Sunday, August 28, 2011

Arena Design: "Vacuum" - Part 2

Now that you have "shadow floating" in your skills set and the concept of keeping random guests out of the center, let's take a look at how you would enter your duelists:

The miniature "stable" that I set up on the edge of my Celestial Observatory is reserved mainly for team PVP.  There were countless cases when set teams had to restart the Joining Process over and over, simply because eight minds were thinking in different directions, or there were connectivity problems.

If you haven't figured it out yet, you can control the order that teams and players are set up in PVP within a house.  Players from opposing teams must join in alternating fashion.

For example, let's say Team A is composed of Adam, Ben, Carrie, and Denise, and Team B is composed of Eugene, Frank, Gertrude, and Henry.  Team A wants to have Denise go first, followed by Ben, then Adam, and finally Carrie, and Team B wants Gertrude to lead, with Eugene, Henry, and Frank following, in that order.  Thus, for visual simplicity: Team A wants the order of DBAC, and Team B wants the order GEHF.

Since the game will automatically decide on a random turn order for each team, it doesn't matter which team enters first.  But, in the process that follows, it does!  Let's say that Team B decides to enter first; Gertrude would enter the ring to start the countdown.  Since both teams must join in alternating fashion, that means Denise will be the second player to enter.  Now each side of the battle circle has an opposing team member, and you technically have a 1v1 going on.  Thus, Eugene will be the next to enter, followed by Ben, then Henry, then Adam, then Frank, and finally Carrie.  The total join order is G, D, E, B, H, A, F, C.

It sounds elementary, but with a little miscommunication, mistakes can happen...sometimes again, and again, and again.  I remember when the Massive Fantasy Palace came out that it took about 6 or 7 tries in one PVP party until we could finally settle with a Fixed Teams match.  And still, today, it tends to happen, no matter how familiar the players are with the process!

Thus, the little "stable" thing I created is an attempt at "fool-proofing" the initialization of a PVP match.  Let's re-use Team A and Team B in this explanation, but with Team A's lead player (Denise) entering first!

Here's a top-down view of the setup:

Denise and Gertrude would enter the first lane, with a crate separating them from each other.  Ben and Eugene will take the second lane, Adam and Henry in the third, and Carrie and Frank in the fourth.  Since Team A is going first, Denise, Ben, Adam, and Carrie would occupy the space that's closest to the teleporters (and facing them), while Team B would be facing the crates.  So, imagine the top row of players in the picture are labeled D, B, A, and C, and the bottom row are labeled G, E, H, and F, respectively.

When the match is about to begin, all players would AUTORUN forward.  Team A should be running into the edge of the Celestial Observatory, while Team B should be running against the crates.  The host would then click on the Small Purple Rug (which has the Long Blue Runner "bridge" attached) and place the small rug down behind D.  Because there is now a "tangible" area in front of Denise (instead of the boundary of the CL Obs), she will advance forward and into the teleporters.  The crate in the first lane is then removed, allowing Gertrude to follow in the same manner.  The bridge is then moved to the next lane, where it "shoots" Ben towards the teleporters.  The second lane crate is removed, allowing Eugene to follow, and so on.

It sounds a little complex and tedious in writing, but it's a pretty simple (and inexpensive) procedure in the long run.  Maybe we'll have to have some PvP parties to show it in action, sometime!

(This set up is appropriately called "Vacuum" since players enact a "force of gravitational pull" by Autorunning towards the orange "black holes," which spits them into "another universe" where the victims must do battle to return home.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Arena Design: "Vacuum" - Part 1

Ever tire of asking guests, "Please don't stand in the center," "Please move," or "GET OUTTTTTTT!!!" when they refuse to budge from the center of your residential battle circle?  I know I have.

At first, I tried to combat the issue by placing scrolls around the "inner ring" to create a collision barrier that would keep people out of the middle while allowing potential duelists to still join future matches.  However, it turns out that a player using the "ledge jump" bug (where you play in Windowed Mode, run forward, and click and hold the window "pane" or Wizard101 logo on the window; the bug is visible only to others looking at you, but you will "fly" through walls into space and infinite) can glitch themselves through the barrier.

So, my next idea was to create some kind of one-way ramp...but I was too lazy at the time to want to execute such a time-hoarding plan.  

Welcome to the age of Wysteria's debut, and you know what that means:  Teleporters!

This will be a two-part post; one will detail what "shadow floating" is along with a video demonstrating its use, and the second will show how to utilize "shadow floating" to your teleporters' advantage.  So, let's get started!

"Shadow floating" was discovered on accident while I was working on the barrier scrolls.  You can click on the link above, but if you're not able to hear the audio (or have 'Tube-phobia), I can elaborate what it is here.

Assuming you know the basics, "shadow floating" is a miracle in itself.  When you create a platform (small rug attached to a larger rug; the larger rug will be known as the "platform") and place the combined rugs/platform down, you have created "shadows."  (click on the pictures below to zoom in)

Red line = perimeter of "shadows" | Blue line = perimeter of "no placing furniture here" zone
The blue hashed line shows where you cannot initially place objects within.  The Small Purple Rug and Chessboard have now created a temporary "shadow", which expands the "tangible" terrain.  In other words, this is what happens to the blue line when the platform is set down and then picked up by the Small Purple Rug:

Placement of the rug and chessboard increased the area in which I can place objects down into.  I can click on the Small Purple Rug as this point and create a "leap frog" effect by moving the rug into the space where the chessboard just was:

The Small Purple Rug is now sitting in the chessboard's FORMER shadow.  Once you place the platform down into its previous shadow, that shadow disappears, and a NEW one is created, denoted by the red outline in the above picture.  Let's do it again:

And again...

And one more time...

Still unclear?  Check out this video where I demonstrate how to float the barriers and teleporters close to the battle circle:

Click on the bottom right corner of the player to enter "Full Screen" mode

(to be continued in Part 2)...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Arena Design: Introduction and Debut

I'm starting to think that I can be classified as a Wizard101 PvP Otaku (kudos to Lady Blade for teaching me this term!).  When it comes to designing a house, most of my passion and creativity are devoted to sprucing up the Arena circle; I just can't find the same passion for interior designing (which is mainly why many of my houses and castles are nothing but storage rooms inside; also, many Wall Hangings, Wallpapers, and Floorings find a new home in someone else's house after being adopted from the Bazaar, where I have dropped them off along with their birth certificate and immunization records).  

Well, there is a case where I've found a love for a design that isn't revolving around PvP.  Puzzle houses can take hours and hours of brainstorming, planning, executing, and testing, however.  Just being able to float things in the right places without altering something else can be tedious to a point of exhaustion or frustration.

My January Battleblood Castle is a physical representation of when my true interests (regarding housing) began manifesting.  Comparing the amount of items around the arena circle versus anywhere else, I think it's a closed case to my otaku-ness with the battle circle.  I blocked off the interior from being accessed by visitors, which funneled the focus down to the PvP Ring.  This was portraying an ancient battlegrounds where wizards have dueled for millenniums and centuries, causing the field around them to stack up with Fizzle Soot.  There is so much magic within the sedimentation that even mystical life forms could exist within; an Elder Honey Sickle is growing out of one of the "rocks."  

However, I realized that my aestheticism created a bothersome imbalance: players and spectators had minor inconveniences when utilizing the battlefield.  Slowly, I began removing items one by one in hopes of maintaining user-friendliness simultaneously with design.  Eventually, most of the rocks were removed, and I felt an evolution was due for this scene.

Fast forward many millenniums later, when the world itself becomes unstable.  The February version is a complete transformation of January's arena scenery, changing the battlegrounds into the turf of Mother Nature's wrath:  molten lava.  Think of it as the opposite of the Christianity's Flood.  Actually, the overall theme was to express "love" in a symbolic and eccentric way:  February as the "month of love," my passion for PVP, and my notoriety for Defender Pig "farms."  The lava was representative of "burning heat," whether it be for a Piggle BBQ or some other context.

This revision of the ancient battlegrounds also took on a more "functional" evolution, where the design also focused on how well others could use the PVP area.  That's where the metal platforms came in.  Instead of limiting viewers to surrounding the duelers on equal ground, I integrated the "lifted platforms" to imitate the Colosseum "feel" Dragonspyre's arena gives.  More visibility options, like low, medium, and high!

Through the PVP Parties, commentating battles from the side, and receiving feedback from friends, I reconstructed my arena further to try to optimize the battle circle aesthetically and functionally.  I haven't really had time (or the spirit) to make a behind-the-scenes video or to call it the "March" edition, especially when it required about two months to design, but here are some pictures to introduce the context.  You can click on the pictures for a bigger view:

Out from the lava of February comes a bustling explosion of human design and creations.  While Cassandra Hexthorn's MFP design was focused on the darker side of man's inventions, I contrasted with the appreciation for culture and innovation.  Welcome to "The Globe."
What humans have imagined and designed has always fascinated me.  I mean, take a look at Wizard101, and  then try to convince me that Homo sapiens aren't fascinating and clever.  This product is an example of our (again, that word...) culture.  References to movies, music, philosophy, history, games, books, and values passed down through the generations exist in these files -- records of our creativity, in other words.

Smoking columns float along with Mooshian flags to signify an active dueling grounds.  
The items within here have a theme that blend Mother Nature and mankind together.  Stone columns were crafted out of rocks by humans.  The barrel in this picture was formerly a tree that was cut down and sent to a lumber mill for carpentry.  Wooden boards with cryptic writing display our unique ability to communicate through systematic languages.

Scrolls and trophies surround the casting field.
Due to the high frequency of spectators and duelers asking other players to remove themselves from the center of the dueling circle, I began to hone my floating techniques into designing some kind of "barrier" that would (1) prevent others from trespassing through, but (2) allow visibility for both the audience and participants alike and (3) allow accessibility for potential participants (i.e. allow people to join the battle circle after a duel has ended).  I ended up creating a video on how to float items into the PVP ring.  Trophies were placed along the barrier of scrolls to give it a more aesthetic feel.

Minigames and wooden boards above the seating platforms.
There were a few hilarious glitches to the design being that if a player ran directly below a minigame kiosk that was situated on a raised platform, that player would find themselves encased within the kiosk!  The columns were also floated to ensure that visitors could traverse the area without the inconvenience of collision.  These were all late revisions to, again, enhance user-friendliness.  The wooden boards also serve a very special purpose:

The view from riding a mount and wearing a Life Amulet.
One pet peeve that I have with Wizard101 is the lack of the ability to zoom your camera in for a first-person view; your wizard's always in the way!  However, you can force the camera to zoom further in, simply by placing your character's back to a wall, and looking straight ahead, as demonstrated in the picture above.

A first-person view, without the mount, weapon, or amulet.
Five boards were placed on platforms that were perpendicular to one another to allow spectators the freedom of watching a match without their body obstructing some of the view.  With a raised view, they also provide for some awesome visibility all around.  Here are some other views from the other platforms:

"South" view

"East" view

"North" view
One guess I could make about why I become so excited about designing an arena ring:  Wizard101 is on the focus of plot development through a series of card battles.  Your wizard develops a reputation with the teachers after completing quests and defeating monsters and bosses with the use of cards.  Word of mouth, supposedly, brings your name to other characters and other worlds, and eventually you become an influence to their world or their culture.  Purses are returned to their original owners because you pulled out a blade or a trap card.  Thus, to me, what appeals the most is where you're using the cards.  The team positions, cards, decks, weapons, and pets may all look the same, but there's a noticeable change in what you feel when your battle takes place in a strange or unfamiliar area.  You're either excited, intimidated, distracted, or visually stimulated in some way, shape, or form.

So, welcome to yet another personal Battleblood project: Arena Design, where ideas and plans are executed, floating and housing mechanics are dissected, and other works within the community are appreciated.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


It's time for House-a-Palooza!
(click the H-a-P link for other sites that are participating!)

Hello, fellow Ravenwood students!  Most of us are returning to school on Earth very soon, and we're already feeling the dull ache of missing the beloved summer vacation.  *sigh*

Luckily, some of you will be able trevisit those fun memories and adventures... the beach... the woods/jungle...


...or mysterious, exotic places...


...with your very own Island Getaway!  

With the courtesy of, the Petnome Project has been given the honor to bestow upon 15lucky Wizards these beautiful homes.

"How can we get them??"  Take a look below to find out!

NOTE:  Failure to follow all directions may result in automatic disqualification!  Contestants may not win more than one Island Getaway

Contest 1:  House-a-Pet-Looza!

Objective:  Create an exquisite and unique setting for a type of pet (of your choice) to roam around or live in, and describe in a short paragraph what it is!


  1. You will want a theme of pets to display.  A few examples of themes include:
    1. all Banshees (i.e. Life Banshee, Blue Banshee, Red Banshee, etc.)
    2. all Life pets (i.e. Samoorai, Leprechaun, Greater Imp, etc.)
    3. only Heckhounds (i.e. Heckhound, Heckhound, Heckhound, etc.)
    4. all winged pets (i.e. Stray Piggle, Pixie Queen, Phoenix, etc.)
    5. all pets of the same color (i.e. Inferno Beast, Magma Colossus, Samoorai, etc.)
    6. etc.
           The possibilities are endless, but make sure the pets you choose have something in common!       (You can use as many pets as you wish)
  2. Set up a room or area for your special little friends.  Be creative, but keep it pet-related!
    1. Keep it small enough to be able to fit it in ONE screenshot!
  3. Take a screenshot of your pets in their setting in-game by hitting the "PRINT SCRN" or Print Screen button on your keyboard.  
    1. You can then PASTE the picture in an image program like Paint or GIMP by opening the application and using CTRL+V.  Please save this picture in JPG or PNG format!  
    2. You can also search within your "Documents" folder > "Wizard101" folder for the screenshot!
  4. Send an email to petnome at hotmail dot com with the following information:
    1. In the Subject Line, please write "HAP CONTEST 1"
    2. In the body of the email, write/include...
      1. The theme you are using
      2. The screenshot (you can paste this in the body OR send as an Attachment)
      3.  short paragraph (about 3-5 sentences) explaining what your setting is (this will ensure that your entry will not be "lost in translation" with our judges)
      4. Your Wizard's name
  5. Entries must be received by 11:59 PM Pacific Time on Saturday, August 20, 2011.
  6. Prizes (Petnome Staff are not eligible; to be given out on the following Sunday or Monday)
    1. First Place - Island Getaway AND 5,000 Crowns AND a Storm Beetle
    2. Second Place - Island Getaway AND 5,000 Crowns 
    3. Third Place - Island Getaway  AND a Black Cat
    4. Runner Up #1 - Island Getaway AND a Crabling
    5. Runner Up #2 - Island Getaway AND a Summer Dragon 

Contest 2:  Pet-home Project

Objective:  Help fill in the missing blanks on a Petnome Page!


  1. Eligibility List -- names on this list will be entered for a drawing for an Island Getaway
    1. Active* Contributors whose names are displayed in a "Contributors Table" on a Petnome page 
      1. *Fill out THIS FORM with "HAP CONTEST 2" in the Subject Line
      2. *In the body, indicate ONE Pet Page where your Community Name shows up on, and please include the Community Name
      3. Once your name appears on the Eligibility list below, you're in!

    2. If your name is not on a Contributor Table...
      1. ...and you have recently submitted data to help us fill in missing Talents or Derby Skills, please check the list below through the week as we update our pages.
      2. ...and you have not submitted any data to us, please navigate around the Petnome Project and help us complete some Petnomes via the Submission Form 2.0!  You have until 11:59 PM Pacific Time on Sunday, August 21, 2011 to send in a valid entry!
  2. Prizes (Petnome Staff are not eligible; to be given out on the following Monday)
    1. Random Contributor #1 - Island Getaway 
    2. Random Contributor #2 - Island Getaway 
    3. Random Contributor #3 - Island Getaway 
    4. Random Contributor #4 - Island Getaway  

Cassandra Willowblossom
Katherine Light
Julia Moonsong
Matthew Lifeflame
Richard Nightrider
Paige Moonshade
Lady of Blades
Tanner Anglestalker
Michael Hawk
Esmee Silverdust
Morgrim Trollfriend
Heather Shadowslinger
Ben Frogstone
Mr. Owl
Fist of Fire
Tatiana Shadowflame
Elijah LightThief

Contest 3:  Residential Raffle

Objective:  Become one of three lucky winners in a raffle!


  1. Fill out THIS FORM with...
    1. HAP Contest 3 in the Subject Line
    2. Your Wizard's name 
    3. description of what your plan is for this house (only winners' descriptions will be displayed)
  2. Entries must be received by 11:59 PM Pacific Time on Sunday, August 21, 2011.
  3. Prizes (Petnome Staff are not eligible; to be given out on the following Monday)
    1. Random Winner #1 - Island Getaway 
    2. Random Winner #2 - Island Getaway 
    3. Random Winner #3 - Island Getaway

Contest 4:  It Followed Us Home!

Objective:  Follow @Petnome on Twitter!


  1. All Followers of @Petnome will be entered into once.
  2. Contestants must follow @Petnome by 11:59 PM Pacific Time on Saturday, August 20, 2011.
  3. Prizes (Petnome Staff are not eligible; to be given out on the following Sunday or Monday)
    1. Random Follower #1 - Island Getaway 
    2. Random Follower #2 - Island Getaway 
    3. Random Follower #3 - Island Getaway

~~~~****~~~~GOOD LUCK!~~~~****~~~~