Friday, May 04, 2012

Russia: Storehouse (redone)

     ( Technically it was Britain, not Russia, but regardless... )

     In the editor a template marked as "Storehouse" drew my attention. I decided to play around with it by changing the height map, adding buildings, fences, etc.
     I couldn't stand the vanilla dirt road spots that looked like a tank brigade or a herd of bulldozers just passed through. So I concentrated my efforts on creating realistic truck tracks.

     Multiple sub-templates I consequently created for this encounter managed to occupy my attention for some time.

     But it wasn't enough. So I decided to create another variant.

     With more buildings, asphalt road, barb wire and so on.

     Now it started becoming real fun...

      ...especially in situations when several trucks are transporting explosives or fuel - with one carefully aimed bullet one can literally destroy the whole place ( I tweaked the radius, penetrating ability and some other properties for those items ). Very satisfying!

Germany: Uncle's House

      One of the possible "bases" for German main character. Since he grew up in his uncle's house (who is a diplomat, by the way) that's where he returns in times of need (from time to time).

     I'll need to add it to some small town, otherwise it appears somewhat small.

Germany: Road and Crop (redone)

     It is a remake of a template known as "Road and Crop" (one of the random encounters in S^2).

     The Height map proved to be a bit of a challenge but nothing I couldn't overcome.

Germany (Italy?): Monastery

     At first I built a huge church. The building itself was taking up a full 64x64 template, with three stories up and two down. After I filled it with all the necessary furniture I realized I needed something more compact and at the same time in line with the Catholic - Nazi escape routes. And that's when this monastery was born. The menacing wall texture was borrowed and reworked from the spooky fence to complete the set.

Germany: Manor

     German manor. One of my earlier templates.

     I remember being facinated with the dark and spooky fence in the editor. I knew it then I simply had to use it for something. I believe it was used in the "Capture colonel" Koch mission in the original S^2.

Germany: Highway

     The original idea I had was to make an encounter on a highway, complete with lane markings, road signs, shoulders and parking lots. This one has a gas station in it.

     The gas (benzene, petrol) pump was made using 'scientific device' by changing its texture, increasing it in size and adding a heavy explosion to its 2nd destruction phase.

     Same template - different variant. Here we have some shops to visit: a hardware store and a florist.

       New window awnings (called "shop shed" in S^2) were designed in the process.

Finland: Forest

     Finnish forest. Sandy terrain, lots of pines and noble looking mushrooms (I haven't added those little guys yet, lol).
     This is just a sample. Here I was trying to recreate their forest roads. Finns used to cover them with logs. Very industrious and clever those Northerners are.

      Even in the worst weather (dirt and mud) one can count on them.

Germany: Strawberry Farm

     A small farm. I'll probably make a larger template for it. All these 40x40 and 48x48 feel a bit claustrophobic.

     The "flowers" from the pots have been turned into strawberries. Yummy! It must have been the work of that fertilizer in green bags.

Germany: City Shops

     City shops. I had to pull the warrior lady texture from Sentinels, as it was missing. Oh, Novik, why hath you thrown out so much Gut schtuff?

     Yes, I am going with half-timber again. I just love that look! Don't you?

Germany: Bernau Hotel

     Hotel in Bernau. Next to a gas station ruins. While working on my "ever expanding plot" I stumbled upon a town called Bernau. It's located to the north-east of Berlin and is apparently known for its awesome beer. Let's see what I can do about that. Cheers!

     I plan for one of the main missions to take place here.

     Hotel interior. Now, in the basement there is a umm... No, I'll keep my mouth shut, for now.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Russian Railroads

     Well, onto the summer RR  templates we march. Those dirty brick textures are so welcome here, even the "dust" spots are rarely needed.

     Yes, I am a sucker for punishment. This RR#2 was one of my masochistic attempts at bending height map element of the editor to my indomitable will. It is amazing what one can do if they set their mind to it. The bridge is actually underground - just brought up by DeltaZ manipulations of its template (clever, aren't I?).

     Sometimes it is really hard to understand why the AI is puzzled. Scripting problems, inadequate PC, etc. But in this case, after examining that sign that the trio of my favorite testers are staring at I realized that Rocco's Papa and Mama would both be proud of him if instead of "4-N-spider-N" he would read that Russian sign as it should be read - "Chizhi".
     Oh, and no gossipping is allowed at that station - "Shhhh"

     The emptiness of this template is menacing. Do you have the same feeling of unease? Something's going to happen there. But what?

     I was making this template when the idea of adding headlights to GAZ-AA trucks came to me.

Russia: Checkpoint

      It all started with me stumbling upon one of the original England random encounter templates called Road/ Roadblock. I looked at it, that template was 32x48, flat, with a road, and a fence, and a machine gun nest and some other minor variations.
     Basically - a little uninspiring. But it gave me an idea to create a larger  template for my Russian summer randoms. The one above is one of the variants of that encounter.

     Then the other variant was produced. Here I tried to experiment with watchtowers staying full height when being on the ground floor level. Ended up placing the whole tower template on -2,-1 and 0 floors. It wasn't the best of decisions but it does the job.

     And yet another variant of that encounter. At that time I created extra pine and birch log textures, the chest with the Red Star instead of the American version and some seamless wooden wall textures using RoboBox as the initial source.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Russia: Izhevsk warehouse

     Armed with the knowledge about where the Russians moved their industrial operations in the first years of WWII one realizes how important it is to tie our plot to this place.
     Rumor has it some Russian engineers are working on new "Avtomat" (smg/ assault rifle) designs... but it gets even better - somewhere in the Urals, in the vicinity of Izhevsk a secret lab has just started its research. Hmm...

Russia: Pine Forest Restricted Areas

     After the pine forest spots and trees were ready it was time for me to throw those together and make several encounters. The one above, for instance, has two variants.
     The variant with the larger building is where the chief of that post resides. He's got everything he needs right there in his room. 

     A small electric substation in the middle of nowhere... What could they be hidding in there?..

Russia: Pine Forest

     Since Silent Storm came only with winter pine scenes and Hammer and Sickle threw even them out, along with desert ones (one can still import them back as the db trees are still intact), I felt it was my duty to make a pine forest setting available.
     I had to go through quite a number of various spot versions until they seemed just right. Some of them are in the screenshot (and a few new "Grass" textures)

German Towns

German Town (continued)

German Town (continued)


     The unique architecture of Germany is something I've always been fascinated with. This small town template is just a small tribute to it.
     The funny thing is that when I work on these buildings I always get carried away and create something that I myself would want to live in. Even though many of them will eventually be subjected to rather merciless destruction and physical abuse by the player's party of ruffians... It almost makes me cry.

German RR tracks

     When dealing with something like a railroad, a check point, a factory or a prison - it takes very little to imagine the general layout of things since many of them are thematically connected and most of their parts are already present in the editor.
     If one checks the folders with parts of the original  game templates - they'll notice that the developers left a lot of unfinished buildings, settings, etc. Some of them might prove to be useful. Like this building, for example.
    The last one appears a little too dark. I am still unsure what lighting changes to implement. H&S regular "per hour" lighting is too colorful and has backgrounds that are a bit too bright, creating an illusion of floating on a mystical island high in the sky. Besides, unless the background is black any secret underground structures will be immediately revealed. Hmm...

     The yellow light does make it look cheeful!

     This height map gave me some major headaches. Especially the objects on the bridge (since I use templates for almost everything). After some DeltaZ adjustments everything seems to be fine (the passability, destructability, etc.) 

     One of my first templates. I recall going a bit too radical with Hue changes (for the roofs and the window frames) not realizing the necessary reduction in color saturation. It was taken care of later though.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

German Forests


     The Tilly driver obviously didn't see that pile of logs in the middle of the road. I wonder why?

     A bandit camp is assaulted by the Brits

     While the Brits are attacked by Fritz and his buddies. It is a very complicated part of the plot (not really), so in short - everyone but us dies.

     Yet one more interesting height map solution.

     The original cliff texture for dryer terrain was used here. The Bedford vehicles are driving around the hill.