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ARCHIVED: Steampunk Worlds - Map Creation Thread

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Steampunk Scenario' started by Balthasar, May 8, 2008.

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  1. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    Thanks for all the info, Methos. The information on the colors is good - gives me an idea of the range I have to be creative. I had gathered some pictures myself, but it's very helpful to know what someone who has actually been there finds typical.

    Overall, the scenario is a blend of Verne's underworld with that described in some other Victorian literature such as Bulwar-Lytton's "Coming Race". There will even be a bit of Pellucidar at the center. So the caves will have streams and pools. Even some mushroom "forests". You sparked another idea with your mention of iron contaminants. I may include a partially embedded sprocket in one tile, or even some kind of a "lost device" resource. I'll pm you to let you know when I have some more work done & posted.
     
  2. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    Here's a couple of pictures I'd forgotten I had (wrong folder :rolleyes: ) of wet caves. do these look like some reasonable colors to take inspiration from?

    Spoiler :
     
  3. Balthasar

    Balthasar Wise Man

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    Time to take advantage of our map creation thread. We haven't used this one in awhile, but I have major map news.

    As I told you guys awhile ago, I was taking a good look at Barsoom, to try to get it closer to the place imagined by Burroughs. After wrestling with unit lines, I had to actually get them into the biq, so I started designing Civs based on those races, and that led me to the map.

    The map that we've been using is a map of Mars - it had no rivers or forests, and so Barsoom's river Iss, for example, was nonexistant, the Sea of Korus, gone, etc. etc...

    So I went back and got a new map source. After much study, I found Rick Johnson's detailed map studies of Barsoom. Unfortunately, although his map is very detailed, he ended up posting it in pieces (probably so that the detail would be appreciated) so I had to rebuild it myself. You can see the result >here< if you're interested.

    But Barsoom occupies a differently shaped space on the lost worlds map, so I had to try to get it to the proper size.

    First I took a screenshot of the map in the editor and made a little template of the map grid:
    Grid Template.jpg
    The background is transparent in the original, of course.

    Then I made a grid exactly the size that I wanted to fill on the map:
    Barsoom Map by Rick_grid only.jpg

    Then I reduced the size of the map to fit the grid: Barsoom Map by Rick gridded.jpg
    This didn't work out badly; it didn't look squeezed - it looked, rather, like I was looking down at it, which works well for gameplay.

    This I followed slavishly, square by square, until I'd redesigned the whole map to match the new template. It came out pretty well (for your convenience I've added in city names and labels):



    Click the map to get a closer look. Mind you, I got all of the new terrain in without losing any other terrain on the larger map. I'm proud of that. Now we have an accurate (if slightly squeezed) version of Burrough's Barsoom.

    Notice that down in the right hand corner of the larger map is a legend, matching Civs to cities. Keep that in mind and meet me over at the Civilizations thread....
     
  4. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    Niiiice!

    You used a variant of the grid mapping technique I've written about elsewhere. It works very well for translating "artistic/literary" maps of this kind.
     
  5. KingArthur

    KingArthur Searching for the Holy Grail

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    Fantastic I love the map :D You've really brought this too life Balth!
     
  6. Supa

    Supa Out of Cheese Error

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    You guys have done an incredible job with all these maps, congratulations ! I can't wait to play them.

    About the Hollow-Earth, the latest map is really a genius choice. It got the Underground right in back into focus. Any news how this particular project is going ?

    When I saw this schema, my imagination ran wild. I hope you don't mind if I lay some of my thoughts here. I imagined the Hollow-Earth could be divised in rings.
    • First level Ring would be Jules Verne's Voyage au Centre de la Terre (1864): a zone without any starting Civilization, where a few prehistoric animals and a few resources to gather here and there. It would be accessible, at first, only to Explorer-type units (Impassable to Wheeled). You could settle a few outpost with those units but once you get serious about exploring the Underworld, you can build road and your whole country can get down the hole.
    • Second level Ring would be Edgar Rice Burroughs' Pellucidar, where Surface Civilizations and Underground civilizations meet for the first time, without any movement restriction. That's where the meat of the mod would be.
    • Third and last level Ring would be a Howard Philips Lovecraft abyss where one adventurous enough man could find Brian Lumley's Shudde M'ell and its Chthonians in the lost city of G'harne (Cement Surroundings (1969)) or Clark Ashton Smith's Ubbo-Sathla, the source of all life. The Abyss would be accessible only by Surface Civilization (Impassable for Wheeled).. Or if you ignore them too long, the horrors might crawl out of it and into Pellucidar. It might be a good end-game mechanism.
     

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  7. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    Thanks for the comments, Supa. It's early days - this is much more on the back burner while we concentrate on Balthasar's ideas. It's more of an idea schema than a map at this point. Your ideas run along similar lines to mine in several ways. Movement will be restricted in several ways - Genuinely impassable terrain, terrain that must be cleared, and used of the wheeled flag. The UCs (underground civs) are meant to be more restricted than the player explorers. Concentric rings is an interesting idea. Figuring out how to let the various UCs interact in a non-linear way would be tricky if that too narrowly restricts the map style. Putting anything involving Brian Lumley in the center of a map/scenario makes my eyes glaze over, however.
     
  8. Supa

    Supa Out of Cheese Error

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    I don't think concentrical rings would bother the A.I. I suppose Europe, America, Africa and Asia start the game fully settled. Given how the A.I. likes to settle in these Toundra and Desert tiles as soon as all the good spots are taken in a classic Earth-map, I'm sure Surface Civ. would rush to the 1st Ring (Verne's) with their Explorer units. Eventually, they would make it to Pellucidar Ring.

    In Pellucidar, UCs shouldn't have any problems. Does they start the game with a fully settled Pellucidar or does they have to conquer it ? An empty starting Pellucidar would perhaps be the best solution: SCs won't be there before a while, UCs should have something to do beside war. Explore and conquer Pellucidar sound just fine.

    What bores you in the 3rd Ring ? The idea itself of a Lovecraftian zone, or Brian Lumley mention ?

    I haven't read much of Lumley's works. I've read a few short stories (Cement Surroundings (1969), The Sister City (1969), Spaghetti (1985)) and half of his Titus Crow novels (The Burrowers Beneath (1974), The Transition of Titus Crow (1975), The Clock of Dreams (1978)). I pretty much loathed the Titus Crow Cycle. Although I like the idea of a human organization trying to fight the Great Old Ones, I'm kind of disappointed of the G.O.O. Lumley's depiction. They're way too human and too attached to moral (good and evil). We're far away from H.P. Lovecraft weird entities so different from us we couldn't hope to comprehend them at all. And who could forget the Good Golden Brother of Cthulhu ?

    Beside all that, Cement Surroundings was a good story. I liked his creation, the Chthonians since I met one of them in the Alone in the Dark game.

    In this particular scenario, Chthonians provide a nice thematic counterpoint to SCs and UCs. UCs, even non-human UCs, are now part of a classic Pulp/Fantasy setting. Pellucidar is a place of high adventures, thrills and explorations but there is nothing really alien. Lovecraftian creatures, with their strange appearances, their not-really-the-same matters, their unfathomable objectives provide this alien and dreadful feelings that, maybe, mankind isn't supposed to explore the depth of Earth and some things should stay buried.

    Gameplay-wise, an Abyss-type Civilization could (Lovecraftian, Lumley's, or not) provides a good late-game game-changing event. Too often, a Civ game isn't really interesting near the end. Major powers are there and can't really be moved. If all Abyssian units (but one, I'll come back to this one later), can't cross the few tunnels out of the 3rd ring, Abyss Civ is stuck until a SC (or a late UC) drills through the closed doors of their tombs, basically building a road. Late game, Abyss Civ could gain access to a worker-type unit unwheeled and able to build a road to free its Masters. With their powerful units, an Abyss could sweep the map, forcing SC and UC unto uneasy alliance or, at least, think again about their immediate objectives.

    I don't want to seem to be lobbying for a particular vision of what the scenario may be. :) That's just a few ideas I got and I'm only happy to talk about it. That's really some intriguing scenarios you're putting together.
     
  9. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    Every point you make is valid. One of the problems with a long term project is not getting much input from people outside the team. So there's no challenging of our mutual assumptions. The kind of comments you make are stimulating, whether we choose to follow through on them or not.

    My concern with the rings is in scenario style. I want there to be some action between the various UCs - trade, diplomacy, but especially aggression. given that I want to keep the map fairly small the rings may be too narrow to allow this in any more than a "merry-go-round" fashion where there is only the ability to interact with one or two civs at a time.

    I'm a Mythos fan. I just find Lumley's work too derivative & his style boring.There are definitely going to be Lovecraftian elements. Between Cthulhu By Gaslight, Shadows Over Baker Street, Stableford's Lydard Trilogy, etc. there's plenty of additional inspiration. If you check out my steampunk tech icon set (link in signature) you'll see a whole Fortean/Lovecraftian/Occult subset - TATTMWNMTK.
     
  10. Supa

    Supa Out of Cheese Error

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    I don't have much time right now for a long post, but do you have any use for that kind of GFX ?

    It replaces Mountains graphics with some tunnel walls.

    It's a quick and dirty graphics, although the base with layers is solid, and it's lacking details but you get the idea. I used Rhye's Underground terrain for the preview but it doesn't have to match it necessarily in final version, if there is any use for it.

    Mountains should be impassable. If you look closely, you'll notice a small entrance in the upper cul-de-sac, it is a Hill - Impassable for Wheeled only. Explorer-type unit should be able to use these smaller tunnels.

    Gotta go !
     

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  11. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    Those are intriguing. I think they're definitely worth posting. I'd like to see what a tunnel with turns in it looks like.

    Edit: Take a look back at a couple of posts. In my own experiments I was trying to achieve darker walls & lighter paths. That way when there is a section of solid rock the few tunnels will be what stands out. Later I started experimenting with adding some color variation to the stalagmites. Maybe some c&p of parts of those on top of your "Mts" would add some height variation, and toned down versions of the colors for some additional variety. The mushroom forests & stalagmites are variations I made of the work Tsuga and William of Orange did to supplement Rhye's underworld terrain. Check post 19 over there for King Arthur's re-upload of what could be found after the hacker attack.


    Just as a p.o.i.:
     
  12. Supa

    Supa Out of Cheese Error

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    • About the tunnel graphics

    The reason I tried this is I don't like the underground mountains in your preview. It just looks a little strange to have those underground.

    I'll finish the prototype this week-end. I made the tunnels grey because it's a neutral color and it's quite easy to change it after.

    There is no detail for the moment, but I'll probably try to get an 1959's Journey to the Center of the Earth feel. I loved that movie when I was kid.. and I still do.

    Any suggestion of the colors ? You seem to favor a quite black environment but does it work ? Don't units/cities seem too bright on it ?

    • Rings

    My love of 1959's Journey is probably why I like this idea of the 1st ring so much. My knowledge of Pellucidar is quite limited as I've never found a good edition of it and I only know what I've read here and there.. and the first 20 minutes of 1976's At the Earth's Core where's the journey to Pellucidar itself seemed so easy. Turn on the big digging machine, a few hot hours after we're there. Through the 1st ring, there is this trekking and exploring through an unknown land where man has (almost) never gone before. Then, the fantasy of Pellucidar can reward the courageous civilization that finally came through the 1st ring.

    A sound concern. I'll tend to enlarge the map enough to not feel cramped and allow Pellucidar UCs to have borders with more than 2 other UCs. SCs will anyway have to make their way through an almost conquered Pellucidar.

    • Civilizations

    I somewhat missed the fact you plan to include H.P. Lovecraft's Ghouls into the mix. I like it!

    What countries are you planning to keep for each continent ?

    • Germany: Verne's Prof. Lidenbrock is German, and German Empire is quite a good choice for a 1870-1915 scenario.
    • Iceland: Snæfellsjökull itself, the very entrance Lidenbrock used.
    • Italy: Stromboli underworld exit. I feel it somewhat less important. Maybe it could lead to 1959's Atlantis ruins ? I haven't read it but Casanova wrote an adventure in an hollow earth.
    • England: A classic choice for this kind of scenario. Plenty of literacy source.
    • United States: Poe's Arthur Gordon Pym, Edgar Rice Burroughs' Abner Perry and David Innes. Could lead to the underground H.P. Lovecraft's Ghouls.

    For Africa ? For Asia ?

    About H. R. Haggard, hasn't someone been tempted by an African Exploration (1850-1900) scenario ?
     
  13. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    I didn't like them either. They were just a placeholder for however I end up representing the solid ground that separates the passages. I'm pretty sure I made it clear that it was a very preliminary WIP. If not now I have.

    Obviously the solid ground needs to be background. As a general principle light colors stand out against a dark background. So the terrain of the tunnels & open spaces where the civs settle needs to be lighter than the bg. Only the truly chthonic civs such as the mushroom people will be settled in the dimmer tunnels/caverns. And their cities will be dark as well. The larger spaces such as Pelucidar, Aghartha, and the homeland of the Vril-ya are typically described as well-lit and will have more normal looking terrain.

    As a suggested color scheme for your terrain: The walls should be dark, with whatever part of the tile set is completely surrounded by walls being the darkest. The tunnel floors a little lighter but still dim. Areas that are going to be more wide open can be lighter still. As the terrain gets lighter introduce more color variation. The mushroom forests can certainly be recolorized to fit whatever you do. My intention is to use something along the lines of Rhye's or Ares' terrain sets for the open areas, so blending toward those palettes would make sense.

    The surface civs are going to be very abstract since they represent styles of exploration more than specific countries - I'll choose the civ traits appropriately. There will be the purely scientific like Aronnax or Lidenbrock (Franco-Prussia?), the imperialists: Stanley or Quatermain (Britain?), the two-fisted loners: Challenger, Dravot, Charles Remington (USA?) and a blended Oriental civ with a more religious orientation (SP versions of such RL explorers as Ibn Battuta and Xuanzang).

    After making and uploading Balthasar's Lost Worlds & KingArthur's Steampunk World (Earth Map) scenario there may be a series of shorter scenarios with a shared structure: explore, fight the denizens, take victory points, flee with the princess/artifacts, and a simple space race (publish your adventures as various reports to the Geographic Society ).
    Possibilities beyond Hollow Earth include:

    • Land That Time Forgot - a remote jungle-shrouded plateau.
    • Antarctica - "Mountains of Madness","Race for the Pole" and a lost race in a hidden valley with temperate climate.
    • Roof of the World - "Man Who Would Be King", "Lost Horizons", yeti, & the Great Game on the Tibetan plateau.
    • Dark Continent - An alternative Africa with rampaging Zulus & Mahdi fanatics, mummies, a lost civ or 3, rare flora & fauna to discover & return, and of course the fabled Mokele-mbembe.
    • Carpathian Horror Expedition
    • Barsoom
    • The Big Smoke - urban London.
    • Wild West
    This is a very tenative "blue sky" list. There's no point in the team discussing them at length since they would get worked on only after the major scenarios are polished.
     
  14. Balthasar

    Balthasar Wise Man

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    About the Blue Sky List (this is one of my favorite musings) - There are a few things on that list that already have little alcoves on my desk:

    Barsoom could easily be spun off into a mod project. The map is DONE, and could be expanded to include the poles, and even the underground hideouts of the Firstborn. It needs a tech tree, wonders & buildings, and I'd do a custom interface. What it really needs is custom units, but we need those to complete the Lost Worlds mod anyway.

    London is the exact opposite; everything is in place except for the map (and text files, of course). I assure you that making such a map would be no problem.

    The Wild West: map complete, interface started. Due to popular demand, I've decided to open a thread for an old west mod based on the map, which has a working title of Goldrush! I'm doing this mostly so that other people can contribute to it; as Blue has noted, I won't be doing any major work on it myself until Lost Worlds is complete.

    The Land that Time Forgot - well, we've already assembled an impressive list of Lost World units, and have the Pellucidar terrain (and perhaps bits of the Jurassic Park terrain) to work with. Supa's Apatosaurus, Plotinus' Mammoth and Tom2050's Sabre Tooth Tiger filled enough huge holes in the units category to make it really feasible. For full effect, I'd suggest that every nature beast be auto-produced, so that there would be a wider variety of them on the map during the game. Absolutely requires Giant Ants.

    And of course, what obsessive graphics maker wouldn't drool at the prospect of making custom maps for Antarctica, Transylvania, or Africa?

    The Blue Sky List isn't really a digression, and we've discussed it before. It is, I think, just a natural result of the tremendous resources we've managed to put together so far. We'd be idiots if it didn't dawn on us that we could do alot of other things with such tools.

    And to be honest, I've only recently considered making a London map, as many of the tools I needed weren't really available until I made Manhattan. Such a thing would make a fine prequel to Lost Worlds, but the tech tree would need tweaking to remove, for instance, the Cavorite Sphere (alas!) and Rocket Ship. The Sphere could be a wonder, perhaps.

    It's been fun reading the exchange between Blue and Supa; the two of you are in synch in a way that was completely unexpected. I have a feeling the Hollow Earth project will be making some major progress, and I couldn't be happier about it. Let me know if there's anything I can contribute to it, but I'd rather stay out of the planning stage; you guys know that material much better than I do.
     
  15. Supa

    Supa Out of Cheese Error

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    I can't help but to be thrilled by all those possibilities. :crazyeye:

    I've finished the prototype, you can see what it looks like.

    Once again, there is no details. More variation can be attained with Mountains Forest and Mountains Jungle. Do you plan to use LM Mountains for something else than walls ? If not, there is another source of variation there.

    I'm not sure I can make the walls higher without making them thinner. I may have an idea but I need to test it first.
     

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  16. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    For the Hollow Earth scenario every terrain slot is needed. Plains, tundra & grassland must be separated out into the cavern terrains & the open area terrains. That means many of the terrain overlays such as the various forest types will be used to create completely different terrains. The same if we're going to have hills & mountains in the places like Pellucidar. One way is to use plains & tundra (with related graphics) for the cave areas. Then one of the associated forest slots can stand in for the mts. Alternatively the lm mts. could have graphics that completely cover the grassland pcx. I haven't worked out what exactly I'm going to do. It depends on the final decisions about variety of terrain, where it's needed and how peculiar the graphics need to be to represent it.

    The wip preview you showed is exciting. Some of the passages look a little narrow, not sure what can be done about that though. One way of making the walls taller might be to add some of the stalagmites to the top. This is just a quick CnP of my experiments based on Tsuga's terrain. The colors don't match and the pcx would end up taller than the terrain pcx can accommodate. But I hope it gives you an idea. I have made files with a lot of color variations including shades of grey. I can give them to you in their raw state if you like.

     
  17. jlvfr

    jlvfr King

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    The more I see here the more I drool :goodjob:
     
  18. Supa

    Supa Out of Cheese Error

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    Blue Monkey >

    I guess you'll use Grasslands, Plains and Toundra, in the Underworld, as Dark Tunnel, Dim Tunnel and Light Tunnel ?

    It could work if I put a terrain (plains) under the walls pcx. It wouldn't be perfect but it could work.

    Could you point me to the passages too narrow ? Some narrow passages aren't actually passages at all. The game engine doesn't always take the best mountains connection to connect two mountains. I guess it was done this way to ensure some variations. I've explained it a few minutes ago in Thakhisis' Walls thread.

    Some passages are actually and a [Wall-North] tile and a [Wall-South] connection, without actual passable tile between.

    I'll try the stalagmite proposition. It's quite different from a classic tunnel take but it doesn't look bad at all. I'm limited by the size allowed for each tile in the PCX. I won't be able to put any stalagmite in the upper side of a tunnel, for example. I was also thinking of making the front wall higher and keeping the behind wall lower.
     
  19. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    I see what you mean about the pseudo-passages. That may be something that can be minimized by the way you build the graphics. I know that there is some small degree to which the overlays (mountains/forests) can extend beyond the frame on the pcx sheet. I think by just a few pixels, but it may be a useful exploit. Certainly worth experimenting with. Combining the front wall higher with darkening behind, like I tried to illustrate with my CnP, could possibly create a useful effect.
     
  20. Balthasar

    Balthasar Wise Man

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    Re: Wall Sizes

    The default pcx size is 128 x 64 pixels (roads, terrain buildings, terrain, etc);
    Mountains are 128 x 90, and Hills are 128 x 70 (approx);
    Jungles, Trees and Marshes are 127 x 87.
    City height is unlimited, but blinks in and out if you make it too wide. Same with the Victory point; my experiments so far are unstable.
    Resources are 50 x 50.

    That's everything, terrain-wise...
     
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