Posts Tagged ‘appearance’

We’re Just Grown Men Who Like To Play With Dolls

EVE Monocle

I shudder to think how much a pair of glasses would cost

Y’know, all of the fuss that’s being caused by EVE’s ridiculously over priced in-game NEX store has tickled me a little. Not because I find the idea of charging $68 for a monocle humorous but rather because, regardless of how old, wise, intelligent, grown-up or otherwise sophisticated and cool we become, we’re still just kids who like to play dress up with our dolls.

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The Best Of The Rest: Minor Makeover Edition

We Fly Spitfires header

One day I'm going to get a real We Fly Spitfires badge and use it to impress people I meet in the street.

Continuing with my quest to deliver the most sexy and stylish blog possible (yes, even inanimate electronic objects can be sexy), I’ve put some more minor updates to the site live today. Probably the biggest change (for me anyway) is the use of Typekit to render the main title font and sidebar headers. Utilising fonts on the web is a real pain currently due to distribution issues and what not and previously I was using some code to generate my title fonts as images using PHP. Not only was that becoming a burden on my server due to increased traffic (and spam… lots and lots of spam) but it also makes the site slower to download for the user. Now everything should be a bit quicker and slicker.

Other changes include a more attractive nav and new social media links beneath the header. Not a massive change but a welcome one nonetheless. Oh and all of the adverts are now gone too.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts, likes or dislikes or if you encounter any bugs (I’d be really grateful if anyone got the chance to check the site on an iPad – not sure how the fonts will render on it).

Anyway, that’s enough of my rambling. We all know why you’re here! Let the link loveth commencify:

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New Design Preview

As part of the on-going process to keep impoving We Fly Spitfires, my fantastic team of Norwegian android designers (they’re more Photoshop than man now) recently came up with a new and improved design for the blog. I thought it would be fun to let y’all have a sneak peak and take a look so you can leave any comments or feedback you might have about it.

New design sneak peak

New design sneak peak

The design incorporates both small tweaks and large changes. For instance, the banner has changed from green to blue and the nav bar from blue to red yet the right hand side is quite a bit different and footer is entirely new (I love big chunky footers on websites). We’re also trying to change the main content area too to make it bit more user friendly than just being one gigantic list of all the posts from the past seven days.

This design isn’t the end of the road though and we’ve got ideas for move improvements after I get this built (it likely won’t go live until mid April). The next step, design wise, is probably to make more use of icons and content description. For instance, I want to rework my tags and actually make them mean something and properly describe the content of the post. If I write something that’s going to piss you off or make you laugh, I’d like you to know that it was my intention.

So what do you think? Speak now or forever hold your peace.

WoW Arena Season 8: Fashion Victim

Blizzard recently revealed the World of Warcraft Arena Season 8 armour sets and given my current interest in Project Runway, I figured I’d write up my reactions. I don’t know where my recent infatuation with fashion comes from but I do have a sneaking suspicion that my wife is secretly slipping estrogen supplements into my morning coffee. Although I have no proof to back that claim up, it does provide a convenient excuse for my budding man-breasts, or “moobs” as they’re sometimes referred to. But alas you’re not here to read about my imminent ability to lactate so let’s crack on with a section I like to call “Passion For Fashion”.

Paladin's Receive The Fashion Passion

Paladin's Receive The Fashion Passion

First off, I gotta commend Bizzard on doing a fine job of creating interesting and grandiose armour that really captures not only the essence of each class but also the feeling of power and achievement behind them. I know some people hate WoW’s over-the-top cartoony appearance and, yes, although a lot of characters do end up looking like Power Rangers with fluorescent over-sized ’80s shoulder pads, I find the artist style of the game quite appealing. Ironically, when WoW first came out I really wasn’t a fan of the art direction but over the years it’s grown on me and it’s certainly allowed the game to age gracefully. EQ2 in comparison looks and runs like a dog’s dinner now and I’m glad for anything which offers armour in colours other than grey, grey and greyer.

Whenever Blizzard release new armour sets, I immediately rush to check out the Warrior set as it’s my favourite class. After the stunning Tier 10 Warrior threads, I was hoping for something equally awesome but instead found myself a little disappointed with the Arena Season 8 design. It’s OK, I suppose, and certainly not as ugly as the ridiculous looking Hunter armour but I just don’t understand Blizzard fascination with half-cut helmets/face-plates. I quite dig the fact that it’s red and spikey but, honestly, do you want to run around with your Warrior worrying that if you nod too quickly you’ll impale yourself through the face?

The Death Knight, Rogue and Warlock armour are certainly rising to the top of the class though and get a solid grade B for coolness, inspiration and quirkiness. Although not as funky as the Tier 10 Scarecrow version, the Arena Season 8 Rogue armour has an odd charm to it that I find appealing. I’m pretty sure the designers have given up trying to make Rogues look as if they are wearing leather to enhance their sneaking ability and have just opted for crazy spikes and weird shoulder pads. Works for me.

The real winner here though is Blizzard’s Favoured Son, the Paladin. Being Scottish I loved their skirt armour from Tier 10 and being a teenager at heart, I love this new look with it’s crazily exaggerated shoulder pads and plumed helm. The style suits their class down to a T and it captures the spirit of the Holy Crusader perfectly. Well played, Blizzard, well played.

So there you have it. Tim Gunn eat your heart out.

Minor Makeover: Website Edition

I’ve just rolled out a minor makeover to the blog. It’s really nothing extreme or significant, basically just tidying up the header to make it more compact, neat and attractive. You might not even notice it but hopefully it all helps separate and distinguish where the header and navigation end and where the content begins. I’ve also added a swish stone-affect-type-background thing (technical term) which is very slick… although being slightly colour blind I can’t see it very well. My designer buddy assures me it’s awesome though.

I’ve still got a bit of work to do on the tagging, related posts and comment boxes to try and make them a bit more obvious and useful. Then, after it, it’s looking at the right hand sidebar and footer to try and funkify them a bit. Finally, I’ve got an alternative colour selection for the banner – red on green as oppossed to green on blue – which I might test out at some point. I like the green banner though. See earlier comment about being colour blind.

Of course, if you find any bugs or weirdness, give me a shout. The design should be compatible with all browsers although I haven’t tested it in Google Chrome. It may also look a little… cutdown… in IE6. But that’s just the Gods punishing you for using that browser anyway.

If you have any comments about the design or suggestions for improvement, please let me know.

P.S. I will get a favicon soon. I promise!

Extreme Makeover: Website Edition

Unless you’re reading this by RSS you’ll probably have noticed that my site has had a rather large makeover. What, did you think I was going to stick with black and white forever? :) Now my site features such amazing additions as COLOUR and a BANNER. Wonders will never cease, eh. There’s also some adverts (holy sellout, Batman!) which are only there as I promised my wife that my blog would make her a millionaire. Fortunately I never put a time quote on that promise.

I’m thrilled with the new design and I hope you guys like it as much as I do. It’s certainly a little more colourful and eye-catching than the previous theme. I’m planning to keep on adding plenty of new bits and pieces and expanding on the new design over time to make the site a bit more interesting – I’ve stuck with the old sidebar and footer etc for now but those will hopefully get a makeover too in the not so distant future. I’d also like to take to this opportunity to say a huge thanks to my buddy Espen who put in a lot of hard work creating this lovely design for me. You rock, dude!

I’m aware of a couple of minor bugs in some older versions of Internet Explorer (but then everyone really should be using Firefox anyway right?) and I’ll slowly iron them all out. Recommendation: if you’re using IE6 then upgrade ASAP. It’s just a terrible, terrible browser and filled with security flaws, idiotic bugs and incompatibilities. It’s certainly the (cue Team America reference) Matt Damon of browsers. Anyway, ahem, I digress. Hope you enjoy the new look and if you do notice any bugs or weirdness then please let me know.

Appearance in MMOs

A character’s appearance in a MMO usually dictates two things: what they are and how powerful they are.

Originally, older MMOs didn’t really have a lot of variety in clothing and, if you look at Everquest, it only served to define what type of character you were. Obviously armour and clothing could grant a vast array of stats, bonuses and abilities but there wasn’t much of a way to tell a level 50 character apart from a level 40 one. EQ eventually started to buck that trend though by introducing more and more elaborate looking weapons, visually rewarding the player as well as statistically.

Now, flash forward to today, and MMOs use appearance for more than defining what class you are, they use it as a milestone for character development and achievement. Compare a level 1 Priest in World of Warcraft to a level 80 one and you’ll see a huge difference. The low level character will be wearing bland, uninteresting clothing whilst the level 80 will have far more interesting garb. And of course raiding and PvP plays a part… the more you play your character and the more you take part in activities, the more you are rewarded with an aesthetically pleasing appearance. A player who raids in WoW will likely be wearing huge, glittering and glowing shoulder pads the size of small cars whilst a non-raider will look decidedly more bland. Appearance is more than just a collection of items with useful stats, it’s a status symbol.

No doubt MMORPG developers are keen to show off new graphic engines with complex and attractive visuals but they’ve also discovered that appearance is another carrot they can dangle in front of players. It’s become a tool to reward people and indulge their egos – “the more you play, the cooler you’ll look!”. I don’t have a problem with the principle of that but sometimes it gets frustrating.

Age of Conan is a perfect example of badly done appearance scaling (note: I haven’t played in 6 months so it have changed). I remember wearing the same tunic from level 14 until 50 just because it looked so much cooler. Also, trying to get a full set of decent looking gear was a grind at best – I must have done the Sanctum of the Burning Souls several dozen times with my Assassin just to get some decent looking, matching gear. It wasn’t fun and, upon reflection, not remotely worth it because I out-leveled the armour soon after.

I guess my feelings towards appearance is that I don’t mind the raiders and the PvPers having the best looking gear and I quite like the idea of appearance actually ’scaling’ as I level but ultimately I still want to look half decent and reasonably cool without having to sell my virtual soul to the Gods of Hardcore. Plus, not only do I want to look good when I hit the max level, I also want to look good as I level. Call me vain but appearance matters. It’s how you get with the ladies.