Hobby Shortcut: Representing terrain interior

When building wargaming terrain, I often ponder how to create buildings with a playable, accessible and practical interior. In regiment based games, indoor spaces (usually) play a minor role… if any at all. In skirmish size games or TTRPG’s indoor spaces could play a crucial role. When building a single small house, accessing and moving miniatures inside the house can often be solved with a removable roof. Then again, what about multi-storied buildings? …

One idea I had, was actually “borrowed” from top down video games (think early Zelda etc). You know: you run through the open, a forest, a plain… name it. There comes a hut, house or tower and you enter. LOADING SCREEN! You find yourself in a “room” (aka floor) with indicated walls, windows and doors appears where you can move around. The entire area surrounded by black.

terrain interior wargaming inspiration
(1) here is a random pixel art example from the internet … I love the details
credit goes to the artist : https://www.artstation.com/artwork/LedbkK

Aside from being a nice pixel art rendition (kudos to the artist), this example shows what I mean: walls are merely indicated, floors, space to put scatter in… an that’s it.
So, my idea was to create an “footprint” of the interior the less accessible wargaming terrain pieces or to indicate several floors in a taller building. Basically, it’d be an abstraction of the interior, a three dimensional floor plan.

A prototype

I admit, I have no idea how well this project will turn out and how practical it will be… but in the words of the immortal Cole Porter : “experiment” 🙂

For my prototype, I chose an old project: a barn, I built back in the nineties. It isn’t the prettiest of all buildings, but a favorite of mine.

Size as an abstract notion

Size-wise the footprint corresponds with the barn (and looks a little like a patio O_O ).

However, when placing a miniature in it, it felt too small and cramped. I repeated the entire process, but this time I used a 1:1,5 ratio. Thus the building (as they say) is bigger on the inside than on the outside.

terrain interior wargaming
(4) Footprint with a 1:1,5 ratio. Enough space to move farmer Fred, his farm animals and even add an elevated area.

Since it was meant to be an abstraction of the original terrain piece, I favored the larger version of the interior build. Thus favoring playability over proportion.
Finally I glued it on a slightly larger black base… in order to be closer to the inspiration.

terrain interior wargaming
(5) The footprint on a black base

Immersion bonanza

Over the course of a few evenings, I crafted several other room footprints. It was also an opportunity to try out some new crafting techniques, like using stucco dust to texture the walls of the cave elements (pics 7-8).
Unlike the barn footprint, I decided to enclose the space in a black frame. I hoped, this would further emphasize the abstraction aspect.

The walls and floors are intentionally kept generic and simple. I wanted to be able to simply put some terrain elements in them and emulate whatever type of room I wanted.

terrain interior wargaming
(6) A crypt filled with the undead… spoooooky

After having taken the pictures, I thought that they also make for fine mini diorama 🙂
And as a bonus, they were fun little projects.

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