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Just a work in progress for the mod I'm making. It's a storehouse for the Mali Empire

mali_storehouse.png

Edited by m7600
Changed the title to "civ: Malians"
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Civic center, bare bones, no texture. This one still needs a lot of work, but I think I have managed to lay down the general structure, which, from a design perspective, is always the hardest part for me. I believe that no amount of details can save a bad structure, and this holds for both 2D and 3D art. But once you have a reasonably good structure, it's easy to add details later.

mali_civic_center.png

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@Stan` Thanks! Actually, yeah, I have a question about the actor .xml files. What exactly does this line do?

<material>player_trans_ao_parallax_spec.xml</material>

For the civ I'm making, I copied all of the actor files from the Kushites and I just replaced what needed to be replaced. But that line of code caused some crashes for me, so I removed it from all of the actor files. Of course, this is because I don't totally understand what I'm doing / what that line does.

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21 minutes ago, m7600 said:

<material>player_trans_ao_parallax_spec.xml</material>

This line defines the game material. What this does is depending on the material it will use different textures.

  • player_trans means that all transparency will be replaced by playercolor.
  • basic_trans means there will be transparency (be careful as it increases polycount by a factor of 1.5)
  • no_trans and default have no transparency nor player color
  • ao means ambient occlusion. If you don't have a second UVSet on your model and you used a material with it the game will crash
  • parallax and norm are for normal maps. See wiki:NormalMaps and wiki:ParallaxNormalMaps
  • spec are for specular maps
  • glow uses the specular alpha channel to define glow intensity (it doesn't look very good though)
  • there is also basic_trans_wind which make the trees oscillate.
  • finally there is objectcolor, where you can set the color you want directly.
     

Hopes that answers the question :)

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks Stan! Yeah that really does answer my question. 

12 minutes ago, Stan` said:

basic_trans means there will be transparency (be careful as it increases polycount by a factor of 1.5)

: O

Good to know! 

12 minutes ago, Stan` said:

ao means ambient occlusion. If you don't have a second UVSet on your model and you used a material with it the game will crash

Yeah, I had to learn this the hard way :lmao: You're right, I just made an AO map in Blender and I placed it in the ao folder, I updated the actor file, and the game worked just fine.

Edit: @Lion.Kanzen It would be c. 1200 - c. 1670. Having said that, I do have to take some creative liberties. For example, the fortress will be based on the palace of Ahmadou Tall, which if I understand correctly was built in the 19th century. There were fortresses in Mali several centuries before, but I think that they were destroyed. I may be wrong though. Maybe @Sundiata can correct me on this.

Edited by m7600
Forgot to answer Lion's question

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@Lion.Kanzen Yes, the idea would be to make something like Age of Empires 2: The African Kingdoms expansion. While I would like to make at least 4 civs, I have to be realistic and focus at least on finishing 1 of them. Ideally, I would like to make factions for the Ethiopians, Malians, Moroccans, and a 4 civ which I havent decided yet. Probably medieval Zimbabwe. Right now I'm focusing on the Malians.

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39 minutes ago, m7600 said:

@Lion.Kanzen Yes, the idea would be to make something like Age of Empires 2: The African Kingdoms expansion. While I would like to make at least 4 civs, I have to be realistic and focus at least on finishing 1 of them. Ideally, I would like to make factions for the Ethiopians, Malians, Moroccans, and a 4 civ which I havent decided yet. Probably medieval Zimbabwe. Right now I'm focusing on the Malians.

Awesome idea! @Sundiata

Do you think it would work to use these models for a possible Garamantes civ in Delenda Est

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Thanks!

52 minutes ago, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

Do you think it would work to use these models for a possible Garamantes civ in Delenda Est

You are welcome to use them in your projects, sure. I plan on releasing the models under the CC0 license, but I'm open to suggestions. What I don't really know if these models would fit the style / archeological evidence of the Garamantes. I suppose I could tweak them, but I don't really know what the Garamentes looked like. The only thing I know is that they might have looked like ancient Berbers, but other than that, I'm lost. I will definitely have to do research.

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@wackyserious Thanks!

Malian fortress WIP.
BTW I changed the title of this thread to "Malian buildings", since there is more than the storehouse now.

mali_fortress.png

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@wowgetoffyourcellphone Thanks for the constructive critique! You're right, I have to make it more square. I'm trying to be as faithful as I can to the references, but I agree that some things need to be adapted to the game's standards. Afterall, this is not a reconstruction for an academic research paper, it's a model for an RTS game. So I agree that we can take some artistic licenses in order to make the assets work, in this case, making it match the footprint :punk:

I do really like the atention to historical details that this game has, though. I'm learning a lot of stuff while I'm making these models, references are a must. But they are just that: references, not rules set in stone.

Anyways, I don't know why I ranted a bit there, lol. But thanks again!

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11 minutes ago, m7600 said:

@wowgetoffyourcellphone Thanks for the constructive critique! You're right, I have to make it more square. I'm trying to be as faithful as I can to the references, but I agree that some things need to be adapted to the game's standards. Afterall, this is not a reconstruction for an academic research paper, it's a model for an RTS game. So I agree that we can take some artistic licenses in order to make the assets work, in this case, making it match the footprint :punk:

I do really like the atention to historical details that this game has, though. I'm learning a lot of stuff while I'm making these models, references are a must. But they are just that: references, not rules set in stone.

Anyways, I don't know why I ranted a bit there, lol. But thanks again!

Right. Authenticity > 100% Accuracy almost every time. Where you can be accurate, be accurate. When the 2 clash, go with authenticity.

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17 hours ago, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

Right. Authenticity > 100% Accuracy almost every time. Where you can be accurate, be accurate. When the 2 clash, go with authenticity.

On that topic, most ingame blacksmiths have (Innacurate) chimneys.

Do you think it would it be too clashing if instead of a chimney under a roof, the African blacksmith had an open air furnace (The building would still have the same general outline) ?

10348230_10154202153940402_3843335621575

 

 

 

On 5/14/2020 at 9:35 PM, m7600 said:

@Lion.Kanzen And a 4 civ which I havent decided yet. Probably medieval Zimbabwe.

Since you are already representing North Africa, Horn and West Africa; it would be interesting to have a southern civ (Either Zimbabwe as you said or maybe the Swahili coast).

A interesting video on Great Zimbabwe and the culture that built it:

 

Edited by Ultimate Aurelian
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15 minutes ago, Ultimate Aurelian said:

Since you are already representing North Africa, Horn and West Africa; it would be interesting to have a southern civ (Either Zimbabwe as you said or maybe the Swahili coast).

Yes, that was exactly the plan, to try and have civs from all four directions of Africa.
 

Quote

A interesting video on Great Zimbabwe and the culture that built it

Thanks! I'll watch it after I finish writing this post. I'm thinking that the Great Zimbabwe could be the Wonder for that civ, what do you think?

Edit: I forgot to answer this question:
 

Quote

Do you think it would it be too clashing if instead of a chimney under a roof, the African blacksmith had an open air furnace

That's a very interesting idea, I had not thought about that. Yes, I think your suggestion is 100% correct, it will give it more realism.


Here are some house variations. As always, these are just a work in progress. I'm not really sure about the color palette that I chose for the buildings in general, I think it may be too yellow / ochre. Maybe I should desaturate it a bit.

 

mali_house_variations.png

Edited by m7600
Forgot to answer Aurelian's question
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12 minutes ago, m7600 said:

Im thinking that the Great Zimbabwe could be the Wonder for that civ, what do you think ?

It would be a good idea.

It seems that the ruling class lived in walled settlements, while most of the population farmed in simpler villages.

You could use simple clay huts for barracks, houses and dropsites; while the temple, unique building (Blending civ center and fortress), blacksmith, market and maybe corral  have stone fences.

Edited by Ultimate Aurelian
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22 minutes ago, Ultimate Aurelian said:

 

It seems that the ruling class lived in walled settlements, while most of the population farmed in simpler villages.

It's interesting how this seems to be a constant feature across the Middle Ages. In Europe we find the same situation. I think it may have been a way to make sure that the rural population depended on the feudal lord for protection against bandits and lords from other realms.

I'm not sure if this was the case in Classical Antiquity. It seems that the Greek city-states had more city walls than feudal European kingdoms.

Edited by m7600
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10 hours ago, m7600 said:

Here are some house variations. As always, these are just a work in progress. I'm not really sure about the color palette that I chose for the buildings in general, I think it may be too yellow / ochre. Maybe I should desaturate it a bit.


 

mali_house_variations.png

One nitpick is that i am not sure how common were those zig zag patterns and spiked dorways among commoners, so maybe it is not the best choice for houses and dropsites

Some images of simpler square dwellings:

d48673e1f85b6b6f3dada6e804d51bcc-1024x61

ssb-4168-11835.jpg

On the other hand the current one looks cool and makes the civ stand out, and the vanilla Roman and Greek houses are not exactly poor.

Edited by Ultimate Aurelian
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Thanks for the references!

9 hours ago, Ultimate Aurelian said:

One nitpick is that i am not sure how common were those zig zag patterns and spiked dorways among commoners, so maybe it is not the best choice for houses and dropsites

That's true, those spiked doorways were not common. They were introduced later, they are Toucouleur style façades. The zig zag patterns were also introduced later, they are Bambara style decorations. Neither were common during the 1500s (in fact, I don't even know if they existed during that century).

The roofs in the first image are interesting, I see that the houses have a courtyard. I'll try to incorporate that into my models.
 

9 hours ago, Ultimate Aurelian said:

On the other hand the current one looks cool and makes the civ stand out, and the vanilla Roman and Greek houses are not exactly poor.

Thanks! I think this is a case of accuracy clashing with authenticity that @wowgetoffyourcellphone was talking about. I'll see if I can make the buildings stand out without using the spiked façade and the zig zag pattern, or maybe reserve these for more important buildings like the civic center.

Edit: BTW, where is the first image from? Is it from a book? If so, I would like to take a look at it so I can see more drawings like that.

Edited by m7600

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