View Full Version : June Entry: The Department of Mysteries

06-02-2010, 01:22 PM
The Department of Mysteries, deep in the bowels of the Ministry of Magic (from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, in case anyone hasn't read it), is way too interesting a place not to be mapped ;) I think this one may be beyond my skill, but what the hey, that's what challenges are for.

So far I have only a basic sketch which shows the placement of the six doors that are actually touched upon in the book. The reason I'm posting it even though it's so rough and basic is that I'd like everyone's opinion: Should I add stuff that isn't mentioned to "complete" the map? Or leave the other six doors a mystery (yeah, pun intended. I'm a nerd.)?

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Steel General
06-02-2010, 04:03 PM
Neat idea, I just watched that the other night.

06-02-2010, 05:01 PM
Thanks SG!

Moving onward, here's the first pass at the Space room. According to Luna, it's a dark room full of planets, and some of the time they were just floating, with no floor beneath them. Pluto got itself blown up, and Ron got to see Uranus. Still need to put in a partial floor, and I'm giving this room a door to the room of Death eventually. Also, when I put in the partial floor I'll be moving the planets around a bit (hence no shadows on Jupiter from Earth/Moon).

I haven't decided how much ambient light to use; right now this is Celestia's medium ambient light setting.

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06-04-2010, 11:20 AM
looking good - and great idea, must admit that I don't remember that - must have been to long since I saw the movie...

06-04-2010, 11:56 AM
It wasn't in the movie, I just rewatched it yesterday ... only in the book. Update coming soon; the black marble floors are giving me hell :(

06-05-2010, 11:06 AM
Do you need any black marble textures? Here are a couple I'd made in Genetica. They should be perfectly tileable.

06-05-2010, 11:08 AM
Hey, those may indeed help! Thanks so much! (I don't have Genetica and failed at using the viewer, lol)

06-05-2010, 01:13 PM
It is challenging to model in two-dimensional space a place whose peculiarity derives from its defiance of the physical laws. I admit that the department of mysteries is an intriguing place, because it calls out to the reader: all of the rules you know don't apply here. Even the rules of magic seem loose and flexible. This is probably the one series of books I've read more often than Jordan. It is a story that is bigger than its author, as she relied upon each of us to fill in the blanks. For those of us steeped in fantasy and science fiction, it had the potential to be enormous.

I never cared for the movies. I guess when the standard you have to live up to is Lord of the Rings, it's nearly impossible. Perhaps someone will do the movies over again in twenty years and capture the wonder of the books effectively. For those of you who love the movies as-is, I envy you.

I think my advice Gidde would be to try a black marble texture with less "activity" as well and see how that looks, comparatively. Perhaps overlaying a partial galaxial sworl over the floor to heighten the sense of infinite depth.

06-05-2010, 01:25 PM
If you need a black marble I can help you if you want - check out my marble tiles - they are white but I can easily convert to black :)

06-05-2010, 01:27 PM
As much as I hate to post something this terrible, so many people are trying to help that I figure I'll post where I'm at and what I hate so that you all have more to go on ;)

So here's where I'm at. I started with the rectangular tiles, tried to make the circular tiles to match (failing miserably at the matching), and now I like the circles better. In the space room, I think I need to take out all of the partial floor except for the 2 circular areas and the one platform near the door to the death room. The death room is barely started; I need to texture the floors so that there's a walkway around the edge, and then steps down, and then flat, steps up, and flat in the middle (for the arch). I'm going by the book definition of that room rather than the movie depiction, btw.

Another thing I'm having trouble with is that everything is black. The floors, the doors, the walls ... which makes differentiating between them extremely difficult. I went with a lighter (but still pretty dark) gray for the walls, but I as yet have no idea what to do with the doors, or the background for that matter. White obviously is horrid, but black washes the entire image out. I'm thinking of maybe something misty; I toyed with the notion of a misty circle (like one of the prophecy globes), but I just don't know.

So, that's where I'm stuck. I guess the feedback I'm looking for most is: do the circular tiles look good enough that I should redo the square tiles to match? Or should I start from scratch with both of them? Do the walls look appropriate?

//Edit: I was so intent on my frustration here that I forgot to thank tilt and immolate for their insight and help. Thanks guys! (/sheepish look)

06-05-2010, 01:31 PM
the circular are definitly better - I'd go with that design on all tiles :)

06-05-2010, 01:47 PM
Thanks tilt, that makes me feel a little better about my judgment ;)

Ok, so yet another reason to post something even if it's terrible: delineating what my issues were made it easier to go forward on them. I put a multiply layer over the square tiles so that the white between them was at the same level as the circulars, then took out the walkways I was talking about in the Space room. I also put a greenish tinge on all of the "marble" to match the movie depiction a bit better. Do the squares look ok now or should I actually redo them?

06-05-2010, 02:04 PM
much better match between the tiles now :)

06-05-2010, 11:22 PM
Hmm, don't know if this will help either, but here is a 3000x3000 tile floors in a circle pattern that matches one of the two I posted earlier. I am about to go out, but I'll post the other one in this same post later tonight.

06-06-2010, 12:02 AM
Thanks, BB! I'm putting the floor aside for the moment to save my sanity, but once I go back to it (which I'm sure is inevitable) I'll experiment with them.

06-06-2010, 03:14 AM
Marble issues being set aside for the moment, I started playing with fonts, added the visitor badge as the first piece of detritus that will litter the negative space, gave the lift a wooden floor, and started on lighting. My hope is that if I put off the marble long enough, I'll find that all of the furniture etc. covers enough of it that it's fine as is ;)

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06-06-2010, 03:42 AM
so about that marble floor... *lol*
like your lighting.. really good - and love the wooded floor - very nice texture you've got there :)
The Visitor Card.... hmmm... I'm not sure where it should be, it sort of looks good where it is, as long as I don't think of it in context to the map - but if its a real map, then perhaps the visitor card should be on top of it? ... and maybe it could use a nice border - you know how magicians are :)

06-06-2010, 07:00 AM
I like watching this evolve! Order of the Phoenix was my favorite of the series, and this was certainly a memorable setting. I really felt like the kids became adults here.

I agree with tilt that it would be cool if the "detritus" were scattered on top of the map. Also, maybe you could give the visitor pass a little embossing and make the paper look aged. Those wizards had a real touch of class about them--even the bureaucrats!

06-06-2010, 11:19 AM
I love the circular tiles Gidde. They look perfect. The brick pattern tiles OTOH, they make the square floors feel like a roof. My experience with tiles in real life is that different sizes and patterns can be pleasing to the eye, but staggering feels awkward. The floor is such a major part of this map, I think it deserves the effort needed to get it perfect. What I do... not that I'm a model for success... when faced with a deficit of ideas, is hit the web hard and benefit from the experiences of the many who have gone before me.

Disclaimer: I'm one observer, and to others the brick pattern may be perfect. I always listen to myself first, then try to understand the consensus of others, if there is one.

06-06-2010, 01:08 PM
Thanks for the suggestions and encouragement, guys!

It's a new day, which means I had the nerve to try the square floors again. So, here's my latest attempt at matching the circulars. I changed them to square, because Imm, you were right -- they looked roofish. I did keep the stagger though, because they're staggered in the movie and I'm trying hard to remain true to the book/movie as much as possible.

@ tilt & Krulwich: The badge certainly needs more polish, and will probably end up on top of the map eventually; it's below it right now so that I can finish the floor plan. I just love that visitor badge so much every time I read the book that I had to get it into the picture so that I could look at it as I worked (and it provided a nice respite from black marble).

I also added some shadow inside the walls and shadows from the torchlight into the lift.

Thumbs up/down on the new square marble?

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06-06-2010, 03:42 PM
That hits it just fine and it looks natural as well. We installers of tile usually try to center a whole tile in the doorway if possible.

06-06-2010, 04:25 PM
that look just as it should, perfect ... love the font you use in the header, very nice little details in that :)

06-06-2010, 04:53 PM
Thanks Imm & tilt! I will close the book on the marble, then. Yay!

Did some work on the title, gave it gold foil and added some stuff to it. I also added in the prophecy globe. This should probably go on top, but I'm kind of liking the Escher-ish feel to the little props being underneath. We'll see once I get done with the actual map and start playing with them.

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06-07-2010, 02:35 AM
very nice looking and cool globe to...

06-07-2010, 08:06 PM
Beautiful design going on here....are you going to add anything to the empty floors?

06-07-2010, 11:15 PM
Thanks Tilt & Ravells! Certainly, just taking a day to recharge lol ... need to put shelves all over the hall of prophecies, a big brain tank in the western room, lots of bleachers and an arch in the north room, clocks galore (if i figure out how to do it) in the time room ... etc etc. Still LOTS of work to do.

06-10-2010, 11:13 PM
Not a huge update, but I got the shelves made and into the hall of prophecies. Still need to do blue candles in that room, and I'm thinking of littering the shelves with globes (not very realistic that they'd be on the top shelf, but it'd relieve the monotony).

Thank goodness this one is a full month (as opposed to last month's short one) and that it's only the 10th. I'm a bit overwhelmed by how much there still is to do on this thing.

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06-11-2010, 01:41 PM
I do believe lights at the end of the book cases would be better, maybe you can throw some boxes and crates and stuff on top of the shelves to break it up...

06-11-2010, 01:45 PM
Hmm, boxes and crates I hadn't thought of, there's an idea :) Thanks!

06-12-2010, 12:28 AM
From what I remember of the battle, it quickly migrated out of the prophesy room. The impression in my mind is not of a single exit, but I may just be making things up. I agree that it needs some cluttering up... perhaps a bit of irregularity, somehow.

06-12-2010, 06:35 AM
Agreed, Imm - not sure if this'll do it, but here's a crack at it. Littered the shelves with little prophecy globes, and placed the blue candles. The book has them entering and leaving by the same one door, but I think I may add a couple more on the ends of the horizontal aisle.

I also started on the brain room; it still needs stuff littering the desks and the big tank of brains in the middle.

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06-12-2010, 08:02 AM
I believe the clutter is to uniform - you should just have a little here and there, some round some square clutter, and a lot of shelves without any at all :)

06-12-2010, 09:52 AM
Yup more randomness and variation in shape and size. I foresee prophesy-related items that are not globes stashed on the top shelves as well... perhaps a few books, some lock boxes and maybe some cabinets on the ground... just not row upon row of perfectly uniform shelves. I got the same impression as you Gidde when reading it, that it was just as I described, but that gives no visual interest and also defies the British tendency to oddball variation and eccentricity (not to mention clutter). That's a big part of the charm of the story.

06-12-2010, 10:18 AM
you can also put in some scrolls, wands, boxes of all shapes, leafs, jars, baskets, magazines, a skull, potions, stuffed animals....