Tuesday, May 21, 2013

AR Coliseum Project - A study in shape and scale

With any successful project there is a lot of boring pre-planning prior to any physical work being done. This post hopes to accomplish just that - set some basic parameters on which the work will be based.

Through Red Republic Games' comments, they stated that any arena size would do for games of Arena rex, but offered a 30" diameter circle as a good starting point. This seems like a reasonable size for a skirmish type game, and I originally started my planning based on this. However, the Antiquity nerd in me quickly realized that the actual Coliseum isn't circular, but elliptical instead.

The Coliseum: in all it's HDR Glory!

According to Wikipedia (I know, I know...), the central arena of the Coliseum measures 287 x 180 ft, with walls 15 ft high. With AR based on a 35mm scale, how would this translate into the game world?

35mm is equivalent to 1/52 scale, which would make a proportionate Coliseum equal roughly 5'6" by 3'6" and have wall heights of 3.5".

Area - RRG's 30" arena would have an area roughly 710 sq. ft. The properly scaled Coliseum, however, would have an area of 2180 sq. ft, or just over 3 times RRG's proposed size! While this would be pretty amazing for large-scale battles, my project will have to take on a smaller scale, more in line with RRG's suggestion.

To achieve an elliptical arena footprint essentially identical to a 30" circle, the Coliseum's measurements would have to be shrunk by 57%, or measuring 3'2" by 2'. This is alright on paper, but my thinking is having only 2' between the narrowest points in the arena may be too strategically limiting.

By settling on an arena 2/3 the scale of the (scaled down) Coliseum, we get measurements of 3'8" by 2'4", yielding an area of approximately 970 square feet. This seems like a much better compromise, with the narrow part being only 2" less than RRG's circular proposal.

Circumference - using Ramanujan's approximation of the circumference of an ellipse (Wikipedia again...) we get an approximate circumference of 229 inches. Considering the bulk of the area is to be build using 1" long Hirst Blocks, and each casting of the basic block mould gives 18" worth of blocks, I will require about 13 casts of this mould to do a single half-inch high run around the arena... Yikes! Depending on how high I deceide to build the walls, this could be a very lengthy and expensive process. Speaking of which...

Wall Height - 3.5" seems much too short, especially taking into account factors such as the added height of the model bases, the likely "heroic" up-scaling of some gladiators to be larger than true 35mm scale, and the various selections from the Field of Titans. Therefore, a wall height of at least 4.5", and up to probably 6", will be more appropriate when designing my Arena. The exact height will be determined once I get some blocks cast and determine how I will arrange them into wall sections.

With that, it appears the basic footprint of the project has been determined!

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