View Full Version : July Challenge: The four Haskwood Canifers

07-10-2008, 04:09 PM
Long ago there were mighty Haskwood Canifers found throughout Ansium. These tall and straight trees would stretch up to the sky with barely a branch before 100' and then spray the canopy wide. They were rare but treasured by lumberjacks as well as carpenters and were cut only if there was a need for such a straight and true trunk.

Then later when outsiders came in and took them away for ships masts and other less needy uses the population of them dwindled. As such the price for them went up and the species as a whole became almost extinct in Ansium.

They were obliterated first in areas next to water where they could be cut and floated away. Next, the ones on the plains and then the hills.

Only in one area did they continue to exist. In the fenlands the trees were cut where they could be, but there were areas where it would be insanely hazardous to go let alone cut trees and haul them away. So there were years where you could see a Haskwood Canifer from afar in the lowlands around Deathchaser Fen.

It so happened that there was a drought (does the US spell this word as stupidly as the english?) and the water receeded allowing Ebenezer Longaxe deep enough into Deathchaser Fen to fulfil a lucrative contract for four Haskwood Canifers for a set of ships. A platoon of armed guards and helping hands were hired and set off for Deathchaser Fen. After much toil, a few attacks, the sweat and loss of coin for Ebenezer the four trunks were hauled up to Thrub. Ebenezer set the huge trunks down in the lumber yard and waited for the return of his client for the rest of his coin. The contact did not show and the trees sat idle for several years.

Sangham Delling was a property developer eyeing a site ripe for a new upmarket inn. The plans were audacious with a large and open bar with side saloon. The area would be large and it needed pillars to hold up such a monstrous roof. The four Canifers would be perfect and knowing that they sat idle made an offer which for ordinary lumber would have been ample but for Haskwoods from Deathchaser Fen ? Ebenezer thought not and the pair argued for a while and the animosity over it grew. Nobody else wanted to pay to have these enormous trunks hauled across wilderness for weeks and Ebenezer would not back down and accept the loss after the memory of the fens.

Well Ebenezer suffered yet more loss when his sawmill caught fire. Many suspected foul play but with no evidence and facing ruin the trunks went to Sangham, Ebeneezer left for a new life and the Inn was started. The carpenters were about to strip the bark when Sangham insisted that the full glory of the Haskwoods show through. They were to be made the center of attention and a personal gloat for Sangham. In fact the Inn would be named "The Four Haskwood Canifers" just so that noone would foget it.

Here is the original sketch - which does not show the trunks... but heck what can you do ? The map is much further on than the sketch now. More to follow.

07-10-2008, 04:56 PM
Most excellent intro to the Haskwood Canifers, I like a good tell with a good map, especially a Good Tell which this is.

07-10-2008, 05:10 PM
I love the concept.

I especially like it because when people think of human controlled extermination of species, we tend to only think in the modern world.

We have however, been responsible for many exterminations:

Tasmanian Wolf
Dodo Bird

are two that come to mind.

But in the plant world, as far back as ancient Egypt and the time of Knossos we humans over harvested the plant Silphium to extinction.


So, I like this idea, I like it a lot.

07-10-2008, 05:10 PM
Most excellent intro to the Haskwood Canifers, I like a good tell with a good map, especially a Good Tell which this is.
SeerBlueThanks, I thought I'd steal the two names from your list too and the other one from the post :)

I have been impressed with the sketchup and I also said that maybe I should do a 3D job next time - actually that was two times ago on the April Challenge I think - Fentor Cross Church so I have a little more time now to throw at some 3D modeling.

I have been keeping WIP pics so here are one or two starters.

I first copied in the basic shape of the inn and blocked it in for the two lavels. I thinned the walls to a more sensible thickness - something like 2ft and put in the tree trunks. I have been moving the position of the trunks about a bit as the model has progressed so that they make more sense structurally.

I keep all of the surfaces as bold colors at this stage as I know ill texture them later. For now its all about shape and getting the basics in right. I know from experience that if you have too many stray points then any boolean ops later go badly wrong. So the key is simple clean shapes for now.

### Latest WIP ###

07-10-2008, 05:35 PM
Blimey, you must have pushed the send button at exactly the same time - I saw my post appear behind yours when it appeared. Thats a first for me !

Thats interesting about the Silphium and I never heard of it. It makes me so mad when people selfishly take last remaining specimens of stuff. And when they take it so they can drape fur or get some tiger bone for an aphrodisiac etc well I could just shoot them. That Silphium could be mans last cure for something serious and its gone. I guess its been happening all the time even by animals etc but we ought to be above that level.

Anyway, blood pressure down... calm...

I put the two sets of stairs in and made the balustrades. Much easier done digitally with a nice clone tool I think :) I put a bit of effort into this bit because I'd like to make some nice torch lit scenes later on and the balcony should provide some great views.

This is being done is lightwave but its an old copy as I can't afford to keep upgrading all the time. So I have already run out of its model point limit at a mere 64K. Hah, who thought that 64K would be enough in a model - thats crazy thinking. I really should move over to Blender but I can play this instrument and its such a chore to learn a new one. This one has faults but I know where most of them are now and work around them. You will see some more bugs from it later - sigh. And its very slow - like cup of tea per render slow but I still like it as an app. One thing is that it does not crash often and I know what does make it crash so I don't do those things with it and then its alright.

07-10-2008, 06:08 PM
All I can say is 'wow'!

07-10-2008, 06:18 PM
Fick, thats good, we really like the spiral staircase, really, really like it. Ours is a bit of a bodge job, but Snap is in pretty tough times so there stonemason ain't the best...suffers from Pother's Fog.

You should check out the free version of Houdini, seems pretty powerful, even runs on this old laptop, I just use it for fun once and a while.

I also have a bit of the abbey in thrub inwork, and now that I have learned enough (meaning let ruby scripts do the hard stuff) to actually make a go of it in Sketchup and have it look good I will get back to it after Snapgallows and Hebbies.

Really good work, oh, did I say we like the Tell also,,,yup, we do.
SeerBlue and the FHCO's

07-10-2008, 07:25 PM
...we really like the spiral staircase...
I make them like a real one. All you have to do is make a single step. Thats a round central column bit with a wedge shape coming off of it. Extrude it by 6 inches and thats one step. Then find the height required and divide that by 6 inches to see how many steps your gonna need. Then take the rotation angle which in my case was 180 and divide that by the number of steps. Right so get out the clone object and ask it for that many clones with 6 inch Y offset and angle rotation per clone. Zap a full set of spiral steps appears. I did the same for another challenge :- http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=1475 Werthers Skull where I put in an iron staircase. Same technique but its tricker there because the hand rail must line up with the next step. Did that by guess, trial and error - second only to a pencil in the box of invaluable tools !

You should check out the free version of Houdini, seems pretty powerful, even runs on this old laptop, I just use it for fun once and a while.I will but I know Blender is going forward at a considerable rate. Its just the UI thats getting in my way. I really should hit it tho. Torq said he has some knowledge of it and can lend a tip or two. The thing is that I only use 1/10th of the capabilities of all these apps. I don't do bones and inverse kinematics, all the spline patched stuff, lofting etc. I need the app to do about 20 things real well and thats it. Maybe Houdini can provide that - I will definitely have a play.

Oh and I really really should try sketchup sometime too....

oh, did I say we like the Tell also,,,yup, we do.I believe you did :) Its your magnificent writing thats prompted me to elaborate on this a little more. I write like a right chav tho.

"...then this geezer came along and got some gear and then it was alright innit."

well thats what it feels like looking at it after reading yours.

07-10-2008, 07:33 PM
Ok so then I made the bar and put some doors into all the holes I made for them. As somebody mentioned on another thread (Toff?) these doors need to be thinner than the walls by a considerable margin so I have made some chamfered door frame and put a simple door into it. I know I should add the doors as separate objects in the scene editor but I am lazy and I can edit these out later anyway. A 3D editor is not a VTT after all.

So a few more WIPs showing the staircase - you can see how its made of individual steps. And the bar.

07-10-2008, 08:02 PM
I really do hope you're going to change the textures soon...I'm expecting John Travolta to come out on to that floor any moment now....

Too much wine, but the thought of John Travolta doing his Saturday Night Fever dance in a Tavern full of half-orcs just gave me the giggles.

07-10-2008, 08:12 PM
I really do hope you're going to change the textures soon...I'm expecting John Travolta to come out on to that floor any moment now....Ohhh I am seeing a vision of doing an animation... one involving a mirror ball and bullseye lanterns....

Well I have been busy... Here are some more textured and lit versions. This is getting closer to where its currently stood w.r.t indoor main hall.

07-10-2008, 08:19 PM
Now I gotta say I am having trouble understanding the lighting in that last image. The torches don't seem to be lighting up the pillar they are attached to and that the light is going through them and lighting up the opposite side. Also the light flare from the rear torch is showing even though its behind the pillar but I think that is a bug in the app - or maybe an unticked option on my part.

As usual, the textures come from cgtextures.com and I made them (moderately) seamless in the usual way. Its all a bit too clean at mo but whether it will allow me to dirty it up enough I don't know yet. That would be easy to do in 2D but wheres the fun in that eh ?

It still needs some pillars holding up the elevated floor and more decoration. Some of that should be easy but it would be easier in 2D for sure. This is where doing it in 3D starts to hurt.

07-10-2008, 08:22 PM
Hmm you may need to ramp up the reflection on the pillars a bit and to make the lighting work to a squared range (it may be infinite).

It's looking really good RR!

07-10-2008, 08:28 PM
I think your absolutely right. I am sitting here staring at it. I think the app is doing its thing correctly but it looks like a linear drop off not squared. The tops of the pillars are black because the angle to the light is acute. In real life there would be more light there because the distance to light is small. So small distance acute angle beats long distance normal angle. As is, the program is lighting up the pillars opposite because the angle is normal. I think the drop off should make that less well lit than its showing. I don't know if I can control the light drop off but ill check. Maybe use a smaller drop off distance and up the brightness might do a similar effect even if linear.

Still think the light flare is a bug tho ;)

07-10-2008, 08:39 PM
I might as well catch you up with the state of play outside too. So these will be the final WIPs tonight as this is where I am at so far.

The first shows the latest image (first so that its my latest WIP image). So talking about the second first... I have put a roof on it and got some tiled texture on that. I also put in the stable doors and sorted that out.

The first image shows the windows put in. Also done the fence posts. Was going to use the same texture for the posts as Fentor Cross church but it was evil trying to get the texture to line up exactly on all of the posts. I dunno maybe its working in imperial and rounding errors crept in. It wouldn't align to them so I used a procedural wood texture in the end.

The bushes are just spheres, jittered and textured with some hedge I saw the other day when out for a walk. So they are a bit weak but ill live with that for a while as the rest of the inn needs more love than the hedge.

I did a quick top down render and then imported that into ViewingDale. Then I use multiple bits of ground texture to build up a 2D image. Then saved that out and used that as an overall covering. Touched up the path with a bit of lightness added in a raster editor thats all.

Tables cloned from indoors and there we go. Pleased with that as the challenge is about the top down cut aways so theres no need to go mad over the outside I think.

### Latest WIP ###

07-10-2008, 10:41 PM
Wow, you are one of the quick and good, which I guess beats being one of the Quick and the Dead.

If you do decide to venture into sketchup, let me know and I will post some ruby script links, which may be something else your good at, from just reading your last post about lights, angles, falloff,,,,which is something SeerBlue only knows about after to many Pochards at Hebbies.

Looking forward to more, writing and renders.


07-10-2008, 11:10 PM
Dayum, I didn't know sketch-up even had lighting...or is that only in the pay version? Lookin veeeery nice.

07-10-2008, 11:49 PM
Redrobes is using Lightwave, I think, but yes Free Sketchup has Lighting, and some excellant free photorealistic renderers, namely Indigo (http://www.indigorenderer.com/joomla/), via the skIndigo exporter, which is at the Indigo site forum for exporters (http://www.indigorenderer.com/joomla/forum/) and a more robust renderer Kerkythea (http://www.kerkythea.net/joomla/)

For Indigo/skIndigo you set everything up in Sketchup and run it from a plugin, Kerkeythea puts a handy little tool bar right in Sketchup,,,though you may have to enable it to see it.
Take a look at the links, there are some awesome Sketchup works rendered there.
Sandbox is also in the free version of sketchup, just needs to be enabled in the view>toolbar menu so you can use it, makes some nifty terrain for your models to set on.

07-11-2008, 03:04 AM
Redrobes, I love the model man, interior and exterior. It looks like the kind of place thats just perfect for a group of adventurers to find solace, not too near civilisation, but with a few comforts, to take away the nightmares and the ferrous reek of blood.....but only for a while.


07-12-2008, 07:37 PM
Machine just stopped chuggin so theres a new set of pics to post. *Damn* slow this 3D thing... Anyway, ill render a few more top down and then head back into 2D land. I am just playing like a kid in a sweetshop with the 3D this month. Screw the challenge :D

So I have been plugging away a bit more at it with more textures and detail. Its about finished inside now - at least in the main hall. Unfortunately John Travolta couldn't make this evenings show as I think making an animation with this tool would turn me into a fossil. Does anyone know if there is a modeler / anim package that uses Gelato as its backend ? I have some decent nVidia card here to do it on...

Anyway. Just some interior renders of the main bar. I wanted these to look right before I did the map as there would be an inconsistency with it if I tried to do it the other way around. So the 2D might have more rough and trinklets splattered about but the core of the map will be the same I think.

I found that there was a big black shadow hole in the middle of the trees so I have added a bowl suspended on a chain. In the bowl there are hundreds of magical fire-flies that dance continuously. All different colors but the overall effect is a slightly greenish glow. I doubt that there would be much obvious magic in Thrubland but an upmarket Inn of this level might just be the place to find it.

I am posting these half size but PNG as I think the renders deserve the quality. If you want a double sized one then PM/email me. I have one more indoor one to do but for that ill try turning up the refractive index on the bowl and seeing if that looks better. Should take even longer tho... sigh.

07-12-2008, 07:48 PM
This is looking spectacular, Redrobes!!! More bits....more bits and pieces in the bar!!

07-12-2008, 07:53 PM
...more bits and pieces in the bar!!She canna take it cap'n she gonna blow...

What do you think I should add ? It has to be prominent and look good from above as thats what I am concentrating on for the 2D map. Lots of people would be nice... and totally impossible with my setup & lack of character models.

07-12-2008, 07:57 PM
Sod the good looking from above! Tallow candles on the tables, a few wargs in the corner, by a roaring fire! A rack with weapons upon it, dirty rugs or sawdust, a few barrels dripping ale, a spit with roasting meat upon the fire....that sort of thing.

07-12-2008, 08:06 PM
Yeah I was afraid you say something like that :)

Candles I could model in a flash - quick lathe job easy. But you would want them lit right ? Well this app seems to go progressively slower for each light source. I happen to have a dogs head here ! (Labrador I think... mneh ! Vicious killer labradors anyone ????). I wonder if I could dig that out and make a plaque for it and mount it on the wall ? Giant beat t'wer (naturally). Weapons do look great in 3D but rarely so from above - I know I know but its all the effort... rugs I was going to do for the other rooms in the top down view. And sawdust ? This aint no spit n sawdust joint y'know...

I'll see what I can do. Getting late again tho.

07-12-2008, 08:38 PM
Yeeeeeessss !!! I never chuck anything out. A LLLong (x 10^6) time ago I made a 3D model of a lizard man and it still exists ! Hah hah.... Right ass kickin'.

How about stuffed lizard man heads along a wall with saber tooth labradors - ugh, I mean saber toothed hell hounds - yeah !

Ole Brian shall be resurrected to march for glory once more.

Oh check that out. Bit ropey old texture map there - might have to put a new paint job on him what with newer tools. CPU when I did this was probably a 486. Magic. LOL.

07-12-2008, 09:28 PM
Of course my favorite bit is the scale of the Haskwood Canifers, massive and eld, looks like a place Lemur and Bumblemouse would come together to catch up over a good steeped pot of Shorn Tea, you do keep a kettle on, don't you, for discerning guests..
Absolutely grand, as Wallace says.
SeerBlue and Bumblemouse

07-13-2008, 07:20 AM
Of course my favorite bit is the scale of the Haskwood Canifers, massive and eldYou should like this next pic then. This is from the table under the bowl. Put some refractive index on so it should have looked better - I think it does but it still does not look like great glass. Anyway, this is for any player who says - Whats that in the middle...

07-13-2008, 07:26 AM
Ok for the outside and plan views again. Here are the base maps for the 2 levels + roof for putting it into a city map. You can use the 3 maps in conjunction in a VTT by using the roof as a kind of fog of war. Lift off the roof when you want to go inside.

Will be looking for ideas about what to put in the blank rooms. I think the 'Alcoves' set would probably have very little in them. A few benches maybe and a table. The 'Proprietors quarters' needs filling out a bit tho. Will put some straw and horses in the stables too.

### Latest WIP ###

07-13-2008, 01:15 PM
Love the fireflys, oddly enough it fits well with a tell I wrote for Lemur and Bumblemouse, which needed a home, so I moved some of it to a forest of Haskwood Canifers after you started your thread,,,,in the tell there is a bit of fluorescence, though it be the Naim that flouresce, I will post it to Snapgallows when it is done being polished, or close enough.

It's moving along great, I am amazed at the little details, like the edge of the bar,,sweet.

Figuring out what bits of detail for character is a bit of a job isn't it, every ale house or tavern needs some tankards and kegs, and perhaps a scalieskin rug.

07-18-2008, 06:19 AM
Hmmm, interesting :)

07-18-2008, 09:20 AM
I finished it off. I found filling out the large rooms quite tricky but after asking about I got the suggestion that it should be one of those old time whore houses like you see in the cowboy movies. So put some baths and beds in there. Scavenged and stole various stuff from other maps and got something in there.

I put all the people in. I was drawing a barman but had one already. In fact all of these people come from my existing art. I think ill save the lizard man head for another day. I can see that being more useful in a lizard man camp or in more dangerous terrain than this inn.

These next maps are quite big at 3200px wide but should be high enough to print from if need be.

So I hope thats it for this month but C&C's welcome as always.

### Latest WIP ###

07-18-2008, 02:18 PM
This is a really lovely entry, Redrobes! I just love the wealth of detail.

07-18-2008, 02:34 PM
Yes we definitely agree, and the ground texture is great.
But, AARGH, now they see things we never thought of, and the FHCO are like, "Fick, lets do that, we need one of those."
But as I am way behind where they are already, for ideas (WE DON'T HAVE ANY CUPS, you gotta make some cups.....ok), I don't think they will see those things until after the challenge.

Great work. SeerBlue

07-18-2008, 04:07 PM
This is a really lovely entry, Redrobes! I just love the wealth of detail.Cheers, its this last stage that I always find hard - that arty bit of actually getting the detail in there. I have spent quite a while on this map overall and it will be a relief to be complete with it. Despite all the detail I am not convinced that its more than Vry's and yet he posted his entry in just 11 and a half hours after the challenge description went up and thats assuming he was sat there waiting for RP's mail to come through and had a full 11 hours free time to devote to it right away. I dunno how he does it. Its unbelievable. Still, I wanted to have a go and the 3D part was really fun. Not sure I'd do it this way every month tho. It was slow going for much of it but I'm pleased with the result. It looks like its a very playable area. Now just gotta find a place in the cities to house such a fine and large building.

I think thats a general problem with 3D is that its a lot more work than 2D. It gives more for free but theres more hidden cost involved to get the free stuff so to speak. Being able to take other peoples 3D stuff is great but building your own custom stuff is hard work and thats why I think the WotC VTT is not going to work well or at least if it does then it cant be the same sort of D&D that I remember playing where the DM makes up nearly everything.

One advantage to using realistic stuff tho is that you can go a photograph something that exists. So Seer, find a nice pint jar and photo it, slap down some 2D circles where you want them and texture them. In my inn the mugs along with a lot of that detail just wouldn't be there. I went to a restaurant the other day which had candles on the tables. So I took them and used that for my tables. Trouble is that they are so small in this case that you cant make out the detail in them any more.

Are we doing a multiple vote this month ? I am hoping to at least pick up a few secondary votes and not get a zero again. :)

07-18-2008, 06:42 PM
I'm not sure if we're doing a multiple vote, we haven't discussed it. I think that it's a real possibility though.

07-18-2008, 08:40 PM
I think thats a general problem with 3D is that its a lot more work than 2D.

Yeah, that's why I thought you were a loon when you said you were going to make a 3d entry for that lighthouse challenge. I'm really quite amazed at the speed with which you produce 3d work.

Maybe if I were ever to get over my learning hump with the software I'd be able to mimic you.

07-18-2008, 09:01 PM
Some things just are naturally easy in 3D and others are nightmarishly hard. Some things also look like they ought to be hard but are actually easy and also theres those that you think should be easy but aren't also. I have probably covered every situation there :) but seriously, I think the key is knowing what stuff falls into which of those four categories.

I think that the contour lines to height map looks harder than it actually is - and I do have so extra tools to deal with all that stuff which I know very well.

The basics of the inn was mostly in the 'not too hard in 3D' category but when it comes to the beds, baths, "couple of Wargs by the fire...." type stuff then its moving into the 'known to be hard in 3D' land.

A generalized rule can be thought of which is how many steps would it take to make it in real life.

For example, making the balustrade was comparatively easy as each post is cloned and a simple lathe job. Some quick curve for the posts, lathe and multiply and its done. Anything squarish that you can do with a few boolean ops like add a block, subtract a cylinder etc thats all easy too. Posts, rooms, doors etc pretty easy stuff. Doing the barman, people, anything organic in general is hard.

If you have any specifics I can tutorial them but I probably wouldn't say anything clever or special.

In this inn example there are two distinct sections. There is the modeling of the objects and then secondly there is scene layout :- placement, texturing, camera, lighting and stuff like that. Those are two entirely unrelated skill sets. I don't do (character / story) animation but I expect that it would be a whole new third set on top of that too.

You can tell where I switched because as Ravs so nicely pointed out, it looked like Boogie Nights was going to break out from the wild color. You start with getting the objects right first and then go on to texture and layout. Seeing the objects with distinct colors makes it easier to tell whether the objects and their surface types are right.

S'pose its like anything tho - just put some hours into using it and you'll get it.