Link Love and the Picking of Nits

Guild Wars (2) bloggers, are you out there? I finally meandered my way over to a Guild Wars 2 forum and started to settle in. I was also able to root out some other like-minded bloggers, and yes, you can be assured that I squealed in glee like a sow turning over a plump truffle.

Check those guys out, the first two I like especially.

Now, I’m going to do what I do best. Namely, extrapolate obscene amounts of speculation from a single image.

Behold, my victim!

Feel free to click it to see it full-sized.

What are we looking at?

An elementalist, human, casting churning earth on a marauding band of handsomely-dappled centaurs. (ok, I lied, they’re not dapple centaurs, they’re paint centaurs. I still think they look nice.)

The really interesting thing, however, is that shockwave around our intrepid little elementalist. I’m curious about how the graphics for that shockwave work.

Back in college, when I was first learning my way around computer graphics software, a classmate and I merrily engaged in a game we called ‘crash the computer’. His favorite tactic was obscene use of the extrude and mesh smooth functions, while I preferred to make everything reflective and refractive with interesting lighting set-ups. (we were both frequently successful).

Needless to say, real-time effects like reflection and refraction (what’s happening above with the shockwave) are expensive in terms of computing power.

The rock debris, however, looks to be economically produced. I think the spikey bits shooting up beneath the elementalst are almost certainly textures mapped onto flat planes (a frequently used tactic for grass and foliage, see the trees in the background). The flying spears of rock, however, are more difficult for me to pin down.

You can tell they’re not lit dynamically which argues for the texture to plane technique. But then again, I wouldn’t expect a spell effect to take lighting cues off of the ambient light due to processing restrictions. They do, however, cast shadows which, while likely to give an aging machine an aneurysm, looks really nice.

Granted, I could just go look at the video which provides a different perspective to the same skill, but even with an animated aide, I can’t really tell. What do you think?

Notice the ring of bouncing rocks and dust. This is an example of what Arenanet was talking about when they said they wanted to make it easier to see where area of affect skills were going to land. I still wonder how obvious something like that is going to be with all the game’s settings turned down though.

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  • Comments (2)
  1. ah so you do have a blog. you should link it in your comments. I stumbled across you.

    interesting insight into the spell animations.

      • Tigerfeet
      • May 1st, 2010

      Thank you 🙂 I’ll make sure to be a bit more obvious in the future.

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