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Scholar
Original Poster
#1 Old 28th Jan 2014 at 6:14 AM
Default Heaven's Peak
So yeah, after I finally got the hang of using CAW and raged a bit at how worthless the SuperCAW pond tool is, I've gotten some way through creating an island world (because none of the distant terrain fits a medium sized world very well). The general idea here is a craggy, mountainous location, split into plateaus. I feel like I'm far enough along that I can show some of what I've got so far and get some remarks/advice on a few things that are annoying me.

So, without any further ado:

Overhead view (this map is Medium-sized, fog is turned off)

- The island in the lower right was originally going to be the location of a hidden tomb, with the island itself being hidden as well. Now, I'm not so sure if that's what I want. That corner of the map in general seems under-utilized and I don't really know what to do with it.
- My intention is for there to be enough room at the edges of the map for any houseboat to sail right around the island if they want to. Do you need a lot of horizontal space for houseboats to fit between things or is it more or less whatever size the boat is?

Bay view

- One of the issues I have here is trying to position the breakers on the beach. They seem designed for very long, flat beaches, so I may end up getting rid of them completely.

View from Heaven's Beacon (the mountain)


View from above Heaven's Breadth (the 'rich' area of town)

- This area is only reachable by bridge, but because of its height, most bridges look strange where the support strut is because it just hangs in the air. Is there any bridge that wouldn't look out of place spanning a chasm? At the moment, the land is pulled up to meet the strut, but I don't really like it.

View from The Hollows (swamp, also low-class residential and general 'creepy' part of town)

- I thought I was so clever when I came up with this name back when I was I was typing up ideas for this world in a notepad document. Then I found out like half of everyone uses 'hollow' for some thing or another if they make worlds. Then EA came out with Midnight Hollow, so yeah. But I've gotten used to the name, so that's probably going to stay.
- There are no roads in the swamp; with that in mind, is it better to have paths or just let sims route overland?

And here are some of the lots I've done - most of these aren't really finished, but their basic look is there:

Slatestone Park
  • The generic 60x60 big park found in most worlds. This one uses a Seasonal Marker, though it's not flagged as a Festival lot. The usable objects on the lot just change depending on the season (for example, the picnic spot by the pond disappears in winter)

The Reliquary

- This lot is one of several I recreated by eye from the console TS3 game. Before I started, I had no clue about how get different roof heights, so I actually learned that trick in the process of getting the roofs on for this one. Anyway, it's a typical haunted mansion type thing, though there's a fair bit of work left to do on it, especially inside.

Captain Hogan's

- Hogan's Deep Fried Diner on a houseboat. Don't know if I will keep the flags.
- I aim to have this undocked and just hanging around in the bay, rather than moored at a port.

Zeta Omega

- This is a residential property for the local alien family. The boundary fence is almost certainly going to change to something else.

Maple University

- Maple is fairly undeveloped right now because I don't know if I will keep it. I like the idea, just not the potential problems it might cause when it comes to keeping sims employed where I set them.

Although roads and paths do go nearly everywhere important, the world is pretty difficult to traverse in a timely manner, so I've set up a network of LLAMA stations in much the same way as Bridgeport's subways. You can see one of these stations at the bottom of the Maple University picture.

There's still a huge amount of work left to do, but hopefully I will be able to get through it successfully.
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retired moderator
#2 Old 28th Jan 2014 at 1:08 PM
No advice on the world-sculpting side, other than to say it's very pretty--but if the "Hollows" is too mainstream for ya now, you could call your swamp "The Basin" or "The Cradle."

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Field Researcher
#3 Old 28th Jan 2014 at 7:45 PM
I like the overall look of the mountains, and your use of the terrain to separate the different areas of the world. Some of those drops are rather sheer though, and consequently a bit unrealistic.

About the island in the corner: I think a hidden tomb is a great idea! If you think there's a lot of empty room to spare you could throw in a couple diving lots. I'm not sure how much space houseboats need to navigate properly but I would avoid making things too crowded anyway. Personally, I like being able to take my Sims out on a boat and "get away" from land
Scholar
Original Poster
#4 Old 29th Jan 2014 at 4:12 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by spladoum
No advice on the world-sculpting side, other than to say it's very pretty--but if the "Hollows" is too mainstream for ya now, you could call your swamp "The Basin" or "The Cradle."
I like those terms, I don't know that I will change the name of the area, but I might wind those into some of the lot addresses there. Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by FakeHouses|RealAwesome
I like the overall look of the mountains, and your use of the terrain to separate the different areas of the world. Some of those drops are rather sheer though, and consequently a bit unrealistic.

About the island in the corner: I think a hidden tomb is a great idea! If you think there's a lot of empty room to spare you could throw in a couple diving lots. I'm not sure how much space houseboats need to navigate properly but I would avoid making things too crowded anyway. Personally, I like being able to take my Sims out on a boat and "get away" from land
Yeah, the sheer parts have to be worked on, which I've been putting off because of how roads always seem to get kinks and lots get seams in them whenever you do terrain sculpting nearby; it drives me nuts. The rich area is bad for sheer drops because I wanted to carve a gorge through there, but I had to keep pulling the terrain up flat for one thing or another and the whole thing eventually wound up super-straight. But yeah, I will have to address that sometime.

I thought about diving lots too, I currently have one sited in the swamp, but I know you need more for different skill levels. The other idea was some kind of fishing 'camp' on a little island, kind of like those little camps from the WA worlds, just out in the sea instead. Somewhere where a sim can sail to (houseboat or not) and rough it for awhile, away from others. That's kind of why the terrain is steeper on that side, to try and block out most of the town so it feels more like they are out in the wilderness.
Top Secret Researcher
#5 Old 29th Jan 2014 at 7:46 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by FakeHouses|RealAwesome
... Some of those drops are rather sheer though, and consequently a bit unrealistic.

Can terrain paint be applied to such a cliff, or will it merely stretch out to the point of being ineffective? The reason I ask is that if you Google for images under "Pali", you will see lots of islands with unrealistic sheer cliffs that really exist, but they are usually covered in tropical greenery.
Scholar
Original Poster
#6 Old 29th Jan 2014 at 8:30 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noubie
Can terrain paint be applied to such a cliff, or will it merely stretch out to the point of being ineffective? The reason I ask is that if you Google for images under "Pali", you will see lots of islands with unrealistic sheer cliffs that really exist, but they are usually covered in tropical greenery.
It stretches unfortunately. Using rock paints that are flatter and not very busy almost lets you get away with it, as does breaking up the drop with little ledges for trees or bushes so it doesn't seem as flat when the camera is looking at it straight on. I really shouldn't have let them be so sheer, but I wanted a really steep drop down to water in certain places, so I went looking for ways to mitigate the sheerness rather than sculpting it smooth, and in the process, built more of the world around it. So now I'm in the position where if I smoothen them, roads are probably going to get full of notches and kinks and the lots I haven't removed will probably get seams in them because CAW hates us and messes up stuff clear across the map from where you're even working. :P
dodgy builder
#7 Old 29th Jan 2014 at 8:51 AM
If your planning on uploading it here I'm not sure that's going to be accepted. It would be very annoying being finished with it and not being approved.
Scholar
Original Poster
#8 Old 29th Jan 2014 at 10:09 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Volvenom
If your planning on uploading it here I'm not sure that's going to be accepted. It would be very annoying being finished with it and not being approved.
Oh, in this state, I wouldn't dream of submitting it. That's why I'm posting here - some input will help me sand off the rough edges on this world. There's still a lot of work left - not just on the world, but the lots and sims too.
dodgy builder
#9 Old 29th Jan 2014 at 1:48 PM
I was just continuing on the steep cliff discussion
Scholar
Original Poster
#10 Old 4th Feb 2014 at 9:27 AM
Alright, so I've since roughened up those steep cliffs a bit, like this one that you can see in the bottom right corner of the Heaven's Breadth picture ...

... with the others in the world getting a similar kind of treatment. Some are still quite sheer (the one in the Hollows picture in particular), but they have crags and outcroppings scattered across them now, instead of being flat.

So I found that while debating what to do with that empty space in the corner, you can drop houseboat hulls directly into the water in CAW, then assign a houseboat lot to them with EIG. Does anyone know if getting houseboats into the world this way causes issues?
Scholar
Original Poster
#11 Old 8th Feb 2014 at 9:37 AM
Some more updates:

I completely redid the bridge connecting the rich area Heaven's Breadth to the rest of town. To make the arch parts less conspicuous, I also made supports underneath out of retaining wall objects. Whether they'll be route-able first try remains to be seen, but I'm optimisitic. I also extended the area onto another plateau - the original plateau supported two 60x60 lots and a 64x64, and the new section reachable by bridge has another three lots that are smaller, in case someone wants to build a super-bachelor pad or something else expensive on smaller lots:


I also started putting objects down and trying to get a feel for my island in the corner. I decided to call the area 'Hannakand' to parody the ancient city Zanarkand from Final Fantasy X:

Hannakand


Lastly, I sunk a lot of time into hammering out all the little road kinks and uneven ground around lots and I believe the vast majority is in an acceptable state now. So I will likely finish off sculpting shortly and start working on lots, once I'm certain I won't need to touch the sculpting tools again.
Scholar
Original Poster
#12 Old 13th Feb 2014 at 7:39 PM
Okay, so the sculpting has thrown me a curveball, in that all the cliff edges that I spent time smoothening off have been ... I guess the closest word is 'simplified', because they've somehow gone straight and gained some fairly big notches in the flat ground that runs up to the edge. Once I correct all these, some more pictures will be going up.
Lab Assistant
#13 Old 15th Feb 2014 at 8:00 PM
I like a lot of what I see you doing in this world, but I also see that you are pulling from widely disparate inspirations. This makes it seem a little bit confusing. I suggest pondering the story of the island and deciding what really belongs here. I think it is easy in any creative art to want to put all your ideas in one place, but that doesn't usually work well. My advice to you is to first and foremost plan this out more and edit your ideas.

Next, I love the sheer cliffs. I live on top of a bluff and this winter I've had a great chance to see how freakishly sheer the bluff is. . In the summer, it's hidden by foliage, and it's really remarkable how stark the contrast is. To make the cliffs work in a way that they will be approved though, you'll have to get really creative with your painting, and I also recommend making some areas more gradually sloped, and adding more outcroppings on the sheer parts for plants to cling to. I don't think this needs to be tropical foliage (as an earlier comment suggested) unless that's what you want. I spent a huge part of my childhood in Southeast Alaska, and the shape of this island reminds me of some paces I've seen there (and of course, that area is all temperate rain forest). So, I have to say that the lack of realism in the sheer cliffs is due not to their sheerness, but to their barrenness and lack of texture.

Here is a picture of part of Ketchikan, Alaska . you'll note that the sheer cliff behind the buildings is obscured by trees and there is a retaining wall to prevent rock/mud slides in one area. I can't find a picture of the place I really want to show you, but this is an example. You could do a google image search of the Kenai Fjords, as there are some impressive places there that might help you think about making your cliffs look more realistic.

To summarize, I think you should focus on two major things. First: decide on the island's story and keep everything in fitting with the story. Second: fine-tune your sculpting, paint the cliffs, and and add foliage.

As an extra bit of information, here is why so many place names include the word "hollow". From the Wikipedia entry on "valley ": A hollow (holler) is a small valley or dry stream bed. This term is commonly used in New England, Appalachia, Ozarks, Arkansas and Missouri to describe such geographic features. In rural areas, it may be pronounced as "Holler". Hollows may be formed by river valleys such as Mansfield Hollow or they may be relatively dry clefts with a notch-like characteristic in that they have a height of land and consequent water divide in their bases.
Scholar
Original Poster
#14 Old 16th Feb 2014 at 2:48 AM Last edited by Fentonparkninja : 20th Feb 2014 at 10:59 AM.
Thanks for the comments lulume! The painting is something I'm working on improving - skimming through some images of the Kenai Fjords you mentioned makes me think of using the snow texture a little more, perhaps another rock texture as well.

That picture of Ketchikan is useful too - one thing I see is that the cliffs there have bushes and scrub along some edges, so that's something I can definitely try emulating. I do plan to put some plants on some parts of the cliffs eventually, just trying to decide what ones would work best. Firs? Buckthorns?

As far as influences go, this is not really a themed world as far as the community and architecture is concerned. I tend not to think about what would make sense, mostly because I feel it's a matter of taste, where some people will see it and go 'wut?', while others will shrug and accept it as one of those strange culture and lifestyle collusions that tends to happen in Sim towns. But I will try to keep your comments in mind.
Scholar
Original Poster
#15 Old 19th Feb 2014 at 9:40 AM
Update time!

After a great deal of experimentation, I finally hit upon a solution for giving those sheer cliffs some features - burying rocks in them to create outcroppings and planting shrubs like boxwoods and buckthorns along the edges:

It takes quite a bit of tilting to position them so their footprint doesn't cut into the road below, but it works. However, I don't plan to embed rocks in EVERY cliff - the ones facing the sea will most likely stay bare, with the exception of a few bushes here and there. But most of the tall cliffs within the town will get some if the sculpted outcroppings don't seem enough after trees and shrubs go down.

Next is an area I was initially going to make non-routable, but changed my mind

Felglen Hinterlands

It occurred to me that I needed more room for spawners, but unlike certain EA worlds, I don't want to drop a pile of seeds on a grassy knoll 15 miles away from the nearest tree. So I decided to carve a pass into this area and site the majority of my seed (almost wrote speed, haha) spawners here. Unfortunately, touching the sculpt tools have predictably wrecked the lots I've put down, so they'll all have to be replaced again. More kinks have also been generated near my roads and lots, pulling the terrain crooked underneath them. The battle to get flat surfaces seems neverending ...

The Hollows

The Hollows are nearly done apart from lots, but I'm debating on whether to keep the Ambitions fog objects around. I like their look but framerates take quite a hit when the camera is close to them. I don't think they were intended to be viewed inside the playable area.
Scholar
Original Poster
#16 Old 25th Feb 2014 at 10:26 AM
Not much in the way of pictures for this update, but that's because I've been working chiefly on the routing since the last post. That's all but done now though, with one last sweep around the world with routing data on to see if there are any holes. One good side-effect is that the world saves much faster now, presumably because once all the cliffs were painted, there was a lot less routing data than before.

I have been working on Hannakand on and off though to break up the boredom of route painting:

The ziggurat has a vestibule underneath that can be entered immediately, but the proper tomb areas are locked behind keystones, which can be found in the other (hidden) tombs in the world.
dodgy builder
#17 Old 25th Feb 2014 at 11:43 AM
It looks better the cliffs, the texture isn't as stretched. Your stones on the cliffside on the other hand, I had a stone hanging without support in my waterfall in Stranda and a mod wasn't too happy about that. Hanging them in mid air looks a bit awkward, my stone was covered in bushes, but they vanished on a distance of cause.
Scholar
Original Poster
#18 Old 26th Feb 2014 at 7:24 AM
Thanks, I've been using tree shrubs on some of the other cliffs to see what it looks like and they don't look too bad, plus they don't vanish at a distance, they just go to a low-def version like trees. I might change over to those. As for the rocks, I think I will push my luck with them and see what happens, unless I come up with a better idea before I'm finished.
Scholar
Original Poster
#19 Old 2nd Mar 2014 at 4:17 AM
Aaand it's time for another update.

One of the things I intended to do starting out was craft the plateaus in such a way that they'd get a nice view of the sunset, as the main part of town faces that direction:


The lots situated higher, or near cliffs, often get the best views, though almost anywhere looks nice on a clear day, even with CAW's restrictive draw distance:


I'm cautiously optimistic that my sculpting is over, so I'm restarting my work on the lots. This is the latest one:
Heaven's Peak Seastead


This lot is a base camp, intending to cover those who use NRaas Traveller to visit worlds on vacation, instead of starting new games in them.

Lastly, I thought I'd share what passes for my design document - in other words, the contents of a notepad file that I type down all my ideas and other things that might be useful to know later. It's primarily about the households I want to use, but there's also some details on the initial demographics of the town:
Code:
Household count: 22
Current vacant lots: 15R, 7C
Resident count: 63
- Elders: 6 (4M, 2F)
- Adults: 17 (13M, 4F)
- Young Adults: 23 (8M, 15F)
- Teens: 13 (6M, 7F)
- Children: 5 (3M, 2F)
- Animals: 4 (2D, 2C)

Resident List:
D Ruse ('legacy' family, talented inventors, similar to Goth in SV)
* Ruse Manor (classic mansion)
 (Cornelius Ruse, E)
 (JT Ruse, A)
 (EVE 2.0, YA, Simbot) Special: Fast Learner
 (BERNADETTE 1.5, T, Simbot)
 (DYLAN 1.0, T, Simbot)

S Stockton
* Stockholme (modern style house)
 (Suzie Stockton, YA) Special: Fast Learner
 (Styx Stockton, YA)

S Jackson
* 502 (typical family house)
 (Royce Jackson, A)
 (Zana Jackson, A)
 (Stephanie Jackson, T)
 (Race Jackson, T)
 (Winter Jackson, T)

S Stasse Sisters
* High Tide (beachfront bungalow)
 (Allie Stasse, YA)
 (Kylie Stasse, YA)

S ORK Boyz
* The Can (grubby houseboat)
 (Grayson London, YA)
 (Herbert Shanks, YA)
 (Reese Goldfield, YA)
 (Dom Lector, YA)

S Rocket & Blaze (celebrity couple from Bridgeport)
* Rocket Race (celebrity mansion) - Heaven's Breadth
 (Alannah Blaze, YA) Special: Pyromaniac
 (Rubi Rocket, YA)

S Carter
* Wizeman (standard house)
 (DC Carter, A)
 (Caroline Carter, A)
 (Jennifer Carter, T)

D Martelli
* The Whack Job (villa style estate)
 (Alfie Martelli, E)
 (Sarah Martelli, E)
 (Vinnie Martelli, A)
 (Tony Martelli, A)
 (Annabelle Martelli, T)
 (Sicily, AC)

D Night Clan
* The Reliquary (gothic mansion)
 (Scarlet Thane, YA, Vampire)
 (Juno Darkmoon, A, Vampire) Special: Chinese hidden trait
 (Daryn Oculus, YA, Vampire)
 (Minos Darkmoon, E, Vampire)

S Ex-Service (ex service sims)
* SS Pudd (houseboat) or Lofton's Loft (modern-style home), check free lots
 (Jillian Lofton, YA)
 (Eric Lowe, A)
 (Janet Diggs, A)
 (Bobbi Shah, YA)

D Lakshami
* Hermit's Grove (mostly outside lot)
 (Dahlia Lakshami, YA, Genie)

S Odd Couple
* One-Two House (standard house)
 (Mason Hebet, YA)
 (Charlotte Chapel, YA)

S Bleus Brothers
* Billy's Blues Bar (old bar redone as home)
 (Pierre Bleus, A) Special: French hidden trait
 (Jaccques Bleus, A) Special: French hidden trait
 (Francois Bleus, T) Special: French hidden trait

D Kingston (Bridgeport immigrants)
* Soul Lane (standard house)
 (Marcus Kingston, YA)
 (H-Tone Kingston, A)
 (Chee-Z Kingston, T)

S Landgraab
* Landgraab Starter (upper-class residential)
 (Andria Landgraab, A)
 (Richard Landgraab, A)
 (Wil Landgraab, T)
 (Gwen Landgraab, C)

S Candlewick
* Candlewick Orphanage (old house)
 (Meryl Candlewick, E)
 (Jethro Winters, T) Special: Inappropriate but in a Good Way
 (Poison, T)
 (Casey Beck, C)
 (Archie Hamm, C)
 (Flash, AD)

S Rhiff
* Ivory Pinnacle (LN high rise)
 (Elias Rhiff, A)
 (Lori Roberts, A)
 (Zachariah Roberts, T)

D Visitors
* Zeta Omega (alien spaceship)
 (Kaleena DarVas, YA, Alien)
 (Plutonis DarVas, YA, Alien)
 (Ferrous DarVas, C, Alien)

S Pumpernickle
* Pumpernickle Hill (old house on a hill, prominent garden)
 (Old Joe Pumpernickle, E, Werewolf)
 (Galana Nettleberry, YA, Plantsim)
 (Melody May, T, Fairy)

S Snake & Dove
* Snapdragon (eastern style home)
 (Fang Li, YA) Special: Chinese hidden trait
 (Jin-ru the Dove, YA) Special: Chinese hidden trait

S London & Preyd
* The Feel (normal house)
 (Ben London, A)
 (Jace Preyd, A)
 (Bradshaw, AD)

D Angelis
* Graybriar Chapel (old church) - Windward Bluff
 (Grace Angelis, YA, Witch)
Field Researcher
#20 Old 2nd Mar 2014 at 6:19 PM
I really like the cliffs in your world, the combination of rocks, trees and shrubs works very well aesthetically. And the views are amazing from the top
Very interesting project I'll be keeping an eye on it!

Find all my creations here:
My blog: Nilxis Designs // My Tumblr page: http://nilxis.tumblr.com
Scholar
Original Poster
#21 Old 9th Mar 2014 at 1:49 PM
Thanks Nilxis!

And now for today's update:

Slowly getting rocks and plants organized on these cliffs. However, lots are one of those things that seem to absorb huge amounts of time for me, if only for the reason that the game claims stuff 'can't be placed on a slope' when the ground is flatter than a pancake. Seriously, you could drop a marble on this shit and it wouldn't roll anywhere.

In spite of that, here's the next two lots I've done:

Old Man Evergreen's Market



Pegasus Community School



I also zoned a small lot out in the Hinterlands to hold the Weather Stone, once I find something to enable it in build/buy.
Top Secret Researcher
#22 Old 10th Mar 2014 at 7:19 AM
Those lots are really beautiful. When shopping at Evergreen's, I think until I got used to it, I would be holding an arm over my head in case of rocks. The big conifers near the cliff look excellent.
Scholar
Original Poster
#23 Old 10th Mar 2014 at 12:36 PM
Thanks Noubie. <3

Heaven's Peak, my CAW WIP
Scholar
Original Poster
#24 Old 15th Mar 2014 at 1:11 PM
Steadily chipping away at the not-insignificant amount of lots that need to be made. I swear, by the time all this is done with, those build sparkles are going to be burned into my retinas. Anyway ...

Heaven's Peak Seaport

This is where everything too big to fit in a LLAMA transporter would arrive on the island. I might leave some kind of fake cargo barge moored there, haven't decided.

Aquagym

In the interest of leaving some empty land-based community lots around, I've packed the gym onto a houseboat.

Snapdragon

Heaven's Peak, my CAW WIP
Top Secret Researcher
#25 Old 17th Mar 2014 at 1:54 AM
Everything looks very nice! I especially love the seaport! Reminds me of the old styles still standing in Halifax!
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