Monday, August 11, 2008

A-Camping We Will Go

One of the most gorgeous area prefabs at the Vault is Registerdebakel's Forest Prefab XXL (Part A). To date, this prefab has been downloaded 560 times, and it has garnered an average score of 9.2. It is one of the few area prefabs to have been awarded the Neverwinter Vault's Hall of Fame, a distinction that it shares with only three other prefabs. Several module builders have signaled their intent to use this prefab in their modules. One of this year's most highly anticipated modules, "Into the Forgotten Realms: Trinity" by Gaming Parents Studios, is being built with this prefab.

I took a virtual stroll through this forest a week ago, and I was immediately taken by its charms -- the leaf-strewn ground, the verdant foliage, the laughing brook with its pretty waterfall... "I must have this lovely forest in my module," I thought to myself as I blinked back tears of joy. I then opened the prefab in the toolset and proceeded to uproot most of the trees to make way for a military camp that I was designing. Oh, what fun!

Much of the action in Faithless revolves around battles between entire armies, for which I need to create military camps. The camp that I made is patterned after those of the Roman army. This area is large enough to house two centuries. (A century is a Roman military unit comprised of 60 to 100 soldiers led by a centurion.) The organized way that the camp is structured indicates that this particular army is highly disciplined.

I kept the contours of Registerdebakel's prefab mostly intact, although I did modify the terrain elevation to allow tents to be put up. The camp is surrounded by a palisade, which I imagine was made from the trees that were uprooted. By modeling the camp around the contours of the prefab, I managed to create a fairly realistic area. It certainly looks more convincing than the mining camp I made four months ago.

No military camp is complete without watchtowers. Although there are watchtower placeables available in the toolset, I prefer to use the ones that come with Barry the Hatchet's BTH Rural Defence Pack. Unlike those of the toolset, Barry the Hatchet's watchtowers may be climbed.

In case anybody is wondering why all my screenshots of this area are set at night, let's just say that players probably wouldn't want to infiltrate an enemy camp in the daytime. On the other hand, astute readers may wonder why there are no torches anywhere near the campsite. Let's just say that the soldiers housed in this camp can see quite well in the dark. Heh-heh.

Update, 12 August 2008
When first I put up the screenshots of the military camp here in my blog, I had the nagging feeling that I overdid the bloom settings. If the player characters were supposed to be nearsighted, I guess the bloom settings would have been okay, but since that is not the case, I had to change the settings. Since the brightness of the area was affected when I adjusted the bloom, I had to change the light settings as well.

For those who may be interested, the following are the new nighttime settings that I used in this area. Properties from the Day/Night Cycle Stages not listed here are the same as the original values that Registerdebakel had set.

  • BloomBlurRadius = 7
  • BloomHighlightIntensity = 0.7
  • BloomHighlightThreshold = 5
  • BloomSceneIntensity = 0.7
  • Fog: FogColor = 21, 21, 31
  • ShadowIntensity = 0.5
  • SkyLight: DiffuseColor = 19, 19, 51
  • SkyLight: Intensity = 0.15
  • SkyLight: SpecularColor = 48, 75, 139
  • SkyZenith = 20, 13, 23
  • SunMoon: DiffuseColor = 55, 61, 76
  • SunMoon: Intensity = 2.5
    SunMoon: SpecularColor = 90, 139, 163

The images shown above were taken with the new settings in place. Below are the images as they originally appeared in this blog.


Jclef said...

Oooo - Really nice! I can guess who's staying in those tents, but I'll leave it at that until I actually play the module. ;)

It may just be my monitor, but there could a tad too much Bloom going on that area...hmmm

Anyways, the design and object placement are well done - great update, Elysius!

Frank Perez said...

Thanks, Jason. The bloom has been bothering me ever since I put up the screenshots, and your comment has confirmed that there's too much of it. I'll tone it down to make the area look sharper.

Lance Botelle (Bard of Althéa) said...

Hi Frank,

I think you have convinced me to consider using prefabs as well. When one designs their own world, they like to try to do everything themselves, but working with NWN2 has shown me that unless one is naturally gifted, then using prefabs may be a big help along the way.

I did not know it was the "bloom" that was causing the blur on the screenshots, but I concur it does appear blurry to me too. :)


Frank Perez said...

Hi Lance,

I adjusted the nighttime settings on this area to make the images sharper. You can see the new images as well as the old ones in this post. As a service to other modders, I also listed the bloom and lighting settings that I used to give a moonlit night effect to the area.

Barry The Hatchet said...

Hey Frank, Thanks for the plug on my watchtowers. I'm glad you are getting some use out of them.

After letting the watchtowers hak lay idle for a while, I recently decided I would add to them. I'm about to load an update with a new tower model and re-textured fort walls. You may want to check that vault entry again in a couple of days time.

Here's a sneak preview

Frank Perez said...

Hi, Barry, thanks for the heads up. I'll be sure to check out the new version of your hakpak in a couple of days.