Archive for May, 2011

Oh, Hello Ambassadors

Congratulations to all the winners.

For the rest of us might I suggest a trip through my archives?

And now for my next trick:

Model this in 3D. Goal: Be as awesome as possible

Not listed in my above (and very old) article, I also recommend art therapy.  To that end, Autodesk Sketchbook is a neat little program. (I’m running the trial)  It reminds me of Artrage if you’ve ever messed around with that.

My mother always told me I wore my heart on my sleeve.

My Aspirations Of Thievery

Let’s call it Engineered Sabotage.

C wut I did thar?

If you haven’t heard, I’ve quit playing RIFT.  The reasons include some drama and undermined expectations (which I don’t want to talk about), unimpressive art direction, and boring same-old same-old quests.

The class I was playing, however, had nothing to do with my decision to leave the game.  In RIFT I played a Saboteur.  If you’re not familiar, there are 4 archetypes: Mage, Warrior, Cleric, and Rogue.  You pick an archetype and then you get to choose three of eight souls to build your character.  I chose Saboteur, Ranger, Riftstalker.  Very quickly I found myself shooting down the Saboteur line to the exclusion of my other souls.

The Saboteur is a demolitions specialist.  She attaches charges, detonates bombs, plants land mines, and just generally blows stuff up.

BLAST! (pun intended)

PvP was the most fun and I reveled in being able to control a battlefield with well placed area of effect explosions.  In PvE my tactics were more straightforward and involved copious exploitation of my pet pig in order to keep enemies occupied while I readied an incendiary finale.

All the while I was playing RIFT, however, I was thinking of Guild Wars 2.  How will the rifts compare to dynamic events?  How will the PvP feel?  Will I actually have friends who are willing to play with me?  How will my play experience compare?

When the Thief showed his face I fell in love.  With the prospect of being able to toss explosives about like candy at a parade, however, I find myself saying, “Thief who?”

First I’d like to say: NOT A GUNNER, EAT IT!  Second, I’d like to say that I honestly didn’t expect actual turrets and an engineer label.  I’ve been saying engineer just because it’s expedient and turrets because it’s a descriptive monkier that everybody understands, namely: stationary thing that does stuff.

From the Guild Wars 2 Engineer page we know that the Engineer has weapon kits that give you a unique weapon, like a flamethrower, utility kits that replace your weapons with bombs, turrets that can do everything from damage to healing, elixirs that can be tossed about and shot from guns, guns that shoot bullets and more interesting things, a tool belt with skills determined by your kits… wait, did I loose you there?

First thing you’re going to notice about the engineer is that in text, it sounds confusing as hell.  My first ten minutes with the official text went a little something like this:

• Bombs!
• Man what’s the UI look like for this?
• Tool belt is confusing
• How’s that work into the UI?
• Kits? do they only go in utility slots? Can they go in healing or elite slots?
• Is there still a 10-slot skillbar for this insanity? What’s the UI look like?
• With all these kits, what do the actual weapons do?
• What does the UI look like?

Needless to say, if a picture is worth a thousand words, a shot of the Engineer’s User Interface could answer a thousand questions.  Unfortunately, we don’t have a screenshot of the Engineer’s UI, but the interview had with some of the ArenaNet folks comes close.

I read the official page on the Engineer, then I read the Massively article ‬(and watched the video, thanks Massively!), then I read the Wartower interview and it all started to fall into place.  Here is the Engineer as I understand it:

• The Engineer, an Adventurer profession with medium level armor, has only three weapons available to him: Pistol (main hand and off hand), Shield (offhand), and Rifle (two hands).  These weapons determine his first five skills just like any other profession. He cannot swap weapons in battle, just like the Elementalist.

• Into the rest of his skill slots (utility, healing, and elite) he can slot three different types of skills:
– Kits: Backpack kits and Weapon kits.  These kits, when used, replace your weapon skills with 5 new skills, similar to the elementalist except a dual pistol Engineer and a rifle Engineer will get the same skills from the same kit.
– Turrets: These are deployed onto a battlefield in a manner similar to the Necromancer’s minions or a Guardian’s ghostly weapon.  Once deployed the skill button turns into an overcharge skill that can be pressed to activate an extra effect.  The turrets are immobile, but can be packed up by the Engineer and redeployed in another location.  I don’t know what kind of a cooldown we’re looking at for the overcharge skills and if it’s re-useable I have to assume that taking down a turret involves interacting with it.  You cannot overcharge a turret when you’re downed, but they are still standing and will help defend you.
– Elixers:  Are super confusing.  The official website doesn’t mention much about them but the Wartower article mentions an elite elixir that, when drunk, grants the Engineer a random elite skill.  There are a number of different elixirs that have various effects with a degree of randomness.  They can be slotted like a regular skill into an appropriate slot like healing, utility, or elite.  They can also, presumably, be fired from a gun.  Whether this is only the Elixer gun in the Weapon kit or your regular old weapons (the ones that determine skills 1-5) I have no idea.  I could also be way wrong.  I don’t understand elixirs.

• The Engineer’s unique mechanic is his tool belt. The tool belt adds four extra skills to his skill bar.  It sits above his skillbar.  Nox made a crazy awesome illustration.

Some things to note about the tool belt:
– You cannot manually slot skills into the tool belt
– The tool belt is propagated with skills depending on which (and how many) Kits and Turrets you have on your skillbar.
– Each kit and turret will put one skill into one tool belt slot.
– The tool belt skills can be used even if the kit it’s associated with is not currently active.  I have no idea how this applies to turret tool belt skills.
– Presumably you could fill up all 5 non weapon skills with turrets and kits, but the tool belt only has 4 skill slots.  I don’t know how that works or if my presumptions are wrong (Maybe there are no elite kits or turrets).  Some more clarification on which skills go where would be nice.

Wheeeeeeeew.  Is that it? I think that’s it.  It’s certainly enough.  However, the Thief I was unreservedly in love with while the Engineer leaves me torn.

I’m afraid of the Engineer because of the complexity.  I’m not the kind of person who likes to make builds.  I wish every game could be like Legend of Zelda where there are no stats and a new skill is a new weapon and everything depends on how good you are at actually playing the game.

On the other hand, I love the Engineer because it’s got explosives, steampunk clockwork, and mayhem.  I do so love me some mayhem.

Into The Ether

Well, after 10 days, many slaughtered tutorials, one crash and innumerable re-renderings, my Guild Wars 2 Ambassador video is finished.  I submitted it to ArenaNet last night.

At first I wasn’t sure about posting it on my blog.  It’s set to private (the only way you can find it is with the url), and I have comments disabled.  When in a creative cycle you go through a phase of elation, that you’ve made the best thing ever.  This quickly degenerates into hating your work with the fury of a thousand burning suns.  Eventually that feeling cools to mild dislike followed simply by the will to do better next time.

I’ve reached that final stage.  If my video is good enough to send to ArenaNet, then it’s good enough to share with all of you, the people who supported me and cheered me on through the whole process.  Thank you all.

I hope you enjoy it, but even more, I hope ArenaNet likes it as much as I did at the height of my creative cycle.  Even if I get no recognition, however, it was a fantastic experience, a whirlwind adventure into a new program, and a return to my greatest love: 3D art.

Coming Up For Air

It’s been an exciting week.  If you ever want to learn a piece of software from scratch, taking on an ambitious project with a tight deadline is a VERY good way to do so.  When in college, I was trained in 3D Studio Max.  For this project I only had access to Maya.  I can only compare the experience to a trial by fire.  I used every cheat I knew of to get the job done quickly, and I’m still not entirely done.

I have been pretty lucky, however.  The program has only crashed on me once, and only one of my Grand Plans has gone awry.  As we speak I’m rendering out my 3D scenes.  All I have left to do is assemble everything and upload!

I have to admit to being scared stiff, however.  This community has artistic talent in spades and more passion than you could shake a stick at.  I’ve stayed away from the other submissions; partly out of fear and partly out of a desire to not be tempted to copy anybody.  Some of my friends have kept me abreast of some of the stand-out submissions though.  I hear Elixabeth Claire has something nice, and there was something about guinea pigs.  (those guinea pigs have me nervous about my chances!)

But I’m in the home stretch, and very excited to see this video completed (not to mention to get to work on my next project!).  So for all my readers, thank you all so much for your support.  If it wasn’t for you I don’t know if I would have had the courage to go for this.

Here’s a sneak peak 🙂

Piggie loves you!