Tuesday, March 15, 2011

3D Space Hulk style Map Development part 2

Well, I've got the casting material (hydrostone), the foam board sheets, and am now waiting for the moulds to arrive in the mail. Then I'll have to buy whatever miscellaneous tools I need (thumping board, sponges, garbage bags, measuring cups, etc).

I worked out what my initial map tiles would be for my game. Instead of the narrow confines of a derelict spaceship, I'm playing in large subterranean corridors and chambers of colonies on planets and asteroids. I've made corridors two tiles wide, so that larger figures like Sentinels, medium sized aliens, and small transport vehicles such as the Star Wars rebels' hover troop transport. Basically, it's a high-tech colony with power stations, warehouses, living quarters, mess halls, and all that sort of thing. To make it more customisable, I'm making all the objects - crates, lifts, reactors, beds, computers, etc - as seperate stand-alone objects that can be sat anywhere on the map to turn it into whatever part of the colony the level is set in.

To get started, I've draft-quality printed (uses only a little amount of ink, and is at a very, very low DPI) a sample set of map tiles arranged as a map. I'll now cut out all the different sections, blu-tack them onto the foam board, and outline them in pencil, then cut all the foam board sections out. I can then 'test play' on the map, using the printed tiles sitting on top of the foamboard to lay out different maps.

It's made up of rooms, L-corridors, T-corridors, dead ends, and so forth, as 'map sections' that can be rearranged to create different levels.

Then, when the moulds arrive, and I start casting the 3D pieces to make the real map, I can just do it a section at a time - pull off the printed paper picture, and glue on the 3D floors and walls to make a 3D map section. Then I can still play on it, even though it's incomplete, and just make a section at a time :)

Anyway, here's some pictures to show the 'industrial colony scale' of the maps (rather than 1 square wide corridors and tiny rooms of a cramped spaceship) with plenty of room for scenery objects, troops, and even medium sized miniatures to move around. Note though: it's still less than 5 x 3 feet and most gaming boards people do are 6 x 4 feet, so while it looks big, and fills my 5 x 3 table, it's not as big as it seems (though plenty big enough for me!)

It'll look much better too, once the paper has been replaced by the 3d model terrain / scenery! My first 'project' is to make the map sections that can assemble this map layout. Then I'll make whatever I need for other level layouts later.

groups of figures can move about the colony, adding some group tactics options to the levels. Of course, small piles of crates, rubble, etc, can be littered about for partial cover or obstructions.

A military Sentinel can be dispatched during emergencies, with just enough room to manoeuvre and fire if there's any trouble in the colony! If there is stuff littering the corridor, vehicles like the Sentinel can blast it away, allowing them to continue along.

Here's a hover troop transport for speeding around the colony, or transporting cargo.

And the foam board ready for action! I got the PVC coated one, which has a thin plastic-ish coating on both sides, ensuring it won't warp or curl. The cardboard foam board sheets can curve from moisture, just like normal cardboard or paper can, but with the PVC coating, it's really rigid and flat. (Also hard to cut without a very sharp stanley knife. One of my hobby knives broke it's blade, but the stanley knife cuts fine.)

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