Friday, January 31, 2014

The Big Game

The Big Game
An Article by Sports Reporter Joe “Monster Hands” Manassas

The Big Game is here! No, you aren’t going to see the familiar Blue, White and Gold of the Captains’ jerseys on the field. You aren’t going to see the gold toothed grin of Captain Corsair, our venerable and beloved mascot as he pumps up the crowd for the team, dueling the coach with his foam sword and doing his inimitable victory dance. You aren’t going to see the lovely Wenchettes flipping their pom poms and performing acrobatics the likes of which you have never seen, between super-expensive, weird tv commercials.

Why not? Well, as always, if you want to know, talk to the Hands...

No one new to Titan City can miss the fact that our team is beloved. Tricorn hats, old school lunchboxes shaped like treasure chests, fancy boots; the team is not hurting on the money front, the merchandise sells like, well, Captain Cakes (just a hint of orange flavor to fight off the scurvy. Yarr). Those same newcomers always do a double take when they see the numbers. How do we pack Titan Colosseum (newly refurbished with a retractable dome, ready for us to host the Big Game here) every week when we have a losing record?

Because it’s our team, that’s why! And we love our team. How can we not love the plucky underdogs who work so hard training in the offseason, give so much to the community, and then go out and give it their all? They’re like family, especially Alan Capulet, the beloved coach. They’re all Titan City fixtures, and they’re all good, clean kids. Even if they never win, we’re happy to have people like this in our fair city.

Which is just as well, because - and this is the deal, sports fans - Titan City isn’t allowed to win. If the Captains win, then “obviously” it’s because someone on the team is a super, or they’re doping with some new superscience drug (conveniently impossible to detect or disprove), or someone’s using mind control on the referees or whatever. We’ve heard it all before. We hear it every time the Captains make the playoffs. Mike Thorkulson rushed 18,400 yards in 2007, and it was chased off the team because breaking a record meant he was ‘obviously’ superhuman. Then New York’s Shane Smith ran 18,427 the next year, but that was a crowning jewel of human achievement. It never ends, folks.

Our boys are clean. Super clean. Squeaky clean. Heck, I even got investigated when I was on the team because of the size of my hands! Ladies, the Hands are here to tell you. I’m no mutant, just a freak. Ever since the Incident, the Captains have watched their food and their training regimen, but that cloud of suspicion always rises every time we get close to the playoffs, and I have been on that field folks; it does affect how you play.

Yes, I mentioned the Incident. We all remember 2005, although none of us want to talk about it. The season’s over for us, so what’s the harm? One guy ever gets his hands on the super-drug Chaser, thinking it will give him an edge. Then a hard tackle makes him belch fire all over a linebacker. Sure, it was shameful. I’m not going to say it was right. But it was one guy, one time, and now that cloud is going to haunt us forever? I say bull.

Titan City may have more super types per capita by far than any other city in the world because of our lax laws on supers. We may have a lot of super science and magic. But if there is one thing Titan City knows, it is that you can’t have the mask and cape crew do everything for you. Some things are best handled by good old regular guy know-how and guts. And one of those things is Football!

Mark my words. Supers are getting to be more and more populous worldwide. One of these days, one of the big teams is going to have their Incident. Maybe that will make everyone start letting a little bit of the super onto their pro teams. Maybe that will make everyone work as hard as our Captains do to be spotless. But either way, some day, as they say, the playing field will be even.

Never give up hope, Captains Fans! We are going to have our day in the sun! We are going to see Captain Corsair dance under the goalposts! We are going to host the Big Game some day, and we are going to win! And we all know why!

Say it with me, as you read this on your phones and on your laptops! Say it with me as you read the paper on the bus stops and in the barber shops! Let this city ring with the chorus! Anyone can make it in Titan City!

That’s all from me this year on the Big Game, folks. As always, if anyone asks, the Hands went that-a-way.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday: January 26th

Forum Posts
Another awesome RP thread by Gladatoria
A good discussion about drop rates for high end items, by LaughingAlex
Shared by Potato-Girl and something you might have heard on the news this week.
How much power should a supergroup leader have, byMcNum

From Around The Web

What is the internet without cat videos? Here's one to warm up this uber chilly Sunday.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday: January 19th

Forum Posts
Should have posted this earlier - y'all have seen Tiger's amazing comic strip, right?
If you have any questions about the KS perk survey, this is an excellent thread to go to.
An awesome RP thread, by Rotten Luck.
Got an idea for costume creation - post it here!
A good discussion on 'flagship' heroes and villains and is it relates to City of Titans

From Around The Web

Seriously? A contact lens that can help people with diabetes maintain and monitor their glucose levels? I think this might count as the ultimate piece  of "wearable" technology for 2014.

This contact lens will help people monitor their diabetes
Check out the story here:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Would you like to take a survey?

Here it is, ladies and gentlemen.

This very Friday, we're sending our first Kickstarter Survey out. We made it ourselves. Well, with some help from a commercial shopping cart.

Now, if you didn't have a Perk level that contained an add-on, like the ones that contained the Phoenix Pet, or if you didn't put in extra money for an add-on, before the Kickstarter ended, you're not going to get this survey. That's All Your Base or above.

We want to make this very clear. We're only picking out the digital add-ons and purchasing the physical ones, in this survey. We're not asking you for the information we need to make the digital add-ons or perks work. That'll be for a second survey, once we're much closer to completion.

And there is a limited time to complete this survey. It'll be in the letter. End of February. Why? Because we have to order the T-Shirts and so on, and we're doing it in bulk, and we have to put the order in at some point.

I know, so many of you want to buy more, and we love you for it. But there's two things. First, of course, we need to have a functioning web store. We don't, yet, mostly because our coders have been focusing on our engine. Secondly, we kind of want to be sure we're going to have some product for you before we start going back to pitching for more money. Much as we want to roll around in it, swim in it, toss it up and let it hit us on the head... sorry, went a little Carl Barks there.

Keep an eye on your spam filters, okay? If you don't get the email by Monday, and you think you should, again, message us, we'll check the list. We know exactly how much money we got from each and every one of you.

This update is going to be mostly the same as the letter for the survey, except that'll have your user name and password in it. It can't have your amount of credit, that'll be in a second email. If you have a problem with the survey, we're listening. Just message us here, or send an email to

Okay, instructions starting below. Ready?

Welcome to the City of Titans Perks Survey!

This is our first survey, but it's not going to be our last.

Today, we're just taking care of figuring out exactly what you bought, including the T-Shirt sizes.

We're going to order the physical perks, but taking care of the digital perks will wait till we're ready to put them in the game.

(But remember, we do want to get all these hats and shirts ordered, so spend your credit before Feb 28th, 2013!)

Your login ID is the e-mail address where you got this email.

Your new password is: ******

Just click on and you'll see this screen:

Log in, and you'll see this screen

You'll notice there's a reminder in the middle, about how some pledge levels got perks thrown in. If you were one of those people, we've added the credit value to your cart as well. To remind you, it's the following:

People who pledged All Your Base and above get a T-Shirt, Lanyard, and Mousepad as well as the Phoenix Pet. ($80 total). People who pledged I Know A Guy and above get that, plus an Instant Sidekick ($110, total).

People who pledged Fashionista and above get Iconic, Everything is Better in Plaid, It Must Be A Sign, as well ($610 total).

You're not limited to those choices, though. You've got credit, spend it however you wish.

Go and click on the link on the right (The arrow in the picture's pointing at it), and go shopping.

Selected everything you want? (Don't forget, if you choose a shirt, you can choose your size)

You've filled up your cart?

Follow the arrow and go to Checkout.

You'll see your address.

You can also put in any special comments you want at the bottom about shipping. Only shipping related comments there, please.

Check to make sure it's right, that's where we're shipping everything!

Then go to the next screen. This is where you actually spend the money. You can also put in any special comments you want at the bottom. Remember, we're just finding out what digital perks you bought. We'll send a second survey later for more information about the details.

Notice your total is listed, and your total balance is listed. Click on 'Continue Checkout' to spend that money!

Step Three of Three! Time to make sure your address is right, what you ordered is the right size and right quantity, and any special shipping instructions are in. Everything gets free shipping, we baked that into the cost of the products.

See that 'Confirm The Order' button? Click it when you're ready.

Okay, final screen. This one shows you everything went through, your order number, and if you have any credit remaining. If you share this computer, be sure to log off when you're done.

For help with any of our online services, please email our special Perks address. . We're waiting and watching!


Warcabbit, Shard, and the City of Titans Family.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday: January 12th

Happy Sunday, everyone! Hope everyone's having an awesome January so far!

Forums Posts
Awesome RP thread by Gladatoria!
The Devs Ask YOU! thread by our very own 3D artist, Voltknuckle.
A good topic by Redlynne about "zone map edges."
No flat butts for men!
Another fun forum game: word association

Press Coverage

Thanks for the heads up, Desi Nova! We got a mention in the Superhero Roundup for 2013 on!

From Around The Web

Are you all still following the CES coverage? If not, these videos will make you drool. 3D printers, driverless public transportation, and curved TVs? Yes, yes, yes!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

There's no sense wasting time.

While we were waiting for the licenses, there's no reason we couldn't do a little work. Buying a piece of software is easy. Buying enough for an art department requires a contract, and support, and maintenance fees... and the world shuts down during the holiday season. So, we got our artists demo versions of the programs we're using, to do some training back in December.

We will be using Maya and 3DStudio, but most of our work is going to be done using Houdini, by SideFX. Houdini's mostly known for their movie work. They were part of the solution for Pacific Rim, The Wolverine, and Man of Steel, but they're also aggressively marketing themselves towards the video game industry. Assassin's Creed: Black Flag, for example, used them in the toolchain.

Serious tools for serious work.

One of our artists, AngelWolf, has been keeping a log of his adventures with Houdini. I thought we'd share some of it with you.

- Warcabbit


Hi, everyone. I'm AngelWolf and I've been working on rigging a model for the Avatar Builder. While we were waiting for many of our purchases to go through over the hectic holidays, I began playing with the free Apprentice version of Houdini, a powerful 3D production suite that we will be using to do a lot of the work that the game needs. The process begins with an orthographic drawing of a character:

This is Andy, one of the templates our 2D team uses to draw different costumes. As you can see, the drawing is of a front, back, side, and top view of the character. What I do is cut the image down into smaller pieces and set them up as reference images in the software. I then use a technique known as box modeling to fit 3D geometry into the shape of the reference image, and poof, we have a 3D model:

But a model by itself is just a statue. In order to make it move naturally, it needs a skeleton, similar to this one:

This is called a rig and to make it work, you need to match up the various joints inside the body of the character:

With everything in place, you can then create proxy geometry, which breaks the model up into smaller pieces so it's easier to animate. Here, I use cutting rings to surround the various parts of the body:

And the result is a bunch of color coded geometry with gaps in between, making it very easy to animate:

At this point, we are nearly there. With the push of a button, Houdini takes the skeleton and the mesh, and combines them into two more things:

1: An animation rig, which allows an animator to move the character by moving the bones around.
2: A deform rig which controls how much of the model moves with each bone. Both are pretty complex so I will cover them both in future updates.
Goodbye for now.



Now, Angelwolf isn't the only person working on this. We've got all kinds of projects going on. Here's a little preview of the next subject we're going to try to cover.

It's a start. These things have learning curves. Steep ones. But once we master them, oh, the places we'll go.

This sword was made by DeathSheep... on pretty much a whim, as he got home from work one day.

I asked him about what he had to do to make it, and he said, "Probably half of the time spent on that -- from roughly 6pm to about 8:30 or so -- was simply figuring out the right set of places to access several of the tools. Tool learning curve. That sword, while not ideal, would probably be entirely sufficient for the game with one fix (There's a weird normal for one surface, it keeps trying to invert itself.) and then arranging the textures for the hilt and guard. The blade, as you can see, is already shiny metal."

"The technique I probably should have used would have had the benefit of letting you define a 'spine' curve for the blade and go anywhere from flat to scimitar to kris, although to really do kris would probably require adjusting the logic to be able to build a dual-edged blade."

"But is a little more advanced, and I knew I could knock this one out with just the utterly, utterly basic geometry fusing. And 15-20 minutes of "sitting and thinking" time to figure out the geometry."

That's when I challenged him to make a teddy bear with between two and sixty four legs.

He actually took it seriously.

"Bah. More trouble than it would be worth, it is a squoodgy shape which means metaballs which means having to muck about with the kernel and density functions to get it to behave reasonably when they're packed that tightly."

I gotta tell you folks, I love working with everyone on this project. They're all completely insane, but in a very productive way.

Coming soon... The Big Game... and the Survey.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunday: January, 5th

Hey guys! Happy 2014! So welcome to our first of many Sunday recaps from forum posts, to current news, to whatever else is going on.

Forum Posts
Awesome forum game - play, or else.
Hero Dawn initiative (Remember Ionia Titan's Fanterview?
How will you be choosing your Titan?
Cab's challenge for people to photoshop Tannenbomb.
Redlynne's thread about a whole bunch of physics stuff I don't understand - but it looks awesome!

Current News

Have you all been following the Consumer Electronic Tradeshow in Las Vegas? Some awesome things to see there - from curved TV's, to dual OS devices (Windows and Android - on the same device?!) to intelligent homes. 2014 is going to be an awesome year for Tech, I think.

In case anyone missed it, we celebrated New Year's this past Wednesday. You can look forward to incorrectly writing 2013 on all your correspondence for the next few weeks.

From Around The Web

Some companies, like Lego, can be really awesome. Thanks to Doctor Tyche for sharing this with us!