Sunday, October 2, 2011

Arena Design: "The Bronx"

At last Sunday's PvP party, I had the pleasure of visiting (our very own) Heather Raven's Celestial Observatory.  She allowed me a sneak peek before the event, and there were some amazing features and motifs within her design that highly impressed me.  Working with partner Donna Spellthorn, Heather brought us to a battle ring that is "out of this world," yet retained a home-sweet-home feeling for those of us who love "indoor" duels.

The Entrance
Before you even take a step, you are enveloped by a lush of lime green and teal upon arrival.  The overgrowth and abundance of plant life instantly shroud the fact that you're standing on a platform in a cold and desolate outer space.  The scattered columns and grounded flowers intuitively welcome the expectation of other humans in the vicinity...and indeed, there is Heather with her special Red Gobbler.

Within the center, there is further evidence of an existing community: walls of brick containing the battle ring.  For some, this may bring memories of a gym, a fortification, or an underground meeting room.  For me, it brought images of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to mind, and thus, I quickly associated the layout with the theme of a battle-worn city, standing sturdy and stable through the years of duels within or around it.  Hence, the name "Bronx."  Let's dive in further, shall we?

The Battle Ring
You can see within the closure a gang of Red Gobblers, hopping around in search of excitement, action, and fun.  Overlooking the duels are five rooted dragon heads...perhaps trophies of Heather Raven's travels?  One day, we shall find out, but I digress.  As the battle ring stands separate from the scenery of nature, it presents a  hidden metaphor that any thoughts and emotions of any duel that takes place should remain within the boundaries of where they originate from.  In other words, "whatever happens in the Arena stays in the Arena."  The matches shouldn't be taken personally, whether a victory or loss was received; competitive tension should not step into the sovereign of friendship.

Here lies the teleporter nearby a scene of confrontation between two Colossi.  This device will launch competitors into the enclosed ring.

Another teleporter would direct travelers onto an invisible plane, as seen in the picture above.  This had my jaw dropping, as I learned something new about the teleporters:  

When the Teleporter Destinations (TP-D) are floated above a Tangible Area (an area where your Wizard can walk upon without the aid of Floating or Teleporters),  the Users will be relocated to the same point as the TP-D.  On their own screen, they will see that they are hovering in midair.  However, on other players' screens, the User is actually standing on the ground.  In addition, the User's perspective will show that other Users are standing on the ground directly below them.

To help you understand what this means, picture that you and five other friends are standing in front a Teleporter.  One of your friends walks into the Teleporter first, and will be relocated to where I am standing in the above picture: hovering next to a Celestian tree.  That friend will see exactly what the picture above shows.  However, to you and your other friends, you will see that person standing on the ground.

Now, let's say that the rest of your friends follow through the Teleporter, leaving you by yourself.  On your screen, as you look towards this Celestian tree, you will find all of your friends standing within each other, on the ground.  They aren't moving off of one another, which seems puzzling.

When you run into the Teleporter, you will find yourself hovering next to the tree, as the picture above shows. Isn't it odd that your friends aren't anywhere near the top of this tree, though they went through the same Teleporter you did?

Heather explained that this was formerly on a makeshift platform that she created out of rugs, only to be removed when she "Picked Up" something below it.  But, I believe this is one of the greatest housing discoveries accidentally made!  By floating the TP-D, you can have a full audience watching from the exact same spot -- without blocking each other's view!  What does that mean?  Infinite seats....(well, sort of...assuming that there is no limit of visitors to the house!)  Combine this idea with the wooden headboards from my MFP, and you will virtually have the best seats for everyone in the Arena.  Great find, Heather!

Rooftop View
Heather, with Donna's help, brought me another surprising innovation: the "Rooftop View."  Spectators are used to watching spells from a distance at various ground-level and inclined levels, but what about viewing spells from directly above?  This sturdy platform with a "transparent" extension left me in excited awe...

What a sight!
I'm very sure that many new prototypes and designs of the "Rooftop View" will spark and flourish within the community, thanks to our hostess's and friend's vision.  From above, you can actually look down and see the clutter of sheep within the Frost Giant's spell, or the top of the Efreet's topknot!

Since the battle ring is closed off and allows only competitors to enter, there is another teleporter for a way out.  However, there happens to be a few chairs around here...implying that a few special spectators may be allowed to watch up close...

Amazing in sight, the "Bronx" was indeed a new perspective for duelists and the audience alike.  The only thing similar to this, that we've seen before, is probably the Marleybonian Arena, where the duel takes place within a walled and roofed area.  The one drawback about this design is the duelists' point of view, and I reiterate that this Design is still a work-in-progress.  The reason why KingsIsle added some Intangible Area surrounding the battle circle tightly is to ensure that the Battle Animation cameras of each player are not obstructed by tall objects such as the brick walls or trees (this will be another topic for another day!).  But, I strongly support designs such as the "Bronx," since it places the Architect (the house designer, house owner, etc.) into a new level of decorating, where distance, placement, and perspective matter.  For example, we cannot see where the cameras are flying around, and thus, we must hop into the Arena ourselves (or with a second account) in order to test for a design's user-friendliness.  That requires a lot of patience, practice, determination, and critical thinking.

I am very sure that there will be even more impressive features as Heather revises the few flaws and upgrades the design of her ring.  I cannot wait to return...thank you, Heather and Donna!

1 comment:

Let that thought out here: