View Full Version : Need help improving map for this game!

07-12-2010, 05:17 AM
Hello there,

I've been working on a projects since few years, at a slow pace. It's a strategy-diplomacy game which allows many players to play around the table (30, 50 people, perhaps more). I hesitated between two different kinds of map. One is a Eurasian map divided in rough geo-historical regions, the second are anonymous regions made up of hexagonal tiles. I am not satisfied with the 2nd and would like to return to the former once more.
I have already made a map a while ago (using GIMP) and well i think it's ok but could be better indeed. Since many of you are experts in making maps i ought to ask you for advice or help. Or perhaps if one of you is enthusiast enough, someone would be ready to help making this map.
So here below is the current map and i'd like to improve it, make it look really good. So please feel free to respond or comment, thanks!

PS: the map is huge so i provide a link only:
see map here! (http://3016586880883505078-a-1802744773732722657-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/benjaminsrepository/AsiaA2.jpg?attachauth=ANoY7cqGtn3iFfJcoB88Fn6vqqj1 ezgaGf64O0Dp4qKFVE-sFDsqKPYlGVdGb3zfq8rlyHCIrcTbQW-NZgu6D1pYLjgDV4IPKtbYhgIo2HgrMtLrPsRef4YT5O7dowmD5 0lFQl_pZJX4hEswKtV2WliutSOJ0BaQ5dDYsuHKDtVSHPDOvTG MXyJ6s-Rx2SxGmVaDFBo-gn4HEVBGAe2Aq7pmcOcU3fqB0Q%3D%3D&attredirects=0)


07-12-2010, 05:35 AM
Wow, I think the map looks really good. How do you think it needs improving? Is there a certain style you're looking to emulate?

07-12-2010, 06:07 AM
Well thanks.

In fact i don't really know what should be improved, but when i look at it feels like something should be different. I'm not really fond of the meridians especially in the arctic. Borders don't look that great either and territory names could perhaps be aligned differently. Also i find the colour set a bit sad as well as the texture. Perhaps the sea should be blue-ish with a nice texture.
I was looking at making a map which looks like it's hand made, the game is supposed to be in an antique setting.
One map that inspired me was this one (http://3016586880883505078-a-1802744773732722657-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/benjaminsrepository/erythreaean_seaCLEAN.jpg?attachauth=ANoY7coJ95ElJ0 9vVoue6IOiNrgwYLPScJpWOiGYjuND8r7R4yNEthYNkSeYtPiI-XSrjxNRXKbLgH5gGq2MTMYHYz67AhBlgYWEtUBVFaPeAhsFu2m 5KtmYk__1HoRjPiqADmvAw6g4MeLOI7lODDtL_NjCudvCJPmAG 5IR4vtpkHGjTfk-lt_NVL4cXRTHalegZWqpAs-uUjnuhcE_fx7_-KqNGtXPOg%3D%3D&attredirects=0). But it's too dull and bad quality to be used.
I can see some more examples online which look nice:

07-12-2010, 06:18 AM
looks really good - a bit sad to see "Norway" rules all of the north... they were owned by Denmark once... of course.. they got those oilfields.. ;)
I think a gameboard shouldn't look to handdrawn as that might mess up ones ability to read it ... a very light blue could go into the oceans.
But one question does pop to mind though... 30-50 people - playing on the same board - thats a lot of people - sounds to me like the game would be spoiled by pure physical logistics - people going to and from the game board to make their moves (unless the board is huge - like those war-boards from WW2), and a LOT of waiting for ones turn... and damn to be the first one to loose the game and having to wait for the others to finish.. but very nice board.. and would love to hear more about the game :)
oh.. and have some rep for your fist upload :)

07-12-2010, 06:48 AM
Hi there thanks.

Well it's a simplified map, Norge does not stand for actual Norway but rather as the Northern Region of Europe. It rather looks at antiquity (app -3000 BCE to 500 CE) although it cannot even take all regions into that scope, little is known of South East Asian dynasties till medieval times. Anyway, the division is fixed and i am quite happy about it in fact. I am trying to work from the original again (a satellite picture) and try to keep original the green texture of the land, the dark blue of oceans i will try to replace by a lighter one, but i need a paper-texture. It needs a bit of water-paint style i think. I will see what i can do with this. I also need to clean the continental edges and perhaps remove the meridian dotted lines.

As to the game, yes, 50 people is a lot of people. But the game should not take too long to play, besides it is made so that people should make and play in groups. The head of the group only would play out while others actually are share-holders and can put pressure on the main player. This is where the diplomacy finds its dynamic, you need to maintain your subordinates happy if you don't want them to remove their support or land from your territory. :)
But of course i have never tested the game with so many players yet. I want a good map nonetheless.

PS: what does "have some rep for your fist upload" mean?
PS2: map should be on A1 format.

07-12-2010, 07:01 AM
lol... just "pulling your leg" on that norway thing - it's what we small countries do to get noticed ;)
Sounds like an interesting game - somewhere between diplomacy and Junta ;)
and rep = reputation ... you get reputation when people like what you do :) .. check under your name where it says Guild Novice - below that is a now green pip (used to be gray) - if you hover about it you can see you have 5 rep - those are the points I gave you. When you see a map, great advice, tutorial etc that you really like - or if someone gave you SUPER help - feel free to rep them. You do that by clicking the little star in the bottom of their post, and add some words to. You can only give actual points of rep when you reach 10 rep yourself - but even rep without points are nice - its a warm fuzzy feeling being appreciated by your peers. As you gain more rep - you rep more to others as well when you rep :)

07-12-2010, 07:14 AM
Haha i hadn't noticed you were from Denmark, now it makes sense :)

Thanks for the information. I am making some tests for a new background, i'd like to know what your opinion is. My favourite right now is the top left-hand side one. I think it ought to be blue but i can't get a blue that says "yeah!".
Test map here. (http://3016586880883505078-a-1802744773732722657-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/benjaminsrepository/Eurasia.jpg?attachauth=ANoY7cpB-fkyZmzsXqM9iA86Qrc8-oZYCWedyXfYjDgNQy_WtlKpHtCcsBaA14b5wPw2779FOufpVWv leQWgZ9_T56T9iAY0U-7ymOK57OVwwZy4CXqPKYamneOutU2nRC5TKnI1rMZVSvriS_-QWMM9dSLTDumeeD2_nUVbonLJbktSVJBTABPsRaWHJBHUnsiRm qFo7DbNfhAYi6QataPzEP0jHx1CdA%3D%3D&attredirects=0)

07-12-2010, 07:29 AM
yep.. not only that - I live in Sweden now and thus have a connection to 2 of the 3 scandinavian countries ;)

hmmm.. I think the canvas effect is nice, but it doesn't fit the realism of the landmasses - so I'd go with the blue in the bottom instead - perhaps with some water texture on it. Your land edges are rather blurry too - you'll have to strengthen those up :)

If you wanna have an easier time uploading your pictures, try scaling it a bit down and then jpg-compress it to 40-60 % ... then you can use the uploader found under "Go Advanced" when you post here - that way a thumb will be generated and you won't be relying on external servers to have the guild see your maps :)

07-12-2010, 07:39 AM

the map has a fantastic look. I agree that something still must be done to improve the map. In the original size it looks strong pixelated. That may not be a problem if it is used for print later. But at least I would reduce the pixelization of the landshape-border. Make a selection of the land, change it into a path and then back into a selection, stroke it and you will have a sharp border (if possible with Gimp).

I don't like the shadow of the dots. That does often look like computergenerated and not really like an antique handdrawn map. I would remove it completly. Try a simply dark color for the dots without any junk.

And I also think that the water needs some pepup. I used a very simple technique to create water for the attached map (selection -> expand -> stroke and again, this a few times), maybe something like that.

Hope I could give you some inspiration,

07-12-2010, 11:38 AM
Thanks for the tips i made few trials and it's great (didn't know about the selection editor dialog!) Oh and your map looks amazing. How do you get this nice paper texture in the background?

07-12-2010, 12:19 PM
Wow thanks it's great stuff. I managed to improve considerably the map so far. I cleaned up the meridians and exceeding islands, cleaned up the edges (although it needs refining) and added a nice background. Now i need to see if i can add some effect for the sea. I am also concerned with the pixelisation of the land. Is there any effect to improve the quality of it without affecting it too much?
Here is what i have done so far. (http://3016586880883505078-a-1802744773732722657-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/benjaminsrepository/NewEurasia.jpg?attachauth=ANoY7cp5WgmyTtskxLMGyNQl S9J82CoNEJCjfKD315Wtl5O9i-UgjESV7GYEDssAyUkcYJ_pgkHg_YnkOcXm-PJoJgdCL_Pah22kAQryIGrdn13Fj2XguVHkUmng13-GAHMyhHLB9J0x5BB5som5qURv9p3WzMlXyogkngz3IXLFRMVro S5ozk9YDCHQTNoHDsxpWmNbfiB0t_nOkCKrLvG1yuZhlJMU8g% 3D%3D&attredirects=0) (Sorry, i keep using google.sites)

07-12-2010, 12:35 PM
the problem is when a picture is allready pixelated, it hard to do anything about it except scaling down - that sharpens the lines. Your current map is about 6000 pixels wide - that would mean that in an offset printer you could print it at 20 inches, you'd see some of the pixelation, but some would disappear in ink-bleed. If you want a map that you can print in huge sizes, the best way to go would be vector graphics, ie Illustrator or Ink...something (free). Then you can scale as you want to :)

07-12-2010, 03:53 PM
Hi there!

Thanks for all the tips so far. I will see what i can do about the pixelisation of the land texture, perhaps throw an artistic effect. So far i managed to clean up the map and i created a border for the sea-line. Although i am not sure about the colour of the latter.
Latest update. (http://3016586880883505078-a-1802744773732722657-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/benjaminsrepository/NewEurasiaSea.jpg?attachauth=ANoY7cpoPk-LFGK6FowId4waU68orGfvBTovWGJt31HO97yzKGv3CHRkxUU98 FoTpndk3b0B_mp-RQjojZUkoKPIV4Ww8i92j_39ebR6c5wJ9m3p_V3Tm3IRbi_dHR HVDerUq8i8MMjg-ezl0-QHzCBCzPTHFT7Fc-NHAAvGyj4oPiU05rrgqSAV0xS1erxTFPz8ZHB8-bUiB2eFmMD2amPgrnbiAHaiXg%3D%3D&attredirects=0)

Thanks, keep the tips coming! ;)

07-13-2010, 11:23 AM
Well this is it, i finished my new map. I'm quite happy with it :)
See map here. (http://3016586880883505078-a-1802744773732722657-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/benjaminsrepository/NewEurasiaSeaFrontierNamesSeaNames.jpg?attachauth= ANoY7crfVZzr2r9ua4Ir_aWpImoI8_uMP6HLVhP68qquqLa8-ssPhiK3gfTEnS7nwQRVVDnUuZfFGZvxmztr3GRT5ek2wIBM5qc WG0koklMy2Z_WxN3RbbFG-YvbzP4CudVWAD6tmiElGE8k11btc6A6tLlpB43VEksLXdx3CZG 2gPWOTDZ2HQEOIFJw7YQIRNiiUFJX0CUsQXCUpnnU-a5jHOZuKkwDMsEfVfj_zRUZE3hX6U5V2V4%3D&attredirects=0)

07-14-2010, 07:42 AM
the waterborders are very thick and blurry - I'd make those in the same style as the land borders, but perhaps with another type of dots or a different lenght of lines/gaps :)

07-15-2010, 03:03 PM
Yes, agreed! I'm working on that.
Also i'd like to curve the region names in areas where it looks somehow rigid. But i don't know how to write on a path with GIMP. Do you have any idea?

07-15-2010, 03:26 PM
You can do it in GIMP, but you're better off saving the file importing to Inkscape or other vector app. Text on a curve is much easier not using GIMP.


07-16-2010, 09:26 AM
I second that. Import a jpg or png into Inkscape. Once you get the hang of how it works it is way easier to manipulate text labels and then you can export it as a png and put it back into your raster program.

07-16-2010, 12:05 PM
Well despite your advices i used GIMP to produce text to path. It was a bit convoluted but it's fine for me now.
I managed to improve the map very much so far, and i still like to hear your comments, tips. Thanks.

07-17-2010, 08:21 AM
This is the first I've seen your map, sorry I don't look at outside links very often. Have some rep. And kudos for sticking with GIMP for the labeling, it does work it's just frustrating.

@Quabbe - After seeing your water example I am going to have to incorporate it into my map of Linlandia. I knew the technique but for some reason didn't consider it until seeing it just now.

07-17-2010, 12:03 PM
Your Final map is most excellent, really is. When I look at it, the pervasive orange color of the oceans makes me think of sunset, which is ominous for a large scale strategy game and I think it is an excellent touch.

I miss the meridian lines though, I feel they added some perspective that made the map feel more real.

07-17-2010, 05:36 PM
@hohum, thanks!
@wannabehero, good idea, i'll try to play around with meridians.

other than that i am a bit doubtful as to the overall texture of the map. I'd love to be able to render the map with a paper-like texture like Quabbe's work. In my map the land does not match with the background, and neither of these match with the vector region names... :?

Thanks for the feedback!

07-17-2010, 06:53 PM
Ok i didn't work on meridians yet, but i managed to improve the overall texture by running an "olify" effect on the land layer and adding a paper texture on top of the map. Here is a new version of the map.

Oh and I can't seem to find out how to insert a thumbnail rather than an attachment... :|

Steel General
07-17-2010, 08:27 PM
The board software is supposed to generate the thumbnails automatically, but the latest update seems to have a bit of a bug in it. So it doesn't always work the way it's supposed to.;

07-18-2010, 10:20 AM
Looking great, I have been using oilify in some non mapping projects and I love it. The parchment background is also really looking nice. As for the attachments, I do all of mine as inline (the button to the right of what you are using).

07-19-2010, 04:07 AM
OK, i had to make size readjustment (which took a lot of time since my computer had a hard time processing it). Now this map will be on A1 format and i will glue it to a six-fold cardboard to create the game board.
Because the original map's proportion did not fit the A standards, there are two margins left which i feel should be filled up with something. The most obvious filling would be an illustration or "logo" of the game. I have none so far. The game is called "Khan" (that's all i could come up with) which means "chief" and is a war/tribal word used widely Eurasia as a title for a tribal chief (there exist alternate forms as "Shan"). Khan is also a famous title of Genghis Khan, who was a mounted Mongol warrior who united the Mongols and held sway over central Asia. In the game the player with horses (from Mongolia in the historical mode) will have the first turn in attacks.
So it seems quite fit to me to have Mongol illustrations as a leitmotiv. I tried playing around with photos from movies which i manipulated in GIMP but i have nothing convincing so far. It's hard to find out what to put on the edges.
If you have any idea or suggestion, please let me know.

07-19-2010, 04:43 PM
Look at the maps by timallen in this section. If it is going to be an actual physical board you may want to have things like game turn sequence or combat results tables for example. Khan sounds perfect, try to keep the logo simple. Perhaps a mounted archer.

07-20-2010, 05:06 AM
Ha i would have do things like sequence and tables, but this game is simple and need not such things. :) I am working on some mounted archer miniature paintings and try get something decent out of it. I'll check these maps you mentioned. Thanks.

07-20-2010, 11:45 AM
Finally! I finished this map.

Let me introduce you to KAGAN (diplomacy and strategy board game)


And here is the final map (well there might be one or two details to change, please let me know if you see something odd):


Thanks to everyone for your help and good advice! 8)

PS: i am concerned about the texture of the frame against that of the map proper. It should be integrated, now i get the idea it's too contrasted, but i have seen the map too much right now.

07-20-2010, 12:01 PM
looks really good, nice border you made :) good luck with your game :)

07-21-2010, 09:21 AM
I think it looks good too. I wouldn't change it. Good job on the logo as well. Have some rep. (Oops, I can't give you rep right now. But you deserve some more.)

07-21-2010, 01:08 PM
Fantastic Map! Really well done!

07-28-2010, 03:46 PM
I'd play this game, based on the map alone! Really, this is a great looking map. All the more so as we can see how much it has improved from the first version.