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#1 Deimos

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Posted 14 March 2004 - 03:04 PM

Well this is it ladies and gentlemen. We've reached a cusp in the development.

The Silabrate is the last alien concept not done. According to my reckoning we've got concepts or models of all the other races.

So with that in mind lets get discussing what it should look like, do and so on. If you guys like lets make this a joint CT and Art team project. Its certainly going to be the toughest one as theres not a lot a lump of hot silicon and rock could look like other than a lump of hot silicon and rock ;)

I was thinking as we've got marine influences in our other races we should stick with that formula and see what we can come up with.

Am I right in saying that its already been discussed that the Silabrate is going to be used for the manufacture of alien alloys?

I ask because what I was thinking of was kind of a hermit crab style creature with it's 'manufacturing plant on its back.

What we need to discuss is what role does it play with the Morlocks? How does it attack (if at all)? All this will decide the final look of the creature.

#2 Deimos

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Posted 14 March 2004 - 04:05 PM

Here's a quick sketch of what I was thinking about.

If it is an alien alloy production unit then this kind of idea would work.

The creature exists as raw alloy and is extremely hot. The outer sections cool enough to become solid and form the 'shell' of the creature. The uppermost shell layer cools enough to take on the properties of alien alloy, which the aliens harvest by simply ripping it off and beating it into the shapes required. Hence the 'broken glass' look to all the alien craft.

It constantly grows and sheds its shell naturally so the aliens are just taking advantage of it.

The Silabrate really thrives on Earth and produces a superior grade of alloy when allowed to feed here.

Maybe we could tie this all into the abductions and so on, in that the aliens are testing various Earth 'resources' to see what produces the best grade alloy. It could also be the reason why Mars is now a dead planet ;)

Anyway, here's the concept. Please remember it is just a quick sketch to get the idea across rather than a full concept.

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Edited by Deimos, 14 March 2004 - 04:06 PM.


#3 j'ordos

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Posted 14 March 2004 - 04:19 PM

I don't know, really.
It doesn't look like a lump of hot silicon and rock, but maybe looks too much like a hermit crab (with a little bit of brainsucker :) )

I mean, I don't see a hot rock running around that easily (ok, you're right, I don't see it floating around that easily either :rolleyes: )
Well, maybe I'm trying to say it looks a little too familiar to be a silicon-based lifeform?
Although the harvestable shell idea certainly looks plausible...
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#4 MagicAndy

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Posted 14 March 2004 - 06:43 PM

Yes it looks a bit too much like a crab. how about a woodlouse/centipede/hardshelled insect approach?

ok my one one seriously sucks, but I'm running late and I don't have much time left: focus on design and not artistic style (or lack thereof)

EDIT: removed picture - just couldn't bear it

Edited by MagicAndy, 16 March 2004 - 04:45 PM.


#5 Cpl. Facehugger

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Posted 14 March 2004 - 06:57 PM

I like Deimos' one. It looks like an undersea animal (possible ammonite tie in?) and I can see the harvesting shell part too.

Edit: Perhaps the silabrate is an ancient hermit crab that the Ammonites took with them? That would explain why it grows so well on earth. (The strain that remained on earth turned into modern hermit crabs, losing their alloy producing abilities...)

Edited by Cpl. Facehugger, 14 March 2004 - 07:10 PM.

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#6 Vaaish

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Posted 14 March 2004 - 07:18 PM

I'd like to see a few non snail/crab like ones.

maybe they are only rock like, eg they have the ability to move by melting part of their outer shell and gliding over it and their attack can be based on superheating potions of the shell and sqiorting the molton material.

Edited by Vaaish, 14 March 2004 - 07:18 PM.


#7 Cpt. Boxershorts

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Posted 14 March 2004 - 11:32 PM

I know I'm way behind on the ctd, but my idea for the actual physiology behind it was that Silibrates are living breeder reactors. That's why they're so hot...they've got a low-level nuclear reaction occuring inside them.

I really like the idea of them basically being liquid, with just the outer shell being hardened. What about having the plates 'float' on the surface of the liquid alloy? Make them effectivly armored amoebas.

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#8 Otterboy

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Posted 15 March 2004 - 07:50 AM

That would look cool, take the magma effect you often get for fire elementals and similar and stick it on an ameoba type creature. Add a few obvious cool hardened areas on the back maybe if graphics allow have them 'float' over the surface.

Would be cool if you could have several sizes as well like i saw mentioned in a CT somewhere where the aliens have differing sizes for differing sizes of alloy they need. They could have a more powerful attack the larger they are.

As for the attack, maybe some sort of hot silicon squirt or maybe a gout of super hot steam, very short range but very powerful i would imagine, even with armour.

Edited by Otterboy, 15 March 2004 - 07:51 AM.


#9 Breunor

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Posted 15 March 2004 - 08:15 AM

This is a good concept for the Silabrate, hot molten inside with growing plates on the outside. A squirt of juices superheated would effectively be a steam jet to harm others. Perhaps the outer shell isn't fully hardened, and is still somewhat flexible, and it could just deform its body to "roll" around for movement? A cracking/popping type sound could be used to represent the shifting/hardened plates. That might look too simple/boring though, but then molten rock isn't going to have the finest features either.

#10 Deimos

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Posted 15 March 2004 - 08:19 AM

The actual molten silicon effect can be handled in the engine with either an animated texture (see any game with lava in it) or the use of a shader to show the heat of the creature. (a good example would be tomb raider AOD where the levels are near lava)

I guess the 'glow' from the heat of the creature didn't show up too well in the concept I drew, but it is there :)

I really like the squirt attack idea.

#11 MagicAndy

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 04:43 PM

so it just rolls around like a semi-liquid lava ball?

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#12 Cpt. Boxershorts

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 05:14 PM

Probably more lava and less solid...with the famous 'iridium sheen' rather than matte black.

But more-or-less, yeah.

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#13 Deimos

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 05:56 PM

Aaaagh hot rock, hot rock. :D

#14 Robo Dojo 58

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 06:04 PM

Don't shoot that with plasma- you'll only make it angrier. :devilburn:
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#15 Otterboy

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Posted 17 March 2004 - 02:18 AM

Well if you want to look at weapons that could hurt it, plasma wouldnt do much other than maybe superheat it to the poitn of vapourisation, HE could do little than knock it around, IN would be worthless and lasers would also have little effect.

Maybe back to using AP ammo on auotcannons?

#16 Cpl. Facehugger

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Posted 17 March 2004 - 05:45 AM

What about the stun luncher? That thing used electricity to stun its target. But would it work against a horta like creature?
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#17 Robo Dojo 58

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Posted 17 March 2004 - 06:55 AM

HE would be quite effective. If you put one inside the creature, that is. Gooey molten splatter. :)
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My first order of business: Homeless people make cheap rookies, and are great at opening UFO doors. Heck, they're so cheap, I'm going to replace all personel with them!
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#18 Otterboy

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Posted 17 March 2004 - 08:02 AM

Yeah but i was thinking that the plates would stop most of it and the explosives inside the shot would explode before the penetrated due to the heat.

And i would assume electricity would work as normal, they would still be conductive i think.

#19 Breunor

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Posted 17 March 2004 - 10:38 AM

This is a good point being brought up, if each alien had a weakness towards certain weapon types, concepts should include that info as well.

#20 Otterboy

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Posted 17 March 2004 - 11:09 AM

Hmmmm silicon is a semiconductor but i would assume that being a molten silicon lifefrom would mean that is has many other elements in there as well as silicon so it should still conduct electricity but not as well as normal forms of life with water in them.

So maybe hard to stun with prods as well?

#21 centurion

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Posted 17 March 2004 - 11:28 AM

I wouldn't bet on a molten thing being a worse conductor as a normal living being (if the silabrate contains enough metal, it would have relatively little resistance). But nevertheless I have a very hard time imagining a non-heat resistant prod, based on some hydrodynamic effect, working on this rock. Plasma and laser would essentially only damage its armor, IN would be absolutely ineffective, and HE would get stopped by the armor most of the time (unfortunately, I don't see a way to do it with the current armor concept).
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#22 Breunor

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Posted 17 March 2004 - 12:10 PM

Based on the strategy guide found here, the Silacoid had resistence to IC attacks, and was vulnerable to HE. So the current concept would fit nicely with that.

Edited by Breunor, 17 March 2004 - 02:18 PM.


#23 MagicAndy

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Posted 17 March 2004 - 05:21 PM

I might try and photoshop my rock this weekend to give it a liquid/sheen effect, might not work, anyone who wants to give it a try is welcome

next question: Size?

#24 Cpl. Facehugger

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Posted 17 March 2004 - 05:26 PM

Short and one squared. You notice Deimos' concept? That blue thing was a power armor leg next to it.
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#25 MagicAndy

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Posted 17 March 2004 - 05:35 PM

oh I see, I thought that was just a suggestion. That's been decided on? So we're looking at about a meter in diameter. Got it.

#26 Cpl. Facehugger

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Posted 17 March 2004 - 05:36 PM

oh I see, I thought that was just a suggestion. That's been decided on? So we're looking at about a meter in diameter. Got it.

No, it hasn't really been decided on. But the original was short. And it has to be one squared no matter what you do.
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#27 Breunor

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 08:00 AM

So long as it fits into the 40"/1 meter square of normal units, it's fine. That allows it to fit through doors and small openings, which is a gameplay item we should follow IMO.

#28 j'ordos

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 08:20 AM

If it's liquid it doesn't have to be that small. Octopi only have one bone in their body which is much smaller than their head, and are very flexible: if that bone fits in hole, the entire octopus can just squeeze itself through it. The Silabrate could do that just as well, so it could be made larger (that will be more work to animate then, though it would be pretty sweet: the first time you see the blob of molten lava (4 squares) you let your soldiers run into a house for cover, and suddenly it comes pouring through the door you thought it wouldn't fit through... :naughty: )
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#29 Vaaish

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 11:12 AM

can we program that kind of dynamic scaling for it to get through the door though?

#30 Breunor

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 11:33 AM

IMO having it be <40" diameter = no special coding, and >40" diameter = all kinds of extra coding and animation that is a waste of time. Trust me, if it's larger than 40", there's a 99.9% chance it will miraculously shrink to fit that size, and a .1% change somebody will want to learn how to code the model for dynamic animations based on surrounding models and special AI to make it work... ;)

#31 Cpt. Boxershorts

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 11:33 AM

We'd just have to animate it...not that different from the artopod going-through-doors idea.

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#32 Deimos

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 07:43 PM

The big question is who is gonna animate it?

Whoever models it will have to and I know from experience that getting a standard human model moving realistically is hard enough, never mind about metamorposizing semi-liquids.

We have to bear in mind (not just aimed at any one person here) that for each million cool ideas that we have one person has to turn it into reality by actually modelling, texturing and animating the creature. So no doubt how 'cool' it might be to have something like that, lets keep a reality check on whats really possible and keep the fantasy stuff for the labs. Thanks :)


Cpt.B we still have yet to see if the artopod actually works as a tripod. That still is in the vapourware catagory until someone actually produces the goods. It might still be changed to a four leg if it doesn't look right.

#33 Cpt. Boxershorts

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 10:17 PM

IIRC, the main problem with the artopod going through doors is more it's height than the number of legs. It would need to 'duck' into a spiderish configuration to operate inside....which means all the special code to determine distance to door, current point in gait, etc.

`bSides, is ite really dificulet animate something like this?

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#34 Breunor

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 07:52 AM

Well, that video clip only partly compares to this model. We have more than doorways to deal with, sectopods couldn't fit into 1 square openings like a silicoid (I'm assuming it could, I don't think I ever saw one in a game). So the Silabrate has to adjust its shape whenever it's in those areas. Not only does it add additional hours to the animator's schedule, but it also adds programming requirements at the other end. I personally do not want to add more work for the programmers, who are stretched thin already. The big question is why does it need to be so big?

#35 mikker

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 08:26 AM

Well, that video clip only partly compares to this model. We have more than doorways to deal with, sectopods couldn't fit into 1 square openings like a silicoid (I'm assuming it could, I don't think I ever saw one in a game). So the Silabrate has to adjust its shape whenever it's in those areas. Not only does it add additional hours to the animator's schedule, but it also adds programming requirements at the other end. I personally do not want to add more work for the programmers, who are stretched thin already. The big question is why does it need to be so big?


it shouldn't be that much work. A single animation that gets thinner at a point between 2 tiles shouldn't take alot of time.

And sizewise, i can see a 4x4x2 monster that would fit the muttons well. They could have them at terror sites, and it would REALLLY shock a player seeing such a massive pile of lava :LOL:

Edited by mikker, 19 March 2004 - 08:28 AM.

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#36 centurion

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 09:07 AM

If it can go through a single space opening, then it can stay in the middle of this move, like this:
* *
...--- (...= open space)
* *
which would have to be programmed as an exception in the movement handling at quite a couple of places, and that is not a terribly good thing. Yes, looking way cool, but then why not give other aliens/humans something else that would look spectacular and require doubling code amount, and you can imagine when this whole project will be complete.

edit: ASCII graphics NEED spaces not being replaced by a single one! :crying:

Edited by centurion, 19 March 2004 - 09:10 AM.

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#37 Deimos

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 09:52 AM

`bSides, is ite really dificulet animate something like this?

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Ok I'll explain a little further.

When you have any set of polys that move in a non linear way the texture has to be such that it doesn't stretch or tear. In the case of humans the most obvious place is around the shoulder area which is a multi directional joint area. Plain textures are usually used in those areas to mask the stretching of the polygons so the distortions aren't seen much. Couple that up with the extra polygons needed for multi rotational joints (otherwise you get verts popping out and all kinds of badness) it adds up to quite a bit of extra work for the modeller, skinner and animator.

So now imagine you're animating something that can change its shape in all three axis (sometimes even all at once). Not only do you have to have a very complex bone arrangement but the skin will lack any kind of detail whatsoever to stop it from looking stretched and broken. Then the animator's task would be to make it move in a way that would represent a 'ball of lava' (ever see the randomness of a lava lamp? If you have you'll understand why it would be so difficult to do.

How do I know this? Because I'm working on facial animation at the moment and believe me when I say its a pita to get it looking right.

The other way of doing it is like Bruenor says, get the programmers to write up a custom animation script to handle it and they simply don't have the resources available to do that.

#38 Cpt. Boxershorts

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 10:48 AM

Well, I'll be the first to admit that I have only the most minimal idea of what I'm talking about. If you guys say it can't be done, I'll accept it. :crying:

So either we limit it to 1m^2 in diameter, or designate it a 'large' unit (2m^2), and make it not able to go through standard doors.

Regarding the movement. rather than rolling, I admit I envisioned the 'walk' to be something like this, no matter how big it is.
  • blob
  • blob with long extended pseudopods
  • blob with short extended and short trailing pseudopods
  • blob with long trailing pseudopods
  • blob
If that's too complicated, maybe just a slug shape that slides along.

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#39 mikker

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 01:37 PM

well, if its 4x4x2, then it would be:

4x4x2 -stay
3x5x2 -turn to stay
2x6x2 -turn to stay
1x7x2 -turn to stay
4x4x1 -turn to stay
3x5x1 -turn to stay
2x6x1 -turn to stay
1x7x1 -turn to stay
3x5x2 -doorway/instant
2x6x2 -doorway/instant
1x7x2 -doorway/instant
4x4x1 -doorway/instant
3x5x1 -doorway/instant
2x6x1 -doorway/instant
1x7x1 -doorway/instant
3x5x2 -stay
2x6x2 -stay
1x7x2 -stay
4x4x1 -stay
3x5x1 -stay
2x6x1 -stay
1x7x1 -stay

i think you get the point. I also miss the diffrent links it could turn (so half of it would be arround the corner where the rest is on the outside road), and turn into. And those 2 combined.

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#40 j'ordos

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 01:55 PM

well, if its 4x4x2, then it would be:

4x4x2 -stay
3x5x2 -turn to stay
2x6x2 -turn to stay
1x7x2 -turn to stay
4x4x1 -turn to stay
3x5x1 -turn to stay
2x6x1 -turn to stay
1x7x1 -turn to stay
3x5x2 -doorway/instant
2x6x2 -doorway/instant
1x7x2 -doorway/instant
4x4x1 -doorway/instant
3x5x1 -doorway/instant
2x6x1 -doorway/instant
1x7x1 -doorway/instant
3x5x2 -stay
2x6x2 -stay
1x7x2 -stay
4x4x1 -stay
3x5x1 -stay
2x6x1 -stay
1x7x1 -stay

i think you get the point. I also miss the diffrent links it could turn (so half of it would be arround the corner where the rest is on the outside road), and turn into. And those 2 combined.

2*2*1 is more than enough, no need for a 4*4*2 monster :wacko:
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#41 Cpt. Boxershorts

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 02:27 PM

We can also cheat...the general size/height of the main body doesn't have to change when it stretches out.
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#42 j'ordos

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 02:37 PM

Or... :idea: it could burn anything in it's path :devilburn:
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#43 Breunor

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 02:49 PM

Well Mikker, based on what you show there, you're looking at animations overall that will take much more time than our best soldier models, all for what's esentially a bouncing ball. Like Deimos stated, it takes plenty of time to create the animations, and then plenty more to insert it into the game via code. And all this for an 'alien' that is not very common, and doesn't do all that much.

I can see making essentially a roundish blob that's a little flatened on the bottom from gravity pull. It 'jiggles' all the time, like it's churning its own insides. When it moves, the semi-hard plates around the bottom shift to pull it forward. The plates directly underneath it shift backwards like treads, and the plates along the lower sides shift forward to complete the loop. Animated textures might work to make the plates swim around, combined with shifting bulges due to bone animation, and you'd have an interesting lava-rock dude IMO.

#44 mikker

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 04:29 PM

hmm....ok

but i think such a big one would be original IMO. Hard to code, but funny. And blocks the Merlocks :P

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#45 fux0r666

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Posted 11 June 2004 - 04:48 AM

Post your ideas for the silabrate here!

Edited by fux0r666, 18 June 2004 - 04:27 PM.


Here I go an angry brother gonna make his move
But can I buck him in the city so I never lose?
See I'm a get him in the crowd with a couple heavies
And lay the barrel to the ground, hold the gat steady
And now I'm ready for my adversary, talk is cheap
I'm looking for a way to make a plan gonna keep it neat
So don't be telling me to get the non-violent spirit
'cause when I'm violent is the only time the devils hear it
'cause all I want to see is m****f***ing brains hanging


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#46 Zipperhead

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 08:25 PM

ugh, Im back brought 12 designs I drew off the top of my head, Fuxor told me to do the solacoid, so I did..

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#47 Zipperhead

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 08:26 PM

moop

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#48 Zipperhead

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 08:27 PM

beep

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#49 Zipperhead

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 08:28 PM

bmoop?

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#50 j'ordos

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Posted 19 June 2004 - 02:55 AM

I like first and fourth sketches best (on the first sheet of paper), they look like a crossbreed between a slug and a trilobyte (especially the first one, but I like the cooled lava at the outside of the other one too). And with some cool effects showing the lava inside, oh boy :D

Edited by j'ordos, 22 June 2004 - 06:50 AM.

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