New Desert Terrains (Alias Terrains)

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Rhuvaen
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New Desert Terrains (Alias Terrains)

Post by Rhuvaen »

As the new maintainer of UtBS, I'm playing a lot on desert maps lately and really think they could use some more terrain variation. A couple of terrain aliases (variations of existing terrain definitions) came to mind and I'd like

- feedback on the naming and concept

- artists' contribution with the terrain graphics

1. "Salt Flats" (Desert variation)
The dried-up remnants of former seas and lakes, a completely flat, salt-covered surface.
movement: best of desert and grassland
defense: worst of desert/grassland (or just grassland)
graphics: probably a whiter version of the current sand terrain would do, perhaps a little less grainy

2. "Parched Ground" (Desert variation)
Ground baked into a hardened surface, with cracks and crumbled earth providing some cover for desert dwellers.
movement: grassland
defense: best of desert and grassland
graphics: something of a mix between desert/dirt/desert road with some cracks added

3. "Depression / Desert Gorge" (Chasm variation) *
Simply a chasm suited to the desert environment.
movement & defense: same as chasm
graphics: chasm with desert coloration / texture

4. "Oasis" (Shallow water variation OR shallow water to desert transition) *
Give shallow water a transition to desert that looks like an oasis - add ferns and palm trees to the transition. If this isn't desired for the normal shallow water to desert transition (for instance to represent coasts), then do this for a shallow water variation.
movement & defense: same as shallow water
graphics: oasis vegetation on the shallow water to desert transitions

5. "Dried Riverbed / Wadi" (Desert variation)
A dried riverbed or wadi would still contain enough water to give swimmers a chance.
movement & defense: best of desert and shallow water
graphics: perhaps something like a sandy ford with a slight slope on the transition to desert.

* the Desert Gorge and Oasis variations are purely cosmetical variations

EDIT: edited the movement of 1. and 2.

I added a post asking for art contributions in the Art Workshop Forums - this thread is reserved for discussion.
Last edited by Rhuvaen on September 17th, 2007, 8:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Turuk
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Post by Turuk »

This makes me think of the recent discussion to add more varied water terrain. I think all of the above are good ideas as it adds a bit more variety to both the graphical and strategic value of desert.

I feel like(despite the changed defense values) most of this is cosmetic, but I also don't see much wrong with that. I love the campaign UtBS, but I did find the use of the same desert and desert hills way too repetitive.
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Post by Weeksy »

would your 'oasis' heal?
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Post by Vendanna »

Weeksy wrote:would your 'oasis' heal?
It can be done with event's tags or it can be made a special "holding" so it works as the villages :P

I'm totally a favor of anything that can improve the game and as with water, whatever allows more customization is usually welcomed, after all if there is no much variation of desert terrain it would end being like Water battles, that are rather boring as people state.

Tought, I would have prefered someone making the water ones, because they probably will be used a lot more and in more situations that desert terrain variations.

Tought, I must say that nothing stops someone of making desert terrains if they wish, that's the good thing of the open source.
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Post by Weeksy »

It's more that the current oasis terrain heals, and I was wondering if this type would heal as well.
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Rhuvaen
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Post by Rhuvaen »

Turuk wrote:I feel like(despite the changed defense values) most of this is cosmetic, but I also don't see much wrong with that.
Actually, my reasons for suggesting these terrains are 90% strategic. Even the cosmetic suggestions are there for a strategic reason, because graphics can be a decisive criterion on whether a terrain is included in a map or not.

The desert elves are a bit extreme in that they favour a terrain that most units - even the enemies in UtBS - move slowly and have poor defense in. With hills added, the enemies have somewhere to defend (but still move slowly). Adding roads or dirt liberally doesn't make sense on most maps. Having some terrains that facilitate (or in the case of chasm, prevent) movement allows the map designer to better control where the AI units will move towards the player and where they have a defensive position.

I think the same considerations apply to MP maps - not because of the desert elves of course, but because of saurians (or nagas, to a lesser extent). For similar reasons when I first thought of the Wadi, I didn't think of it being used for swimmers, but it's a great excuse to add a little water for gameplay purposes. :wink:
Weeksy wrote:would your 'oasis' heal?
I don't know. My first reaction would be "yes, don't change it". The more I think about it, though, I would prefer to not have multi-hex, healing oases. It would be more fitting to add desert villages at the edge of them for that.
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Post by Turuk »

That's very true, I do know that a map can be laid out in such a matter so that it visually draws a player to want to go a certain way or attack in a certain manner, even if it is not the most strategic.

Therefore, upon further consideration, I humbly concede the point and retract the earlier statement haha. I can see the potential of making the campaign more balanced in terms of letting the AI gain the same advantage the desert elves have, or close to it.


As for the oasis, I say maybe have the center of the oasis be the healing spot, while the rest would be just for show. This could be a bit of a hassle though in healing units, and I'm much more in favor of just putting a village at the edge. But that's just me.
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Post by Weeksy »

or just have riverside flora be less abundant or vivid than the current oasis plants.
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Post by PingPangQui »

Hi Rhuaven,

first of all thanks of mentaining UtBS. It's one of my favourit campaigns (nice scenarios regarding story as well as maps).

However, I don't thinks that adding that much new terrain is a good idea. One thing is to add "terrain" that looks slightly different to the present ones but are just cosmetic, i.e. no change in terrain modifiers (regarding defense, mp) - I think that's ok as long as it doesn't become too messy. Another thing is to add complete new terrains (or transitions, which is practically the same), i.e. with unique properties regarding defense, mp as you suggested it.
In my opinion there are allready quite alot of different terrains. Adding more might be interesting but would make gameplay more complicated.

I don't know whether it is possible to have certain terrains campaign dependend, thus they appear in the character- / unit description - dialoge only there. If yes than adding new terrain is probably not problematic. If not I would try to use only the current stuff.

PingPangQui
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Rhuvaen
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Post by Rhuvaen »

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, ping.
PingPangQui wrote:One thing is to add "terrain" that looks slightly different to the present ones but are just cosmetic, i.e. no change in terrain modifiers (regarding defense, mp) - I think that's ok as long as it doesn't become too messy. Another thing is to add complete new terrains (or transitions, which is practically the same), i.e. with unique properties regarding defense, mp as you suggested it.
Note that these "unique" terrains aren't so unique, they are aliases of desert and grassland and desert and shallow water. That means they are combinations of desert with two of the most common terrains.

I am actually looking for a bit more complexity on desert maps. That's the aim - rather than having, roughly speaking (and ignoring the Drakes and such for a moment) a situation of 60% def for desert-dwellers and 30% for non-desert units, add a bit of variation on that scale between those extremes.
PingPangQui wrote:I don't know whether it is possible to have certain terrains campaign dependend, thus they appear in the character- / unit description - dialoge only there.
I didn't get the connection to unit description / dialogue?

Yes, it's possible to only have those terrains in UtBS, and that is my aim at the moment. If those terrains are then deemed of high enough graphical quality and desirable from a balance perspective, then I'm not opposed to them going mainline - but this is not up for discussion now, realistically.
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Post by Ken_Oh »

I think variety in this direction is great. I was thinking that inside, what is normally either just grassland or cave, needs some variation like this, but I never got this deep about the thought process.
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Post by Weeksy »

Ping, they won't show up as they're just combinations of terrains you already have.
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Post by PingPangQui »

Rhuvaen wrote:I didn't get the connection to unit description / dialogue?
Never mind.
Weeksy wrote: Ping, they won't show up as they're just combinations of terrains you already have.
Ah, ok - didn't realize that.
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Rhuvaen
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Post by Rhuvaen »

I'm changing the name of "Baked Earth" to "Parched Ground", as it much better fits something you'll find in a desert (rather than a kitchen stove). :wink:
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