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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  • Comments (5)
  1. enh. You know how people get about colours. I wouldn’t be surprised if people start as one race over another because they can’t get such and such a shade of such.

  2. honestly with a palette of potential colors at 400 i doubt that people will not be pleased with SOEMTHING from each race

    • Ven
    • September 30th, 2010

    Knowing myself well I’d just probably make everything black or black with red trim.

      • Tigerfeet
      • October 1st, 2010

      hee hee. I’m the same way, except with white!

      We must duel!


        • Ven
        • October 1st, 2010

        *Cheats and uses guns* >=3

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