Monday, June 29, 2009

CR Tech Base | Building the Foundations

The first major project Darren and I are documenting is the construction of a large futuristic factory for a D20 Modern/Future game. Built into a fictional dormant volcano located off the coast of Alaska, the final project will have 4 main levels. On the surface of the volcano sits the ground level, an exhaust port that belches poisonous, toxic smoke. It is heavily guarded by ground troops and automated defense system. This section of the landscape is complete, but needs to be dressed up with snow, rust, piping, ladders, etc. We will show this later in the tutorial. Right now, Darren and I are concentrating on the main floor, which houses admin rooms, vent pipes, control systems, landing pad and staging area for troops and equipment.

Our initial step is planning -- plan, plan and then plan some more. I had actually been working on this layout for quite sometime and never been happy with it. The beginning of the base started with a child's play kitchen I found at a thrift store for $3. It was the center piece I was going to use as the main factory with levels extending and radiating out made of foam from computer hardware [which are good for creating rooms and walls]. I felt this design left weird negative spaces between the rooms that took away from the overall believability. I just happened to come across a second play kitchen at a different thrift store. This forced me to think in some new directions. Another inspiring moment was watching the new Star Trek film, in which JJ Abrams redesigned the Enterprise to look and function like a real ship, a massive engine room with many warp cores, a huge communications bay filled with people. This place was alive with hundreds of people, not just a few, on a 500 meter ship.

I took sometime to stop and look over floor plans for factories and refineries and also showed my ideas to Darren. And in one evening we went from a misshapen blob of plastic and foam to a real 8ft by 4ft cavern filled with pipes, rooms, catwalks and the main attribute, purpose. Helluva a lot better..!

Before we begin working [as seen in the pictures] or matter of fact purchasing materials, we made a drawing of the cavern and factory floor. Nothing to grand, just a sketch in the notebook, which you can see laying close by in the photos. A simple drawing to work out the kinks can save you a ton of time and heart ache. Once we had a rough idea of what we wanted, it was time to inventory what was needed and what we had on hand. For this project, tons of white PVC piping is needed [approx $50 of 3/4 in pipes, elbows, T's and other random bits from the PVC isle], 3/8 Masonite board [$12 for an 8ft x 4ft piece, cut in half], lots of free foam from dumpster diving. People that purchase computer equipment make this easy to find.

The next steps to follow soon.

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