View Full Version : July/August Entry: The Blue Fortress

08-01-2010, 12:06 PM
It took me some time to ponder about everything, but finally, here's the first draft of my contest entry:

The Blue Fortress

Almost a city itself, the Blue Fortress was built outside the walls of Oreas (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?10771-A-Harbour-Capital) more than 40 years ago. It's a sign of the Golden Empress' wish to foster the arts and unite the three main pillars of Aurelian culture: Combat, Magic, and Science. Therefore, the Blue Fortress does not only offer arenas, but also podia for speeches and discussions. Oh, and not to forget the amphitheatre crawling up the hill!

Apart from minor events, the city of Oreas hosts a nation-wide contest every three years. It's the most important cultural event designed to bring together people from all over the country in peaceful competition (and therefore minimise the chances of a civil war).

More information will follow as I progress with the map. Of course, it still lacks colour and tags and everything. And this is just the visitor's map. I'm working on a 3D model of the Temple of the Three Ways and perhaps I'll even get round to prepare a real floorplan of one of the buildings.

Steel General
08-01-2010, 12:38 PM
Sounds like an interesting entry...good luck!

08-01-2010, 02:42 PM
Added colours and tags. Next part will be the crest of the fortress. And the 3D model, though I don't know how well that will work...

### Latest WIP ###

08-01-2010, 04:06 PM
Not a fan of the font, but that's just personal preference. The layout is very cool, and I like the color scheme.

08-01-2010, 04:41 PM
The washed-out colors are, indeed, splendid. I like the hand-drawn look, as well, and the grunge and paper look good. Nice job.

08-01-2010, 05:25 PM
Gidde: Not a fan of the font, but that's just personal preference.
I don't think it's the perfect font either, but it's the best handwriting I had on my computer. If you know any other pretty yet legible handwriting font, let me know!

Ascension: I like the hand-drawn look
Thanks. It's actually hand-drawn, following the steps of the tutorial I just translated and posted in the tutorials section. A bit of Illustrator and Photoshop, too, of course.

I don't want the map to seem too confusing, yet I feel something is still missing. It's designed to be a "real" visitor's guide, so probably it wouldn't be cramped with unnecessary ornaments and stuff... but you know, it's just not pretty enough. I'll let it rest and focus on other things. My brother and I are currently working on a 3D model of the Temple of the Three Ways (which also contains a sports ground, albeit a very different one) and I hope I'll be able to present it by Wednesday. :)

08-01-2010, 06:14 PM
There are a ton of handwriting fonts over at dafont here (http://www.dafont.com/theme.php?cat=603) and here (http://www.dafont.com/theme.php?cat=601) ... what bothers me about this one is that the slant is all over; it doesn't look natural because most folks' handwriting is usually slant-consistent (may not be consistent in any other way, but the slant usually is).

08-01-2010, 07:09 PM
If you want it to look like a real hand out or guide (like a real tourist brochure) then you're going to need a border and some fonts that are slicker - stylish title, basic key. You're title should probably be contained within its own box and be more prominent and stylish. The key should also be in a box. If you don't want to use boxes then you might want a simple line (or fancy line) to separate the areas. Now, those things have nothing to do with making the map look better - just the layout that you're aiming for. For what it's worth, right now it looks like a good antique map or player hand out for a game and I like it as is.

08-02-2010, 08:43 AM
So I chose a new font which I'm fond of (pun intended) and made some minor changes.

My problem with your comment, Ascension, is that it's supposed to be both antique and a visitor's map. I suppose a sports ground this size would have at least some plans hanging around the place, but they probably wouldn't have been edited in InDesign and printed (for neither computers nor printers exist. A printer's press, perhaps, though I doubt they would use it for this map- too complicated) I appreciate your input, I'll make sure to implement it once I make a modern style visitor's guide. But in this case the map is my imagination of what an ancient tourist guide would have looked like.

As for the rest of it, do you think I should inlcude a full text explaining the in-game purpose of the Blue Fortress, the history of it, the rules of the holy game played in the temple, and so on? Does anyone actually read that kind of stuff?

### Latest WIP ###

08-02-2010, 04:23 PM
Oh, ancient tourist guide, gotcha. Then I'd say you might want some sort of simple border with little scrolliwork bits, can't really describe what I'm getting at, but just some flourishes in the corners.

08-03-2010, 10:35 AM
You mean some kind of decoration, ornaments and stuff? I got lots of it, but it seemed to me that it didn't fit the style... well I'll look again.

Finally I got round to making use of the wonderful 3D model my brother developed. Since the clean style of a rendered image didn't fit the other map, here's what I came up with: A poster advertising the fane, to be put up at the Blue Fortress in order to remind joyful visitors that a short obeisance to the three goddesses might be appropriate.

08-05-2010, 07:20 PM
Another update:

Here's the first draft of a bill board containing three parchments full of information. The newly added paper shows the game room in the temple and a schema of an Amalu Pit. I don't think I should include history of the Blue Fortress or the Amalu game rules in the picture, but maybe I'll write them down here.

08-05-2010, 10:42 PM
That's coming together quite nicely! Thumbs up from me.

08-07-2010, 02:17 PM
This is the last update I'll post. I'm not entirely satisfied yet, but I don't have time to change anything else because 12 hours from now I'll be on my way to a wonderful holiday :) So I won't be here either to check the poll results and stuff. I'm aware not being here diminishes my chances of winning since my thread won't seem very active. Guess I'll have to live with that. Some Chianti wine will surely help me get over it. ;)

But back to topic:

This is it, the final version of my contest entry The Blue Fortress. About 40 years ago, the Golden Empress initiated a project to foster the arts. The first building was the Arena of the Garnet-Embroidered Sky, or Garnet Arena as it is called by locals. Even today, all the main events are still hosted in this arena.
The site eventually grew bigger and bigger. Today, the Blue Fortress is almost a city in itself containing houses, a guard house, a hospital, myriads of food stands and - due to the Empress' wish for cleanness - a great number of public latrines.
Every three years, the great contest called The Games takes place. It has become a major factor in peacekeeping, even attracting foreigners. In front of the mostly wooden stockade, a huge camp of tents grows during the Games. But the Blue Fortress attracts not only commoners- it is considered chic amongst nobles to be seen here, mainly to please current Empress Lilianne, the Golden Empress' daughter.
And if you ever wondered about the name (especially since the stockade isn't blue at all)- rumour has it that the Golden Empress created this name in commemoration of her close friend, scientist and philanthropist Nedra of Kershet, whose death happened during the time the stockade was built. Nedra, who blew herself during one of her experiments, was nicknamed "Bluebell". The Empress (not known for her cordiality or compassion) is said to have actually grieved about Bluebell's death.

Now to the sports ground depicted: The game is called Amalu and is said to be the sports played by gods. The space in which this game is played is called an Amalu pit. The game features a caoutchouc ball that has to be thrown through a stone ring in the middle of the field. Two teams compete against each other, each one consisting of four players. Two rules are significant:

1. When your team gets the ball, it has to bounce off the back wall behind you at least once before it can be passed back to someone trying to score.
2. Use of hands and feet are forbidden. You may play the ball with your head, your arms (especially ellbows), legs, back or any other part of the body, but not your hands or feet.

In order to win a game of Amalu, your team has to win two sets (so there are at most three sets to be played). Each set ends once a team scores its 15th point.
This game is also popular among commoners under the name Tok-a-Tok. Of course the rules are slightly different, for example back walls usually don't exist due to a lack of an actual pit. The central elements remain the same: A stick with a circle on it, a ball, a rectangular space and 8 players - that's all you need to have a lot of fun!

I hope you like the final result. Thanks for the comments and tips! Hope to see you all again as lively as ever in two weeks 8)

### Latest WIP ###

08-07-2010, 02:29 PM
That does look good. How do you get the ball in play without your hands or feet, or does the ball float or something?

08-07-2010, 03:54 PM
No it doesn't float or anything. They say for the gods, not using hands or feet is no problem at all, and that humans simply have to train their abilities in order to improve. It is difficult, I agree, but that's the sense in it. A holy game isn't supposed to be easy, it's a ritual fight.
However Tok-a-Tok is far easier to play for it usually lacks a real canon of rules. People just gather, put a stick with a circle on it into the ground and start playing.

If you care to know more, it's a modification of the Mesoamerican ballgame (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesoamerican_ballgame) which I have forever been fond of. Now I finally got the chance to include it into my work :)

08-07-2010, 11:02 PM
Thanks for the reference I was curious as to what you based it off or if you just invented it. It's a cool idea.

08-08-2010, 09:46 AM
Very good entry - good luck.

08-09-2010, 11:25 AM
Very good entry - good luck.

Thanks for the reference I was curious as to what you based it off or if you just invented it. It's a cool idea.

Thanks! :) Just dropping by to have a quick look at the other entries. Greets from Italy to everyone!