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Sideshow Giveaway Feb 2010: Diablo III Overthrown Diorama

Sideshow Collectibles is running their once a month Carpal Tunnel Tuesday Contest for Gamers. A Sideshow contacted me to alert our Diablo III fans that in just a few hours this contest will close. It will close at 6:00pm Pacific Time.

All you need to do is enter your name, shipping address, and email. One lucky person picked in this giveaway drawing will receive one Diablo III Overthrown Diorama. (Only 22 remaining). Pretty nice prize. So hurry up, and check your time because on my end that’s less than 4 hours from now. If you don’t find the contact information form at the bottom of that page, that means the contest expired.

Limit one entry per person. All winners agree to pay shipping on any prizes granted by Sideshow Collectibles during any contest or giveaway. In order to bring our contests/giveaways to the European Union (EU) community, Sideshow Collectibles is required by law to assess VAT even on FREE items shipped out of our EU warehouses. EU winners will be responsible to pay VAT, on the original retail price and shipping cost of the item, prior to Sideshow shipping the prize. This fee will need to be paid prior to shipment of any prizes.

Diablo III Wizard and Monk Update

Bashiok reported the Wizard has gotten a more streamlined naked look — not naked as in naked, but how she looks like without all the gear items. The female Monk got a new haircut and we will see a screenshot update soon. Last week, the Monk skill trees got a huge overhaul. While we were allowed to smell the hot pie, fans didn’t get to see or taste it. But fret not, it means once the Diablo 3 website gets updated there will be some juicy stuff. Now that I think about it, probably some BlizzCast screenies love.

Blizzard Quote:
Bashiok: There was a big push on armor sets in the milestone before the break, which included a new female wizard unarmored look. Also sometimes referred to as a class’ “naked” look. They’re not actually without clothing, but it’s the look of a character when wearing no pieces of armor. – Diablo Facebook

Bashiok: It wasn’t a total rework or anything, these things rarely are. It was essentially a color shift from red to a sort of muted mustard color (which doesn’t sound great but it looks awesome), and then a texture cleanup removing some elements and just letting the whole thing read a lot better. It looks a lot more like an unarmored look now, in my opinion. Before it was a bit busy and … I think you also sort of have to have a very minimal naked look so that upgrades feel that much more “powerful”. If you don’t notice a visual change on the character with a new piece of armor then it’s kind of like, what’s the point? She had too much going on before. Now she looks like… haha, it kind of looks like she’s about to go to the gym. To kill demons.

Also the female monk got a haircut not terribly long ago. She’s looking good. Much closer match to the concepts now. – Source: Battle.net Forums

Bashiok: The monk skill trees are being fleshed out in high level design concepts and nitty-gritty skill specifics. – Source: Diablo Twitter

Diablo III Overthrown Diorama Wait Lists Being Recalled!

Attention to all veteran and new Diablo collectible fans! Sideshow Collectibles has issued an alert announcing the recall of all Diablo III Overthrown Diorama Wish List orders. Only 22 dioramas will be available for wish list reservation — so … you know the drill folks.

Go ahead and order one of the Diablo III Overthrown Diorama statues while supplies last!

Step firmly onto the Wait List for Sideshow Collectibles’ Exclusive Diablo III OVERTHROWN Diorama, and you’ll give yourself a fighting chance at possibly capturing this no nonsense barbarian for your gaming shelves! Many will try to grab this piece through our Wait List but only TWENTY-TWO (22) people will find their reservations fulfilled, so grab your Wait List spot today!

Merry Christmas, Blizzard and Fans!!!

It’s that time of the year when families get together in special times to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa. It’s meant to be a time of joy. I wish everyone happy holidays, especially all the people at Blizzard including those I have personally met or interacted with such as Chris Metzen, Mike Morhaime, Paul Sams, Frank Pearce, Ghostcrawler, Jeff Kaplan, Nethaera, Karune, Bashiok, Jay Wilson, J. Allen Brack, Wryxian, Changwoon Jung (who takes care of flight and hotel whenever I go to Blizzcon and to the Blizzard campus — thanks a bunch).

I gotta thank Chris Metzen for many things, he creates fantasy and sci-fi worlds that have entertained and enlightened me over the years not only through the games, but through books, manga and comic books. Chris Metzen got me invited to the fansites’ Starcraft II single player hands-on back on July 17th where I interviewed him. It was great when I was recording video of a Starcraft II panel at Blizzcon, and I heard this voice calling my name. When I turned my face to the side, it was Chris Metzen waving at me. That was absolutely awesome, and I felt a lot of joy within to have someone I am a fanboy of remember me and say hi. His work and his worlds inspire to wish to be better each day. You can learn things from certain stories, that you would not learn normally in real life for lack of living those experiences.

I emailed Chris Metzen a couple of weeks ago simply to apologize for that Sargeras article I wrote a few days ago. I had meant to write about it for a long time — ok, two years late — and used a photo by Gadgetress (OCRegister) of Chris Metzen from the 15th Anniversary of Warcraft celebration held at the Blizzard campus. The Sargeras article brought up the retcon, and possible reasons the creative team had to infuse a new direction to the story, while I was also exploring and parodying the reaction from fans when this retcon took place a couple of years ago.

To make a long story short, in the parody I used this photo of Chris Metzen that looked like those facepalm images, and I added a few parody words concerning the retcon. You know, at that moment it looked fun to use the photo in the context of the article, but I still felt uneasy within. I emailed him to apologize. It’s not my nature to cause stress to people or make them feel bad, or do bad things on purpose. I’m a nice guy, honest and overall a good guy. A bit funny sometimes, which contrast with my shy personality.

Chris Metzen was pretty cool about it, no hard feelings from him for using the photo in that context. However, I want to share that at the time that photo was taken, he had a speech about what all those 15 years at Blizzard creating all these worlds meant to him. It’s easy to say 15 years, but it’s a long time and a large chunk of your life dedicated to writing, inventing, jammin’ ideas within and with other fellow writers. It was a very emotional moment, that I can just grasp and imagine. It was a meaningful moment, that I am really sorry to have parodied.

While there’s a lot of trolls out there who might think otherwise, many people — including me — love the work Chris Metzen, Micky Neilson and the Creative Team have done over the years. We are very proud of you, Chris. Merry Christmas!

Blizzard Definitely Plans to Work on Console Games

The whole internet is ablaze with passionate enthusiasm after J. Allen Brack told Gamasutra there’s definitely a console game within Blizzard’s hands at some point, however it depends on what game makes the most sense to develop for the console — excluding RTS games or multiple-button UI games such as World of Warcraft. Will it be Starcraft: Ghost resurrection or something based on the three main franchises or something entirely new?

Blizzard Quote:
“Think about StarCraft II,” says Brack. “Some real-time strategy games have tried to happen on the console. Some of those have been successful, but overall, our experience is that it’s going to be a better game on the PC, ergo it’s developed on the PC.”

Same with WoW, Brack adds, a game developed for the PC and with a PC-centric control scheme. “But we’re a company of gamers,” he says. “I have two consoles at home. Sam has consoles. We’re a culture of gamers. We will definitely work on a console game at some point. I have no doubt about that. It’s just [a matter of] what game. What makes the most sense?”

GDC 2010: Blizzard Speakers Announced

The Game Developers Conference 2010 will take place at Moscone, San Francisco through March 9-13. Blizzard can be found at the Career Pavillion by Booth 2726. The GDC 2010 kicks off with two Blizzard Entertainment developers joining the speakers roster.

Brian Schwab is Senior AI/Gameplay Engineer II at Blizzard Entertainment. He has worked for Sony, Dreamworks Interactive, Radical Entertainment and The Collective among other studios. He’s credited for Medal of Honor: Underground (2000).

Erin Catto is a Principal Software Engineer and Physics programmer at Blizzard Entertainment. He has worked for Crystal Dynamics and Comergent Technologies as Senior Software Engineer.

The interesting part is they are working on a super-secret project at Blizzard. Could any of this info below offer any hints to extrapolate what this secret project is? Throw in your wild guesses.

Brian Schwab
Senior AI/Gameplay Engineer, Blizzard Entertainment

Brian has over 15 years industry experience, including 13 published titles. He has worked seemingly forever on making engaging and fun game experiences by using a MacGyver style combination of anything nearby: be it academic AI techniques, hand rolled state/tree hybrid systems, or multiplying his birthday with the sum of the jump button presses divided by the number of current extra guys. Brian has done work in AI, gameplay, game design, and has even been lead designer on a few titles. He s worked at companies ranging from three person start ups to SCEA. His projects have ranged from edutainment to location based thrill rides to his current gig on a super-secret project at Blizzard. When not cramming fun into a C++ compiler, he has also spent a good deal of time writing. His book AI Game Engine Programming recently released its second edition, and he s also been an AI editor for the Game Programming Gems books.

Session
AI Architecture Mashups: Insights into Intertwined Architectures
Speaker: Steve Rabin (Principal Software Engineer, Nintendo of America), Kevin Dill (Software Engineer, Lockheed Martin), Brian Schwab (Senior AI/Gameplay Engineer, Blizzard Entertainment)

Date/Time: TBD

Experience Level: Intermediate
Summit: AI Summit
Format: 60-minute Lecture

Session Description
AI programmers rarely use a pure architecture such as a State Machine, Planner, or Behavior Tree in isolation. Rather, several symbiotic architectures are mashed together, resulting in an overall architecture that is unique and powerful in its own way. This lecture is designed as a series of three mini-lectures where you will hear about several mashed up AI architectures along with intriguing lessons and insights.

Idea Takeaway
Insight into the pros, cons, and subtleties of combining various AI architectures.

Erin Catto
Principal Software Engineer, Blizzard Entertainment

Erin has been developing physics engines for the past 10 years. He is currently a physics programmer at Blizzard Entertainment. Previously he worked on dynamic simulation of proteins, mechanical simulation software for computer aided design, and modeling and control of flexible robot arms. Earlier in his life he programmed games on his HP48 calculator, including ANT and JOUST. He holds a Ph.D. in theoretical and applied mechanics from Cornell University.

Session:

Physics for Programmers
Speaker: Jim Van Verth (Senior Tools and Technology Engineer, Insomniac Games), Takahiro Harada (Senior Software Engineer, Havok), Erwin Coumans (Physics Simulation Team Lead, Sony SCEA US R&D), Marq Singer (Engineer, Red Storm Entertainment, Inc), Erin Catto (Principal Software Engineer, Blizzard Entertainment), Glenn Fiedler (Online Game Programmer, Sony Santa Monica)

Date/Time: Wednesday (March 10, 2010) 10:00am

Diablo II Patch 1.13 Live on PTR servers

Bashiok dropped the bomb on Diablo fans from all around the world with the sweet news. Diablo II patch 1.13 has hit the Public Test Realms! Hop into the test realm and ride this baby back and forth, submit bugs as you find them, and of course, let us know your feedback after you play it for a while. Oh, I really had to say it … HELL, IT’S ABOUT TIME! — no pun intended.

Blizzard Holiday Dessert Contest 2009

Blizzard has launched a new contest aimed at fans who have leveled up their real life cooking experience. Use your skills to create food shaped like anything from the main Blizzard franchises: popular characters, mobs, buildings, or objects.

What can be better than fresh-baked cookies or cakes? Cookies, cakes, and scrumptious desserts created with care to represent elements of the Warcraft, StarCraft, or Diablo universes, of course! We’re holding our Blizzard Holiday Dessert contest again and calling out all those talented bakers and pastry chefs to get out their flour, sugar, and rolling pins to create something amazing to tantalize the eye. Find out more on our contest page!

Prize

Ten amazing delicious delights will be chosen to win one set of the following books:

Arthas, Night of the Dragon, Beyond the Dark Portal, Tides of Darkness, Rise of the Horde, War of the Ancients Archive, and the Warcraft Archive

Diablo III Overthrown Diorama Shipped to Europe Customers

Sideshow Collectibles has issued a notice through their newsletter that all Diablo III Overthrown Diorama orders for Europe are now shipped from their EU Warehouse and are in-transit to your home. Be sure to make arrangements to receive the delivery man, and prepare a special shrin– err place, ready to display your Barbarian with pride. The orders shipped are: #8023 & Ex. #80231.

Submit a photo of yourself with the Barbarian Diorama to post it on our front page.

Jay Wilson Interview at Diablofans

Diablofans has an interview with Jay Wilson about Diablo III. The question about the Monk yielded some interesting tidbits such as the replacement of the Skill Tree by a brand-new skill based system the team is experimenting with. We will learn more about it through the Diablo Twitter in the near future. The female monk is nigh done, and will be announced soon.

Jay teased there are things they haven’t announced yet which allow players to customize their characters’ stats through their items, thus forget about the original Diablo’s elixirs. A level 100 character on harder modes will have unique item / gear models not seen in easier modes — not just a rehash of the same item-model with a different name.

Concerning immunities, my interpretation on Jay’s answer is that in Diablo II certain bosses had a full immunity to a magic resistance (i.e. immune to ice damage) — I remember back in the day when I played single player with a sorceress and focused my skill points on ice-based spells … let’s just say, it wasn’t fun fighting Duriel and running like a sissy. Apparently, in Diablo III bosses won’t have the same problem. You might have other spells or abilities that you usually don’t use much to adapt to every situation. Bosses will still have a certain degree of resistances, but nothing so extreme as in Diablo II where you could be stuck, or forced to play in a group.

Unique items are known in Diablo III as Legendary Items. Vendor NPCs will still be there to offer weapons and armor to fill the gap on the random / luck drop factor. If you haven’t found a replacement for your boots, you can simply buy an item from a vendor while you find something better to replace it with.

The biggest turn off of the interview was their decision to not include Ureh in the first installment of Diablo III to save time in their internal scheduled development. Thus, Ureh is likely getting some development-time in future Diablo III expansions. PvP was completely ignored with no comments.

Highlights

  • Female Monk animations nigh completed

  • Skill Tree replaced by Skill-based System (no more Wow/Dii Skill Tree)
  • Twitter will be an exclusive source of Diablo III news
  • Unannounced Stats customization through items
  • Difficulty Mode at lvl 100 gives items/models not seen in easier modes
  • No more full resistance immunity bosses or rather unable to beat them. Keyword: Adapt.
  • Ureh won’t make it into Diablo III
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