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Author Topic: 3-D Hex maps  (Read 60240 times)

ableman33

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3-D Hex maps
« on: 15 November 2011, 12:17:28 »
Hello all,

I am new to these forums, but have been posting at Terragenesis for a while.

Someone on the forums there suggested that I share some of my projects here.  I am still figuring out the nuts and bolts of posting here, so this is a bit of a test post to see if I can post images and such.

My goal when I first started building was to create some 3-D terrain that was still based on hexes.  That way we could have the attractiveness and intuitiveness of 3-D terrain while keeping the simplicity of hex maps.  As a secondary goal, making these maps would help grab potential new players' attention and make teaching them the hex-based rules engaging.







My first project was a single large hex board.  It took the form of a volcanic tropical island for two reasons.  On the one hand we had never played on this type of terrain before, and on the other hand making the board an island helped explain why the board did not need to integrate with other maps.





The volcano's caldera had a solidified lava plug that could be removed for different scenarios.







The map was made with extruded polystyrene insulation panels cut and shaped with hotwire tools.




I learned a lot from this map and we had fun playing on it, but it was ultimately donated to a local gaming store.  For future maps I switched to using thicker 1 inch thick foam panels for each elevation.  I also made the decision that all future maps would be shaped like traditional paper maps for ease of storage and flexibility in arrangement.  I did expand the scale of the new maps a little bit, making them 24 inches wide on the short sides instead of 17 inches.  This was as big as I could make them and still get the most maps out of standard 4'x8' sheet goods.  The extra room means I can also add elements like trees to hexes and still have room for figures.







My next map was a set of jungle hills requested by a friend of mine for a local gaming convention.





Each map board has the same hex arrangement as a standard paper map.  The two boards with waterfalls can be arranged as a mesa or a valley, and the other four maps are made of two sets of rotationally symmetric pairs.




The water and waterfalls were made using caulk.








Hexes were indicated using "bushes", tufts of flocking, and logs made from bits of tumbleweed stems.





These hex markers ended up needing to be enhanced due to the fact that most places we play have dimmer lighting than my garage.  Ultimately I ended up sketching out a hex grid of fine lines using a thin sharpie marker.







My next map was a set of canyons designed to act like a city map or trenches as far as LOS and movement went, but in a natural setting.  Due to the fully symmetrical arrangement of the map edges, these four maps can be arranged into 576 unique maps.



In my previous jungle maps, my carving into the sides of my cliffs to look more natural caused some play issues.  While the board was designed in such a way that if you looked straight down at it you could always tell which hexes were solid stone and blocked lines of sight, looking at the cliffs from the sides made some players think they should be able to shoot through the carved away bits.

To keep that from happening, I decided to sacrifice a bit of realism to make sure the sides of my blocking terrain are always clear.  The edges of the canyons are designed to look like eroded sandstone.




Hexes in the elevated cliff sections were formed by cracks and erosion channels.  To indicate hexes in the flat bottoms of the canyon floors, I used shaped hot glue to form dunes and scree piles.









My next map was a personal challenge to myself to see if I could create a new map in secret in the month between two of my group's game sessions.  Due to a lack of basing material at the time, I limited myself to a single map board.  To make up for the lack of room, I built upward instead of outward, creating a  mountain map 24 levels high.



For this map I experimented with using pieces of styrofoam plates to indicate the hex grid and crackle paint to simulate cracking and eroding limestone cliffs.











I am currently in the starting to mess around stages of either a city map or arena-style map, possibly incorporating modular pieces held in place with magnets.


I apologize for the length of this first post.  If anyone is interested in more information on the making of any of the above maps I can make separate individual posts about them.

« Last Edit: 29 November 2011, 11:30:18 by ableman33 »

scatcat

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Re: 3-D Hex maps
« Reply #1 on: 15 November 2011, 12:52:49 »
Absolutely stunning. I look forward to reading your build logs in detail once I get home.

john blackwell

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Re: 3-D Hex maps
« Reply #2 on: 15 November 2011, 13:27:46 »
It's good to see you here Ableman.  I have watched in detail your work on TG.  It's absolutely amazing.  I look forward to seeing other projects you do and insights you can lend.

JB
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ApokalypseTest

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Re: 3-D Hex maps
« Reply #3 on: 15 November 2011, 14:06:49 »
Awesome maps - but where do you store all that stuff??

ableman33

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Re: 3-D Hex maps
« Reply #4 on: 15 November 2011, 22:00:45 »
Thanks everyone.  I am glad you like these maps.

@ ApokalypseTest - I have some adjustable shelves along one wall of my garage/workshop where I keep the maps when not in use.  One advantage of settling on a standardized size for my maps early on is that it has made storing them together much easier.  Because of the general design I use, these maps can be easily stored on edge which makes compacting them into a small space much easier.



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Re: 3-D Hex maps
« Reply #5 on: 15 November 2011, 23:16:25 »
I ahd the pleasure of playing on some of this terrain at Owlcon in 2010. Incredible work!
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Re: 3-D Hex maps
« Reply #6 on: 16 November 2011, 00:20:32 »
Oh yay, its ableman.
I read through your map creation threads on terragenesis, and loved all of them.  I can't wait to see what you do next.

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Re: 3-D Hex maps
« Reply #7 on: 16 November 2011, 14:50:09 »
Cool solution, in that fashion I might be able to sell the idea to my significant other - so far I have been buying Heroscape terrain to generate stackable terrain.

Btw. you said you use Scetchup for planning? Do you have an object library or such? Would you share that?

ableman33

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Re: 3-D Hex maps
« Reply #8 on: 17 November 2011, 08:31:31 »
@ ApokalypseTest - I do use Google Sketchup in my design process, but my "library" is very limited.  I only have a few things things:

Base maps that have a hex grid (including partial hexes) that are identical to traditional paper maps.

A tree.

A Maddog mech.




I downloaded the tree and the Maddog from online and use them only rarely when I want to make more detailed views for illustrative purposes.  (For instance in some of the situational charts I make for our group/conventions, like Firing Arcs or Simplified LOS Rules.)







In truth I just use the base map for all my design work.  I use the elevation tool to raise and lower individual hexes (using the the "type in the number of inches" short cut to get precise elevations or dragging the tooltip to a nearby elevated hex to match the height) until things look the way I want.  I then use the paint fill tool to color individual hexes to place Light and Heavy Woods, water, etc.  This is enough to get me what I need for design.













Google Sketchup's "Section Pane" comes in handy when figuring out how to cut the pieces for each layer.






I have since reproduced the base map on my own by making a hexagon of the right size.  Copying it.  Attaching it to the original.  Copying both of those.  And repeating.  The doubling process enabled me to quickly create a column of hexes the right length, then rapidly stick columns next to each other until the grid was the right size.  All that was left then was to draw the straight lines through the half-hexes along the sides and erasing the leftover bits hanging outside the lines.

I keep my starter map saved in a couple locations just in case I accidentally save over one when I start a new map.



To mess around with ideas for an arena map, I did create a different base map with "wall" and "post" sections at the sides and corners of the map hexes respectively that could be raised and lowered independently.









I would be happy to share any of the objects from my library to those interested, though I did get all but the modified base map from the internet through Google searches originally.

I am not sure how to share files here at CBT, but if anyone is interested in any of the above I will gladly share.
« Last Edit: 19 November 2011, 23:17:32 by ableman33 »

ableman33

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Re: 3-D Hex maps
« Reply #9 on: 19 November 2011, 20:07:33 »
Hmm... It looks like a bunch of the pics I used in my first post are no longer displaying.  Perhaps this is due to my having linked them from Terragenesis.  I will see about copying them to my Flickr account and re-linking them.

------------------------------------------------

OK, that seems to be getting the pics to work again.  I will keep an eye out on the other pics here to see if they will need copying over as well.
« Last Edit: 19 November 2011, 23:18:25 by ableman33 »

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Re: 3-D Hex maps
« Reply #10 on: 19 November 2011, 21:18:08 »
Holy Crap!!! Those are magnificient! Kudos on a job impressively done!
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ableman33

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Re: 3-D Hex maps
« Reply #11 on: 19 November 2011, 23:15:01 »
@ HavocTheWarDog - Thanks.  :)

OK, I switched out the rest of my pics.  It looks like it is better for me to reference images I store elsewhere on the net rather than pulling directly from my TerraGenesis posts.  I can understand that.  I do not want to be pulling too hard on TerraGenesis' bandwidth unnecessarily.  I post enough images over there as it is.  ;D

Please let me know if any of the above pictures seem to disappear from the post.  I am still figuring things out here. :)

ableman33

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Re: 3-D Hex maps
« Reply #12 on: 20 November 2011, 09:15:54 »
I have had several inquires asking about my design process in creating my hex maps. I made this post to give an idea of my thoughts and considerations when putting a map together.  (My apologies in advance for its length.)





When designing maps for Battletech, there are a few basic things I keep in mind.

First I decide what general type of terrain I am going to work on: heavily wooded hills, cracking ice floes, urban sprawl, cratered moonscape, etc. This gives me overall guidance in how I am going to shape my map.

Do I want the terrain to be mostly open with little cover like with desert or arctic terrain? This will encourage long range engagements and make what cover there is on the map very important.

Do I want lines of sight (LOS) to be short to encourage close combat or high stakes games of cat and mouse? If so, I will have lots of obstacles or woods that make long range fire difficult.

Do I want to play around with alternate rules like long drops, deep water, lava, or ice? Then I will feature those elements strongly and try to arrange movement lanes and LOS to encourage encounters with those elements.

Once I have the general nature of the map, I then start using Google SketchUp to play around with potential arrangements of features.






Within the framework of my overall goal, I try to keep a few things in mind while placing elements around the Battletech maps.




TREES



Heavy Woods, with their +2 modifier, are very powerful, so I try to use them mindfully and not too extravagantly. When creating clumps of wooded terrain, I try to keep in mind the rule that 3-points of intervening woods blocks LOS and the rule that the woods a shooter is standing in do not count against the shooter's target numbers but they do count for anyone trying to target him.

To make clumps of wooded hexes that satisfy both these desires, I tend to make a lot of two or three-hex clumps mixing a single Heavy Woods hex with one or two Light Woods hexes (though sometimes I will make a two-clump with a pair of Light Woods or make a four-clump with two Heavy and Two Light). These three-hex clumps can be arranged in a triangle, "V", or a straight line, whichever fits that part of the board.

Ideally these clumps will block LOS through them in some directions but not all for units outside the clumps while also providing firing positions for units inside them that give the shooter good but not perfect cover.

(Placing one or two Light Woods hexes with a single Heavy Woods hex gives a lot of flexibility in cover options. The modifiers vary depending on the direction fire is coming from and which hex the mech is standing in. Making the clumps only two or three hexes in size keeps the modifiers reasonable.)


Depending on my overall plan for the map, I arrange these clumps as needed. In a sparse wide open map, like a savannah, these clumps might be far apart and become key focus points for the action of the game as mechs dash from cover to cover and have to balance their defense between movement and terrain modifiers. In these cases, the distance between clumps can really shape the game. Do you want jump units to be able to hop from one clump to the next? If so then the clumps should be spaced 4-6 hexes apart at most. Do you want heavy slow mechs to have to decide between spending a round or two out in the open vs. bunkering down in a set of trees? If so then make the clumps around 8-10 hexes apart.

On the other hand, if I want short sight lines, I put my clumps close together, possibly even merging some of them together. If I do place clumps together, I try to do so in elongated shapes rather than wide filled-in circles. This ensures that the larger clumps can still be traversed without too much trouble in at least in one direction. It also keeps the center of the large clumps from being too isolated from the rest of the board.

(The trees on this mountain map are densely packed because of the nature of the extreme terrain. Units either have to be almost on top of each other to even see each other without the mountain being in the way, or, because of units being on different levels, most of the intervening trees would be ignored. For there to be at least some available tree cover for most places conflict might take place, it was necessary to put trees almost everywhere. -- As a side note, I placed a lot of my wooded hexes on this map near the edges of cliffs to make players choose between the safety gained by hiding in trees vs. the danger of getting shoved off the edge.)


When making a crowded map, I always make sure that there are still lots of clear lanes of movement across the map. If it is a city, I make streets. If it is a forest I can use clearings or level 0 rivers as an excuse. The idea is to make sure that even slow mechs can still get around. Faster mechs and jumping mechs will still have an advantage (and those open lanes of movement may become choke points and ambush locations), but I do not want to cripple heavy slow mechs such that they cannot play effectively. It is no fun to only be able to move one or two hexes every round, especially given how few turns a typical Battletech game can often have.

(The trees along the river are clumped closely together making targeting north and south along the direction of the river difficult to impossible, but the narrowness of the clumps and the gaps between them make movement east and west across the river manageable.)






ELEVATIONS



Providing terrain that is higher than the base map changes the game in two main ways. Intervening terrain that is two levels higher than units on either side blocks LOS completely. Also, if one unit is higher than intervening elements, like woods, LOS may end up ignoring some of the lower intervening terrain.

This means that vertical elements can take the place of woods for blocking LOS so I can make a treeless map if I want to by providing hard cover scattered around with a density that matches my overall theme. Hard terrain either blocks LOS completely or not at all, so it does not provide the same shades of shooting difficulty that wooded hexes can, but it can shape movement in the same way.

(The level 1 & 2 walls of the canyons block LOS, provide partial & full cover, and increase movement costs similarly to trees.)


The exception here is terrain that is one level higher than a mech next to it. This "waist high" terrain allows for partial cover. In a map with few or no trees, I try to scatter partial cover around fairly liberally. Since units only gain the benefits of partial cover when standing right next to it, and then only from fire coming from certain directions, partial cover is situational enough that you can use lots of it.

Because a unit standing on elevated terrain can often ignore much of the intervening terrain when determining LOS, a map that has a mix of elevated terrain and other types of terrain can have a greater density of other blocking terrain than if the map were flat. I can make my clumps of woods larger and closer together if a long range sniper can stand on a clump of rocks and shoot over most of them. A mix of elevated but exposed firing positions and lots of low-land cover can make for an interesting game.

(These maps were intentionally designed so that units on the higher exposed rocks could shoot over much of the intervening terrain. This enables exchanges of fire between long range opponents on an otherwise often crowded map.)


Because of the benefits gained from elevation and from cover terrain like woods, I tend to try to avoid stacking the two types together. If I created elevated positions with good sight lines to most of the board and then covered them with woods or other features that provided great cover at little or no penalty to the shooter, the game on that map would revolve around control of those positions.

(In this map, I decided that I would only have wooded hexes on the level 0 and level 1 elevations. The upper elevations would always remain clear of woods, though they would occasionally provide partial cover for some defensive options.  --  Side note, keeping my upper areas clear of trees helps keep my trees from getting bent during storage and transport as none of them stick up above the protective rock outcroppings.)



If I do decide to make such an elevated defensive position I want to do so deliberately, knowing that units that make their way to these ideal locations will likely not leave them unless forced to. To maintain the greatest amount of flexibility in using my maps, I try to avoid creating a map that strongly favors one type of play over another. A map with three to four such elevated defensive positions would keep things flexible enough so that both sides could make use of them, but the map would still strongly favor a defensive style of play. A map with a single such position would only really be good for unbalanced scenarios like King-of-the-Hill or ones where each side has different objectives (like defend/assault, or one side trying to escape by crossing the board and the other trying to stop them).

When considering how high to make my elevated terrain and how steep to slope it, I keep in mind movement rules. Mechs without jumpjets can only cross changes in elevation that are one or two levels different from each other. I always make sure that my elevated terrain has at least one path up to it that has steps no more than two levels high, preferably there is at least one path made of just single level steps. This enables all units to access the terrain, even those without jumpjets or those with reduced mobility due to damage.

(Each main flat area on my mountain map has several paths connecting it up and down to the other levels and there is always at least one path in each loation with level 1 steps.)


If I did not make these paths, a unit could potentially get stranded if it took damage and could no longer leave the space it was in. Another concern is that allowing some mechs to retreat out of reach of the rest can hinder game play. If there is no way for units on one side to move to or fire on another mech that is hiding up out of reach, the game may stall. Keeping access to all elevated terrain maximizes the flexibility of the maps.

When planning the maximum height of my elevated terrain, I keep in mind LOS shadows and jump capability. Tall terrain potentially blocks large portions of the board from each other so I want to place such terrain mindfully. Since mechs can only jump over terrain that is as many levels high as the number of hexes they can jump, I keep any terrain I want mechs to be able to jump over between 4-6 levels tall (mostly 4 as almost all units that can jump are able to jump that high).

(The main flat terraces on my mountain map are 6 levels apart from each other. This lets jump-6 mechs hop between each level while still giving enough space for players' hands to reach into each level.)




ACCESSABILITY/PLAYABILITY




When planning my maps, I try to keep in mind the fact that actual humans and miniatures will need to be able to use them. I try to avoid deep narrow passages or tunnels that may be too skinny for hands to reach in or difficult for miniatures that extend past their hex bases to fit in. This means that if a canyon or something similar is more than two levels high where reaching in would be necessary, I try to make the narrow part at least three hexes wide, preferably four.

(The tunnel in the above pic is 3 hexes wide and 5 levels high. Because it is a tunnel with a closed top, this still proved to be too narrow for easy use. It should have been 4 hexes wide and/or taller. If it had been a canyon with an open top that players could reach through, I could have gotten away with leaving it 3 hexes wide.  This is even despite my having expanded my hex sizes slightly from those of the traditional paper maps for these 3-D map boards.)

On the same note, I place trees only at the hex corners so there is always space for the units inside the hex and I keep details like rubble low and flat or near the edges of the hexes so that units do not tip.

(Every terrain feature I add to a map that cannot have a mini stand on it is placed on the corners or edges of the hexes so there is room for units.)



(My trees are also made of flexible wire so that they can be bent out of position if necessary.)


When actually making my maps, I also want to keep in mind that the maps should support the game, not make it more difficult. This means that if a feature is supposed to block LOS it should look like it blocks LOS, even if this takes away from the realism of the map. I switched to making my cliff sides straight vertical hexagons after the more natural eroded curves of one of my maps kept making players think they should be able to shoot through the empty space. On that map, I had planned ahead and made sure that the hexes at the tops of the cliffs were solid so that a player looking straight down could see which hexes were supposed to block LOS, but the cutouts underneath kept interfering with clarity.

(On this map, places where I carved away the sides of the cliffs, like the feature on the left, caused some issues with players thinking they should be able to shoot through the hex at ground level. The cut curve was purely decorative and not intended to imply LOS. Even though I was careful to design this map in such a way that LOS issues could be resolved by looking straight down at the hex in question, the time wasted to such discussions was not worth the added realism.)



(For the rest of my maps I have kept the boundaries of my LOS blocking terrain very clear, even if that has meant a loss of realism.)









FLEXIBILITY

Finally, when designing my maps, I try to maximize the flexibility in their use by making their edges symmetric and the same as other maps.

The simplest way to accomplish this is to keep the outer edge of a map all flat. This means that any map I make will match up with any other map that also has flat hexes on the outside edges.

(These maps have edges that are all flat clear terrain. They can be combined with each other or with similar maps in any configuration desired.)



If I am making a set of maps designed to work together with elevated elements that span from one map to another, I keep the hexes around the perimeter of each map identical. This way any map in the set can match up with any other map while still allowing me to do whatever I want with the interiors. As long as any long side will match any other long side, and any short side with any short side, I can place my maps in a huge variety of arrangements.

(Four maps with identical perimeter hexes can be arranged into 576 unique maps. (192 in a 2x2 arrangement, 192 in a 1x4 with long sides matching, and 192 in a 1x4 with short sides matching.) If you add in the 1x2 arrangements you get even more.)


(Keeping the perimeter hexes the same means I can do whatever I want with the interior hexes and I know they will all still match up.)




(These sets of maps were designed so that half of each of them had clear edges that could be combined freely with other similar maps. The other two maps in each set were designed to match up with each other side by side or back to back.)












Hopefully this post will answer some of the reasoning behind the way I design my maps. If you have any other questions or comments, please add them below.

« Last Edit: 29 November 2011, 11:47:36 by ableman33 »

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Re: 3-D Hex maps
« Reply #13 on: 23 November 2011, 16:37:10 »
Totally incredible! That's the best hexed terrain I've ever seen. I really love how you manage to fold the hexes themselves into looking like nature.  My hat's off to you, sir!  O0
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Re: 3-D Hex maps
« Reply #14 on: 23 November 2011, 19:46:52 »
That's really impressive!

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Re: 3-D Hex maps
« Reply #15 on: 23 November 2011, 20:20:57 »
Your terrain is spectacular! [notworthy]

Thank you for sharing these photos with us.
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Re: 3-D Hex maps
« Reply #16 on: 23 November 2011, 21:46:52 »
Ableman,

Your work is stunning, and I appreciate getting to know how you think when designing terrain as well as developing features.  I know the posts are long, but there is a seminar worth of material to digest.

Thank you,
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Re: 3-D Hex maps
« Reply #17 on: 23 November 2011, 23:57:05 »
Such a awesome job!!!
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Re: 3-D Hex maps
« Reply #18 on: 25 November 2011, 06:49:33 »
Bravo! O0

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Re: 3-D Hex maps
« Reply #19 on: 25 November 2011, 21:20:02 »
Your work just makes me want to cry. I have such a long way to go to improve. Well done. Very well done.
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Re: 3-D Hex maps
« Reply #20 on: 25 November 2011, 22:20:31 »
Tagged to follow.


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Re: 3-D Hex maps
« Reply #21 on: 25 November 2011, 22:44:40 »

That's amazingly impressive work. 

Building terrain myself I know how incredibly much work goes into pieces like that
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Re: 3-D Hex maps
« Reply #22 on: 26 November 2011, 09:50:06 »
absolutely stunning  O0

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Re: 3-D Hex maps
« Reply #23 on: 26 November 2011, 10:16:14 »
Thanks everyone for the kind words. 

I take a lot of pleasure out of making these maps and anticipating the fun others will have playing on them.  Being able to share the making of them with others online and collaborate ideas has been an extra pleasure.

Right now I am slowly working as I find time on building up a large stash of pre-built wood bases.  This way, when I have an idea for a map in the future, I can just grab some bases off the shelf and get straight to the fun part.  Time to build has been rare the last couple of months, so I have not made as much progress as I would have hoped.  Hopefully with the coming holiday breaks, I will be able to get these bases finished and start making maps again.

I am currently messing around with concepts for magnetized maps where the base is covered in a sheet of metal and the terrain pieces all have magnets on the bottom.  Ideally, the bases would be plain flat generic hex grids, able to be used for many different types of maps.

The first two sets I plan to make in this style are a city map and an arena map.

But those will need to wait for the bases to be complete. :)

Again, thanks for the comments.

Good gaming and happy building to everyone.  O0

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Re: 3-D Hex maps
« Reply #24 on: 26 November 2011, 10:35:31 »
I wish I had the room to do something like that.

Oh well, if I can't make my own, maybe I can throw some ideas at you.
If you do a map that has grass on the hills, you should make most of the 1 and 2 level cliffs grassy and the some of the 1 and 2 level changes and all of the changes of more than 2 levels rocky to represent cliffs.  In a normal game you could pass through all 2 level hex changes, but it leaves the option open to use the cliff rules from Tac ops.  You could also try making 1 level high trees and some (3 level) high super heavy trees, and once again feel free to ignore them when you don't want to use tac ops rules.

If you're trying to make more modular maps, maybe you could make your maps otherwise normally but add some specific zones of specific sizes and shapes that is lower than the rest of the map and devoid of terrain that you can slot terrain pieces in.  For instance you could have a 7 hex area an a matching lake, hill, grass, and dropship piece, or a straight line of hexes that could become a road or river.

ableman33

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Re: 3-D Hex maps
« Reply #25 on: 26 November 2011, 10:40:53 »
@ BirdofPrey - Those are some good ideas.  I have not read through the Tac Ops rules yet (though I do own them), so I did not even know those kinds of terrain features existed.  I will definitely need to check those out and see how I can incorporate some of that terrain into future projects.

Jeffrey

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Re: 3-D Hex maps
« Reply #26 on: 27 November 2011, 21:17:10 »
 :D wow,and that is a under statement.
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warbossjim

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Re: 3-D Hex maps
« Reply #27 on: 27 November 2011, 22:07:03 »
Amazing

Wotan

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Re: 3-D Hex maps
« Reply #28 on: 29 November 2011, 11:03:59 »
I'm not sure what impresses me more - your model building skills or your great planning. I always enjoyed your explanations from where do you get your inspirations and how you try to transfer them to terrain building.
You definitely are building the best hexbased 3D terrain i've ever seen. Sad i'll never have a chance to play on that maps.  :'(

Ouchies

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Re: 3-D Hex maps
« Reply #29 on: 29 November 2011, 16:08:49 »
Planning.  Definitely Planning and the persistence to see a project through all the hiccups.  A lot of people have the talent.  And with a little fudging and simple tricks, a lot more can look like they have it.

But seeing a project through?  That's where the real talent is.  O0

Bravo.  I'd do something similar, but I've got enough terrain boards cluttering up the place.  So I'm opting in for a rollable mat and some terrain features to place on it (and store easier).