Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Dark Elf Costume - The Costume

So here's the video of Angie in the costume that she wore at Games Day Baltimore. She looks fantastic in it...

Angie's Awesome Costume

I made a video from some Baltimore footage about the guild Mongbat a couple of days ago. I wanted to post it on Youtube, but because I filmed some of it at work (the bits of Paul, Josh, and Jeff), I had to ask permission.

As a result, Evil Marketing took the video and added it last minute to June's Newsletter. It might not be in the European versions, so here's a link just in case.

The Mongbat Video

The Dark Elf Costume - Getting it Made

So, Angie wore her awesome dark elf sorceress costume at Games Day Baltimore last weekend. A gajillion people had their photo taken with her. We unfortunately forgot to take our normal camera. However, we figured that this week there would be loads of other people's photos of Angie on the web that we could just look at instead.

So far,..., haven't seen any :(

The folks over at Warhammer Alliance worked themselves up into a frenzy this week on the forums about "that dark elf chick" who wore "that costume", but were unable to accurately explain how awesome Angie looked with the lack of photographic evidence.

So, as a brief tease, here's a video about that costume.

I also noticed as I was putting the video together that I may have caught a dose of the "So"s. "So"s aren't as bad as a case of the "Like"s, but its still deeply frustrating. To explain, a dose of "So"s is when you start each sentence with "So..."; and "Like"s are like totally like when you say like like every other word.

It's especially annoying since I usually find myself wanting to punch people who can't string two words together without one of them being "like".

Hmmm, what are some other really annoying vocal habits?

Anyways, the game looks great, its gonna be awesome. It was sad to see Conan having all those problems with its PvP this week {snicker}. Anyways, cya in beta and enjoy the video.


Games Day Baltimore 2008 -- Ode to Waaagh!

Angie and I went to Games Day Baltimore on Saturday.
The booth looked great and we had a blast -- Angie was dressed up as a tier-1 Dark Elf Sorceror.
I filmed a bunch of stuff and I am slowly going through the footage.

I knew before we arrived that I wanted to get some footage of all the awesome Mythic employees who gave up their weekend to help demo the game. Our staff at Cons are volunteers -- they don't get massively compensated for their time. They do it because they are passionate about their work on the game and just want to show it off.

So, this video is just to thank the huge team of people working really hard to make WAR totally awesome.

Which Waaagh! is your favorite?

It's much better if you crank the volume way up!

Here's the video if you prefer Youtube ...

Tutorials, Mums, Bunnies, and Bowling

With Items systems in a good place at the moment, I've been spending the last few days helping out the UI team. Yesterday it was audio cues and today was tutorial tips.

Tutorials are a mixed bag. Some games do a really good job, while others stink at it.
Some games have separate tutorials while others build them into the first level/mission, etc.
MMOs normally just throw you in at the deep end and assume an awful lot of previous genre knowledge.

With WAR, we hope to get lots of tabletop hobbyists playing. For some, it may be the first MMO they've ever played.
Fo those of us who've played lots of video games over the years, the tutorials can be aspects of the game that we just want to skip over so we can get to the main chunk of the game. But imagine that you've never played WoW or EQ or UO, and you are loading the game for the first time. What aspects of MMO gaming - that you or I would consider to be obvious - need to be explained to an absolute novice?

Well I did a little bit of research. Mums are great for this btw.
  • For brand new players (i.e Mums), moving around is problematic.
  • Once moving backward and forwards along a line has been discovered, using the mouse to look becomes a logical jump that is completely alien to some people. (by "some people". I mean "Mums".)
  • Once moving and looking have been "mastered", the next biggest problem becomes "turning". All movement is done in very-slow right angles. If the first quest giver is not directly in a straight line from the spawn-in point, you're doomed.
  • Pressing the space bar over and over soon becomes a substitute for real navigation. Spastic jumping is fascinating to a newb.
  • Also, new players will actually read the quest descriptions, even the flavorful story nonsense, instead of heading to the bottom and distilling the quest's objectives down to its essence. This can take many minutes.
  • Ambient level-0 monsters, like squirrels and bunnies, must be chased.
  • First combat will be a massacre. The hotbar might as well be on the moon. There will be running away ... then more death.
  • Eventually Mums will say "This is stupid. Let's play Wii Bowling again!" or something to do with "cups of tea".

Actually, this kind of research is ultimately incredibly useful. (Thanks Mum!) It's a great lesson in assumptions. (Just reading this back, I've realized that I've already made that cardinal sin five times, by assuming you all already know your gaming acronyms back-to-front.)

Annoyingly, my Mum is really good at Wii Bowling.

Have any of you guys tried to get your Mums to play video games with hilarious results?

Justin Goes to Comicon: Part 4 - Thongs!

Here's the final video from New York Comicon 2008.

Everyone was grumpy at the end.

Yeah, I know it says "Part 3" in the video. I meant "Part 4" Godammit!

Or go here if you prefer Youtube.

Justin Goes to Comicon: Part 3 - The Annoying Child

I was doing a quick interview with John Rudy, who is a developer on WAR, when this child appeared. Ultimately, as I was editing the footage, I realized that the child, and the subsequent reaction, was more interesting than the interview. However, Rudy is the best on-the-spot Waaagher at Mythic.

Afterwards, the thing that concerned me the most was the kid's reaction to the question. While the kid IS totally wrong, there must be a perception out there that WAR is derivative of "that other game". It's not the first time I've heard it.

So I started wondering how prevalent that opinion is. WAR is very different to just about every game out there, and has loads of cool new features. I just hope that the knee-jerk reaction shown in the video doesn't sway many people as we get closer to launch.

Or go here if you prefer Youtube.

Justin Goes to Comicon: Part 2 - The Very Large Man

Another recycled post from Myspace:

So, after travelling up on the Death Bus, we finally arrived at the Con very early on Sunday morning ready for an adventure.

The booth looked amazing. Giant TV screens blasted out the trailer. And there were loads of PCs laid out for people to play on.

Bob Mull talked to us for a few minutes about the game, and then I noticed a "very large man" (VLM) playing at one of the stations. Now "large" is clearly a relative term, but this guy was ginormous, like 7ft. And he was playing with a rabid intensity and ferocity that was both heart-warming and frightening at the same time.

After that we went and explored the convention for a couple of hours. When we came back to the booth to get some additional stock footage, the VLM was still there, but on a different station, still playing.

Our paths crossed many times that day.

I got to talk to the VLM later in the day, and he was awesome. So, I'm apologizing right now for using the word "scary" at the beginning of the video. It seemed like he had a great time playing the game (all day) and it was awesome to see someone connect with the game so strongly.

So, Mr VLM, if you are out there, contact me. If you can convince me that you are you, I'll see if I can get you some WAR goodies.

Or go here if you prefer Youtube.

Justin Goes to Comicon: Part 1 - The Asian Death Bus

I wasn't going to go to Comicon. Too expensive -- the taxman was particularly brutal this year.

Then a couple of things happened...

Angie heard from Mr John Luu that there was a super-cheap, no-frills, DC-to-NY coach service. Apparently, for $20, a bus will take you from Chinatown in DC to Chinatown in NY, no questions asked. He warned us that "there might be chickens".

Then Rowland arrived in town with his puppy-like enthusiasm and bulging Euro-filled wallet, and that clinched it!

We decided to all go to Comicon, guerrila style.

(For those of you who don't know Roland Cox, he is our "man in Dublin", and does lots of liaisony-type things with our European publishing partners.)

So while Paul and Jeff were sipping champagne and having their eyebrows waxed at 33,000 ft, Angie, Roland, and myself were trundling along I95 on the "Asian Death Bus".

We took a video camera to document "the sights, the sounds, ..., the smells" of Comicon (and so that we had video evidence in case we were murdered on the Asian Death Bus). This first episode is a gentle introduction to the trip. Subsequent episodes will include, a giant, an annoying child, Lou Ferrigno, copious clips of the game, and Paul and Jeff.

Here's the video:

Or go here if you prefer Youtube

How Do You Start One of These Things?

So, this is my first post for this blog. I'm just going to nick the first few posts I made on my Myspace account to make it look like I've got some content. This one's about two months old:


Before I start rambling, i guess it's time for a brief introduction. My name is Justin Webb and I'm an Ass. Producer at EA-Mythic, working on the best MMO ever -- Warhammer: Age of Reckoning. Hmmm, I can never remember what kind of an Ass I am -- it's either ASSociate or ASSistant. Anyway, I digress.

I'm also the Strike Team Lead for the Item's Team.

I've had a MySpace page for a while now buy haven't really been doing anything with it, so I thought I'd begin filling it up with all my stuff.

Firstly, compared to, say, Paul, I do really boring presentations. I like to think it's because I don't get much practice because most of the Item's systems are either deeply unsexy or, until recently, TOP SECRET. As punishment, I've put a couple of Trophy presentations on the front page. So, to get some more practice, I'm going to start playing around with the little camera on the front of this Mac that is staring at me right now, and see if anything interesting pops out.

I've also made the cardinal sin of not having pre-written a huge backlog of material that I can roll out day-by-day to appear prolific, so the volume of initial content may be ... err ... sparse.

So, a bit more about me:

I'm part of the Mythic Brit Pack, but I've been in the States long enough for it to have ruined me.
Before this, I worked at Wizards of the Coast and worked on all kinds of things, including Magic: the Gathering, Dreamblade, and Axis & Allies Miniatures.
My first computer was a Sinclair ZX-81 and I've owned pretty much every, console, system, and computer since then.
For my sins, I've known Barnett for about 15 years.
Chelsea F.C. is the only team that matters.
Pirates,... it's definitely Pirates.
I am distantly related to Sir Francis Drake,
My favourite color is baby-poo orange. And my favorite invention is the bag.

As for my plans for this blog, on one hand, I'd like to give you guys some day-to-day insight into what it's like to work in the video-game industry, without giving away too many of the gory details.
On the other hand, i'm just as likely to blather on and on about movies, books, and games ... or what I'm playing, listening to, or arguing about.
Also, on the other other hand, It's sometimes good to have three hands.

One of my other nefarious plans for this site is to turn Mr John Luu (my trusty QA minion) into a SUPERSTAR!

I's also like to thank everyone who has already left encouraging comments in the few milliseconds between re-setting up my page and clicking "Post" for this blog.

WAR is coming, and its gonna be great.