Badlands and the postapocalyptica

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Badlands and the postapocalyptica

Post by S W Dickson on Mon Dec 21, 2009 1:07 pm

A very simple universe/world, with a modern/future bent.

Post Apocalyptica - Earth (probably) circa 2110

The world has collapsed. Not only has the fight against globing warming failed, but the USA led fight against global terrorism has too. A tribal society has emerged from the ashes of the 21st century, whilst ghouls of a forgotten era cling onto their existences in the remains of the old developed world, groups of like minded and desperate individuals fight for oil, metal and water. They fight for life itself.

The entire planet is one huge wasteland - the cities radioactive mazes, the poles receded to virtually nothing, the seas have been drained - boiled away to stagnant puddles. The howling dustbowls of the pacific, atlantic and indian oceans home to little more than lizards.



Yep, it's postapocalytaland! Made famous in the 1980s, and certainly some of the coolest films ever made featured some badlands/desert near future punk raiders. More recently seen resurgence in many videogames as a theme. Tech level similar to now, but obviously the lack of supplies makes even a simple assault rifle priceless.

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Re: Badlands and the postapocalyptica

Post by S W Dickson on Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:50 pm



Just a quick photoshopping to drain the oceans, leaving a very different landscape. I mucked up the coastlines, but as they have been weathered by thousands of years of erosion, they would be massive mesa like landforms. No real explanation of where all the water has gone, but there is still quite a large amount. The green is, well green stuff - new rainforests and stuff. The rest is pretty much desert and barren rock. This is a simple photoshop just using the bathymetric height data from NASA for the sea floor. We're looking at only the very deepest parts of the oceans left here.

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Re: Badlands and the postapocalyptica

Post by S W Dickson on Sun Dec 27, 2009 3:44 pm

Races/Factions -

City States - A few industrial and corporate leaders founded many new cities along the new coastlines and at minerally significant locations. These are now massive conurbations growing upwards rather than out - they cannot build their wall much farther. Corrupt and with all the baggage of twentieth/twentyfirst century living, these are cesspools of humanity, whose only saving graces are the technological advances they make.

Raiders - Throughout the lands, many survivors have banded together in loose military formations, hoping to continue through dominance of weaker tribes. These people are purely in it for themselves, and their lifestyle leads to the integration of powerful mutants and beasts. There are many tribes of raiders, very few the same, but all tend to be very aggressive.

Tribes - On a different leaning to the Raiders, the Tribes inhabit the wastelands with a view to a cultured survival. Albeit the landscape necessitate defense and sometimes proactive battles to make their life more comfortable, the Tribes' aim is to continue on with life, in a much harmony with everyone as possible. They tend to be wary of strangers, but have the widest circle of trade and independence.

Outcasts - Like the Raiders, the Outcasts seem feral and violent, but that stems from mainly their appearance. Most Outcasts have mutations, stigmas of nuclear war. Some may be escaped slaves from the City-states. Some even genetically altered warriors gone to find an independent life like the Tribes. They will more likely be figures of local legend and the center of many horror stories - but they just want to be left alone.


Not many of these cultures are solid - but it gives the archetypes for you to graft on stuff. Capitalists, Pirates, Hippies and Goths.

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Re: Badlands and the postapocalyptica

Post by sucramreverse on Mon Dec 28, 2009 8:21 pm

looking good. I wonder though how that map would look with the water raised maybe a couple thousand feet? and why is the Mariana trench dry? it's the deepest there is.

I like the sound of it though, and your archetypes. "Capitalists, Pirates, Hippies and Goths." made me laugh.
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Re: Badlands and the postapocalyptica

Post by S W Dickson on Mon Dec 28, 2009 8:41 pm

sucramreverse wrote: and why is the Mariana trench dry? it's the deepest there is.

Don't blame me, blame NASA! Laughing I was very "scientific" and did nothing artistic at all, except choose the final colours. I just loaded up the bathymetric map, blended it with the topological map, with the coastlines as close as I could get to the same as the continental shelving whilst still being visible - lost a lot of data from the conversion - both are set in greyscale from Black to white for the height data, so half the information got lost - e.g see the Himalayas. But yeah, those were the blackest bits of the NASA bathymetric dataset.

My excuse? - Not enough patience - I'll make a better one if we follow it up.

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Re: Badlands and the postapocalyptica

Post by Kane on Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:13 am

Hate to inject too much science into this, but, isn't a majority of the Earth's oxygen produced by plants in the ocean? If the oceans dried up, wouldn't the air then become unbreathable?

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Re: Badlands and the postapocalyptica

Post by S W Dickson on Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:45 pm

Science? Pah!

I figure there'd be some reasoning to make it vaguely breathable - like super oxygen producing mutatated flora in the new rainforests. Probably eat you though.

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Re: Badlands and the postapocalyptica

Post by sucramreverse on Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:59 pm

or everyone wears cool rebreathers
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Re: Badlands and the postapocalyptica

Post by Kane on Wed Dec 30, 2009 12:05 pm

Just had another idea. The quickly disolving oceans could have cause massive mutation in the aqua-flora which caused a layer of aero-flora to cover the lower atmosphere, leading to green "clouds" of floating plankton.

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Re: Badlands and the postapocalyptica

Post by S W Dickson on Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:13 pm

Nice one. Like it.

I figure as well as a constant renewal of oxygen through plantlife, the near extinction of most forms of life that consumes the oxygen would be a good equaliser - not got any scientific basis for that (I reckon most of the oxygen is used through the oxidation of minerals on a constant basis) - but it could excuse it. An interesting explanation for the lack of water, could be that it hasn't just disappeared off planet, but has been drained into massive underground oceans, created when a series of nuclear missiles hit unstable tectonic junctions (California, Japan etc.) - opening fissures, which let most of the water under the sea floor, cooling the magma into massive bubbles - it could even have changed the terrain - violently changing the landscape forever.

Would be interesting to have a continent sized "hole in earth" - A kind of Jule Verne in the future. Mutated leviathans?

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Re: Badlands and the postapocalyptica

Post by S W Dickson on Mon Jan 04, 2010 2:33 pm

Am draining the oceans more accurately this time. Working in 5400x2700 resolution - should give a better result - also texturing properly - probably do a 3D render of the results rather than just a photoshopping.

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Re: Badlands and the postapocalyptica

Post by S W Dickson on Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:48 pm

Here you go - a rendered (sans cloud cover) postapocalyptic earth. These are the North Atlantic Seas - check out the Atlantis that emerged from the deeps! US, Mexico, west Africa. (BTW, Managed to get the Mariana Trench in, it's actually remarkably small in dimensions except for down, hence it didn't get caught in the mock-up. Looks like a sea in the shape of a couple of bananas - not pictured here I hasten to add - I didn't change where Japan was!)


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Re: Badlands and the postapocalyptica

Post by SpaceMonkey on Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:17 pm

What are you using to generate the 3D rendering of the earth?

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Re: Badlands and the postapocalyptica

Post by S W Dickson on Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:03 pm

Photoshop for textures (grayscale bump map, colour map, Specularity map for seas)
Blender for 3D render.
Back to Photoshop for quick "atmosphere" (if you've ever tried volumetrics in in Blender, you'd know not to!)

Exaggerated the relief to hell for effect, and the seas lack any real texture - but hey, it's a bit of fun. It was a quick re-texturing effort today - plan to go back and look at the poles (I included the ice at the north) and the vegetation and such. It's all Photoshop really.

Source images -

Bathymetric relief map (Grayscale black to white height data from ocean floor)
Geographical relief map (Grayscale black to white height data from above sea floor)
The Blue Marble colour map
Some NASA related Oceanographic map of Polar ice (quite low res, but as the poles get squished in 3d geometry, no big loss)

First I made sure all the images were the right size (I used 5400x2700) and checked both relief maps into Photoshop. The reason they come separate is for added detail in the data - only so many shades of grey are available. Unfortunately I had to discard half this data, as it would be a further hassle when applying textures - let alone working with them. So, as NASA relief maps solidify the borders on the continents, I first had to get rid of the coastline line from the geographical map (it would be sitting on top of the bathymetric map) - which was a simple case of selceting by colour range and then bringing it in a couple of pixels (it's an anti-aliased coastline!)
Anyways, once the geographcal map was isolated, I rescaled the colours - the bathymetric went from black to 50% gray, and the geographic from 51% to White. A simple fiddle with levels, or a gradient recolourisation can do this. Merged the two into one new "ubertopology" layer. It's not perfect, it's not pretty, but there it is - Lowest part on sea floor = Black, Mount Everest = White.

At it's most basic that's my bump map. But no! I had to isolate my new seas - and that was again, just selecting by colour, using a very low tolerance on Pure Black. Once I had my selection I took it into the Edit mask mode - the artefacts from NASAs compression really showed themselves on this selection. (I may redo it if I find the TIFFS) - any way, editted the mask to my own preference and for what felt right, blurred it a little for natural variance, ran a high contrast through it, a little light blur to tidy the edges, then back to selection and created a new layer with little black seas. I had to add the Mariana Trench by hand, as the deep part is so small it was negated by my fiddling.

Onto the texturing. Which was dead easy - only about a hundred layers all told.

Anyways, loaded up the Blue Marble, created a nice big plain desert pattern from the Sahara, and filled a whole layer with it. Created a couple of others from various parts of the globe - Gobi, Central Australia, Southern Africa etc. Also a couple of bits of the amazon and some lowland stuff there too for the grasslands/jungles next to the new seas.

Once I had my desert, I proceeded to use my relief map to select certain areas and fill them with my new patterns to add variety - didn't want it to look like a repeating tile. Fiddled with Hue and saturation dependent on height, isolated some craggy geography and upped the contrast and brightness to add texture. I also cheated on the well known desert-y bits by just lassooing them and bringing them in unchanged - some cloning to extend them frther, and break some more of the tiling effect. Towards the end I feather selected the whole blue Marble image (minus the oceans and seas) and recoloured the vegetation with, I reckon, the whole set of Photoshop tools - made them a nice varied sandy colour. This went further to break up the tiles.

Added a simple inner glow effect to the "seas", for the shallower waters - this should probably have been done using the relief model, but I was getting bored. I can go back and change that. I selected the same areas as before for the seas and expanded my range to get slightly further "inland" and filled with varying amounts of my vegetation tiles, sloped off towards the equator - will take another look at this, it was just for instant gratification.

Anyways, that's about it, the rest is as dull as this but relies on you caring about Specular maps (which are easy anyway), or resizing a much smaller pic of a polar ice cap and trimming out greenland...

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Re: Badlands and the postapocalyptica

Post by S W Dickson on Tue Jan 05, 2010 5:18 pm

And here it is on a plane - just a slight angle. Hope it gives inspiration!


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Re: Badlands and the postapocalyptica

Post by S W Dickson on Wed Jan 06, 2010 2:44 pm

Just had a thought on the location of that elusive water - whilst a lot may have been swallowed by the earth itself, I had a thought regarding the enlargement of the poles - a strong theory suggests that as the globe warms, the polar ice melts in greater quantities, and a large quantity of fresh cold water into the warm salt sea currents would shut off many warm currents to the more northernly areas - notice that the Kamchatka straits and the North Atlantic are way above the normal for pack ice (I can cos I found a lovely diagram) - anyway, the theory is that if the polar ice melts more than normal, the warm currents are switched off, leaving the northern reaches colder than before, and therefore more susceptible to polar ice forming. I reckon that with enough water being held up in "super polar caps" could account for a huge amount of water.

So, increase the polar regions to a greater area - pack ice as far south as France possibly, and as far north possibly as Tasmania, with an adapted set of warm wind currents keeping the equatorial regions hotter than hell - the still large surface area of water in the pacific rim area would keep that going - but it would be very dry - as most of the water would be kept circling in their own small sea areas, and the rest being locked in ice. The poles would keep themselves cool by reflecting most of the sunlight radiation, whilst the thinner atmosphere in the equatorial region would let more in, and absorb it with dark volcanic rocks from the newly exposed tectonic fissures. Not sure if I should put too much vegetation - or where it should go - thinking the accepted bounds of tundric/temperate etc. would be all out of kilter, and perhaps would be all or nothing - not enough moisture in the air to create a hole rainforest or even grow crops without major industrial reclaimed irrigation.

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Re: Badlands and the postapocalyptica

Post by S W Dickson on Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:18 pm

Another mark for the book - meteorology and geography! As the sea levels are dropping to below the continental shelf, this makes a new "mountain range" for each area of water - the accumulated water vapour from the days heat then hits the wall and creates a Barrier Jet which would collapse in on itself and create all the thunder and rain within the locality of the water - not travelling anywhere near the old "continents" and providing little hope for any form of decent precipitation. It's win win! The only scientific problem I've yet to solve is how reasonable it all is. I'm trying not to think "worst case scenario" but rather "this is possible". Not from a hippy greenpeace kinda way - they're all just humanists really (I'm not destroying the earth here - I'm just making it harder to live on!)

So yeah - dry out the planet - keep the water in it's own wee storage units - and occasionally let a freak thunderstorm grind over the plains.

I'm also looking at what existing cultures may benefit, if any, with the new landmasses - and destruction of the big powers.

The western cultures are decimated - nuclear war and all that. Europe is hyperradioactive - too many big targets not to have just about every country wiped out. US is big enough to have a few survivors from the nukes, but we're talkin cream of the crop who had bunkers and a few civvies from the more remote and strategically unimportant areas.

Definitely have to be China and North Korea as the opponents - we can't have a country the size of China escaping, not with their population! Again, they're more likely to have more survivors because of the scale of the country.

Africa and South America would possibly get away the best - not totally scot-free, as yer big cities like Rio, Cairo, Johannesburg and stuff would be decimated, but most probably not targetted as highly as the usual suspects.

Obvious stuff like Japan, Australia and other countries/islands with tightly packed populations would be knackered save for a few lucky ones.

After the nuclear war stuff (possibly, say fifty years time?), then a quick hundred years or so of "natural" disasters, re-evolution of flora and fauna post apocalyptica - mutation of humanoids etc. - and the new world order will be ready to go!

What d'ya reckon?

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Re: Badlands and the postapocalyptica

Post by S W Dickson on Thu Jan 07, 2010 12:45 pm

Okay, cooling off with the development of the earth for a wee while, instead gonna brainstorm some forces to fight each other.

Okay, these are just a starter to give an idea of what form each force will take, there should be a very flexible set of options for each faction - giving the player the option to make them their own.

The Corporation City Protectorate -

Concept - Marshall law in the cities - governed by modern military die hard troops. Unquestioning, outfitted in the best, most modern gear available. Scientific progress dependent on city and the corporation that runs it. Sometimes will use penal slaves, or inducted workers as fodder for the most dangerous tasks. Answerable ultimately to the head of the corporation (the mayor, if you will), "Sherriffs" run the city, and punishment is hard on any transgressors. They need a mobile military elite to accompany trade vehicles and exploratory teams outwith the city walls, as well as to see off any unwanted predations of any raiders from the wastes - it is common for the standing forces to make regular "Raider Culls", to keep the local area as safe as possible.


Wasteland Raiders -

Concept - The lowest common denominator rules in a Raider gang. The biggest, toughest and most brutal person in charge. The gang is his own personal army. They may not always see things his way, but they will generally do what he says cause its too much effort to overthrow him. Very lightly armoured , heavily armed and quick to move - they utilise whatever is available and can be seen driving ancient flatbed trucks, motorbikes, dune buggies etc. Basically, if it's fairly efficient, common and easy to maintain (there's no great scientific thought going on here) it's here. Usually taken to modifying their vehicles by aid of a welding torch - this is low tech living. What do they "raid" - anything useful really; Water, Oil, Gasoline, Food, Arms, Ammunition etc.


Tribes -

Concept - A group of people that have banded together either through accident or design, but have stuck together are known as a tribe. Out of all the populations throughout the earth, these are most likely to be civilised, with families, justice and fairness. They will be less likely to start a fight than the raiders and the corporations - but that's all the more reason they need to be armed and ready to fight at all times. Mostly scavenged equipment and weapons, and little more than light trucks to move their scavenging teams around with their booty. Some may even eschew the use of Oil and modern firearms totally, preferring to work with more readily available and homemade equipment such as crossbows and axes.


Outcasts -

Concept - Whilst not usually a happy mix of people with common goals - the faction of the outcasts is varied. Mutants will band together and function much like a Raider gang, but more brutally and with less order. Ghouls are those people who've gone insane from the hell that has been visited on the earth, and have taken to cannibalism, the long exposure to low radiated sands scouring their flesh of humanity. There may also be old earth experiments walking free - from scientifically altered human soldiers, lost with their original mission in tatters; to escaped bio-virus', meting out harsh supermutations and "zombification" of its victims. Generally, this is a mixed bag of everything that won't stand still for two minutes - shambling monstrosities, or just lost souls without a welcome door to knock on...


Will gather some thoughts on these and aim to make at least three different varieties of each faction. That's a good start I reckon. Ideally it'd be good to have at least a dozen of each, letting players submit their own ideas to progress it further. If we get the map nailed, it'd be really cool to see how it fares I reckon.

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Re: Badlands and the postapocalyptica

Post by S W Dickson on Sun Jan 10, 2010 4:00 pm

Okay, here is a quick refashioning of the ice caps, with vegetation more sparse than before as per my quick meteorological model. The Rocky Mountains and Andes need more snow; the glaciers at the mid-atlantic ridge may need to come down a wee bit more, and some cleaning up of glaciation round the big "inland" mountain ranges. Strangely, the southern hemisphere looks a lot better than the north - but looking at my eco-model, the big south atlantic sea may be frozen as well. Anyways, enjoy.

The Meditteranean, Gulf of Mexico and various other tributary seas are being "canyonised" - currently more of a marshland/Rainforest, the run-off from all the big major rivers (which are now teeny tiny rivers) still flows into these basins...



(changes other than just polarisation - More varied tones of rock, a few more textures of desert, and straight desert clones, more realistic vegetation, based on revised tropical/tundric ecosystem and meteorological model)

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Re: Badlands and the postapocalyptica

Post by S W Dickson on Sun Jan 10, 2010 4:36 pm

Oh yeah, managed to get the atmosphere working in blender, here's the middle east. (Unfortunately, it's a bit of a hack, and you gotta render including the absolute centre of your globe. Bit of a pain - as up close shots of the horizon just don't work.)


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Re: Badlands and the postapocalyptica

Post by S W Dickson on Wed Jan 13, 2010 5:04 pm

Just a test to see if the board would take video really, and to show off the updated map!


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Re: Badlands and the postapocalyptica

Post by sucramreverse on Wed Jan 13, 2010 5:13 pm

I don't have any input except that I think you are definitely on the right track Very Happy
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Re: Badlands and the postapocalyptica

Post by S W Dickson on Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Just a wee update. Been busy with Blender trying out a few things. Check out my channel at YouTube

Got that Blender bug again.

Anyways getting some more stuff written, but been hella busy lifewise, but it should calm down shortly.

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Re: Badlands and the postapocalyptica

Post by S W Dickson on Sat Feb 13, 2010 8:24 am

Okay, need a name for this Universe.

Got a few, but they all are a tad kak, most of the cool sounding names have been used by x,y. or z games/books/films.

Heres my current contenders -

"Ring of Decay" (Ring as in Tribe/Cartel - Decay as in Radioactive - also as in circle of mortality - ooh, deep!)

"Resist!" (As in proclamation of intent - propaganda style - resisting what is up to you - fairly decent for non-specific wargaming - opens up more generic titles whilst keeping a common brand, such as COD) - e.g. Resist! - Vietnam / Resist! - The Alien Menace etc.

I'm liking the single word, with a "designator" afterwards, such as the Resist! example. "Versus" seems to me also a decent word to use - simple but "feeling it".

Thoughts/suggestions?

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S W Dickson
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Re: Badlands and the postapocalyptica

Post by S W Dickson on Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:41 am

Here is a small logo for the Resist! name - it's growing on me.



So far so good.

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Re: Badlands and the postapocalyptica

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