DIFferent Caves

Organic DIF modeling of any sort if, well, “difficult”.  Yeah, we’re going to have puns in this one.   😉  My game calls for cave-style mine tunnels in a mine that has been overrun.  The mine is built into the crater wall of an ancient impact crater, and in final form will actually encompass multiple zones, running back and forth and down into the base, where players will be able to acquire exceptionally rare metals for crafting.

In the short run though, only a small section is accessible.  The kobolds(? small humanoids anyway, I want nasty and competent, and while historical kobolds kinda fit, AD&D has given them a bad old 1/4 hit die rap!) have sealed the deeper tunnels, and left a small guard force in the top area to watch for intruders.  The player town is short on mineral resources, critically low on iron for new weapons, for instance, so the opening area of the mine is crucial for its ability to supply that.

Anyway, the easy way to model this would be simple box corridors.  And in fact, some mines look like that – square shafts with support struts.  And some of the mine WILL look like that.  But I want some of it to seem like newer tunnels too – to look like new construction, and be more cavelike.  That’s tough.   I’m not sure it would have been possible at all without the extrude tool Jaimi Mcentire wrote for Constructor.

What I am doing is basically taking a 6-sided cylinder, hollowing it, and then laying it on its side like a pipe.  From there, I select the faces on one end, and extrude them out 5-10 units.  Then I scale them up or down by 0-5% in both directions.  This gives the cave a more organic feel by making the walls flex in and out a bit as you travel down it.  I’ve experimented with twisting the tunnel too, but had mostly poor results.

Rooms are done by scaling outward a great deal, opening the passage up into a much larger space.  And branches are needed, of course – I’m doing those by plugging a new base section into the wall somewhere and using subtraction tools to create a new space for it, then smoothing the junction out manually.

It’s tough work.  Hope the end result looks good.  😉  Will post screenshots once I get it ingame.

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