View Full Version : A Harbour Capital

06-15-2010, 09:46 AM
This is it.
I have been absent for a while fumbling and puzzling and this is what came out of it. You may have noticed that this is Oreas, the capital of a country called Aurelis, the map of which can be found here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?10427-Could-use-some-critique). Once again I did this in Photoshop as I was told CC3 wasn't necessary to create pretty cities, so I gave it a try.

I don't consider it done yet, but finished enough to show anyone ;) I'd like to transform the map into a second, less colourful one that can be tagged. But before I can do that, I have to make sure the basic map is complete- no houses missing, no ugly city shapes, enough market places etc. So please, city building experts, help me :)

Some basic explanations:

- Oreas consists of seven quarters, namely Old Town, Temple Ridge, Haven, The Alleys, Norwalk, Neotown, and The Garners.
- The fortified islands are an academy (left) and a prison (right).
- The square-shaped part on the left side of Oreas is a system of canals and artificial islands where rich people live.
- The big blue thing in the middle of Temple Ridge is a castle complex called The White Palace.
- The green space above the islands is a park.
- Take a close look at the woody ridge north of Norwalk, there's a ruin.

If anything else is unclear or doesn't make sense to you, just ask me!

06-15-2010, 09:56 AM
Very cool! I like the canals approach you made. I am quite surprised to see the colosseum outside the city walls though. Can't wait to see what else you add.

06-15-2010, 10:13 AM
looks really good - lots of houses you've placed there ;) ... can't really find any errors, but I wonder about the bright blue color for some of the houses - it stands out a lot :)

06-15-2010, 10:27 AM
That looks like it took forever to make all those houses. I really like the map.

You did say you are not yet done so these may be on your list however, I noticed that the Walls do not completely encircle what I judged to be the main castle complex (The darker blue building) which seems peculiar. The rivers seem to be an obvious way to enter the city as well because there looks to be no wall/gratings that cover them.

Very cool map though, I spent time cruising all over but I have to go to work so can't do anymore.

06-15-2010, 10:42 AM
The colosseum is outside the walls because it was built when the rest of the city had already been cramped with houses. Give it another 200 years and it'll be in the centre of the city ;)

I wanted the bright blue houses to stand out, making them seem as if they had expensive roofs, and therefore rich owners. But I could tone it down if you think it is too much.

@ Jaxilon: You're right about the rivers, i forgot to paint the walls over them. But which walls around the castle are you talking about? The city walls or the palace wall?

06-15-2010, 10:57 AM
Ah, I was looking at the City walls. There is a gap in them to the North and a bit East of the Castle. I did overlook the Palace walls because they were much smaller than the city's.

06-15-2010, 11:17 AM
That gap is intended. It's a part of the wall that wasn't rebuilt after a siege due to financial reasons. So the city just grew along this opening. They'll sure be having trouble when someone attacks the city ;)

Aval Penworth
06-15-2010, 10:42 PM
I like your layout and the amount of detail. I think this is great for a zoomed out overview of a city. Some nice places of interest to inspire adventure and intrigue.

Should there be more roads out to the fields? Might make sense.

I am really not a fan of the bevel/emboss style buildings, were they relatively quick to make? I suppose that many hand placed building symbols would have been a major pain in the neck.

06-16-2010, 04:02 AM
Weird...only the top third of the map is loading for me...I'll try again later. Looks great from the thumbnail though!

06-16-2010, 05:32 AM
you don't have to change it :)
I got that they were supposed to be different - and also that they probably were "richer" I just wondered about the blue since that is a "funny" color for a roof.

@Aval - the bevel technique is almost just a click on a button. You still have to draw/place all the squares though - but that can be done with a brush (see the lazy city technique by... hmmm... Ascension (I think))

06-16-2010, 07:14 AM
Ah it's loading now.....really love it. I like your road network! That bevel technique works fine as long as you don't zoom in too close and the buildings are all squares and rectangles.

06-16-2010, 11:49 AM
Thank you for all the comments! I'll make more roads, you're right about that. The road network btw was rather easy, I made it the same way that real roads usually develop- I built houses and drew roads between them, only in younger parts of the city would streets be drawn with a ruler.

But I don't see whats wrong about the houses being squares and rectangles... where I live, most houses are rectangular ;)

06-16-2010, 12:03 PM
Lol nothing wrong with rectangular houses at all, although for variety it's usually fun to throw in a few L shaped houses and such like.

06-16-2010, 02:10 PM
I spent some days on the houses and think I remember some L-shaped ones. If that's not visible perhaps I should enhance them somehow, or the big ones with atriums. What do you think?

06-16-2010, 02:23 PM
This is certainly a nice map. The scale of the city is impressive! Like Ravells I like the road network very much. Now for some criticism though:

- The houses to me look more like a giant mosaic at the moment. It's the pattern and shapes I guess. Not sure if and how you could fix this. Zoomed out the city looks really believable, but when I zoom in I get the mosaic effect. But hey, maybe it's all in my mind :)
- The farmland might need some toning down / more subtlety.
- It took some time for me to recognize the city walls, maybe make them pop out somewhat more.

Make no mistake: this must have been a huge effort and I applaud your work so far.

06-16-2010, 02:49 PM
So I added more roads into the fields, toned the fields down as well. I made the walls (including the often missed wall around the palace) a lot darker. But I guess these are minor changes that don't justify another huge upload, so the next thing I'll post here will be the annotated version of the map. I just have to figure out a good style for that, any ideas?

06-16-2010, 03:45 PM
Looking really nice so far Aelyn! I like your fields allot. Like Aval, I'm not huge on bevel/embossed houses either, but I can totally understand the rationale for making them: with the amount of detail in this map, it seems like bevel/emboss is just the most economical way to go (in terms of budgeting one's time). Looking forward to seeing more updates.


06-16-2010, 07:12 PM
What's wrong about bevel&emboss houses? How do you create your houses?

Btw, here's a tagged version of the map (different style, though). I named everything that seemed important to me, namely temples (blue), secular buildings (red) and squares, villages & stuff (brown). As you can see, there are a lot of temples- quite a religious country it seems. There are less red buildings, perhaps you know something that my city needs?
Still I'm not sure whether I need more or less tags- so please, if you find something superfluous oder something that's missing, tell me :)

Ideas concerning a better background are also appreciated. While working the anthracite was fine, but now it just seems a bit boring.

And the name tag on the top left... still not satisfied with it...

06-16-2010, 07:33 PM
Ah, this latest version is a LOT better. And I mean a lot.
The mosaic effect (partly because of the beveled houses) is now almost unnoticeable for me. I think it also had to do with some of the bright colored houses. The toned down colors are a great improvement and I really like the fact you gave the larger, more important buildings another color to differentiate. Labeling looks great as does all the extras, like the paper look. I wouldn't change anything... the name tag looks fine to me.
Very, very nice. A bit of a surprise to me that you turned the map into something this great (the first WIP you posted was good, but this latest version is an enormous improvement).

06-16-2010, 07:34 PM
What's wrong about bevel&emboss houses? How do you create your houses? There are some, my friend, who draw each house by hand....

but they are all in the asylum now...

we shall never see them again.

Great work on your last map....it looks brilliant! Don't change a thing!

06-16-2010, 08:21 PM
perhaps you know something that my city needs?

perhaps a brothel? every big city needs one... :P

on a more serious note, it looks great!

06-16-2010, 08:28 PM
Yeah baby - this looks great!

I like the new style a little better than the first one and the whole thing just looks really good. Well done!

06-17-2010, 03:19 AM
Wow, not that is just stunning!

06-17-2010, 05:10 AM
really like the look of the last map - except the torn edges on the map, they are way to sharp and destroys the illusions of a document. I'd rather you just keep it square without any tearing :)

06-17-2010, 05:43 AM
Thanks a lot! :blush: I'm really glad to hear experienced cartographers approve of my work! But on the other hand now my own expectations about the next mapping project are probably too high... Need to rest for a week or so perhaps. I could try focusing on uni work for a change :D

A brothel is a great idea! Sure there must be small ones, but I completely forgot to build the one they all go to. I've seen this thing in Pompeji, it's hilarious. Thanks!

Yeah the edges were only an experiment, perhaps I'll get rid of them completely. Maybe I can make the edges seem yellowed instead, what do you think?

06-17-2010, 06:08 AM
Very good progress! I always enjoy a good city map and this is one. Just a small thing: is it clever to place the mint outside the city walls?

06-17-2010, 06:21 AM
Hehe, it's good you ask... that's a trick. The money isn't actually made there, though most people in the city wouldn't know that. Oreas has a huge underground and a lot of semi-official things going on, so the "mint" is connected via an underground network to the place where they coin money. That place is secured by a lot more than mere walls ;)

Steel General
06-17-2010, 06:32 AM
This is quite nice!

I think the only thing I would change is to remove the drop shadow on "The Golden Sea" label - for me it's not really needed.

Aval Penworth
06-17-2010, 09:40 PM
This is quite nice!

I think the only thing I would change is to remove the drop shadow on "The Golden Sea" label - for me it's not really needed.

I agree. That label seems at odds with the rest of the map. And the rest of the map looks great.

06-17-2010, 11:37 PM
This latest version is fantastic! Excellent work!

06-18-2010, 07:26 AM
I'll add my wowness as well. Great stuff, Aelyn.