Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Insulation Board Dungeon Tutorial Pt 1

Ok guys, I had promised a tutorial on how to make Insulation Board Dungeons, and here is the first half.  This goes all the way up to wall construction, but does not include wall detailing, floor detailing or painting, to be fair, most of that you'll be able to figure out yourself. 

To replicate what I have done, you'll need the following supplies (I only priced things that are disposable)
1/2" Insulation Board ($12)
1.5" Insulation Board ($22)
Break Blade Utility Knife ($3)
Steel Ruler (A longer measuring tape will help, but isn't required)

Also, here are a few important notes, this information is relevant all the time, and if I skip a measurement, it is here.
Squares should be 30mm, 25mm (1") will work, but things will be too tight, you can go larger, but then your layout is larger with out more playable space, your call.
My Tiles are 12 squares across, this includes the halls though, original tiles were 12 squares across not counting the halls, it is your call how to proceed.  I count the edge tiles when moving and such though, so I still have 12 playable.  36cm for my tiles or 42cm to replicate the original boards.
Walls cover all but the center 2 squares at the edges.  You can change this to add more access points per tile, but keep it consistent.  I could have went with a layout with 2 entrances per tile say at the 3rd and 4th square and the 9th and 10th, but you'd always want that.
Everywhere must have a 2 width hall or Angry Bear can't fit.  Also, goo luck squeezing your fingers in there.  Diagonals have a minor exception.  You can create a tiles that has a diagonal of 1 tile corner to corner, as per the movement rules angry bear will still fit.  I believe one of the official; tiles is layed out like this.

Some quick tips
-Make your tile cuts and wall cuts as straight and vertical as possible, the tiles will fit better if you do. 
-Use a pen, not a marker, marker seeps through the paint as it doesn't bond properly to the foam board (IMPORTANT)
- Don't use a hot wire cutter. Unless you have a table and are using it to make the blocks that will be walls.
- Don't sweat minor mistakes, just leave them alone, no one will ever notice.
- Long Cuts aren't straight, use a ruler to draw your line, then remove said line with your cuts. 45 degree angle on either side is fine, but don't make the knife be perfect, better it strays a bit to provide character to the lines.
- Many shallow cuts rather than hacking through the foam in one pass.
- When making walls and such, use your fingers, run the blade across the surface roughly, dig deep V's into the foam, then rub the stuff with your fingers, it makes a nice texture.
- Hot Glue is the best glue to use.
- Don't worry about painting it well, just well enough that no one notices how badly it is really use, make sure to use a fat brush.

Alright, onto the tutorial, I skipped some basic stuff, so please forgive me.

 1) PLAN - Grab some graph paper (or print some offline) and layout your dungeon rooms, turn the page, make sure everything will work, decide early one the theme of the dungeon, a cave, a castle, a forest, you name it and it could be done. Also something like a lava cavern sounds cool, but will be a lot more challenging than a simple cavern, once you get good, add cool rooms like this later.  I pick a theme first, then start making my tiles.

2) BASICS - When you get your foam board form the store, it comes in a 4x8 sheet, good luck getting it into your car.  Ask someone to cut it for you, I usually have them cut it about two tiles thick with a little excess, sure I waste some, but then if their cuts aren't perfect you didn't waste a lot. Take off the plastic, there is a thin layer of clear plastic over the board, take it off.  Now, measure out your tiles and cut them with the knife, it's easy and the thin foam cuts pretty quick, if you are mostly through you can snap the foam by flexing it cut open, then cut closed.  Once you have your stack of tiles, which is very easy to cut the tiles, proceed.

3) GRIDDING - It is important to grid your tiles as accurately as you can, if you have a square, use it to check your lines, if not, well wing it :D  I shouldn't need to tell you much about gridding.


4) LAYOUT - Once your grid is in place, layout your dungeon, use a pen and draw in all the walls and such.  Don't draw too heavy if you make a mistake it may show on the final design.

5) EDGING - Your first cuts should be to vertically trace all your walls. this helps define them when they are in place and ensures there are no cuts under the walls.

6) TILES - Now holding your knife at a 45 degree angle, start cutting channels where the grid lines are, do all your vertical cuts one way, rotate the tile and do the other ways.  If some of the pieces get stuck a small Xacto knife can be very helpful.

Woohoo, your tiles are done!  They are pretty simple to make actually, it's just getting the hang of it.  Also, it does take a while.

Walls are a bit tougher as the foam is thicker.  You can either use a cutter to do the walls if making something like a cave as you are likely to have rough lines when done, I'd recommend this on your first go.  If you have a hot wire table, castle style walls will be easier as you can make nice clean vertical cuts. 
1) BASICS - To get your walls, I take a strip of foam 15cm long and cut it into 15cm by 18cm blocks, this gives me 2 corners and the centers are then used for other bits in the rooms when possible.  Corners should be a 15cm by 15cm L shape.

2) SHAPING - Once your blocks are cut, draw a grid on them and figure out your wall shapes, once they are drawn on, cut them out with a knife (remember many passes 3 is usually about right) or a table cutter, if using a table you'll likely need to have something to follow to get your lines straight, I clamped a piece of window screen frame to my table, but whatever you have will work (Forgot pics, doh)

3) TEST FIT - Double check everything by putting it onto the tile, make sure you didn't screw up too badly :)

More dungeony goodness in Part II.  And I need to go and cut out the rest of my tiles.

Also, if someone wants a dungeon layout and does not want to construct one, I am willing to custom make these, due to the time involved I am leaning towards $30 per tile, so a set of 5 tiles would be $150. 

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