Well, lets get to it!
I might be beating a dead horse at this point, but for the sake of completeness I'm still working on the interior theatre. Convex and concave corners are in the works for the second set, as are black tiles for the ceiling cutoff. I've also done some back tiles. It's a slowly growing set, but it is now aaaaaaaalmost usable.
So there's that. Onto modeling news. A long time ago, when I was just learning how to work in 3D, I made a tall scaffold with a spotlight on it. This model made it into game, and as the civilian models took shape around it it began to look more and more out of place. It was substantially too big, and despite being orange it stood out like a sore thumb even in the orange structure set. So a few weeks ago I modeled a more useful one. For a start the spotlights face downwards, which makes them a lot more versatile as illumination for things. At some point they might even get alpha lights so that they actually do illuminate things. Secondly, they're in a much more neutral colour, so they can be used in a wider range of lighting conditions. Third, they're proportionally more pleasing, for me at least, and have less of a RA2-esque chunkiness to them.
In other civilian news, the set of grey slab structures I produced a ways back have made it into the game. Here they are in a scene, courtesy of Morpher:
Now this isn't a perfect usage of them I'm sure, and once they start being used in maps I expect they'll begin to help shape the feel of some areas. For now, I'm pretty happy with them. They go pretty well with our new animated billboard set, but I'm saving showing that off for a little while.
Morpher also had this to show, a scene of GDI scientists securing a large purple tiberium spire:
In Tiberian Odyssey's lore, purple "Mortifera" tiberium is extremely dangerous and highly unstable. these spires can shatter violently and spread tiberium across a wide area. It is also causes the fastest mutations in organisms. In large quantities, it reduces organic matter to a sea of only nominally sentient tumors. In small quantities it can cause more stable mutations, creating monsters which live briefly before succumbing to the injuries endured from the process. As of yet, GDI has only found a few successful methods of containment and has yet to deploy any non lethal cleanup procedures.
In other mutation news, a long time ago I made a bunch of yellow tiberium plant life. Yellow tiberium is less mutagenic than green tiberium. This means that it produces successful mutations more slowly, but they are a lot more stable. Below yellow tiberium is red, which we'll get to in a minute. The point is, I've started work on another map. This one is going to have a larger naval component than previous ones, since this big slice of TO has been neglected for a while. Even in alpha, where the map list was entirely different, naval maps were few and far between.
The map is called "Great Southern Land", because Icehouse. It places the players across the top edge of the map, with a large and resource rich landmass to the south. It's possible to fight the entire game in the top third, but I want to make it possible to play this map rather kinetically, moving from place to place around the whole region with relative ease. The starting areas of the map are not particularly resource rich, with only yellow tiberium available, which brings us to the aforementioned yellow plant life. Straight from the map editor:
It's a kind of rainforest plant type thing, based on some unused TS concept art. Anyone familiar with TS concept art will probably recognise them. I intend to give these areas on the finished map a sort of rainforest-y feel to them, and this is a good start.
Here they are, with the lighting scaffolds I mentioned earlier (courtesy of Morpher):
So that's a quick glimpse into the flora surrounding yellow tiberium.
Morpher is also working on a more naval map, and has come up against an issue. APCs are not available early in the game. This means that capturable assets on outlying islands are impossible to capture early on, something which could certainly be worthwhile on some maps. I had been tinkering with this issue previously, on a map which had large reserves of tiberium on inaccessible islands. Both of these issues can be solved by the inclusion of further capturable assets, an approach which keeps the sidebar tidy on maps which do not require them and gives us an opportunity to explore the world outside of the GDI vs. Nod conflict even more.
The APC issue provoked me to create a transport hovercraft. It's a civilian unit which uses the body of one of GDI civilian protection drones. Instead of riot suppression gear, the drone is attached to a hovercraft's frame and air cushion. Available from a capturable port structure, it allows both GDI and Nod to mobilise amphibiously a lot earlier in the game.
To solve the issue of inaccessible tiberium I created assets for a mobile Cabal refinery. This would allow a player to build the unit elsewhere, and then move it into position. To keep pathing simple, it can hover. It's not totally finished and ingame yet, but it looks kinda like this:
But this raises an issue. The Cabal Core is 4x4 cells, which humongous and hard to cram onto every map.
Especially for the benefit of a single unit. So I created a new capturable Cabal structure. The Cabal Spire is a 2x2 structure, which makes it a lot easier to find room for. It also allows us to have maps which don't have to go the full nine yards of Cabal tech, outlying regions only partially touched by Cabal's presence.
Last week someone asked a question about one of Morpher's maps, called "Hills of Silence". To my knowledge it is not in fact a reference to Silent Hill, but who knows. It used a lot of red and orange tiberium, and one of the concerns with remaking the map for the current build was the lack of assets for this kind of map. I have created a tiberium ecology set to help fill in this blank. Unfortunately, the orange spectrum is highly limited in TS, as is the red. These red plants are the rendered version, and the ingame asset has slightly pinker bulbs than what is shown here:
The idea behind these ones is that red tiberium's mutation is too weak to produce many viable organisms. Red tiberium is most common in desolate areas with very few nutrients, so most of the mutated plants which grow nearby whither and die. Over a long period, the plants which do survive begin to resemble tall and precarious towers of cactuses. But most of the material is long dead, and these mutated plants are made mostly of dirt and the sun-baked husks of their unsuccessful predecessors. These plants mark the real outlands, abandoned my humans and tiberium alike.
Anyway, that's what we did this week!