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Art Therapy

LadyWithGrapes

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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!)

Wash Your Paws Before Dinner

Hunter, you were spot on. I am RIDICULOUSLY EXCITED that charr run on all fours (At least until they pull out weapons, then it’s back paws only). I don’t think I can over-state how excited I am about that. It scratches my bestial itch. I’m not a furry, but I do enjoy the primal nature inherent in beast-like classes and races. The charr give me the same satisfaction that I had from playing a feral druid in WoW. And now I can feel bestial and cast spells if I want to! (instead of being an overweight moon chicken) It kind of puts the kibosh on skirts though. My mattress is on the floor and if I try to wear a nightgown to bed (sometimes I feel like being ye olde Tiger) I just end up tripping all over it and eventually breaking either the nightgown, nightstand, or myself.

I’m clumsy. Shut up.

Where was I? Charr on all fours. Excellent.

Also special thanks to Guild Mag for posting the unofficial gameplay video of the charr on their itunes stream. I can see that at work. More please!

The first videos I saw, however, were of the human starting areas.

Here’s some of my initial reactions:

• I’m not a fan of the glowing halo around monsters and allies. After watching the charr video though I think I’ll be able to get used to it. It will certainly make selecting monsters and allies easier. In GWC I rely heavily on tab-targeting and my party window. Every time I try to select from models on the screen I fail miserably and give up in disgust.

• I’m pretty underwhelmed with the User Interface, but that’s not a big deal. Remember what the GWC beta interface looked like? (I actually liked the beta interface btw)

Yeah. I’m sure it’ll get a nice coat of “ooh shiny” before the game goes live. As far as the layout of the interface goes I like it just fine, actually I like it a lot. If there’s clickable things on the left I wish they were on the right where the energy bar is (e.g., swapped) but that’s just because that when playing I usually keep my mouse in the right half of my screen. GWC offers a stupid amount of built-in customization options for the interface. I have no reason to doubt it’ll be any different for GW2.

I’m getting a strong WAR vibe from it. I think it has to do with the objectives being in an itemized list in the upper-right hand corner. That’s not a bad thing, I really enjoyed WAR. I think that vibe comes from just seeing the human areas however. Once I saw the charr video that vibe wasn’t there, but once again, I’d like to stress that I don’t consider the WAR vibe to be a bad thing at all.

Also, hunter you have my eternal gratitude for posting a screenshot using photobucket! It’s hanging out in an extra tab, not pulling bandwidth (like a video would) and not getting me in trouble. You’re awesome man.

(notice how I just gave up using bullet points? Yeah what happened there?)

In the video that GuildMag posted, Martin seems to be playing a warrior and I’m excited to see that the character still feels very lithe. I’m not a fan of big and bulky which is why I usually shy away from heavily-armored professions. If I can get the lean jungle cat feeling from the charr I just might be sold on playing a warrior.

My thoughts on the charr video:

• Martin doesn’t do a very good job of “don’t stand in the bad” but I guess if you’re a developer playing a tricked out character it doesn’t matter all that much.

• Gender lines for the charr are feeling a little blurred. It’s probably just because of the video quality but I really have to squint at those tails.

• That dual-mace spin-attack skill looks really cool. I want ten.

• I like the brush-stroke activation bars. More of their painterly aesthetic.

• Turrets! Turrets are always fun.

• Steeleye Span can be overrun. I’m thinking it probably won’t be mobile. Ah well.

• I like the map functionality. The zoom and fade effects when pulling it up and down are very nice. It looks big. I mean really big.

• Also moas. /cheer.

• The sounds in the NPC communication ‘windows’ (they’re not exactly windows) reminds me of Kingdom Hearts. I’m not too crazy about it. (I didn’t care for Kingdom Hearts and I don’t feel its cartoony aesthetic fits with GW2.) That’s just my opinion though, and the sound could have been distorted.

• Who let those harpies out of Elona? Bad harpy, no biscuit! I haaaaaated Elonian harpies. Heket too.

I was really excited to finally hear from some animators on ArenaNet’s blog. I love working in 3D in general, but animation is my passion. Heron Prior mentioned that the dragon wasn’t mocapped and I’m curious to know who asked about that. How do you mocap a dragon, really? Toss a cat on the ground? It would just be easier to animate by hand.

All in all, it’s still a game I really want to play. I can’t wait to see some higher-quality in-game footage. That’s going to be fantastic.

It’s Mine! NO It’s Mine! I Saw It Fiiiiiiirst!

That’s all I’ve been hearing for the past few days. I hear it from WoW fans and general haters alike. What are they saying?

The Shaterer looks like Deathwing. ArenaNet copies Blizzard!

Never mind that Blizzard’s looking for group feature was adapted from the ones in place with Guild Wars Classic and Warhammer Online. Never mind that Blizzard’s in-game voice chat (while admittedly a complete failure) was ripped off of Dungeons & Dragons Online. Never mind a hundred other things that Blizzard aggregated from other sources and implemented into their game.

Nope, because when someone else does it that’s when we’ll throw a fit. Yep.

I liked WoW. I liked it a lot. But I’m not going to sit here and rave about how it was an innovator in the genre. What it did was take a lot of tried and tested elements and put them together in such a way that a fun and addicting game was created. That’s why WoW is so popular and that’s why GW2 isn’t going to kill it. (GW2 + SWToR might, but that’s another blog post)

What is going to happen (by the grace of Dwayna) is that GW2 will be a fun engaging game that gives people a completely unique experience. Not everybody is going to enjoy that experience. Some people enjoy playing a spreadsheet (my husband), some people enjoy long, elaborate, and scripted boss fights (myself, so long as I’m not in charge). My hope is that there will be enough variety in GW2 that a majority of people will find something they enjoy, if not necessarily what they had expected.

But let’s take a look at those dragons why don’t we?

Shatterer is obnoxious to type, he shall henceforth be known as 'The Shatner'

Comparing the in-game Shatner and the concept art of Deathwing I can say “Ok, I know where you’re coming from”. I would point out that The Shatner has crystal shards for wings and no actual wingsails, is surrounded in lightning, and is purple. While Deathwing is red, has magma for innards and definitely has traditional dragon wings.

I don’t want to debate trifles though. Looking at silhouettes (which is what any good artist should do) I can say that yes, they look similar.

… Until I look at the in-game model. Honestly, I don’t know how they dropped that ball. Granted, the model looks fine. It’s typical WoW stylization which is also fine, but there was definitely something lost in translation between concept art and 3D rendering.

So if we want to compare apples to apples (please, let’s). Here’s concept art:

Those look like very different dragons to me. One is molten lava, the other is metal electricity. So they’ve both got a nice strong chin. That same logic doesn’t make Rytlock look like Christopher Reeve.

Now let’s compare in-game images:

Still, completely different. There’s the stylistic differences (because I’m a fangirl I would compare it to Monet vs Tex Avery), but we still have elemental differences. The Shatner is metal and electricity, Deathwing is stone and magma.

He put the DRAGON in the D&D

They both have horns, they both have wings. They share a similar silhouette. By that logic I would say they’re both ripping off of this guy.

So come on folks. It’s a dragon. There’s only so many ways to make a dragon look unique. So both games have them. Dragons for the ultimate bad-guy in GW2 have been in the planning stages at least since Eye of the North. I’m sure Blizzard has been keeping Deathwing under their hat for just as long.

Great minds think alike and hey… looks like we all (no matter what game we play) enjoy beating up on some dragons.

Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Charr

Sorry to everyone who is more well-read than I, but I just couldn’t resist.

As a side note, I took this one quiz online and it says I write like whoever that guy is that I was spoofing in the title.

Specific Tiger is…. not that specific.

ANY-hoo. I don’t have an internal monologue. I have an internal picture-show, and this is what I do inside when I see how much ArenaNet likes to tease us all!

Squee!

Of course, the teasing ended today with the release of the Manifesto Video. I’m sure you’ve already seen it, but here, let’s watch it again

OH
MY
GOD

oh my GOD!

ArenaNet, GUYS! You’re giving me shivers! I’m not going to tell you that the graphics are awesome (they are) and I’m not going to tell you that the events look supermasivelyawesome (they do). What I am going to tell you is GREAT job with the editing. I know video production and I want to say that the editing is fantastic. So are the motion graphics and the little tease at the end with Bubbles. Update: apparently that wasn’t bubbles at the end. Boo.

I don’t know, I think I’ll just… I’m at a loss for words, honestly. I feel tacky when I gush all over something but MAN am I excited! I REALLY want to play this game. I also don’t want it to come out before I get my new computer though, so I’ve got some weird internal battles going on.

But yeah.

Let’s just watch it one more time.

Odd fact: I have a growing collection of Guild Wars 2 portraits doing nothing more interesting than making funny faces. Mostly charr and asura.

Also, I think I’ll need to update PeltWatch™ (I need a snazzy logo for that or something) after I go over this video with a fine-toothed comb. All I remember is a blur of stripes and spots and smoke and bridges and sylvari and asura-tron and crystal dragons and dragonbrand and bridges and what was that astral planty place was that the grove holy crap guys!

Map This

Old/New Tyria overlay map.

I did it first. So there.

Grumpy Tiger is grumpy.

Trolling is bad, that’s why I have a blog to whine about forum stuff.

Also party tonight, don’t forget.

Pelt Watch Is Official!

I’m a bit like the Joker who, in turn, is a bit like a dog chasing a car. He wouldn’t know what to do with it if he caught it. That’s how I am with attention. That said, I’m over the moon today from the official mention I got on the GW2 twitter feed. Regina Buenaobra (did I spell that right?) mentioned my article Pelt Watch (you can find it in the ‘SAC GW2 Guides’ under the ‘Target Acquired’ tab along the top).

With that attention I’ve gotten some more comments on the article, one of which pointed out a pelt to me which I had previously missed. Thanks Jason! I took a couple of screenshots from a video and added them, with a little write-up, to the main article.

If you know of any pelt pictures with new patterns or colors I haven’t included feel free to let me know! Either leave a comment on the PeltWatch post or e-mail me directly at secretagentcat (at) gmail (dot) com. (You can always find my contact info by clicking on “Target Acquired : About Tigerfeet”) When I get a new addition I’ll add it onto the original PeltWatch post as well as make meention of it on my latest post or (if I have nothing else to talk about) make a small post saying I’ve updated. Clear as mud? Good!

Basically, you’ll know if I’ve added anything just by checking my latest posts. There’s no need to constantly check the original PeltWatch post for updates.

With that little addendum, I’ll let you watch the video I took the screenshots from. It’s nothing new, but the slowed down version is new to me and I find myself watching it over and over… and over… and…… over………