Archive for March, 2011

March 24, 2011

LoL Tank – Hilde might have a problem…

Last time I chose a name for my female tank for League of Legends and came up with a draft synopsis for a story concept. I thought that since I’ve got the fluff almost done, I should finally sort out the important stuff, her skills. Quite a long time ago, I shared my skill concept. In super short, Hilde is a tank that has to use skill combos by switching between and activating her weapon stances to adapt to the situation.

In coming up with the finalized skills, I decided I wanted to make it look as legitimate as possible and chose to make skill descriptions as they would look in-game. The result is similar enough to give a good idea (finding an exact font is really tough) but a new problem has emerged. I know Hilde’s skills are complicated, but the implications of this could really screw up the user interface.

Because there are 4 effects for her weapon skills, the skill description boxes are much bigger than on a regular champion. I was comparing my skill boxes to Udyr’s (the only other champion with stances). Below is how they look…

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Top Box = Udyr's Tiger Stance. Second Row = 4-part skill descriptions. Third Row = 3-part skill descriptions.

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As you can see, my skill description boxes are either twice as big as Udyr’s (with all 4 effects described) or about 25% bigger for the first 3 and about 125% bigger for the ultimate (with the 4th effect described in the ultimate description). It is a worry, especially since I haven’t even tried to address the problem of multiple cooldowns in the same box. I’ve added multiple mana costs, which look ok.

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March 23, 2011

LoL Tank – A rose by any other name…

I’ve been pretty unproductive blogwise lately! I thought I’d get started with the lore and back story of my female tank for League of Legends. The first thing to work out is my champion’s name.

When I was working on the characters, missions and stories for an RPG I was working on, I became very friendly with Baby Name websites. Yep, this is definitely the best way to get names for characters. My favourite is Baby Names World by Nickelodeon’s Parents Connect. It’s got a great search for name origins and meanings, with ratings for the names and other details. Unfortunately, it’s so comprehensive that a simple search has resulted in 30 pages of appropriate names!

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The ultimate resource for champion names!

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My search criteria was simple:

Sex: Female

Origins: Breton, Cornish, Gaelic, Germanic, Norse, Welsh

I felt that Boudicca and the Norse mythological tale of Sif’s golden hair were the strongest influences on my overall character design. The tale says that Loki sheared Sif’s hair and was pretty much gonna get his ass kicked to kingdom come unless he sorted it out. Sif was Thor’s wife! Loki went to the Sons of Ivaldi, a group of dwarves and master craftsmen, and had a golden headpiece crafted. As the story progresses, numerous magical creations are spawned by the dwarves. The spear Gungnir and the multiplying ring Draupnir for Odin, the ship Skíðblaðnir and the boar Gullinbursti for Freyr, and the mighty hammer Mjöllnir for Thor. My champion’s abilities are based on her magical weapons and equipment, so I thought I should pay a homage to my Norse influences and include those origins in my name search.

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Sif sleeps while Loki lurks behind in an illustration (1894) by A. Chase

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March 21, 2011

A fun build for Maokai – The Maodo Build

I created a build for Maokai, the Twisted Treant, today on MobaFire. It’s something I’ve played around with a lot over the last couple of weeks, so I thought I’d share it and get some more people to test on my behalf!

Here it is

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Maokai, the Twisted Treant

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If you like it, vote it up! If you hate it, vote it down (but tell me why)!

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Sam

March 18, 2011

What an awful day…

I’ve had a completely rubbish day. New job visa application shit that’s been piling on for the last 3 months (that’s when I was meant to start my new job)… crap with my social welfare… I didn’t get to test my TF2 map today (missed the reservation by 1 place) and I’ve lost 10+ games of League of Legends in a row.

So, I thought I’d do something productive (watching 6 episodes of Modern Family isn’t what I’d call a productive, albeit hilarious, way to spend my time) and rant!

Why I’m in this mood? Well, I’ve actually been playing pretty well today. I’ve been going back to Cassiopeia, a champion which is ranked highest in difficulty and is extremely fun and rewarding to play. Seven out of the nine games I’ve played with her, I’ve had a positive Kill:Death ratio (with high assists). I’ve done my job, that is Cassiopeia’s job… to deal tons of damage. Yet, we’ve lost every single game because 1 person doesn’t do their job. Seriously, 4/5 people can play well but if one person is bad you lose the game. League of Legends is a bitch like that. It’s the greatest flaw in DotA games and it’s something which Riot completely ignores.

Ya see, teamwork in video games is completely over-rated. When you have a perfect, fully functioning team then it’s great fun, probably the pinnacle of gaming. This never happens though. And what’s worse than losing a game? Someone losing a game for you, and there’s nothing you can do about it. I’d estimate that at least 75% of games have a bad player on either team. 10% of games are good balanced fun (no complete douchebags) and the remaining 15% is taken up by AFKers and general flamers who ruin the mood for everyone. When you play an individual based multiplayer game, you can completely cut out 75% of the bad games. Flamers and AFKers ruin all types of online games, but having a few bad players in a Free-For-All isn’t so bad.

This rant has a little bit of purpose though, because as I think about the past 24 hours I’m reminiscing about my perfect game idea. It’s an idea I’ve had for 5+ years and I cannot wait to make and play it.

The game I’ve wanted to create is similar to DotA in some respects (although I’d never heard of DotA until 2009). It is an online battle arena, but the arena is a living and breathing city. Players pick a character from a gang, each with their own specific playstyles… a bit like DotA/LoL’s champions but with variety more like a fighting game (movelists and such, rather than 4 skills). The goal is to kill the opposition; to hunt them down and to defeat them. Players interact with NPCs, performing small quests and tasks to build reputations. These allegiances with NPCs helps them gather information, weaponry and bonuses to help them defeat the other combatants. Imagine a combat arena with RPG quest elements, which influence the way the city affects the battlefield. There’s a strong single player aspect to it, but always the possibility that your target will come around the corner and you have to decide whether you can defeat them.

Battles in this game would be long, around 1 hour. This gives players a chance to develop their character’s items and abilities. Some characters would be better early game, some would be better late game. Some would specialize in territory control by setting elaborate traps, others would specialize in NPC relations and take control through diplomacy. Players will only have one life, once they die it’s over. Health would be much higher than most games, so that battles are truly epic slugfests. There are chances to escape and fight another day (but health would be persistent)

In my head I’m just imagining things and blurting them out. I won’t go into any more detail, this game is the masterpiece I dream of creating… perhaps one day I will be able to tackle it and share more with you. Until then, I’ve got a lot of learning and even more ranting to do!

I’m in a better mood already!

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Sam

March 17, 2011

koth_jailbird – The time has come…

Well this is finally it!

The alpha version of my Team Fortress 2 map is finished. It’s fully functioning and playable, albeit rough around the edges. Now I am at the stage where I need to get it play tested. Until now, I’ve always been theorycrafting; guessing what will work where and with which classes. Getting my map tested is the next big step. Using the information from the playtest, I can tweak and add to my map, refining it with every iteration. Eventually I will have a silky smooth and fun gameplay experience, then I can texturize this bad boy and release it!

Tomorrow evening at 5pm GMT, there is an EU Gameday ran by TF2Maps.net. I’ve submitted my map, which you can view here, complete with pictures and a little intro to the premise. After testing, I’ll post what feedback I have and then see what I can do about turning frowns upside down.

Here’s a final walkthrough of my map before I submitted it. Enjoy, and if you’ve found this and feel like testing… join the Steam Community Group ‘Team Fortress 2 Mappers’ and they’ll prompt you when the gameday begins!

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Sam

March 17, 2011

Nocturne – The Playtests

Following on from last time, here is a diary I’m going to keep for my Nocturne games…

Game 1 – 23:54 – 16th March

Started with Wriggles. After doing the jungle without upgrading to Wriggle’s Lantern, I’ve noticed having very low HP. Lifesteal is so good on this guy. Had some early ganks, but ended up getting myself killed a few times. Went Sword of the Divine first, lost effectiveness very early. Need survivability.

Game 2 – 00:15 – 17th March

Wriggles again. Had some early ganks which went well. Game finished before I could really get any items. Went for Berserker’s Greaves this time (+25% attack speed boots), really didn’t miss the Mobility… those things really need a buff. Tried out Hexdrinker but the game ended… seems like a perfect item for Nocturne, so I’ll try that next game.

Game 3 – 01.17 – 17th March

11/11/26

Oh man, what a bad game! I was doing fine until team fights started, then I proceeded to get absolutely murdered. Hexdrinker was ok, but by the time I got it.. it was too late. Frozen Heart helped a bit… I think I’m going to try a survivability build next.

Game 4 – 02.03 – 17th March

1/1/14

Oh man, what a BORING game! Was a weird one, there was another Nocturne and the enemy team decided to gang my jungle. This slowed me down a lot (although I was quicker than the other Nocturne). Couldn’t get any ganks (the bot lane was pushed, the top lane was Gragas) and ended up getting 1 kill, 1 death and 14 assists. Nocturne vs Nocturne is a battle for losers… no-one can win that outcome, you just negate each other’s ults. Went for Randuin’s Omen first, this time. I’ll try it again and hopefully in a more eventful game.

Game 5 – 02.40 – 17th March

4/6/5

Another crap game. Nocturne seems to rely completely on enemies being stupid. If I don’t get early ganks (my team over extends or they just don’t push) then it’s over. This guy can deal a boat load of damage but he does seem very weak when he isn’t snowballing. I just have to get used to his survivability levels, it’s still frustrating playing Nocturne though. The guy on the other team went 13/1, guess I’ve got a lot to learn. Went with Randuin’s Omen again… it seems ok, I was against a Tryndamere and held my own a couple of times (before he got farmed). Going for ruthless damage helps the snowball, the last 2 games have been survivability focussed and haven’t got me anywhere! I think it’s time to try the fun build…

Game 6 – 03.29 – 17th March

15/7/11

BOOYAH! That was awesome. I started with Sword of the Divine, then Wit’s End, then a Bloodthirster. The damage was insane. With zero survivability, I had to rely on my tanks doing their jobs (and the enemy being a bit silly), but damn it deals a ton of damage. Started very slowly (I had to lane because of a Warwick) but once I got my Bloodthirster it was on.

Game 7 – 11.47 – 17th March

13/3/11

Went pure offense again. Early game, there’s little much that can be said about these builds. I don’t have any items (all builds start with Wriggles). If I get early kills, I can afford the cool items quicker… so perhaps defensive would work well too! Nonetheless, went with my Sword of the Divine+Wit’s End build. Went toe to toe with Master Yi, Sword of the Divine making short work of him. In team fights, I tried to come in as late as possible, while everyone is distracted. Offence is the best defence in this build, since you’ll be lifestealing a lot. If you aren’t auto attacking, you’re not surviving.

Game 8 – 12.47 – 17th March

16/10/25

Was a good game until our Karthus left, then we had no chance. This will be the last Sword of the Divine test, since it’s pretty much proven itself to be great. Bloodthirster is nice but annoying in that you lose all the stacks upon death. I’m dying quite a lot (always do with a new champ), so it’s often a bit of a waste. I might start incorporating Stark’s Fervor into my build, it gives more lifesteal and armor reduction (which is nice).

Game 9 – 03.17 – 17th March

13/2/13

Had a few game up until this one, hence the time difference. Was using the SotD, Wit’s End and Malady build (the pure Fun Build). The other game I tried with this was 7/1/6. It seems to be very effective but I need more games to really figure out if it’s just my enemies being bad, me being good or if the build is actually doing the job. One thing that’s annoying me is the 2.500 attack speed cap. With the 3 speed swords in this build, I reach around 2.100. This is fine, until I get an effective W shield and the attack speed boost is wasted. Then again, I rarely get to take advantage of the attack speed boost (except early game, but then I don’t have 3 AS items!).

I think that’s it for now! I’ve played a bit too much of this guy over the past couple of days. Overall my verdict is that he’s not as fun as he first looked, he’s very samey and isn’t as rewarding as Cassiopeia or as fun as Maokai (with my max HP build, basically he’s a wooden Mundo). I’ll get back to Nocturne when I’ve had a little break, not sure if I’m still up for mastering the guy though!

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Sam

March 16, 2011

LoL Tank – Aesthetic Preview

I’ve finally finished the basis of my coloured in LoL tank suggestion. I need to add a lot more detail (on the shield, any tattoos, decorations on the chiton) but I thought I’d just post what I’ve got so far.

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The reddy brown colours I’ve used were initially just work in progress, but after trying a bunch of different re-colours, there wasn’t really any point changing them. She’s meant to look like an Anglo-Saxon (Boudicca style) warrior woman, wearing a simple robe made from cheap materials and designed to get covered in blood… I decided to deviate from the posh flowing gown style because it just didn’t look right with a massive battle axe!

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March 15, 2011

Theorycrafting Nocturne

I’ve been a bad blogger recently! For all my complaints about League of Legends (no new non-champion content, no leaver system, poor EU servers), Riot have made a ridiculously time consuming and addictive game. They also release champions way too fast, once every 2 weeks. This means that after I earned 6300 IP for Maokai, I now have to earn another 6300 IP for the new champion; Nocturne (I skipped Jarvan IV). It takes a long time to farm that much, around 30-40 hours of play time. It does feel like a job, and it’s a smart business move… I used real money to buy another 6300 champion because I couldn’t be bothered to play for 60-80 hours to get both. Thankfully, Cassiopeia was worth the money.

Anyways, what all this means is that I haven’t been mapping very much! I’ve added respawn rooms and a working control point, so koth_jailbird is almost ready for testing. It’s now at the technical stage, working out how to change my map from a collection of boxes into a non-buggy and fully functioning collection of boxes! So, League of Legends is the reason for my neglect… therefore I think I should do some work and make it into a blog post.

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Nocturne, the eternal nightmare

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Nocturne is being released tomorrow, and he looks pretty awesome. Firstly, he’s a typical Jungler. He has CC, a chase skill and a steroid skill to help him murder Jungle creeps and gank lanes. Since I got Trundle, I’ve loved the jungle… so Nocturne should be familiar. This, coupled with his unique ultimate, means I’m going to be getting Nocturne on day 1. The point of this post, is to start the foundations for a Nocturne build. Eventually, I’d like to master this guy and put up a guide on LeagueCraft or MobaFire. To do this, I’m going to look at his skills and work out viable items for this melee assassin.

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March 9, 2011

koth_jailbird – Pre-pre-pre Alpha Walkthrough

Been a bit busy the past few days, and not really in a mapping mood so I’ve not made a huge amount of progress this week. I just bought Cassiopeia for League of Legends too… that’s probably the main reason! Actually I’ve done next to nothing, just mirror imaging my map to finish the main area. I haven’t really shown you all the map in its entirety, just little parts, so I thought it might be nice to have a quick video walkthrough of the map.

The main area (the place where all the fighting will be), isn’t completely finished yet. I’m going to add a small tunnel access to the West/East Cell Blocks from outside the compound (a little Shawshank Redemption homage), as well as a big blast hole from the courtyard into the opposite wing of the West/East Cell Blocks. This will give 4 routes to the control point, which should prevent Snipers from dominating the long straight corridors around the objective.

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I do apologise for the lighting. I haven’t learnt that yet, so it’s pretty ridiculous looking so far. The next stage will be to add aforementioned holes to walls, before completing the respawn/outdoor introduction to the combat zone.

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Sam

March 5, 2011

koth_lockup – Central Point

Before, I was deciding between whether to do the central point or the yard guardhouse next. After playing around in the yard, I realized that a full sized guardhouse didn’t really work in the space. I think I will have to add something extra for the emptiness that’s still left, but I want to see how the yard pans out in playtests before doing that.

Therefore I worked on a couple of things. The first was to make the ramp to the second floor cells internal. Before I’d just put in a makeshift ramp, but it’s meant to be a sort of security access. Now it’s indoors.

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Ramp to Second Floor

The outside of the building.

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