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Posts with tag 3d

WoW Moviewatch: Azeroth - Land in chaos

Azeroth - Land in chaos is a sweeping, beautiful look at the landscape and design of World of Warcraft. I almost always enjoy these Discovery-esque tours of Azeroth and Outland, taking the time to really soak in the amazing, powerful artwork created by Blizzard. In the never-ending struggle for better gear and bigger numbers, it's a little too easy to simply miss the sheer beauty and creativity that makes up the game world.

This is the first video presented in Gnomax3D. (It's not really 3D, please don't try.) While the author names himself after the style, I'll admit I had a little bit of trouble sorting out what are the distinctive characteristics of Gnomax3D. The movie was certainly beautiful to watch, but so are many others. If further tours like this are created by Gnomax, though, I'm sure we'll find out eventually. I'm definitely looking forward to a similar view of Cataclysm.

Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an e-mail at machinima AT wow DOT com.


Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

Armory updates with model viewer, character and calendar feeds

Blizzard has added some nice new features to the World of Warcraft Armory, including a few players have been asking for in the past. The most exciting change is something that doesn't seem to be working quite correctly yet -- they're including a Flash-based model viewer for characters that will let you see what a toon looks like without ever logging into the game. So says their updates page, but as of this writing, the whole system is going up and down, and we couldn't get it to work correctly on any of our PCs. Should be done soon, though.

Other updates include character activity feeds -- there are now RSS buttons all over your profile that will let you track achievements, items, and other specific character information via RSS. And Blizzard has also built in calendar feeds that will let you output guild and player calendars to Outlook, Google Calendar, or other calendar applications. That means your out-of-game calendars will update automatically if your raidleader happens to change up the raiding schedule. And finally, character profiles have been redesigned and streamlined -- they look a little different with all of these new features. The date on all of these changes actually says January 1, 2010, so Blizzard may have implemented them a little early, but sooner or later we'll see these welcome changes all active on the Armory.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

Update: The Armory is offline for maintenance now. These changes were seen in action, so they're real, but as we say above, they're officially dated for January 1st. So they may not be in effect just yet.

Filed under: Guilds, Blizzard, Achievements

Guildwatch: Cleared for good


Ulduar is finding its match in many guilds this week -- more than a few folks are heading into the new content and making it their own. But here at GW, we appreciate all clears -- whether your guild is just starting out in Naxx, has finally cleared the place out like the ragtag group of raiders above, or is taking down progression content in Ulduar, a down is a down. Grats no matter what you're completing.

Lots of drama and recruiting in this week's column, too, as always. And you can see your guild here in the future, too -- our new address is guildwatch@wow.com, so send along some news if you've got it.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Instances, Humor, Raiding, Guildwatch, Bosses

The limits of Video Mode Ultra


I think I've found the limits of Video Mode Ultra -- when we first hard in the 3.1 patch notes that Blizzard was adding in a superspecial video mode for high-end computers to use, I was excited. I just recently "updated" my PC (read: "it broke and I had to spend a lot of time and money to fix it"), and it's been running like butter, so I was interested in putting it to the test. The day after the patch dropped, I flipped the switch to Ultra, and had no problems -- until this past Saturday. While wandering around Dalaran, I noticed my framerate had dropped quite a bit. I lowered a couple of the environmental settings just a bit and I was fine again, but apparently even with a 2.5 GHz quad core CPU, 4gb of RAM, and a GeForce 9600GT, Video Mode Ultra is still just a little too hardcore for me.

What's interesting is that I ran Wintergrasp a few times before having those slowdowns in Dalaran, and never had a problem. But then again, Blizzard did say that they had spent a lot of time making sure Wintergrasp was streamlined enough to run huge battles with minimal slowdown, so maybe Dalaran didn't get that same makeover. And I should say as well that I had no issues anywhere else in the world -- even my Naxx run the other evening looked perfect with Ultra flipped on.

Having a "future" graphics mode on PC games is nothing new -- for most games, the highest graphics setting is usually "experimental," so there's a little leeway in terms of release time (the game looks good with current hardware, but even better with next year's gear). And Video Mode Ultra is just that -- Blizzard trying to send a shot across the bow at those who are already saying the graphics look a little dated.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Hardware

Immortal is the toughest raiding achievement in the game

This is extremely interesting. Guildox is a site that tracks raiding progression solely based on earned raiding achievements -- they check the Armory entry of your guild, and then add them to a list of who's toppled which instances and when. But they recently sent us a note about some overall data, and it's fascinating. Below the pulldown bar of the achievement listings on their site, you'll find an "achievement rate" stat. That is the percentage of guilds who've completed the selected achievement as compared to the number of guilds in their system who've completed any of the 10 or 25-man raiding achievements.

In essence, that's the percentage of guilds raiding who've completed that achievement. And the toughest achievement in the game right now is The Immortal, which requires you to get 25 people through Naxx without dying once. Only about 1.5% of guilds raiding have finished that one. After that, it's Heroic: You Don't Have an Eternity (take out Malygos in six minutes), and Heroic: Shocking! (bring down Thaddius without crossing charges). The hardest 10-man achievement is the non-Heroic version of the Malygos timed achievement -- The Undying actually isn't too bad, with almost 20% of guilds having attained it.

More after the break, including information on the easiest raiding achievements.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Raiding, Bosses, Achievements

3D Armory offers a round of new improvements

We linked to 3D Armory a little while ago, and as Eliah says, it does what it says it'll do: provides a picture of your character as they are in the Armory in 3D. The site's founder recently emailed us about a few improvements, and as you can see over there, there's lots of new additions. All the different regions are now reachable, and while there was an issue with special characters in the realm name, it's been fixed, so you can get any character that's online into the 3D viewer. They've added character customization, so you can make sure that the model in the picture matches your model in game. Screenshots can now be taken, and even uploaded to Facebook through their Facebook app.

And there are some inter-character features as well: you can now comment on character profiles, which might be a good or a bad thing -- you could mark a good player or maybe label a ninja (though we're not sure what kind of moderation there is for that. And finally they've created something called the PuGchecker, which lets you quickly and easily enter character names and see what raid achievements those characters have earned (so if someone says they've been to OS before, you can make sure it's true). And they've even got an ingame macro you can use to run the script from directly in the game.

The rate of development over there is pretty impressive, and the site has definitely grown into much more than just your average Armory substitute. At some point you wonder just how many of the features are necessary (if you ever want to see your character in 3D, you can pretty much just log into the game), but they're definitely getting creative.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Add-Ons, Screenshots, Alts

3D Armory does what it says on the tin

There are many Armory sites out there, since Blizzard had the foresight to put the Armory data in XML so anyone who wanted to could use it in alternate presentations. 3D Armory is a new Armory site, just released into public beta. As you might have guessed, the focus of the site is on loading your character's data and displaying a 3D model of your toon; for instance, at top right you can see my death knight and how his gear looks in-game (yes, I'm still wearing my heirloom shoulders).

It does what it sets out to do, and does it pretty well: just select "eu" or "us" from the popup at the top of the page, type in your realm and character name, and hit go. Points off for having cryptic icons for all the functionality with only tooltips to indicate what they might do - I'm a big fan of obvious UI over flashy-looking UI.

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Filed under: Items

Animated models now on Wowhead

Just when I think Wowhead is feature-complete, they go and add something that never even occurred to me. This time around it's animated models in their 3D model viewer (high-quality Java version only). So if you can't manage to bag that elusive Squashling, at least you can see what it looks like, in full motion (be sure to click Java, if it isn't selected already). So far, animations are available for pets, mounts, player models, and NPCs, but items are coming soon (Terestrian's Stranglestaff, anyone?). Not only that, but they're already working on expansions for what sorts of animations are shown. Currently it just shows "idling" behavior; in the future, you should see a lot more, up to and including "/dance" (for player models) and casting animations.

I'm really excited about this (especially with my main computer in the shop, leaving me unable to play WoW at the moment). It lets me gaze at all sorts of interesting things:
And the Flying Carpet. It will be mine, oh yes. What are some of your favorite models?

Filed under: News items, Screenshots

Troubleshooting dynamic shadows on OS X and Windows

This forum thread, about the new shadow technology appearing on the Mac in 3.0.2, is confusing. There are four Blue responses in the first 10 posts, and at the end of it, I still don't have a clear idea of whether shadows work on the Mac or not. The issue seems to be this: shadows do work on the Mac, but not the highest quality shadows. Why? Because while Windows uses DirectX to do its 3D processing, OS X still uses OpenGL. And while shadows do work in OpenGL (and eventually can work just as well in OpenGL), Blizzard needs Apple to put some extensions in which aren't there yet, so the highest quality shadows aren't yet possible.

Did your eyes glaze over from all that tech talk? Let's make it simple: if you're on Windows or OS X and you don't see shadows, odds are that your settings are wrong. Open up Video settings in game, and slide the Shadows slider all the way to the right as far as it will go, and then escape out and see if Shadows appear. Note, however, that this will slow your computer down, and as we said earlier today, older computers might have trouble doing this. If you're running an older PC or Mac, you may have to forget about the dynamic shadows completely.

That said, according to the Blues, with the shadow slider flipped all the way up on a PC and a Mac, the PC's shadows will look a little better. That's not a limitation of your computer (or of Blizzard's designers), it's a limitation of the technologies that Blizzard is using to make the game. When OpenGL (the code that allows game makers like Blizzard to draw 3D graphics within OS X) gets updated, then we'll see some higher quality shadows.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Guides

3D touch interface for WoW due later this year

Keyboards, mice, and hand-controllers are so 2007. Get with the modern times, willya? Today we discovered that a 3D touch interface is on the horizon for WoW gamers. Using this weird robot-type gizmo, you'll be able to actually feel everything your character does in the game: casting spells, reeling from enemy attacks, feeling objects, bumping into things, and whacking ogres on the head! (I seriously want to bonk some ogres on the head with this thing. I expect it will feel somewhat hollow, like smacking a pumpkin.)

The gizmo is called a Falcon game controller and it aims to replace your mouse or joystick. The Falcon is already usable with some other games, but Novint Technologies is now creating WoW drivers for the device using the LUA scripting system. You can map up to 36 actions to it for which the controller will provide feedback that you can feel in your hand and arm. You can watch a demo on the company's website, or a more hands-on demo in the video below. When the drivers are released, you can download them at Novint's website. We'll keep you up to date so you'll know when you can grab them. The Falcon controller sells for $189.99 on Novint's website. No word on what the drivers will cost, if anything.

Filed under: News items, Hardware

Breakfast Topic: Figureprints

When we first heard about Figureprints, everybody seemed fairly keen to get one -- there were thousands of people trying to get in on the drawing, and lots of folks were more than willing to put down their $100 for a custom, real-life figure of their characters created directly from the in-game models.

But as the Dude (if censored) might say, new stuff has come to light. We've seen the first Figureprints off the press, and the quality, so far, hasn't been impressive, to say the least. We should note that Figureprints is replacing that figure in the gallery, but we'd like to know: has all of this new information changed your mind about Figureprints?

Are you still excited to get one, or have you changed your mind from originally liking the idea to not so thrilled about the actual product? Or, like Matthew Rossi, have you said "This aggression will not stand, man," from the beginning? OK, that's not really what he said (I just wanted to quote the Dude agaIn), but where are you at on Figureprints lately? Yea or nay?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Breakfast Topics

Wowhead now knows NPC abilities

Wowhead has gone live with a few new updates to brighten up your April Fool's day, and help you get the pink residue of Hello Kitty out of your eyeballs with some of their tasteful black (just don't check their front page).
  • The new 3D system I wrote about previously has gone live, featuring improved quality, NPC models, armor models, and the ability to preview items on any race or gender character model.
  • Quest tooltips are now supported for sites powered by Wowhead, which includes us. This allows me to mention, for instance, that Sunfury Attack Plans is a good quest to group up for, since the Plans are a group drop.
  • Most NPCs now have a tab listing their abilities. A few NPCs are missing them due to a couple of reasons: no data has been collected on them yet (e.g. Techbot), or there are two (or more) mobs with the same name (e.g. Kael'Thas). This latter difficulty has been fixed, and NPCs affected by it should have abilities listed the next time Wowhead parses data.
This last one is what I'm most excited about. It's nice to be able to see what a boss (or just a random mob) can do ahead of time, or, in the inverse, to see what mobs use a given ability. If this had been around a while back, I wouldn't have gotten all excited about Holyform, since I would have been able to tell right away it was just used by some Sunwell trash mob.

Wowhead to add character models


A couple of months back, we relayed that Wowhead gained 3D models. Now, they're set to become better. We mentioned in the previous post that player models were in the works, and I'm here to bring you an exclusive preview. Users will be able to see items on any race and gender character model, so if you're trying to figure out how those boots look on a female Tauren, you're in luck (although it's a good bet that they'll look odd). Wowhead sister site Thottbot will be receiving this improvement as well.

Competitor WOWDB has had the ability to preview items on a character model since they launched a bit over a month ago, tying into their profile system. However, they seem to lack Wowhead's impressive high-quality mode.

In fact, the quality of Wowhead's 3D renders will be increased in the upcoming update, especially in the high-quality Java version. See the gallery below for some examples and comparison shots; the image above is also a Wowhead render (not a screenshot). This has got to be the most accurate preview I've seen on any database site.

Filed under: Items, News items

A shinier WoW


WoW is a fairly good-looking game, especially when compared to some other MMOs, but let's face it: it hasn't had much of a change to its graphics quality since its release in 2004, and you can tell. To give you an idea of how pretty it could be, Youtube user qelss has rendered several models from WoW with more light and some additional filters; you can see one above, and more on his profile page. As MMO-Champion notes, these are fan-made and not previews of anything, but it's still fun to look at the gleaming swords and armor.

[via MMO-Champion]

Filed under: Machinima, Fan stuff

Brunch Topic: What's the most beautiful weapon?

Now that we have 3D renditions of items on Wowhead.com, I've been playing with them a bit, and it really does give a completely different sense of what a particular item looks like. Since I'm on a Mac, I've never had a chance to play with the WoW Model Viewer before, and I imagine such a web-based version is pretty fresh and interesting for many other players as well.

Since there are so very many new 3D models to choose from, let's narrow the choices a little bit and just talk about weapons. Have a look at all the different weapon models, copy your favorite link into a comment, and then tell us why you think it looks the best so that we can go check it out for ourselves!

Filed under: Items, Breakfast Topics

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