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Monday, December 1, 2014

Still Puttering Around in Landmark; Pictures Included.

Landmark the Game has been under steady development all year. Since I joined the beta late last spring, the Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) team has added caves, liquid materials like water and ice, and PvP to the game. The PvP upgrade alone brought all sorts of new props; some dedicated to PvP like weapons and armor, and some usable elsewhere like the three new mover props: launchers (think catapult like people mover,) teleportation pads and magic platforms (think ferry deck moving through the air.) There has also been a lot of refinement in certain areas and significant graphics optimizations. The team has been really, really busy.

PvP in Landmark is opt in only. Players can create arenas on their claims and enable them for PvP by using a game table. I covered this in a more detail with this post. This is not something in which I am too interested. If I want arena combat I'll go play League of Legends to be honest, which I don't do. PvP in Landmark is more like the original Unreal Tournament where the players create the arenas. To be sure, there are some fascinating arenas players have built. I just don't find the rinse-lather-repeat of tournament PvP all that fun unless it's a friend's LAN party and you're all in the same room taunting each other for real. You know, LAN parties were a pain in the ass to set up, but they were hella more fun than playing other people through the Internet. But don't think PvP in Landmark isn't fun. Much (most?) of the system will be squarely in the hands of players. They create the arenas and it's their imagination that will make it fun. I've no doubt it'll be popular, and if you're into tournament style PvP it might be just the bit of relaxation you need. It's just not what I'm in to. :|

As an extension of the PvP system, SOE will be adding PvE in the near future. Be advised though, they have been saying "near future" since August so YMMV. They've had other dragons to slay, but I'm certain they have been working steadily at it. When it happens, and it will, this will add monsters to the game. The monsters will inhabit the islands and caverns of Landmark and will make getting those really good/rare materials difficult. As an aside on caverns, SOE has some really interesting plans for them. They will be placing ruins into some of the caverns. That's a dungeon folks; very cool. There is currently a Community Team-Up initiative where SOE has invited players to design said ruins. If you've not seen some of the creations really talented players (not me) have created in Landmark, you have really missed something special. The Halloween competition was AMAZING. You should checkout the Landmark Gallery to see the really cool stuff. But back to monsters, when introduced they will spell the end of totally uncontested wealth. Honestly, I am not looking forward to having to fight for things in Landmark. I would rather spend my time building. That means buying the material from other players or giving in and fighting the mobs. Fortunately you can build things with standard materials like stone, which shouldn't be guarded, but for those really cool props you'll have to earn the materials or spend station cash (or know someone willing to stake you.) I'll have to see how the implementation goes before I opine further on mobs.

As I mentioned, you can always just build things with stone. The process is the same if not the glitter. In fact, I added another structure to my claim on Saturday. I picked a hill with an interesting ridge line because I wanted to plant my Trailblazer Flag on one of its prominent points. My plan was to eventually erect a tall tower on that spot so my flag would be higher than the nearby tree. On Saturday I finally got around to doing just that. Here's the result (click an image to embiggen.)

[gallery type="rectangular" size="large" ids="4103,4108,4102,4109,4110,4111,4112,4107,4106,4105,4104,4113"]

Even though lots of players build them, I'm a bit proud of this tower. It's no easy task to build a round anything when voxels (the graphical construct with which you build things) are all square. They are also designed to react to each other at predefined points, namely the corners. That makes them stick to each other for lack of a better description. When you attempt to bend a series of stuck together voxels they go all wonky on you. And by wonky I mean anything but a smooth curve. But there is a method for creating the two voxel thick ring that makes up this tower. Once you create a single ring and save it as a template, you can stack many of them one atop another to create the tower. It took me five hours to create the template and build the tower. Besides taking four attempts to get the ring right, I ran out of stone twice and had to go mine more. Oops. ^^' But that is what is so fun about Landmark the Game to me. I'm not the best builder by any stretch, but I really like building things.

Now, I didn't figure out how to build a round thing out of square things on my own. I'm just not that good, nor do I wish to spend the time it takes to become that good. I've other games to play. ;-) But I know where to go to learn these things, and that's YouTube. And my go-to teacher for Landmark construction is Tenma whom I first discovered on the game's main website where SOE prominently features Landmark community members. Tenma's series of tutorials on Landmark construction is excellent. From beginner to advanced architect, he can give you insights and methodologies that would take you hours upon hours upon hours to figure out on your own. So if you're interested in becoming a better builder, subscribe to his channel or watch his Twitch streams. Throw a little coin his way if you find it useful. I know he'd really appreciate it, and he deserves it for all the hard work he's put into helping others realize their Landmark aspirations. Thanks Tenma! Keep up the good work.

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