The Descent

If you feel like you're up to the challenge of building your own Ages in Blender or 3ds Max, this is the place for you!

The Descent

Postby Aloys » Wed Sep 08, 2021 5:39 pm

Doobes' update on his blog (here) about the Descent got me thinking. And I am trying to estimate the dimensions of the full Descent, just to see how impossibly big this whole thing would be in Uru.
Which got me diging into my archives..

A while ago (late 2008 according to the files date) I did a quick 'scale' study of the Descent. And I ended up with this:
Image

Unfortunately, as far as I can see, using Aitrus' map doesn't work because the scale is totally off. I used the size of the Shaft as my main reference point, using the dimensions of the imported meshes from Myst V. But that doesn't work, because then the main Cavern ends up wayyy too small. (like 20x too small). Also the volcano is way too big on the map compared to what we have in Uru (but we already knew that).

So I just did a quick update and tried to rescale that using the Cavern as my reference point. But I don't know the exact dimensions of that either. I thought it was mentionned in some canon source (BoA? one of the old Cyan DRC site?) but a quick Google search didn't bring anything.. The City age files from Uru give me a size of ~2400x3400 ft for Ae'gura. But then again; the Aitrus map is not precise enough to properly use that: Aegura's silhouette is too different from what is in Uru.

Anyhow I used that and estimated best as I could and I ended with these dimensions for the Cavern: ~29,000 x 24,000 ft. And for the whole Descent I get ~110,000 x 67,000 x 40,000 ft.
(In metric that's around 8.7 x 7.2 km for the Cavern, which sounds pretty big to me, and 33 x 20 x 12 km for the whole Descent. which is kind of insane).
Finally, a very rough estimation of the length of the journey along the 'main path' gives me around 160,000ft (48km) The whole journey down is supposed to take around 3 days right? I'm not sure that would be enough. ;)

(for those who want to take a look: here is the Blender file.)

TLDR; I estimate the whole Descent Age to be ~110,000 x 67,000 x 40,000 ft ; which is huge.
Can Plasma even *store* such large dimensions for an Age ? 110,000 x 67,000 ? What's our upper technical limit there ?
Does anyone have more accurate dimensions for the Cavern?
User avatar
Aloys
 
Posts: 1964
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2007 7:57 pm
Location: France (GMT +1)

Re: The Descent

Postby Emor D'ni Lap » Wed Sep 08, 2021 11:12 pm

Great referenced modeling study, Aloys! Thanks!

Everyone probably understands that Aitrus' map took artistic license in many ways.
There was a recent discussion on this matter in OU Discord that showed some of these same conflicts: https://discord.com/channels/2820452162 ... 7066618880
In that thread, I touched on the fact that any such model of subterranean reaches would be impossibly hot.
Point being, it's a game. We have to throw tons of real-world practical physics considerations right out the window. At the same time, it is nice when we can do our best to reconcile the canon pieces we've been given.
You ask whether 48km is practical in three days? That's just under 30 miles...when I was in decent hiking form, nine or ten miles a day, up and down a mountain was considered not too bad. So I'd say it would be pretty doable.
Of course we can't subject explorers to mouse-driving their avatars for that kind of time. So we might want to use something like the old movie trope - now seen in games as well - of a fade-out, a "four hours of hiking later..." title, and a fade-up (with a silent spawn-to-new-location, or even a silent link to a separate-but-the-same Age performed under cover of darkness...this could help solve the storage load issue?)
Emor D'ni Lap
 
Posts: 69
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:12 pm

Re: The Descent

Postby Sirius » Thu Sep 09, 2021 1:14 am

Cool model ! 8-) Gives a nice idea of the path.

I agree with Emor though. A lot of it is artistic license, dealing with game engine constraints, etc. There is also no way a cavern like D'ni can exist with these shapes and proportions (it would be narrower and taller - like a huge version of the Cleft, with tunnels branching in all directions). And we can all agree the scaling of locations in Uru/EoA is also not really realistic.

Realism aside, I would say the best thing to do is port and polish the existing EoA/DiRT stuff, make a few more locations when possible, then finish it with a big train ride to the side of the D'ni cavern (like the Selenictic mazerunner). There is no way the D'ni didn't have some sort of railway for most of the path, and we can just say the DRC fixed it :P

Aloys wrote:Can Plasma even *store* such large dimensions for an Age ? 110,000 x 67,000 ? What's our upper technical limit there ?

Plasma can store nearly as many objects as you want in PRPs (assuming you don't mind the loading time). However, floating point arithmetics start to fall apart at some point. The outside of Gahreesen is pretty far from the world origin (nearly 10 000 feet or 3 km high), and on my older computer I could see the bridges' vertices slightly shaking (this doesn't happen on more recent hardware though). I would say doing anything beyond 20 000 feet is asking for trouble.
But then, no one should ever bother to work on such a massive scale. Splitting the trip in multiple locations makes much more sense.
User avatar
Sirius
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2010 4:46 am
Location: France

Re: The Descent

Postby Tweek » Thu Sep 09, 2021 7:31 am

Cavern was 10 miles by 6 miles. Although the Cavern shape in Uru seems more square than rectangle.

The D'ni did have subways, the Ferry Terminal is on such place where a Subway access point was contained.

I believe Doobes is starting with EoA's version, then adding DIRT/Intangibles content stuff in to flesh it out.
Beneath - IC Blog.
Beneath: Ages of Tweek - FB Age Dev Page.
User avatar
Tweek
 
Posts: 692
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 6:37 am

Re: The Descent

Postby Doobes » Thu Sep 09, 2021 10:24 am

This is excellent work, Aloys! This will definitely help for reference once the Intangibles content runs out.

While I would love for the trip to take an actual three days, gameplay-wise, that's probably not going to work...not to mention it'd take forever to model.

One thing we could do is give people the option to speed the trip along or take the long route if they so choose, like the elevators in the Great Shaft vs just walking down the whole thing...although base-jumping from side to side down the GS since those struts seen in Myst V have been removed has its own bit of fun and challenge. ;)

(Speaking of, CalumTraveler has run the whole thing top to bottom and has reported that it took a little over an hour, stopping here or there to get screenshots, report on Discord, etc.)

What I'd like to do is make a very sizable path (within reason) with a few of the points of interest Aitrus mentions in his map. Whenever possible, it'd be nice to give explorers a shortcut if they don't want to walk the whole trip (whether it's vehicles, more elevators, what have you).

It looks like one of the bigger challenges will be the lava cavern due to a) it's size and b) the heat that will no doubt be involved and how we approach that. To be honest, I'm kinda looking forward to that as I have some Riven-inspired ideas for it. :P

This is still early days yet, so we have plenty of time to discuss and work things out, which I fully intend to do with you all. As I've said many times already, I want this to be a true community effort (plus I'll no doubt need the extra help). :)

EDIT: Reading more replies that I missed (that'll teach me to refresh the page after coming home from work!), I like the idea of a train/rail system to speed things along while hopefully still being able to visit quite a few points of interest. Storywise, it could be something newly discovered in the tunnels of which Aitrus may have either been unaware or it had been sealed during the Fall, possibly by A'Gaeris and/or Veovis to prevent easy escape.
KI #s: MOULa - 6302, Minkata - 35287, Gehn - 14291,
TOC - 82340, DI - 44387
Image
User avatar
Doobes
 
Posts: 211
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 6:08 pm
Location: Savannah, GA, USA

Re: The Descent

Postby Sirius » Thu Sep 09, 2021 12:13 pm

Interesting choice of removing the struts. I mean, I get that in the lore they weren't supposed to be there IIRC (neither do the elevators I guess), and the existing Uru version doesn't have them, but still. It's going to look strange.

Doobes wrote:Storywise, it could be something newly discovered in the tunnels of which Aitrus may have either been unaware or it had been sealed during the Fall, possibly by A'Gaeris and/or Veovis to prevent easy escape.


I doubt they would have focused on something so difficult as collapsing a tunnel on the far side of D'ni. Those tunnels were unused, and Linking Books are much more obvious and numerous escape routes (quicker and safer).
With that said, there are plenty of reasons for detours and blocked off sections. Even to us human, it's very common when digging underground to dig dead ends because of miscalculations, or because of running in stronger/weaker stone. In the case of D'ni we can pretend they often broke through existing caverns as well. That, and earthquakes might have destroyed parts of the tunnels which were never repaired. So the D'ni probably had one long railway that collapsed in several places.

I would say as long as one can think of a design for a non-city underground location, it would probably be fit for inclusion. (And worst case, this would make an awesome fan Age.)

Doobes wrote:It looks like one of the bigger challenges will be the lava cavern due to a) it's size and b) the heat that will no doubt be involved and how we approach that. To be honest, I'm kinda looking forward to that as I have some Riven-inspired ideas for it. :P

It's a videogame, so if we don't disregard realism in favor of tedious platforming centimeters away from boiling lava, I'll be angry :lol: More seriously, awesome location for some heat-related exploration.
User avatar
Sirius
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2010 4:46 am
Location: France

Re: The Descent

Postby Aloys » Fri Sep 10, 2021 1:46 pm

Emor D'ni Lap wrote:Aitrus' map took artistic license in many ways.

I know, but it's painfull when it's the only map we can work with.

Tweek wrote:Cavern was 10 miles by 6 miles

Ouch, that's around twice bigger than what I have. Anyone fancy working on an Age 41.6 miles long? :lol:

Sirius wrote:I would say doing anything beyond 20 000 feet is asking for trouble.

But then, no one should ever bother to work on such a massive scale. Splitting the trip in multiple locations makes much more sense.

I agree splitting the whole thing into separate areas that don't match 1:1 with the map is probably the only way. (that or cutting it into fully separate Ages)
Still, even dis-regarding the dimensions issue, dealing with dynamic loading of pages, vis regions etc will be a "fun" thing on such a huge Age.. Doing that on Ahra Pahts was fun, but this is much bigger.

Emor D'ni Lap wrote:You ask whether 48km is practical in three days? That's just under 30 (...) I'd say it would be pretty doable. Of course we can't subject explorers to mouse-driving their avatars for that kind of time.

I know I'm in the minority here, but I'd love to do that. More than an Age, it would be a whole game in itself.. 48 hours of gameplay.
And it wouldn't take forever to create.. Just 3 or 4 years of full time work; at most.
Back when Cyan first announced 'Mudpie', the Descent was the part I was most looking forward too, and now it can finally happen. :)

That project is super exciting!
User avatar
Aloys
 
Posts: 1964
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2007 7:57 pm
Location: France (GMT +1)

Re: The Descent

Postby Sirius » Sat Sep 11, 2021 3:57 am

Three days to get down to the Cavern, hmmm... Of which lore-wise something like one full day must be spent walking down the Tiwah due to the lack of elevators. Also, people IRL don't jog the full way like Uru avatars do.
Technically, due to puzzles being in the way, ~3 days is probably more or less how much time Ages Beyond Myst requires to solve on the first run for a guy playing it in his free time. We know Myst games can all be speedrun. Actual walking time isn't really important if gameplay time and pacing on the first exploration are good enough.
The DiRT demo already feels massive enough. Add two or three hours of quality exploration/puzzles, a few rides to skip over the longer and uninteresting stretches to keep realism, and make us arrive in D'ni at the end. I'll say that's a good enough adaptation of the lore.

Aloys wrote:I know I'm in the minority here, but I'd love to do that. More than an Age, it would be a whole game in itself.. 48 hours of gameplay.

It would be cool, if the content is dense enough to keep us interested for that length of time. That would be difficult, though.

Personally I'd be more interested in visiting the remaining parts of D'ni, like the city proper. Seeing how artsy the D'ni were, how they lived, their culture, the infrastructures, getting lost in huge maze-like districts, seeing the major buildings, the pier, the mines, all of it ! :D

Funny thing, by the way. Does anyone else feel like the hardest part of recreating D'ni would NOT be making the 3D models, but actually coming up with proper, interesting designs ? Whenever I create Ages, I often feel like I struggle more with coming up with good idea than actually making 3D models... And that's when I realize how important quality concept arts are.
For D'ni, I don't even know where you would start. Even with all the concept arts and existing stuff Cyan made, the actual D'ni artstyle is extremely hard to nail down I think.
User avatar
Sirius
 
Posts: 1413
Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2010 4:46 am
Location: France

Re: The Descent

Postby Aloys » Sat Sep 11, 2021 3:22 pm

Fun fact : at ~10x6 miles the Cavern has a surface larger than the whole island of Manhattan..
Image

Parts of this path are straight lines several miles long. Heck, most of the 'tiny' straight stretches are at least 1 mile long. As much as I enjoy walking I agree that walking a straight line of several miles with nothing happenning would make for a pretty boring journey..
(I have nice version of the Riven maglev I made years ago can we use it here? :D )

(also, I got a headache doing all those unit conversions.. 1 mile is 5280 ft? what ??)

[edit]
Sirius wrote:Does anyone else feel like the hardest part of recreating D'ni would NOT be making the 3D models, but actually coming up with proper, interesting designs ?

I agree. I love the architectural designs we have in the City and the Hood, but I can't really say they are totally cohesive.. You can see they were designed by different artists. (same for the vehicles)
User avatar
Aloys
 
Posts: 1964
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2007 7:57 pm
Location: France (GMT +1)


Return to Building

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests