The Doc's Bio Lab for Scav Experiments - & other oddities.

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Rman Virgil
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Re: The Doc's Bio Lab for Scav Experiments - & other odditie

Post by Rman Virgil » 24 Sep 2013, 00:49

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It's common that I begin doing something of little practical value and not be entirely clear what it's all about till wading deeper into it I begin to see sources, influences and the adjacent possibilities coming to the fore in a coherent and cohesive form. A rather odd non-linear process I trust to yield something of interest, now and then, and reflective of my abiding love of imrovisation and bricolage and my belief in thier inherent, transformative, powers.

This latest effort started with an itch to get back into WZ map making as an adjunct to writing, and creating visual art for, the fiction derived from the Expanded WZ Time Line / Backstory.

What has become clear of late is that I am combining several interests.

First, the already mentioned Earthworks along with the yet to be stated Bocage fighting in Normandy following D-Day, 1944.

To those add a fascination with what I consider one of the highlights in the original campaign, the start of CAM 3.

From that fascination with the beginning of CAM 3, create what is essentially an outset posture that flirts with attrition (and viscerally feeling the great odds stacked against you) but also providing a fun and protracted segue into offensive opportunities that avail themselves of as many of the 33 strategies of war as imagination and skill can invest the map construct with in conjunction with running it under the combinatory mod, "Contingency + NULLBOT + USM" .... Thoroughly, top to bottom, by design.

All the way around, an odd "duck". ;)

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Re: The Doc's Bio Lab for Scav Experiments - & other odditie

Post by Rman Virgil » 24 Sep 2013, 13:37

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2 more goals have become clearer for what I'm calling "2c-Cahokia" (after one of the great Pre-Columbian Earthworks of N. America).

1.) Promote the Octopus Grand Strategy and do so mainly by way of combined arms.

2.) Subvert game play devolving into any monolithic strategy like Eagle supremacy and mop-up, for example.

I believe that with these 2 goals added to the previous stated objectives, the design matrix is in the main complete; form serving function (including the aesthetics), while also having defined the combinatorial targets to test for every step of the way. :hmm:

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Re: The Doc's Bio Lab for Scav Experiments - & other odditie

Post by Rman Virgil » 28 Sep 2013, 20:20

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If you're lucky, feeding an insatiable curiosity will now and then lead you to a work that bolsters your muse to such a degree that you feel you've tapped into a new fount of energy which seems inexhaustible. Your naturally grateful (or should be) but in your exhilaration you must still exercise care not to squander it in a sink hole because such energy is not nearly as readily restored as it is expended. :hmm:
...'Writing delivers us into discoveries of what till we had formed some way to articulate it in language, had remained unformed, had been unknown to us,' Reginald Gibbons says. 'The articulation becomes the knowing, the knowing comes out of the process, and it refuels a further effort at articulation. A sense of ecstatic fruitfulness, of rich discoveries, of voyaging, comes to us in the exhilarating moments of being-in-our-work-in-progress.'
That's a gold nugget from a one of a kind work entitled: "Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer" by Peter Turchi. It is beautifully written and packed with full color illustrations. Throughout the work Mr. Turchi correlates writing fiction with map making (as well the art of painting) and his insights constitute a treasure trove not be missed by anyone who engages any of those art forms - as a practitioner or audience appreciator. :3

In discovering this work, the timing was perfect for the trifecta of WZ projects represented in this thread of oddities and also for sustaining the muse-energy to see them through the long journey to completion. A god send, would be the apt phrase. :D

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The screens below, from my "Cahokia" WIP, illustrate the following goal - no matter where you find yourself on the 250 x 250 expanse, and whatever cardinal direction you turn to, you will face a unique, multi-tiered, macro-micro curved vista of organic asymmetry. There are both aesthetic and utilitarian reasons for creating this end result which I've touched upon in my last few posts. It also means no copy-pasting, curtailed texture brushing and a whole bunch of tile by tile piece work (assuming the creation of the necessary foundational fully 3D asymmetric HM to achieve these ends which means, in part, that only water sectors are flat and even those will be given subtle ripples in my final phase). On the practical side of what would strike most as a highly impractical process, I have to check each FlaMe work session (about an hours worth) in-game for aesthetics, PF and GP.
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Scav Debris Fort 19.jpg
Scav Debris Fort 20.jpg
Scav Debris Fort 18.jpg

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Re: The Doc's Bio Lab for Scav Experiments - & other odditie

Post by NoQ » 29 Sep 2013, 05:44

Maybe post the map, or at least the heightmap, somewhere around there? Cause people may accidentally enjoy playing some sort of skirmish on it, there aren't many detailed 250x250 landscapes around ;)
(probably needs a bit more trees)

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Re: The Doc's Bio Lab for Scav Experiments - & other odditie

Post by Rman Virgil » 29 Sep 2013, 06:08

NoQ wrote:Maybe post the map, or at least the heightmap, somewhere around there? Cause people may accidentally enjoy playing some sort of skirmish on it, there aren't many detailed 250x250 landscapes around ;)
(probably needs a bit more trees)
I'll post sometime after I get back from my up coming adventure-trip in AZ. :)

Yet painting (& tweaking the vertices) of cliff face and Scav Earthworks. O_o

It's entirely intended for a form of skirmish. :3 Maybe someone else would be up to the challenges of creating an MP version of it.... if that's even possible.

I'm also still working out just how I'm gonna use trees and other features so they are serving both aesthetic and GP functions. :hmm:
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Impact = C x (R + E + A + T + E)

Contrast
Reach
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Trust
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Re: The Doc's Bio Lab for Scav Experiments - & other odditie

Post by NoQ » 29 Sep 2013, 11:23

serving both aesthetic and GP functions
Emm, i didn't yet figure that out. They usually serve as blockades (which breaks skirmish AIs and doesn't look good at all) or as annoyance (when you misclick in combat and accidentally shoot a tree with all your lancers, or when it's blocking an obviously good spot for a tower). So usually everybody adds them to serve aesthetic purposes only.

I made a relatively curious feature blockade experiment here, but it's hardly something you can use.

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Re: The Doc's Bio Lab for Scav Experiments - & other odditie

Post by Rman Virgil » 29 Sep 2013, 16:09

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No doubt feature usage can yield fracked-up results. O_o

One thing I've thought about, that I still have to try-out, is on my elevated cliff promontories (3 sides naturally cliff-face - you can see one such in my last set of screens), and to further obfuscate LOS (when you look from the same plane or from below) is to place tree clusters and then on the fourth side create an impassable organic "ledge". Basically I would be ringing-in the tree cluster 360 and the PF (and a.i. controlled units) should, in theory, naturally flow around the edges and not muck-up. I'll try this next and post a screen and in-game results. :)

Also thought of putting a Scav mortar pit (& AA) within the cluster. 'Course this would cause enemy ground units to range in and not have access. Though this wouldn't happen in early game because these cliff promontories are deep in Scav Isle country which will take time to penetrate by land (human or a.i.). From other tests I've done this deep penetration will be through air space first and those units will be unimpeded in their ranging and once the pit + AA is taken out there would be no ground unit ranging issues. But we'll see about this addition to the isolated tree cluster l8r on. :hmm:

If a human would wanna exploit this advantageous high ground they would first have to clear out the tree cluster and then land a transport with an engineer.

I'll check out your map experiment. :3

Thanks. :D
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Re: The Doc's Bio Lab for Scav Experiments - & other odditie

Post by Rman Virgil » 29 Sep 2013, 20:05

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Back to the drawing board with that tree idea. O_o

PF was not a prob but the aesthetics were off. The tree assets as they are crafted were not meant to be used this way.

First, the objects don't cluster well because each object is one, too sparse, and two, too symmetric. The way the art is now makes for a tree farm look rather than an old growth haphazard one.

For the idea to work with trees there would have to be more of 'em clustered per object space (filling a tile like an urban building), each tree within noticebly varied in height (some especially tall) and with some asymmetry in the branches - all presenting added variety through rotation. With that type asset the GP idea would play out much better than the current tree farm look. But... I need to stick with the feature assets as they exist and take a look at some other possibilities. :hmm:

One thing I did do in a quick iteration led me to conclude that if I were using the Urban terrain set and creating a cityscape ravaged with upended street sections instead of a perfect lattice, I could use the building objects in the way proposed for the tree clusters and the impact on LOS and horizon obfuscation would even be greater..... but that's an entirely different map. :3

I'm also mulling over your blockade experiment.
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Re: The Doc's Bio Lab for Scav Experiments - & other odditie

Post by Rman Virgil » 01 Oct 2013, 02:28

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I think I may have a solution to the unexceptable neat rows, tree farm look, without having to redo the feature art. I'll have time tomorrow to effect it in FlaMe and see if it indeed works in-game.

Came to me while asleep, in a dream today. After my failed experiment yesterday I stopped consciously thinking about it because remaking the features was not an option. So it wasn't on my mind when I fell to slumber land. Nothing WZ was, actually.

Makes me think of that anecdote about German chemist Friedrich August Kekule dreaming of a snake eating its own tail (Ouroboros) and that in turn helping him work out the structure of the benzene molecule. Rather premature to predict a rosy outcome like Kekule's but, either way, something useful will come of it. As Mr. Turchi puts it in his "Maps of the Imagination: the Writer As Cartographer":
...Eventually, we find the story not despite failed efforts to find the story but through those efforts. Without our false starts, we would have gotten nowhere at all."
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Re: The Doc's Bio Lab for Scav Experiments - & other odditie

Post by Rman Virgil » 01 Oct 2013, 10:52

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Started on it. What came to me in a dream is gonna work. :)

To get the feature aesthetics I want, to go with the GP design, is something of a PITA labor intensive because of the way FlaMe works (along with the terrain renderer). I imagine that with practice it will go faster but right now its slow. However, it will be good to present later today. At that time I'll post before and after screens so you can see for yourself. Even if I redid the feature art like I mentioned earlier, I would still use this technique. There you have the boons of constraints. :hmm:

Also discovered how to get a little branch deformation to subvert some of the perfect individual asset symmetry which also supports the other stuff done to the end of creating an overall a non-farm, crop row, look. As for your blockade experiment, NoQ, it gave me another idea I'm thinking can be worked in. :3
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Re: The Doc's Bio Lab for Scav Experiments - & other odditie

Post by Rman Virgil » 02 Oct 2013, 00:13

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One BEFORE screen (no features or modifications) and 2 angles AFTER (with both aesthetics worked in... The Complementary GP elements I think you can infer from my previous posting. ;) )

Planting features on flat ground is nothing. Planting them on rolling curvature so they do not end up floating in space is something else. O_o Try it. :twisted:
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Re: The Doc's Bio Lab for Scav Experiments - & other odditie

Post by Rman Virgil » 02 Oct 2013, 09:00

Rman Virgil wrote:....

Planting features on flat ground is nothing. Planting them on rolling curvature so they do not end up floating in space is something else. O_o Try it. :twisted:
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The engineering profession has a hoary adage that fits this to a tee -

"God's in the details... and so is the devil." :3

In this case think LOTS of devils. :shock:

But... gotta do what you gotta do if having curvaceous landscape throughout is irresistibly beautiful to you and floating features are not an acceptable trade-off. :hmm:
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Re: The Doc's Bio Lab for Scav Experiments - & other odditie

Post by NoQ » 02 Oct 2013, 19:11

floating features
They're also anisotropic: if you flip or rotate your map they will become digged rather than floating.

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Re: The Doc's Bio Lab for Scav Experiments - & other odditie

Post by Rman Virgil » 02 Oct 2013, 23:04

floating features
NoQ wrote:They're also anisotropic: if you flip or rotate your map they will become digged rather than floating.
Yeah, somewhat less objectionable but still the lesser of two evils and I would have neither, especially with the trees. Don't want 'em buried-in anymore than free floating. :geek:

Call me persnickety. ;)

Then again, if you're only wielding a hammer every challenge shapes up like a nail. O_o

So I work in manageable sections of feature placement, switching between 3 apps running at the same time - FlaMe, HyperSnap and WZ - and make the necessary tweaks. The more I do it, the quicker the cumbersome procedure yields the results I'm after and becomes not so cumbersome. :)

Speaking of cumbersome.... In many ways FlaMe is superior to Edit World / World Edit (and I'm very grateful to Flail13 for creating it) but one thing that worked better for me was simply turning on the object "bounding spheres" over individually clicking through painted boxes. However, I'm getting better at eye-balling the thresholds. A routine for disallowing over-lapping placements upfront, per instance, instead of allowing and then cataloging all instances on compile (and having to manually find them and delete the offenders one by one) would be nicest but I imagine there's a trade-off reason for it being what it is. :3

In RL I've found that the path of least resistance, while always easier up front, and perhaps even seemingly elegant, is not always the right choice in the long run (actually, it can turn into a debacle just when you thought you had it licked). The benefits of the gauntlet or the boons of the crucible, so to speak. :hmm:
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Re: The Doc's Bio Lab for Scav Experiments - & other odditie

Post by Rman Virgil » 04 Oct 2013, 03:05

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3 angles, same unique sector, with additional LOD. In its entirety, representative of the 250 x 250. No mirroring or cut 'n pasting. Every sector unique from all cardinal directions and elevations (curvature dominant, multi-tiered, organic asymmetry). Have to leave it there for a couple weeks as I venture out of the Rocky Mountain homestead for RL adventuring in the wilds of the Southwest (after a day long visit, on the front end of the journey, to the Uni of AZ run Biosphere 2 Project). Maybe I'll be inspired to get a WZ fiction short done along the way. :)
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Scav Debris Fort 21.jpg
Scav Debris Fort 23.jpg
Scav Debris Fort 22.jpg

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