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meshcarver

Large S.T.A.L.K.E.R. inspired Island "NOVA ZONA"

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ATTENTION PLEASE READ:

As I'm getting constant questions/emails/posts etc about why is this taking so long and when will it be released, I thought to give a brief outline of reasons here which will save me time by not repeating the same tired answers again and again and make me look like an old moaning git. :)

I started this thread at the end of 2012, and so people assume that this has taken a full three years to develop and there's no map yet. In reality, I have worked possibly only six months of actual 9-5 hours on this. There have been entire chunks of months were I haven't even been able to touch it.

For example, I won't be able to work on this at all for another whole six weeks very soon.

RL issues such as working long hours and then personal stuff by necessity creeps in and on average I'm left with a 10 hour development cycle on a good week.

More than likely those 10 hours will see me extremely tired and bleary eyed at the end of a long day sitting in front of the PC all over again to boot up NOVA ZONA and whittle away at it. This is time I should really be spending zonked in front of the telly, reading a book or just lying in bed.

But, if I don't grab that time for NOVA ZONA, it literally will not happen.

I know everyone who mods is in the same boat, but some people somehow have/find more free time than others but this is the best I can do in my current situation.

Hey up..!

I thought I'd start a thread about my plans for making a large S.T.A.L.K.E.R. inspired island for ARMA, called "NOVA ZONA".

Right now, I'm more or less at the very beginnings of this project, but have a couple of assets to show for an idea of what I'm doing and a brief overview of my plans that I've posted on my Dev Blog.

I'll update this thread post at a later date when I have more to show.

I should also mention that this is being made with ARMA3 in mind, so I'm throwing in a few more polys where I think it could benefit, and giving the textures a bit more love, to future proof it so to speak.

I'll just say thank you to the people, too many to list here, that've already helped me at this early stage both in the forums and through PMing aswell. Cheers guys!!!

This ARMA community is unmatched for enthusiasm and input. :D

Here's the link to my blog if you want to follow this mod, as it's got loads more information in general and descriptions of each WIP:

http://www.meshcarver.blogspot.com/

...also, I'll welcome ANY input and suggestions/advice people have to offer, as I know there's a few S.T.A.L.K.E.R. fans out there. ;)

I look forwards to showing more images as this island develops, and here's a link to an up to date set of WIP (I stopped updating this since I now need to create a bloody Yahoo account to log back in- sod 'em!):

http://www.flickr.com/photos/86890612@N02/with/9226156431/

And here's a couple of concept/mood pieces I did to give more of an idea of what this island will look like on the ground:

http://www.meshcarver.com/screenshots/NOVA%20ZONA%20CONCEPT%2001.png

http://www.meshcarver.com/screenshots/NOVA%20ZONA%20CONCEPT%2002.png

And the logo:

http://www.meshcarver.com/screenshots/NOVA%20ZONA%20LOGO.png

Marc

Edited by meshcarver
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Sounds like a hugely ambitious project, good luck mate :D

By the way, have you tried Namalsk Island? It's also (EDIT: heavily) inspired by S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and really captures the atmosphere brilliantly (it uses filters to make everything look grey and barren I believe). It also features the only underground bunker I can remember having seen in Arma 2 (called AII), by cleverly placing the bunker object/s in a hole in the ground and creating a fake floor above using more objects: it works surprisingly well, although the bunker seems to confuse the bejesus out of the AI :)

Edited by SW1

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It's also inspired by S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

Hmm not only inspired i guess.

Most if not ALL buildings have been build on STALKER game schemes. (All custom made by Sumrak of course)

The problem every map out there is suffering is same models are repeating and repeating and so on

MY dream was to create a map where 1 building will be only used ONLY 1 time at 1 unique location.

Anyways meanmachine1..i wish you good luck with your project.STALKER fans will "Stalk" this thread :D

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Hi..!

Yes, I have played namalsk MANY times! It's an absolutely fantastic island with such a great atmosphere, and if I can create even half the atmosphere Sumrak did then I'll be a happy man.

One of the simple but very effective things I think Sumrak did was to add those great tall reed like grasses to the landscape, they really add to the scenery and bring it closer to a barren wasteland imo-really good stuff!

Anyway, thanks for your good wishes, and I hope I won't dissapoint! ;)

Right, I'll get back to it now..!

Marc

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Hi IceBreakr,

Lol, I don't even know what that means mate!?

Do you mean, make it so each individual object can be placed from the editor into any map..? So they're also separate from the map itself..?

If you could explain this to me, I'd appreciate it man!

Also, if you don't mind at some point in the future, could I pick your brains for terrain questions..? You seem to be a terrain making machine! ;)

Edited by meanmachine1

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Your stuff looks great so far. Keep it up!

Will you also import the GSC assets, as they´re freely available to any non profible user made mods? :hammer:

Worst thing about this project, knowing that a complete island will take soo much longer until it´s released :p

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Looking good Mesh. I will make a post in our forums to show the guys what you have been up to. I'm sure a few of the guys wouldn't mind giving you a hand/some input if they can.

Looking forward to seeing how this develops!

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Hi,

@ MrBurns, no mate, I wont be importing anything from GSC. What I am doing is recreating the essential "classic" stuff from the Stalker series and putting my own spin on it. These should make up 10% - 20% of the finished item, so there should be about 80%- 90% truly new stuff.

But in a way, its all new if you get my meaning?

This 80% - 90% will be entirely made up as I see it to fit into this amazing Stalker universe.

My main objective is to keep the look/feel, keep the immersion, keep it true to Stalker and to style it around a completely bleak desolate survival nightmare- it's The Zone after all... ;)

Cheers for your comments guys!

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Nice work!

The cut-in-half-barrels-as-fire-pits-stoves are brilliant. VERY nice, and perfectly captures the sense of what I PMed to you earlier - that there should be a TON of items that have been repurposed and scavenged. The simpler approaches in regards to scavenging and repurposing, the more convincing it'll be to see.

I like your usage of sheet metal being under a fire pit - that's excellent, as it acts as a heat reflector, meaning that whoever uses that fire pit will have less heat loss than someone who doesn't use a fire pit.

I know that you're a mountain climber, and have almost certainly picked up some strong survival techniques. Apply what you know to make the map feel more authentic. For example, and back to the fire pits, every fire pit should have (at least nearby) a "U" shaped setup of two-three tiers' worth of bricks/rocks to help in cooking food more effectively. Cooking over an open pit is a tremendously wasteful means of acquiring heat, and since rocks and bricks are plentiful, there's no reason for why they shouldn't be present to help funnel/reflect heat.

And in regards to IceBreakr's query...

Do you mean, make it so each individual object can be placed from the editor into any map..? So they're also separate from the map itself..?

I'm 99.9% certain that he's asking you if you'll make all of your assets available in the Editor, to be used in any map.

Superb work man. I can't get over your speed - the quality is so high. That's good for everyone now drooling over the island's release!

I can't wait to see your larger structures. You certainly have a great grasp of making burnt out, heavily oxidized, molded up, peeling, and otherwise totally decrepit assets. The creepiness and "ick" factor for your buildings are obviously going to be high, and it'll make clearing out garrisoned AI a much scarier and tension filled proposition.

:D

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Hi,

another cheeky update here- this one's an overhead railway wire system:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/86890612@N02/8175600964/in/photostream/

@Kyle; Hey up man! Cheers for your comments matey, most appreciated! :D

Aye, I'm really to trying to think these objects out as if Stalkers have really tried to squeeze every last drop of functionality out of trash and old panelling etc just to survive, as I reckon it'll increase immersion and atmosphere tenfold if I can manage it. Keep your suggestions coming man, as I'm taking them all on board and they also kick start my mind too..! ;)

And don't worry about the larger buildings and structures- they're going to be absolutely devoid of life and utterly blighted and dismal, like they've been rotting in The Zone for years...

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wow! very nice textures! i'm glad you're planning on making most objects yourself. not only will it create a totally new feeling but also will it make it alot easier to port this to arma 3.

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.

Keep your suggestions coming man, as I'm taking them all on board and they also kick start my mind too..!

I'm happy to keep them rolling your way, as it's clear just HOW serious you are about adding custom, never-been-seen-before-in-a-STALKER-game content, such as that railway wire system. :bounce3:

Again, nice work!

Here's something that I've always wondered about - what do the "bed down" areas for the Zone's creatures look like? They'd certainly use caves, and other deep recessions, but what about the more intelligent creatures, such as the bloodsucker? Yes, I know that it's been shown that bloodsuckers can sleep standing up, but I think that was just a budget-save by the developers. Out in the wild, what would a bloodsucker cobble together for a temporary home? For that matter, how would a bloodsucker modify a long-abandoned basement for its needs? Could you imagine how it would feel that as one's exploring a region/site, and then comes across the telltale signs that you're at a bloodsucker's (or other creature's) lair?

Yeah, not good!

Another thing that would be neat to see are the markings left behind by a horde of creatures. Imagine the quantity of old and bloody hand prints and fingernail-claw marks left on the sides of fences, buildings, busted out windows, and interior walls from a massive zombie assault... Bloody toe and barefoot marks tracked throughout an interior, leading to and from a large pool(s) of blood where a living body(ies) once laid. Yeah, I'd expect to find forensic signs such as these, wouldn't you? But STALKER was bereft of them - you could show them how it should be done! ;)

For boars and other horned-creatures (*cough* my Pavidus Bellua/mutant deer http://www.mediafire.com/view/?8k43ppbe6g4jw6i# *cough-cough*), one could reasonably well expect that there would be signs of gouges alongside walls at their head-heights as the pack/herd raged through.

Humans leave marks too - most likely chipped up holes from rounds blistering through exterior/interior walls and windows, and fragmentation scars from exploded hand grenades.

Think too, about which areas are going to certainly be more populated by certain species - as the marks from those species will dominate in those areas. While every building is likely to show signs of bullet marks, the buildings at more populated regions will most likely be the most chewed up.

Alright, that's it for now. Time to get some groceries!

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.

Oops! Forgot to mention that trees, vegetation, and boulders would also likely show signs of encounters with creatures via horn-rubbings, munching on tree bark, and the like.

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@Kyle- outstanding suggestions again man, appreciated.

@Kommiekat- thanks man, and aye, it'll take some serious time but I'll do this.

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.

outstanding suggestions again man, appreciated.

Again, you're most welcome! Happy to contribute something to this AMAZING endeavor!

Here's another one: pit traps, and traps in general.

If I was part of a faction, and the area I was in was plagued by ghoulish creatures, you could bet that I'd readily grab a shovel, and with the help of others, put my back into making a large pit trap. What I'm imagining here is a 3.5 m. x 3.5 m. x 3.5 m. dugout area that's setup with sharpened wooden stakes, torched metal scraps, etc., etc., so that anything falling into it is viciously impaled. Near one of the pit's edges is a pole made out of scrap materials that has a retractable arm at its top, and this arm dangles the bait over the midst of the pit. Who knows, maybe the most evil of factions would make it a human prisoner - this might be a clever way to establish the morality-level for a faction before one even sees its encampment. So, maybe you'd want to make a few different types of bait-suspension systems, two with freshly skinned animals hanging from them, and one with a human in a state that I dread even imagine.

Perhaps you'd even want to supply a pit trap that's free of any type of visible suspension system. It's just a large pit with stakes inside it, with a pole rising from its center to ground level. The bait would be set on that pole, and the surrounding area would be covered up with a false set of terrain that's flimsy, so that anything that steps on it falls through to its certain doom below.

Whether either or both of these pit systems are used, I'd ensure that the ground around the pit has plenty of tall grass, so that the pit's edges are just that much harder to see.

I'd supply an easy to use module that comes with the island, entitle it something really obvious, such as "Tissues=flies SFX," and when this module is dropped anywhere on the map, anything that's encoded to have fairly fresh tissue (the wounded flesh of the bait, coagulated blood that's not too old) would emit the "swarm of flies" sound effect. It would be an audible clue that a trap, or something really gross (such as a large pool of sticky and noisy blood on the floor), is nearby. Of course at night, maybe the sound of flies is coming from a recently killed AI, and the creature, or human, that killed it, is nearby. Increasing the level of uncertainty will make players scream like little girls.

And what good STALKER Island maker wouldn't want that? ;)

In an earlier PM I sent your way, I stated that it would be interesting to setup a wide range of assets to act as potential stashes for gear. These assets could also be booby trapped, or have a smaller critter or two living inside. What I wanted to add to this proposal, is that the traps associated with these should be fairly simple, mostly spring loaded, break-your-bones and/or tear/pierce your flesh kind of traps. Only the most valuable of stashes could be possibly be setup with a fragmentation grenade trap, right? Of course, the frag-trap could be just a ruse, in the hopes that in your efforts to defuse the frag-trap, the frag goes off. As Roadside Picnic made clear, being a stalker is a dirty rotten, stab you in the back type of profession.

I foresee that some players won't like this feature, even with the investigatory options that I proposed to you earlier, such as when context-driven-menu options are presented to the player:

Hollow object detected. Do you...?

Inspect object for 10 sec.

Inspect object for 30 sec.

Inspect object for 1 min.

Search object for materials.

The longer one inspects an asset, the greater the odds are that if there's a nasty surprise there, that it's detected. If it's detected, then an attempt can be made to disarm it. The more dangerous the trap, the less likely it is to safely deactivate it.

One of the things that I didn't like about the STALKER games, is that the stashes were always safe, and instantly accessible. By setting up a range of believable conditions as above, one forces the player to make difficult, and time consuming choices. The longer one stays in an area, the greater the odds that said stash-inspector is going to be happened upon by less-than-friendly others.

But I can already hear some players whining about this before it's even tried, so, if it's at all possible, supply the above as an easy to use module, and again, entitled it something really obvious, such as "Stashes Potentially Trapped." If the module's dropped in, then the asset-inspection system is activated.

Ahh, I'm tapped out on this one now. More as it comes to me.

Yours! :)

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Hey up Kyle..! :D

You are reading my mind on the trap scene lol... not the first time that's happened though!

I am planning to have booby traps in the mod, but I was just thinking along the lines of punji-sticks in pits (A la' rusted metal rebars etc) and trip wires, but you've just taken the whole thing up 10 notches! The bait idea sounds f&^%$g fantastic and I'll make sure to make that happen man- great idea!

Lol- as I type I've another idea from what you've wrote down here Kyle- what about having stakes dotted around certain areas like Vlad The Impaler style..? It won't go too far from the Stalker games, but could be incorporated by Bandits in their territory as a warning to other players..? Imagine walking through a misty marshland, then up ahead you start to see some claptrap irradiated structures with a few of these impaled Loners and Traders out in front..? :D

I wouldn't want it to go too Mad Max 2 though, so it'd have to be done in a way consistent with Stalker and gritty and realistic. Some of the unfortunate impaled corpses could even have messages hanging from their necks as further warning...

Actually, thinking about it I'm sure I've a ref piccie from a Stalker game where there's a few Snork heads and things on metal poles so this isn't straying too far from Stalker after all..! :D

Also, your trap idea as a module sound great too- although the modules side of things will done after all the islands been more or less created, as it'll be "extras" like that that bring it to life!

As a variant on the trap idea (Well it fits with it in a way) I am planning on having little stash boxes that you could carry around and fill with things then leave them where you like for yourself further down the line in case of emergency or for a friend somewhere, or even as a random offering from one Stalker to another lol. These could be left "visible" or "hidden", and you could place a marker on your hand drawn map also. Of course, in line with your trap idea, if a random came across one, unbeknown to him it's safe so does he take the chance..? I love your idea of adding frag traps and things to this mechanic Kyle. ;D

You could even implement an Artifact based booby trap. In Roadside Picnic there's a part where the Protagonist throws an Artifact called an "Itcher " into a bar to cause chaos!

(Lol, as I'm typing this, my gore-o-meter has gone through the roof and I'm scribbling all sorts of sick stuff as variants of the impaled situation like heads on pole, X-cruciform with bodies nailed to them with no hands or feet, stretched skins across mattress springs...!)

Alright man..! I'm off to finish another asset- I should update the WIP blog by the end of the day and thanks again for your input..!!!

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I'm happy that we're on the same wavelength when it comes to a lot of this stuff - it makes the whole endeavor a lot more fun, doesn't it?

The snork heads on Vlad-spikes type of thing - yes, there was something definitely like that in Shadow of Chernobyl, right where the Monolith factions start becoming really prevalent, near the end of the game. They had road block barriers covered in body parts, so you'd certainly be staying within the STALKER aesthetic pursuing such gruesome assets.

You look at what some of the behaviors that American Marines engaged in during the Pacific Theatre of WWII - the beheadings, cutting out of teeth, shrinking the heads of Japanese, and then MAILING THEM HOME TO A LOVED ONE! So, yeah, I'd imagine a region of constant violence and psychological uncertainty such as the Zone would have some VERY disturbing displays of casual violence being seen, even being proudly displayed.

You could really screw around with a person's head by planting cheaply made signs up that read...

There could be traps around here!

Nope. No traps here!

Maybe even the silhouette image of a bunny rabbit being close to the center of a classic snare-trap, with a giant "?" painted on it would serve as a twisted type of county commission road sign substitute.

I wouldn't hesitate to make a good chunk of these signs in the English written language as well, since it's the current "universal tongue" on the planet, and since it's certain that NATO would be deeply involved in penetrating the Zone, I could see where the natives would go out of the way to learn just enough English to create threatening signs with their basic (mis)understanding. If you pursue this, make sure that you make some signs have some very poorly, and "unintentionally" hilarious mistranslated threats, like...

HELL GO yank chicken!

Brit head=bestest football!

No cafe' here Frenchie!

Deutscher - kraut hard chewing with no jaw!

And so on...

Y'know, if you're open to it, why not have a CONTEST as to who can come up with the the best unintentionally funny threat signs! The top three winners will have their sayings made into a sign that'll be available as an asset in the game! What do you think?

In regards to your suggestions of using artifacts as traps, such as the itcher in Roadside Picnic (which caused a LOT more than mere itching!) - I'm all for that. Yeah, anything that you can do to bring in the classic sites of that amazing book into a reality would be great to see. The bar, the cemetery, the quarry (especially that locale!), maybe even "hiding" an Easter Egg of a photograph of Redrick's daughter somewhere near the quarry (or right at the spot where Red shouts out his heart-wrenching words)... I LOVE that book - anything that could act as an homage would be nice.

Notify me if you'd like me to take a shot at coming up with an alien craft design - Even though the ships were never witnessed by anyone in Roadside Picnic, I'd still love to see something like that come into fruition.

Time for bed! Good night!

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It's hard to get a sense of scale from the image provided. Don't get me wrong, it looks GREAT. I'm just left wondering if someone could walk up the heap of debris inside that decaying container, crouch at its top, and shoot over its topmost edge? I'd also be tempted to lean-right or lean-left to shoot out of the vertical splits. If this object would provide for such concealment, then it's a visually interesting way to provide a tactical consideration.

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