City terrain

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lurker
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City terrain

Post by lurker » December 9th, 2010, 11:57 am

Hello!

Perhaps map creators would agree that creating a convincing city in wesnoth is very hard: Usually people throw a lot of houses onto a lump, which is very limiting gameplay-wise, and still does not really look like a city. I think the best solution would be a new kind of terrain, which I will call "residential area" from now on (clumsy, but "R" is one of the few letters which is not already taken for wesnoth terrains).

I tried a system like for forests: An overlay (usually probably over cobbles or dirt) with an ensemble of houses. That could look like in this image of a port with a garrison:
port.png
The main traits to distinguish the new terrain are:
- The houses are scaled dow to roughly 2/3 of "real" houses
- The colors, and most crucially the color of the roofs, are dull
With this, I think the regular houses do stand out enough not to confuse players.

This is obviously very much a work in progress, but since it is a lot of work, I would like to hear beforehand what people are thinking of the oveall idea, and the way I am going. And there is a lot to discuss:

I am looking to this from an esthetical angle. But the terrain is so different from all existing ones, that it seems unavoidable to give it unique traits, gameplaywise. I imagine that mouted units would be at a disadvantage (like within forests, but including elvish scouts), that thieves, and more generally knive-throwing units (perhaps including orcish assassins) would see an advantage, and so on. This obviously implies changes to the main era which go far beyond my expertise, and I imagine this could even be a showstopper, if the hassle is too much.

So that is it for the moment. What I would like to take away from the coming discussion is the answer to two questions:
1) Would this be something worthwile to integrate? More specifically, will the community do the hard work of figuring out the necessary modifications to the unit statistics and the like?
2) If so, what are your suggestions regarding the graphics?

Thanks in advance

Lurker
Last edited by lurker on January 7th, 2011, 8:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Reepurr
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Re: A new terrain type?

Post by Reepurr » December 9th, 2010, 12:26 pm

Compared to the things you've put next to them, the city seems quite dull, plain and unshaded, but good idea.
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Re: A new terrain type?

Post by Kraus » December 9th, 2010, 12:51 pm

This is definitely a very, very good idea. :) Most likely it doesn't need to add any further bonuses to defenses of any kind, but as an aesthetic overlay it is, I'd say, more needed than desired to make good looking cities. Work on! I hope this gets done, and mainlined. Many a scenario would benefit from this.
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Re: A new terrain type?

Post by Boucman » December 9th, 2010, 1:26 pm

I think it's a great idea

from a story point of view we really need city but putting lots of villages together is a very bad idea gameplaywise...

having a terrain that would be like a village but without giving healing/money would solve that problem nicely, and playing with the difference of scale to differentiate the terrain villages from the money village seems like a great way to do it...

I won't comment on the aethetic (though I personnaly think having them a bit dull is a good thing since they blend better with other terrain) but from a map making/gameplay point of view this is absolutely great
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Re: A new terrain type?

Post by doofus-01 » December 9th, 2010, 1:49 pm

I completely agree that this is a solution to a real problem. I'm not so crazy about the idea of houses that aren't villages though. The scale of Wesnoth terrain is inconsistent, this difference in building types would make it even starker. Pushing it over the line.

That's my take on it. If others like your idea, don't let me discourage you.

How about "cave walls" that are buildings? There would be more freedom in scaling because the player couldn't get confused, and it would provide obstacle terrain, which is mostly underground stuff right now.
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Re: A new terrain type?

Post by em3 » December 9th, 2010, 2:10 pm

I realize this is more a proof of concept than a final version. Would you consider rotating some of the building a couple of degrees, so that they are not all placed on one parallel grid?
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Re: A new terrain type?

Post by Dixie » December 9th, 2010, 2:25 pm

I think the idea is nice. And to be KISS, I think the gameplay part could just be "they have the defense of villages, but don't heal/give gold".
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Re: A new terrain type?

Post by zookeeper » December 9th, 2010, 2:36 pm

I don't know. On one hand sure, it'd be nice to be able to make towns and cities look more like towns and cities. On the other hand, we'd end up with having both "villages" and "cities" where only "villages" give you healing and income, which would be odd. Units could get healing by staying in a shoddy orcish hut but not in a proper city (arguably castles have the same issue) and we'd have two different scales of houses right next to each other too.

As for gameplay, I'd think these should simply alias to villages.

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Re: A new terrain type?

Post by lurker » December 9th, 2010, 3:06 pm

doofus-01 wrote:How about "cave walls" that are buildings?
How would this be less confusing? It is also a row of building which do not act as villages, unless I misunderstood what you meant. And I am not comfortable neither with how I think it would look, nor with the gameplay. Usually an armoured unit can force its way across houses (in through the door, out through a window, for example), even if slower than in normal terrain.
zookeeper wrote:Units could get healing by staying in a shoddy orcish hut but not in a proper city
That is a serious concern. But I think it can be justified: In rural areas people tend to have all things necessary for their daily lives within reach - food, medicine, tool, spare parts - simply because the way to the next store or doctor is far. I imagine the same has to be true for shoddy orcish huts. The same is not true in the city, where storage room is at a premium. This could also be the role the "real" houses have: stores, hospitals, forges.
zookeeper wrote:and we'd have two different scales of houses right next to each other too..
True, but unavoidable. There needs to be a clear visual distinction.

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Re: A new terrain type?

Post by doofus-01 » December 9th, 2010, 3:19 pm

lurker wrote:How would this be less confusing? It is also a row of building which do not act as villages, unless I misunderstood what you meant. And I am not comfortable neither with how I think it would look, nor with the gameplay. Usually an armoured unit can force its way across houses (in through the door, out through a window, for example), even if slower than in normal terrain.
It would be less confusing because you could not walk on it. The realism of why a big armoured guy can't bust through a door? You got me there.

(BTW: Zookeeper said what I was trying to say, but more eloquently.)
EDIT: Erg. What I mean to say up there ^ is: If you don't make the villages/buildings very distinct, you get what zookeeper said. If you make them very distinct, you get a very glaring contrast/conflict in terrain scales & perspective.
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lurker
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Re: A new terrain type?

Post by lurker » December 9th, 2010, 3:45 pm

doofus-01 wrote:It would be less confusing because you could not walk on it. The realism of why a big armoured guy can't bust through a door? You got me there.

(BTW: Zookeeper said what I was trying to say, but more eloquently.)
Hm, ok, I understand. Does my answer help?

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Re: A new terrain type?

Post by doofus-01 » December 9th, 2010, 3:58 pm

Yes, you are right. The "cave walls" idea has many issues and solves nothing.

It's a challenging problem, sorry I can't have something more constructive to say.
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Re: A new terrain type?

Post by Sgt. Groovy » December 9th, 2010, 4:23 pm

I think this is a great idea, but in order to work conceptually, we would need something that looks different from apartment houses for "village" city terrain. They should look like garrisons, city halls or supply depots etc., so that it makes obvious sense why they provide a resource, while the other house-terrain do not.
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Re: A new terrain type?

Post by Simons Mith » December 9th, 2010, 4:34 pm

We do already have a UI indicator for 'buildings which heal you and provide income', namely the flag. So buildings without flags can't heal units or give income. For a city, which I suspect often ought to have some parts that do heal units, may I suggest adopting the use of a 'neutral' flag type? I believe such has already been mooted - to mark unowned villages and the like, but has been rejected so far because it adds 'needless' clutter. But as soon as you have some buildings that can heal and some that can't, neutral flags for marking capturable buildings become much more useful. One obvious 'neutral' flag is to just have an empty flagpole available. If we use the flag idea, then our rule for city terrain is that it can be in scale with the existing village images because it's the presence or absence of the flag that tells you it's a 'heals and gives gold' hex, rather than than the distinctive buildings.

The map editor already provides 'keep' and 'castle' overlays, allowing you to mark any hex as recruitable from or to even if there's not a keep/castle present. How about a 'village' overlay too?
 

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Re: A new terrain type?

Post by lurker » December 9th, 2010, 9:05 pm

Simons Mith wrote:We do already have a UI indicator for 'buildings which heal you and provide income', namely the flag. So buildings without flags can't heal units or give income. For a city, which I suspect often ought to have some parts that do heal units, may I suggest adopting the use of a 'neutral' flag type? I believe such has already been mooted - to mark unowned villages and the like, but has been rejected so far because it adds 'needless' clutter. But as soon as you have some buildings that can heal and some that can't, neutral flags for marking capturable buildings become much more useful. One obvious 'neutral' flag is to just have an empty flagpole available. If we use the flag idea, then our rule for city terrain is that it can be in scale with the existing village images because it's the presence or absence of the flag that tells you it's a 'heals and gives gold' hex, rather than than the distinctive buildings.

The map editor already provides 'keep' and 'castle' overlays, allowing you to mark any hex as recruitable from or to even if there's not a keep/castle present. How about a 'village' overlay too?
That proposal sounds good in theory, but I am sorry to say it will not work in practice. The first version i tried was the same as now, just with red (a slightly darker red than the "village" city houses) roofs. The big houses almost completely vanished in the city, even though the difference in size and saturation was the same as now. To get to my point: A city, no matter which buildings it is made of, will always be a visually noisy terrain. Forcing the player to scan that area for small, tiny, empty flagpoles will frustrate them no end. As an additional hint it may or may not be useful, but not as the only one.

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