Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Great Random Encounters; Hexomancy (III)

Bit of a slow summer post. I'm a little low on interesting things to say; I've been doing a lot of backend stuff.

Vacation bore fruit in many excellent experience-granting encounters for the girls:

That's a sea turtle nest hatching. My wife noticed it while getting some sunrise pictures; we waited until the volunteer who keeps tracks of such things came by.

She determined it was stalled, decided to excavate, and the girls got to help escort baby turtles down to the shore.

Those dudes are about the size of your palm; maybe...80 or so in the nest? It's surprisingly deep.

We found a solitary baby the next afternoon; he'd got washed up by the surf; took him to the local rescue.

The earlier night 4 different moms came up to lay; we evidently just missed a 5th green sea turtle - these you are seeing are the "usual" loggerhead.


I'm having a lot of fun, as I can, with that TextMapper program, and my intervening shim:

I've taken a turn from Alexis over at The Tao of DND, and I've indicated the average elevation of a hex. As it's a small experimental map, I've smooshed everything together to get something representative. That purple over in 0907 is 6,248 meters - ~20,500 feet - which comfortably holds the tallest 150 or so mountains on the planet. It's likely, depending on where this would be on a planet, anything redder/purpler than 0307/0606/0805/1005 is above the timberline.

Those rivers are drawn SVG paths; as are the borders. You can see I've got realm borders, then up there in Vassalville I've bordered a subdomain out of the main domain.

I've got some reordering to do in presentation - SVG is "last writer wins", so you can see my borders are over my town names, etc. I've already split out certain types of terrain (the elevation, rivers, lakes) from "objects" - towns, whatever.

There's some wiggly bits still. Rivers change sizes oddly, I guess I need to plop a little reducer object down. I need to work on shoreline presentation - that seems like it'll have to be another full layer.

After a bit of a break on this I'll probably start looking at showing vegetation and landmarks - I expect I may be able to find an inoffensive way to show peaks of hills or mountains. I think I'll also lay down subhexes under the rivers to "depress" them from the surrounding land - might be a nice effect, getting the rivers to carve through my hills and mountains.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Hexomancy (II) and the Summer Post

So, some putzing around with the TextMapper software mentioned earlier got me here-ish:

which is kind of a start? I'd have exposed the image as the actual SVG, but evidently Blogger or whatever really mangled the text sizing, so it looked like junk.

I'm utilizing the concept from James Bennett (also mentioned last post) of splitting the hex into thirds - using the northwest for elevation, the southwest for temperature/vegetation, and I'll use the east third for information about other features - probably civilization features, like...well, whatever.

The hex-thirds are custom SVG paths, filled with a solid color. The mountains and trees were drawn in Inkscape, aligned correctly, and defined as path objects. and the raw "text" that makes up an SVG was cut and pasted into the TextMapper resource file. Same with the "Cave" for Dwimmermount, but I took that from Wikipedia.

The little "city circles" are...XML circles, and the text on top is a custom XML text.

 The source file looks like so:

<path id="nw-mountain" fill="sienna" d="M -100,0 L 0,0 L 50,-86.6 L -50,-86.6 Z"/>
<path id="nw-hill" fill="peru" d="M -100,0 L 0,0 L 50,-86.6 L -50,-86.6 Z"/>
<path id="nw-marsh" fill="yellowgreen" d="M -100,0 L 0,0 L 50,-86.6 L -50,-86.6 Z"/>
<path id="nw-plains" fill="lawngreen" d="M -100,0 L 0,0 L 50,-86.6 L -50,-86.6 Z"/>
2210 default nw-mountain east-plains sw-forest mountain brush
2310 default nw-mountain east-mountain sw-forest mountain heavypine
2410 default nw-mountain east-mountain sw-forest snowmountain heavypine cave "Dwimmermount"
2510 default nw-mountain east-mountain sw-forest mountain heavypine
2211 default nw-mountain east sw-forest mountain heavypine fort class-fort Patricians
2311 default nw-mountain east-mountain sw-forest mountain heavypine
2411 default nw-mountain east-mountain sw-forest mountain heavypine
2511 default nw-mountain sw-forest east mountain heavypine city class-five Muntburg
2212 default default nw-mountain east-mountain sw-forest mountain heavypine
2312 default nw-mountain east sw-forest mountain heavypine city class-six Tribune
2412 default nw-mountain east-mountain sw-forest mountain heavypine
2512 default nw-plains sw-plains east fort class-fort Patricians brush
2209-2310-2410-2511-2411-2312-2211-2112 road
2410-2511-2611 road

and you can see how I've defined my "hex thirds" above. Other objects:

<g id="snowmountain"><path id="path15084" d="m-2.6214-16.641h-61.474l30.737-53.238z" stroke="#6c5353" stroke-width="3.2461" fill="#6c5353"/><path id="path15086" d="m-1.4331-16.913h-36.523l5.7945-52.052z" stroke="#ac9393" stroke-width="2.5572" fill="#ac9393"/><path id="path15104" d="m-23.785-54.729h-18.935l9.4675-16.398z" stroke="#e3dbdb" stroke-width="2.25" fill="#e3dbdb"/><path id="path15098" d="m-23.343-54.724h-10.708l1.5877-16.17z" stroke="#f9f9f9" stroke-width="1.6802" fill="#f9f9f9"/></g>

The labels on top of the city circles are custom text objects, as are the settlement names. I generated them with another script that takes my hex entries out of a spreadsheet and on-the-fly generates custom objects.

The trees and such are too complex to post...they are seriously hundreds and hundreds of characters long. I drew the objects (not the hex thirds, that's just drawing point-to-point at the hex corners) in Inkscape, placed them centered at 0,0 (upper left), exported as Optimized SVG. I opened the SVG (they are just text files), cut out the objects I needed, and put them in an include file for Text Mapper.

When possible, I attempted to simplify things in Inkscape by combining paths - keep in mind a combined path has a single color, as it's a single object, so you have to do layers separate. The pine trees above are each made of 4 triangles, two green, two dark green. All the green triangles in all...12 or so trees are combined into a single path, on top of the dark green triangles that are a single path. You'll note I have some layering errors in a few of them because of that.

This stuff just stacks on top of each other as the file progresses - order is important - which is why you see the roads covering up my text.

I kinda like SVG now.

I'm sure next time I post on this I'll have rebooted into a completely different presentation style, but, hey.

For now, however, I don't have to "map", in the classical sense - puttering around in Hexographer, reworking hexes, relayering, invoking GIMP for certain tasks, blah de blah. Everything I need to know is in a spreadsheet I'd be using anyway, and I've got some middleware to translate that into something I can pass through Text Mapper - on-demand, just-in-time mapping.

Admit it: it's a little sexy.

So, it's time for my yearly more-useless-than-normal summer post. Hang on to your butts:

IKEA: Have you ever noticed how good Ikea product names are for anything vaguely Scandinavian? PCs, gods, boats, horses? That's where I got all my names for CharlesDM's PbP game on the Autarch board - my PC, my horse, my followers, my sword...

Hell of a weird place to go, but, they've got a great naming scheme.

STAR WARS: And what is the deal with Star Wars planets? Does it not seem that the whole thing makes more sense as several biomes on the same planet? Scale it all down - crazy floating fortresses for star destroyers - like maybe Avatar-style Firebending boats that fly, instead. Evil empires, princesses, magic swords, magic users...meh. So, technically, we have some guidance for scale. Consider the phrase "That's No Moon". We can theorize, therefore, that the Death Star, whether a space station or floating fortress or whatever, by default will initially appear to the viewer as the size of a moon -- Earth's, in this case, for the relative ease of invoking the mind's eye.

We can use the angular diameter equation to figure this out. We'll combine this with figuring out the maximum size of a cylinder (to represent our stronghold tower) we can fit in a sphere to determine our capacity in units.

For several choices of "cruising altitude", then , we get several spheres - their diameter compared to the heights or lengths of well known objects:

Altitude (miles)Diameter (ft)Length OfSpherical VolumeTower Height (ft)
23885511005638(moon's diameter)6.97982E+206,354,108
8544393677Death Star I3.19461E+16227,289
301382432 Park Avenue1382945438798
20922USS Nimitz409761611.2532
10461Great Pyramid of Giza51220201.4266
5230Omaha Double Tree Hotel6402525.176133

If the Omaha Double Tree Hotel is floating 5 miles in the sky, it can blot out the Moon. As an aside, Wikipedia's really got some weird lists.

Tower height/volume/diameter/stories is the maximum "cylinder" that will fit in the sphere defined.

TowerTower Height (ft)Tower Diameter (ft)Tower StoriesSqft/StoryTtl Sq Ft
Death Star393677160718227282.03E+104.61E+14
Park Avenue7985647925011719759229

And, let's add some ACKS stats to it:

TowerPossible Cost (GP)Possible SHPCan "Secure"Size Comparison
Moon8.06E+193.57E+18Everything. This fortress is a harsh mistress.
Death Star3.69E+151.63E+14A galactic empire without lost Jedi water farmers.
Park Avenue158,073,8366,996,894333,500 to 166,700 sq mi (10,500 - 5,300 hexes)Madagascar (226K sq mi)
Nimitz47,133,1272,086,27599,500 to 50,000 sq mi (3150-2100 hexes)Ellesmere Island (75K sq mi)
Giza5,780,478255,86412,200 to 6,000 square miles (385-192 hexes)Sardinia (9K sq mi)
Omaha722,56031,9831,525 to 765 square miles (48 to 24 hexes)Long Island (1,400 sq mi)

TowerUnits/StoryTotal UnitsGarrison CostIndicated FamiliesIndicated Realm
Moon4,404,195,3802.79847E+154.50137E+182.2 QuintillionGalaxy
Death Star5,635,2841.28E+112.06E+14103 TrillionGalactic Quadrant
Park Avenue695,4898,644,6634,322,331Empire

The "Unit" I'm using there is a abstract notion - it's 2,640 men making up 24 units; mixed between LI/HI/XB/HA/CC - so I'm dividing population numbers and multiplying costs by that.

On the forums, Alex stated 30 sqft per soldier as a decent living space. We'll assume a floating fortress means they live within the whole time. We've got a lot of leeway on space used; our cylinder in our sphere is only using about half the volume we have to work with - plenty of room for storage, siege weapons, griffin pens, magical floaty-engine things, etc.

Indicated Families is the "civilized realm" value of how many families that amount of garrison spend would cover.

And finally (ignoring the numbers that'll just stay in scientific notation):

TowerTroopsMarket ClassSupport Pop.Supply CostStronghold UpkeepFamiles to Cover CostsMinimum Realm
Death Star1.41E+13---5.76E+131.84E+131.06E+14---
Park Avenue603,754Class II175002,469,948790,3694,532,300Empire
Nimitz180,022Class II9775736,468235,6661,351,403Kingdom
Giza22,078Class IV120090,32228,902165,738Principality
Omaha2,760Class VI15011,2903,61320,717Duchy

If an army's baggage train counts as a market of some size, then a floating fortress would have the same thing within it for support needs. If we take the population needed for support as the number of families - as single individuals - from a settlement of that market class, we can pretend there's some number of support staff along for the ride.

We can also, then, calculate supply costs for the army, and upkeep costs for the stronghold, in the number of families worth of domain income we'd need to cover.

There. Death Star as a floating stronghold for ACKS. It's...not all that unreasonable once you just stop worrying about how the thing flies. If you're big enough to have an extra principality or kingdom's worth of income you can throw around, it certainly would make for a hell of a way to run a war. You could probably just land this thing on a truculent enemy stronghold/settlement (rather than figure out what the Death Star's laser would do in ACKS terms).

That being said, if we're looking at an atmospheric vehicle of that size, you'd be better off flattening it quite a bit and using the available surface area as farms to offset your supply costs...left as an exercise for the reader.