We’re all familiar with feature creep, the adding of features to software until you’ve either bloated the program or significantly deviated from the original intent. Even this early in the process, I suddenly found myself recognizing this happening. While working on some new artwork as I begin adding terrain templates and costs, I realized I was targeting the wrong aesthetic.

First it was lighting. I was considering, as I worked with the art, the effects of torches and other motivated light sources. How was I going represent lighting in the world when, for example, the character is carrying a torch or lantern?

Second it was the miniature. I modeled a quick miniature and rigged it to a skeleton so that I could not only pose it, but do some simple animation.

Lastly, it was the materials. I was thinking in terms of real world materials: stone, marble and the like.

Then, I took a step back and remembered what the original intention was: to recreate the tabletop gaming experience with all the miniatures and cast resin walls and floors that most of us never had a chance to use. Off to the web to see how people are using miniatures in the real-world.

Hirst Models from Samson Minis - http://samsonminis.blogspot.com/2011_08_01_archive.html

Dungeon from Lead Addict - http://leadaddict.blogspot.com/search/label/15mm%20Foam%20Dungeon

Dungeon from LJs Hobbyspot - http://ljshobbyspot.blogspot.com/2010/06/15mm-hirst-arts-dungeon-for-ganesha.html

Megadungeon from Farrtorr's Throne of Judgment - http://farrtorr.blogspot.com/

So here’s my current thinking:

  • Lighting - Light assuming the pieces are on a gaming table, primarily ambient with some weak directional lighting. For visibility, have the pieces rendered on top of a battle mat with a grid and hide any pieces that are not “visible” by the character.
  • Miniatures – Miniatures should be static, just like real world minis. This has two advantages: 1) I will be more likely to capture the look and feel of classic Grenadier and Ral Partha miniatures if they are “sculpted” as a single mesh without concern for rigging and animation and 2) this will significantly reduce the workload required and allow me to make more miniatures.
  • Materials – The target look will be painted and unpainted minis. Any representation of stone, or marble, or wood should look like faux-painted representation of the material.

Thoughts? Is it better to be immersed in the tabletop experience rather than in the dungeon itself?

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2 Comments » for Feature Creep
  1. Eric says:

    Yes, yes, yes. Model the table top. Let the MMO boys waist their time and budgets on animated immersion. Keep your target on creating a space for friends to gather. IMHO.

  2. PinderNET says:

    Yep, agree with Eric. Lighting though may be a special case.
    There is the “fog of war” effect. Everything I have explored is grey, but I have “mapped” it.

    Then there is the “visibility sphere”. Everything outside of your current visibility is black.

    Maybe an option to turn the “fog” on and off.

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