Friday with Means - July 31st, 2009 - It is still Friday in North America
Means shows previews of improved character heads.
Midnight posting FTW!
This will be the last Friday with ME for a few weeks while I take my first real vacation (3 weeks in Canada...back for one week...then off to DragonCon!) in two years. My Grandparents haven't seen my children for two years...it has been too long. In my absence Kintaii will be keeping you guys up to date on the going on's in the AO office. I am interested to see what kind of trouble they get up to while I am gone. Though I will be making a sincere effort at un-plugging for awhile I am sure this will boil down to only checking the forums 3 times a day and making two international phone calls.
Macrosun and Lindelu were both on vacation this week...it was so lonely. Thank god Kintaii was back to boost my spirits with his great sense of humor, optimism, and nicotine breakfasts. Whenever Macrosun is out of the office we have daily prayers/sacrifices that nothing breaks/fails in a horrible manner. Though the deaths of many small furry helpless animals and a few junior designers has been largely successful there are still some nasty things waiting for him when he gets back from his non-communicado ocean sailing trip. I hope he isn't reading this.
The engine team is making solid progress and less than two months in we are already seeing statel, ground and the beginning of character rendering. Seeing a hardware mouse in AO always makes me want to weep with joy. The little things they show me every day keep my faith up that we will eventually make it there...I think that is why they show me. I'm hoping to be able to start putting up screens of the new engine when I get back from my trip. Right now it isn't pretty...but the bones and muscles are being put in place...I'll wait for the skin so nobody gets shocked.
The new playfield designed by Genele is getting close to completion (significantly delayed by constant heated balance discussions..). I should really say "playfieldS". This is a new concept for AO. The experience begins as a single player quest-driven instance...when the player completes it...the playfield is changed forever based on the actions of the player in keeping with the story...and the playfield becomes a repeatable team-instance for that character for the future. I like the idea of the world changing as you experience the story..I'd like to see more of it in the future. I played through the solo experience today...it was fun This will likely be coming near the end of August.
We had screens up of the first Opifex female head to get the new engine overhaul type treatment earlier...Flaptoot spent considerable time this week working on the similar upgrade to the opifex female body. Project "High-Poly Breasts" is in full swing and making good progress. I was hoping to have screens and possible video for this week but we didn't quite make it. After seeing the complexity of the changes required to the super old weighting system used by the old models I'm amazed how much actually got done this week. I am also amazed at how much this effort needs a better name. His artist partner in crime "MstrBstrd" spent this week focused on modeling the first new Nanomage head (Textured by Genele). From the screens posted below we also had a go at seeing this new head in the current engine of AO...I can't wait to see how great this is going to look with the anti-aliasing and improved texture rendering of the new engine...I think it looks perfect now..I really think the team nailed this one right on the first try. I think the feel is completely right...the pulsing UV animation of the eyes can't be seen in the screens...but damn it looks good...I can't wait to see what the artists are going to be able to produce in the new engine when they can make the old engine look this good.
Hope to see some of you on my vacation and at Dragoncon. I leave you in Kintaii's capable hands. The only screens from me in the next few weeks are likely to be me with a beverage close to a body of water. I am also likely to be very very slow at responding to PMs.
Sorry to the Germans...I posted this very late...not Waldgeist's fault it isn't translated...only mine.
Colin "Means" Cragg
This friday with Means can also be found in the Anarchy Online Forums.