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Greason Wolfe
01-23-2009, 10:36 AM
Project Background

The Hævenstadt (pronounced : HIE-ven-stawd) Harbor Project actually started about a year ago under a different name (Keresk Harbor) as a result of a short story I was writing at the time. The story called for a coastal area that was particularly rough in landform and brutal for sea travel in much the same way the coastal regions of the U.S. Northwest are. In particular, the shoreline needed to be dominated by sea cliffs and jutting rock formations that made passage and landing by sailing vessels particularly miserable. To make matters worse, the entire region needed to be subject to gale-like storms that, more often than not, struck without warning and left the devastation of flooding and landslides in their wake. It wouldn't be an easy place to make a life in, but for cultures (based strongly on old Norse Mythology) that included Humans, Alfar (elfs), Dvergar (dwarfs) and giants of various sorts, such conditions wouldn't be enough to keep them from trying. Hævenstadt Harbor became one of the very rare locales that found itself naturally sheltered from these conditions to a certain degree.

Since that time, the short story has blossomed into the beginnings of a novel and I discovered a need to further develop not only the harbor itself, but the region surrounding it. When the January Challenge started up, I saw it as an opportunity to work on the project and, if I was lucky enough to get the majority of the votes, end up with a nice wall version of the map from Gameprinter. Much to my consternation, however, a number of events have derailed that plan. But they haven't derailed the entire project.

Having officially dropped out of the Challenge at this point, I'm no longer weighed down by the burden of the submission deadline, and this will, or so I hope, free me to work on it at a more leisurely pace. It may very well have saved what little hair I have left as well. LOL! In any event, I'm now presenting the Hævenstadt Harbor Project here as a WIP thread and look forward to comments and suggestions from fellow cartographers in an effort to create something that is a bit more complete as far as the mapping aspect of the project goes.

One of the challenges faced in this project comes from the fact that I am attempting to render these maps in Terragen. Terragen allows me to take a look at things from a character's point of view. It's not just a matter of seeing pretty colors and/or symbols on a map and knowing that they represent mountains, forests, lakes and cities. It is a matter of seeing those things as if you were looking at them from inside the world itself. It isn't just a symbol that represents a mountain, it is the way it towers above you. It isn't just a color that represents an ocean, it is the waves crashing up against the shore. With this "in the world" view, I find myself better able to describe what the characters are seeing as they gaze about.

The benefit of that perspective, however, comes at a cost. It is a time consuming process on both the editing and rendering sides of the coin. And then there are the textures, the Surface Maps and the Distribution Masks, not to mention the need to come up with names for places of interest. All in all, it is one heck of an undertaking, but it is one that, at least for me, should be well worth the effort and, or so I hope, offer a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when I've finished.

With all of that said, I'll begin this thread, or rather, continue this thread with some details regarding the early development process, back when things were still being crafted for the purposes of a short story.

GW

Greason Wolfe
01-23-2009, 10:36 AM
Early Development

As I stated earlier, Hævenstadt Harbor started as something smaller than what it is now becoming. Originally I had dubbed it Keresk Harbor and worked up an initial elevation file to show only the harbor itself. This included both an Upper and Lower portion of the city/town, naturally occurring docks, an engineered promenade between the two portions of the city/town and a short span of the sea cliffs that dominated the region.

The original idea was that all of these land forms came about naturally, except for the Promenade leading from Lower Hævenstadt to Upper Hævenstadt. That is still somewhat true. The problem with that original concept was the fact that the lower portion of Hævenstadt was simply a bit too unique given it's sole existence along a six hundred some odd mile length of coast. Why in the world would Hævenstadt be the only place where those sea cliffs were broken by one tiny little area that was located at sea level?

For a while, I didn't have an answer other than to say that "the gods made it so." For the characters, this answer might be enough, but from a geological stand point, it just wasn't enough for me. I needed something more, an origin that could have at least some foundation in reality. To that end, I let things simmer in the back of my mind as I worked on other projects, figuring an answer would come to me at some point in time. And that's exactly what happened.

I've mentioned before, that I grew up along the Oregon coast, Florence in particular. One of the big attractions in that area is a place called Sea Lion Caves. Sea Lion Caves (actually a singular cave) is (according to the Guiness Book of Records) the largest sea cave in the world, soaring to the height of a 12-story building and stretching the length of a football (American) field. It is also the only year-round, mainland habitat for Stellar Sea Lions.


It's a pretty awesome sight, by the way, and if you ever have a chance to visit, you should jump on the opportunity.

During a recent trip home to visit with family, I happened by Sea Lion Caves and got struck by an epiphany. What would happen if the caves collapsed? How would it change the appearance of the lands above the caves? What could cause them to collapse? The more I thought about it, the clearer the picture became.

A massive earthquake . . . Collapse of the caves . . . The land above the caves crashing down to sea level . . .

I had my answer. It was still a bit far fetched, but it could, at least in theory, work.

Millions of years of erosion have slowly dug away the underlying bedrock beneath the area of Hævenstadt. Unbeknownst to the locals, the land, over that time, has cracked and started to slip, resulting in small earthquakes that have been attributed to the anger of the gods. Then a massive earthquake hits. All those cracks finally give way and a portion of Hævenstadt collapses, falling not quite into the sea, but far enough to put it at sea level. As for why it hasn't happened in other areas . . . Maybe the bedrock in this particular location wasn't quite as dense as it is in other locations, or maybe the erosion was helped along by a natural existence of the caves to begin with. Like I said, still a bit far fetched, but workable.

Now it was simply a matter of extrapolation. How could the people of Hævenstadt turn a rough, rocky grave into a viable piece of land again? A little engineering help from the Dvergar. Sure, it would take several years, decades, probably, but it could be done. And, of course, there'd likely be a bit of magic involved, but all of that could wait for a detailed write-up from a literary stand point. I now had enough to work with from a mapping point of view, so it was off to the drawing board.

At first, I did things "by hand," intending to import my manufactured elevation file into Terragen. I wasn't looking for extreme detail at this point, just some basics. I figured that, as part of the engineering and excavation process, some of the material culled from the collapsed area would be used to create "natural" docks and/or jetties. They'd also have to create a staircase (or Promenade) leading from the lower portion of Hævenstadt to the upper portion. That meant a little more work when it came to creating the elevation model, but it still was a pretty basic process that resulted in;

http://www.cartographersguild.com/picture.php?albumid=72&pictureid=331

I plugged this into Terragen, added a few Surface Maps for some general coloring and rendered up a couple of quick images just to see where I was at. A birds eye view gave me a basic idea of what the area looked like on a whole;

http://www.cartographersguild.com/picture.php?albumid=72&pictureid=329

But just to be sure things were working out the way I wanted them to, I took a look at the Promenade leading from Lower Hævenstadt to Upper Hævenstadt;

http://www.cartographersguild.com/picture.php?albumid=72&pictureid=330

It wasn't pretty, but it was enough to start working with. Armed with a general idea of how things looked, I buried myself in the writing process for a time. As the story became a bit more involved and needed to expand into other areas, I realized I was going to have to do more with the mapping process. Like many things in my creative life, however, the project hit a brick wall when the professional and personal aspects of my life came calling. To that end, the project, as a whole, sat on a back-burner for quite some time.

One day, not too long ago, I got to looking for something online for FTPro. Well, actually, I was looking for my registration key. A major computer melt-down put me in a position where I had to install a new hard drive. Fortunately the people at Profantasy were able to help me out and, in the process, I happened across this forum.

In hindsight, I think I always knew about the Cartographers Guild, but I'd never taken the time to look into it. Now I'm kicking myself for that. In any event, I joined the forum, saw some great work and then caught the Challenge Bug. How nice would it be to have one of my own maps (one that will hopefully become known in the literary world as well) professionally produced as a wall map and available as a feature map on a professional site? It'd be great! So I launched myself into the January Challenge.

GW

Greason Wolfe
01-23-2009, 10:37 AM
Recent Development

To make a long story short, when the January Mapping Challenge started, I thought it'd be pretty cool to have one of my maps professionally printed and hanging on my wall. If I'd been smart about it, I'd have focused strictly on the town of Hævenstadt instead of trying to develop both the town and the region surrounding it. And, of course, it didn't help when family emergencies and work related problems pulled me away from the project. But I still tried to give it my best shot and as much effort as I could spare. Unfortunately time has worked against me and forced me to pull out of the challenge. But that isn't going to stop me from working on the development. Like a number of creative folks I know, the project has consumed me so to speak, and I feel this need to see it through to the end. Besides the sense of accomplishment for finishing it up, it will give me an even better idea of what the story based characters are seeing as they travel in and around Hævenstadt.

So I've put in quite a bit of work on the regional development over the last few weeks, finding a world in FTPro for Hævenstadt to exist in, editing that world to a point and then realizing that Hævenstadt would fit well in another world I've been working on. Of course, that means more world editing in FTPro on my part, and it might mean some slight changes to the regional map of Hævenstadt, but, on a whole, it should remain fairly close to what I've already developed. In the long run, I'll probably end up with two versions of everything, one rendered in Terragen for an "in-world" view point and one rendered by hand or in PSP for a more global, "out-of-world" view point.

To that end, this thread will continue with the aspects of both view points in mind and, at times, a mixture of both processes with Terragen rendering some of those "out-of-world" views such as this;

http://www.cartographersguild.com/picture.php?albumid=72&pictureid=332


A larger, slightly more detailed version of the above is available for viewing in the Challenge Forum

At this point, I am going to continue focusing on regional development and look forward to any comments made by you, my fellow cartographers, whether they be compliments, criticisms or helpful suggestions. Different sets of eyes see different things, and sometimes, I get so focused on the trees that I forget about the forest as a whole.

GW

Greason Wolfe
01-26-2009, 10:48 AM
Backtracking

So one of my bad habits is as follows;

Step 1 : Generate some raw data

Step 2a : Smooth out the elevation model
Step 2b : Trim off the excess fat and define the major continents

Step 3 : Start building up the main mountain chains

"Oh wait. Look at those cute little islands, they just need to be loved and hugged and developed and nurtured, let's do that instead."

Step 4 : Re-start building up the main mountain chains
Step 5 : Start eroding things a bit.

"Oh, damn it, I just messed up those little islands I worked so hard on . . . "

You can probably guess the rest at this point.

So, in trying to avoid this disaster, I decided to take a couple steps backwards and finalize the foundations of the world I'm working on with the intent of pulling in a couple of side projects that I've been working on that would fit well with the overall world concept.

To that end, I went back to Step 1, and regenerated the world as a whole with a few revamped generation settings. Then it was off to steps 2a and 2b. Once they were taken care of, I readied myself for Step 3, reminding myself not to jump ahead. But as I was looking at the world as a whole, I was struck by the thought that something seemed a bit odd or, maybe, a bit out of place.

Now it could just be me since I am peculiar about things, but I thought that this might be a good point to involve another set of eyes (or several sets of eyes for that matter) and find out if things looked odd or out of place to anyone else. So I've included three attachments;

Attachment One is the raw results from FTPro without any editing what so ever.

Attachment Two is the result after smoothing the elevation model to cut the mountains down. And yes, I know it means I will just have to rebuild them, but I've never quite liked the way FTPro always places them near the center of the land masses. To me, that just seems so very odd.

Attachment Three is the result after trimming down the fat and defining the major continental land masses. This is the point where things seem a bit odd. I think it is the central land mass that is bugging me. At this point, it gives the impression of being two major continents (like North and South America) and I have this feeling that it should be three major continents (i.e. North, South and Central America). Again, maybe it is just me. In any event, if anyone has time and wants to offer their opinions or suggestions, I'd welcome them.

GW

Steel General
01-26-2009, 11:27 AM
World Creation - Sometimes you just have to take a few steps back to get 1 step toward your goal....

or

World Creation - Sometimes it's a drag! :D

Jkaen
01-26-2009, 12:19 PM
I would have thought if you take in the bay thats about 2/3 up the centre continent on the east, and have it eat into the land a bit more due east then you should end up with the 3 distinct continents you are after.

Greason Wolfe
01-26-2009, 01:28 PM
I would have thought if you take in the bay thats about 2/3 up the centre continent on the east, and have it eat into the land a bit more due east then you should end up with the 3 distinct continents you are after.

I'm not specifically after three distinct continents. My concern is whether or not it should be three continents or not. Part of me says it is just fine as two continents and part of me says it should be three. And, of course, I can be indecisive as all get out sometimes.

Anyways, I'm a gonna bomb the tar out of the world with some asteroids and meteors and see if that suggests anything as far as reshaping the continents goes.

GW

joão paulo
01-26-2009, 02:21 PM
Leave the Final Judgment happen

Greason Wolfe
01-28-2009, 02:56 PM
A little side trip . . .

Given the fact that I'm a little frustrated with the elevation model at the moment, I decided to take a break from that and slip over to the Terragen side of things and do a little work with my texture masks. They're still in their early stages and, at least for the time being, I'm concentrating my efforts on developing a few good forest textures.

All the light green, yellow and tan aside, this first render should give an idea of where I'm trying to head. The darker green areas are my main concern at the moment. I think they are almost there, as far as having a tree canopy feel to them, but, as always, other eyes might see things differently, so I'm open to opinions and suggestions.

GW

Steel General
01-28-2009, 04:46 PM
Hard for me to tell (at that scale), but it definitely looks like your headed in the right direction.

Nomadic
01-28-2009, 06:10 PM
I am really excited to see where this project goes. I grew up in Bremerton, Washington and so lived many years in the sort of environment that you're describing. Right now I am living in Bend, Oregon (it's always nice to find someone living so close to you).

Dracontes
01-29-2009, 08:43 AM
I think your scenario for Hævenstadt's formation is plausible from a geological standpoint.

I'd even add that from the flatness of the area close to the coast this seems to be a passive continental margin and such cliffs probably indicate a fault scarp going along it. In all probability and given how rift opening works besides normal faults parallel to the coast there are also strike-slip faults perpendicular to it. Now mind you these wont be particularly active now but an area where they cross could accumulate more tension than other parts besides providing a spot where the sea and rain can sink their teeth into as it were.
So what's keeping other spots in the coast with similar arrangement from developing harbours? As you say this is the one the one earthquake-induced landslide that stopped just short of the sea level and in a more or less leveled way. However I think raising the harbour plain as it meets the cliffs wouldn't be out of order.

Greason Wolfe
01-29-2009, 02:19 PM
@ Nomadic : Yep, you mentioned that over in the Challenge Forum. I suppose I should have mentioned that I'm currently living in Tigard, but grew up in Florence and had relatives that lived up in the Puget Sound area, so I spent quite a bit of time up there as well.

@ Dracontes : Thanks for the bit of technical back-up. I am far from being an expert when it comes to fault lines and such. More often than not, I do just enough research to get myself in trouble. :lol: As for sloping at the base of the cliffs and where the land has collapsed, I was considering that, or possibly working it up as a "pile of rubble." One of my other thoughts is that the engineers have done some mining beneath the upper portion of the city, so there might even be a few terraces and "murder holes" along the cliff faces.

@ SG : Yeah, at that scale it is kind of hard to see. That's the one frustrating thing about Terragen and using textures. You have to be at "just the right distance" with the camera to get the textures to appear clean.


In any event, I was thinking about this project at work last night, more specifically, how I was going to manage the regional render in FTPro without hours and hours of editing the coast line. Somewhere in the midst of all that thinking, I was hit by an epiphany, so I'll be taking a day or two off from the project to work out a few details and then offering up a new tutorial (hopefully a far better one than my original FTPro to Terragen tutorial which, btw, is being re-written) for FTPro that takes advantage of the coloring schemes and the Color to Altitude Conversion.

Thanks again for all the opinions and input, every little bit helps.

GW

Greason Wolfe
01-30-2009, 11:09 AM
Okay, so my Color to Altitude Conversion idea didn't work out the way I hoped. Bummer because it would have made things so very much easier. In any event, I'm back to work on the regional map and have, for the most part, hammered out the continent (and a few surrounding islands) that Haevenstadt is a part of. Did a little Terraformer work with this to get an idea of the climates in question, but they will need to be tweaked a bit.

The harbor itself is kind of hard to see at this scale, but if you look closely you can see it just above the middle of the continent on the western coast. As for the compass and scale, they're not finalized. They're just there as a point of reference for now.

GW

Greason Wolfe
01-30-2009, 04:55 PM
Hævenstadt in the Rough

Even though I'm not quite finished editing the continent, I wanted to get an idea of what things were going to look like once I started rendering in Terragen, so I snatched a small piece of the elevation file and worked it up roughly. Obviously there is still a bit of editing to do. The two big things that I'm hoping to accomplish in the next day or so is the adding of rubble along the base of the cliffs between Upper and Lower Hævenstadt. I also mentioned the possibility of terraced regions along the cliff face, but I haven't settled on that 100 percent just yet. I also need to pick a good spot to create the "promenade" between the two portions of the town, but that is going to have to wait for a little bit. My only other big concern is whether or not I will have to "level" some of the areas that Upper Hævenstadt will be resting. While I don't mind the rolling hill effect, I think it might be a bit too much for a town that is slowly becoming a major trade center along such a brutal coast.

On a side note, I did a little surface mapping to get a better idea of where the hills and valleys are, implementing a little slope restriction, and added a strata effect to the cliff faces. There is a hint of texturing in the coloring, but not a purposeful one. I'm not going to bother with trying to texture things at this early stage of development since it is, at least in Terragen, a royal pain in the hindquarters to get all the scaling set up so that the texturing shows through like it should. It isn't much just yet, but now is just as good a time as any to share the progress and get a little bit of feedback on what I'm trying to accomplish. As always, opinions and suggestions are more than welcome.

GW

ravells
01-30-2009, 04:57 PM
The cliffs are gorgous! Just model a couple of spitfires flying over them and it will be just right :)

Greason Wolfe
01-30-2009, 05:02 PM
The cliffs are gorgous! Just model a couple of spitfires flying over them and it will be just right :)

Thanks for the compliment, but about the spitfires . . . Oh sure, just what a bunch of hammer throwing dwarfs, arrow firing elfs and god-fearing humans need, modern technology flying overhead! :lol: But it would look good, wouldn't it?

GW

P.S. Strata effects are one of the things that Terragen is exceptionally good at, all you need is a 1px wide coloring file and then a "clouded" height map and presto, instant strata. I will, however, have to figure out a good way to add a bit of vegetation hanging over the upper edges of the cliffs and some lichen along the water level, but that is for another day.

Greason Wolfe
01-30-2009, 05:25 PM
So I'm thinking maybe a little motion blur to sweep the upper elevations inland a little bit. It wouldn't exactly "level" anything out, but the windward slopes would be a little more gradual while the leeward slopes would be a little more aggressive, possibly giving a little more of an erosion effect. Anyone have any thoughts on this, or am I searching for needles in a haystack?

GW

Greason Wolfe
02-02-2009, 11:40 AM
Just to take a break, I started fiddling around with a few things on a more local view of the harbor. It's still very rough, but I wanted to see what things looked like at a closer view. Just for the sake of throwing out an idea, I tossed in a rough river with a set of falls dumping into the harbor. Again, all very rough, and I haven't detailed in the lower land mass yet. Not sure yet, just how I'm going to approach the texturing since Terragen seems to be balking my every attempt, but I will work it out eventually. And then, of course, there will be the roads, buildings and other assorted features to work out, but I'm nowhere near that stage just yet. Still any thoughts are welcome.

GW

Greason Wolfe
02-02-2009, 02:31 PM
Still working on the coastline with this update. I did drop in the lower portion of the town as well as some "off-shore" reefs and islands. Brought up some wave effects as well, but I am a bit concerned that they are too a bit too much. I am also concerned that the land (particularly the land above the cliff faces) isn't aggressive enough. That may be tough to tweak out, but I can do it bit by bit if it seems reasonable. For the most part, I am still trying to lay out the foundations of everything and get a good idea of where it needs to go, but at this point, I am getting happier with the results even if they are coming in small steps. Thoughts, opinions and/or suggestions?

GW

Vandy
02-02-2009, 03:19 PM
Hi, Greason Wolfe.

Am I to understand that the images you're showing in your last two posts are from Terragen? Are you using v0.9.43? (That is the version I use.)

I'm quite interested in what you're doing with your Terragen files.

Regards,

Gary

Greason Wolfe
02-02-2009, 04:02 PM
Am I to understand that the images you're showing in your last two posts are from Terragen? Are you using v0.9.43? (That is the version I use.)

I'm quite interested in what you're doing with your Terragen files.

Regards,

Gary

Yes, that is what I am using for the time being (registered version for higher resolutions but the method can be applied in the unregistered version as well) and I'd be glad to share the methods. Besides working on this project, I'm in the process of re-writing a rather poor tutorial I did on the process a short time ago. All in all, I'm using FTPro to generate the basic elevation files (with a grey-scale coloring scheme) then using FEO to import them into Terragen. Not having much luck with SOPack though, but am working on it.

As long as I don't have any major disasters at work, I should be posting the first few steps (and some detailed explanations regarding a few of the problems encountered) in the next two or three days over in the tutorials sections. I'm not an expert at it, but I am managing to hack my way through it. :lol:

GW

Greason Wolfe
02-06-2009, 09:06 AM
I did a little work with the cliffs over the last few days. Well, mostly it was some experimentation during what little spare time I managed to snag. The overall goal was to give the impression of vegetation creeping down along the faces as well as some water line vegetation. Don't know that I am one hundred percent happy with it yet, and I am still considering the strata effect as well. It's not bad as it is, but I think it could be better.

GW

Steel General
02-06-2009, 10:09 AM
Pretty neat stuff GW!

If anything seems a bit 'off' it's the color of the vegetation - seems kind of bright (almost pastel-y) to me.

Greason Wolfe
02-06-2009, 10:15 AM
Pretty neat stuff GW!

If anything seems a bit 'off' it's the color of the vegetation - seems kind of bright (almost pastel-y) to me.

Yeah, the coloring is a bit overpowering while I work out the slope and elevation limits. Once I've got those set, I'll re-work the coloring to tone it down some and (hopefully) build up a bit more texture. The sad part is, I probably could have finished this by now if I'd done it by hand, but I am just too darned stubborn to give up on the Terragen rendering until I know, one way or another, that the whole thing can or can't be completed in Terragen.

GW

Ascension
02-06-2009, 04:24 PM
That's lookin pretty cool GW. Are you gonna try to add in some buildings? TG frustrates the heck out of me so I gave up on it a long time ago (the export never looks like what's on my screen...it always comes out overly blue with funky bits along the edges), but this goes a long way toward re-inspiring me.

Greason Wolfe
02-06-2009, 05:15 PM
That's lookin pretty cool GW. Are you gonna try to add in some buildings?

That is my plan, eventually. Not sure what approach I am gonna take on it just yet though. Adding them into the existing elevation file is a pain in the arse, but would look better as far as scaling and shadowing go. Building them up as a separate elevation file would give me better control over them, but the scaling and light shadows might go awry.


TG frustrates the heck out of me so I gave up on it a long time ago (the export never looks like what's on my screen...it always comes out overly blue with funky bits along the edges), but this goes a long way toward re-inspiring me.

Are you talking about the rendered picture or the bmp export for editing terrain?

If you're talking about the render, it might have been a Gamma problem or an "atmosphereic" problem. They still whoop my backside every once in a while when I forget to tweak them along with the lighting conditions.

If, on the other hand, you are talking about the elevation file itself (as exported by FEO) one of the tricks I use is to not generate an FEB file to go with the export. It means having to adjust the low and high elevations every time I re-load the elevation file into TG, but it keeps the outside editing more controllable. As a side note, there is, supposedly, a way to use Wilbur with TG (via Firmament), but I haven't explored that side of things just yet, one of my future projects, perhaps.

GW

Ascension
02-06-2009, 08:44 PM
The render. I'll spend an hour getting my terrain just right then another hour making sure that the vegetation looks good and when I render it, it looks awesome, but when I save it and open it up in PS it looks all bluish with chunks around the edges that cannot be stitched together.

Greason Wolfe
02-06-2009, 10:32 PM
The render. I'll spend an hour getting my terrain just right then another hour making sure that the vegetation looks good and when I render it, it looks awesome, but when I save it and open it up in PS it looks all bluish with chunks around the edges that cannot be stitched together.

Hrm . . . That's odd, but it does sorta sound like a Gamma problem of some sort. I'll have to think about it for a while and see if I can simulate the same problem at my end and come up with a solution. And I only wish I could spend an hour here and an hour there. I'm such a perfectionist, at times, that it takes me forever to get things just the way I want them. I'm doing better with this project since I am bouncing back and forth between different parts and not getting overly frustrated with one thing in particular.

Anyway, I've actually managed to get quite a bit done today (in a perfectionist sort of way) though most of it has been experimentation. The promenade between the lower portion and upper portions of the town refused to cooperate when I tried building the switchbacks along the cliff face, so I went with the straight slope plan, masked it out and applied a different strata effect to it. With this last render, however, I noticed that my primary strata is peeking through the water, so I'll either have to adjust the strata elevations or darken my water a bit, not sure which way I will go on that just yet. So here's the latest render . . .

GW

P.S. If you still have an example of the problem, feel free to post it here, that way I'll have a better idea of what you were dealing with.

Greason Wolfe
02-07-2009, 05:41 PM
So while I was at work, I set up a full sized render of the entire area just to see what it would look like. Of course, with my slow connection, I wouldn't even think of trying to upload it here, but I will upload a scaled down version. Mind you, I still have some work to do on the inland elevations, most of which need to be raised to some degree. And I haven't really laid out any rivers, lakes or roads. For the most part, I just wanted to get a feel for what it looked like on an overall level.

As for perspective of the shot, the camera was set at an altitude of approximately 3.8 kilometers with a pitch of -84 degrees along the north/south axis, and positioned about 200 meters due south of the central point of the land mass. The area visible in the shot is approximately 7.5 kilometers by 7.5 kilometers.

I'm definitely going to have to dial down the reflection spread of the sun at some point, and I did rework the promenade area some, but I'm still not sure if I am happy with it just yet. It's being almost as stubborn as I am. :lol:

GW

Steel General
02-07-2009, 05:59 PM
I think it looks pretty durn cool...

Ascension
02-07-2009, 11:01 PM
Despite the stubbornness, the vegetation looks great.

Greason Wolfe
02-08-2009, 08:20 PM
Spent some time fiddling with mountains and rivers today. It's pretty rough right now and I think I will probably be re-working the distribution masks to give a more erratic shape to the mountains. In a similar fashion, I will likely extend the rivers further up into the mountains. Will have to see how it looks after a larger render, but for now, here's a sample of what I managed this afternoon. I'm definitely looking for some thoughts and opinions on this one as I am only about 50/50 on how it looks both for shape and coloring.

GW

Greason Wolfe
02-09-2009, 03:55 AM
Alas, I was hoping I wouldn't have to do this, and I made every attempt to avoid it, but . . .

Simply put, there just isn't enough room. This became increasingly obvious as I kept looking at the latest render. Maybe it is just me, but the rivers/lakes were just odd and the mountains . . . Well, I wasn't happy with them at all. I need more land mass. I need more editing space (spoiled myself by working with larger resolutions in Terragen, so 513 by 513 is giving me claustrophobia! :lol: ). And I desperately want more detail, so it's back to the elevation file for a few days.

The good thing about this is that it will give me room to build up various buildings in and around Haevenstadt as well as in the outlying regions and should also give me better detail when I go to re-work both the elevation scheme and the rivers. The bad thing is that I will have to rebuild my surface maps and distribution masks, in which case, it might be time to take a closer look at GIMP.

I'll try to get a base elevation update up here as soon as possible, but the time consuming task is going to be rebuilding the coast line. As I start increasing the size it gets too "smooth" looking, and while that isn't bad in some places, other places need that extra bit of roughness for added effect. And, of course, I'll have to fill in a few low spots, but that is the easy part.

Terribly sorry for the untimely delay, but I haven't abandoned the project, just doing the same old, same old and taking a couple steps backwards to get several steps forwards.

GW

Greason Wolfe
02-13-2009, 08:39 PM
Well, it only took me what seemed like forever, but I've made progress on two fronts. On one front, the regional elevation map is coming along nicely, but I've still got some tweaking to do before I'm ready to start rendering. On a second front, I zoomed in on the harbor itself and started doing some work in greater detail. In effect, I took a smaller part of the regional map and blew it up to a full scale map (in TG, that is) so that I'd have room to work in smaller details. This worked well as it has given me room to build the switchbacks leading from the lower portion of the harbor to the upper portion. I'll still have to do a little bit of tweaking, and am thinking about trying to add a bit of a wall at the top of the cliff face as a "safety" factor. It just wouldn't do for the children of Haevenstadt to go tumbling down the cliff, would it?

In any event, a couple of renders, one showing a bit of coloring for the lower portion of the harbor. I wanted to get a sense that now, years after all the engineering work to make the lower portion usable again, some vegetation is starting to grow. Evenutally it will change, once I start working up road and building masks, but for now, it should give everyone an idea where things are headed. If you look towards the top left of the first image, you can see the switchbacks against the cliff face. I figured I'd include a closer view of them as well, now that they are starting to cooperate.

As a side note, because this is becoming a two front project of sorts, I will move the Harbor of Haevenstadt, itself, into the City/Town Forum and maintain this thread for the regional development.

GW