I didn’t only change the hill in which my temple is built upon, I also made a lot of changes into the surrounding environment, even realising that one of my ideas for it was damaging the purpose of my map so I scrapped the idea and decided on a different one.
As shown above I originally had a large group of hills which where separated from the rest of the map by a large river, this river was planned to be crossable through bridges this was in the south east corner and portion of my map.
But I realised while designing this part of the map I made a few mistakes.
- The river was taking focus away from the temple as the river was a natural choke point, it was also a better choke point because of the limited number of areas to cross and the large amount of land gave the defender of said hill a major even unfair advantage.
- The river itself was way too wide for the climate in which my game takes place, Total War Troy takes place in a Mediterranean Climate around countries like modern day turkey, which is a generally drier climate, a river this big doesn’t fit because when a river grows to the size I have sculpted it is usually because of heavy rain flooding he environment over many years creating not only the larger river but also a more flat flood plains landscape on either side of the river.
Because of these two realisations I decided to adapt my idea, first I removes the river and used the extra space to expand the hill side a little bit which ended up giving it a better more believable look.
I then sculpted out this lake, in a lot of the current total war troy maps the most common water features are usually large lakes or coastal sea sides, this also let me fill up a lot of empty low lands which I wasn’t sure of what to do with or how to customise.
Going from the north west corner of the map and stretching down most of the west side I designed a wood / forest area along a descending slope, forest areas are common in the climate he game is set in and forests are used a lot as terrain features where applicable in Troy and other Total War Games.
I also found a lovely marble texture that fits the description and look of the marble I had researched in the earlier weeks known as Pentelic Marble from the Epic Games Market Place from the package: Pristine Marbles.
I hen begun setting up my level to showcase during a recoding, although I could of recorded as the level is, I decided to add these mock units to help me show off my level and how its designed, The image above is from the Northern Slope of the hill.
The Units are Colour coordinated into Defenders Vs Attackers – Ranged and Melee and finally Commander Units.
Defenders Units are: Dark Blue are Melee units , Light Blue are Ranged units and Purple is the Defender’s Commander Unit.
Attackers Units are: Red are Melee units, Orange are Ranged units and Gold is the Attacker’s Commander unit.
(Showcasing of combat on the Northern Slope)
(Showcasing of combat on the Western Slope)
(Showcasing of Combat on the Northern Slope)
Along with setting up camera angles I can quickly snap to in unreal during recording it’ll help me develop a higher quality showcase video.
In week 8 – 9 I have been working on improving my current idea changing it and refining and iterating upon my original idea, I change multiple things about the landscape to make it present my idea more, some ideas I needed to remove entirely for new ones.
A changed the ill in which the temple sit son a lot as well as adding marble texturing which matches up with my research to the temple.
The hill is now larger in both general size and its slopes are larger expending further with a lot more form to them, some parts being steeper or bumpier then he other sides as i tried to make a realistic looking hill which has been worn down from weather and travellers scaling it over years and years.
(comparison of the northern side (shown above) (old version))
(Top Down Comparison (New))
(Top Down Comparison (Old))
My reason for this change was because I wanted this temple to feel important in both a visual, atmospheric sense but also gameplay, as a higher peak is easier to defend in total war games as it gives a height and range advantage to our ranged army units and allows melee units to deliver devastating down hill charges.
this is meant to be a strategic location in the open battle map that the player can choose to take to have an effective defensive position.
as seen in the pictures above the northern slope is now clear in showing its the most accessible side of the Temples hill but that means a lot of defenders and easily position there and find an angle to rain arrows down on the attackers.
(New version of the Eastern slope)
(Old version of the Eastern slope)
The eastern slope is also how I envisioned it, it is now a steep hill side which does not allow an angle of attack, blocking movement and ranged attack from both the defenders and the attackers.
(New Version of the Southern Slope)
(Old version of the Southern Slope)
The new southern slope shows my plans for it, it is now a tight and narrow passage up to the temple which give some difficulty to assault but not as much as the western side.
If a player assaulting the positions correctly their archers an attack defenders on the slope if they have enough effective range, although they are difficult shots they are possible.
(Viewable through the position of the Orange Soldier models)
(New Version of the Western Slope)
(Old version of the Western Slope)
The western Slope is much more narrow then its southern counter art, the limited space makes advancing units up it harder, but it also makes it more difficult to defend as it stops the defender from getting a lot of good positions for their archers and melee units.
This will cause both armies to be more cautious about attacking here and managing their unit properly.
(Dark / Light Blue = Defenders) (Red / Orange = Attackers)
For Week 7 I started to make the landscape of my level map, i want it to have the same feel as the other open field maps that are found and battled on in Total War Troy.
The landscape in TWT is quite varied, there is rarely huge portions of flat lands as it is sculpted after the real world Mediterranean, so roling hills, rock outcroppings, forests and rivers and lakes are not a uncommon sight to find.
First i started to plan out and visualise the landscape the temple would most likely have and after tweaking things with the landscaping tool of unreal I made this formation.
A large hill with steep slopes flanking its east, west and south sides making it difficult to attack from those directions, the north is easier to assault but is just as easy to defend compared to the other sides.
As shown below he northern side allows a larger group of troops to ascend at once up its north eastern path but would allow some very advantages sight lines to the defenders archer’s / artillery units.
The Eastern side is flanked by a large traversable slope, this allows the player(s) or AI that is attacking the army holding the temple some cover from ranged fire as they plan their attack.
The southern side is quite hard to traverse as the hill gives a good sight line for the defenders to attack from as they ascend the southern path, the downside is there is no much room to put a large group of defenders on the southern side compared to the north and because of the temple archers from the northern side will need time to relocate before they can assist.
The western side is hostile to both attackers and defenders, archers from both sides will struggle to get sightlines on each other because of the uneven rocky slopes, so attackers hugging the slopes can get around to the northern side easier.
In the following three images and previous ones because I have not added textures in yet I have marked out the pathways the units / armies can actually take up to the temple using these brown beams as they remind me where the pathways currently are so as I adjust the terrain more I know to keep them in mind and adjust accordingly.
its also to show how narrow the pathways are to his temple because of the terrain, which will hopefully show how choosing to take this position during a battle could really increase the odds of a victory even if you are outnumbered.
(The Images are ordered from North East > North West > South East respectively)
Week 6 I begun working on my block out for the temple, scaling it correctly and improving or changing the design so it can be built to a believable scale in unreal compared to the engineering building design.
The temple’s insides within the game won’t be accessible as Total War games are played within a larger perspective, the insides of buildings do not work for the style of game so I will hide the inside away from the player.
In respect order this is the current blocked out temple from Front > Right side > Back > Left side
I ma happy with the design of my temple as i have kept it in line with what most temples around that time period were built to.
I scaled the temple pillars to around 3 times the height of the given actor model as most temples of his type were quite large and grand structures to show both the power of heir respective god but also he respect and how large the concentration of followers were.
Drawing of what of scale of a temple of Athena was at the city of troy itself which I based my own scaling off.
The trojians revered Athena as one of their main gods within the pantheon so I felt the temple should be large and impressive to reflect her importance to them.
I started to figure out what my level was going to be, I decided I would go with a map centred around a temple, the temple would be a strategic location in which the player would be rewarded for holding if they chose to, Just like most buildings of this grand scale in total war games that I am familiar with my temple will be more of a visual / story focal point in which the battle takes place around you wont be able to enter the temple itself to defend it but rather you are in the surrounding landscape, along with recommendations by my lecturer, having an inside would be time consuming and problematic to make in the long run.
first I begun researching what type of building materials were commonly used during the bronze age when the ancient Greeks existed, I needed to know what they would use in the construction of a important and well built temple.
I confirmed that marble was the commonly desired material for temples as it was seen as elegant and didn’t wear away as easily as limestone, I found the most favoured marble that was used widely was Pentelic also known as Pentelikon marble mined from the Quarries of Mount Pentelicus.
They favoured using this type of marble for work on structures and statues regarding the Parthenon mainly because not only did it have a Pure white appearance when initially quarried and “fine grain”, overtime it would develop a subtle golden honey shading to it overtime that in certain lighting conditions particularly sunrise and sunset would show of this subtle colour change the best, his is because of trace amount of iron found in the marble itself.
Limestone was also used but not really favoured as to its softer easier to wear and has a crumbling nature when used as important structural pieces so it was mainly used for décor or other minor support structures.
Designing the Structure and surrounding environment –Week 5
I looked up a variety of Greek temples to gain inspiration from for my design from the Acropolis of Athens to the Hephaestus temple finding to a wide range of other temples their temple structures are quite similar.
temple of Hephaestus
Temple of Athena nike
that was until I found that a temple of Athena was built at troy although it was built long after the trojan war I wanted to base my design on it as I found a helpful engineering layout of the temple to make my design work a lot easier.
the link below allows for a better view of the design layout.
During the time of my course this blog will be tracking the progress of researching, planning and designing a artefact for total war troy.
The Artefacts I can design are either
- A prototype Level
- A Game mechanic
- A in Game System
- A prototype UI design
- A prototype Narrative design
I have chosen to do a Prototype Map Level
for Week 1 to Week 3 I researched Total War Troy’s Map design and historical and geographical area of Troy.
At first I research multiple different map types that total war troy has and then researched the opinion of the players who engaged in these maps, most maps outside of the general city and siege maps seemed to be very open taking advantage of the diverse landscape of the geographical area, which has many hills, rocky outcroppings and rivers which make natural choke points which some players find makes troop type diversity and improvement very important and reading as the maps help ring out the strengths and weaknesses of your
As shown in just these two forum post players talk about how they mainly enjoyed the well mad landscapes, enjoying the fact that most maps are rich in vegetation, natural rock outcrops generating chokepoints and general avoidance of flat lands.
the collected images arranged in these mood boards show what I’m referencing as many maps already have slopes, forests, rivers and lakes along with natural rocky choke points which generates some stunning visuals.