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Melan last won the day on August 10 2019

Melan had the most liked content!


1822 Deity

About Melan

  • Birthday 09/17/1980

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    Civitas Quinque Ecclesiae, Hungary
  • Interests
    That stupid thing with all the lines. Also, roleplaying games

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  1. I am very sad to hear of grayman's passing. I knew his battle with cancer had been long, and he was fortright about the possibility, but you always hope... This feels like losing an old friend, as he has been a member here for a very long time. It is not just his missions - which were justly cited as among the best - and not just his work on the core mod - which was essential. He was also a kind and friendly presence here, and that, especially, will be missed. RIP, grayman! And condolences to @grayson and the entire family.
  2. That's a nice shot, and it does have a good atmosphere - well realised. I also like the premise of the mission; these "escape" missions always tend to be fun. Don't worry about your unfamiliarity with the asset library. Things will fall into place through practice. Also, very often, less is more - you can achieve good consistency with only a few objects, and that's good for mood as well.
  3. mmij

    I thought to write you directly so as not to take the main thread off-topic, I hope you don't mind.
    And I would have written sooner, but I've been tied up dealing with idiots occupying armchairs at the Saigon consulate.

    Regarding reading material about city growth, a lot of what I know comes from pratical experience and multiple city planning and history books. So I don't have one ready source to give you, sorry.

    But if you know that you're looking for a pattern, and you know that there are two main types to be aware of, then you can use satellite maps to see the 'why' of sity growth.

    Open your Google maps and pick an old city. I suggest starting with one of these: Moscow, Paris, London, New York City (including the surrounding burroughs), Bangkok, Dublin, or Hong Kong. What you first want to look for are the geometric patterns that show planned growth. Once you have these pinned down, then identify the asymmetric growth. If you're using Google maps, you can go to street view and look for physical structures (hills, rivers, depressions, etc. _and_ pre-existing geometries from parks, statues, monuments etc.) that created the sprawl.

    Historic geometries will not be as straight and true as modern ones. So a planned road from 1500CE will have some twists and turns between its start and finish, but the points themselves will mostly remain geometrically aligned. (Example below. The asteriks are points and slashes the roads.)  
    |             |
    \   Here   |
     |   be     |
    /  Rocks  \ 
    *             *


    1. Melan


      Thanks for your comments! If you are writing with reference to The Painter's Wife, do note that most of the basic street geometry is the work of Shadowhide, who built it about five or six years ago (he is no longer active on the forums). All later contributions, including mine, are refinements of that basic blueprint.

      That said, my designs follow fairly similar principles based on organic city growth patterns. My main reference work is Christopher Alexander's great Pattern Language, combined with personal experience visiting old cities throughout Europe (mainly the Mediterranean). While my personal research field is a bit different, I do work in regional studies, and have a natural interest in city development.

      Of course, there are two caveats:

      1) My cityscapes are rooted in surrealism, not realism - they are architectural fancies, not socio-economic experiments;

      2) they also serve gameplay (navigation, stealth, route-finding, climbing, etc.), which is an important consideration, too.

    2. mmij


      You have some very interesting studies! I'll look up that book later. I'm reading a book called "A Burglar's Guide to the City" by George Monaugh right now. I posted a short message about it in the Off Topic section of the forum, but I thought I'd bring it to your attention as well. It's very entertaining.

      I'm wondering though, about your first precept. Do you create your own structural guidelines for each cityscape indivually, or do you have a master template that you've built up that governs your universe?

    3. Melan


      I have read Monaugh's book; it is excellent! Very useful in thinking about level design, too. I think I first read about it on these forums, then purchased a copy.

      On your question, I have ideas about how the City looks and works in general - lack of open spaces, organic construction, rapid industrialisation that's still struggling to keep up with demand, and very little if any planning (beyond some basic public works). This is a core idea that is open to development in multiple directions. I also try to experiment with new ideas, so Penny Dreadful 2 or 3 is fairly different from Disorientation, which is different from Rose Garden. For example, PD3 is built on a stretch between canals and a hilltop fortress, which is different from Disorientation's waterfalls and steep streets, or Rose Garden's massive, derelict noble palaces. The basic idea dictates the details. So there is some logic o it - even though the results are not plausible in conventional reality. Springheel's TDM missions are definitely more realistic in this respect.

  4. Welcome back, and hope we will see something from you again! Sadly, I have not been very active either; the last time I touched DR was in 2016 - I am planning to change that, but life always gets in the way. Whether you will make something or just play the new missions, it is great to see you again!
  5. Blade Runner Blues plays faintly in the background...
  6. Clearly, The Rats Triumphant was ahead of its time.
  7. I have no idea how the treads could ever work, so I am content to describe it as SORCERY!
  8. This has been a decent investigative mission. It is built and lit in a fairly plain way, and it is scaled too large, but finding and interpreting clues makes it flow well - it is well-paced and logical, neither too difficult nor too easy. A pleasant mission. I wonder, though:
  9. This was a very nice first release, and quite well realised when it comes to the balance of difficulty vs. clues. The secondary objectives are nice optional asides. Perhaps it was a bit light on AI (one or even two more guards would not have hurt), but exploring the judge's home was fun, and the mission had multiple individual touches which add to the experience. Visually, it is fine; the sewers are very plain (and look like early work), but the upper quarters are much better. I hope we will see more from you after this FM!
  10. I don't know. Every time I tried to make something new in DR (or even fix one of PD3's minor bugs), I got hit by terrible burnout. Also, PD4 was supposed to have features which have been covered in a better way by other authors since. So maybe, but not any time soon. Hopefully not as late as the ten-year gap between Disorientation and Rose Garden.
  11. I expected a small mission from this speedy collaboration, but it ended up both larger and more complex than I'd thought. There is a lot to do in a mission that grows beyond its boundaries (visiting areas which at first looks like distant scenery is a cool feature), and throws you a few unexpected curveballs. I did encounter the LOD popping a lot, and got hit with the hidden objective. I think this one is very badly communicated in the first version (no idea if it has been fixed since), since you expect one thing, and have to do something completely different. But apart from that, this was a very nice surprise. Got LEET+1 loot on my playthrough!
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