Saturday, 16 June 2012

Drip! Splash!

So the fist time I ever saw water in a game was Tomb Raider II. I could actually swim in pixelated water and it was fascinating! I could swim on the surface, dive down and interact with objects, it was brilliant! However, it turned into a whole new realm when I dived into the water in Second Life - this was 2007. Before then I thought creating realistic water was reserved for pc games - you know, the solo-player ones you bought in a box, though this doesn't hold any water now (*sniggers* no pun intended) because MMOs came in a box too. So, here I was, or rather my avatar (she was nicknamed Ama, by friends, for short) swimming in this extraordinary graphics-enhanced-dynamic area that so looked and reacted like water that I actually stood up and peeped behind my monitor just to see if it was leaking - well, you never know! Amazing! How do these clever people do it? Well, am sure there is some straight forward explanation using layering or particles, but as far as I'm concerned it certainly made my virtual experience more entertaining.

So I took it a step further and transformed Ama into a mermaid. I guess some psychologist could read something into that and believe me I have found some strange things out on the web explaining the meaning behind being a mermaid........but all I can say to that is -  Hell, yeah!! People 'acquainted' with this fluid substance called water and who try and swim whenever they can, I'm sure, want to turn into some aquatic- like creature to be able to swim, breathe and last forever underwater without getting that wrinkly skin on their fingers. Here I must pause and mention an aged old series I used to watch - The Man from Atlantis - though I wasn't too keen on those hands of his. I guess you didn't have much choice being a humanoid fish.

Ama in water perfection
(the little fish - his name is Nero!)
So Ama can swim underwater, build underwater, practically live underwater - in this world it was allowed to happen, but could I do this in the other MMOs I played?

Well, in Lord of the Rings Online I couldn't swim underwater or build, but I could definitely tread water and the water looks so amazing and real that, if I could get my hands on that genie, I would dive into my screen!

Water brilliance!
Hang on a second, I have to digress again here. You may have fabulous water, but would it still be 'water' without sound? Obviously not! - in my opinion. you need the 'splash'. You might not have the sound of waves washing up on the shore,'ve got to have the splash and Lotro had it. Run to the water, jump........SPLASH! Magic!

............and now comes Guild Wars 2 to revolutionize my world! This game just blows me away. Not only can I step into the water and get the 'splash', but I can dive, I can explore and fight UNDERWATER!! -  doing it most appropriately with a breathing mask over my face!

Tigger is such a good swimmer!
Not only that, but when my camera comes out of the water my screen looks WET! I've got droplets on my screen! At one point I so got into it that when I resurfaced I was just about to wipe them off the screen - you may laugh if you like!! Hello! Another fun thing, the UI changes when you're underwater. You get a stylized watery effect and your weapons change - harpoon gun, spear, trident. I love the harpoon gun - blast those buggers out of the water!!

For me the mere fact that I can explore underwater is just incredible and coming across the remains of old Tyria beneath the waves just added to the amazing quality of the game. I just can't wait to see what other hidden secrets I'll discover beneath the flowing seas of Guild Wars 2.


  1. I'm a little slow in commenting due to workload right now but I've been reading & enjoying your blog a lot :-)

    When I started in SL i fell in love with flying within the first 5 minutes, swooping through the streets of Nova Albion as though in a dream. It didn't take me long to discover swimming but there was a dearth of content and whilst swimming was fun there was nothing to do. Still, my lad loved making my av dive & swim so i used to find as many water sims as possible and even found some amazing places to explore (the waters off New Babbage being one of my favourites).

    To be continued...

    1. Oh gosh, yes! I never really got into flying until I was half-way through Orientation Island and then I did feel super-human! ;-D Also the fact that we could teleport instead of using cars. I went as far as wishing I could actually do that in RL, being able to travel in the blink of an eye. Oh, oh! and the real funny time when I went into a store in RL and actually stuck my hand out at an item with the intention of buying it instead of taking hold of it. I mean how crazy is that!!!! :-D

    2. Oh christ... had finally managed to get some time to carry on my comment and bloody Windows update shut my netbook down and lost the lot! I nearly punched it into next week - not the first laptop I've written off like that!

      In a nutshell I was talking about the disappointment of LOTRO swimming as you couldn't dive, which really made a mockery of the lost pot recovery quest in Evendim!

      On the other hand GW2 really excels by not just making it possible & interesting, but also fun! I read somewhere that a huge percentage of the game is based in submerged locations and that really excites me! I have very fond memories of the last BWE when me and my lad undertook the quest to help the fisherwoman by the town of Claypool - we had to fight this huge fish and it was a blast! As an engineer I could drop a really cool underwater turret and even my lad was cheering by end of the mammoth fight :-D Here is a video (from someone else) of that same event in case you never got to do it):

      Also when I was looking into swimming in SL I found that I had used it quite a bit in some of my stories, although I was drawing on the influences of Urslua Le Guin "Late of Heaven" and Kate Bush's "Big Stripey Lie" ( & "And Dream of Sheep" (


      p.s. I love the water on the screen thing too - I loved it back in the failed Blue Mars