Posts Tagged ‘ Blogging ’

Bloggers Have Cooties

One word from three: NDA

Non Disclosure Agreement

I’m a blogger, and a sometimes cohost on Relics of Orr.  On the show we’ve speculated about the possibilities of a Guild Wars 2 beta.  We’ve talked about how Alpha is the new Beta and the once revered term, spoken breathlessly in dark hallways “Baaaaay-taaaaa…” is now just another cheap marketing tool.

The “new beta” leaves me feeling sad and hollow.  I participated in the Guild Wars beta events, not knowing that they were probably mostly for marketing.  I didn’t make it very far out of pre-searing because I spent almost all my time poking around for problems.

Once I fell through the world, reported it, and then spent the rest of that night (We didn’t sleep during those beta events yo!) scraping pre-searing.  I also found out that Gwen could get you trapped on the steps of those houses.  Along with reporting a slew of graphical errors, I only did a little actual playing of the game.  (The houses in pre-searing used to be floating 10-15 feet above the ground, did you know that? I like to think it was my report that got their foundations back on the ground.)

That heady time is over, however.  Betas being delivered to fans are now simply previews, polished and largely bug-free.  We only have ourselves to blame.  It’s become more about the prestige of getting that first look than about the bug-finding.  Precious few people are willing to scrape the walls of a world looking for places they could fall through. (I even did this in Ocarina of Time, want to know what the inside of Hyrule castle looks like?)  Nope, when people talk about their beta experience it’s with a little bit of smugness, that ever-so-slight “I’m more special than you because I got in early.”  Or it’s even a superior feeling because the beta-goer helped make the game better.  That second one I’m most definitely guilty of.

But the betas the betas.  Alpha is the new beta, and I want in, and I won’t be getting in, and neither will my compatriots.  This isn’t meant to be a whine about the state of the industry, and I don’t want you to think I’m some kind of puling child throwing a tantrum because the boys won’t let me into their treehouse because I’m a girl and have cooties.

In a sense though, community voices like myself and others do have cooties.  We have our arms plunged so deep into the dough that we can’t help but get flour on everything.  Let us into a selective event and we’d become a liability.  Slap an NDA on us and we’d be forced to either shut down or run every other word we want to utter through marketing first.

We are simultaneously the most valuable and most dangerous connections in the community.  If a company wants to make something known we are gold that can be traded in for hype.  Let us inside, however, and we could easily become an infection.  It’s a risk any shrewd company isn’t willing to take.

It’s not a bad thing.  It just means that we need to be patient and understanding.

Personally I’m going to grab some /popcorn and enjoy the show that ArenaNet is treating us to this week in regards to the human race.  It’s almost like a party!

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Terrible Tiger is Two!

Or I will be two come this friday. That’s right, two years ago exactly I sat down to this shiny and unfamiliar wordpress interface and typed my first halting missive to the ether.

Oh how far I’ve come. I no longer blog about my antics in Azeroth. I rarely blog about my antics at all, in fact. I’m producing at least one post a week again (often more) but the Secret Agent Cat is still in a state of slumber.

It is the season of advent, of anticipation and speculation. It is the season of collectively-held breaths and hearts fluttering with desire. We await the sequel of the game we love. If ArenaNet delivers the product we’ve all been hoping for I have no doubt that I will come roaring back to life.

But for now, I will be two.

Tiger’s Terrible Two!

That’s right! In concert with the Relics of Orr guild I’m hosting a party this Friday (time TBD). I would like to get groups together to do some runs through epic dungeons (this all depends on how many people are in attendance.) There will be some small prize give-aways and I may even administrate a raffle.

So bring your everlasting crate of fireworks and prepare to have fun! For full information see my post on the Relics of Orr forum. You don’t need to be a guild member to join or to attend.

Alsoly – What are all the epic dungeons out there? (the 12-man kind) I know of Urgoz, but are there others? (you see how ill-prepared I am for this. Let’s learn as we go shall we?)

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.