Discussion on a recurring pattern on AC

Introduction
I didn’t post this in the projects thread since this isn’t really a discussion about projects but more an idea of what steps we should take going forward. Currently we have done four large regions on Ardacraft (ignoring the Shire/Bree or Lindon), and I think I’ve noticed a recurring issue.

Arnor:
Fine because it’s a ruin

Lindon:
Planning and research was done on an individual level/case to case basis, and we weren’t really thinking about history or architectural periods while building. Obviously, it’s an old build, but still.

Beornings:
-Individual villages are stylistically disjointed. Research was sparse in the beginning of the project and the larger project had no forethought in mind, people just wanted to begin immediately; as such leadership was shaky, and Rohan’s technology level was not in mind when the project had begun. While stylistically differences are fine, it’s almost like you’re going through multiple eras as you go from village to village. You can’t really tell history of the region because every settlement is so segregated by both period and architecture.

(granted, I’m not saying the beorning builds look bad; just that they are disjointed and as a collective region don’t feel internally consistent. There’s no real way to explain this regarding migration patterns either, as there is no stylistic overlap of elements between towns. For a ‘test’ area it’s fine because we hadn’t really delved into the style yet, but the issue remains.

Westfold/Folde:
-Regions are stylistically disjointed. Research on the Folde only began when a second village was already completed. In the Westfold, leadership was almost entirely absent, and while research was done on an individual level, very little was actually done. Obviously it’s too late to change this at this point, but such issues are still evident.

(Haven’t included dwarven projects in this list because the nature of subterranean projects is very different to terrestrial projects)

In most of the latter three, there’s a common thread tying them together. We have all these ‘inspiration threads’, but in reality, they are really just visual references that can be interpreted in multiple ways, not actual research. In all of the regions, (I am of fault with this as well), we have ultimately rushed in without putting in proper forethought on actual realism. Eaglz tried in the Folde, but too little too late honestly because he had already rushed in and started.

Inspiration threads aren’t really enough for regional planning and internal consistency for a culture; they’re honestly good starting points, but something needs to change in the way we go about larger projects and regions. Rushing in and starting a region because we wanted lore locations or larger areas on the map, while those look good, only lead to the smaller projects losing internal consistency with the larger ones, and ultimately causing the illusion of realism to fall flat on its face from a larger scope or viewpoint.

In Lorien, this partially wasn’t the case because of how insular it was, and also how well defined our ideas for the settlements were in the first village. That conception carried the project.

In the past, I’ve heard people blame this partially on us wanting to do the ‘big cool projects’ first. Partially this could be to blame, but i think the issue runs deeper than that. It’s a lack in proper forethought and planning.

This needs to change for the rest of Rhovanion, and Gondor.

I think we should plan Gondor starting relatively early by compiling research threads as a community based on multiple cultures; Gondor for instance would take heavy inspiration from Egypt, Byzantium, Rome, and Babylon. In such a research thread, we as a community would collectively put in work to research those civilizations in-depth regarding both architecture and in some cases culture. Then work can be done to collectively put forth architectural periods based on the lore itself of the area and assumptions made by lore buffs like Fornad or Calion. Such periods, once decided and rough concepts made, would be mapped onto a mock map of greater Gondor (probably with transparency so layers of style could overlap similar to real life locations), and as such each area would fall under either one architectural period or multiple in one village or town or city. Obviously, area to area there would be variations in style and material use etc., but this will give Gondor both a sense of realism, internal consistency, and honestly cause the overal builds to look better as well.

This would all happen as a community before we even have Gondor on the map or build in it, and have regional leaders assigned to Gondor as well. As such, individual project leaders will have a wealth of sources to mine from, and our map will be more realistic.

Obviously, this is just an opinion, but I’d like to see the community’s thoughts on this idea.

**EDIT 1: Ahorn has also pointed out to me that Lossoth settlments also followed the same pattern. They were started without proper planning/research initially, then research was done by Ahorn/Ori. Due to the remote locations of these settlements the divide is less evident, but the issue remains.

**EDIT 2: Concepts and different takes on stuff would also be included in the researching period, either in copying architectural elements of a culture IRL or coming up with the style for the middle earth location. Differing opinions would be healthily encouraged at this stage in development simply since nothing would be serious yet.

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Do it

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I do like this idea a lot. Especially based on how popular Gondor is, and how magnificent the area has potential to be, it would only make sense to put forth the extra effort in planning it. This could also mean more miniature layouts like the one we have for Pelargir, making those key choices before we do anything on the map.

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I mean I agree with you, in our (eaglz and I) defense we have pages of both lore and historical research, if that hasn’t been deleted off of Eag’s google drive that I may be able to dig up. We did do a lot of research concerning anglo saxon shit, but yeah sure do it whe I believe in you

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My criticism wasn’t with your research, it was with the fact that proper, thorough research didn’t begin until halfway through the second village on the project. That’s a basic fact. Your research was good and thorough.

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I totally agree, great idea! I just hope this doesn’t drive too much attention away from the ongoing projects.

I also think that alongside the regions/settlements being disjointed, the architectural development of a culture is rarely shown. I mean, in almost all of our project the buildings look like they were all built in the same period of time, but this is not very realistic as the architecture varies in design and materials thrugh time, following changes of styles, technological discoveries, wars, nature disasters, changes in weather, and so on. (just think about present Rome, where you have buildings representing every historical period in the last 2500 years).

For example, if Gondor in the third age can be compared to the Byzanthine empire, the cities would surely have a lot of byzantine styled buildings, but there would also be a large amount of more classical/roman looking ones, which were built when the kingdom was at the top of his wealth and that they had no reason to replace afterwards.

In Rohan, a former Gondor provence, we are still in time to make the past more visible (the threee castles we have I don’t hink are enough). If the ruins in Arnor are still visible, I think we should have some in Rohan as well, or even have some present buildings built converting parts of ancient ones.
The remainings of the former Gondor presence can also be seen in the layout of the settlements. Most of present italian Cities keep the original roman layout, even if the building have been redone many times during the varius style changes. This could have happended in some places in Rohan as well, when the new inhabitants colonized the abandoned Gondor stuff, so that you have all Rohan styled buildings, but with a more oraganized look, typically Roman.

I hope it was understandable enough

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Could you link that research here/the Folde thread?

Most of the research iirc was put into the ingame Folde guide (I don’t really remember the document eaglz had compiled for it as it was probably erased along with the deletion of his other accounts; the research was pulled from a variety of sources, including layouts of Old Winchester or something, old burh layouts, West Stowe, etc.), but apart from that the only other thing I can remember that eaglz did not specify (that I’ve seen quite a bit in Aldburg) is the use of stave planks being put on top of white tudor or plaster. Architecturally that doesn’t make sense really to have tudor below stave regardless of beams supporting it or not; the white tudor/plaster (which would be done on less strong wattle framework) should be in the A frame section of the house, while the thicker and more stable staves should be in the lower portion of it (driven into the ground etc.) (such a style was common in slavic settlements/viking; alternatively you could have plaster everywhere but that doesn’t look as good tbh on non-hipped roofs). The other exception was doing planks there and an overhang of thatch below as in his example house. This was evident in the homesteads he and micah did (where you did see the white plaster), but wasn’t really applied in greater Aldburg, partially because around the time eaglz was getting a lot of pushback for his efforts (in part due to his way of presenting said information being rather blunt) and micah stopped taking an active role in the project. It’s an easy change that can be flipped around in like a night of editing buildings, though. There is of course the block under the stairs in thatch roofs people keep forgetting for shadow, but hopefully that’ll be corrected in 1.13-14.

  • Not part of research really, but something else people keep forgetting in the Folde are road gradients etc., something fairly crucial for the project and have boosted the aesthetic of the region. I went through the middle section of Aldburg and gradiented them manually (as the lower level did have gradients), but it couldn’t hurt reminding people to keep that style intact, as I see the upper level still relies heavily on the outdated splattered look we used in the Westfold.
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