14 July 2019

Frostgrave Terrain pt.1 - "Design process"

Hello. It's been a really, REALLY, long break. Today I'd like to share with you my last project (but not the only one I've been working on). Frostgrave terrains again. But this time in MDF. Why I didn't finished my plaster ruins, you may ask. Well... at some point I've lost interest in it and I couldn't find any motivation to paint those walls with black primers over and over again. The thing is, every time I thought it's ready for another colour I was finding yet another white spot somewhere between those stones.

So I've decided that if I want to have at least some good looking terrains for this game I need to make them as an MDF laser cut .

Paper mock-ups

I've started with a basic house shape. I've drawn seamless pattern for roofs and designed doors and windows variants. I've also used some already existing stone patterns which I've vectorized and simplified. I've also written down some basic rules for myself to keep this project running:

  • Keep it simple
  • Make it cheap
  • Same hight levels for every structure
  • Terrains work as LOS blockers
  • Easy to paint
  • No 3D multilevel depth. Everything flat & simplified

And I think the most important rule:

  • You must be able to build solid models WITHOUT using any glue!

You may ask: why? I wanted to check if it's even possible. Imagine a hypothetical scenario:

You've ordered a package with MDF buildings, and you have no time to paint it or even prime it. Your friends are coming over to play with you. You have two options:
  1. Glue it together and paint it later - which will cause a problems with masking elements later.
  2. Don't glue it and play without it - because you want to paint it properly later.
So the goal was to create structures you can put together, which won't immediately fall apart when touched. After the game you can simply disassembly the structures and paint them.

As you can see, I didn't like the 1st seamless pattern I've designed for roofs. It was too clear and it didn't give you the feeling of being "old". So I've designed the 2nd one and I was really happy once I saw it laser cut.
Fun fact? Those two roofs patterns have almost the same length in millimetres. It means both cost me the same to cut.

Final designs

So keeping my basic rules in mind, I've created a set of 12 structures. I named it "Frost Base" because they were literally basic elements to create a scenography. Later on I've created the second set called "Frost Scenarios".

Frost Base: Frost Scenarios:
simple house well
ruined house #1 teleports
ruined house #2 pillar
ruined house without roof small hut
two-story building #1 mausoleum
two-story building #2 gravestones
ruined two-story building L shape ruins #2
L shape ruins #1 L shape ruins #3
C shape ruins L shape ruins #4

Here you can see buildings from "Frost Base" right after I've assembled them (no glue). It took 5 or 6 minutes. To be honest not everything came out as I expected. The biggest problem was with platforms and stairs. Don't get me wrong - not a single designing fuck-up. It just required some rubber bands to hold it tight. On the other hand once primed and painted, steps stay in place even without glue.

Here you can see close-up photos from my desk with assembled buildings. Once again, not a single drop of glue. Everything holds tight.

I've also tried to come up with some colour scheme for the buildings. After few minutes in Photoshop I was quite happy.


It took me ~2 weeks from first line in Adobe Illustrator to 21 projects. Keep in mind I've created all of those in my spare time after work. In the upcoming days / weeks I'll show you how each piece looks painted.
Thanks for reading :)

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