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.