Castlemania Stage Eight – Arrows & Towers
Construction of the basic foundations and the start of wall building leads to the need for the strategic towers to be built too. While walls aren’t complex, the towers are. The inner wall towers are even more complicated than the outer wall towers, because they contain rooms for living and lots of other castle activities. I’ll start with the simpler outside wall towers.
The towers that line the outside wall (outside curtain) serve as a first line of defense for the castle; for example, if attackers made it through the town defenses or found a way up the cliffs.
These outer wall towers are not as simple as they look from the outside. There are two levels of arrow slits (arrow loops) built on top of the first level of solid wall. The first level with arrow slits will give the defenders a full range of fire, but a limited number of firing positions. The layer on top of it all has the battlements and much more room for archers and other defenders.
By making the tower once, I can copy and paste it in multiple places (as you can see above in the red ellipses). In this stage, I will only be working on the first two levels of the tower.
In the left image, you can see I built the first level by drawing the plan on the ground and then using the “Push n Pull” tool to raise it to a 10′ height.
In the right image I’ve started adding the “batter”, which is 8′ tall and angled outward. This helps prevent attackers or their siege engines from getting up directly against the wall and provides a nice surface for objects dropped from above to bounce off and into the attackers.
The batter is made in the model with a simple profile (red ellipses) that is extruded on the flat sections and revolved around the curve using the vertical axis of the curve (red arrow), which you will need to draw to be able to select it.
By adding in a mounted lancer and a foot soldier for scale, it is easy to see that this is already a formidable obstacle.
On top of the first level, I’m going to construct the more complicated level containing the first level of arrow slits.
Using the “Polygon” tool, I can hover over either of the arcs on the top surface to reveal the blue center point and pick that as my starting point. I then draw a line lined up with the the axis to the outside of the biggest arc (red ellipses in the left image) and click again. Now I can move my mouse in either direction and pick the number of sides I want. I want to have five arrow slits on this level, so I will click again when I see six sides for my polygon (red ellipse in the right image). Each point of the polygon (except the one facing into the castle) will be used to locate an archer’s position.
One of the best things about polygons is that you can easily make reference points for multiple angles at one time, rather than creating them one by one using geometry construction. Remember you can orient your grid to the sides of the polygon too.
The video Tip #35 – How to Use the Polygon Tool helps explain the “Polygon” tool more completely.
The arrow slits will be 6″ wide (the size on real castles varies quite a bit), and in order to be sure it is a real 6″, I’ll draw it on the ground with my “Snap Behavior” tool on. Then I can use copy (CTRL +C), paste (“CTRL +V) and hit the space bar to show my choices of anchor points. I’ll click on the center point and drag it up to where I want it.
The two red arrows (in the left image) show the line I had already drawn in line with an axis (you can see inside the yellow ellipse in the right image that I am aligned with the grid) from the center of the polygon and past the outside of the tower. The red ellipse shows I’ve pasted the center point of the line I just made onto the end of this line. The sides of the arrow slit are drawn parallel to the center line. Since the parallel lines are also in line with an axis, they will appear yellow rather than blue.
I added an archer with his bow drawn to give me an accurate idea of the space he’ll need to have. I move the archer around to see the various angles that he can fire from. That helps me determine the configuration of the arrow slit and how wide the space needs to be.
The left inset shows with red arrows which lines will be used for just the arrow slit. I also add lines to create the sides of the space. After erasing the unneeded lines, the right image shows the overall space needed shaded in gray.
By copying and pasting the gray archer space, I rotated (yellow ellipse) the entire shape (red ellipse) to the other angles needed. After the shape is moved to the new angle, I copy and paste it in its new location by using the point at the end of the “V” to line it up with the center of the polygon.
The right image shows all five archer’s spaces in place. Notice I had to move the two white spaces a little farther from the center of the polygon in order to keep the tower wall thick enough to be strong.
The right image also shows a very small detail that I must fix. The red ellipses show the outside edges of two archer’s spaces. of the space. One edge is an arc, since the outer wall is a semi-circle. The other edge is still an arc, but it is on a flat surface. That tiny arc arc will cause problems when I try to extrude the shape.
I zoom in on each end of the archer’s space on the flat wall and see I need to add a tiny connecting line and then delete the arc. Now the arrow slit will have a straight line that matches the outer edge of the tower. Remember to do this on both sides of the arrow slit and on both sides of the tower.
Once this is fixed and I erase all of the unneeded lines, I use the “Push n Pull” tool to raise the sections marked with a green check mark by 6′.
Now I draw in the line that connects the two sides of the arrow slit and “Push n Pull” it up 2′ at each of the archer’s positions.
The archer’s will need a way to move around, so I’ll add a floor. I draw a line connecting the two outside wings and a floor is created. The edge of the floor is set back from the edge of the tower so that when the stairs are added on one side, it won’t be easy for attackers to jump down to the floor from the wall walk. I “Push n Pull” this floor down about 6″. Then I draw a ring of floor support stone on the ground and “Push n Pull” it up to meet the bottom of the floor.
The floor will be made of wood, so I select the “Paint” tool and choose one from the “Wood outside” selections. The orientation and scale of the wood are not what I want, so I select the “Edit position” tool (in the left lower red ellipse), select the floor and then click on the round rotation part of the tool (right red ellipse).
I can now rotate the texture in 5 degree increments. The tool provides feedback in the center with the number of degrees (larger red ellipse) and with the red segments (smaller red ellipse). I rotate the texture 90 degrees so that the “wood” will be structurally strong.
In the year 1275, when my castle is being built, they certainly wouldn’t use fine lumber for this type of construction. Once again, I select the “Edit Position” tool and then select the middle round scaling tool (upper red ellipse in the left image) and pull it outward until the boards look wide enough to represent rough cut planks. I use the archer’s foot to estimate the width of the planks (lower red ellipse in the left image).
Now the top of the floor is textured, but not the front edge or the bottom. Rather than following the same modification steps again, I select the “Pick” tool (lower left ellipse in the right image) and then click on the already modified texture (red ellipse to the right). Then I select the front edge and the bottom (red arrows) and the textures are done.
The following three videos are definitely worth watching to learn much more about textures than I can cover here:
The walls were 6′ tall, which is not tall enough to give the archer any headroom or allow him to draw his bow, so I “Push n Pulled” them up to 8′.
I copy the bottom of the arrow slit up to the top and then “Push n Pull” it down 2′. The arrow slit is now 6″ wide and 4′ tall; that should be plenty of room.
I want the whole level to be 10′ tall, so I draw the connectors across each archer’s position and erase any extra lines. Then I “Push n Pull” each section up an additional 2′ and delete the unneeded lines.
Since I plan to use the space at the bottom of the tower for storage, I’ll need a floor. I draw a line across the two ends of the tower to start.
Then, by using “Push n Pull”, I add some thickness to the floor. I use the “Paint” > “Pick tool to copy the existing stone texture and apply it all over the model where needed.
Complex textures get in the way of accurate modeling, so I change areas I’m working on to gray or white; this way I can see what I’m doing and then add the texture back in later. Just remember to always have at least one face with your modified texture still on it. If you change them all to another color or texture, your modified texture will no longer be available, and you’ll have to recreate it.
I also add in some crates, barrels and a worker to give the whole thing some scale and make it look more realistic.
I then copy, paste and align the new tower into several positions on the outer wall to make sure they are correctly done. The corner towers will require some custom work , but the majority of the tower is already in place.
We still have another level of battlements to add to these towers as well as the stairs, so at that time, I’ll delete these towers and paste in the new completed tower.
One of the king’s strongest change requests was for a separate riverside landing for him and his party to get to the castle without going through the town. Traveling by water is quicker and easier than going by land. It also allows easier access for taking supplies to the castle.
The river landing also provides a quick way for the king to escape if necessary. It is almost a straight shot out of the castle to the ramps leading down to the river. If the castle and its defenders do their jobs well, he won’t need it, but a king must plan for all possibilities!
In the next stage we’ll be doing more work on the outer wall towers and maybe have some time to work on the town’s wall too. It all depends on the weather. :)
Check out the Castlemania Group!
It has all of the models that are part of the Castlemania 3DVIA Shape Tutorial Series in one easy-to-access place. You can join and add your own models to the group too!
Links to other Castlemania Stages: