Saturday, December 6, 2014

Trying walls using stock photos

Here's a quick attempt at a wall using some free-to-exploit photography.

Not too shabby! I can easily imagine the post textures to go with it. I made sure to make the wall texture really wide, so I could drop it on angled walls, too. It might be tough to make double-height walls from something like this.

Still, it's pretty trivial to make walls like this, so I'd like to get a couple done and see what a set might look like. There are a lot of options out there for windows, doors and other decorations. It's really a matter of me getting better at blending them with arbitrary walls.

I'll see about floors, too.

Friday, December 5, 2014

New GIMP script - Make Bricks

It's slow as molasses, but it works! I've got a script that will let me create a complete wall of blocks where the size of bricks and bevel are customizable. As I type this, I see it working away. The bevel plugin that's being used on each brick is what's painfully slow. I need to tweak it's smarts so the bricks are stacked a little better. I am shifting them on each level, but not by enough. I need to enforce some minimum shift.

Now that I have the basics down, I can work on adding some more features, such as gaps between the bricks or eroding the edges somehow to roughen them up. Maybe automatically, randomly, chip the edges of the bricks and stuff.

Trying my own thing - white marble

Just dabbling in GIMP, following some YouTube videos and seeing what kind of results they yield. Here's a simple white marble wall:

I think I might play around with some more GIMP scripting. It'd be neat to write a script that lets me pick the source layer, the dimensions of the bricks, the size of the beveled border, etc. It would randomly pick bricks out of the source, add the bevel, and place it on the wall. That would let me quickly experiment with different settings, and would let me quickly make base textures (like sandstone, marble, stone?) and turn them into bricks.

Along with this, I will try to make some different wall features, such as pillars, alcoves, windows, doors and door frames, etc. Maybe some decorative stuff?

Then I'll play with some grunge brushes, adding cracks and imperfections, stains etc.

I think it would be cool to come up with some base styles from which additional kitbashing could be done.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Ice CaveWorks, too!

I found this post inspiring. Specifically, making the caves icy simply by adjusting the color...

The second one I was just tinkering with adding 'sparkles' to. I think if I get the hang of the plugin, it would actually add a nice effect to the texture. Also, I would probably desaturate the image even more. Everything prints out darker than you'd normally want. Anyway, I really like the effect, and it's so simple, that I'd be crazy not to do it.

CaveWorks repackaged

Just some pics I whipped up to see what the old CaveWorks terrain looked like.

I played around with regular 3" and 6" walls...

 I played around with making TLX cliff walls...

Then I went ahead and made some walls that went above the standard 2" height. Lots of sets do this, so why not caves too?
I would imagine I could make at least two of each kind of wall, stitching together stuff here and there. The floors really need some TLC, more than the walls do. But, I think I might be able to work something out. Anyway, just tinkering around because I've always wanted caves...

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Swampwood Village roof texture redo

I wasn't liking how the thatched roof texture was turning out. It just doesn't fit well with the rest of the set. So, I'm making a new texture. Here's the start:

Yes, it's just the wall bits stretched long and thin, layered and made a little jagged at the edge. Still, I think it's better than the original Swampwood roof texture:

I might add some moss/leaves/vines to the roof as an option, and I might adjust the roof so that it's more yellow in order to separate it from the walls more.

UPDATE: Daaaaang. I apparently didn't SAVE before walking away from my computer... By the time I came back, my son had switched users and used the computer quite a bit. It was all too much for GIMP. My changes were lost. Now I just have to figure out HOW MUCH was lost. :(

A roof solution at last?

Rather than make NEW trusses and NEW roof pieces, I opted to simply cover existing roof pieces and trusses. Here's a picture of a thatched roof in a Thoumont's truss:

I didn't modify the truss at all. It's standard TLX, which has the following things going for it:

1) If you've made any trusses already, you won't have to redo them.
2) If you've never made them before, you can follow the TLX instructions.
3) They're fully textured inside and out, and are really sturdy.

I also didn't modify the roof at all. Well, sort of. What I've done is created a rectangular piece that covers the existing roof as well as the truss. Here's a picture of the roof, upside-down:

So, it's a TLX roof that I glued an extra piece to. This has a couple things going for it:

1) You can continue to use your roofs as-is!
2) You can upgrade your existing roofs very easily, and start using them on other trusses!
3) The modification is very simple to perform - no complicated cuts or fiddly assembly!

Here's one more shot from the front, showing that the roof piece completely covers the tops of the two trusses it is slotted into:

I made the roof 'cover' hang over the original roof by 2mm on each side, which brings it nicely to the edge of the truss. The extra bit you have to add on is 2 layers thick, which raises the top layer up above the truss.

So, I'm moving ahead this this design this week.

Quick update to show what this would look like with a 2-way truss supporting two roof pieces.

So, yeah, they overlap a little bit. But, that means they're covering up the truss nicely. Also, it's only one layer of cardstock that's overlapping, so it's not all that unpleasant. I just took these test roof pieces and stripped off the extra overhang.That left a 2mm gap between them. Yuck! I tried to shave just 1mm off of the overhanging bit, and yeah - if you've got laser precision, you might get them to fit snugly, but chances are you're going to have a little overlap or a little gap. I'm happy with the intentional overlap.
That's just an ugly close-up of the current overlap. That's about as bad as it gets.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A new take on making the trusses more flexible...

So, I've been so consumed with modifying the roof and truss pieces that I'm not sure I've thought through the fact that maybe the roof pieces don't need to change at all, and the trusses can remain the same way they are. Instead, what if I created some simple pieces that slip around the truss, covering the texture with the texture from another roof?

I don't know if they'll be too annoying, but this is what I'm thinking. Make something that slips up through the bottom hole of the truss. It would extend all the way to the top of the truss on the inside, and on the outside (where it's textured) it would extend maybe ¼" past the top of the truss. You'd fold that ¼" into the truss, then slide the roof in place. That would hold the covering in place.

I am guessing the whole idea will be too flimsy to hold up, but I figured I'd note it in case everything else fails and I need something to come back to. :)


-OR- why not just make a piece that attaches to the roof, but covers the truss area? I'm thinking that a piece about 1 ½" long, with a ¼"  flap that folds under so that the whole thing is raised a little. I don't know if it will look Frankenstein-ish or not, but this seems like the most trivial adaptation to make roof pieces work better with TLX trusses. I am not sure if the flap that raises the texture up over the truss would have to be 2x thick or if just 1x thick would do. It might get lifted up a lot and look ugly if it's not right, but it might look ugly anyway if it's really noticeable. Doing it this way would mean not remaking ANY pieces, though. It would just mean adding a simple piece on top of the simple roof pieces. It might also mean it would hide some of the ugliness of TLX roof/truss joints, where they don't QUITE line up right.

Swampwood Village Roof

I'm working on the textures for the roofs of Swampwood Village. Here's where I'm at:

It was quite a chore pulling the bars off of the walls - that's the underside of the roof.  Unfortunately, I can only get one roof piece per page at this size, because of the added width. Test prints will have to wait until later this week.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Onto the roof

I just exported over 20 pages of walls for the huts, and the square floor tiles are done, too. There's nothing left for me to procrastinate on - I have to make the roof system... I think where I ended up with the roofs was I had my own template, but I wanted to TRY to adjust the TLX templates a smidge so that I could use a mostly-TLX wall (with boxy, post-like things to slip the walls into). I will work on this somewhat slowly over the next week or so. I've got some time off coming to me this month, and if I can get the trusses sorted out, I'll have them textured in no time.

I *could* procrastinate some more, and make the cutfiles for the walls...

NO! Cutfiles come last. I just have to force myself to get this done.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Great kitbash coming soon

Alexandre Moreau - I built your chevaux de frise today, and they came out great!

I'd imagine that if they were built any smaller, they'd be harder to assemble. As it is, I was able to build four of them in 3" lengths and two in 6" lengths in just a couple minutes. They stack nicely, but I might make a couple that will fold flat. Kudos on the great 3d prop, Alex!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Update on the Swampwood Village TLX conversion

The plugin has helped quite a bit, actually, and I think I've got all my tiles done - the square ones at least. I've got 10 swamp terrain tiles in the three grids, with and without anchors. I'm reusing the anchor sheets, to that was three pages I could share. I've got four 6" tiles for huts, two pages of 3" tiles (so, four different tiles) and six hallway tiles (really three different tiles, but since the floor texture is directional, I needed to make hallway tiles running vertically and horizontally!). Each grid size necessitates different anchors, so that is two pages per grid system for anchors... I'm only doing 2-way and 3-way posts, so that's two pages there

I'm just sayin' - that's a lot of pages already. I haven't done the walls yet!

For the walls, I think I'm going to end up with five or six different pages for each size wall - 3", arc, and 6".

Because this is getting so big, I think I'll postpone doing the round elevated huts for another bash. Instead, I'll get the walls done over the course of the coming week, then move my attention to the roofs... That will be a mutli-week process. There's still a chance I can all or part of this submitted for a December release. No promises! Even if *I* can get a lot of it done, the poor kitbash judges need to look it all over and make sure I haven't made any mistakes...

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Building a better plugin

I've removed the older script files, and replaced it with this one:

It's going to be my dumping ground for all helpful scripts I write for kitbashing TLX stuff. It creates a top level TLX menu, under which there are currently three options:

Apply edges around hallway tiles
Apply edges around six inch tiles
Create anchors for hallway tiles
Create anchors for six inch tiles

It assumes you have layers like this:

 + Anchors
     . Annotated Tile Textures
 + 6" Tiles
     . Anchor Spots - 6" Tile
     . Template - 6" Tile
     . 6" Tile 1
     . 6" Tile 2
     . 6" Tile 3
     . ...
 + Hall Tiles
     + Anchor Spots - Hall Tile
     . Template - Hall Tile
     . Hall Tile 1
     . Hall Tile 2
     . Hall Tile 3
     . ...
 . Kitbash Base

The key is that there are groups that meet those names. If you don't, you won't be able to run the scripts that work on them. If you only have 6" tiles, you don't need Hall Tiles, but you should have Anchors. If you only have Hall Tiles, there's no need for Anchors or 6" Tiles. Make sense? The names of the layers is important, too. They look for layers that start with '6" Tile ' to identify those layers as ones to add edges to or make anchors from.

Update: I'm so close! I've got the 3" tile anchors and edges working themselves out, and I've got maybe 30% of the script for rotating and moving the tiles into position on the templates. I wrote some helper commands to make working with guides easier. I think the next step is to make some templates for the templates... That is, make a file that has all of the layers in place so that people would know where to put their graphics. What they won't have are the TLX lines on them.

It took a while for me to get my head around how to reload scripts (I seem to have to remove the .py file, restart GIMP, then re-add the .py file and restart GIMP for the new plugins to show up!), and how it behaves when I have errors in my script.

If you want to try this out, you copy the .py file into your plugins directory in GIMP. To figure out where this directory is, go into GIMP and select Edit > Preferences > Folders > Plug-Ins. For me, on Windows 7, I put it in c:\Users\Mike\.gimp-2.8\plug-ins

I have a lot to learn about python programming. I will continue to make the code cleaner and more reusable (it's not hard to see where refactoring could occur), and I'll continue to add features.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Update to GIMP Scripts

Here are two scripts. I've gone and commented them heavily at the top of the files, so it explains what the scripts expect in order to run. Clearly, they're still in early adopter mode. If you're having trouble using them, send me a PM via the WorldWorks Games forums.

These are scripts that will quickly create the edges for all the 6" tiles, and will make anchor pages for all the 6" tiles. MAGIC!

EDIT: I've removed the old files. Check out more recent posts - I converted the scripts to an actual plugin.

Scripting OpenOffice Draw - baby steps

A long time ago, I wrote this little macro that I bound to a keystroke, making it faster for me to set up my PDF files in OpenOffice Draw.

Sub Fixup_PDF_Page
  dim oPic as Object
  Dim size As New
  Dim pos As New
  oPic = ThisComponent.CurrentSelection(0)
End Sub

When I drag a page into OpenOffice Draw, I would have to set it to original size and move it to the top corner of the page. With this, I could select the image, hit my hotkey, and it would resize and position the picture for me.

Next step will be to point the program at a directory and have it just load all the images for me and do the export.

My dream is to be able to make the 6" tile textures, and within a few minutes regenerate the anchors and edges, export the images and make PDFs.

Scripting GIMP to speed kitbashing

I had always been meaning to learn how to script GIMP, and I finally broke down and did enough searching on the web to figure out the bits that were holding me back. So, now I'm trying to take notes as I work on kitbashes so that I can build up a best practices document and a set of scripts that will streamline the process of creating kitbash artifacts.

So far, I've got a simple script that will walk layers given some naming convention and it will generate all of the anchors for me.You can grab it here, though I won't promise this link will last forever:

EDIT: I've removed the old files. Check out more recent posts - I converted the scripts to an actual plugin.

This script assumes:
1) There are at least two top-level groups. The first is for anchors, the second is for tiles.
2) The anchors are formatted using a template crafted from The Garden.
3) All of the layers containing tile textures to make anchors for - and ONLY those layers - begin with "Tile "
4) The placement of the 6" tile textures follow the positioning from TLX templates.

As a best practice, my layers start like this:

 + Anchors
     . Annotated Tile Textures
 + 6" Tiles
     . 6" Anchor Spots
     . 6" Tile Template
     . Grid - 1" - Tile 1
     . Grid - 1.5" - Tile 1
     . Tile 1
     . ...
 . Kitbash Base

When I work, there is typically one file that is my work area. It has all the bits for all the layers
broken apart so I can arrange things as I like. I then take 1800px by 1800px images and paste them into
"Tile " layers in my staging file. This staging file is where I run the script that will generate the

To run the script, first save your work! The script shouldn't save any changes, so if it messes things up completely, you won't have lost anything. You can then paste the contents of the script into the Python-Fu console. From the Filters menu, select Python-Fu > Console.  In the console window, paste the script and hit enter a couple times (twice I think). That'll get the script running, and it'll start hopping around like mad copying all the bits and pieces.

This was my first script. I plan on enhancing it a lot, and I plan on publishing it as a full-blown plug-in for GIMP, so eventually you'll have nice menus to pick from and you won't have to even see the script or console. But, if you're an early adopter, or you want to learn some GIMP scripting, here's a starting point.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Outpost Tower ready for submission

I added a new roof to the set, and additional walls that serve as railings (I think they work better than TLX railings for this particular purpose). Here's the thumbnail picture for the set:

I wasn't happy enough with the Swampwood Village roof texture, so I came up with something I *think* is better. It's different, at least. It turns out it also looks *really good* with the Orc Camp walls that were released. I hope someone not only finds them useful, but posts some really nice pictures over on the forum. I'm pleased with how this turned out.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Topping off the Outpost Tower

It just didn't feel finished, not having SOME roof to go onto the outpost tower. I'm thinking of adding a simple roof like this:

I could be convinced to make an interior texture for it, and I am considering making simple TLX anchor-like tabs on the corners so the whole thing could fit snugly into the posts...

Yay! New kitbashes released!

A couple of kitbashes managed to get pushed through the system and are available on the WorldWorksGames kitbash section of the storefront! In it, we've got a new portal based on the Atlantis conversion I did, a new set of orc palisade walls, and a version of the Sentinel tree without the scary face, so now you can have a big ol' dead tree without it having to be a monster.

Work has been beating me down lately, and I haven't made as much progress on some kitbashes as I'd like. Seeing some get released is a nice treat for me.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Visit your local library!

I was with my son letting him look for some Minecraft books when I stumbled upon this gem:

That was so cool to see a David Okum book there in the library. Of course, I had to borrow it, and I think this will go on my birthday wish list. I'll never draw like he can, but I would love to be able to spend 30 minutes a night trying. Here's a page from my notebook:

It's going to take a LOT of practice to be able to draw the right proportions, and faces... ugh! But this book has 150!!! different sketches that are done typically in 3 steps so you can see the progression. Such goodness!

The Swampwood Pharoah - a jungle temple

Just toying around right now - I did some sketches, and wanted to see if I could make a jungle temple. Here's a quick mockup combining a wall from Pharoah's Descent with the texture of the trees from Swampwood Village.

I want more moss hanging down in places, but this gets the idea across. I've got some ideas for how I will add some patterns to the stones and what not. You like?  Here's another type of wall. I did some bump mapping along the top, which I kind of like, sunk in an alcove which I kind of like, and found a pretty cool statue from Akshardham Temple in Delhi.

The moss would have to make a comeback. Or not. Here's a shot of the moss after I played with it a bit more:

So the whole thing is a little more green, a little more dripping with growth...

Ok. One last picture on this and I'm leaving it alone for a little while:

Lightened up the amount of moss there, but added some spattered all over. I also added some pattern along the bottom. I think that might be a keeper! I'm really liking it. Makes me kind of excited to know that I can probably now make things like archways with etched patterns on them

This also reminds me that I was never able to really pull off overgrown Himmelveil Street tiles, but this kind of moss would do the trick nicely.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Swampwood Village TLX kitbash

There were a couple threads on the WorldWorks forums talking about converting Swampwood Village to the TLX format. Doing the tiles is easy, assuming folks are OK with just scaling down the 7" tiles to 6". I have to make sure this will look good. If it looks too squished up against Hinterland Forests tiles, then I'll try to be clever about it. Converting the tiles is one thing. I'm also looking to convert the tree huts into TLX houses. Here are some pictures showing progress:

For tiles, I expect to do 3", hall and 6" tiles in the three grid formats. I separated the elements from the original hut tile so I can add/remove different elements:

I expect to also support round huts, so I'm going to have a 6" tile with a round hut base and grass on the corners. Additionally, I'll make a round hut (with TLX anchors) to support putting arc walls around it. That will allow raised huts...

For walls, I've again teased apart some elements, so I can move things around. I'm planning on 3", 6" and arc walls to start. No angled walls, double-height walls, etc. With it will be 2-way and 3-way posts. I have no plans to do 4-way posts, because I don't think they'll be useful for hut-building (any more than 2- and 3-way posts will be, combined).

Sunday, October 19, 2014

An orc version of the corporate ladder?

They have to climb *something* to get into the outpost, don't they? Well, here's a sample ladder I made up this evening:

My question is, which one is the right want to have it on the page? Dark all around, and you can opt to cut it all fancy with the rungs sticking out, you can slice em off, you can cut in between the rungs... whatever. Or, a thin black border making it easy to fold in half correctly, but assume that everyone will want to cut out all the details?

I'm thinking the dark one is better. I'm planning on making a different kind of latter that plays well with the TLX system. Those are wider, and slot into the tiles. I'll put it to the WWG forum to see what people think.

Outpost Tower is coming together

Here are some shots of a single floor, with some posts that will possibly support another floor, or perhaps just a floor tile as a roof.

I think that these pieces will be good enough for the kitbash, but I want to make a ladder that will to with it. Here's a mock-up:

Basically, two long thin logs with some small logs crossing it. It's all tied together using rope. I'll probably try to design it so the openings are wider (for minis) and the rungs might extend out a little more, in case you feel like having the extra detail.

I'm thinking about possible rails - I was imagining I'd need something to hold the tile on, but it seems fine as-is, and fiddly railings fall apart when you try to pull them out of the tile. Still, I might be able to make some low railings out of logs or wood (maybe just using the floor texture) to make the tower a little more "finished" - it'd be more like a fort.

But, in an effort to get things into the hands of the kitbash judges sooner, I'll wrap these up and do the railings (and maybe a small roof) for another kitbash.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Outpost Walls - first attempt is pretty darn good!

Despite a printer error causing the page to come out skewed, I went ahead and fed the page through the robocutter. I had to paste the page down crooked to compensate, and it still was off by about 1 - 2mm on the cut, which is quite a bit when you're trying to not have ugly white edges...

Anyway, here's the result:

Sorry it's a little overexposed, but I think this came out pretty good! I've got enough printed to make a couple more posts and finish two more wall segments. That will let me build a floor, and a railing to hold it all in place.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Outpost Tower walls - first attempt

I took the logs from my orc camp walls kitbash, and took some rope from the Swampwood Village set. I think the effect works pretty nicely.

Starting on the Outpost Tower

The walls around the camp are looking pretty good, so I'm starting to rough out ideas for an outpost tower. The plan right now is to harvest the walkway textures from Swampwood Village as an example of logs that are lashed together.

Not sure if I need more than the 3" tiles for this particular project. I'll leave it at this. I'm also not sure I like how the grids were done in the old system, but maybe... I'll either use the old grid, or maybe attach ropes along the grid lines, which may me more subtle.

Next will be the posts and walls. I'm thinking of using posts almost identical to the camp walls. That is, they'll be rough logs. I'm also thinking I'll use those logs for the walls, criss-crossed and attached with ropes. I will likely also have some railings, which will make these tiles hold in place nice and snug.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Dressing up the orc walls

So, I'm trying to keep in the spirit of kitbashing, and am pulling as much of the textures from WorldWorks sets as possible.  There are four examples of bits I'm pulling from the Swampwood Village props. I think they work really well!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Orc Camp walls take shape

Voila! Kids are trying to get to sleep, so I can't mass-produce things with the robo cutter. At least this was a good enough test for me to see that I forgot to put grass at the base of the wall. Oops!

Unfortunately, this is as far as I'll probably get this weekend. I might be able to get some robo cutting time tomorrow before the whole family pours into the house for some birthday party celebrations. (No, not mine!) That's ok. I've got to think about what sort of features I'll add to the walls...

Orc Camp Phase 1: Walls

So, the first phase of this kitbash is going to just be walls. Here's a 3" and 3" angled wall sample:

I've only got a handful of logs to work with, made from the Hinterland Forests log textures, but I'm trying to avoid the patterns being too repetitive. Work work working to get the wall segments done this weekend, and then I'll get the posts knocked off!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Kitbash Idea: Orc Camp

I had this 3" wall bit on my harddrive for ages, and just dusted it off.
I think I'm going to try to whip up some 3" and 6" variations like this, and make some posts for them with the wood texture, and see if that wouldn't be a good starting point for some kitbashes to publish. I've got lots of ideas that I had sketched out a long time ago, but I'll solicit some ideas from folks, too.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Proof that I have a flat Graffam Apothecary

Here's a series of pictures showing the Apothecary of Rake's Corner with modifications to allow it to assemble like a Fat Dragon Games building.

First, the assembled building:

Nice, right? But, that could be any old Dave Graffam Apothecary! So, here it is, breaking apart and folding flat:

I didn't bother going crazy and making the little dormer windows fold flat. I probably should have made them be solid - they'd be easier to assemble. I inserted a piece of cardstock the size of the base into the main part of the house, and that stabilizes it a *ton*. If this were two separate floors, that would be even better, and the floors would have floor plans on them!