Monday, March 30, 2009

Blizzard Adventure Park

So now that our entry is in and the contest is closed, I wanted to show anyone interested what   and I have been working on.  This is our theme park that we designed for the Blizzard contest.  I'm actually really happy with it considering the constraints.  There was a lot more we wanted to do but the deadline happened too fast.  Feel free to look it over and let us know what you think.  Just bear in mind that we didn't have the best working conditions.  This entire thing was conceived and drawn in our spare time over 15 days and we coordinated it exclusively by e-mail and instant messenger.  Also, everything I know about Blizzard Games, I learned in the past 2 weeks.  That's Erik's expertise.  I've still never even watched them being played.

Anyway, it was a really fun challenge and I'm glad we did it.  We enjoyed it so much that we're thinking about doing another one just for fun / portfolio fuel.  In the next one, we want to actually flesh out the attractions (which we had to force ourselves not to do too much here), take our time, and do all the technical work we skipped over here.  For example, this park doesn't take sight lines into account very much and the scale is extremely fudged.  I also wanted to avoid a standard hub and spokes layout but the concept and time limit sort of dictated it.  And we never did think of a more clever name...  Oh well.

It's now in Blizzard's judges' hands.  We should know how we did within the next 15 days.  Regardless of the results, I think it was worth the time.  I haven't had a project that's this much fun in a long time.

Here is the park concept:

"Welcome to Blizzard Adventure Park! It's not just a park, but an all-day adventure. Visit the Central Hub where you will suit up with your armor and weapon. Here you will also receive your Adventure Pass which will identify you throughout our 3 worlds. You are free to explore the lands of Tristram, Azeroth, and Koprulu Sector and enjoy the attractions within them but beware. Enemies wander the streets waiting to ambush so be on guard and keep your weapon ready. Each enemy defeated gains you points in an all-day competition with everyone else in the park. High scores and quest information are displayed on big screens throughout the lands. Never let your guard down, the adventure knows no safe area. You never know when or where mobs may attack and every element in the park is part of the game. Scan your Adventure Pass while shopping to gain strength (increasing the points your weapon collects per hit) or while having a snack or lunch to gain health (increasing your resistance to hits from enemies). You can even gain points on Special Quests (interactive attractions, rides, and shows). You don't just sit and watch our shows, you play them. You don't just ride our rides, you battle them. For a change of pace, try one of our Live Instances where you explore mazes and solve riddles alone or as a team. Anything and everything in Blizzard Adventure Park is a game. Can you collect enough points to be the best warrior of the day? Fight our enemies, take our quests, become a hero or a villain. Blizzard Adventure Park, it's not just a theme park... it's war!"

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Theme Park Design Contest... Squeal!

When I first saw this contest on 's blog, I thought it was a dream come true.  Of course, it didn't take long for me to realize 2 big issues:

1.  It is due on March 30th, which is now 15 (already very busy) days away.

2.  The bigger issue - I don't know anything about the games this company makes.

That being the case, I sort of wrote off the whole thing as a bummer.  And that's when my good friend (and former co-worker at Disney World)   said, "Check it out.  Blizzard is having a 'Design a  Blizzard Theme Park Contest'!  I thought you might be interested in entering with me (tell me you're not foaming at the mouth already!)".  That was what I needed to hear (and yes, there was some foaming).  The month is still busy and the deadline is still close but Erik is an expert in the source material and we have a long history of working very well together (we designed and programmed big chunks of the show control systems for Fantasmic and Lights Motors Action together at WDW).  Even though we are on opposite sides of the country, we decided to go for it.

We got off to a slow start because of our equally busy lives but the ideas started going back and forth today and that momentum I was hoping for came back as though we haven't been apart for 2 years.  Wow, has it been that long?  Anyway, I think we've got a good plan now and it looks like Erik got our friend, Vic (a professional graphic artist) to lend some "final touches" assistance.  Win or lose, I think we've got a good entry in the works.  We'll see if the Blizzard folks agree.

I am so happy to be doing something like this.  Even if it is totally pretend, this is exactly the kind of outlet I live for.  I really miss doing these sorts of things at the open design forum at WDW and the Cirque one isn't really the same.  This is my idea of fun.

Now, I guess I better get to work on it.