Screenshot contest #8 (FOUND)

Can you figure out where these screenshots were taken and take one of your own in the same place?

Screenshot contest #8 (FOUND)

Postby Rob » Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:44 am

This is one of the most amusing encounters in the game.

Where is it and what's the mob's name?

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Re: Screenshot contest #8

Postby Warriorperson » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:28 am

It's the avalanche encounter in [for location, see hints and spoilers]. I think the mob's name is "Teetering Block of Ice", but in any case, it's the avalanche encounter.

For location, see hints and spoilers.

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Re: Screenshot contest #8

Postby Rob » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:17 am

Shrouded Isles (SI) is full of whimsical, charming, amusing encounters. This is one of the best. The mob is called Teetering Block of Ice, like Warriorperson says.

When you nudge it -- er, I mean, aggro it -- it falls over (it's teetering, get it?) and starts an avalance. Giant pieces of ice crash down the mountain side. When they hit bottom, they kill people. Well, you don't see them kill anyone, but you're supposed to infer it, because skeletons appear with the name "Avalanche Victim."

This sort of humor is also found in the classic home zones. For instance, the tomtes who pull their beards and scratch their butts in East Svealand.

But after SI, this whimsical humor pretty much disappeared from the game. I can think of one possible exception: Harbinger of Spring, the killer rabbit in the springtime quest. That rabbit was put into the game very soon after Lori Hyrup came back as DAOC producer in early 2009. On this slender evidence, I've always guessed that Lori was responsible for the earlier whimsical things.

Teetering Block of Ice is one of many mobs that for years had a buggy spawn generator. It was not unusual for him to disappear from the game for weeks and not respawn until a server reset following a patch. I don't know if this has been fixed. If you go to his location and don't see him, that's probably what happened. Wait for a patch and go back. Unfortunately, patches are so infrequent these days, you may have a long wait.

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Re: Screenshot contest #8 (FOUND)

Postby Lhyrup » Thu Sep 26, 2013 12:31 pm

I just happened to come across this while Googling for something completely different. While this post is old, it is not yet ancient, so I figured I'd chime in.

I'm pretty sure the Avalanche encounter was mine, though my memory is sketchy. Boy, that's now 11-12 years old.

After I was transferred back to DAoC... the killer rabbit was done by someone on my team with input from me. :)

- Lori
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Re: Screenshot contest #8 (FOUND)

Postby Rob » Thu Sep 26, 2013 3:49 pm

Hi Lori! I'm so glad you noticed this old thread and posted. I've wondered about the rabbit for years -- never imagined you'd drop by and explain.

You probably won't come back to check for answers, but just in case you do, I'd still like to do that interview we talked about a few years ago right after you left Mythic. I'll try to find your email address.
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Re: Screenshot contest #8 (FOUND)

Postby Lhyrup » Thu Sep 26, 2013 3:51 pm

Well, I did tell this to notify me for responses. :)
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Re: Screenshot contest #8 (FOUND)

Postby Rob » Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:10 pm

Well, in that case I'll ask you about the interview right here. As I recall, when we last talked about it, you asked me what I wanted the interview to cover and I never got back to you. My apologies!

Three years later, this thread makes it easy for me to answer your question because it's a perfect example of the things I'd like to talk about. Which parts of DAOC did you create? What was it like to make them? Who did you work with, and how was the work divided?

Partly I'm motivated by your essay on the early days at DAOC which was published on the Camelot Herald years ago. I thought maybe we could talk about those sorts of things, and maybe more memories would bubble up which weren't included in the essay.

We can talk about other things too if you like but that's my main idea.

P.S. I just realized that you may remember me as the author of HotkeyNet and not as publisher of this website. Same guy.
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Re: Screenshot contest #8 (FOUND)

Postby Lhyrup » Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:02 pm

Hm, I don't think you realize how loaded that question really is (mostly because it spans so many years and everyone's roles and responsibilities evolved).

- When I first started on DAoC, I was also still running Mythic's older games. Eventually, we got someone to back-fill me because it was too much to do that and handle stuff on DAoC at the same time.

- The initial "design" of the game took place as just a series of casual chats between the whole 12 of us who worked at Mythic, at the time. Originally, the game was going to be a graphical version of our Darkness Falls: The Crusade game (text MuD). That was already a three-realm RPG, so some of our concepts were already designed and tested. However, we all agreed that we wanted something that people would recognize. Camelot was an IP that no one owned, so we were all in favor of rolling with it. (We had very little money when we started).

- I handled all of the beta invites; there were not automated systems for that yet, so I reviewed everyone's application by hand. If someone had a particularly clever submission (such as a video of the "Amish Gamer"), I would give them an automatic pass. :)

- On the design side of things...

In the very earliest days, before we had any tools or division of labor, there were three of us doing in-game content, which at that point included building zones, monsters, loot, AI, the first of the quests (very tiny ones). Because we did not have anything remotely similar to what games have now for tools, our level design (or world building, as we called it then) took place using Photoshop and painting grayscale maps. We had to hand place each and every tree by finding the x,y,z coordinates in the game and then manually entering them in to a text file. Any type of quest or NPC text was done by command line. We eventually decided that we were not being efficient (and different people had different ways of implementing stuff), so we divided the responsibilities between various individuals--some focused on level design, some on quest writing, some on monster placement and AI, etc.

- I was the team researcher; everything from geography, topography, ecology, mythology, history, lore, etc,. I studied all of those things and knew it like the back of my hand (sadly, some of that information has been slipping from my memory, but I do still have my reference material).
- I designed the game maps (the 2D version of how the world would go together); I was pretty meticulous in researching Wale/England, Ireland, and Sweden. The general world map followed the real maps of the world, and zones that I actually built were done by using topographical maps of the areas they represented (scaled down, obviously)
- We hired a person who worked for me who would then take over much of the level design, using my maps as a guide (though I still did some of it up through ToA)
- I wrote up a significant portion of the game's backstory (from which the later quest writers would get their material)
- I was responsible for coming up with the first two expansion concepts...before anyone freaks out, I do want to share that the original concepts were different than what they ended up being. :)
- From SI, the Valkyn were originally supposed to be descendents of Valkyries with visuals slightly inspired by Hawk from Buck Rogers (feathers for hair)
- From SI, the Inconnu were supposed to be tall and scary. This was their visual inspiration: Image
- From ToA, the original concept of this was "Urban RvR" ... a handful of zones taking place entirely within the city of Atlantis (Atlantis was a stretch, but we wanted something that had a different visual theme than what the three realms already had; I'd found a mentioning of Atlantis in one of my Arthurian references and just went with it).
- I designed all of the general monsters (their backstory, their stats, their basic AI, their faction relation, information as to what they should look like...though I did not have direct control over the resulting art)
- I populated a number of zones
- Eventually, we hired more content developers who worked for me. These individuals would take the general monsters and populate them in various zones. They had rules as to how many camps each zone should have and how many "special" AI encounters they should have.
- We also hired quest writers, who worked for me, as well. Initially, there was just one quest writer for each Realm. They utilized what was in the game backstory I'd written, and wrote out all of the game's quests.
- There were a number of advanced AI encounters that I designed and implemented, and they are found in all three Realms. I don't remember a lot of them, but mine always had a "way out." Some of them were the rare whimsical kind and others were of the raid variety. I may have been responsible for Caer Sidi (back when big long raids were the in-thing and sort of our mandate for epic content. When I eventually came back to the game, I also made sure we took out all the door requirements for those epic dungeons). By the time ToA came around, I was more focused on management and less on implementation. I do recall implementing 4-10, I think it was (inside the pyramid).
- I designed and implemented most of Darkness Falls (though a couple of encounters were used to train the then-newbie content designers we'd hired)
- I designed a lot of the basic concepts for most of the races and classes, though I did not implement their specific stats, skills, spells, abilities, etc (oddly, a lot of the latter stuff was originally done by the programmers who were writing the code before we eventually added a class systems designer to the team much later)
- I left the game for a while to work on Imperator, and I eventually came back to DAoC. At that point, I was fully managing the teams. We redid the dragon zones via the dragon campaign, as well as the keeps in frontiers. Even though we were quite understaffed, we managed to accomplish quite a bit on both fronts. (I was also managing Ultima Online for part of that time, as well). We were also working on a full re-do of the UI (all of the artwork was completed; but we lost programmers part way through implementation, so we couldn't finish it.)
- I had written up a complete concept and design for Origins. Then, the last thing I was working on (and why I stopped being producer) was a concept and design for a new generation of the Camelot IP.

There are probably dozens of other things that I'm not able to recall at the moment, but that's what comes to mind for now.

- Lori
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Re: Screenshot contest #8 (FOUND)

Postby Siolith » Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:54 am

Wow that's an awesome look back at things! Thanks for posting all the info here Lori. As someone who has been here since launch I'd like to personally say thank you for everything you did. It's been a great ride and DAoC has provided many years of happiness to my life and I know for many others as well. :D
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Re: Screenshot contest #8 (FOUND)

Postby Lhyrup » Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:06 am

You are very welcome. I'm so glad you enjoyed it; it's why I love doing what I do.
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Re: Screenshot contest #8 (FOUND)

Postby Sepulacrave » Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:03 pm

Hi Lori,

It would be neat to see the concept art of the original SI Valk.

What project(s) are you working on now? Have you gone to help with Camelot Unchained?

Any idea if Mythic will be able to come back and design a new game which will put life back into the company?
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Re: Screenshot contest #8 (FOUND)

Postby Lhyrup » Fri Sep 27, 2013 2:42 pm

>> Have you gone to help with Camelot Unchained?

Mark and I had talked about Camelot Unchained before I left Virginia back in 2011. At that time, he was not yet sure if or when that particular project would actually happen. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of other development opportunities in Virginia, so my husband and I moved out to California for work. When Mark told me last winter that Camelot Unchained was a possibility (he was preparing it for Kickstarter), we started discussing the possibility of my joining the team. Unfortunately, things like families, mortgages, or costs of multiple cross-country moves make that more difficult than I'd like, so at the moment, I won't be joining them (though I would really love it and give the project my support). It's quite possible that I might pitch in here or there remotely, but there are no actual plans in place for anything like that at the moment.

>> Any idea if Mythic will be able to come back and design a new game which will put life back into the company?

Unfortunately, I have very little contact with Mythic these days; there are few people there I even know any more. So, I have no idea about their plans.

- Lori
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Re: Screenshot contest #8 (FOUND)

Postby Wrathgar » Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:57 pm

As a vanilla veteran, please allow me to also convey my thanks to you for your work on a game that I have often described as 'a bar by which to measure a good mmo.'
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Re: Screenshot contest #8 (FOUND)

Postby Sepulacrave » Mon Sep 30, 2013 9:32 am

Well hopefully you can help with Camelot Unchained.

Wish you and your family all the best.

Take Care
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Re: Screenshot contest #8 (FOUND)

Postby doctorwhat » Tue Dec 01, 2015 12:10 am

Late, late, late comer to all these but...

Rob, thanks for this contest when you did it. It was a rush to realize how many I immediately recognized and even more fun to see the few (like this) I never knew about. Much like I never knew about that @%$#(&! [flying creature I won't name for spoilers] in that zone until he picked me up for the first time the other week. Some of these old hidden interactions are real gems and make a world feel alive (and I'm glad to see some aren't as frustrating lol).
I doubt I would ever have actively participated in something like this contest but I would have been, and last night reading them all was, hooked on following it and seeing others participate.

Lori (should you ever see this), thank you for the wonderful insight into the early days of the game I've always considered the standard for online entertainment (and the people that made it happen). The work you and all your peers put in was an appreciated, enjoyable release at some tough times in my life.
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