Thursday, June 7, 2007

Since this was a Stalingrad map, I figured I'd need boatloads of buildings. I use Microsoft Visio mainly for my maps (although Microsoft Powerpoint can work in a pinch for unit counters, markers, etc).

Instead of creating a few and shading them by hand via a macro I wrote to shade shapes (like the ones in my title bitmap) which is tedious, I chose to create SMART buildings that would shade themselves based on what angle they were. Why, you ask ? Because I'm a glutton for punishment of course ! Besides, that way I could create a single building that could be placed in one of 12 possible directions with the shading handled automatically.

For the buildings themselves, I have 3 basic building types for terrain purposes (Thatch, Wooden, Stone). With just a few buildings of each type, I could create an impressive number of buildings "on map". The rules take into account such things as multiple story buildings, rubble, and fire, each of which basic type behaves differently. Also, there are special building types (e.g. Factory) that have special properties of their own.

For my shading, I convert the RGB color to HSL colors, so I can play with the luminosity for how "bright" the shade will be (the macro already does this and allows me to increment the Luminosity by a fixed amount). I determined that the "sun" was coming from the upper left corner or approximately thereof. From this I base all my shading.

The end result was quite pleasing. The example is a simple building I can lay down in position 1 (Due North) and rotate in 30 degree increments. I did the same thing for my wooden buildings and my thatch ones as well.

But a Stalingrad type map would be nothing without some factories. So I made a few "smart" factories as well. To the left is a few examples, from a grain elevator, to a massive indstrial complex. One of the true beauties of the macros is that all I have to do to re-color the image is to give them new HSL values and pivot them to the right direction and the shading and colors are correct.

Next up: The map itself.