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.


  1. Nice post about design for pvp arena, do you know that you are inspired to everyone about pvp arena to decoration? Anyway, I remembered that day that we came and pvp, that we has fun and learning about pvp. Thank you! :)

  2. Ha, I just might get a MFP/Sultan's Palace, love the creativity man unique, yes I think it's fun. (I'm not too much of a housing guy)

  3. It is always great when one can blend together both function and design.
    This is making me want to go and spruce up my bland dueling circles. LOL!


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