Development: Fahets Part 1

Fahets Development

September 2008 was when I finally dived into Age building. I downloaded all the bits and bobs and started getting to grips with Blender.

I can be a surprisingly quick learner at times, and it didn’t take me long to get the hang of building, and the first thing I even tempted to build was what became Fahets.


I didn’t really have a preconceived notion on how Fahets was going to look, heck at the time I didn’t even have a name for it. I had started with UVSpheres, cutting them in half to create the basin that the Age would sit in.

The interface of Blender itself proved to not be as big a hurdle as I had expected, I had opened Blender several times before and felt daunted by the interface and would close it. But sitting down and actually making myself get to grips with it I realized that it wasn’t as scary as I had first thought.
In fact most of my issues stemmed from following tutorials made for an older build of Blender (things had been moved around between builds).

The biggest hurdle was texturing. For some reason I had trouble wrapping my head around the tutorial, I managed to texture one of the UVSphere basins only for the texture to be bound to the faces instead of spread across (hadn’t discovered mapping yet).

It took me several weeks to figure out texturing, and mapping of textures, I finally got the hang of it though and continued working on the basin that I have built from scratch, a very basic sharp edged thing that I textured with a grey stone.

Fahets Development

Fahets Development

At this point I wanted to experiment with water, but I had heard wavesets were a nightmare to deal with so I figured I’d go with a textured plane.
It was at this point that the story started surfacing, and the concept of the Age flooding came about.

Fahets Development

I also began to develop what I wanted to do with the Age, I had envisioned a white barked tree with rich pinkish red leaves at one end of the basin, with firemarbles hanging down from the branches to light the area.

Fahets Development

My inexperience in texturing again came into play here, as you can tell by the mess that the tree is in. At this point the Age stagnated, I wasn’t happy with the direction it was taken and frustrated by my issues with texturing.

I revisited the Age on and off over the course of about a year. Before returning to it with a new idea, working with the flooded concept, I figured if left the water would stagnate and become swamp like. I ran with the idea of having a house embedded in the wall with a small garden area with a Bahro statue (recycling the Bahro waterfall idea that was going to be in Eder Allatwan).

With this version of Fahets I started experimenting with Alpha blending on layers, trying to merge grass and dirt with rock, which was a moderate success.

Help From Cass

Cass went a long way to teaching me about texturing, I discovered how to map objects better, be it large or small ones, with the burning of Cass I also managed to get the Alpha blending down to how I wanted it. With Cass released I took the knowledge I had gained from the project and applied to Fahets.

Version 3 of the Age retained the housing, which was based on the D’ni hoods architecture, but moved to a new location, the basin was then flooded with real waveset water that I had been experimenting with for the course of the year and had finally managed to get working.

Fahets Development

I started building up the swamp, creating big bulky plants that would later be Norapods, as I did so I realized that the house idea wasn’t sitting right with me, so I turned back to the garden idea I originally had. Lowering the water level to form a pool, adding the rocks and mosses and grasses that would make the Age up. Along with the lilies that were originally flat I had long grass-blades like Noloben, the problem with these, like the lilies was the alpha halo that surrounded them, and made the Age look messy.

Fahets Development

In the end I removed the long grass, and changed the lilies to be those ones with the edges.

The pool presented another issue with the waves caused by a player running through the water. The waves it turned out were determined to be black, after most council with the Guild of Writers and Paradox and Nadnerb in Cyan Chat I achieved a solution.

The water pump was installed, to counter the flooding issue and some crates and a couple of Easter Eggs were added for good measure.

Lighting & Textures

The colour pallet for the Age had changed from the grays used in the first version to more of a muddy brown/green colour that one usually (perhaps stereotypically) expects from a swamp.

But I also wanted to give some brighter colours, so that everything wasn’t so dreary, the grass was a greener colour and I went for a brighter moss, which was highlighted by the Rusteart plants and lilies.
In hindsight the Rusteart plants were a little too vibrant, which I plan to tone back in the next update.

Fahets Development

With the rain currently on hold, I decided to make the sky a nice blue, which again in hindsight I regret doing, but thankfully the weather story mechanism allows for a change in the sky which I may look into next build again.

Fahets Development

The Norapods were an interesting thing. The were partially inspired by the Puffers in Eder Kemo which is apparent in the stalks of the plant. I had always knew that the texture for the Norapods were going to be a mottled almost fungal thing, a dull grey blue colour. Upon making the textures they ended up slightly different than expected, but the final results were one I was happy with.

Lighting the Age so far was pretty straight forward, with the sun in the sky. However I feel the Age is a little too bright, and would like to tone it back make it a little more claustrophobic instead of light and airy, which would likely mean getting rid of the sun as the light-source and switching them to lamps instead.


The story for Fahets kind of wrote itself. With the single act of adding that water texture it gave rise to the flooding storyline and the direction that the Age would take.

The flooding allowed for plant/wildlife to return slowly as the water levels balanced out in future updates.

The story for Fahets is simple, it’s my first Age, aside from the flooding issues there isn’t a great deal to it. The Book of Commentary adds the history of the Age too the Age, and future updates should add new Journals which tie the Age to a larger story along with existing elements that tie Fahets to Cass and other Ages.

In Conclusion

Fahets, like Cass is a small simple Age, which is what one would expect from someones first Age. It allowed me to experiment with wavesets and taught me about shadows and not to use dynamic shadows. Oddly the shadow issues explain why I had such an issue with version 1 of Winterbloom. I also discovered how to use multiple alpha blends, my previous skills only allowed me to have a single layer of alpha, but with being able to use multiple layers which will be handy with shadowing and changing Cass for expansion.

The next build should see a new pump added, and a new journal and perhaps an expansion of the area as the main criticism about the Age is that it is too small and there isn’t much to do, I like to try and have a mechanism in place for expanding the Ages if warranted, Fahets is no different, the problem has been in how I wanted to expand it.

Part 2 of the the Fahets development entry will likely deal with the expansion to the Age and the other updates.

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