I, of course, was instantly jealous. Not many people know this, but I actually applied for a job at Kingsisle and later (after a pretty good interview) decided not to pursue the job at the time because of the fact that I'd have to move my family over to Austin, Texas while my wife is pregnant. I really didn't want to stress her and the baby with 1- a career change and 2- a move. The timing just wasn't right.
I wanted to just take a trip over there to chat with them anyway, but Professor Greyrose talked me out of it and told me I should keep the money for diapers and whatnot.
So I didn't take the trip.
Now, I (and you all) get to vicariously and mentally take this trip with Quinn, who has put together a fantastic write up about his visit to Kingsisle.
You can read this thread over at Wizard 101 Central here. I'm reposting it on my blog here as well because it's just really exciting for me (and all of us). Awesome, Quinn . . . thanks so much for sharing.
Thanks Prof. Greyrose - and everyone else! It was really cool. O.o
No Hydras or Humgofrogs running about, but it still was pretty crazy. Everyone who worked their was extremely... well... COOL. And Creative, too! I met nearly everyone in the *Making of Wizard101* Video, and a few more.
So here's the play-by-play:
We walk in. I can tell this is the place- Posters of the Ravenwood staff hang around the front lobby. Soon, our Tour Guide, William H. (Producer of W101!) came to meet us. We first got to see something amazing- the Environmental Designer, whom, of course, I forgot the name of. -_-
Anyways, when we got their, his desk was littered with Video Game Memorabilia. On his screen, we could see him playing around with the Krokotopia Hub, the Oasis. He showed us how they made those Invisible walls to keep us flying off of the edge of Krok, as well as the textures they used to make the Pyramid of the Sun. I was in AWE. (Meanwhile, other member of our group were groping over the awesome concept art spread across the table.)
Then, we saw another envirormental designer working on the newest addition to Wizard101. In other words- the big thing. The Next amazing thing they had. It blew my mind. It was amazing.
Now your probably wondering 'WHAT IS IT ALREADY!?" Well... That I can't say. While they DIDN'T make us sign an NDA, we were friends and family of the CEO of Kingsisle. We knew better than to go blurting around their secrets. Plus they said the magic word, "please" Can't argue with that.
Anyways, I'll give little droplets of hints of what it might be. First off, it is NOT a New World. Sorry Celestia and Grizzleheim fans. Two, There will be Turtles. Finally, Nearly all MMO's have it: Toontown, ClubPenguin- but none have it as awesome as Wizard101 has it.
Anyways, while you all go chat about that, I'll continue:
We got to see the Character Design artists, those who literally build the 3D character from their 2D designs. Quite awesome- I got to see a few of their sketches that their trying to convince the Designers to work with. VERY COOL. (One was messing with an Animation of Katzenstein's Assistant [forgot his name] The Process they do it with is similar to Flash Animation- that being they have a time-frame underneath it and animate each one separately.)
Anyways, so behind them was the Cinematic Artist... the one guy who makes all the cool animations come to life! He adds the camera angles and little details that make Triton so awesome, or Leprechaun so... um... unique? Anyways- He showed us the Animation of a Water Elemental (AKA Storm Minion, aka Wavebringer) Each particle of water is actually a separate small square of texture flying off of him, giving the awesome illusion of water spinning around and flying. So cool.
We met one of the Lead Designers of the game- the guy that brings it all together and makes new stuff. He told us a lot about where all the ideas came from and so much stuff my brains burst with his logic. o.o He showed us these GIANT Sheets of paper that had all the quests in all the worlds on it, in a odd Tree Diagram. They used this to show the storyline and sidequests in each world. Quite a waste of paper, then again, the trees ARE already Dead. =[
Also, this designer took me aside and told me about the Level 48 Cards, personally. He told me they were to be released with Dragonspyre, but they're still finalizing a few things on it. Instead of getting the spells instantly, you have to go through a series of quests to get it, kind of like the 6-Pip cards.
ALSO: (This is for all BALANCE WIZARDS): There is no more *Dampen Magic* spell. They're replacing it with a newer, and much more AWESOME spell. Trust me, it will be the envy of all wizards around when it comes out, (can't say what the new one is)
Finally, we met Todd Coleman, the Director of W101. He told us much of the same stuff we had talked about earlier, and a ton of other stuff about the making of the game.
Afterwards, our parents (I say our, as I was traveling with a couple of younger friends), were lead to a meeting room, when us Teens were left to the Marketing people! (Dun dun dun!) There I met the *real* Prof. Greyrose, whose just as nice as she is on here, and we took a survey on the game. During this survey, they told us about a new way to get FREE crowns.
The idea is that you take surveys from other sites and after taking those surveys, Kingisle gives you crowns. I really liked that idea, what do you people think?
Anyways, at the end of it all I got a sweet Malistaire mini-poster and a (very)-limited edition W101 Mechanical Pen. o.o
I'm such a doofus, I should of brought a secret camera and snapped shots of everything I saw. Anyways, check out some stuff below.
Also, you may be wondering how I got this awesome opportunity to get a private tour to this place. Well if you must know some details... I've played this game since the very beginning- before Beta, where there was but one street with just Gobblers running around. Its so cool to see it now with 1,000,000 registered users, knowing that I may be one of the first.
Anyways, a few people (Friends and Family of Game Designers) got to play during this stage called ALPHA. Alpha came in this cool confidential disk... which I took a picture of. Check it out below: (Sorry for sad iPhone Quality) Notice the Version: v0.1.1! This is REALLY early in the development people. =P
And that's pretty much it. It felt a lot shorter than it felt like- I could stay there all day. o_O All the people there were full of creativity and awesomeness. ^_^ I can't wait to actually play all the new stuff I saw them making.
HAHA! Great story, Quinn.
so jealous . . . and yet, so happy!
p.s. in that picture of the pen. Are you scribbling your latest mix CD idea? COOL!