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Posts with tag architecture

WoW Pod brings player housing to a different level

I know we've sometimes clamored for a player housing feature to make it into the World of Warcraft, but Blizzard has been adamant about it not being high on the list of priorities. A couple of artists decided that if Blizzard wasn't going to put player housing in the game, they were bringing player housing to players... in real life. Artists Cati Vaucelle, Steve Shada, and Marisa Jahn (Shada/Jahn) managed to con convince MIT's Council for the Arts and a few other gullible generous benefactors into funding a little project called the WoW Pod.

The WoW Pod is described as an "immersive architectural solution for the advanced World of Warcraft player that provides and anticipates all of life's needs". Except, maybe, the need to bathe and not be the target of ridicule. Then again, that was probably the point of this exercise -- to create a self-sustaining gaming cubicle where a WoW player can eschew such gametime-consuming distractions such as bathroom breaks or sustenance. The glorified port-a-potty, patterned after an Orc hut, is equipped with a toilet, a kitchen, and a computer to play Warcraft on.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends

The supercomputers behind World of Warcraft

The New York Times has an intriguing story up about supercomputers around the world, and, as we've heard before, some of the most powerful computers ever created are being used... to run World of Warcraft. The9, which is the company that Blizzard has licensed the game to in Asia, runs more than 10 supercomputer systems, hosting at least a million players online at a time. Some of the other tasks listed for these supercomputers include flight simulations and animation rendering -- the same type of computer that designed the wing of the plane you're flying in might have calculated just how much gold you should have after repairs.

I have a personal note to add to this one, too, though I have to be fairly vague.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Expansions

Breakfast Topic: Architectural wishlist

Lone of Bleeding Hollow asks when we'll see architecture, and immediately, a few other players pop up to shout out my answer: we already saw some Egyptian creatures and styles appear around Ahn'Qiraj. But his request for a specific type of architectural style is an interesting one: is there a kind of architecture you haven't seen in game yet that you'd like to?

A few people say they want to see Asian architecture, and as we pointed out a little while back, Darnassus actually borrows a lot from Eastern architecture. I'd like to see a city or village in World of Warcraft with a Northeastern United States, Cape Cod kind of fishing town feel -- Booty Bay is a nice fishing town, but it's a little too far south for my personal tastes. We are heading north for Wrath, however, and since there are not one but two coastal areas open up there, I might just get my wish. Fans of Viking and Norse architecture will also get their fill in Wrath, I'll bet, and consdering the Forsaken, as Neth says in the thread, are getting their own architecture, Gothic style will also be a highlight.

Are there any styles or cultures that you'd like to see represented in Azeroth that haven't been?

Filed under: Undead, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Breakfast Topics, NPCs

WoW locations based on real-life

This is something that I had never known before about World of Warcraft (and I've been studying this game for quite a while): some of the ingame locations are actually based on real-life buildings and environments. Tree of Life has a terrific post (based on one of our own Around Azeroth screenshots) up showing comparisons of the ingame reproductions and the real-world influences, and some of them are almost perfect recreations.

Most of the dances I at least recognized as their real-life counterparts, but other than maybe the Stormwind Castle (and Stonehenge -- duh), I don't think I recognized any of these overtly. Of course, the influences are there -- you can definitely see the Oriental flavor in the Night Elf architecture, and Human buildings are definitely inspired by English and French architecture, but did you know that Durnholde's wreckage compares to a ruined castle in France, or that Zul'Farrak is a take on Macchu Picchu?

Very cool finds. Definitely shows you how much Blizzard borrowed from the real world to make this fantasy setting as believable as possible.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Screenshots

"The Image of the Undercity"

Terra Nova has a fascinating read up about architecture in World of Warcraft, and to an extent, all videogames. In the latest Wired (which appeared on my doorstep yesterday), there's a Clive Thompson piece about Halo 3, and in there, he compares creating videogames not to creating movies, but to designing architecture. There are all sorts of challenges in dealing with the flow of self-driven players, and those are directly related to the forms and format of architecture, and you can see that kind of design all over Azeroth. When players grouped around the bank and mailbox in Ironforge, designers spread out both in places like Silvermoon and Shattrath. And as the article Terra Nova quotes makes clear, sometimes Blizzard wants the architecture to work for the players (as in Undercity, where everything is laid out in a circle, with lots of clues as to where things are), and sometimes it wants the space to work against them-- Blackrock Depths is a challenge to get through, which is fitting for (well, what used to be) a higher level dungeon.

Just as we "learn" the places we inhabit in real life, we also eventually learn virtual spaces as well-- tell me you weren't confused the first time someone had to show you how to get to UBRS, and yet now you could probably get there blindfolded, right?

Very interesting stuff. And it brings up one more question: Most players, by now, have learned pretty much all of Azeroth. But eventually (and we've seen this hinted at in the supposed "events" that will kick off the next expansion), the world will change. What if you entered Ironforge one day, and things weren't where you expected them to be?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Instances

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