Saturday, November 16, 2013

Looking ahead to 2014 Projects Part 1

 We plan to work on two terrain projects for 2014.  The first one is "Titania City" which is the capital city of Titania the moon of Uranus and the planet our current "Station 42 War" is set on.  Unlike the station and surrounding areas which are very hardscrabble, dirty, frontier style locations Titania City will be a beautiful domed city full of elegant buildings and green spaces.
 There are several serious challenges to this project.  It is much easier to do hardscrabble, frontier, futuristic buildings and terrain than the slick and polished futuristic look.  Another issue is that while we want the city to look beautiful and clean we also want it to look lived in and established.  That will be a kind of hard thing to pull off.  The buildings need to show a bit of age and usage but not be heavily weathered like the station and other locations on Titania.
 Also building multi story buildings always brings problems of scale and playability.  Too many tall buildings can make it very difficult to play around as you tent to knock things over and damage them as you try and reach across the table to move models.  
 All of our current Titania based terrain is as fully playable as we can make it.  That is the roofs come off the buildings and the doors and windows work.  We feel this is very important with certain scenarios especially with role playing games.  Doing multi story buildings is not as simple as it might seem and dealing with them in play can be a hassle.  When you have to pick up upper stories to move miniatures around you can end up jostling the furnishings and miniatures in the upper levels and on the top which can lead to lost game time and even damage.
We will probably limit the number of stories in most buildings to three or four but make the stories a bit higher than usual and design  some of the buildings to have non playable spacers between some of the stories.  We will also probably make some "Space Needle" style buildings where the elevator shafts aren't playable.  
 The other project will be a very dirty and industrial city on the dwarf planet Ceres.  In fact in our "Solar Empires" setting Ceres is covered in one huge city similar to Coruscant or Nar Shaddaa from the Star Wars setting although not quite as overbuilt as either of those settings.  Although it is part of the Martian Soviet Socialist Republic, Ceres is the commercial port of Martian held territories similar to Hong Kong or Vladivostok and it is very commercialized by comparison.    
 Many of the same problems exist for this project as for the Titania City project.  Many of the structures will need to be taller than the ones that we have built and will require multiple stories to pull off correctly.  The good thing is that the dirty/industrial look is much easier to pull off and several of those larger structures can be purely industrial in nature.
One of the solutions I have considered is to make a multi-level table using milk crates or smaller storage crates to support each level than having smaller buildings on each level that are only one or two stories tall.  then having a cloud layer similar to the New York scenes from The Fifth Element and then making underground complexes for the lower levels.

Both of these projects are huge undertakings compared to Station 42 and I don't plan to finish either in one year.  In fact both settings will hopefully consist of several tables of terrain covering the points of interest in each city rather than attempts to do the entire city on one table.  Obviously that would be impossible for Ceres and would make Titania City unrealistically confined.

We are hoping to make at least enough to cover a 4x8 foot table for each project rather than trying to cover the 5x12 foot table that Station 42 sits on.  That table is already more complicated to reach across and we doubt it would be possible to put really large structures on it and still make the thing playable.

This may be more project than we can realistically handle but we are planning on setting our next campaign on Ceres and we have really been wanting to do Titania City for role playing games.  


mattblackgod said...

I look forward to seeing your cities. I have been engaged in a making a couple of futuristic cities this year so it will be interesting to see your work.

Ironworker said...

Cool! I've always been a fan of your work.

Daoud Chevalier said...

What you do is always "spot on" great ideas and really inspirational

PapaSpanky said...

I was also thinking over a fifth element style board. I thought about making the board surface the cloud layer and models could only move on buildings and walkways. I will be good to see what you come up with.

Ironworker said...

One of the things I'm kind of stumped on is how to get that air speeder traffic that is so important for the look of those types of cities. Not just coming up with them but also how to suspend them in flight. I played an aircraft dogfighting game at a local convention a few years ago that used radio control antenna so that the planes could have different heights. That worked fine for the game but I'm afraid it would look too busy for a table like this. This may be one of those pipe dream tables to try and pull off but we are going to give it our best shot.

PapaSpanky said...

I had thought about that myself, I had the idea of using soething like this

either to support the vehicles from the bottom or attach them horizontal to the buildings and "hide" them with aircar traffic. The only problem with that is the traffic is just terrain at that point. Maybe a mix of both ideas so some cars are moveable.

Ironworker said...

Yeah that was my thinking too. I figure for skirmish type games you could have at least a bit of aircar traffic but for larger battles most of the traffic would probably flee the area anyway. Still it would be nice to have the option to have a few flying around.