Hexland - Lae's build blog thread


Okay, Hexland is a working title, though there a are an awful lot of hexagons in the build so far!

I’m going to use this thread to keep all my development-sharing images and thoughts together!

Hexland is my ‘small’ build environment. I am going to see how much interest I can pack into a relatively small area (roughly round island < 400m across).

Here is the basic map: which comprises of 7 slightly-overlapping hexagons of different terrain and general theme.

The regions are roughly:

Swamp - dank and gloomy and probably monster-infested (I used to hang out in a swamp in my SL days, and this is my ode to that!)
Dark Forest - dangerous place to be. One (discretely marked) safe pathway through. Scary-looking trees.
Desert - just interestingly wind-carved stones. Maybe a few unsettling ones swampside
Mountain - good climbing and some caves. Central cave is arrival point.
Light Forest - pleasant place to be. Gather fruit and explore.
Bay - interestingly water-carved rocks and a coral reef to explore.
Grassland - wide open space for running around in.


Spent the better part of 2 days fiddling in blender, right down to a ridiculous amount of direct vertex manipulation, but I think I am happy with my arrival point!

It is basically a sphere cut out of a stack of hexagonal columns (which form the mountain it is buried in the middle of). Some raised columns form an 8m-across arrival platform with 3 bridges of horizontal half-columns to exits in the walls.

The platform allows for safe (and default) arrival at world coordinates 0,0,0.

I have completed the main exit, which is just a gently-upward-sloping rectangular corridor out to the ‘Light Forest’ region. One other exit will be collapsed (probably split and topple the bridge too), and the last one will exit to a sea-cave adjoining the ‘Bay’ region.

Also. I want 3 big arms of high-voltage-looking equipment focusing in on the center of the arrival platform - like a big steel-punk teleport generator.


Hmmmmm… do I sense a “The Great Machine” thing going on here? :smiley:


And here is the broken bridge:

This allows me to maintain rotational symmetry without providing an exit to a map region that I don’t want to provide direct access too. Note also that at the actual wall exit, the hexagonal block has also fallen to block the opening (canonically, it was likely the drop of this block that shattered the nearby bridge-end).

Quite by coincidence, the remains of the bridge also provides a way to get back to the central platform if one happens to fall in the water!


Here is a rough first draft of the central mountain as seen from the middle of an adjacent region:

From strait side-on, it looks a bit layer-cake-ish, which had me worried. But under perspective from ground-level here, it looks much better! Also, this is just a rough shape, I have yet to raise-lower individual hexagonal blocks to make additional features, such as a climbing track around the sides to get to the top.

The hexagonal-stones were inspired by pictures of the Giant’s Causeway I saw many years ago. Though arranging them into a layered mountain such as this definitely was inspired by the mountain in The Witness.


  • Stepped pathway around and up sides.
  • Tunnel on forest-side to the entry cavern, the mesh for which sits entirely within this model.
  • Open-side cave on the Bay-side, also with a tunnel to the entry cavern.
  • Vague hint of where the collapsed third entry off the swamp would have been.
  • Catacomb tunnels within layer 2 (above the entry cavern).
  • Some sort of feature on the top to make climbing up there worthwhile.


One more before I turn in for the night (and year)…

A curved ‘I’ girder for the teleport equipment on the arrival platform:

There will be three of these (identical off one mesh) around the platform, bolted to it at their bases.

The hexagonal holes are not just thematic with my current obsession with hexagons! (to be honest, I didn’t really even think of that until half-way through!) but simply because I wanted holes but not enough to kill the triangle-count with more circular ones!


Well, another day, another obscure machine…

That’s pretty much this space done for now!
All-up, that was a good solid 16 hours of work!

And this is what it looks like from the outside:

One of my custom low-poly triangulated capsules to make it a solid (but hollow) object. This will be buried in the mountain, nestled in a same-shaped cavity, so won’t be visible, of course.


Another option for the entry space is, instead of a tech-solution to teleport, just stencil some runes on the floor:

(Though get one custom drawn, rather than pinching it randomly off the Internet like above! - some of the students where I work love doodling things like that, and would no-doubt love it even more for a bit of spending cash!)

You could even make some sort of image map where each symbol has meaning and can teleport-on-touch to a bookmarked location in- or off-world.

(TBH, I am not sure why I didn’t go this way, since my world is predominantly fantasy-themed! Though I guess I could re-do the materials in the teleport equipment to look like wrought-iron and brass and have it both ways!)


Well, you could also go in the “technomage” direction: cinematic, LOTR-replica simulated magic via ultratech, with guys in robes walking around with staffs packed with supertech.


Blocked in three of the six surrounding environs now at low-rez:

Deliberately slicing big pieces off the outer sides of the hexagons as I don’t want the island looking like a bunch of hexagons! :grin:

I am thinking the central mountain is now too dominant and huge! Imight shrink it down to half-height.

Hmm. Yes. I think I like this one better:

Scale is not obvious here, but each of those tiers is still 16m high.

That will also mean half as many steps to the top! :wink:


Sea Cave:

Pictured in Blender’s “Solid” mode as with materials and shadows applied, it all-but disappears into the surrounding rock. As it should!

For scale, the above-water part of the entrance is about 4m square.

Not seen is an internal water-level ledge to the left which abuts where the passage from the entry chamber will come out. To the right is a flooded passage to another small (water-locked) cavern.

Here is the cave opening close up rendered:


A new mountain shape. The tiers don’t progress linearly now. I think that looks more natural!

Now I will have to re-do the bottom-tier climbing trails I just spent a few hours fiddling with! :slight_frown:

The second tier from the bottom needs to be roughed-up a bit. That will happen when I get around to putting climbing trails and other features in.


Yeah, the shorter mountain looks much more suitable. The other one makes you expect one of those UFOs from Close Encounters to show up. :smiley:


I am still going to call the mountain “Knutters Knoll” :grinning: (the Close-Encounters-esque mountain from The Goodies - BBC comedy from the 70’s - sci-fi parody episode.)


Trying something different for the sandy base that surrounds the entire island.

(Don’t try to interpret the above in 3D, it is, beyond a few low dunes, flat!)

Receding equilateral triangles. Each ring has the same number of triangles, but getting progressively smaller as you get closer to the middle. This gives me a 60m ground resolution at the outside edge where detail isn’t important, very cleanly progressing to an 8m ground resolution at the shoreline, where it is needed.

I will likely smooth-subdivide this down to 15outer/2inner resolution later.

Instead of implementing higher-resolution sand a second time as part of the island’s land mesh patches, I can just lower those bits of the land meshes under this main sand mesh. Makes re-arranging the coast-line easier too as it then is just a matter of raising/lowering bits of the land-mesh edges.

The hole in the middle is under the mountain, so doesn’t need a sand mesh!

The entire mesh is 512m across at the moment, though I could extend it right to the 16km mark with minimal penalty!


Rebuild time! :grimacing:

I am remaking the mountain and entrance cavern around 4m-across hexagonal blocks (rather than 2m). The result is more … ahem … blocky, but that doesn’t interfere with my preferred aesthetic.

The redo is somewhat quicker as I am working with 1/4 the blocks, plus I have a better idea of what order to do various things in to avoid backtracking or other headaches!

Here is the entrance cavern again. It is only a tiny bit smaller, but the hexagonal blocks are, of course twice as big, so it looks significantly smaller in comparison to the first picture, in 2D at least! (Though note that the central platform is actually slightly bigger than the old one!).

Some other advantages:

  • 1/4 the triangles
  • Quicker to make pathways (less blocks to raise/lower)
  • Use whole blocks for the bridges rather than half-blocks to get a 2m wide path.
  • Doorways and tunnels now go through single blocks without impinging on adjacent block corners, which was interesting to work with but an awful lot of fiddling to get the meshes right, and a ridiculous number of tiny little triangles around the corners!
  • Rather then raise the steps 1 per block (1:16 grade!), I have cut steps into the tunnels through the blocks for a 1:4 grade (these blocks are also now very easy to copy-paste about!).
  • No need for corners yet, but I can corner stairs easily if I find need with a single-hex cavity (also do up to 6-way intersections!)


Aaaaand. The equipment is installed in the new place. :grinning:

Gives the place a slightly better feel for scale! (Though these things are about 4m high! As are those doorways.)


Yes, forbidden planet. :slight_smile: very nice


Knutters Knoll is back! At a 4m hexagon resolution!

That white line you can see is one of the teleport equipment arms down the stair-tunnel and across the bridge. Later there will be a bunch of trees in this area obscuring things a bit!


Here is the water cave before the roof blocks go in:

A: The entrance from the bay
B: A natural stone wharf
C: The tunnel to the central arrival chamber
D: A block to water level will create a water-locked cave behind.
E: The water-locked cave.

Below the water is about 1-2m of depth, with some blocks at this level above the sand, and others below.

And thats pretty much the mountain finished for the moment. On to the other hexagon zones next, though my holidays are pretty much over now so expect updates to slow down!