In Camelot Unchained, players will be able to claim plots and then create structures on those plots using the C.U.B.E./Building System. Building will be one of crucial parts of the war effort: it will include everything from houses and workshops to palaces or fortresses, with eventual huge bridges between islands being mentioned. This, together with physics, building destruction/decay and fight for resources through territory control gives the whole new dimension to the warfare.
Buildings will decay over time (thus requiring repairs and investment) and will also be fully destructable anywhere on the battlefield, that is anywhere on the map but in the starting area of each faction. A well built fortification will give lots of advantages to the Realm controlling it, and destroying these will be far from easy or guaranteed. Attackers, if victorious, will have the choice to either level enemy`s castle/house etc. to the ground or to pick it apart and take resources for their own buildings . Looting enemy structures will be possible , but there will be no player loot upon death.
Players will be able to pick a crafter class that can dedicate to building 100%, including skills and character leveling/progression. Building will be very dependant on mining and gathering for resources , with destruction and pillage , of enemy`s structures being the other source. Note that The C.U.B.E./Building System is still in an relatively early testing phase and various features, shapes, textures and effects are yet to be added.
Summary of core building principles
- Players can hire NPCs to help speed up the building process
- Block based building
- Players work together to build structures, mine, etc.
- The more crafters involved, the more benefits will scale till max.
- Mining is major source of resources. Mining in Camelot Unchained will be a complex group activity
- No voxels
- Can use blueprints, pre-builts/pre-fabs
- All plots have permissions to allow other players to build/help build a structure on a plot.
- Plots can decay/degrade overtime if not kept up (Possible – time and/or monetary costs).
- Players risk of losing plot ownership if player doesn’t maintain properly.
- Bring in Prefabs and/or Material/Resources to help build a structure.
- Possible use of foremen on projects, mines, etc.
- Possible “Can I help” coordination, permissions, etc.
- Possibly allow control of NPCs to speed up some activities for high-level crafters/builders/
- Upgrades – any player can contribute to upgrading a structure (wood -> stone -> metal -?)
- Constructs can evolve over time.
- Buildings can also be destroyed or salvaged for resources.
- Destroying a structure (instead of picking it apart) means less resources gained
- Crafters are better at salvaging
- Players can sacrifice their own structures to keep them out of enemy hands
Building a world
The world of Camelot Unchained has gone through an extinction-level cataclysm and it needs a lot more than a few new screen doors; In other words, it’s a real fixer-upper! With the piercing of the Veil and the Veilstorms that followed, essentially, this world was paved over. Thus, one of the goals of our building, crafting and mining systems is to give players that to create the structures that they need to build a new world out of the rubble of the old one.
To understand how this is going to work, we have to start with the concept of cells. Cells are the building blocks of the world, similar to the blocks in Minecraft™ or pieces in Lego™ and other games. Our cells are different though not only size from Minecraft (they will be at least ½ the size) but in other ways as well.
These cells can be placed down in the world in the same manner that blocks are placed down in other games, individually or in groups (Prefabs). Cells are perfect for the builder that wants a free-form building method of improvisation. However, instead of having to build the entire world one cell at a time, builders can also choose to use prefabs to help speed up their building time.
Prefabs are constructs made up of a group of cells that the players can also place down in the world. Unlike cells, prefabs
- Are not solid and/or filled.
- Can be made by combining cells.
- Prefabs can be added to other prefab to create a new prefab.
Simple Rotations – Major cardinal directions only. Using both cells and prefabs players can build structures throughout most of the world (you can’t build in certain parts of the main cities and other locked locations). Crafters/builders can create the cells, prefabs, etc. are used by players. These come from mines and other resource producing areas.
As stated by City State Entertainment:
One aspect of these systems that will set them apart from the crowd is the introduction of cooperative play into the building, housing and mining system. We will both encourage players to work together and at the same time, create mechanics to reduce the likelihood of elements of our systems harming Realm pride. One of these elements is how we are going to use positive reinforcement through cooperative play.
First, while players can own and control plots of land, they can also give permission on these plots to other people to allow them to build on them at the same time. While this will certainly lead to some mischievous behavior at times, the time, energy and cost of carrying out this behavior will help discourage some potential griefing both by friends and other members of their realm.
Secondly, as I explained in the video, our mines are not going to be short duration, one-at-a-time affairs. Our mines are more realistic in that they are designed to be used by lots of different miners over time. As a matter of fact, while multiple miners will indeed deplete the resources more quickly, the miners will also get a bonus for working together.
Thirdly, players will also gain building "speed bonuses" for working together on structures. While 50 crafters cannot put up a huge wall instantly, the work will go much faster if they work together. Cooperative play will also be encouraged through the use of caravans and other ways to get both crafters and materials to the front lines. We will also explore the concept of allowing players to act as foremen on projects to help speed things up, add some additional quality/durability/etc. High-level crafters and builders will also be able to speed things up by hiring NPC helpers for some tasks. 
Motivation for Building
Game designer Ben Pielstick, in the "Dose of Design" section of Newsletter #5, mentioned some motifs for players to build: "...Why even bother building fortifications? They take a lot of time, effort, and money to construct and maintain. They can be captured or destroyed by enemy players, so what is the value of such things, beyond looking cool?"
- "Firstly, we aren’t dismissing the value of owning a cool-looking structure. If you want a small house just as a place to keep your stuff, go for it. If you want to spend hours building, upgrading, expanding, decorating, and making it awesome so you can invite your friends over to be impressed, go for it."
- "As for structures on a grander scale than personal housing, those are much more easily built through the cooperation of multiple players. The most obvious value of anything from a wooden fence to a stone wall is as a combat fortification. The height and strength of walls, the number of choke points, and the use of any built-in traps or fixed defenses will make a big difference on the battlefield."
- "Additionally, there are economic benefits to building structures for crafting. These benefits can apply to not only the final creation of items, but to creating item parts, refining materials to make those parts, and even gathering raw resources from the world."
- "Resource gathering is a major reason to locate these large fortified structures in remote locations. When located far from the safety of a Realm’s capital city, the greatest quantity of resources may be gathered and denied to players from opposing Realms. Also, the further players advance into enemy territory, the higher the odds are of finding high-quality resources which players of the enemy Realm would not have been able to use, providing extra incentive to push as far into hostile lands as possible."
- "I should also note here that the ongoing control of structures, and by effect territory, is also a major factor in the daily rewards handed out by each Realm. While keep trading won’t do much for you, making sure that your Realm controls as much of the world as possible each day, based on your relative participating population, is going to be a large part of what playing the game is about."
- "Finally there are a few systemic benefits structures can provide, given construction of the proper facilities. These are things like veil stabilizers as referenced in the BSC map presentation, as well as local markets, caravan and shipping routes, and other such features we haven’t talked about yet which can help players to regroup, resupply, recharge, repair, recover, and respawn."
Andrew Meggs (from the Foundational Principle #13, "Chaos Goes Boing!"): As soon as you make physics part of your gameplay, you open up the possibility for things to happen beyond just the simplistic model of pen-and-paper combat. That castle wall didn’t just “become destroyed”. The chunk you took out landed someplace, and maybe on someone.
Mark Jacobs: "Losing a keep will hurt, it has to, especially to discourage keep trading. You will not want to lose a stabilizer/artifact, especially if you are on the numerically superior team."  This should also discourage zergs.
Question: Will housing consist of a plot system, claiming a square of land that you can build on, or more of a free form, where you could actually build your own house around someone else’s building?
Renée Machyousky: In open areas (which will be most of the world) it will more or less be choose your own adventure, with obvious limitations for steep terrain, structures already in place, etc. In the safe zone there will be plots that you can claim/purchase and once you do so, others will not be able to build there while you own it.
Question: Will the structure building system allow building below the world terrain?
Renée Machyousky: Well Golem, this is something the studio has discussed and we do like the idea of players being able to build down, though not too far down because then you are just hiding :p So if we do implement this, players would likely be limited to a floor or so down, essentially the basement level. Could be a good area for setting traps! And, of course, there is The Depths.
Question: I have played two MMOs with free form building of player housing. One, some time ago, and one currently. I have found that I tend to design, re-design, scrap, add, and do all sorts crazy, to almost insignificant things to my housing depending on my mood. Some things take a few minutes on a Saturday morn, some may take weeks. Will I need to roll a crafter alt to be able to this in CU?
Renée Machyousky: Major redesigning/building will require the hand of a crafter, yet there will be many modifications you can make to your dwelling without having to be a Crafter or hire one. Redecorating, and yard design come to mind. We want Crafters to be vital though, so their expertise will be needed for the more involved tasks.
Mark Jacobs: Another thing to keep in mind is that this is going to be a big world. The smart Realms will go out and build forts, towers, keeps, etc. And the purpose of those will be to help keep the settlers and their homes safe. Again, think big spaces, very limited insta-travel, etc.
Mark Jacobs: Faster travel - Possible with a road system as you describe but it will be a small increase depending on a number of factors...In truth, I would love to have a cool road system (it's already on my list) but until I'm sure we can pull it off, it remains a maybe. As always, I will not put in a system that makes getting back into the action quickly too easy for the participants.
Mark Jacobs: Again, I can't emphasize enough that this is a big world. Please don't stress on the thought that your houses will be burned down every night. It isn't going to work that way unless your realm isn't working together at all.
Question: Say you are a Viking and you capture a TDD town and they have really cool buildings / prefabs you haven't seen or thought of making yourself before. Would you be able to make blueprints for enemy buildings, or save cool prefabs of theirs that you like? Is this one of the cool possibilities for deconstruction rather than destruction?
Building and Community
Mark Jacobs (from the Foundational Principle #9, Forced socialization was good, then bad. Is it time for a comeback?): In terms of housing, which I really should rename “building” or something more appropriate as housing conjures the vision of simply building houses, picket fences and dogs happily yapping in the yard, we also will encourage interdependency. Much like the crafting system, players who engage in building structures can and should cooperate with other members of their realms to get the best results more quickly.
Structures that are geared to battle will require both crafters and non-crafters working together to build them rapidly as well as to make them as powerful and assault-resistant as their crafting abilities allow. Let us say you want to build a nice beachfront house (my RL personal favorite) on a realm-controlled island because it has the best views and you are hoping the market will appreciate so you can BBD it down the road (just kidding). In order to accomplish this, your realm will first have to take control of the island and then crafters will have to come out and build the house unless you truly want to take the time to build it yourself.
Now, if you are a crafter, you can build the entire house by yourself but if you can recruit some fellow crafters to help you in your endeavor, not only will your team complete the house more quickly but they will gain certain benefits by helping you as well. The same holds true for building structures out in the RvR-areas that your realm has captured and is trying to fortify against a counterattack by the other realms’ forces. If you and your fellow crafters and non-crafters can build up the defenses, there is a better chance that you will survive the coming counterattack(s), hold the structure and reap the benefits for doing so for both yourself and for your realm.
Destruction, Loot and Pillage of Enemy Structures
Question: If a player built house is destroyed/ransacked by the enemy realm, do you envision all contents being destroyed? Or will it be more of a money sink to have to rebuild the house, but items contained within are somehow saved?
Renée Machyousky: We don’t want folks to feel like they hit a quit point each time they lose a house to their ravenous and ever-present enemies. Blueprints will help with this, yet if someone lost all of their valuables each time their house was raised, that could produce a defeatist attitude. A system where part of a players vault is safe in the Capital city (you must journey there to access it) and part of their storage is in their home and is vulnerable, could work. Even when storing items, choices matter! 
Question: Will there be any looting and/or salvaging of destroyed structures?
Renée Machyousky: During our Kickstarter, Mark talked about how players will have a choice in how they approach the destruction of structures. If you go down the ‘burn, baby, burn’ route, there isn’t likely to be very much left for salvage. However, if you choose to try and salvage the house right from the start, picking it apart piece by piece, you will be able to get some materials from it. It’s rather likely that taking the place down stone by stone will take longer, so watch for arrows in the back! 
Question: Are there any plans or ideas to include the concepts of supply and attrition in siege warfare (limited supplies for armies on both sides, cutting off supply lines, providing economic or logistical ways to take down an enemy structure, etc.)?
Renée Machyousky: Depends. How much can you carry? Is the equipment already constructed? Are you Schmendrick the spindly-armed caster, or Brutus McTankyPants? You are a hero of your realm and this is a world where magic is alive and thriving, so your limits will be beyond real life limits, yet not so far beyond them that it’s just easy mode.
Beginnings of the Destruction
Having fully destructable structures (furthermore, with falling pieces eventually hurting/killing players) is much more complex than having "scripted" destructions of it`s small pieces (such as a keep gate or a "pre-arranged" pieces of the wall) which we normally see in games. There is lots of new, complex physics and math involved while the engineers of Camelot Unchained walk through this terra incognita, with much additional pressure on the game engine: it constantly has to calculate and re-calculate mutual position and influence of potentially millions of bricks/blocks, even when these are static.
In spite of all that, first results are encouraging and below are some excerpts from the initial destruction tests.
Kickstarter building update:
- KS Update 23
- KS Update 24
|Building||Blueprints • C.U.B.E. • Plots • Prefabs|
|Gathering||Mining • Logging|