The Base8 Modular Landscaping Standard

Part 2: Coordinating a Base8 display

To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t want to be the planner of a Base8 display, the standard is very open ended and would take an extreme level of coordination to pull off. But that’s assuming you don’t have access to something like NWMap.

NWMap

brick1 NWMap was a tool written by Jason Harris for the game Neverwinter Nights, a game for PC that shipped with its own toolset for creating, among other things, modular landscapes. NWMap was written by fans for fans that wanted to plan out their maps before the game was released, though once the game was released it became useless and has since been released into the public domain. I was one of the original artists for NWMap, and I have since modified it to work as a planning tool for Base8 landscapes.
Bear in mind that the program was never really finished, and many of the features I’ve made use of weren’t really fully implemented so I’ve had to come up with a few not-so-intuitive workarounds, but the thing should reduce the workload of planning a display exponentially. If any coders would like to take a crack at fixing some of these workarounds please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Download NWMap Here

Using NWMap

brick2
Farm tiles painted using the first (left) and fifth (right) columns in the palette.

When you start the program you will get an “access violation” error message. Ignore this and it should load up just fine.
You will find yourself presented with a blank canvas of green baseplates, broken up in a grid of 8x8 stud divisions (8cres). The grid is 32x32 8cres, which is the same as 8 32x32 stud baseplates by 8 32x32s, roughly 6’8” by 6’8” (a 32x32 baseplate is 10”x10”).
To the right is your palette. The first tab on the palette is the base layer. To lay down different bases click the tiles in the palette and paint down on the canvas. If you use the tiles in the first column NWMap automatically changes the 8 squares around where you click to be “transition zones” between base layers. The code for this is very iffy and usually causes more damage than help, but it’s good for painting oceans and rivers. Use the fifth column to paint 8cres normally with hard edges.

brick3You can also select the other tiles if you need to clean up edges. Rotate the tile you currently have selected using the arrows in the top right corner of the canvas.
brick4The next tab in the palette (“Layer 1”) contains the other edge modules used in Base8 and a few useful extras. brick5The important thing about this tab is the buttons on the left. The first three buttons will paint roads, walls, or streams in a sort of “snakelike” mode, hold down the mouse button and the tiles will automatically curve to follow your brush and join correctly at junctions. The next five buttons are “group modes.” You can hold down the mouse and paint rectangles which will fill in with the appropriate tiles correctly oriented. Unfortunately no code is set up for doing L shapes so you will have to draw two rectangles and connect the`m manually with the individual tiles.

brick6
In order to make an L shape you will have to draw in the corners yourself.

The next two tabs are for overlaying more useful information onto your display.
The white arrows are used to override the default heights of 3 and 7 bricks that cliffs and hills have marked on them, or to mark out height variations in other areas. They start at 1 and go left to right to 30. Just choose your height and click on an existing hill or cliff, using the arrows to rotate accordingly.

brick7
Use the arrows on the Layer 2 tab to change height denotations

The second thing to note is the flags and colored borders. These are meant to be used to mark out each contributor’s plot in the display, or any other borders you need to denote. The idea came from the MOC flags used at Brickfest in 2004-05, and even though there are only 5 flag colors they can be used the same way. The brick8flags on layer 2 are the lower flags and the flags on layer 3 are the upper. NWMap is supposed to support different buttons on each layer (as well as support for 16 buttons instead of 8) but this is a feature that was never really finished so you need workarounds to make it work. Go to Layer 1 (second tab) and select one of the lower five group mode buttons (note they have flags on them). Then, without clicking anywhere else, change to Layer 2 (third tab). Now draw a rectangle on the canvas and it will use the tiles in Layer 2 to create an outline filled with flags. To take it a step further go back to Layer 1 and select a different color, then switch to Layer 3 and draw a rectangle directly over the previous one. It will add that color flag to the brick9existing ones and make the border brick10striped in the two colors you’ve chosen. The different combinations allow you to denote 30 different contributors on one canvas.
Lastly you will find tiles you can use for battle lines, in the event you’re going to have a battle in your display. Contributors can set up figures in fighting stances according to the lines and have a battle already in progress between their modules when they arrive.

Extras

There are a few things included in the NWMap palettes, such as farms, castles, and buildings, that are not exactly necessary for the standard since these should usually be left in the hands of the contributor. They are included merely to give the coordinator a slightly better idea of how the overall layout of the display will come together. Another use is if your contributors have pre-existing modules and MOCs they would like to use in the display they can draw them in NWMap themselves and then send you the .nwm file or screenshots so you can see the footprint of their modules and plan around them accordingly.

<< Previous: Base8 Modules

|

Next: Overview of BPB >>