Posts on Mar 2013


I mentioned last post that I’d have a talk about some snags we’ve hit.

While I understand any halt to progress hurts for you guys, I figure that telling you about what’s going on keeps you in the loop with our expectations, and is definitely for the better.

Our major snag at the moment is performance. While we were expecting worse performance than with classic, we certainly weren’t expecting a hit this hard.
The client is not a problem – it runs at 30fps even on a shitty laptop with a 1.8Ghz cpu and a 64mb graphics card, so – great!
The server however, is a problem. It runs fine for a TDM game with a small number of players, however even for 8v8 in war mode, the CPU usage is unacceptable. With 12 players, the CPU of our box started maxing out. This is something we need to address before releasing anything, because we feel that it’s certainly not fair to server owners to plunder their boxes, and not fair to you guys to release something that cant have a stable server ecosystem.

The client runs quickly because it doesn’t have to do nearly enough logic – it doesn’t have to think about what’s happening for every object in the game, just the ones near to the player. The server, on the other hand, has to simulate everything.

To address this we’re considering a few things:

  1. JIT compiling the scripts – this basically means the scripts get turned into something that can run on the CPU instead of on a separate VM that runs on the CPU. By taking out that layer of abstraction, we’d get a speed up of script execution. This requires working with the authors of an existing JIT compiler for AS (as the existing one doesn’t work with KAG as it stands, we’re looking into why), or commissioning a custom one (as we’re not in a position to write our own, time and experience wise). The existing JIT compiler doesn’t have an existing mac compatible version, but since it’s only the server that has performance issues, and not many people host OSX servers, it may still be an option.
  2. Cheating, and building some of the script logic into the optimised, precompiled KAG binary. This really does feel like a last resort bandaid, as it doesn’t fix the issue of scripts being too slow when used in massive numbers (there’s about 30 scripts per player object, compared to 1-4, which is why the performance is tied to player count). It would also reduce our ability to iterate on the player logic at a basic level, because we’d lose the runtime reloading and no compile/distribute cycle waits that we get from scripts. We would like to avoid this if we can, but we might have to bite the bullet if we want to ship before we run out of money.
  3. Continuing to madly optimise the scripts as we have been and hope we can make it fast enough without a JIT compiler or other native compilation options. We’ll likely do this alongside the other options anyway, but if we push it too far, the code will start to become very hard to understand and debug as more and more clever optimisation hacks make their way into the codebase. One one hand, this is kind of good – modders will get a look at what code looks like in the real world when you need it to run fast and need to ship your game, but on the other hand, it’s very easy to mistake carefully optimised code for code written without rhyme or reason, and we don’t want to encourage people to write bad code.

The other snags are related to bandwidth use (it’s high, not extreme but not nearly as minimal as classic, especially during action packed siege fights in war) and modding issues – modding works fine inside of base, but making mods using the intended system has quite a few large issues. Progress with single player content hasn’t been nearly as quick as we’d like either.

We’re weighing up our options and we’ll keep you posted on how things are going. We wanted to get a release out over the past week (actually, last weekend), but we’ve just uncovered more work to do.

As I said, I understand that more posts about the game coming out can be very frustrating, especially as you’ve been ready for it for months and months, but I hope you can support us while we drive forwards on making sure the game itself is ready for you.

Once it’s playable at a larger scale, we’ll be giving access to the beta via the forums. We’re very likely to omit fixing modding issues, optimising bandwidth use and waiting for tutorial content to be finished for that release so it can be out as soon as physically possible. Those points will definitely be addressed in time (and likely in that order as well), but we’re on the same page as you guys – we want you to be playing it above all else.

On a lighter note, there’s probably a video of some WAR gameplay coming (including boat to boat ballista combat, and possibly accidental keg hilarity) once MM gets time to put it together.


More photos of GDC Soon – It’s over!

We’ve just had a full-on 2 weeks, and are heading home. Bye bye San Francisco!

Since I’ve got some messages here and there that people weren’t sure what was going on, here’s the low down:

Last week, MM and I went to Chicago to work with FliesLikeABrick at his place, working on a user reputation system, discussing how some of the modding stuff should work, and doing a lot of testing and long days.
 jrgp came up for a few days as well to grind out some work on the site, was fun to meet him.

MM and I then went to San Francisco for the Game Developers Conference (GDC). We met up with Rayne for some of that time, and while a lot of our time was taken showing people the game, listening to people talk at the conference, shoving our faces full of food and meeting up with friends we don’t get to see many times per year, we also got a lot of work done on KAG, and hit a few snags.

We’ll drop some more photos once we’re all home and slept and showered, figured you guys could use an update on what we’ve been up to though.

I’ll talk about those snags in the next post, I need to grab a drink and find a power outlet before I continue 🙂


ARENA Open: Spring


What is this?
ARENA Open is a series of four seasonal qualifiers, all of which are going to be held throughout the year, and one big event featuring actual prizes for contestants.

It is going to be a 1v1 knight tournament with:
-vanilla combat
-1 bomb for every knight
-new, premade maps

Tournament hosted by Ej

More info here


Working hard on the beta – together

As you can see most of the team is purple which means that’s all devs working hard on the beta :). This was actually a LAN game. We had an unusual opportunity to meet in RL and work all together in Chicago last week. We coded the beta, the website, a new surprise addition to the API and ate a lot of cheese. We have a lot done but still some bug fixing and optimizing to do. Will keep you updated.


King Arthur’s Gold or Michal Marcinkowski’s quest to build the best multiplayer game ever

The lovely folks at Indie Statik have written a fantastic article about Michal’s game development career and the making of King Arthur’s Gold. Be sure to check it out!

Indie Statik is an up and coming news outlet focusing on independent game development. We are extremely flattered to be featured on their site.


King Arthur’s Gold or Michal Marcinkowski’s quest to build the best multiplayer game ever

State of the beta

Hey this is MM, I haven’t posted in a while but I really want to explain a few things. We mentioned we entered private beta about 2 months ago and the testing is still going. I still keep saying its gonna be public “soon” because the game really has all content in place most of the time. So it is a matter of us being satisfied with a build to call it “done” and give it out to all of you that bought the game.

However, it’s not so easy. During these 2 months the game design has been changed a LOT. Things you see on the videos I made a few weeks ago, a lot of that stuff has been either removed or changed to something better. This is because we are CONSTANTLY playtesting with our dedicated team of testers. We implement features, tweak stuff, release a build, play and repeat that over and over. This is very frequent now, at least once a day a new build is pushed to them. So, the things that don’t work in playtesting are put on an anvil and me and Geti smash them with a large hammer. 

We could release before it is ready if we wanted to, but we don’t. We are extremely dedicated to making this game as good as possible. This is gonna be the best multiplayer experience ever made.

A note to you if you bought the game. The things you see on the buy page or buy poster, some of them are irrelevant now. Not because we didn’t make them or can’t make them, but because we did make them and they turned out to be crap while testing. Nobody wants that.

For example:
The workshops you see in classic KAG didn’t really work as we wanted them to work. So there were builds without any workshops, you had a trading post like you see on the videos, but it felt a little too spammy, like a convenience store where you could buy anything without upgrading at all. In recent builds we replaced workshops with factories that produce items. This turns out to be the best idea we had and I hope they will stay.

Farming as you see on the video I made ( was fun the first few times you played it, but right now none of the testers wants to farm – it tends to be too boring. So we are replacing it with a more straightforward way of farming which doesn’t require tedious tasks. We’re keeping all the fun elements like destroying the enemies crops to prevent them from having food and make them spawn longer.

A bolt-throwing machine that you see on the buy page has wheels and can be driven by 2 players. So its much cooler in reality than on the page.

The ram is something you’d expect from a medieval game, but in reality using the ram in a tile based map was very tricky. We wanted it to require a lengthy run, so that you actually rammed it into a door or wall. But its too hard to have a straight runway in KAG. Having the ram work by just clicking at the wall is boring and something you might find in EA games not my games. We won’t do that, so we just removed the ram. In place we introduced a hand held drill that heats up, steams, and hurts enemies, which is much more fun. We just need to make it more balanced cause it is quite overpowered 🙂

The canopy was never introduced because we are in the opinion that standing with a canopy to protect your team mates is the most boring thing in the world. We want the game to be dynamic and focus more on attacking than defending. We just made the boats give ample protection from incoming arrows, and rely on builders to construct more permanent cover during a siege.

There are more examples where this has happened during testing, but the core thing to understand is that if something is missing, it’s missing because it wasn’t as fun as we needed it to be, so we put something better there instead.

We can’t wait to share the beta with you guys, so you can see for yourselves how much the game has been expanded and refined.


discuss on forums!

It’s Official – KAG’s coming to Steam!

News has got out on the forums about this slightly prematurely, but for those that haven’t been keeping up: KAG will go on Steam with it’s first stable release!


Incidentally, this is why we’ve been silent in response to everyone asking us to jump on greenlight; we’ve actually had the metaphorical “green light” in excess of 8 months now!

What does this mean for KAG?

  1. Firstly, for existing paid members, nothing much will change except you’ll be part of a larger community. You won’t have to repurchase a licence, be forced to use steam, or anything like that. You’ll still be able to log in with non steam credentials.
  2. For existing free members, your access will be limited to classic KAG only. You will have to pay for the game through one of the many available means to access the full version.
  3. For server hosts, you’ll still be able to host servers with the normal methods, but may have extra options for steam specific things, like filtering players out via VAC.
  4. For people who’d like to buy but can’t due to payment method issues, you’ll have access to all the payment options of a large, well supported platform like Steam!
  5. More money for us, which will mean we’re less stressed about being able to pay rent, food and bills and able to focus more on finalising KAG and working on other games!

The plan is to get the game ready for public beta (which MM is going to explain about soon), iron out the inevitable kinks that turn up, and then release on Steam when it’s ready. The time frame on this is obviously quite variable (no, we can’t give you a release date), but the game is coming together nicely at the moment.

We’ll be working our butts off while we’re in the same space for GDC this year (next week and the week after that), and will try to keep you as up to date as possible in these exciting times!

Once it’s polished enough, you guys will get your mitts on it before the rest of the world does, to give it another run through, and eventually the final “OK”!

Last but not least a special announcement video with some effects you’ve all been waiting for to see:



KAG Gather – Matchmaking Service on IRC

Just dug up this little gem on the forum, it needs a little more love to become a reliable service, but with more patronage I’m sure it’ll get there!

If you’ve ever used a gather service ingame, you’ll already know the gist of it – if not, basically you join a chatroom, tell the bot you want to play with a special command, and when enough players are present, it matches you all up with a link to a game that you can all join.

It’s a little more organised than just jumping into a public game, which guarantees that you’re playing with some more serious folk. People looking to get good enough to join some of the less open clans may wish to use it as a training ground!

Forum thread: HERE

Thanks to tmewett5 for building and maintaining the service.


API Issue

There is a known issue with all API calls currently. This will impact an increasing number of players and servers over the next few hours due to the SSL certificate expiring. This will impact all attempts to authenticate, join servers, and so on. Additionally, you will start seeing SSL certificate warnings/errors on the forums and other KAG sites using SSL. We should have this resolved within the next few hours and will keep you posted.


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