Saturday, 15 December 2007

Day344 TCGs and Eye of Judgement

TCGs, Eye of Judgement, pocketmodels and more
Collectible Card Games or Trading Card Games have always been interesting to me. Not only do they allow for some fascinating mechanics involving construction and emotive gameplay - but combine that with awesome imagery. I have had a soft spot for Magic the Gathering since before the dawn of time and many great artists have contributed to the artwork over the years. Some of the neato art can be seen on the Wallpaper pages on Wizards of the Coast's MTG ste.
The genre then crosses over into Computers as WoTC brought Magic online as well. Then we have the idea existing entirely online in newcomers like Pox Nora.

[Eye of Judgement images from the TCGplayer site]
This blending goes to a wonderful extreme in WoTCs brand spanking new TCG tie in with the Playstation3, Eye of Judgement. The clever part here is that the PS3 armed with its camera tracks the cards and your hands as you play and brings the creatures to life on the screen. So it can be played with just the cards, or with the visual splendour of the console, thus also allowing both online play and indeed play vs the AI which is a nice advancement. The tracking of the cards looks pretty nifty actually (though somewhat laggy in some of the demos).
The vid embedded here is via TCGplayer who cover all manner of this type of gaming very thoroughly. They gave Eye of Judgement a rating of 9 which is very high and shows they love seeing their cards living and breathing (breathing fire that is).

Then there are the TCGs that have models as well, from the likes of Wizkids' games through to other tabletop entertainment. Check out the Star Wars Pocketmodel TCG - designing these would be fun. I first saw these through their pirates version, seeing this after watching waaaay too much Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy is neato as well.

[images of the Pirates and Star Wars pocketmodel TCGs from Wizkids]


Music Video - Avril perhaps
I have been thinking of making a music video in the vain of the Machinima offerings that are just sooo good. This will give me some serious depth with the video editing tools and some much needed practice with the engines (Games) or software (Maya) to build the look. Then there is the scripting, design, storyboarding, editing and such to go on with.
Maybe a pop song like Avril's HOT could work for me (I like her stuff :-) it must appeal to the teenage girl in me - but so be it. Check the cool beta of Sony BMG's MusicBox player, the quality of the video and audio are great and it sits well in the browser as well. I could perhaps wheel out my TVhead designs to use for this project using images of Avril, maybe even stills would work...
Avril's MySpace page is an explosion of audio, visuals and web technologies in pink'n'black!

Not quite in the style I was thinking, there is Avril's Make 5 Wishes. This half-animated comic styled story to the beat of instrumental versions of Avril's songs. It is a cute manga-like story of a young girl who has an imaginary Avril friend and plenty of problems. Then she gets a little wish giving creature and the story evolves from there...

As for Machinima examples already out there, JD's Sk8ter Boi using the Sims2 is a good example of using Avril's music. lilly2lola has one using the same song as does SilviaChan902 and the list goes on when you start hunting around in youtube. There are STACKS of people making SIMS2 vids of her songs - very impressive.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Day343 CrysisMap and Gaming

Seith's Little Island
In looking around at some tutorials for Crysis modding I found Seith's Little Island which is very impressive for a new modder - this gives hope to us all and shows the beauty of the engine and the Sandbox2 editor. The two images below are just a few of how he is going, not sure what settings these are on, but they do look sweet. The lighting and wonderful randomness of the images shows how nicely the CryEngine2 handles this sort of terrain. It will be fun to see how it handles others like deserts, formal gardens and such through to the urban jungle of cities in all their forms.

[Seith's CryEngine2 images from the Crymod site]

This thread is on the Cymod site which looks like being a mighty resource for all of us keen to play in the CryEngine world. The site will be another, in fact this is where I first saw the link to Seith's island.


I am startig to get the hang of a few bits now, missiles are great and with the autopilot, getting around is easy enough. Hmmm actually the autopilot means I dont need to know my way around at all and infact I dont see much of each location as I warp through them...


LOTRO shots
I admit I havent had a look at what the Lord of the Rings Online has to offer much at all. Through I did come across their DX10 screenshot competition though which produced these twp nice shots. Since I have been looking at real-time graphical rendering these are pretty darn fine.

[screenshot competition images from the LOTRO official site]

Just to continue the theme, here are two more shots from the official site this time just promo versions.

[promo screenshot images from the LOTRO official site]

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Day342 Sketchup Cheetah3D and Maxwell

Vizarch Sketchup & Cheetah3D
I went looking at the progress that Tim Danaher has been making on his Vizarch blog regarding his model of Coop Himmelblau's Falkestrasse work. I was impressed when I saw his Cheetah3D renderings of the Sketchup model (with imported 3DsMax furniture). His blog has youtube vids showing the comparison between the Cheetah3D and vanilla Sketchup animations/renderings. Both are actually very cool, the images below should inspire anyone interested in this stuff to check out what he has done.

[Tim Danaher images from his blog rendered in Cheetah3D from Sketchup models]


Sketchup and Maxwell
Another renderer with Sketchup plugin-ness is Maxwell which is also worthy of note for its long term Maciness as well. The Sketchup plugin pages on the Maxwell site have a few images to show what can be done - though all have a graininess that detracts from their clarity.


Here is another video of Architectural type rendering using the CryEngine2. I am really looking forward to finding some time to get into the Editor properly and see what I can get it to do for me. This video plays to the engines strengths of course with the trees and lighting etc.


Gaming and Massively
A bit more EVE to finish up - I am still at a loss with the game, whether it is worth the trials and tribulations. During the patch I found myself enjoying the news (and lots of it) on The site has info and news on all the MMOs and vast amounts of it. The article covering the MMO data and statistics over on VOIG is an eye opener. Though you can see WoW's dominance, it is reducing over time in percentage terms and there are other games with huge followings, SL has 11million accounts now - times have changed for good.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Day341 EVEing

Some more discussion and play on the qualities and intricacies of EVE...

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Day340 Another EVE attempt and TF2

With the nightly patch scheduled right at prime gaming time - this perhaps more than any other factor might kill this game as a viable source of fun. It is all hard going actually and looks to have enough depth to keep one learning for a long time. I feel alot like I did all those years ago when I was playing the original Everquest and the whole notion of an online persistent world was new, wild and unknown. It is also interesting that you get the 3 character slots but only one can be 'training' at a time...


Team Fortress 2
There is a great little article on Team Fortress 2 by Paul Hellard on CGSociety. The article covers some of the design (and re-design) that was done to deliver the look that we now love so much. The little short clips of the characters are gems, I last covered TF2 and the vids back on Day291.


Web Sliding News
In looking for some web pages which use cycling news items in limited space I have found these (amongst many) that could be used as examples:

Monday, 10 December 2007

Day339 EVE Begins

EVE on the Mac
After installing and trying to get started on the Mac I find that the new graphics update in Trinity isnt available for the Mac (or linux). After a speedy install and a nice intro movie explaining the origins of the EVE systems there is a relatively complex character creation system considering one spends the game-time as a spaceship. In fact after choosing things like race, origins and professions you are dropped into the game without actually getting to choose a ship which feels kinda funny. I have spent tooo much time in the character generation screens already actually, I quite like them.

From there the complexity grows still further, there is a tutorial to kick you off in game and a newbie (rookie) channel which has a constant hum of chatter where people are asking many questions, most of them seemingly quite basic. I gotta say the learning curve is mighty steeeep. I feel like such a newbie, just trying to do the most basic things

The Minmari ship I have been landed with is armed with an autocannon and doesnt quite have the sci-fel that a good energy/laser weapon might :-) Should I go combat, or mining, or something else - it is all very tricky without knowing anything...

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Day338 Crysis play, Artgerm and EVE

I have been enjoying the Crysis game itself, there is plenty of gameplay variety much like HL2. We get to charge around in zero-G, fly a v-tol jet, man the gun in a hummer, fight humans and aliens alike. The game does a decent job of oscillating between more open free-form objectives, to more linear sections which merge nicely into cut scenes. HL2 and Crysis do a great job of using the firepower of their engine to create cut-scenes integrated into the gameplay.


Following my sortie into deviantART yesterday I came across another artist of merit (of many many) Stanley Lau. Check out his gallery, there are way too many to represent his work fairly here, but he has a certain style that appeals to my eye.
He has the cover of Imagine Prime from Imaginary Friends Studios and well deserves it.

[a few images from Stanley Lau from his deviantART gallery]


I couldnt resist the 14 free days trial of EVE and signed up and started that juicy download. I decided I would fire it up on the Mac (yep Mac OS version) just to get some gaming under OSX going. Oh and this keeps me well clear of that nasty windows patch :-)

The trailers are really inspiring, I just love what they did here. I really have to try my hand at trailers and more video, it is great to see it done well (love the music - really love it). Below are an older one and then the Trinity expansion trailer, plus there are plenty more clips out there on Youtube for us all and the EVE site has higher quality versions as well - esp good for the audio.

Some other vids worth checking: Descriptive Movie, A Goonfleet one, Revelations I and Revelations II.
I will cover this baby in days to come.