I don't see much hype or money flowing into this project any more. Eventually they will probably have to push it out the door before the money dries up. I had hoped this game would be successful, but it just looks like it is dragging out into never ending delays. 






    Well that will be a while for 2 reasons. 1. They saved well. 2. They are literally trying not to hype it or bring in more money right now. That means when they decide to do that it will be when they have a lot to show which will likely bring in more money for them to work through.


    What Tim said is 100% spot on. I've said publicly, and many times, that we weren't going to try to hype this game like I/we did WAR. We haven't issued press releases, gone on press tours, gone to shows, etc. as I/we did at Mythic. I've stayed true to that promise.

    Donger, In terms of money, umm, our tracker goes up pretty much every day. Not as much as it did in the beginning, not as little as it has in other times. The difference here is that we aren't:

    1) ...offering up any Stretch Goals - I said we wouldn't do that again until we made Beta 1.

    2) ...asking our backers for additional money even though I'm putting in a lot of additional money to make this game happen.

    3) ...holding any telethons/sales/etc. to raise additional money - As per above, not once.

    4) ...offering private placements or equity crowdfunding for CSE - Given my track record (starting a company with $0 and making our investors/team a lot of money), it would be easy to do but that doesn't mean it's the right thing to do FOR US (emphasis added not in anger, but to differentiate our reasons for other companies reasons).

    5) ...willing to talk to any other company in terms of publishing deal in the US/Europe (once again keeping a promise) nor in Asia (the time isn't right).

    So, factoring that all in, does that explain why it might seem like things aren't going well on the investment front?

    The truth is that when we can finally show a great looking game that can handle 1K people in a tiny space, a lot of things will changes, a lot.

    I appreciate your interest and concern but right now, I couldn't be happier with our team and the progress we're finally making. It's amazing what almost doubling the number of programmers you have can do to affect a game's development.

    And yeah, as Tim says, we've been really careful with our spending. When you don't go to conventions, dog & pony shows, don't have a marketing department/person, don't do expensive videos, don't pay your president, underpay your tech director/co-founder, etc. it shouldn't be surprising how much money you save. :)

    Cya!
  • Really quiet here, is this game stalled?

    Kyleran said:
    bentrim said:
    Its not stalled, just ANOTHER PVP game with a VERY limited audience. Keep making games for that 8% demographic you are targeting devs. Smart...since ALL of the same types of these games are doing SOOOO well.
    Er, perhaps you got lost? Saga of Lucima and Pantheon forums can be found --> for those more inclined to PVE.

    You are correct, this is an extraordinarily PVP focused MMO and always has been.

    In fact the narrow focus was supposed to help ensure a more rapid delivery cycle, but clearly that hasn't been the result.

    ;)
    Yep, that's our fault, even if there are valid reasons for it.
    Kyleran said:
    bentrim said:
    Its not stalled, just ANOTHER PVP game with a VERY limited audience. Keep making games for that 8% demographic you are targeting devs. Smart...since ALL of the same types of these games are doing SOOOO well.
    Er, perhaps you got lost? Saga of Lucima and Pantheon forums can be found --> for those more inclined to PVE.

    You are correct, this is an extraordinarily PVP focused MMO and always has been.

    In fact the narrow focus was supposed to help ensure a more rapid delivery cycle, but clearly that hasn't been the result.

    ;)

    Oh man, can you imagine if they'd tried developing a full PvE game along with it, like DAoC had?  Beta 1 by 2027, maybe, if they'd gotten the funding to begin with.
    I didn't realize you were such an optimist!! :) 
    bentrim said:
    Its not stalled, just ANOTHER PVP game with a VERY limited audience. Keep making games for that 8% demographic you are targeting devs. Smart...since ALL of the same types of these games are doing SOOOO well.
    Complaining about the targeted audience for a MMO is illogical since there are MMO's for every demographic...

    Its like complaining why burgers joints aren't steak houses... 
    I couldn't agree more, especially since we said that right from the beginning.
    PhryKyleranJamesGoblinOctagon7711cameltosisHatefullZombieCatNightblazed
  • Camelot Unchained - 500 Player Battles - Possible?

    FYI, we're testing 500Bots (archers + fighters), with our Alpha and IT backers right now.

    My favorite comment so far  (from a Backer with a 4K monitor) - "impressive..even with fireworks im getting 45 FPS"

    Makes me smile. We're not there yet but 500 Bots + players make a pretty good Alpha test. 

    Hit 1K, server ran great, shut down the test as scheduled.
    CecropiaMarcus-SedrynTyrosKyleranTorvalJamesGoblinpantaro