Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Wildstar: my newfound addiction

I've fallen for yet another MMO. MMO that in the current stage is buggy, that's pay monthly, an MMO with grind in it and an MMO that does very little differently. And yet it feels right.

Now what is Wildstar? Wildstar is a recently released MMO made by Carbine studios (that consists of old World of Warcraft developers). What does it do new?
- it has a solely telegraph based combat system (video of a low level in-game adventure that I've filmed while in the beta to give an example of combat)

- housing

- costume and mount customization

- a wacky story based in space

But maybe what is new is the wrong question. Perhaps what we should ask is what is old?

- attunements
- 20 and 40 man raids
- 40 man warplots (a giant guild pvp thing)
- reputation grinds
- two factions fighting each other

One might find these old features repulsive. But I find them very much nostalgic. It's very hard to explain how remaking the old can create something special, but we have already seen this in the industry multiple times. World of Warcraft didn't do a lot of new. It took a lot of features from Everquest and just improved upon them. The same as Wildstar in a lot of ways feels familiar.

I don't know whether this bird will fall or fly. It has a lot of right things and a lot of wrong things (classes not very balanced, lots of bugs, botting and gold selling that the company is trying to fight very actively), however I already made enough memories to make this purchase worth it. And it did give me an idea to look back before moving forward. Is there anything in the game industry that we left in the 2000s? In the 90s? Even in the 80s? Was something forgotten like an old page in the book just because it was deemed outdated? Perhaps sometimes you don't need to be new to be right?

Sunday, 15 June 2014

guess who is back?

After my hand ins I went on a silence spree. And with a good reason. I needed to relax. However I wasn't just sitting on my bottom the whole time. I was busy playing, exploring, volunteering, moving... This summer is an active one for me. The next one is going to be even more so. Why? Because movement keeps away sadness, boredom and depression. Because contributing to the society throws you in groups of people that you don't know. It allows you to work on your confidence and networking. It also allowed me to get into plenty of debates and give me a lot to think about. That means that I have a lot of new things to write about! (That and my recent experiences with games). Either way this is just a post to show off my full hand in work for my digital arts module. It was far more work than I thought it will be and I only got a C for it, but work is work and I can still show it off (by the way, got an A in programming. My next year choice is most definitely right for me!)
Digital experimentation, all of the assets that I've done and the combinations of them

 pixel based road
 vector based road

vector based characters (this one was the most fun to draw, even though it was the one that I was worst at drawing)

vector based grass tiles

vector based general map assets (this is where I started. Then I expanded each asset category)

pixel based characters

pixel based grass assets

pixel based roads

pixel based house example

make your own house kit!
Now before we continue let me talk here for a bit.
First - what didn't upload? The pixel tree assets, but you'll see them being used further down.
If I had more time what would I spend extra time working on? Road and character assets. All were thrown together last minute and it shows.
What did I learn? When making your grass tiles, make your plants on the same sheet. Some grass tiles blended with the colour of my trees perfectly and obviously that meant that either some grass tiles were unusable or I couldn't use some trees.

If I didn't have to work on all of the assets what would I have spent my time doing? Thinking over the map layout and design. Out of the lack of time I went with very linear or circular map designs. If I could have just spent time designing the layout, rather than all the assets I could have done a better job over all.

Now let's head to combination and experimentation with assets! 

Map combination wise, what's wrong with these pictures? Well one, I could have played with sizes a lot more. Small trees, tall trees. It was supposed to be an isometric viewpoint, but it's not entirely right. Plus the fact that there's no depth of field bugs me. But as my first real digital arts work, it's not too bad.

Illustrating the problems with grass and plant assets:

there's a bush on the right.

plant assets on their own.
The overall lesson of this? I'm a programmer, not an artist. And that's exactly what my feedback said as well. Sometimes it's hard to take it in that no matter how hard you try, you still can't be good at everything, but it's for the best as we move on.

Now before I forget, this is a list of things that I want to discuss.
Salford Create Festival and my inability to understand art
Wildstar (the game that consumed my last 3 weeks)
my programming work
female characters, ubisoft and the recent media storm

Dear reader, if you just dropped in and none of those topics seem interesting to you, you're allowed to request topics. More to write about is always a good thing :)