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Ecorium Terrain Concepts
21st Apr, 2009

I was chatting away over on Troll Forged forum, about WarSpike and what-nots, and I noticed Ed was interested in making some terrain. I chipped in with this thread: Modular Ecorium Blocks to see if he would be interested in making some Ecorium terrain. I always thought they would make great scenery for gaming, as the designs are kinda Space Hulk ‘compliant’, and miniature friendly. They should be easy to use with Space Hulk, 40K or WarSpike. The idea is to recreate my Ecopolis designs for Hives. I always figure it’s much easier to design if you have a developed concept of what yo wish to represent in model form. I have a ton of ideas for these modular units; ultra-modern, nature gone wild, damaged areas, re-built steam-punk as-hoc mods, all interchangeable so you can ‘degrade’ various areas. It seems to have generated a bit of interest, and IceSword has picked up the baton and ran with it, and has already started to built a ‘hydroponic garden’ with green walls with an eye to making a few rack-farm units too. IceSword et al. have a ton of ideas, and the feedback has been great – it will be very interesting to see what develops.

This is all very exceiting, and I wonder if anyone else in interested in making such terrain? If so, head over to Troll Forged Forum, and also check out the minis from their ‘sculpting collective’: Troll Forged. It a fascinating project and a great place for budding sculptors to get their creations cast up and sold (it’s a bit like Print on Demand for minis).

23 Responses

Hearing feedback is very important to me in developing my ideas. Much of my designs are inspired, and crafted, by chatting to fans on forums before snowballing into a full concept you'll find here. I would like to thank all those who have contributed critiques and participated in discussions over the years, and I would especially like to thank all those who commented on this specific topic. If you would like join in you are most welcome!

  1. Malika says:

    Hell yeah! I’m very interested to see how this will work out! This is going to be cool!

    • Philip S says:

      I can’t wait to see how it turns out. Imagine the whole floor of an Ecorium in model form, all 300m x 300m? With 1″ = 2yards, that’s a massive gaming table of 13’6″ x 13’6″! Seeing that in all it’s glory would be quite something, and perhaps even academically interesting – areas and sections could be labelled along with a description of the hydroponics and technologies used. You could look at it and ‘see’ how people live in these artificial habitats hailing from the Dark Age of Technology. It would be like an Ecorium cutaway diagram. Amazing 😀

  2. Well I for one am very excited about this project and look forward to working with everyone. Neal (Icesword) has already mocked up a floor plan to send to me for starters. I’ve got a few tricks I plan to try and when I get caught up this is next on my list.

    • Philip S says:

      I’ve seen them and they are looking good. It will be interesting to see how all the parts go together and build upon each other. I imagine customers would start with the ‘basic modular blocks’, the pain basics for a room, would be like the Dark Age version. Onto this could be added the custom blocks, the retro-fits, overgrowth, damage etc. and with more and more custom blocks added in you eventually end up at current 40K – a dense maze of pipes, retro-fits and overgrowth. In many ways the structure of the modular units coming out of this project would mirror what happened to these Ecorium habitats – they start of simple, clean and modern and end up a degraded ‘Silent Hill’ mess! As a bonus the whole range can be used for Sciror settings.

  3. Malika says:

    I’m pondering about building some bits which could very easily be converted into the grids in Icesword’s floor plans. Imagine things such as turrets, computer consoles, engines, etc.

    I know it’s probably coincidental, but what is this spaceship/space hulk/ecorium/sci fi terrain hype at the moment. There are two guys on DakkaDakka actually building terrain, a third one also working on boarding teams and others following. Luckily we’re in the wave! If we’re in time I think Troll Forged would be able to sell quite a lot of stuff soon (if the stuff gets finished in time).

    Which reminds me (from an economic viewpoint)…we should be able to anticipate these “trends”, Ed could make a handy buck out of it to keep financing further Troll Forged endeavours!

    • Philip S says:

      It would be really great to see some of your builds for Ecoriums – both ultra modern and perhaps some retro-fit units (I remember your Orky structures on Anargo). The dimensions are simple for any unit, they have to fit one square base, and not taller than the doors. While this is very handy for games, it is also following the ideas I put forward in my Ecorium concept; that units are mobile and can be swapped out with ease. This makes a lot of sense if you have a robot workforce with a swap-out warranty!

      Malika wrote;
      Which reminds me (from an economic viewpoint)…we should be able to anticipate these “trends”, Ed could make a handy buck out of it to keep financing further Troll Forged endeavours!

      As for tends, this one is circular, like a lot of 40K. The need for terrain is always there, and Space Hulk is very ’40K’, so it’s only a matter of time before it comes around again. I also believe that those who paint miniatures like a good backdrop, a proper setting for their masterpiece/s, but often they scratch build as there is no other option (there are, but they are not ’40K’ enough). From an Economic I think the Ecorium concept is interesting as it has a basis in mundane, real world, science yet is fantastical. The Ecorium design is a complete ‘concept’, it makes sense. This gives it a strong selling point as it nails the imagine and wonder while it appeases the inner geek in us all. This overview design concept will also mean specific areas have to be modelled and these may be very interesting sections that are ideal for diorama. Having bits of Ecorium as a backdrop to finely painted minis would be cool.

      • Malika says:

        It would be really great to see some of your builds for Ecoriums – both ultra modern and perhaps some retro-fit units (I remember your Orky structures on Anargo).

        Currently I’m pondering about a turret system (based on those big guns I made for Troll Forged which Icesword is currently trying out on his big mutants), which was something I wanted to do for quite a while. The idea is that a square “block” raises from the ground, opens up and the guns turn up, aiming at whatever is in the way.

        The dimensions are simple for any unit, they have to fit one square base, and not taller than the doors. While this is very handy for games, it is also following the ideas I put forward in my Ecorium concept; that units are mobile and can be swapped out with ease. This makes a lot of sense if you have a robot workforce with a swap-out warranty!

        I’ve been working on some another concept (mostly brainwork and minor sketching) on a large type of drone on spiderlegs, kind of like the Droideka from Star Wars, but cruder and less “humanoid of four legs”. Will hopefully fit in a 40mm round base.

        I think this is likely, I imagine all the families in an Ecorium are like a clan, a village, and all trade with each other. I also imagine that many of the the young marry outside the Ecorium and move away, or that was the original intent. In current 40K or a degraded Ecroium in a Sciror setting, the inhabitants may be quite xenophobic of outsiders, and there could be inbreeding and mutation. It all depends on how the system is holding up, especially once the robot workforce are gone, things will drastically change.

        Marriage would be done to establish socio-economic connections. Exclusive trade agreements could be settled through marriage (wealth stays in the family). I can understand that once the workforce is gone and people are unable to function independently that they will turn on each other. I have noticed something during my investigations here in Peru though. My research was on water access and what I noticed was that if there are enough resources or no resources at all that there was no real conflict for the resources. If there is enough people just take what they need and if there is nothing there is nothing to really fight over. It’s when there is a small shortage (not enough for everybody) that the conflicts start to arise. This means that families who can function independently from the support systems (as in droids, etc) will end up barricading their livingspaces and turn very xenophobic because they want to protect what they’ve got. This of course has its consequences: isolation, potential inbreed and so on.

        • Philip S says:

          I think the turret system is interesting idea, but I’m not sure about having it pop up out of the ground in all cases. It could work in corridors and such (where it makes sense to be buried to allow transit) but not so much for hydroponic/ aquaponic rooms as their is a water tank sub-floor.

          Perhaps you could have a two piece kit. Where there is a base trolley for moving it about and a ‘pop-up’ gun section that can be placed on top? This way you can see the trolley in a hydroponics room with or without the pop-up guns, and you only need the pop up guns section when placed in a corridor?

          You may also need a hatch for marking the corridor floor, but this can also be used as an alternative top for the trolley when the guns are packed.

          Malika wrote;
          I’ve been working on some another concept (mostly brainwork and minor sketching) on a large type of drone on spiderlegs, kind of like the Droideka from Star Wars, but cruder and less “humanoid of four legs”.

          Perhaps you could fit it into a standard packing create size, and have these pop-up out of the floor too? 40mm base when unpacked 25mm square storage?

          Malika wrote;
          Marriage would be done to establish socio-economic connections.

          I agree, and I think we are on the same page on this, and how it can degrade. It could be on a block by block basis, with some being isolationist and others joining forces. I imagine that those who join forces may try to get into the blocks of the isolationists…

  4. Malika says:

    Oh, I’d love to delve more into the agricultural production within the Ecorium. Partly because of my currently limited experience with sustainable agriculture and my wish to potentially do a research on that subject for my Master thesis next year (getting waaaaaaaay ahead of myself here).

    One of the things we have been trying to encourage in the Ica valley is sustainable agriculture. This would be not only producing plants with no use of pesticides, but also plants that don’t use too much water, have multiple uses and diversification. I’ve witnessed a casestudy in Lima in which a farmer only had a single hectare of land and had over a hundred different kinds of crops. These weren’t just random crops. Each crop had a specific function. Garlic plants for example worked as some sort of natural/biological insecticide.

    Diversification of crops could also encourage trade within the Ecorium/Ecoria. For some reason I doubt each family would be 100% self sufficient and living in isolation. Contact can be established by trade, marriages are the basis of networking and so on.

    • Philip S says:

      Sustainable agriculture is an interesting subject, and I intend to work in permaculture with the green wall concepts for some types of Ecorium layouts. (as a side note: I wonder if green walls and permaculture could be combined with those American style fire escapes? That you could have a green wall running up the side of an apartment block, their garden (allotment) on there outer wall! Obviously there would have to be a space between the green wall and fire escape to keep it clear, but it could be done with an extension and moving the stair case out a bit).

      Malika wrote;
      Diversification of crops could also encourage trade within the Ecorium/Ecoria. For some reason I doubt each family would be 100% self sufficient and living in isolation. Contact can be established by trade, marriages are the basis of networking and so on.

      I think this is likely, I imagine all the families in an Ecorium are like a clan, a village, and all trade with each other. I also imagine that many of the the young marry outside the Ecorium and move away, or that was the original intent. In current 40K or a degraded Ecroium in a Sciror setting, the inhabitants may be quite xenophobic of outsiders, and there could be inbreeding and mutation. It all depends on how the system is holding up, especially once the robot workforce are gone, things will drastically change.

  5. Malika says:

    Philip S wrote;
    I think the turret system is interesting idea, but I’m not sure about having it pop up out of the ground in all cases. It could work in corridors and such (where it makes sense to be buried to allow transit) but not so much for hydroponic/ aquaponic rooms as their is a water tank sub-floor.

    I assume the grid model Icesword made isn’t just for the hydroponic rooms. But I’ll try to work with the idea here! 🙂

    Perhaps you could have a two piece kit. Where there is a base trolley for moving it about and a ‘pop-up’ gun section that can be placed on top? This way you can see the trolley in a hydroponics room with or without the pop-up guns, and you only need the pop up guns section when placed in a corridor?

    Hmm, let me look at that when I’m back home. I’ll try to work on some sketches!

    Perhaps you could fit it into a standard packing create size, and have these pop-up out of the floor too? 40mm base when unpacked 25mm square storage?

    I’ve got an even more twisted idea now. I do need to scour for bits though, but in theory it should work. I’ll try to make a bunch of poses for the legs/bodies and some weapons/etc you could put on those legs. These will be mounted on probably 40mm round bases
    The storage will be a small terrain piece. Basically a rack containing a bunch of these drones in storage (all folded up). The rack would (in the fluff) activate, the drones would wake up. The rack has some sort of arm which places the drone out of it’s unit and wakes it up.

    I agree, and I think we are on the same page on this, and how it can degrade. It could be on a block by block basis, with some being isolationist and others joining forces. I imagine that those who join forces may try to get into the blocks of the isolationists…

    Of course, it would be a struggle for resources! Kind of imagines films such as 28 Days/Weeks Later.

    • Philip S says:

      I’m looking foreword to seeing what you come up with. These drones sound interesting and get the mind pondering ideas: Perhaps they are a backup system implanted by the designers in case an Ecorium is overrun? Sterilization? Perhaps they are housed in a type of ‘stasis field’ containers and can lay dormant for centuries, even millennia, and pop-up fully operational?

      I think you are right with the 28. I think similar visuals would translate over very well, whether as a virus or remodelled – that rage virus is one step away from ‘possession’. I’m sure a Psyker epidemic or psionic manifestation could yield very similar rabid, fast moving, ‘undead’.

  6. Malika says:

    Philip S wrote;
    I’m looking foreword to seeing what you come up with. These drones sound interesting and get the mind pondering ideas: Perhaps they are a backup system implanted by the designers in case an Ecorium is overrun? Sterilization? Perhaps they are housed in a type of ’stasis field’ containers and can lay dormant for centuries, even millennia, and pop-up fully operational?

    I was more thinking that these drones kind of have the function your concept of the Imperial Guard has. They are pacification drones, armed with minor weapons to take out unarmoured targets (maybe just paralyse them). (either armed with lasguns or needlerifles) Sterilization could be done on another level, I guess gas or something like that would be used or some sort of virus would be released into the air venting systems.

    I’m sure a Psyker epidemic or psionic manifestation could yield very similar rabid, fast moving, ‘undead’.

    As soon as you mentioned psyker I couldn’t but help and think of that film Akira in which those kids have amazing powers, especially Tetsuo who goes all mental!

    • Philip S says:

      Akira kicks arse. It’s a great film, one of my favs, and a good starting for imagining psionic powers and distorted realities (though in the film there are often ‘fake’ it would be fun if they could alter reality) in a Sciror setting or the Psyker epidemic in 40K (is that obsolete background now?).

      I was more thinking that these drones kind of have the function your concept of the Imperial Guard has. They are pacification drones, armed with minor weapons to take out unarmoured targets (maybe just paralyse them).

      Works for me. You could also tweak it for Sciror based setting and have them armed with SSG – you may remember your thread and this post over on Troll Forged: Ideas for sci fi weapons.

  7. Malika says:

    Hey man, I’ve been reading through your article again and I found somewhat of an oddity in there. The living spaces are 16m2 (four cubes of each 4m2) and you suggest that 8 people could live in that space. To me this sounds very off because…well, I think that with 16m2 you would only have 8 beds and then a full room. Where do the sanitary facilities go? Cooking area, living space, work space, etc?

    Or am I totally mixing tihngs up here? I mean the numbered cubes are each 4m2 right?

    We have to toy some more with the social ideas and such, I definitely want to look back into this. Ponda Nagura (sp?) was also throwing in some ideas for the Ecorium in the Sciror/SITA aesthetics thread. Another interesting thing (when taking SITA with it) is the change in the Ecorium after the psionic pandemic.

  8. Malika says:

    From the part of the food production:

    Each habitat units has 8 growing rooms (fields) each with 48 rack-mount hydroponics arrays 2.5m tall by 2m x 2m. 384 arrays in total.

    I think I missread the quote. It means you have 48 arrays of each 4m2 right? Ok wait…now I’m kind of confused, not so much by the size you are presenting but more by the way we write it down. 900 square meters is 900m2 right? That’s how they learnt us to write it at least. But you write 30m2 being 30mx30m, wouldn’t that be 30 (to the second power) m? All kind of confusing, linguistics 😛

    • Philip S says:

      You are confusing ‘metres squared’ with ‘square metres’ – which is easy to do. Metres Squared is basically squaring the number, the little 2 on the end of ‘m2’, you you basically times it by itself: so 4m2 would be 4×4 metres. It more of a formula than a unit if that makes any sense.

      Square Metres is different; they are units, with a single unit being a square with sides one metre long. The are written differently: ‘sq.m’ rather than ‘m2′. So if you had 10 of these squares, you would have 10 sq.m.

      Going back to the first example; 4m2 is basically a big square with 4 metre sides. We can work out how many 1 metre squares fit into this multiplying the sides (4m x 4m) with would work out as ’16’, not 16m2 but 16 sq.m.

      All in all, and in answer to your question: 30m2 = 900 sq.m
      Or: 30m x 30m = 900sq.m

      And the racks are 2m2 = 4 sq.m
      Or: 2m x 2m = 4sq.m

      Any clearer? If not try here

  9. Kage2020 says:

    Amusingly I’m looking into these concepts less for 40k (where I’m not a fan of them), and more for looking into making a post-apocalyptic setting that drives humanity underground more of a distinct possibility. Or, at least, give it some more verisimilitude.

    But there we go. Just thought that I would mention.

    (And, erm, AFAIK Philverse isn’t more “grimdark” than 40k. 40k is itself the parody of what it once may never have been… ;))

    Kage

  10. Tony Ruiz says:

    Greetings and salutations. This is my first time writing in a blog so forgive me if I am not familiar with the proper way of doing it. I have been studying your website for sometime and tried to mimic a cross section of a hive city based on what I gather from your detailed work. The website is a link to a site I post content on. I’d be interested in some feedback. Thanks and cheers.

    Edit by Philip: DakkaDakka gallery

    • Philip S says:

      That is a bold undertaking. I did not see any rack farm units, or am I missing something?

      Please include a credit link back to my website, this way a person finding your gallery and who wish to discuss the concepts behind it further can come here.

      • Tony Ruiz says:

        Lol on the hydroponic farm racks. This Ecopolis is very old and has been looted many times or someting like that. I will include a link back to your website. It has been quite an undertaking because I measured the rooms using legos first as a 3-D model before making this larger structure. I really appreciate the feedback and will continue to voraciously comb through your website as my codex to the 40k universe.

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