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new terrain idea from Ciabs: 2.5D terrain!

 Post subject: new terrain idea from Ciabs: 2.5D terrain!
PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 2:49 pm 
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ok, so I went on another of my furious hyperhyped paper-engineering sprees and got the beta for a new kind of very simple, very easy to produce 2.5D terrain that I'd like to share... :)

first of all, some reasons: I wanted to be able to use "something" as terrain that responded to the following:

it had to be modular;

it had to be fast to be prepared;

it had to be cheap;

it had to be really easy to put away and store in a small space;

so I brainstormed myself silly and came to the conclusion that I would have to go with:

something made of paper;

something that wouldn't be more complicated than just fold&glue (ie: 2.5D);

now I present a first untextured version of what I've prepared; I took blatant inspiration from the old Necromundan underhive - the one that came with the box of the game, made of paper floorings and plastic bulkheads - and developed something mine...

oh, this beta version is for 15mm miniatures, but I think it's half an hour worth of work to adjust the sizes to fit 28/30mm minis... :)

now onto the pictures..!

Image

this is the basic modular "wall" piece; as you can see it has slots to connect it with other walls, or with other "stump walls", as I call them, in order to create a more Necromundan bulkhead if need be;

Image

this is an example as how a basic structure is when put together; at this moment I cut out all the panels I've prepared, to leave more room and gameplay possibilities, but nothing forces me to leave the inner paper where it is, texturize the things differently and create actual walls; as for now I plan on texturing the things for sci-fi action, but the modular structure can be applied to any setting, given proper texturization...

Image

here you can see how I designed roofs/floorings; as you'll probably already noticed in the previous pics, there are little slots on the top of each wall piece, as well as little voids corrispectively at the bottom (to be able to pile more levels onto each other and create more complex structures); this little slots also serve in order to attach roofs, which in turn have little L-shaped slots cut out of them, in order to be placed near the two connecting top-slots of each wall piece;

I know, words sound kinda messy, just look at the picture and you'll get it just fine :P

Image

Image

finally, a selection of some of the wall pieces I've prepared so far and a test build with some 15mm paper miniatures, so you can see what it could look like on the battlefield;

the whole thing it's still missing the "wall stumps" I was talking about before (they're basically two stumped walls that let a lone wall piece to stand upright on its own, and to create the L-shaped slot for any floor I want to put on it) and walkways to connect the various structures, but most of the work and calculating is done at this point...

truly, this kind of "thing" I've put together this time doesn't go well for anything; it can be used mainly for buildings, futuristic hive cities as in necromunda, or for war-torn cities full of collapsed structures, but with some minor modifications and custom pieces I think it could be adapted for anything that it's not a tree or a natural element, so I'm kinda happy with the result so far... :)
also, what else could a necromunda player want from his terrain..? :P

so, what do you think of it..? :D


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:35 pm 
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I think it looks pretty awesome :)

a bit more color on it would be nice, but i imagine it wouldn't be hard to just get at least a plain color on those ourselves ;)

this looks very interesting to me... is it just regular paper? it looks more like some kind of moderately thick card...

(edit: one question: out of curiosity, how hard is it to take layers off? if it could just come right off, i think it'd be pretty handy to be able to just lift off the top if you want to have a battle on one of the lower levels, even moreso than cutting out the walls... )


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 3:58 am 
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SharkForce wrote:
I think it looks pretty awesome :)


thanks for the compliments :)

SharkForce wrote:
a bit more color on it would be nice, but i imagine it wouldn't be hard to just get at least a plain color on those ourselves ;)


obviously this is a template-only beta print, I'm gonna add some texturing via photoshop and then print the final version ;)

SharkForce wrote:
this looks very interesting to me... is it just regular paper? it looks more like some kind of moderately thick card...


it's just regular 200g/m^2 cardboard (sorry, italian here, don't know how much lbs is this paper :P ) printed on two mirrored sides, scored at the midline, folded and glued together...

SharkForce wrote:
(edit: one question: out of curiosity, how hard is it to take layers off? if it could just come right off, i think it'd be pretty handy to be able to just lift off the top if you want to have a battle on one of the lower levels, even moreso than cutting out the walls... )


keep in mind that the thing is always paper (however heavy it ends to be, as the two glued carboard sides end up as the equivalent 400g/m^2 paper, something similar to the paper floors in the old necromunda box), so the whole structure is kinda light, and while going broad on the flooring slots wil help you to take out the floors more freely, it could also mean they tend to shuffle a little in their place...

anyway there's no problem in taking them out, if you want you just cut the slots a little broader and you're done :)

at this moment, with the floor in the beta I can lift the whole structure (which is also quite sturdy) without it coming out, but with a little pressure I can free it...


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 2:44 pm 
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Great idea, I hope you keep sharing with us. I want to use your ideas to make some simple corridor and stair sections to make offices on different levels.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 3:01 am 
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I like it too - I was always big fan of modular structures which you can easily disassemble for transport/storage. This one beats them all as it's properly flat packed. When I was reading the post for the first time I thought you're from Sweden at some point :)

Are you thinking about expanding this structure to become something big (e.g. 5 floor high warehouse and surrounding buildings with multiple walkways in between sounds cool for me and achievable with your system), or you're just going to concentrate on relatively small pieces of terrain?

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:23 am 
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well, at this point I'm just gonna scrap that B&W beta print and go with something like this:

Image

:)

before you scream in agony, keep in mind that the ivy is there because with this specific texturing I want to produce Mutants and death ray guns terrain pieces at 15mm scale, so don't burn me at the stake for having put plants in an hive city :P

anyway, if you guys are interested I could prepare 28mm templates of my wall pieces and share the actual 300dpi .png file of it, either blank or properly necromunda-textured; this though, would have to wait some days (especially the necromunda-flavoured texturing :P )... :)

the only real limit I have with structure dimensions is whatever my printer lets me print, and that means that any wall I produce at this point is roughly 12" as maximum lenght; that would mean one and a half times the longest wall you can see in the previous pictures, after adapting it to 28mm scale;

the biggest limit comes from roofing though, since even if printing the two sides of the roof on single cardboard sheets, I still can't go anything more than 12"x7" wide;
true, this is a problem only if you REALLY want to do everything via printer (and alas, I do :P ) since you could always just draw whatever roof on any surface, cut out the slots in proper places and have your ginormous roof... :)

anyway, other than those limits (which are obviously more evident in a 28mm scale setting than they are in 15mm) that force you not to have any wall longer than 12", you're basically free to build whatever structure you like on monday, then use the same pieces with a different roof to transform it in something else on tuesday and so on...

as you may have read I also tought of "wall stumps" that let single wall pieces to stand upright on their own, without having to connect them to other walls; this way you're pratically using the old plastic bulkheads from the boxed underhive of necromunda, with which possibilities are endless... :)

so, let me know if someone's interested in the thing... :wink:

EDIT: by the way, I actually do have some kind of Ikean experience on my shoulders..! :P


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:57 am 
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Ciabs wrote:
well, at this point I'm just gonna scrap that B&W beta print and go with something like this:

Image

:)

before you scream in agony, keep in mind that the ivy is there because with this specific texturing I want to produce Mutants and death ray guns terrain pieces at 15mm scale, so don't burn me at the stake for having put plants in an hive city :P


nah, we can just make it some sort of horrific death ivy that squirts a paralytic contact poison at you while it drags you into it's clutches to be slowly digested alive :)

anyways, as far as making larger buildings, i would think you could do it if you made some kind of support columns that joined multiple 12x7 pieces together for the floor, and if you had a roof that was designed to connect to two different bottom pieces (sort of like how bricks are laid not directly on top of each other, but overlapping)


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:19 am 
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you know, I actually thought of that, but if you read my premises for this terrain project, you'll see that I wanted something really quick and easy;

adding column-like connectors (something like Worldworks' Terrainlinx Terrain) would have required too much work and the need to re-engineer the whole connecting distances, so I didn't bother; true, I could always find a way around it (actually I've got one or two ideas running), but I don't know if that's really the case to do that;

having walkways and such in project one can always join two structures to function as a single macro-structure, so going REAL big shouldn't be a problem;

what can be a problem is the cutting of some of the lines in the template; nominally, one should be ruler-precise for the upper side cuts, as well as with the lower side scoring, since incongruencies there will either have your structure or your roof end up instable;

again, for the upper side connecting slots you have to go kinda precise with the cuts, while going slightly broader on the lower side voids, so that when piling two structures one on another you don't have to wrestle with your structures before finding the best position... :)

this is a papercraft problem more than a problem of my project, since it's difficult to hand-cut as precisely as a machine would do, but luckily it's nothing so unpassable... :)

regarding the overlapping-bricklike construction scheme, that's just not a problem here; any roof connects ONLY with the walls below it, so you can adjust upper structures any way you like; I made the voids just to let you place the walls directly above the lower level, but nothing forces you to experiment with that... :)


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 3:16 pm 
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medium wall piece preview:


Image


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:46 am 
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Wow, great stuff man. Having always been a proponent of pragmatism over aesthetics I would not mind playing on that in the slightest. Of course, for Necromunda you'd need very stiff card or something, but this would be nice to flesh out tables very quickly, and provide tons of ground cover without killing the game.
Keep it coming!!!

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:30 pm 
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My wife has a cricut machine. Would there be any way of getting that to work on something like that where it cuts the things out for you as it prints them? (I'm doubtful, but I thought I'd ask anyway, just in case)

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:31 am 
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I don't know about this specific model your wife has, anyway on the paper terrain&miniatures scene there's a lot of use for robotic cutters, the most used being the Craftrobo and the Silhouette SD; both of these cutters use .gsd files that can be easily programmed in order to cut any kind of sheet - given it's properly formatted - and cuts this simple as the ones needed for this project of mine should be really easy to get done...

so the answer is yes, there's a way to automatically cut these templates (as well as anything else :P ), but still I can't specifically say for your cutter...

hope that helped, I'm trying to keep up with the texturing, I'll let you guys know how things are going... :)


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 3:09 pm 
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work update; I finished the wall pieces, at least a first texturization of each lenght;

here are the previews :)

Image

Image

Image

Image

and the "wall stump" piece that serves to create proper necromunda bulkheads if one wants to (it can also serve to create collapsed structures that don't have all their sides still in place... :) )

Image

I kept in mind gameplay options before eyecandiness, ie I put all the stuff on these walls so that I can decide for each piece I produce to either:

1) leave it as it prints;

2) cut out the whole inner panel (maybe doing a jagged cut where planks are being cut, so that it seems they're just broken planks);

3) cut out the metallic parts on the inner panel, so the planks seem to be put there as makeshift barricades rather than as structure reinforces;

4) any combination of the above;

this way even with just one texturization I can create more than one kind of wall piece for any given lenght; it's also true that nothing stops me from making other texturizations in the future, but for this first draft I'll leave it as it is and move onto the floors; then when also the walkways will be finished, I'll be able to begin assembling all this stuff together and see what happens... :)

one quick trivia: as dumb as I am, I noticed only after having almost finished the large (9cm) wall piece that the vertical mirroring I used onto the images to get their back side screwed all the signs I put on the image itself, so I had to go and redo again the small and medium wall pieces to fix it... :-*

...and yes, before you ask, every wall piece is meant to be printed with its back side as a mirror of the front side, since this is the only way to be able to cut each wall piece in the aforementioned styles and get proper results...
minor incongruencies will be noticed with the plankings, but frankly at this point I don't really care this much :P
those walls ain't no minis anyway, and while playing the incongruencies will be barely noticeable...


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 4:58 pm 
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aye mate they look really great :)

as you say during a game terrain is background, anything better than plain cardboard is a bonus. The better it looks the bigger the bonus, and those pieces give a good amount of bonus points.

Would be easy to add or subtract bits from those pieces to make them individual if you used a lot of it.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 10:00 am 
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this is great! i love card terrain, and this stuff looks sweet. if you put up the blanks i'd love to ink them for you, perhaps think up a few new pieces? one thing i would say is that it's good to have some open doorways- those portal doors make movement a bit tricky sometimes.

i think this deserves recognition. excellent stuff!


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