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4:41 AM on 08.08.2008

Doom II: Delta-Q-Delta released

Doom II: Delta-Q-Delta is the eleventh free, fan-arranged album by the incredibly talented people at OverClocked ReMix. Eleven artists, two years, thirteen tracks are the stats as far as I gather.

I'm actually not even done downloading yet (grabbing the full torrent which includes FLAC versions of all tracks) but considering how amazing Voices of the Lifestream was, it's probably safe to assume that this is worth the download!   read

2:12 AM on 07.19.2008

On Diablo 3 Art

I know I'm late with this, but really didn't have time earlier and still feel like having something said. (Because this is The Internet and Here We Have Opinions!)

So. Diablo 3. Excited? I am. And I might aswell have this said here and now: I love the old Diablo games (the first one in particular), and I will buy the third one, and it will be good. You got that, understood it? Sweeet.

Now. There was a certain petition... You've read about that one, haven't ya.

I actually feel like defending the "petitioners" here. Mostly because of the enormous and mostly undeserved amount of flak they've had to take. However, I will also have to say this before I go on: I am, as they are, fully aware that we've only seen one, early gameplay video. Things might change; this might not be the final art direction, or it might "start off" like this and become really cool as you progress in the game. It might!

But it might also not. So let's discuss it, let Blizzard be 100% aware of what exactly the people who care wants, and if there's a time to do that, it is now. I can not count on fingers and toes how many times I've seen the argument "Geez guys the game's not even done yet why are you complaining already?".

I'll quote a guy on a forum (and there will be lots of quoting "guys" on "forums"; I'm really not going to keep track of exactly who said what and where.)

He said: "If we dont voice our opinions, how will they know [...]? The sooner we say it the sooner they know." End quote. And he's right. It's really simple!

So, moving on. What are these people actually saying, and what aren't they?
The latter really seems to be a big problem here.

"You only want gray and brown in your games! You hate color!"
"You want it to be pitch black at all times!"

I mean come on. Really? If you think that's what they're saying, you really haven't even read it. It's just hyperbole you know, cringeworthy exaggerations. I really like the title of Kotaku's item: "Diablo Fans Petition Against Diablo III". Nice. That totally isn't a first impression that has people making incorrect assumptions before reading further!

Most of the so-called "whining", does not even exist.

There were like five billion threads and posts about this so I obviously haven't seen close to all of it, but from what I have seen, the people for the art change - and "art change" sounds really harsh but it absolutely isn't, it's more of a "touch-up" - the people for it have been civilized. They have good ideas and arguments that do not deserve flaming. One may disagree - fine! - but flaming the entire idea and everyone who supports it is just uncalled for.

Below are a couple of quotes that I feel describe fairly well what they are going for.

"By dark we're implying dark atmosphere, gritty, evil. Not dark as in "turn your brightness down", although sometimes that dark works in particularly scary parts".

"I dont think people want it stripped of its color just grittier. I think people just dont phrase what they say properly. [...] I think the outside dosnt need to be that saturated but I do think dungeons do."

"It was a great aspect of diablo that you could only see what your character would be able to see. Mobs around corners were hidden until you went around the corner. Rooms stayed dark until your character could light them. The unknown created a great deal of tension."

And saying basically the same thing,

"Part of the reason Diablo was so much fun in the first places is because you're facing a horde of hellish enemies you can't even see until they're right upon you, scaring you shitless. There's nothing like turning a corner with no idea what's around it, and the images of dungeons so far, seem to have forgotten that."

I like this one:

"As a point of interest, I'd like to point out how the magic spells in Diablo and Diablo II were bright and colourful. These give the feeling that the arcane really had meaning in the world and you felt truly powerful wielding these abilities that bring the light of justice to the corrupt world of Diablo. If in Diablo III all the spells are equally bright to your sunlit and green painted dungeons, where's that feeling of majesty in wielding magic?"

And I want to comment on that one. I totally get what he's saying, and I agree. There are so many new games with advanced graphics that just seem to think that magic is something bright and blurry, like green'ish and blue'ish and yellow'ish "poffs" and smooth streams and stuff, and unless that's a friggin' healing spell, it's just hard to take seriously. "Ooh what's this slow and fluffy pink sensation - it kind of tickles a bit!" "...Oh, it's an attack spell...?"

Screw that! I mean Diablo 1; you have a dark dungeon and a badass dark ambient theme keeping the suspension, and you unleash a chain lightning. It's got sharp contours, it's pure no-bullshit white, and it's got a sharp electric sound. Your friends fear getting in the way of that shit! That's an attack spell! Also, let me just read this scroll of Apocalypse...

A short one:

"The dead bodies disappear in something like a hundredth of the time they should be disappearing in."

Well, to me they shouldn't be disappearing at all; as far as I remember, they didn't use to, and the trail of corpses is something that brings both atmosphere and satisfaction.

A couple of longer quotes, but also some of the better ones (in my opinion!), touching more on actual color and the WarCraft 3 / World of WarCraft comparisons...

This one after basically a thread full of "oh geez these people just want boring lifeless games with no color":

"You can do the whole brown-backlash shtick again if you want, but we don't need more super-deformed, unnaturally-animated, blue-green WC3/WoW-style games either, especially when WC3 already did the Diablo-style dungeon-crawl thing with its indoor missions. Let Diablo have its "browns"."

I agree, and call me crazy but there does certainly not seem to me like there's a shortage in games with color in them. It's a pretty weak argument these days. If it's not We Love Katamari, it doesn't mean it's Gears of War... Also, again, it's not color that is the "problem", it's how it's used. I played through Diablo 1 literally (4?) days ago, and there were monsters coming at me that were completely yellow, red and blue, and puddles of blood, lava and acid hardly blurred in with the backgrounds either.

"One thing we gotta remember is that Warcraft was always a more colorful game.

However, Diablo has always been dark, with lots of blacks and grittiness. [...] why change a good thing to the "more popular" WoW-like palette?"

"Dark palettes *are* appropriate sometimes, despite the blanket complaints by people on the "games are too brown" bandwagon. There are plenty of bright and colorful games out there that you can play instead."

Here's a long but very well written one:

"I just read their argument about "color is your friend" or whatever. I'm not exactly sure if they understand what fans are complaining about (or what I hope they are complaining about). It's not about bringing as many colors to the table as possible for "contrast"... (because that's not exactly what contrast is about) And as long as that is what they are going for... I guess I need to bring an issue up.

Every good artist knows you can have a good palette with LOTS of colors, but what's more important is if a palette has a FOCUS, a feel that you are going for. Diablo II had lots of colors, many different environments, a huge palette... But it also had focus, and I think it utilized its colors well.

I don't mind all of those screenshots, and yeah it is too early to tell at this point, but some of those screens I see tell me that I don't like their focus (or lack thereof)...

Yeah okay, any person familiar with Color Theory knows that green and purple are compliments... Whoopti doo Blizzard! I don't want neon green lighting contrasted by purple in dungeons. Orange and yellow go nicely with BLUE...oh my! But what about the natural contrast between black and white? Shadow and Light? I don't want a million colors that amount to a neutral tone mudfest outdoors either. Focus on the lights and shadows please, you can have AMAZING looks without using all of the colors of the rainbow from your bag of skittles. It's just about choosing the right ones.

Diablo is about Heaven and Hell, angels and demons, with bones and death and destruction and blood... That's where the focus is... That's what they should be trying to depict as accurately and artistically as possible. They have the right to do whatever they want, however I'd like to hope their main objective is to please the fans that have waited years for the next game, and honor the previous two titles. Anyway I'm not really complaining, I'm just bringing up an issue that should be pretty much a given when art direction for any game is factored in."

I think that's enough. These people, like me, are after an experience and that includes everything; the great story that Diablo has, the perfectly fitting music, the gameplay... And the graphics.

I read that petition, and while I thought it could certainly have been better written, I saw some of the edited images and immediately signed.

I look at the gameplay video, and it looks good. If the game releases looking like that, I and most people will buy, play, and love the game. I wasn't, and am not, "unhappy" with how it looks.

But I look at the edited images... And they look even better. The relatively simple Photoshop edits - sharpness, contrast, saturation, levels and so on - add so much. Things look more solid, like they have more weight; metal looks sharper and actually dangerous. There's an edit of the huge Siege boss that perfectly describes what I'm talking about. Watching the edited version makes me think and feel things that did not appear when watching the gameplay video.

Here's a gigantic boss right, he's clearly strong and mean and dishes out a fair amount of damage. I'm "wow'ed", and know that I should be afraid and "kind of" am, but with the edited image, I do fear the creature, and I see why. His entire body feels more heavy and solid, including even the skin. Those teeth, are sharp. As is the blade which now looks sturdier. The thing he has on his head now looks like it would hurt.
Also noticeable is the ground. Those are suddenly cold, hard, unforgiving stone tiles, rather than "wet stone tiles".

Everything no longer looks like it's covered in a small, blurry pointless fog which, speaking of boring, is exactly how it makes it looks. The edited version may be darker, but I definitely wouldn't say it's any less clear.

So anyway, this has turned out quite long now, but I think I've said what I wanted. Don't just dismiss people as boring or dumb or whatever when they just want to try and make a sequel be as good as it can be - in their view, based on previous games and the atmosphere they had and the impression they left. And please don't see whine where there is none.

Oh and I just checked the petition again, wow... When a friend told me about it on MSN, there were four thousand votes and I actually said on a forum basically that "yeah I signed it but whatever, four K votes isn't really going to lift any eyebrows at Blizzard", but uh, looking at it now they're up in fifty thousand votes and while that might still accomplish just about nothing, there clearly are a couple of dudes and dudettes out there who wouldn't mind some tweaking... Speaking of tweaking, if you feel like suggesting that people just lower the gamma on their monitors, please don't... None of the fifty witty boys who already did that were funny either.

That's all for me, thanks. Just think about it, maybe post your opinions, don't senselessly flame your gaming brethren and most importantly, buy it when it's released because it's going to be good!   read

7:59 PM on 06.12.2008

TFTuesday Through the Scope

Got two of these longsleeves today. That logo is so cool.

Anyway, played some Team Fortress 2 this Tuesday and just felt like making a little movie about it today. Since it wasn't exactly a huge project it is what it is, and what is there is a whole lot of sniping. As in exclusively.

Never been a sniper in any game before but also never been a user of weapons that don't hit instantly, so it's the only class that makes any kind of sense to me in TF2. Had the game since the beta and after Tuesday I'm up in a total playtime of about 13 hours. Never saw any of the maps (except 2Fort) in the video before.

[embed]90404:12243[/embed]   read

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