PaxLair Player Owned Town Scene Design and Test

Discussion in 'Player Owned Towns' started by Winfield, Mar 31, 2015.

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  1. Sindariya

    Sindariya Avatar

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    I would like to take the chance to share my observations regarding the town template design and I apologize beforehand because it will become a wall of text.

    As one of perhaps many that are still sitting in front a of blank page which should be the later town design I want to know what is possible and what not. Furthermore I have also in mind how this template can be used by others without looking the same as ours or how I could use the ideas/templates of other to transform it in our own design. We have clear vision of our town and how it should feel to live in there. I think I share that with each town owner and their inhabitants. We are also fully aware, that we can't have everything according to our visions. The question is now, how can we find the best compromise for everyone, that includes also Portalarium.

    The first thing I noticed is, that we don't have a clear definition of what a template should look like and also have no clear designations of parts of the templates. When I started discussing with Winfield and Sean during their workhours I found out that I don't know enough about scene designing in Unity to understand what in a template have been determined and what is flexible. It would be good if a dev could explain how hard it is to create a map for a town and which easy option they have to let look different.

    As far as I understood the whole process, they make one map which contains all the topographic details which will be the template. The question is now, what are topographic details and how they influence the lots on the map?

    If we start from the lot placements locations (LPL), we know now that they want city lots as placeholder for each kind of lot. Why do they need it? Because the map has to be flat so nothing from the map collides with any item placed on the lot. Perhaps some of you already noticed that you sometimes place a carpet on the blank lot and parts of it disappeared. To prevent that, they need flat places for the lot. We don't know how much work it makes to make them flat, but if I imagine a stemp, it saves a lot of time to use only one of them and not one for each size and on the other hand it offers the template user the option use the LPL to their own wishes.
    This brings me to one of the tricky points of splitting up the LPLs. I use here the pic of Themo Lock.
    [​IMG]

    It was mentioned, that the splitted lots should snap in the right position, but do we have control about where the entrance of the lot is facing to? For example, let's take the two town lots. Do they have to face in the same direction or can they face in the opposite direction? Or if we take row lots, if we split the city lot in 3 rows row lots. Can we decide in which direction the 3rd row looks? And do we have to use 4 row lots or could we place single ones like I saw on some designs?
    What I observed in the templates is that it is hard to let it look like a natural grown town, like we saw in the player towns that are already in the game. So if we reuse the existing towns, do we have to use also the city lots for all LPLs or only for those which we want to add? Like in Kingsport, there are 3 row lots in a row with a village lot at the end if I remember correct. Can we use it the existing way or do we have to make a city lot LPL out of it?

    The next big thing which belongs to the LPLs is the central square of the NPC buildings. If we design templates we need put this square somewhere. The question now is, if it needs to be always on the same spot in the template or could move it at a whole square? I read somewhere that it has to be on a little higher level as the rest. So I assume it is not possible to move it. This brings me straight to the next problem I see if I want to reuse the template.
    A metropolis can have up to 15 buildings there. If a hamlet want to use the template it has perhaps not one building standing there, because they just want guards towers at the entrance. So what will they do with this ugly open space?
    I would suggest that we put placeholder LPLs there, so a hamlet can use part of the space for housing. We only need to know if the central square is one or two LPLs big.
    The central square is something where I hope we can create it individual per town. So not each town of the template has the armor shop at the same position or at least the same house type on the position.

    The last big deal in the template are the topographic details on the template like rivers, islands, coastlines, hills and cliffs. As far as I know Unity they have to be build out of flat surface and than get their fitting texture.
    The question is it even possible to change on the things when the template is final? Moving and adding details is not possible I assume, but can we ask to remove things? If we want to use the PaxLair template, is it possible to remove a cliff or the whole river? What about islands, can we just let them vanish?
    I really like the suggestion of Baron Drocis Fondorlatos to create different templates during the creation process of the final map. But I guess it is impossible to create a work flow which makes this possible. I just assume, that the flattening for the LPLs is the last step of creating the map so it has to be done for each created map, so it would not really save time but perhaps the devs could give it a second thought.

    How does it work with the streets and bridges. Are they like rivers and can't really be moved? What if we don't want to use some of the LPLs so it makes no sense for the town to a street to them. Will it at least be possible to remove them?

    What about the docks? Are they really part of the template and need some preparations in the map to place them or are they extras like rocks? In general, what about POIs (points of interests) in the template. I saw ruins in the PaxLair template, is this really something for a template or is this what can be individual placed and replaced by something else? What about placing trees, rocks or flowers (personal wish) in a town. Is this something can done per town or does it need to be per template? What about defence walls and gates? What is template and what is individual?

    Where does the biome decoration start? Some single trees doesn't make a forest biome. Winfield once draw my attention on the problem, that trees for a forest around a lot needs to be placed carefully so no collision with the possible houses on the lot can happen. Should we mark places on the template where we want to see the biome in full glory? In the PaxLair template are a lot of places where you see woods. What of them will belong to the biome and which to the template? If I want a desert biome, what will happen with the forest and the river? Will would totally turn into thicket or wasteland?

    I think, I could write about some more things, I saw in this thread but this post is long enough already. If you managed to read till here you survived 1346 words.
     
  2. Katrina Bekers

    Katrina Bekers Localization Team

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    I did.

    Where is my medal? :D

    To add something useful to the thread: my impression is that devs are learning how to work with templates and customization just as much as we players are. They don't want to rule out anything, while not giving too high hopes that every holdfast will be a totally custom and unique map. But this gives fuzzy definitions of what a template is/can/can't do.

    So far, we know that the higher the customization you want, the higher the chance that your POT will appear later.

    Ask for a lot of work to be done on your POT, and it might take many months to see every diminutive detail implemented. Or it might be "promoted" to template status (maybe because your design is a totally innovative, and highly reusable one) and actually get devs attention sooner!

    PaxLair is just one of the "root" designs, and this forces nothing on nobody. If your POT is similar in style/layout to PaxLair, probably a good idea is not to distance too much from it. If it's totally different, probably your one will be the template for similar setups. Who knows?

    We certainly don't.

    I suspect even devs and designers so far don't.

    But for sure that's why the tests are so important and at the same time not indicative of what may/may not work out in the near and far future.
     
  3. Miracle Dragon

    Miracle Dragon Legend of the Hearth

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    Great post Sindariya! But don't let all the questions stop you from getting started. :) I want to see what you come up with.. Pretty exciting!
     
  4. Winfield

    Winfield Legend of the Hearth

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    I just returned from Austin. The PaxLair scene is coming along nicely. I spent a bit of time adding more City lots to make the scene more re-usable as a template -- a few areas will now allow for some narrow streets that can have row houses on each side of the narrow streets (or village, town, or city lots), giving it a "dark alley" type of feel in some sections. PaxLair won't use all those areas, but they are available for others to use.

    I also rotated the castle to face out over the cliff so it has a better view of the town below, and the town is looking up at the front of the castle, not the back side. The Stonehill neighborhood is now "behind" the castle as a back yard for merchants, workers, and such. This may help some of the ideas we have for "role-playing" castle life in that neighborhood. From a template point of view, a town owner can choose whether to have the castle face one way or rotated 180 degrees. Most lots will have that option as long as the for sale sign does not end up on top of another adjacent lot.

    I also rotated the whole scene back to the original position -- clockwise 1/4 turn where Sunset Rock is back on the east side and watches the sun set on the side with the castle and waterfall. It has a much more dramatic visual lighting effect rotated that way. We won't need to change the current labeling of the maps we have, other than label the top EAST for now. When all the dust settles, we can fix our maps.

    The Developer was very patient with me as I drew little boxes on paper -- even did some "cutouts" like little paper dolls (actually little village lots) -- rotated some things a bit, scribbled out the boxes, tried again, and then finally had something that seemed to work well in some of the spots. It is arduous and tedious to design and develop.

    The housing type and count does not change; people's lot assignments for R17 do not change ... all I did was move a few town "blocks" around, added more city template lots for other owners to use in the future, and made some narrower streets.

    We worked on a few other things to help prepare for the R17 roll out and I'll get more of those details out later to the people involved in publicity, town management, events, etc.

    I showed print-outs from the Player Town Designs thread to the Devs to get more discussion going. They have a lot of good ideas for different biomes, how to make things look different with the same template, more template ideas, etc. They don't have a lot of specifics to tell us yet, other than what we already know. They brainstorm on these things as questions and ideas are encountered; they look for best possible approaches; then try them out. It is all still a work in progress.

    I know this PoT test will significantly help them and the PoT community at large. It already has. The community feedback during this test has been heard too. PaxLair is honored to be a part of the test ... yet it is pretty exhausting.

    Thanks for your interest, ideas, and continued patience.
     
  5. Spoon

    Spoon Avatar

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    Spoon hands Winfield a keg of mead, a fishing rod and points at a serene lake in a lush forest.
    -come, rest, rejuvinate.
    'Nuff said, 'nuff done.
     
  6. Katrina Bekers

    Katrina Bekers Localization Team

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    Wooo! All my windows will face south now! Much more light at home! :cool:

    Thanks Winfield, thank you for your work and dedication.

    Eagerly waiting any answer to the tons of questions you brought with you at Austin.
     
  7. Sindariya

    Sindariya Avatar

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    That is a valuable hidden information. I never thought about the fact of cardinal points of the map and how it influences the lights and shadows during the day. That is something important for persons who live near cliffs. Would be bad if they are 80% of the day in the shadow of a cliff.
     
  8. Winfield

    Winfield Legend of the Hearth

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    Latest Update: April 16, 2015...

    Added more city lots on right side for template - making Forest Alley. Lots on Central Lane and Alleyway moved around a little. Made some "blocks" closer together to form alleyways, added Fishers Pass, expanded Stonehill mountain area on top, added path to reach "front" of the castle from Main Street as the front entrance will be towards the cliff overlooking the town. Map is not rotated yet, but will be 90 degrees clockwise, Sunset Rock will be on the East Side, and Stonehill will be on the West Side.

    [​IMG]

    I also updated the maps in the R17 planning thread for lot allocations in R17 test.
     
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  9. Jatvardur

    Jatvardur Avatar

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    Ok, so it looks like they will over-zone the city lots. That way there is flexibility about where to allocate our actual lots: id est, we can achieve our full allocation of space for lots.

    Which is welcome news, but may require testing. I still fear that it won't necessary allow for the correct allocation of row lots since they are a peculiar size in relation to a city lot.
     
  10. Rufus D`Asperdi

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    Bah... you destroyed my view. ;)
    I was looking forward to being perched atop the cliff.
     
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  11. Katrina Bekers

    Katrina Bekers Localization Team

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    I just realized my mistake.

    I have a lot in front of Wody's.

    I go there, drink too much, then can't follow the straight line back home.

    Drunk, I hit the 4B maze.

    Never to be seen again.
     
  12. Gaelis

    Gaelis Avatar

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    Thats how Net get the skulls for the basement*grins*
     
  13. Sindariya

    Sindariya Avatar

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    psstt
     
  14. Net

    Net Avatar

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    That is awful lie and does not represent the hard work to get skull in the slightest. All the skulls I get are from licensed graverobbers.
     
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  15. Sean Silverfoot

    Sean Silverfoot Avatar

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    *looks up from counting gold fillings* nothing going on here....keep moving.....
     
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  16. Lord-Galiwyn

    Lord-Galiwyn Avatar

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    Vivat!
     
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  17. Spoon

    Spoon Avatar

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    This selling licenses to people is the best scam ever. Specially with this free magic press.
    I mean how thick do they have to be to fall for this?
    Licensed pick pocket, licensed embezzler, licensed bandit, licensed grave robber, licensed kidnapper.
    Come buy them here.
     
  18. Winfield

    Winfield Legend of the Hearth

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    I am preparing for some meetings and hangouts ... here is a public directory of PaxLair maps from concept to finished design. You can go directly to the directory and download/view these files. I can link them for viewing here too, but that pulls in 12 MB of data on this page. So I will just link a few.

    See all the PaxLair maps used to build the PaxLair Scene (so far) here:
    http://www.paxlair.com/images_ext_sota/

    Here is the list of maps and some description - I can try to make this better later:

    [​IMG]01PaxLairSotAMapDraft20140409.jpg - Original PaxLair scene concept April 9, 2014


    02PaxLairflat.jpg - Just a flat land/water map


    03PaxLaircliffs.jpg - Added the elevation to the map


    04design_natural.jpg - Added some biome


    05PaxLairNoLots.jpg - Threw in some roads and NPC buildings



    [​IMG]
    06LotDivisions.png - This is how lots are divided and combined up naturally


    [​IMG]07PaxLairTemplateLots.jpg - Designed the Template -- added City Lots and Water Lots -- So this is the TEMPLATE


    [​IMG]
    08LotDivisionsRules.png - Leaning how City Lots can be subdivided - house signs cannot be on another lot



    [​IMG]
    09PaxLairSubdivideAndRuins.jpg - Subdividing/Merging Template Lots specifically for PaxLair Metropolis house lots


    10PaxLairLots.jpg - End result of carving up/selecting use of the Template Lots for PaxLair


    11PaxLairLotsNeighborhoods.jpg - Named the neighborhoods of PaxLair


    12PaxLairLotsNeighborhoodsStreets.jpg - Named the streets for PaxLair


    13PaxLairLotsNeighborhoodsStreetsScenes.jpg - Added entrances/exits to overland map and other PaxLair scenes (PaxLair is a town Cluster of 5 PoTs)


    [​IMG]14PaxLairAll.jpg - Everything on the map including house numbers


    15SotA_Map_Translated_Curved.jpg - Full Novia Map


    [​IMG]
    16PaxLairLocation.jpg - Where PaxLair might be in Novia


    Again...

    See all the PaxLair maps used to build the PaxLair Scene (so far) here:
    http://www.paxlair.com/images_ext_sota/
     
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  19. Weins201

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    Um this does NOT have a City lot space at each LOT location? What am I missing? Or are you going to jamb Multiple Row lots INTO a City Lot?

    A Template by my understanding has to have - 556 Spaces for Lots - I know it sound crazy but that would be a metropolis with 556 Row Lots on it which is the Max number of smaller houses I could place in a Metropolis.

    Each of these need to be City sized spaces but you have to pick and chose to actually make the Allocation - and if ou want a Keep (2 city side by side) and castle (4 in a cluster)?

    does that make sense?
     
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  20. Rufus D`Asperdi

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    Each city lot sized building area may, in fact, be divided up into multiple lots... 2 adjacent town lots, 4 adjacent village lots... 4 to 12 (depending on as yet unclear limitations) row lots.
    Please see some of the Pax Lair maps that have the red outlined city lot sized flattened building areas deliniated.
     
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