Harrvah Tileset, take 2

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Harrvah Tileset, take 2

Postby Jetryl » Sat Dec 30, 2006 4:30 am

Since I'm nearly done with the mountain town tileset (doing the fences right now), it's time for Harrvah to get some love. The first thing is ironing out some visual concepts; I'll proceed to do sketchwork based on these to proof the decisions for roots (in publishing terms).

Right now, the biggest question is roofing.


The harrvahns have access to _some_ wood (like the egyptians did), but wood for them is in short supply, and getting "big timber" - the kind of tress a man can't wrap his arms around, is extremely expensive, if even possible. So though we can use some wood in housing to, say, hold the roof up as rafters, the roof tiles themselves are almost certainly going to be made of some sort of clay, rather than wood.

For visual interest, and because the harrvahns are descended from a "meta-medieval" people, I'm assuming that their design preference goes to having a slanted, tiled roof, rather than having flat-roofed adobe-style structures - even if it might be inferior (which is debatable - the romans/greeks built many such roofed buildings in desert areas of north africa/egypt). They're used to building roofs, and even with new materials they've kept building the same fundamental design.


Our most recent tileset featured tiled, roman-like roofs. Since the new images will have so much more detail, we need to decide on a more detailed choice of roof tile - the specific shape of a roof tile is called it's "profile," as I've recently learned. The following should give some food for thought:
http://www.thetileman.com/art1.html
http://www.columbiarooftile.com/shapes.html
http://www.bristileroofing.com.au/brist ... _tiles.php
http://www.oldhousejournal.com/magazine ... clay.shtml


Right immediately now is not the time to decide which one we're going to with; I'm just brainstorming, collecting ideas. It's after I make sketches of what these different ones would actually look like that it's time to decide (although steering me in the right direction is very much a good thing).
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Postby Jetryl » Sat Dec 30, 2006 4:36 am

On a related note - for massive "ease of figuring out the tile scheme", I'd like to have the "lego pieces" similar between harrvah and the mountain village - that is:

slanted roofs on the side, and a flat-roofed section in the middle.

Figuring out a way to make the houses *not* work like this would be really hard for me; it will need to be done eventually, but I'd like to cut my teeth on drawing this much, first, without having to worry about that headache of how stuff interlocks.

I'm almost certain it's possible to insert a way to do this later, leaving all existing tiles intact (only adding new tiles). So we're not deciding against a roof with a peak in the middle, permanently.
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Postby eleazar » Sat Dec 30, 2006 5:48 am

Jetryl wrote:On a related note - for massive "ease of figuring out the tile scheme", I'd like to have the "lego pieces" similar between harrvah and the mountain village - that is:

slanted roofs on the side, and a flat-roofed section in the middle.

Figuring out a way to make the houses *not* work like this would be really hard for me; it will need to be done eventually, but I'd like to cut my teeth on drawing this much, first, without having to worry about that headache of how stuff interlocks.

I'm almost certain it's possible to insert a way to do this later, leaving all existing tiles intact (only adding new tiles). So we're not deciding against a roof with a peak in the middle, permanently.


Bah, i just wrote a detailed reply and accidentally closed the browser.

In short, i don't like the mountain house roof, to me it's blatantly impractical. It traps the rainwater and rots through several times a year. Hopefully we'll be able to add the full roof in later.

For the Harrvahites who get little or no rain, a slanted roof would be extra work for no benefit. Flat roofs are easier to make, and have the additional benefit of allowing the owner to go up top and store stuff or catch the evening breeze.

The traditional slanted roof from the rainy land of their past would probably still be used on more important buildings, like the castle. But in fitting with the hard-scrabble life described for these people houses with flat roof made of adobe or soil make the most sense, and are evocative of the desert. Stone which is hard to cut and move would be used sparingly.
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Postby Roots » Sat Dec 30, 2006 6:00 am

eleazar wrote:In short, i don't like the mountain house roof, to me it's blatantly impractical. It traps the rainwater and rots through several times a year. Hopefully we'll be able to add the full roof in later.


I caught this today too when I was putting together the tileset images. I think we'll definitely need to change those roofs.


I like the rest of what eleazar had to say about the roofs in Harrvah. I'll admit that I very much like the current roofs we have for this tileset and would like to at least use them later in the game, but for all practical purposes the argument above was perfectly sound. I :approve: of adobe-style housing.


Take a look at the latest we have for this:

[img:576:416]http://www.ccpssolutions.com/allacrost/mapDemo2.png[/img]

The top half of the house *does* look like adobe (if you ignore the worn-off sections that show the stone). I think it makes sense that for a two story house, you'd want the bottom to be built of a strong material (stone) and the top of a cooler and more light-weight material (adobe). I think that with perhaps the roof and the obvious showing of stone being used to create the second story, this house is already adobe-ish and very practical.


One story houses I think could be either completely stone or adobe. If you recall, the capital city of Harrvah is located next to two enormously huge stones which the castle itself sits upon. Thus, I'm sure there's an abundance of stone near the city, and it makes sense that it would be used in some structures.


I'm kind of rambling on here, but I don't really want us to out-right copy an architectural style (adobe, roman, whatever) and use it in the game. The game is supposed to take place in a different world, and so quite naturally I'd like that world to be unique on its own rather than a copy/paste job of the real world (TM). :heh:
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Postby eleazar » Sat Dec 30, 2006 6:40 am

Roots wrote:I'm kind of rambling on here, but I don't really want us to out-right copy an architectural style (adobe, roman, whatever) and use it in the game. The game is supposed to take place in a different world, and so quite naturally I'd like that world to be unique on its own rather than a copy/paste job of the real world (TM). :heh:

Adobe/mud isn't so much a style of construction as solution so simple and effective that it's been used in dry climates all over the world.
However there's no need to limit ourselves to "generic" adobe houses.

Bricks can be colored differently by using different colored dirt, or the outside of the bricks can be covered over with more adobe/stucco/mud and inscribed or colored with different patterns:
[img:278:189]http://www.jwbjerk.com/dl/allacrost/decorations.jpg[/img]
Different patterns might be used at the builder's whim, or indicate the kind of structure (i.e all stores are zig-zag striped), but more realistically the walls would be treated to resemble traditional building materials of their culture. Architecture is almost always conservative and made to resemble familiar building materials even if they are no longer used.
If the Harrvahites build log houses in the old land, they would probably put horizontal stripes on their buildings, because it just looks right.

Another interesting variation on mud is cob which allows some interesting curved shapes. Obviously were somewhat constrained to square houses, but we could make rounded windows, etc.
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Postby Jetryl » Sat Dec 30, 2006 7:51 am

eleazar wrote:In short, i don't like the mountain house roof, to me it's blatantly impractical. It traps the rainwater and rots through several times a year. Hopefully we'll be able to add the full roof in later.


Then we can use it for a people who get much rain, but have easy access to tons of wood through trade with their neighbors, or something.

The only thing I ask is that it not get "deleted entirely"; that would be beyond insane, because it looks great and we're starved for content. This is scaring me. Use it later in the game, somewhere. I know it's unrealistic in some settings, but to completely ban those images from the game on that basis is just nuts. We can find some semi-rational place for these. Keep in mind that beggars can't be choosers, and allacrost desperately needs content.

eleazar wrote:For the Harrvahites who get little or no rain, a slanted roof would be extra work for no benefit. Flat roofs are easier to make, and have the additional benefit of allowing the owner to go up top and store stuff or catch the evening breeze.

The traditional slanted roof from the rainy land of their past would probably still be used on more important buildings, like the castle. But in fitting with the hard-scrabble life described for these people houses with flat roof made of adobe or soil make the most sense, and are evocative of the desert. Stone which is hard to cut and move would be used sparingly.



It's going to be a shit-ton harder, but I'll try and design a new tiling scheme (assemblage of parts) for the harrvahn houses. It may take some trial-and-error. I have to iron out the general design of the houses, first, before I can plan the "seams" which will make up the different components.

Edit: I'm not joking, though - that is by far, the single hardest thing (for me at least) about making tiles; designing the scheme by which the different tiles assemble into a larger set. It's like designing a jigsaw puzzle that has multiple valid solutions.

More on this when I get those fences done.
Last edited by Jetryl on Sat Dec 30, 2006 9:38 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby eleazar » Sat Dec 30, 2006 9:36 am

Jetryl wrote:
eleazar wrote:In short, i don't like the mountain house roof, to me it's blatantly impractical. It traps the rainwater and rots through several times a year. Hopefully we'll be able to add the full roof in later.


Then we can use it for a people who get much rain, but have easy access to tons of wood through trade with their neighbors, or something.

The only thing I ask is that it not get "deleted entirely"; that would be beyond insane, because it looks great and we're starved for content. This is scaring me. Use it later in the game, somewhere. I know it's unrealistic in some settings, but to completely ban those images from the game on that basis is just nuts. We can find some semi-rational place for these. Keep in mind that beggars can't be choosers, and allacrost desperately needs content.

I'm not saying it should be deleted out of hand, but that it should be eventually replaced— just like you are planning on replacing nearly all the tiles so far done for Harrvah buildings.

Jetryl wrote:
eleazar wrote:For the Harrvahites who get little or no rain, a slanted roof would be extra work for no benefit. Flat roofs are easier to make, and have the additional benefit of allowing the owner to go up top and store stuff or catch the evening breeze.

The traditional slanted roof from the rainy land of their past would probably still be used on more important buildings, like the castle. But in fitting with the hard-scrabble life described for these people houses with flat roof made of adobe or soil make the most sense, and are evocative of the desert. Stone which is hard to cut and move would be used sparingly.

It's going to be a shit-ton harder, but I'll try and design a new tiling scheme (assemblage of parts) for the harrvahn houses. It may take some trial-and-error. I have to iron out the general design of the houses, first, before I can plan the "seams" which will make up the different components.

I don't see what part of my ideas about Harrvah is a ton harder. A flat roof should be trivial to do compared to a slanted one. Perhaps you've misunderstood something i wrote?
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Postby Jetryl » Sat Dec 30, 2006 9:44 am

eleazar wrote:I don't see what part of my ideas about Harrvah is a ton harder. A flat roof should be trivial to do compared to a slanted one. Perhaps you've misunderstood something i wrote?


(worth noting that I made an edit to the above just as you were posting this).

All I'm worried about is having to create a brand-new scheme for how the different parts interlock. It might be a lot easier than I'm cracking it up to be, but I've tried and failed at this at other times in my life, and I just wanted to take things one step at a time, rather than one giant leap at a time.

And you're right - I misestimated the strong possibility that the scheme might actually end up being very similar to the existing circlegraphic tiles, since Harrvah will probably have a flat roof. :angel:


Speaking of which, I'm done with the circlegraphic tiles, and it ... is ... time, for sketching.
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Postby Jetryl » Sat Dec 30, 2006 9:57 am

eleazar wrote:I'm not saying it should be deleted out of hand, but that it should be eventually replaced— just like you are planning on replacing nearly all the tiles so far done for Harrvah buildings.


I'm saying that it looks to have no more of a design weakness than any desert (adobe/etc) construction would have, and that removing it - ever - is a really stupid idea.

However, simply - "Not using it in any remotely wet area, and having an alternate roof for there?" That's smart.

It would work great in a dry climate.
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Postby Jetryl » Sat Dec 30, 2006 1:17 pm

Here is a very preliminary sketch of something that fulfills the tasks of:
• No major wooden rafters
• Stone base, with "stucco/adobe/mud" top that is larger than the base.
• Some "meta-european influence".

It's a tough thing, because by ripping off the roof, we're eliminating the number one thing that gives it a "european" flavor. Right now this almost hearkens towards being arabic in origin.

There is a hint of a roof on this drawing, I just gave a faint trace to note how it would look with a roof; partly just for my own curiosity.



Things that could change without breaking the general design:
• The windows could go a number of ways; I've included "roman" simple arches right now; I'm leery of having gothic windows, because they could look too arabian on a house with no roof. Flat-topped windows could also look way too modern.

• The caps of the stone corner-supports, both on top and bottom, could be elaborated in a host of different ways.

• The corner-supports could be changed so as not to protrude from the rectangle of the lower building. Really, anything that doesn't cave into the interior rectangle is good.

• The porch shield could stay a simple ... valance(?), or could actually be built-onto floorboards extending from the floor separating the two halves of the building, and could have real terracotta tiles on it. This could also be a separate set of variation tiles - one of cloth, and one actually built-on, for more affluent houses.

Porches, slanted or not, are built for shade, not water repulsion. This is my defense of their existence, they and side-roofs like the ones in that circlegraphic set actually have a lot of use in blocking sun. We're spoiled with our air conditioning.

[img:340:289]http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/jetryl/Map-Tiles/ConceptsHarrvah/harrvah-house-perspective-1.png[/img]
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Postby eleazar » Sat Dec 30, 2006 4:29 pm

Some other natural characteristics of houses in desert environments:
* Walls are thick: ~.5m. This provides the thermal mass to keep the inside cool, and is a natural result of building with adobe/mud brick/cob.
* Windows are small, and usually shaded by an awning. Before our nice insulated glass windows that's the only way to keep the heat outside.
* Porches, Awnings etc. would be very common. Unfortunately these would tend to block the view of our characters, so should be used with strategically.
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Postby Jetryl » Sat Dec 30, 2006 4:39 pm

eleazar wrote:Some other natural characteristics of houses in desert environments:
* Walls are thick: ~.5m. This provides the thermal mass to keep the inside cool, and is a natural result of building with adobe/mud brick/cob.
* Windows are small, and usually shaded by an awning. Before our nice insulated glass windows that's the only way to keep the heat outside.


In a project I did for my Arab history class in college, I did a study on Architecture; one notable thing they had in Mughal architecture was grating that was not the usual one inch we have in western architecture, but a good foot or two - and made of stone. This allowed the breeze to pass through, while preventing sun from entering directly during most hours of the day.

That could possibly work; it's just wall stone with holes bored through it, basically.

eleazar wrote:* Porches, Awnings etc. would be very common. Unfortunately these would tend to block the view of our characters, so should be used with strategically.


With the new "context" system roots is working on for the map engine, we could actually make these disappear when the main character walks under them.
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Postby Rain » Sat Dec 30, 2006 5:38 pm

Roots wrote:The game is supposed to take place in a different world, and so quite naturally I'd like that world to be unique on its own rather than a copy/paste job of the real world (TM). :heh:

Well then again, not so different that people won't be able to relate to it. By all definitions the architecture that we have in this world (ie, the real one) is built steadily in lieu of the harshness of environmental elements. It is within that that a certain amount of believability we can steal from those architectures to apply to our own world in Allacrost. I don't feel that the infrastructures themselves need to be completely different in order to provide a completely different world.
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Postby Jetryl » Fri Jan 05, 2007 7:32 am

Progress:

Grabbed a mess of architectural reference images for mesopotamian/roman/greek style buildings, tonight. This should hopefully alleviate some of the lack of imagination I've had in trying to come up with stonework patterns.

I'm not sure I can make the "upper floor bigger than the lower floor" thing work out, right; I'm just not sure it's structurally feasible for an entire floor, at least not without some cross-binding at the top (a roof that helps pull the sides of the building together, which is hard to do with stone). I'll be trying a bunch of designs that don't incorporate that, anyways, and if one of them works well, then I've killed two birds with one stone.
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Postby Jetryl » Sun Jan 07, 2007 6:30 am

A concept sketch of the side of a building - this could directly translate into game tiles, just by my coloring stuff in.

The brickwork is intended to be a fairly light-colored (probably reddish) stone; in-between it is a sort of cob-esque fill material.

The roof is either surfaced in the center with that "cob" material, and then has a stone rim, or will have a bit of tilework covering it. Maybe a bit of both. The railings at the edge may/may not be purely ornamental; we may want to allow roof access for the player. I suspect that, so long as they're storing something light up there (baskets, etc), the harrvahns might use the roof for storage, since it doesn't rain, and since the roof is nicely inaccessible from the ground to anyone not inside the house, making petty thievery difficult.

Those little round "wheel" circles are kinda placeholders till we decide what sort of actual motif should go in there; likewise the post at the top corner of the building could have something ornamental topping it. The window framework doesn't necessarily need to have glass inside it; it could, and probably should have some sort of grating.


Note - I could use some 'yes/no' discourse from roots on this, since if this is mostly good, I'd really like to start turning this into actual tiles.

[img:339:618]http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/jetryl/Map-Tiles/ConceptsHarrvah/harrvah-house-side.png[/img]
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Postby Roots » Sun Jan 07, 2007 9:51 pm

I think it looks very nice :approve:
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Postby eleazar » Sun Jan 07, 2007 11:20 pm

It's a cool look, but i'm concerned the architecture is starting to look rather fancy. Not indicative of a people who are just getting by.

The gothic-ish windows and fancy stonework are mostly what conveys that impression.
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Postby Roots » Sun Jan 07, 2007 11:40 pm

Actually I had the same concern in the back of my head, but I just wasn't conscious of it until eleazar pointed it out. A little adornment here and there is fine, but I think the majority of the structures should be simple and clean.
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Postby Jetryl » Mon Jan 08, 2007 12:27 am

eleazar wrote:It's a cool look, but i'm concerned the architecture is starting to look rather fancy. Not indicative of a people who are just getting by.

The gothic-ish windows and fancy stonework are mostly what conveys that impression.


I think if I:
• clear out the "gothic-ish" framework inside the arch, and replace it with something much more basic; possibly wooden slats (they have enough wood for shutters, they just don't have "huge timber").
• replace the "railing" above with something much more basic

That should solve most of the problem.


As for the brickwork itself, some general weathering should depreciate it enough to not look too ritzy.
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Postby Rain » Mon Jan 08, 2007 12:30 am

Jetryl wrote:
eleazar wrote:It's a cool look, but i'm concerned the architecture is starting to look rather fancy. Not indicative of a people who are just getting by.

The gothic-ish windows and fancy stonework are mostly what conveys that impression.


I think if I:
• clear out the "gothic-ish" framework inside the arch, and replace it with something much more basic; possibly wooden slats (they have enough wood for shutters, they just don't have "huge timber").
• replace the "railing" above with something much more basic

That should solve most of the problem.


As for the brickwork itself, some general weathering should depreciate it enough to not look too ritzy.
Personally, I appreciate the style of it very much. :approve: However something about it strikes me as a little too modern. Not sure if its just me in that arena...However, the 'weathering' effect that you mention will likely take care of any crits that I have.
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