Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How It All Got Started

This is the only picture that contains pretty much everything I used, or I'm still using to work on the map.

This is the story of the first Heroclix 3D map. At least it's the first one that I know about.

I started talking about building a three dimensional Heroclix map back in the early part of this year (2010). It was a lot of talk, and some great ideas ran through my head. Ideas about bridges, multi-level structures, simulated grass, and a lot of obstructed views from every angle. Well, this idea started spreading around through my talking about it. The next thing I know it starts becoming a bit of a legend. My friend Grayson told me about a conversation with his friend Shawn, who own's Rogue's Gallery, the best comic shop in Windsor, Ontario. It seemed that he was pumped about this guy that was talking about building a 3D Heroclix map, and he couldn't wait to see it when it's done. That is if it ever got built.
That was the spark, the deciding moment when I said, "Screw it, I'm going to build this thing."
I went home and told Andria the story that I had heard from Grayson. We decided that since I was about to have a week off work, due to minor surgery, I might as well use the time to work on the map. So I don't go mad with boredom.
I was now off on a quest to find all the materials I was going to need to make this map. I had multiple wood boards in my basement already, to use as the main surface. I grabbed one that was 3x4 feet, figured out that it would make a map that had 24x32 squares (A standard square is 1.5"), which means it's bigger than any official clix map that I know of.
My original plans were to hit up Windsor Hobbies and buy model train set supplies to do all the details on the map, but once I actually got there and priced stuff I decided to make some changes. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.
The first thing I did after finding the wood board was go out looking for materials to build the structure. I knew how I wanted it to look, I even drew a design for it using graph paper, so I had actual plans to work from. I also knew that I wanted to build the structure out of styrofoam insulation board. I hate the idea for enviromental purposes, but it is the most durable, light weight, easy to cut material that I know about.
I went out looking for construction sites, where I might be able to find and scoop up some large scraps to use. I had no clue what I was doing and didn't want to spend too much money on something I could easily fuck up. However, there isn't a whole lot of construction going on in this dead end city.
That was a bit upsetting. But on the way home from the bike ride Andria and I were taking, to hopefully find materials, we came across Rona, and they were still open at 7:55pm on a Sunday night. It was a sign. The two of us quickly, trying not to run because the store closes at 8pm, went down to where the foam board was and grabbed a monsterous 4x8 foot sheet. I only use the term monsterous, because walking home with it and my bike was a bit of a nightmare. Big light weight boards are easily blown around by the slightest breeze. What is normally a ten minute walk, quickly doubled.
I also bought 24 feet of that fake grass you often see on back poarches, I refer to it as cheap astroturf. Although I later discovered, while measuring to cut, that the size cut was closer to 36 feet. Woohoo!! This was bought on a later day, but also at Rona. Also in the week long process of buying all the materials Andria and I decided on what to pick up at the hobby shop as well. We went with fall-coloured foliage, light grey ballast stone, water effects glue, model railroad sidewalk, and model hairpin fencing.
All in all, before I did anything more than build the rough shell of this map, I was around $100 in the hole. But, I can say that it has been worth every penny.

Note: I do make changes to the odd change to each article published, from time to time.

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