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Barsoom: World Building

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Steampunk Scenario' started by Blue Monkey, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    Early in map-making I like to make a scaled-down image of the total map as an aid. The minimap just doesn't show enough detail. For the sake of those who might like a peek behind the curtain thought I'd share these along with a few notes ...

    The maps are based on topographics of Mars - with considerations from various maps with Barsoomian details overlain, maps of terraforming and from other games such as Space: 1889 - found at various websites. Basic concept is a set of three maps for the same base scenario. Perhaps with some variation of tech tree & start locations as Mars evolves. The seasons in the titles refer to eras in Mars' evolution rather than actual seasons.

    Spoiler :





    Maps are 256x256 - I like large maps. These are at the initial stage of conversion using bmp2bic. No placement yet of overlay terrain such as forests & rivers. Tundra = marker for volcanos. Need to put lm terrain such as “badlands” in place of some hilly areas. There's a lot more work to do:
    All
    • Break up too geometrical regions such as straight line ranges
    • Break up large swathes of similar terrain
    • Place volcanos

    Spring
    • Add rivers & replace some lakes with flood plains or swamps
    • Add forests & jungles
    • Reduce North Polar tundra

    Summer
    • Follow Spring pattern for forests & jungles but reduce in size
    • More volcanos
    • Change water depths to make shallower
    • More plains & deserts
    • Shrink/remove some lakes
    • Flood plains become grassland
    • Add “artificial” rivers as beginnings of canals

    Autumn
    • More South Polar tundra (snow hills & mts)
    • Place canals
    • Mix Northern desert/plains borders to lessen “coastline” effect
    • More volcanos, especially in Olympus Mons region
    • Less water in Hellas crater - central summit island?
    • Multiple rings for Hellas region?
    • Cydonia landmark terrain?

    NB: These are for a steampunk scenario combining Barsoom with elements from other sources (Space: 1889, Edison's Conquest of Mars, Lieutenant Gullivar Jones: His Vacation, etc.) Balthasar is also working on a more strictly ERB Barsoom scenario.
     
  2. KingArthur

    KingArthur Searching for the Holy Grail

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    Cool, I could see these hanging on a wall :)

    The possibility for some naval action on Mars is a nice idea too - I like the strategic straits you put in.
     
  3. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    Hadn't thought about navies. Barsoomian ships might look something like their flyers - did they evolve from the former?

    The areography is fairly authentic. Based it off the maps posted on some research websites - including some showing what a terraformed Mars would look like. The primary map used for the terrain was the color coded topographic map available at the USGS site, with these terraformed images as a general guide. The details for canals & overlay terrains will use maps of Lowell's canals, those from several Barsoom fansites showing the cities placed on an accurate Mars, as well as some Space 1889 sites such as this one.

    The primary deviation from descriptions of Barsoom is the Lost Sea of Korus being in the North rather than the South. The desertification & loss of atmosphere are evident in the "Winter" map. Caused by the Hellas impact triggering major and sustained volcanic activity around Olympus Mons. Hellas is approximately as deep as Everest is high so that's not entirely implausible. May not be a scientifically accurate catastrophe - but then neither is the presence of an advanced culture on Mars.
     
  4. KingArthur

    KingArthur Searching for the Holy Grail

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  5. Balthasar

    Balthasar Wise Man

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    Well, well, well! It appears that great minds think alike, because while you were doing this, I was doing this. And I swear to god I didn't see this thread until I zipped over here to our forum to tell you both about my new map. Almost posted what would have certainly been an embarrassing announcement in the private thread.

    Like you, I actually made three maps in the process of making my Barsoom map, which is, like yours, based on the topographic mars map. The other two maps are a Wet Mars map and a Dry (modern) mars map, which I may post in the maps thread after I've tweaked a feature or three on it.

    From there, as you noted, our plans appear to diverge. Your plans seem to be for more of an Alien Planet romp, while I'm going back to the original Barsoom/John Carter scenario. Of course, I'd be happy to share anything you guys think you could use.
     
  6. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    The more general space opera map I intended to be played out on the Spring or Summer maps with the Autumn being closer to your original Lost Worlds design. The latter could be simply an alternative map for your Barsoom. If your wet map was more for design than your main scenario interest then perhaps I'll concentrate on that scenario. I like the idea of us making the maps / scenarios in parallel. I don't see it as competition at all. It'll spark a lot of brainstorming & cross-pollination. For example, I'm still working on the Barsoomian cities we worked out the buildings for together and will continue to follow your guidance on those. We may find our ideas re-converging, or braided. If nothing else people will have a variety of maps & terrain graphics to choose from. If we do take different scenario approaches it will be interesting to see what people do by importing rules from one map to another.

    I'm curious about your maps' size. IIRC you favor smaller maps than I do. Even though it's early days I'd like to swap biqs - to take a detailed look at how you handled Hellas & Valles Marinaris. Also the canals' placement. At the very least a larger scale screenshot. What I posted is 25% scale from the montaged screenshot I've got.

    And there remains the question of how much of the discussion needs to be private. I'm sure there is someone out there who would be interested in following our working process. OTOH we don't want to inhibit the discussion.
     
  7. Balthasar

    Balthasar Wise Man

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    As for my preferring to make small maps, I have no idea where you get that idea, but you can see for yourself, as I've sent links to you to download all three of my mars maps. Here's a preview of Barsoom "at 50%", meaning I zoomed all the way out in the editor and took screenshots of the various pieces, then reduced them to 50% to assemble the map image.

    The 'dry Mars' map in particular will require alot of work before it can be released to the public, as it's missing alot of martian terrain features I'd like to include.

    Of course, I don't see myself in competition with you at all either, it's just coincidence that we were working on similar projects at the same time. In fact, it's serendipity, as I know that you and KA have a lot of ideas to contribute to this particular project, and, as you can tell by the recent posts in my workshop thread, I've ported over alot of the ideas we'd been discussing for Barsoom when we were working together on the Lost Worlds mod. I just needed some time to get over the disastrous box office of the 'John Carter' movie. As it turns out, my dad's recent death got me out of that rut: I can only grieve for one thing at a time, and JC ain't it.

    The "Wet Mars" map is yours to do as you please with. I have no plans for it at all. Some ideas off the top of my head for it are a 'Green Mars' scenario, or a futuristic Terraforming-in-progress scenario, that assumes the use of the canal pipes as a 'greening' technique. We haven't tried our collective hand at actual Sci-fi yet.
     
  8. KingArthur

    KingArthur Searching for the Holy Grail

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    I don't tend to like big maps mainly because I hate long waits during AI turns. However, I love all the work you guys do.

    I went with a 100x100 map for the Earth map but during playtesting it struck me that the world was too small. I think the Steampunk theme deserves big maps. My perverse solution has been to abandon maps altogether and go for a no map biq - a mod rather than scenario. This has turned out to be very liberating as I no longer feel that I have to include or exclude civs based on their placement on a map.
     
  9. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    Ah! It was you rather than Balthasar. With the arid Martian map(s) I hope to avoid this by restricting harbors to a very few along the canals. Use of the airships to cross the otherwise impassable deserts & mts. Also limit number of units by auto production / requiring localized resources. Using the recently revealed method for delayed production could represent a cohort of maturing Tharks. And microzones - iirc it was Supa that taught me that one?

    Lets the player choose their preferrred map size. I guess this could be done for a planetary romance if canals were rivers rather than a special terrain. Also could do something along the lines of changing the nature of the scenario by careful selection of civs for any particular game. To be explained in a readme as well as elsewhere. With or without Earth colonies, Wells' Martians, Selenites, Amtor (ERB Venus), Ming ...

    Would a random map import work without changing the current +rules of the Earth scenario?
     
  10. Balthasar

    Balthasar Wise Man

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    Not perverse at all; in fact, I think you're onto something there, KA. On the flip side of that, I think some of my best work sprung from instances when I came onto the scene after a mod had already been developed, i.e., your Super Scenario and Malbeth's Jurassic Park.
     
  11. KingArthur

    KingArthur Searching for the Holy Grail

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    It was me I confess.
    All good ways to speed up turns - actually with the amount of water on your map the path calcs shouldn't take so long to compute. Microszones are a good gameplay feature to allow units/buildings or wonders to be tied to certain regions.

    Yes that would be a way to allow random maps and allow a mix of Space 1889 civs to co-exist with ERB's Barsoomian and Wells' Martians and the other civs you mention - Ming would be truly "fun".

    Only slight changes are required - some civs may have to be non playable e.g. Kor, Cthulhu, Carpathians. The Etherium resource would be randomly distributed but that just means all civs will have a chance to build those wonders. My basic plan is to have 3 types of civs: (1) Nation states like GB that have access to the full tech tree and units; (2) Native Powers that can contest Era 1-2 through cheap units and a unique gov that imparts a lot of free units (think hordes of Zulu or Sioux). They would also have a Wonder: Spirit Dance that will autoproduce a powerful Ancestor Spirit to allow one of them to stay competitive beyond era 2. Finally, (3) there will be one city civs that produce powerful units e.g Cthulhu / Tharks / Vampires etc.

    [/QUOTE]Perverse in the sense that I wasted so much time with the map. And I don't agree: I think your creativity extends to everything you do and I mean that most sincerely.
     
  12. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    Haven't looked at Balthasar's files yet, but look forward to it.

    Playing EFZI2:C I realized that the canals could be done similarly to the road terrain. There would still be the "unrealism" of units crossing the canals everywhere.* OTOH canal barges - being land vehicles - wouldn't go into the seas. & it would be a lot easier to do the graphics than working with the lm & coast terrain files.

    * Maybe using an impassable terrain overlay? Jungle with graphics to match the banks? And stationary boats for bridges?
     
  13. Balthasar

    Balthasar Wise Man

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    You definitely want to look at those maps before considering that option. For starters, the roads in EFZI, like the roads in the Superscenario, take up the plains files, and you'll need plains on Mars.

    Secondly, you may not realize just how much space a canal that size can take up on the map. I know, I made some canals that size initially, and they dominated the map.

    Here are the files I used, so that you can test them (renamed, of course).

    View attachment deltaRivers Canals.pcx
    View attachment mtnRiversCanals.pcx

    A better option to consider perhaps, if you want navigable canals, is to use coast terrain, as I did to make the river Iss. Takes up less space, but negates the idea of using the map with the oceans.
     
  14. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    Definitely. Looking under the hood of EFZI is high on the list. For general purposes as a paragon of modding.

    Something tells me that if it can be done with plains it can be done with another terrain. Tundra? One of the terrains available with hex-editing?

    If you mean graphically dominant that's solvable. If something else a little more explanation is needed. Thanks for the files - will definitely steal from them take a look.

    That's the killer right there. Definitely want remnant seas. Maybe restrict the canals to tundra/coast. If I go with the coastal solution Pounder's canal terrain may be a good start for the graphics. Might be the optimal solution - despite losing the ability to have canals cross all terrains. Tundra Coast + HN boats for bridges.
     
  15. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    A Guide To Barsoom "Official" - assume that means the author has been vetted by the ERB estate. He certainly seems to be considered an authority. Looks very thorough, thinking about getting it.
     
  16. Balthasar

    Balthasar Wise Man

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    Maybe. The book was written before there was an ERB website, and IMHO, most of the 'information' in the book is already online, judging by a scan of the book's table of contents. Don't forget, ERB was making it all up as he went along, and there are many contradictions from story to story, and even within the stories themselves. Sort of like the Star Trek series in that regard, though fans will never cease to attempt to reconcile it all...
     
  17. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    glad you pointed that out. More poking around found an edition published in 1976 and another in '79. Still, he is referenced often at the ERBZine site, even if only as a beginning point for further research. Worth noting that they include the book in their swag store. I still find it easier to read essays in a book rather than on-line.

    Including geography. Which is one reason to look at what scholars of the Wold Newton variety have to say on the topic.
     
  18. Balthasar

    Balthasar Wise Man

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    ..which is where Barsoom came into the picture in the first place. I knew we'd come full circle, eventually.
     
  19. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    Looking at the map previews after some time away it seems that the Summer coastlines are too similar to the Spring. Probably should make them something more intermediate between Spring & Autumn. More low-lying islands? More convoluted main coastline?
     
  20. Supa

    Supa Out of Cheese Error

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    Doubtful. Although I've played with micro-zones and probably talked a little about it here and there, you're more likely to have picked it up from the SoE team.

    Edit: Or, apparently, from King Arthur. :hatsoff:

    Ah, that's great. Gullivar Jones is on my reading list. Did you read the recent Dynamite Entertainment Gullivar/John Carter mini-series, Warriors of Mars ?

    Conquest of Mars weird looking Martians could be fun additions. When I'm in the mood to reconcile their appearance with H.G. Wells' WotW Martians, I imagine them as an experiment to vanquish Earth diseases by taking quite a few biological tricks from us, humans.

    Another scenario to watch for !
     

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