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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Canyon City Teaser

In the past few days I have been writing a grammar for a massive structure. It is some sort of water collector for desert areas. It is so big that there are buildings on top of it and acts as the center of a small, parasitic city.

I did a couple of concept sketches for it. This was painted with my fingertips on an iPad (using the Paper app). Don't expect too much detail here:

The grammars for this structure are not difficult, but there are a lot of special cases. Since it is taking so long, I thought it would be nice to post some partial progress.

Here is a preview of what I have so far. The screenshots are taken straight from Voxel Studio.

This is a teaser so I won't be showing much. You cannot fully appreciate the scale here, but this thing is so large it will have an entire forest under the main dome. The towers, which are for cooling, are hundreds of meters high.

I am building this so I can finally show all elements of the procedural world coming together.


  1. OO. This is so ridicoulous amazing.

  2. does it collect water? Condensation?

    1. Right, got the idea from this desert beetle:

      To amplify this effect the structure is like a giant funnel. The cooling towers help with the condensation. This kind of tower exists in real life:

  3. Bad-A, can't wait to see the next batch of images.

    It occurs to me that if you have a city built on top, you would probably end up with a very literal upper-class and lower-class neighborhoods. My logic goes that being higher up on the arch would provide:
    1) flatter roads,
    2) better views,
    3) better defended position,
    4) and to go to work you wouldn't have to walk uphill in the mornings.
    All of these would lead to the upper class wanting to live higher up, the middle class getting stuck below them, and the lower class winding up clinging to the walls of the arch, in increasingly shaky buildings.

    In my head it makes for quite a sight.

    1. I had it the opposite way.

      The top is dusty, hot and exposed to the sun. The inside is cool, moist and in the shadows. Also don't forget the trees.

      The upper class will live under the dome, the lower class will be outside in some kind of slum.

    2. Well, how about this: The upper class would live under the dome, the middle class would live on top of the dome, (If their houses are constructed properly, they shouldn't have too much trouble with the sun and the dust) and then the lower class would be on the sides. Also, how does the dome keep the trees supplied with light?

      I always love giant things, giant buildings, giant moving things, giant with a lot of detail is especially lovely, and extra kuddos for making a parasite city on top XD. The city should not just be limited to the water-catcher though, it should also spread out around it, I would expect that a water catcher would have quite a decently sized city around it, since any source of water in the desert is important and will have most people clinging around it. Depends on the size and efficiency of the water-catcher though.

    3. There are many holes along the structure for sunlight to get in. I am counting on the radiosity solution to bring enough light into the inside. I will try it first, if more light is needed I will ope more holes.

      Yes, there will be buildings around the main structure, I did not add them yet.

    4. So a question about the main building, will it be completely constructed by the people, or would it have been a giant insect, which kinda died, and whose 'shell' is left? (Much like Under-Skar from Morrowind: )

    5. It is all man made, but inspired by insects.

  4. Wow, really great progress. I really love to read every new post.
    Just a question. Why is Voxel Studio called 'Voxel' Studio. Shouldn't it be 'Procedural' Studio? I thought Voxels are like a 3d bitmap image?

    keep on going =)

    1. This thing uses voxels under the hood, even if the final output is polygons. Probably not a good choice of name, since it left you wondering.

  5. Hey! A thought just occurred to me.

    If this idea is kept in the game as is, then a potentially expansive cave system would render this town moot. Poor, middle and rich alike would build houses in the nearby caves which would probably be infinitely cooler.

    Anyways, just random thoughts.

  6. As a side note, very much enjoying this whole blog. It clearly reaches a non-programming audience ;)