View Full Version : December Entry: Pirate Caverns - The old lighthouse

12-07-2007, 11:43 AM
This looks fun so I think I'll have a stab at it too. Four hours is kinda tight but I have some ideas that ill try out and ill submit whatever I have at 4hrs but ill prob continue if I cant squeeze it in.

I say its tight because id like to try to do a 3D cutaway of a hillside showing the caverns. I have been caving just a handful of times and the interesting thing in real caves is the way they link up with steep shafts and waterfalls and so on. Id like to try out an idea that has been talked about between a few of us on another board where we start with a fractured block and try to run a eroding river through it until it cuts out all of the caves. Thats not really feasible because I don't have a volumetric app like that but I will try it with height fields and overflowing caverns. The obvious drawback is that I wont be able to have vertical pitches but hey, its hard to map those things anyway.

There are a few more reasons why make a play on this. Pirates and sea mean islands and I have my Instant Islands app which can produce something in a few seconds. Also, I keep whittering on about how fast ViewingDale is so its time to bet against my kudos. My texture compositor is pretty geared up for sea and beaches so I think that will be quite quick too.

I'll finish with an image but upload the 3D maps so you can play with the result in my free 3D map browser. I might be able to turn the resulting map into a set of files to use with the demo version of ViewingDale and then you can try it out yourselves. I mean, there was not a single mention of it before I joined. :(

The chances of me getting a 4hr straight run with no interruptions are zilch so I have downloaded a stopwatch app. I'll produce a lot of WIP shots, posts and write ups which I wont bill against the 4 hrs. It will be 4hrs working on the map.

I dreamed up a good back story so ill write that up and sketch up some general ideas and plans about how I am going to attack it.

Three entrants already - excellent ! I reckon the pen and paper guys will do well here. Digital has benefits but its rarely faster.

12-07-2007, 12:45 PM
The back story (www.viewing.ltd.uk/Temp/CGuildPirates/CGuildPiratesBackStory.htm)

12-07-2007, 01:16 PM
The back story (www.viewing.ltd.uk/Temp/CGuildPirates/CGuildPiratesBackStory.htm)
Mmmmm...forbidden literature, I love it! Oh, wait...that's a 403 error when I click your link. :D

12-07-2007, 01:36 PM
Yeah thats real odd. I just got 403'ed myself and it popped me to a kind of proxy which was also 403'ed but now its not doing it anymore ! I just took a peek at the log and I can see several people can see it and you and I cant (or couldn't...) but I don't see any reason for it at this point. Maybe my ISP is messin about with the access right at that point. Its not forbidden to everyone tho. :?

Try it in a mo, PM me if its still bad and ill have to dig further + ill post the text inline instead.

The Cartographist
12-07-2007, 05:11 PM
Redrobes-- I, too, was thinking of mixing a lighthouse on a peninsula with a pirate cavern underneath. BUT you posted your general idea first, so I don't want to take it and be accused of "copying". While my back story is drastically different, the fact that it contains a lighthouse and a cavern makes me leery of pursuing it. Additionally, I was going to do a "side-view" showing the elevations of the various caves.

If you do NOT want me to pursue these elements in my map, please say so, and I can change the concept. If you do not mind, please tell me that as well. I'm going to hold off moving forward until I hear from you.

12-07-2007, 07:13 PM
Yeah, the whole "I don't want to seem like I am stealing etc.", aspect is why I am not going to post anything/read others backstories etc. I really don't want to give my ideas to anyone, and I don't want to get them in return.

That said, I may have posted the fact I am doing old school maps, but I will also not ppst anything until December 30th or thereabouts

12-07-2007, 07:47 PM
Oh I really don't mind what people post even if similar in nature. The map is going to be different and you are going to use different tools. The tools I am about to use are not released yet !. It would be interesting to compare similar ideas anyway. Its not like were going into pitch battle here and there is no big jackpot prize - just a bit of ego and I have enough of that already ;)

I am going to post WIPs as I go with a lot of method / tutorial on how I am going about it. In a sense I wanted to post my ideas early so that I can plan and think about my map knowing that my declaration of intent is already in so nobody can think that I am copying but I don't see the issue here.

The ViewingDale sound bite is "Share the Vision". Thats about being able to share the maps (visual vision) via its net connection and download content as well sharing the ideal (prophetic vision) of zoomable high detail large scale mapping and is why I have the crystal ball with map in it as my logo / avatar.

I have a pretty firm idea of what I want my map to look like but I have never tried out a few of the techniques that ill need to get there. I might have a test or two just to check that its even possible before I start on the map. If it works then it will be totally awesome. If it doesn't then ill just look like an idiot.

12-07-2007, 07:50 PM
NeonKnight - I think the deadline is 26th Dec. At least thats what the sticky contest rules reckon. So don't be late and miss it.

12-08-2007, 08:51 AM
Right, lets start on this...

First up, I have drawn the rough contours for the map. We need a peninsula that forces the water into it instead of dropping down the side of it. That would be an unusual relief to generate that but I reckon that two hills either side of the river and then the peninsula in front should do it. The thieves guild can then dam it and divert off to the right.

I have done this with contours for the cliff, hill and sub sea. They are not uniformly spaces. Since the cliff is 250 feet height I will shade with 2' per gray scale where mid gray is sea level. The top of the cliff, and the sub sea will need to be smoothed a lot to blend it together but the cliff will have to be done separately.

12-08-2007, 09:51 AM
So filling in the contours, using a wide median filter in PSP to remove the contour lines, and then applying some judicious blurring I get these below. I am at 21mins 15secs now. 1/6th the way through my time allocation. Phew this will be close. Edit -- actually thats 1/12 isnt it. Not quite so bad...

12-08-2007, 06:39 PM
I have taken the terrain into my GTS program and put it through a smooth in there. This app works in float so were not limited to the 256 shades of gray now. I added some noise saved it out and then pushed it though my texture compositor. So at 35 mins in it looks like the first image.

Then I got my rocks height map out and sprayed them liberally around the base of the cliff using ViewingDale and added that to the height map. I also cut a river channel by hand and filled it with water. Its a bit dodgy because the water is not using the full sim to get it flat over the terrain. I was burning time at this point.

Finally, I got out ViewingDale and put in some trees, the house, the path and the lighthouse. Then I got PSP out again and did the cave by hand.

By an hour and a half I am here. Probably should have kept more time back for the actual caves but heck time flies when your having fun.

Now that I have the terrain in 3D I have zipped it up and uploaded it. You can get it
here (www.viewing.ltd.uk/viewingdale/temp/forum_demos/PirateCaves/Terrain.zip). Unpack it into a directory. Then download the Dragon Flight app from here (www.viewing.ltd.uk/cgi-bin/viewingdale.pl?category=dragons_flight) and put that into same directory and then run it. You will need to up the res a few times before it looks good but it slows down with higher res.

12-08-2007, 09:46 PM
Its lookin pretty cool thus far...I really like the height map stuff.

12-09-2007, 12:37 PM
Thanks Arcana,

I tried a few test runs on getting my GTS to carve out some caves automatically and it wasnt working too well so I will do the caves the old fashioned way and look into that technique more later. So my caves will in a 2D plane which is not so realistic but its a lot easier. Maybe ill have to get a 3D modeling package out to do it properly - I dont know.

So I drew some caves out and then scanned that in. Did the usual blur and got ViewingDale to liberally spray rocks over the edges. Then after clamping and rendering the result I am now at 2 + 1/2 hrs in. Its not the caves I would have liked but it will have to do.

12-09-2007, 09:06 PM
Initially I considering creating my map in 3D, with some experimentation I realized I needed 8 - 10 hours to do what I needed, so I gave that up right away.

As your work shows doing it in 3D in 4 hours is a serious challenge and a remarkable result if you can do it in time!

I couldn't :?

12-10-2007, 06:55 PM
Yeah I think my original ideas were a bit ambitious for 4 hours. These are 3D but kinda extruded 2D + effects. Thats a little more realistic I think. 3D is slow but you get some stuff for free. The shading on the rocks and the sea + cliffs were all auto generated. I never touched a texture for them at all. The trees which I did manually look much worse I.M.O. I like the way you can look at stuff from the perspective that your characters might be at.

Well I am getting towards the home run now. I did about another 1/4 hr last night just adding some brown into the cave floors to simulate the mud flow that must have happened when the river went through it. I will add all the trimmings next when I have some more time and some labels and then ill probably call it a day. I'll probably submit the ortho and a 3D view of the map and surrounding area. So about an hour left to dress it up a little from here.

12-11-2007, 06:20 PM
Ok Im all done. I have the two maps, one of the caves and one of the sorrounding terrain. I am submitting the top down 2D versions but ill upload the 3D files so that anyone can have a play with them. Since both are larger than the upload limit for this site (7Mb and 5Mb) ill provide the links below.

Caves Map (www.viewing.ltd.uk/Temp/CGuildPirates/CavesFinal.png)
Terrain Map (www.viewing.ltd.uk/Temp/CGuildPirates/TerrainFinal.png)

Piccy below is the final map in 3D. Ill add some links to the zip of 3D files for the caves in a short while. The terrain one is already linked in a previous post.

Edit -- 3D zip of caves here (www.viewing.ltd.uk/viewingdale/temp/forum_demos/PirateCaves/Caves.zip)

12-11-2007, 09:57 PM
It's going to be very difficult to make a voting decision this month! I thought you were nuts to try a 3d approach with a four-hour time limit.

12-31-2007, 11:36 AM
Hmm Even I was thinking of having a lighthouse/Inn with an entrance down to the cave system and I don't even know how to make a map yet. Great minds and all that...

12-31-2007, 11:46 AM
It was a bit cliche huh ?

I reckon the real reason was that if we owned a lighthouse or an inn we would just love to have a secret passage way to a cave system. Well I know I would - like the Bat Cave you just gotta have one !