Tuesday, December 31, 2013

And a Cabbie New Year

Heeeeey, fancy meetin' you here! How're ya-- whoa! Careful there, pal. Here, lemme help ya in. Boy, am I glad you called me. An' you'll be glad too - I got bottles of water in the mid compartment there, an that switch right there is for the seat warmer. Yer welcome.

Yeah, it gets pretty cold in the winter here in Titan City. Doesn't really stop most people. Heck, in Downtown you can go walking from building to building without ever goin' outside, thanks to the skywalks an' such, so why would anyone slow down? Never stops people from tryin' new things, though.

I remember one year, durrin' a pretty bad blizzard, a bunch of mad science guys got together an' did a contest to see who could do the best job a keepin' the city streets clear a' snow. So all night there were giant robots an' laser-plows an' puddles of gray goop an' all sortsa werid stuff, runnin' around, cleanin' the roads an' sometimes fightin' each other over choice pilups. It was insane! But then, what do you expect from mad science guys?

The streets were clear, tho. An' I swear they were cleaner than they'd been before. I was workin' that night an' didn't even have my tires slip the whole time.

Oh, sure, we've had some funny happenings. I mean, hey, it's New Years, any city's gonna have some crazy stuff happens. Ours just tends to be bigger'n louder.

One year, we had a monster came out of the water, hadda be thirty stories tall, headed for the fireworks display an' then started torchin' things. There was a big fight of course, but in the end it turns out it was just tryin' to communicate. Get this - the poor thing fell in love with City Hall! Thought the fireworks was the buildin' comin' onta him. They fixed his vision somehow, an the guy was so disappointed. Blubbered for hours, loud enough everyone could hear 'im.

What? Oh, yeah, big monsters happen sometimes around here. Don't worry, all homeowner's insurance for the area is good for monster attacks by law, and they usually don't cause as much commotion as you'd expect.

Anyway, one a' my favorite stories of the season is when Hexbane was goin' around the town stealin' presents kids'd gotten on Christmas. See, Hexbane, he's this guy that collects cursed stuff. Nobody knows why, but he just can't get enough of it. Well, that year some jerk'd been passing out toys an' games with bad mojo on 'em for the holidays, an' they were startin' to take effect on the kids. Hexbane can't just do nothin' straight, tho, oh no. He's charmin' enough he could probably just tell them what's up and get it done, but instead he goes an' breaks into people's houses to collect the toys, leavin' stylishly cut-open windows in his wake.

So Anthem gets wind of this, an' even tho she's supposed to be takin' th' day off she goes after 'im, because that's what she does. She an' Hexbane have history, see. They fight, an' it's always pretty spectacular to see those two fight, lemme tell ya, they just go tearin' across the city. Hexbane keeps causin' problems to distract her, or I dunno, maybe he just does it to watch her fix 'em, but this goes on a while and then he finally jukes when he should've swerved or somethin' and she grabs holda him. Delivers one helluva lecture, an' let me tell you, when Anthem shouts everybody hears it. She thought he was just doin' his usual stealin', didn't know he was doin' those kids a solid by takin' away the toys. But she does him one better.

See, Hexbane's rich. Like, serious old money rich. So she grabs the guy an' they go buy some new toys - on his dime, natch- an’ she drags ‘im around th’ town collectin' the rest of the toys, and visitin' the people he'd taken the ones he already had from. An' they give the kids all new toys to replace what they'd lost. Clean a’ bad juju, a’course. She even got him to pay for the window repairs, too. All outta pocket.

After that she gave the guy another browbeatin' an' then let 'im go with a warning. He took it in stride. What's his hangup? I dunno man, he just likes to be stylish.

I got a million a' these, tho. Like, this one time there was... ah... uh... ... no.

Nossir, you ain't seein' a forty foot tall guy standin' naked as a jaybird in the middle of the road. An' he ain't shoutin' nothin' 'bout not puttin' his pants on 'till he gets some respect.

I, uh, I think we got someone else needs a ride home, tho. Oh, an’ the seatback in frontaya has barf bags. Y’know. Just in case.

What? Oh, sure. Yeah, it’s possible to drive places without runnin’ inta supers in this town. ...I mean, normally. On New Year’s Eve? Nnnnnot so much.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Merry Christmas to All... but watch out for the Tannenbomb at the bottom.

It’s hard to believe that the festive season is in full swing right now, and it’s been a year of sadness - this time last year, we were still all processing the closure of City of Heroes and coming to terms with the fact that the plans to save it hadn’t worked out as we hoped.

But it’s also been a good year - despite the closure of the game, we’re all still here, one way or another. The good folks at the Titan Network are still home to many City of Heroes players, while others have reconnected across a myriad of different Facebook groups, Twitter and various other forms of social media.

We’re very lucky to be part of that still active community - our forums and social media sites are full of people reminiscing about City of Heroes, our Kickstarter felt less like a campaign and more like a reunion and we’re still having people getting in touch with us who have only just found out about City of Titans and want to know what they can do to get involved.

Talking of the Kickstarter - we wanted to lift the lid on some of the bits and pieces that were going on behind the scenes as we launched what we thought, so as a bit of Christmas fun, here’s a few things you might not have known about our 33-day-long campaign to help raise money to start making a crazy idea into reality:

1. PR lead Lauren “Rae” O’Neill got anxious whenever anyone suggested the Kickstarter could go into millions. Therefore, the word ‘million’ was referred to either as ‘the m word’, or, more frequently ‘Raellions’ by most people on the project.

2. Michele "QuantumHero" Alexander-Sichelle is hyphenated, because her first name and married name rhyme, badly. ;) She is brand new to twitter, having resisted all these years, until CoT became a real reason....but she sat down to learn hootsuite in a matter of days for this project. If you have not heard a ton from her during the Kickstarter, it is also because QH is reading all your tweets and comments looking for what our community wants in the future, working on setting up future convention appearances for MWM staff, keeping an eye on the gaming industry at large, and more....all while in the middle of moving.

3. The community hit the target amount so quickly that the PR team didn’t get the chance to implement the plans they thought they’d need to keep the community excited about the project. Lauren posted a picture of her Kickstarter plan ripped up on our Facebook account, just five days in.

4. Over 1,000 articles about City of Titans were published by the gaming media throughout the Kickstarter campaign. We’d initially hoped to share as many of them as possible with our community, but there were so many we were frightened of spamming. The campaign was covered by the biggest gaming sites in the US and UK, as well as gaming sites in Germany, Russia, China, Italy, Holland, Spain and Poland.

5. A number of City of Heroes developers pledged money to the Kickstarter, and we also had Twitter support from epic nerd-rockers, Kirby Krackle.

6. DC “Terwyn” James MacKay and Jonathan “Mentalshock” MacKay are twins respectively in charge of the business/marketing and human resources aspects of the project. There have been minor amusing glitches in communication specifically because they speak their own internal language, and have never *quite* mastered the english translation.

7. Everything about VDG is [redacted]. Everything. The reason why is [redacted]. FOIA filings have not yet been answered.

8. Lauren took an unexpected leave of absence about halfway through the Kickstarter because her father was involved in a serious traffic accident. The rest of the team stepped in to support her and take over her duties. He’s doing fine now, thankfully.

9. Screengrab of our internal chat room as the Kickstarter ticked down:

10. Nate “Doctor Tyche” Downes had to take several days off in the middle of the Kickstarter due to his wife having a planned-for surgery.

11. There are 74 active volunteers who put in more than 20 hours a week.

12. The Phoenix Statue used in the logo was originally created by VDG using a swallow for inspiration.

13. Warcabbit is neither a war nor a cabbit. Warc may, however, be some other form of lapinoid.

14. The girl in the video firing the laser beam is known as ‘Lucky’. She is a stock model from Mixamo which we used to validate animations against.

15. The video in the kickstarter was actually the fourth video produced for it. The first three were destroyed under mysterious circumstances. Well. Not so much mysterious as ‘don’t try to render 3D graphics in a Texas Summer with no AC’.

16. The UFO appearing in several Kickstarter updates is a historically accurate model. Anyone identify it yet?

17. At no point did anyone in the kickstarter spontaneously turn into a penguin.

18. Blockman has two PhDs and can speak eleven languages. Sadly, he has no mouth. It is yet unknown if he can scream.

19. There were 33 planned for easter eggs contained in the Kickstarter material. To date, only 12 have been publicly identified.

20. The Kickstarter video used was originally planned for inclusion on the day 20 update.

Heroes Halt Havoc.. on the Holidays!

21. Work on the Kickstarter began in May. 22. Nate “Doctor Tyche” Downes promised to shave off his beard and send it off for scientific research if we reached the goal within the first week. He has so far been postponing the event. Shame on him.

23. The invisibility shot for the Kickstarter happened by a complete accident. It was originally to be a test of the armor-aura system, but in the setup, the control system was connected to the opaque instead of the texture channel, resulting in the player model vanishing. The result looked so good, they kept it, and used the fixed aura setup for the screenshot of the IFRIT.

24. Blockman has multiple skins available. None of them are of Gumby.

Yes, we know it’s not quite the same as the winter chalet in Pocket D and rescuing Baby New Year, but with things progressing as we are - who knows what we’ll be doing this time next year? Speaking of events, I know a bunch of you miss the old Winter Event, so we found a way to give you XTREME early access to City of Titans gameplay.


Right below this blurb, you'll find a picture that's a link to a JPG. Take it, print it out on any printer - don't worry, the creature's black and white, so any printer will do - grab some tape, stick it to a tree, and huck a snowball at it! Presto! Winter event. For X8 gameplay, print out multiple copies.

Want a Boss challenge? Use Legal and stretch it! For world boss scale, I'm afraid you'll either need a really expensive printer, or use action figures to attack it. No snow? Well, shaved ice will do, and if you get green, you can pretend to be a Radiation Guardian!

And hey, if you feel you've done something impressive, take pictures and share it on theforum.
He'll deck YOUR halls!

We may take the game seriously, but there's no reason we can't have fun along the way. Enjoy the holidays, everyone. Be safe, be healthy, and most of all, be heroic. Or villainous. Whatever fits best.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Fanterview: Ionia Titan

Stick ‘em up! This is an armed robbery!

I wasn’t there. I was in Switzerland.

No - wait - that’s a lie. I’m sorry, this actually isn’t a robbery, it’s an interview. 

Well, hello there! Thank you for you offering your time to be fanterviewed and being a fan and follower of Missing Worlds Media and our first project, City of Titans!

Thank you and to MWM for allowing fans to have these moments

So, enjoying the snow? You mentioned you were getting buried under it.

Not yet. But it is coming. :)

So what’s your name (or internet alias?)

 I am known to most as either Ionia Titan or Mad Vyking. But good friends know me as Tor.

Where in this great wide world do you hail from?

Born in Brooklyn, NY. Lived in the Florida Keys. Now living in the Catskills Mountains of New York.

What was your first experience with videogames or MMO’s?

In video games: Pong the coin op game (old man voice) I remember when using the dial on that game was a skill.

MMO’s City of Heroes. Case of they got it right the first time.

Which is harder - videogames or arcade games?

Nowadays video games - due to the ability to play the game with others who are not next to you to distract or taunt. Don’t say you don’t know someone who did the elbow jab or shouted JINX in middle of the game.

See, I would say arcade games because they eat your money.

Out of all the superhero themed movies out these last few years, any favorites? (The correct answer is: Man of Steel)

OOOH tough one due to I, like many comic book fans, am a stickler to the original story line.

I would have to give credit to Tim Burton’s Batman cause of Jack Nicholson as the Joker (Man of Steel) Avengers (Man of Steel) Thor (Man of Steel) and on a guilty pleasure note Fantastic Four getting the camaraderie right (Man of Steel)

Did I mention Man of Steel?

*nods head*

How did you first hear about City of Titans, Missing Worlds Media’s first project?

It was a little after the day City of Heroes was taken from us. Was reading several articles of various opinions of why it happened and then I saw about the spiritual successors which led to the Missing Worlds Wedia website. Saw the Youtube video and the sketches of what to expect and I saw not only hard work but a passion.

Was it hard losing that MMO? Have you been a part of other MMO’s that have shut down?

It was hard losing the game but more of the access of the people I knew and especially the people who were in Hero Dawn supergroup on Virtue. City of Heroes players are unique that even though there were roleplayers, number crunchers, mission grinders etc. they were also the most helpful and friendly by a landslide when you look at other games. In my group especially there was a bond that to this day is being carried.

As for other games, no this was the first game to close on me under questionable reasons let alone any reason.

Speaking of which - any other MMO’s you’ve been playing or any exciting games?

After COH, I tried DCUO, SWTOR, STO and Champions. At moment on Champions.

It’s been a little over a month since the Kickstarter ended, but what are your thoughts on how it went?

I knew the goal was obtainable in my mind due to the people who played the game are as passionate. I know several people willing to wait til the paycheck to put in $5 for CoT. I still talk to a few people of my group and gave reports on how the Kickstarter was doing and all were wondering if the million was going to hit.

Out of all the updates from the Kickstarter, which was your favorite?

Two out of all of them. Hitting the goal, dare I say in record time and the final one surpassing the naysayers skepticism. Which personally I took a hidden pleasure. For some reason, the videos of the naysayers seem to have disappeared. (sarcastic voice) I don’t know why….

If I was allowed to copy and paste the freak outs the MWM team when we hit our initial goal, I would. Right now they only serve as blackmail. Useless blackmail, really, since everyone on the team has a copy.

Which feature are you most looking forward to, from all the updates you’ve read?

Well all are of course waiting for the final product. I'm interested in the Avatar system for the Android and the Ipod/phone/pad/watch/shoe etc.

What would make the Avatar builder system really stand out for you? Any feature you’d like to see?

The ability to work on costumes when away from the game. I know a few people who would love to work on one if they are out about. They see a billboard, mannequin or somebody with something on and then inspiration hits.

Any other ‘on the fly’ tools you’d like to see available for phones and tablets and whatnot?

While in Hero Dawn on Virtue, we ran costume contests. We also did trivia which I was in charge of. I worried about making it home if the road was iced up. So I on that point would say maybe a way to chat with people on the game. At very least, friends can go “Save a spot for me on task force. I stopped to get donuts.”

*takes notes*
*steals genius ideas*

Do you stop to get donuts or do the donuts stop to get you?

Depending on the mood.

So what kind of system are you running - any nifty hardware to brag about?

Just a basic computer nothing souped up. I get picked on due to loading slow speeds at times but if i can enjoy the game with my friends i’ll take the barbs with a smile.

I’ve been there. I used to experience 5+ minute loading times. It was a running joke that by the time I loaded a mission they’d already be done with the entire arc.

(imitates a president) I feel your pain.

Do you mix social media with your gaming?

In more ways than one now. During the gameIi wrote stories of Hero Dawn using players who went above and beyond the call of duty. After the game, several people said I should start writing for real. I am writing episodic books and needless to say have to tell people. I use Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest

How would you integrate social media with an MMO?

If you mean while the game is on, I can see people wanting to post the triumphant moment when hitting the top level or beating a task force. Maybe the ability to instantly post a screenshot from the game and BANG on the the social media in question.

Of course, one of my favorite topics: PVP. Do you enjoy PVP in an MMO or do you routinely avoid it?

When I PVP’ed I was the guy who went “Hi” (faceplant from one shot johnny, reform) “Wait a sec…” (faceplant) “Let me…” (faceplant)

You see a pattern.

But it’s such a beautiful pattern!

What is your favorite superhero power and why?

At first and currently use the swords. But when I did a warshade with Ionia Titan, I stumbled on (don't ask me how i did it) the combo enhancements to make  Ionia immune to the voids and cysts attack. I always got a giggle when invited to a unknown group , went into task task force, they initially picked on me when they showed up just to fall silent when i plowed through. Even got the Crab form as tough as a tank.

Let’s turn the tables - what’s a question you have for me that I can hopefully answer for you?

What caught my attention is the fact you guys are making sure you are taking time to do this game correctly. I always believed in the old adage “You can either do it fast or do it right.” I know you guys get the HURRY UP shout. What do you want to say to your idea of proving that adage correct?


Said out of practice I see!

Lastly: Any favorite quote you want to share?

For all my SG members, Hero Dawn: We don’t die, we diversify!

(I know some will say bad grammar but considering the idea came from the quote used in “BeBe’s Kids” it is faithful to the actual quote.)

Any chance I can plug Hero Dawn book?

Go for it :)

If interested look for Hero Dawn: Rise of the Powers on Amazon.com. I is an episodic chapter to chapter book so files will be small enough to fit on smartphones :) Chapter one is out now and two is coming soon.

And for everyone else look for City of Titans in 2015.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Fanterview: HamiJello

Well, hello there! First off, I’d like to thank you for being a supporter of Missing Worlds Media (MWM) and our first project, City of Titans!

<licks people>

So - what’s it like, being the typist of HamiJello?

Enjoyable, really. I usually don’t get to be funny in my day job, so being able to be creative and, I hope funny, is always fun for me.

Is it hard having to maintain some of the Twitter Feuds between The Goo, Jurassik, and Nemesis?

Since somebody else does the Nemesis feed, I find it fun throwing taunts back at them and having somebody else to play off of. As for Jurassik, well…. he’s an idiot, so it’s not hard to want to smack him all the time.

What would you like to see him smacked with?

Anything. Anything at all. But a jackhammer would be much better.

As I understand it, the universe HamiJello hails from was destroyed almost a year or so ago? How’s it been enjoying it’s time here?

Hami still lives in Paragon, so he’s been exploring the empty city. From what I heard, Jurassik got sick and threw up enough asphalt to repave Faultline… and also flooded Founder’s Fall when trying to take a swim. But mainly, I think he’s trying to keep busy, find friends, and stay away from Null the Gull.

What’s so fearful about Null the Gull?

Null the Gull is… well, I can’t really say. He’ll… he’ll find me.

So what about yourself - where on this great wide world are you from?

I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas, all my life.

Is it true that everything is bigger in Texas? Don’t lie to me.

I’d love to say yes, yes it is. But my wife will probably read this and call me out on it.

Oh my.

Which game are you most excited about for 2014? (The correct answer is: City of Titans in 2015-ish!)

<Nod nod> Nothing in 2014. I’ll have to keep playing Star Control or Doom until City of Titans comes out in 2015. <where’s my dolla?>

How did you first hear about Missing Worlds Media (MWM) and their first major project, City of Titans?

Most likely it was something through the Save City of Heroes Facebook page. Most of that time was spent with lack of sleep trying to cram in as much CoH as I could.

What was your reaction to the final tally for the City of Titans Kickstarter of $678k - and 5,000 backers?

Floored. I expected it to go over the goal, but nowhere near as quickly and nowhere near as much. I remember keeping the Kickstarter page loaded on my phone all the time, and refreshing it many times through the day. I also kept my uninterested coworkers up to date on the tally.

Of all the updates, which were your favorite and why?

I loved seeing the updates when a milestone was cracked. Those were my favorite ones, because they showed how strong our community was. 5000 backers, and $678k raised? Fantastic!

So, a favorite question of mine - how would you like to see PvP handled and what could City of Titans do to handle PvP differently than any other MMO?

I’m honestly not a big fan of PVP because I had some bad experiences with being name called in a few games. But I think some sort of cooperative PVP experience could be fun, some kind of team based mission could pique my interest in revisiting PVP.

So like Capture The Flag or PvP Soccer?

I’m thinking more like a Task Force or Mission where the bosses are actual other players.

What is it in a videogame that really sucks you in and gets you invested in it?

One of my favorite games of all time is Star Control 2. It was made in 1992. The graphics are dreadful today, but the thing that keeps me going back to playing it is the storyline, the open-ended missions, and the dialogue choices. I can go talk to the VUX and either call them ugly (which, let’s be honest, they are) or try and make peace with them. I think the idea that YOU control the story is the thing that keeps me sucked in. Even if it’s an illusion, it still keeps me fascinated.

What do you feel is the biggest challenge lying ahead for the City of Titans team?

You’ve got a fantastic, dedicated fanbase. But there are those people out there, a vocal group, who come around to every post about CoT and start the doomsaying. I think there will be a good chunk of those as you get closer to release, so those doomsayers (DOOM!) will be the biggest challenge.

For a game that has just begun development City of Titans seems to already have attracted quite an active community - do you that that is something that is unique to the superhero MMO genre?

Yes. Because the idea of a superhero is one that helps people out and fosters a sense of community. Those that want to be superheroes are ones that are most willing to help and join in on a community.

Speaking of superheroes, what is it attracts you to the Superhero MMO genre?

I’d just love to be able to fly, take down the bad guys, save the people from evil, and be like The Flash was in the Justice League TV Show.

Did you see any of the superhero films this year - Man of Steel, Ironman, Thor?

Oh yeah. All of them mentioned. I turned my wife into a big superhero fan, but she was especially keen to see Thor for some reason.

Was it because of the Jimmy Kimmel “Thor, Actually” trailer?

The only Jimmy Kimmel thing she saw was the parents steal kids’ Halloween candy, so I’m gonna have to go with Chris Hemsworth’s abs.

Did you know that Jimmy Kimmel is actually Chris Hemsworth’s ab’s alternate identity? (This is a lie.)

Well, now you’ve just made her want to record all of his episodes. Maybe even some of The Man Show.

Why do you think the superhero genre in the last decade has gained a lot of attention in the last decade as a medium for telling deep, rich stories?

Because of the rich history it has. They can pick and choose from any fantastic storyline, and alter it to fit events that will appeal to the greater mass. Also, I think with all of the evil in the world today, people like to see heroes save the day.

How do you feel about the whole “superhero tv show” trend these last few years? Well, decade, really, owing to Smallville.

Smallville went too long IMO, got corny near the end. But the trend, such as Arrow and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are turning out well. I’m all for those shows if they get based in a bit of reality like Christopher Nolan’s DC-Verse. Also, I still love watching the DC Animated Universe when I can catch them.

Any comic series or publishing house you follow in particular?

I get the “Star Trek reboot” series from IDW publishing regularly. That’s pretty much my comic book purchase these days, but I do have the entire collection of Batman comics that were given away by the “Batman cereal.” I had to eat boxes of that stuff to get it, it was nasty, but it was BATMAN!

Do you think webcomics are the future of comics?

I would be surprised if web anything wasn’t the future. For now, in our commercialized society, I think it will be a niche that will be for fun. Eventually, it’ll be what everybody does.

What do you think MMO’s are going to be like five years and ten years from now?

I’ve played two MMOs in my life: City of Heroes and Star Trek Online. The cash shop has been added since then, F2P is becoming a standard. The only thing I can think of at this time for any advancement is moving them to a mobile app, like the avatar creator for City of Titans. Perhaps some kind of side missions via mobile apps as well.

What do you think gaming communities are going to be like in the next few years?

I can’t see them being any different than they are now. Forums, in-game chat, and social media are the main ways they communicate now, and I really can’t think of anything other than Borg implants that will change that.

Do you think people are becoming more involved with their digital communities than their local Real-Life communities?

Emotionally, maybe. But I don’t think that there’s any way people can be more involved with such a large area in a physical, economical sense at the time we live in. It would take teleporters to be able to do more than emotional involvement.

Can gaming communities become forces for positive change in the world via charities and other services?

I think that our Real World Heroes showed we can, as well as the many other charity events we helped with. We’re a force for good, and will continue to do so.

This wraps it up at this time for our Fanterview - I want to thank you again for your time and I look forward to seeing you continuing helping Hami communicate with the outside world via Twitter!

I look forward to seeing the new world when it happens, and Hami has lots of stories to tell still! Thank you!

Follow HamiJello on Twitter... or else.: https://twitter.com/HamiJello