Archive for September, 2010

The Colors Duke! The Colors!

(If you get the reference you get special Tiger bonus points!)

Kristen Perry is a fantastic writer. I really enjoy reading her articles. Kristen’s tone (am I allowed to call her Kristen? I’m gonna do it anyway) in her articles always strikes me as warm, friendly, and bursting with exuberance. Just the kind of thing you want when marketing a game! She honestly sounds like someone I would really enjoy working alongside. (I’m normally a bit of a prickly person)

Now about dyes…

The demo only had 96 colors? ONLY? 96 sounds like a staggering number of colors.  I’ve made .gif artworks with less. The actual dye system will have 254? Add two more colors and you’ve got a viable screen color setup there. That’s absolutely crazy.

Woah, wait a sec, no, I was wrong. She’s speculating over 400 colors. I think I need to go sit down.

Hue shifting darker colors to look white creates complications. When taking these textures, the highlights and middle tones will change the most, but in order to make a texture feel clean, you also have to take out contrast. When you lighten the dark tones, the main meat of the texture will feel white, but unfortunately it can also make the texture feel washed out, since you don’t have the really dark nooks and crannies that describe the construction of your armor. As a result, there was always a bit of a balance and reworking involved when trying to get your armor to dye reasonably well.

For most of you out there, this will probably sound like a lot of gibberish. Even after my college classes (which included color theory) I would not have understood this. However, in my job (I work in advertising) I’m often asked to change the color of things (mostly cars). I’ve found that it’s easiest to drag my Hue slider around and come up with something decent if I’m starting from red. Incidentally also, if you’re a digital painter and you like to lay down greyscale tones first, red tracks as 50% grey. (The more you know)

Like Kristen said with more eloquence: “everything you never wanted to know about dye”

If you see this Kristen, I actually did find this interesting. But then again I already knew what you were talking about and as Hunter told me recently “What’s worse than two nerds talking about hardware? Two girl nerds talking about hardware.” So for the sake of the sane, I’ll move on to something a little more comprehensible.

Kristen’s description of the breadth of different colors gets my mouth watering. I’m imagining my dear Cozin Tigerfeet in a dusty cream and copper, my wily Astragar Leovinus in a royal purple and bright gold (he may have been born a street rat, but he won’t stay that way long. Boy’s got plans). I’m going to put an asura in pink, just you watch me.

Pffft, it's Mr. T!

Unlocking dyes (across an entire account!) was a logical move and one I’m glad they’ve made. The dye sorting UI and favorites is also a really intelligent thing to provide us with.

If you’re a creative type you’ll know there’s nothing more terrifying than a blank page, be it a page ready to receive pencil, text, video, or audio. The same holds true for being presented with a mob of color. By offering to sort the colors, we can be presented with limited color palettes. The creative gears can find purchase, and beautiful things can happen.

Lastly, I’d like to talk a little about this section:

 We realize as a young hero, the starting areas will have a lot of similarities in what is available to wear. To ensure that the five races have their own identities, we’ve created a cultural palette that reflects the character of the species. This means a red color for a human may not look the same as a red color for a norn or charr. The norn, for example, have far more earthy colors: rust reds and rich forest greens and browns. With the furs, straps, and intricate carved patterns of their culture, these colors really feel solid and meaty on their armors. A charr would have probably have more blood reds and desaturated military blues and greens, while a human might have more jewel-tone reds and blues, etc.

By offering a specific palette to each race’s starting areas, there will be a stronger self-identity when you encounter each other. If you travel to a different city, you will feel like you are an explorer from another culture because the environment around you —including the inhabitants— will feel different. Until you dye your outfit with new dyes, of course!

Emphasis added.

To me, this did not say that races are locked out of specific colors. What I gathered from this is that we may have access to a limited number of dyes when we start out and as we adventure in our own racial area we unlock new dyes. Those new dyes will conform to our racial palette. If, however, I (as a charr) go and adventure in the human zones, the dyes that I unlock there will conform to the human palette.

It’s a very natural system. If I live in Iceland and I want to dye my tunic with Indian indigo I have to go to India. Of course, if a trader has traveled to India and bought indigo and brought it to Iceland then I can purchase from the trader instead. I can imagine a future for cross-racial traders in Guild Wars 2.

This is just another way in which ArenaNet is encouraging us to travel far and wide, opening up the option to meet new people.

Here’s hoping that in a future Q & A my speculation is vindicated.

(I said that posting would be slow to non-existant, and of course ArenaNet comes out with something I need to comment on.  I’ll have you all know, though, that posting this on this computer was like pulling teeth.  My RAM can’t get here fast enough!)

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To Our Fallen Servants

Entropy

entropy : noun

• A thermodynamic quantity representing the unavailability of a system’s thermal energy for conversion into mechanical work, often interpreted as the degree of disorder or randomness in the system.

• Figurative : Lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder.

Also known as: The death of Tiger’s stalwart companion machine

For Christmas, 2002, my parents bought me my first computer. It was some strange Gateway machine that had the computer built into a rounded module that connected to a monitor. It had a 10 gigabyte hard drive. I remember thinking that was a luxurious amount of space.

The computer didn’t last very long. A connection between the monitor and computer broke and the nice folks at the Gateway store kindly told us that it would likely cost more to fix the problem than my parents had paid for the machine in the first place. (I think they got it off e-bay)

Either way, an animation student needs a computer, so they decided to buy new. They went again with Gateway. At the time (early 2003) brick and mortar Gateway stores were dotted about the landscape. I attended college in the suburbs of Chicago, they figured there would be a Gateway store //somewhere// around. (There was, those suburbs are complete microcosms, it’s unreal) They bought me one of these:

Except my monitor was a CRT and my speakers not quite so fancy.

I’d like to tell you all, it was a fantastic machine. It has served me well ever since I got it until just this week.

You see, it’s now having some serious issues. We aren’t quite sure what the problem is, and are working to keep it breathing, but it’s definitely at death’s doorstep.  I’m currently able to browse the web and play ROMs, but that’s about it.

I’d like to propose a toast for a wonderful piece of machinery. You were a loyal friend. You put up with being hauled back and forth over 200 miles every other weekend. You performed admirably at my portfolio show (even though I dropped your monitor). You have accepted multiple hard drives and video cards without complaint. When fancy new video cards failed you were there with your on-board video card. You knew that “The Show Must Go On”. You toiled night and day to render ever more complex 3D scenes.

Hell, you even happily stood in as a butt-rest when my kitten wanted ear-scratches.

You were a wonderful machine, and even though I never even named you, you shall be sorely missed.

So what this means for everyone else who is not disturbingly emotionally attached to my ancient computing workhorse, is that the blog will likely be on hold until the new machine is up and running.  All I have left to purchase is a stick of RAM and then she’ll live! (hopefully) I would like to name this one.  I’m definitely thinking it’s going to be a ‘she’.  GLaDOS is a possibility, but if all of you tender readers have suggestions I would love to hear them!

Rest assured, however, that I should return before Halloween.

I wouldn’t miss the Mad King of Kryta for the world!

Tall Tales Taste Like Sour Grapes

Not that ArenaNet is telling tall tales, but I do have sour grapes, and no vat in which to ferment them.

If you’ve known me personally for any significant length of time you’ll know that I can have some deep issues with jealousy. You can safely assume then, that reading ArenaNet’s latest blog  was genuinely difficult for me.

When I first heard whispers about being able to chat with my friends and guild-mates while not connected to the game, I was over the moon ecstatic.

Then my place of employ blocked everything fun.

Everything.

I am hog-tied and ham-strung here. These fancy mobile applications sound super fun and being able to interact with my friends on my breaks at work sounds fantastic.

I-device and Android. That’s pretty choice.

Not that I can afford either of them anyway.

Wiki integration with the game sounds absolutely great. Before the Great Laptop Crash I enjoyed the benefit of two monitors, one on which to play and the other on which to reference various things out of game. (or one for photoshop and the other for 3D software, when I was feeling studious) I developed a habit for playing in windowed mode and enjoyed having everything at my fingertips. When I was forced to fall back on my husband’s computer (pushing into its 6th year now) my performance suffered drastically because I refused to give up all my little extras.

I get the impression from the article that the mobile map functionality will be available to active players as well. That does a lot to soothe my jealous ruffled feathers.

I feel a lot like I did in kindergarten. I was relegated to playing with My Little Ponies in the corner while the other kids talked about how cool the new Chip N’ Dale cartoon was. When I tried to join in they said there was no way I could have seen it because I was not cool enough.

I tried logic, citing what happened in the episode, but logic doesn’t work on 5-yr olds.

Either way, I was excluded and not allowed to join in the fun. My fear is that my inability to network socially will once again cut me out of all the fun.

Nobody will like me anymore.

My acne will come back.

I’ll gain more weight.

And I will continue toiling away in my life of obscurity.

What a nest of vipers a simple smartphone application can open eh?  I am perfectly aware of my various neuroses.  I tend to care for them like spoiled rotten pets.

In other news, I received my new Motherboard today! It’s an Asus AMD 890FX. After the motherboard the only thing I need is RAM (I’ve got my eye on a 4Gb stick of DDR3 1333. GSkill Ripjaws, ooh-yeeeeah)

Have some naked Norn, that makes everything better right?

I took some advice and gave him double-flails instead of a mace and shield. Flail > Mace… right?  Also, references!

In Which I QQ About Pew Pew

I have no doubts that the silhouette on the far left is a charr with a gun. I have no doubts that he is an adventurer class. He is NOT a gunner. There is no gunner, there isn’t going to be a gunner. (I might have to eat crow on this but until then…)

The term ‘gunner’ implies a specialist in the use of guns. It’s a very restrictive term. Please allow me to teach by example.

The Ranger is not a Bowyer. He is not solely an expert in all things bows, he is much more well-rounded than that. He is also more than an expert in all things ranged. He is called ranger because he ranges far and wide, exploring the wild, understanding it, living with it. Communion with nature is the Ranger’s thing, not bows, not pew pew, not hurling axes at Ogre groins. (as awesome as that last one may be)

By the same token calling the class that uses guns a gunner is woefully short-sighted and restrictive. I give ArenaNet more credit than that.

As for this:

She’s got a scope on that rifle and is wearing leather armor (It could even be cloth!). That doesn’t mean anything. Who’s to say she’s not an assassin?

Assassin does not equal daggers. Assassin equals assassinations. Daggers in the back, yes, but also poison in your soup, sabotaged vehicles, concealed explosives, and shootings from the grassy knoll.

A gun with a scope speaks more strongly towards an Assassin than it does to any gun-toting lunatic whose only claim to uniqueness is running off half-cocked. (That’s the image that comes to my mind when I see the title ‘Gunner’)

For the record, I’m excited about the addition of guns to Tyria, but there’s little that gets under my skin as much as this insistence that there will be a class devoted to them. Whenever I talk about Assassins I make sure to predicate it with a description. For some people Assassin=WoW Rogue with stun-lock, for some it’s a shadow-formed unstoppable crit-machine, for me it’s a fast mid-to-close range physical damage dealer, possible poisons specialist, and possible sniper.

Using such a restrictive term as ‘gunner’ isn’t fair to Arenanet and it isn’t fair to whatever that ‘class that uses guns but will obviously have some special, unique, and awesome mechanic BEYOND GUNS’ ends up being. ‘Gunner’ to me sounds like nothing more than a gimmick. It’s a “Hey, we have guns now, look at this class it shows you we have guns!”

Please. The Warrior can use a rifle, I get it, there’s guns.

To be perfectly fair, I’m not sold on calling the second soldier a Cleric either. Cleric implies strong buffing and healing. That’s BORING. Magic-weilding Melee is much more broad and interesting.

For the sake of expedience, in the sense that a ranger, as opposed to being all about ranged, is a lover of nature, I’m willing to split the difference with you gunner folks and say the third Adventurer could be a type of engineer, in the sense that he is concerned with all things technological. That opens up the door for steampunk industry and even asura-esque magic-technological mayhem. There’s that predicated description again though. Seems I can’t quite help myself.

I’m also a fan of ‘Swashbuckler’ or ‘Buckaneer’.

So that I don’t end this on a completely sour note, frothing at the poor commenter who inadvertently set off this firestorm (you’re awesome Remedy, don’t let me tell you you’re not, I’m glad you’re here!), what should we call the asuran aesthetic?

The charr we can safely call steampunk, and even further narrow it down by calling it industrial-punk. I’m tempted to label the asura with cyber-punk, but they’re not dealing with circuit boards. What about arcane-punk? Magic-punk sounds too hokey to me.

You Show Me Yours, I’ll Show You Mine

Hunter posted his speculations about the next profession to be released. Well, I had to reply in kind. I’ll do so in particular SAC fashion, however, with a picture:

The ante, I had to up it. 😉

(I wrote this post before I read most of Hunter’s post, so if there’s overlap it’s just Great Minds thinking alike –oh sure Tiger, alienate everyone with your –awesomeness narcissistic prognosticating– Enough talking to yourself)

Here’s my long (and short) range predictions, in the order which I think they will be released.

• First: The Assassin. He may not be called Assassin, but he will serve the same purpose. He will be a fast mid-range to melee fighter using primarily physical damage (as opposed to magic) that wears medium-weight armor. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if he was even called something other than Assassin. I also think that this could be Ember Doomforge’s Profession. Pistol + Sword + Ash Legion = Assassin to me.

• Second: The Mesmer. Like the Assassin, I believe the Mesmer could get a re-name. Or it could not, I’m not taking an official position on that one. As for the Mesmer’s mechanics, I’m much less willing to speculate. She could be a heavy drainer, though the Necromancer does that quite well already, but so does the Warrior so there’s no telling. I do think she’ll be using illusions, but weather those are a pet-like Conjured Phantasm or even more temporary remains to be seen. If there are illusions though I’m fairly certain that they’ll be visible.

• Third & Fourth: New Adventurer and New Soldier. These two are probably going to be something we’ve never seen before. I’m expecting some sort of Cleric or magical melee from the Soldier. Many are calling the Adventurer a gunner. I’ve said before that I’m not fond of the gunner theory (even if I was wrong about which one was the ranger). What I hope for in the Adventurer is some kind of swashbuckler. Firstly because it’s not a gunner, secondly because I like pirates, and thirdly because Swashbuckler + Assassin = all kinds of pirate vs ninja hilarity. I have no comment to make on which will be released first.

As for the pattern of release, I did see a pattern, but it was more complicated than I was given credit for. The pattern I saw was not: Scholar -> Soldier -> Adventurer -> repeat. It is Scholar -> Soldier -> Adventurer -> Scholar -> Adventurer…. and then maybe Soldier -> Adventurer. But I’m not calling any hard and fasts here. I do think that an Adventurer will be next (and I was correct about the Scholar) so we’ll just have to wait and see.

Hunter mentioned that the 29th of September could be a possible release day for a new profession. I’m hoping so, not because it’s sooner than October 6th, but because that is Mr. Tigerfeet’s birthday and I think it would be cute.

So what do you, gentle readers, think of my wild accusations contemplative speculation?

Norn Have No Need Of Armor!

You have been warned.

I’m doing this image old-school.  Meaning there will be no formal outline, it’ll be completely painted WITH a background.

That also means it’s going to take a

long

ass

time.

15-45 minutes every day a quick painting does not make.  So this time I would like to share my works in progress (or as we say in the biz, WIPs).

And no, I didn’t intentionally make him a south paw.  It just happens that way when I’m flipping the image.  The final image will have him facing the other way I think.

And before you get all up in arms about him not being beefy enough for a norn

1) It’s a young norn, just learning to become the bear and

b) I have not yet begun to paint!

Never underestimate the power of a Woman’s imagination >:3

One more thing, this won’t be explicit.  If I do end up leaving him naked there will be something covering his crown jewels. So never fear to check back on this thinking you might one day get an eyefull of giant norn wang. 😉

Way Cooler Than Killeen

I finally finished the (as many of you already guessed) sylvari Necromancer I was drawing.  Silver birches and prairie grasses.  I imagine that she is probably born in the evening, and therefore autumn-themed.

Also, the 80s rocker vibe was not intended, but not unwelcome.  In my experience we call that kind of thing a happy mistake.

My only regret is that I started with too low a resolution.  This is full-size.  I don’t think I’ll make the same mistake next time.  If you’re curious about the process, I took Work In Progress screenshots.

If you’re doing art digitally, it’s a good practice to flip the canvas every now and again, to make sure something isn’t horrendously lopsided (It’s happened to me before).