Archive for June, 2013

Expressing Yourself Like a True Mage

Posted on: June 4th, 2013 by Ophelia the Inspired

Have you all watched our new video yet? Have you? If not, stop reading this right now and watch it!

Finished? Ok, good.

We hope you enjoyed this first peek at the crazy, unique and fun feature that is Mage Faire puppeteering!!! I’d like to follow up and talk a little bit more about what exactly it is that you saw in the video and how you do it.

First of all, what is it?

Puppeteering or “expressing yourself” in Mage Faire is a way to move your avatar (apart from simply moving forward, backward and side to side) using the keyboard and the mouse.

It is very common in games to have “canned animations,” for example, you type “/wave” and your avatar waves. Our unique form of avatar expression was born out of the desire to do more than what these canned animations could offer.

Don’t get me wrong, these certainly can be fun, but it can also feel like it isn’t really you who is doing it. After a while I would find myself thinking, “But I don’t want to wave/dance/bow/greet someone else that way. It’s too bad I can’t ________________.”

It left us wanting; lacking the true personality that we are striving for in Mage Faire. So, puppeteering was born.

You, as a mage, do what you want to do. You can twist, you can spin, twirl, bow, jump, nod your head, shake your head, bend side to side and move one or both of your hands in any possible combination that you can think of. And then some. And maybe then even some more.

Imagine one day, you are strolling through Mage Faire and you come upon one of your friends. They wave enthusiastically at you, and in response, you wave back. Actually, you wave both of your hands, just to be thorough. You can do that.

Imagine also one day you see a mage doing something particularly enchanting, and you want to show your appreciation. You can bow to them. You can even put your hands up and bow forward as if to worship them (well, they were really good). You can dance around them, headbanging or jumping up in the air excitedly and floating down gently around them.

You can nod your head calmly. You can hold your hands up and spin around like a crazy person. Hey, it’s up to you. The point is, you can. You directly control what you do.

It’s an insanely fun and expressive way to communicate in Mage Faire, and we feel as if you really get a sense that you are interacting with another person. Not a bot, not something that someone has pre-programmed for you to do, but someone. Another mage.

When someone else is doing something specially for you, to greet you, to cheer for you, to dance with you, it really feels special and unique, much different from a pre-programmed animation.

But not just that, it’s fun. It’s really fun. We here in the Art Department spend an enormous amount of time seeing what new combination of puppeteering we can come up with to make each other laugh. (Best job ever!!!)

Ok, so how do you do it?

Do you know how to use WASD movement? (W and S move you forward and backward, A and D turn you left and right.) Move your hand over 3 keys to the right on the keyboard. These keys control your avatar’s upper body in a similar way to WASD (T and G for forward and back, F and H for side to side) allowing you to bend, twist, bow and lean.

Now, click on your hands and drag them around. It’s that simple. Add in some jumps, twirls and some movement and you’re a puppeteering master! Now go forth and express yourself!