Thursday, 24 May 2012

SWTOR: Beautiful Voss and a screenie spree

It's been a while since I last played Star Wars and that was not because I was tired of it - somehow I got totally absorbed into Lord of the Rings Online and (while my boyfriend was rebuilding his pc) Mass Effect. Yesterday evening I returned to SWTOR, though, and tried to gain support from the planet Voss. I've been level 45 for so long now and it is time to get those last five levels done. I now even got the padawan I dreamed of - Nadia Grell (see Companion roulette), so what was I waiting for? The first thing that struck me was that the planet is so beautiful!

I'm usually more positive about the details and the strong realistic feeling of LotRO's landscapes, but for SWTOR, Voss wasn't too bad. I tend to get a bit depressed from all the space ships and electronics, so a quiet planet with a lot of nature was a welcome change. Voss' flora displays all autumn colours and its sky features a beautiful nearby planet, even visible during the day (not that there is such a thing as night in SWTOR - sigh). Even the people inhabiting Voss looked beautiful with their dark blue-with-yellow face paint (picture to the right). Or is that their skins natural colour? It's a mystery to me, and probably to the rest of the universe as well.

So what happens when a picture addict like me gets set loose in an environment like this, happened here too: I went on a screenshot spree. And while the landscape looked great, I tend to get bored by pictures of landscapes only. I want people to stand in it to get interesting pictures. And what did I find out? It is freaking hard to get nice screenshots of moving people in SWTOR! For one, it's near to impossible to get any action screenshots in which I myself was involved, because I'd always see floating numbers and selection circles. I try to avoid these elements as much as possible in my pictures, as they make the images look less realistic. Accomplishing that requires a lot of patience and fast reflexes. I found it was much easier to make screenshots of my boyfriend fighting things than making them of myself. The uncontrollable companions that jump from left to right certainly don't make it much easier. Below the only okay-ish picture I took including myself, and I had just finished casting a spell. I will certainly practice more on this in the future.

Tips for taking screenshots in SWTOR: 
  • Preferences --> Nameplates: untick all the boxes that enable floating names (yourself, other players, enemies, companions etc). I also have "Always Show Health Bar" unticked, but I'm not sure if that influences anything (didn't see a difference when switching it back on and off).
  • Preferences --> Flytext: untick "Flytext Enabled", the first box under General. You now won't see any floating damage or healing numbers. You can easily switch this back on after your session by clicking the box.
  • Preferences --> Controls: tick "Deselect target upon Clicking on Terrain" under General. You can now click the environment around you to select nothing or, if you're not going to be on the picture yourself, select yourself (F1 by default). This way you don't get to see any floating names. If you've set up everything as above, you should also not automatically select your foes anymore when hit by an attack.
  • Alt + Z: use this to hide all UI elements. This gives a much nicer effect! Just click Alt + Z again if you want to return to seeing what's going on.
  • Composition: think about the angle you want to use and who or what your picture will be featuring. Scroll to zoom in or out to get the result you want.
I realize that there are loads of people out there who don't care about seeing floating numbers or actually like seeing their character's name floating above their heads all the time. It's just a matter of taste. I almost wish I'd like floating stuff myself, as it's so much easier. If you're a crazy perfectionist like me, though, the above tips are the way to go!

So, boyfriend (if you're reading this): sorry for you getting almost killed all the time last night, but here is the reason:

I don't know about you, but doesn't that just make you want to play a jedi guardian? It certainly does for me, and I'm not even that much into melee classes.

A typical result is that I admire the Voss landscape so much, but ended up taking the most screenshots in caves instead! Time to run out, to the beautiful landscape out there that always looks greener than it does on this side...


  1. Wow those are some really good-looking screenshots! Voss is a really pretty planet with an interesting colour palette - I noticed the male Voss are all teal-and-orange and the females are actually red-and-blue. Oh and there's also a night-time planet in the game, the Imperial version of Taris :)

    I just wish there was an easy on/off hotkey toggle for nameplates like there is in LotRO - I find it very hard to play without nameplates on (I need the red names to show enemy mobs/players and green/blue ones to show where my team mates are). I once turned the names off in an operation because I wanted to take screenshots, but that somehow made me lose all sense of direction and I almost got some team members killed because I couldn't find them in a dark tunnel :D

    1. Awwws, thank you! I never noticed the female Voss people, that's bad of me! I'm not sure where they've been hiding, but then again I've only picked up the initial quests and run off to enjoy the local wildlife. I'll keep an eye out for those Voss women next time!

      You're so right about the nameplates, it's a pain, really. I'm actually going to try keeping them turned off for a while now while I'm leveling and see how that goes. It does look much better aesthetically, but as soon as I'm doing any group stuff I'm certainly going to turn them on again. I can imagine how that ended with your Ops... oops! xD

  2. Lovely looking planet. :) That was one big reason I wish I could have played Swtor: just to see it all. I'm always a sucker for the autumnal areas!

    I wish there was a good toggle or a way to make a macro of something for lotro. When I'm out an about, I like all names on most of the time so I can see who's who but in groups, I like to turn player names off. Toggling all names doesn't work as then I can't tell the mobs apart or don't know which is the worst of them. :P

    1. I'm always happy in the autumn myself because the colours are so nice. Makes up a bit for the prospect of the sucky weather of winter to come after it!

      I guess the SWTOR system is better in that regard, as you can choose to disable floating names on players and at the same time keep them enabled on enemies. I found that it's much easier to take screenshots in LotRO, though, as you can just toggle names off and on during fights with one button (as Xhii already mentioned). In SWTOR you have to open the Preferences for it and that's just a bit unhandy on occasions. ;-)

  3. Ahh, another screenshot junkie. I do my best to take out the elements you mention, then crop the picture to eliminate the rest. Thanks for the alt-Z tip. I'd been using ctrl-U.

    1. Oops, now I feel like a real noob, because I thought alt+Z was the default setting. I really can't remember setting it up myself, hehe. Happy it turned out well for you, though. :)


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