View Full Version : August Entry : The Tin Man's Map...

08-17-2010, 04:29 PM
It looked a bit empty here with contestants, hopefully, all lurking in the wings so I thought I'd throw in my lot again, if only to give you all something to critique while-u-wait, as it were...

My entry is in two parts, which is probably against the rules - but at least I posted the entry correctly!!!! :D (I think).

a) is a battlemap I haven't started yet, which is THE location of the challenge - and it's just going to be somewhere on the roadside where the Tin Man has been waylaid. Our adventurers will come upon the scene, and fight whatever the GM wants to put there, be they the original bandits, looters, beatles-song singing vultures or itinerant luggage labellers. The scene will be empty but for the remains of the Tin Man's caravan(ette). This will be a POVRay thingy again, sorry, however...

b) is the main lead into where-ever else and it's a route map of the log type - just a linear view of the route from A to B (and hopefully back again). Unfortunately, it's all written in some obscure ideographic language and it's up to the GM to decide if the adventurers can get any of it translated (if at all) and what it says, coz I just scribbled junk on it... Who knows, it might all be a hoax.

Anyway... the clue is in the Tin Man. Of the equipment and stuff left by the looters a lot of it is made of gold. Everyday things seem to be made of it whilst ornaments and the like are largely made of Tin. In essence the Tin Man was a trader in search of Tin ( a rare and valuable metal where he lives) and was going to trade in gold, which is common as muck... it's Pratchett's Twoflower of sorts, I guess.
The map tells of many places unknown to most (*think* Silk Road etc) and it maybe that some symbol or occasional translated word might be another clue to some unrelated "treasure" - the thing is largely open ended as to what it can be used for...

This is the latest version of the map. I wanted to try my hand at "hand drawn" again and I managed to find the Bamboo I bought a while back (not used a tablet for quite a while). Now, this isn't "an excuse" for it being so shoddy (even though it works as one!) but this is a "handout" level map, drawn cheaply by some scribe or other (likely then murdered to keep the secret) and based on the words and description of some traveller or other the Tin Man met (and subsquently buried next to the scribe)... you get the gist. There's no "X marks the spot" but there are lots of ideograms that might!!!
### LATEST WIP ###

I guess to get inside the rules and past the thumbnail scraper I'll have to put the map and the battlemap in the same jpg...

Critiques akimbo please, if anyone knows a good way to do blood it'd help a lot - the striping effect is *supposed* to simulate the blood having been spilt on it when it was rolled up as a scroll?
It's all done by hand in Paintshop Pro, no fancy anythings much. I used Fur texture to make a raindrop smudge effect here and there but otherwise...well...

08-17-2010, 07:52 PM
Nope? Well there isn't much to comment on with a map like that, it's not meant to be good, just there.
However, the battlemap should at least attempt to be worthy of pulling to bits verbally so here's the first draft... proof of principle sort of thing.
It's two heightfields and a plane, and one of my trees from before with MORE twigs and no leaves (for now). The hex pattern is something new I'm trying here - now I know about "orthographic" (doh!) I can plunk this sort of thing (with no_shadow) on the scene and tune it to whatever I want. Coo !!
The "ripples" on the flooded bit are rubbish, I know, and the "mud" want's more from the height field and less from a simple agate normal, that can hide in the detail.
I'll also probably tweak it out to A4 size so that adding the "handout" above makes a single A3 jpg. I'll add the two together at the end (assuming I get there)...
### LATEST WIP ###

08-17-2010, 10:43 PM
Blood is more to the rusty side instead of red side when on parchment. If it is really old blood then it'll be faded with a darker ring around the edge but not a perfect ring, a random fat part and skinny part ring. If it is fresh blood then it'll be dark and shiny reflecting light or dried blood would be crusty. There won't be any blurring unless someone has brushed their sleeve through it or the map is made from a thick absorbent cloth. I don't if there are any splatter or blood brushes around the internet for PSP but there are thousands for PS.

08-17-2010, 10:57 PM
I like the hand drawn map so far, I look at it and even without the background you've supplied I see a story in it :) I might be tempted to say the ink blurring isn't really necessary, though if you did some actual water stains and blurred the area within the stain itself it might work. As to the blood, if it were me at this point I'd take an actual piece of paper, water/tea stain it, and then afterwards actually blood stain it while it's rolled up (likely use something from raw hamburger drippings, we have enough hamburgers I could easily do it) and then scan in the results.
Y'know, I might just do that tonight..

08-17-2010, 11:19 PM
If you don't then just tell me to do it cuz I'll be having hamburgers sometime this week.

08-17-2010, 11:43 PM
You may have to be the one. I just popped out to the store to pick up some ground beef (the wife decided she wanted meatballs right after I posted that, hah!) and when I got back, turns out there was nothing dripping out of it. The *ONE* time...
Anyhow, I have some paper soaking right now.. I took 3 sheets, folded twice into a long strip (8.5x11, folded into thirds along the 8.5 width) then I rolled it tightly and tied it with a string, dropped that in. I think I used a cup of water (maybe less) for 1 teabag, and added some week old cold coffee for extra measure :) We'll see how that turns out at any rate. I may have some alternative blood supply coming up, I have to brush some knots out of my cat's fur... ;)

08-18-2010, 12:06 AM
LOL, Hey why don't you give that cat a bath while you are at it, that's sure to net you some fluids. Actually, if I had known this was needed I could have set it up today when I cut/smashed my finger by slinging a heavy object and then changing my mind but failing to stop it's decent with one hand...ouch...cut right in the fold of my knuckle too. Surprisingly it's not killing me and I can still move my finger and type, use a mouse and all that. Well see about tomorrow though. :(

I wonder what I would get if I tossed some paper into my composter for a while? I could probably get anything you could want sunbaked out here in the desert too.

08-18-2010, 12:15 AM
Ooh! do it!

08-18-2010, 01:06 AM
For some reason, Richard Brautigan's book "In Watermelon Sugar" came to mind reading all this gorey detail ! There was iNBOIL telling everyone what iDEATH is all about all over again.:D
The blood needs to be fresh really, the scroll would probably be found on the Tin Man's body, secreted somewhere in his robes - and smearing could be part of it too I guess - from when it is extracted. The basics would be a scroll hidden away and bled on and trickled down inside between the rolls of the scroll. There wouldn't be spattering as such. You're right though, no blurring of the sort I have on it either. Bah! I'll have to check my layers... I don't normally use 'em and now you lot have me tinkering with that too!
Like some other unfortunates here, I cut myself only last weekend, with an axe no less. Went though the seam of my jeans, the top of my boot and my sock, but luckily only a short way into my foot. Mental notes to self - (a) don't use an axe again, get someone else to do it and (b) keep blood (you never know when...)
Sadly, when it comes to simulating any of this bloodletting all I have at home is frozen sausages and breaded fish, not too sure how the scanner is going to cope with that.

08-18-2010, 01:53 AM
All you guys cuttin yourselves and I'm the one workin with glass every day :) If I wasn't such a ninny maybe I would....nah.

08-18-2010, 08:54 AM
lol... I'm also with Ascension on the blood issue... and now we're talking about accidents I did manage to hit myself with a sledge hammer earlier this week as I was laying some stones in the yard. Managed just to hit my hand skin only and avoid the bones - luckily, but it did bleed :)
And I'll pipe in on the map also - the grid is very dominating and the earth textures a bit large.. but I'm guessing you're on a rough sketch for now :)

08-18-2010, 02:59 PM
Re: Blood
Well, my foot decided to do a bit of seeping so I now have some sample real stuff on white paper. I've never really studied this but the bright red turned brown within a half hour or so... brown it is.
So I had a look on the web and found this site which kinda ticks that box and several others. I'm bookmarking this one!
Dried blood is in there.

Thanks tilt, yes it is a tad "draughty" on the map and that's exactly the kind of comment on the grid that I need! The soil texture will be refined - I want to put cart tracks in the "mud" itself by modifying the height field and I needed to get my cart design partly done to get the wheel tracking width right.
This is one cart "in the workshop" at the moment. I'm thinking of having two. One "hardtop" and one "soft-top". One will have to have the obligatory broken axle so you get some sort of view of the side from the overhead view. (The cliché-grinder is grinding!). Given time I'll put some markings on the hard-top which could be a clue about the Tin Man aswell.
If anyone is wondering - the carts got left behind by our original attackers because they won't fit through the trees - they took most of the "goodies" and livestock though...

08-18-2010, 04:29 PM
Haha, ok it's time for a true story that just took place.

I just happen to be reading this post and my wife comes hobbling into the office breathing unevenly...

I ask, "What's wrong, are you ok?"
"I just smashed my toe." she replied in a pained voice.
"Is it bleeding?"
"Oh Dang!", came my dejected voice.

Only then as she looked at me in a strange way did I realize I probably should have handled that differently. LOL, fortunately, she allowed me to explain myself. :)

Nice cart and I like the anti-theft laser beams as well :)

08-18-2010, 04:44 PM
....., fortunately, she allowed me to explain myself. :)
And she believed you? :D

Hokay. Blood. I've gone back a stage or two - unblurry version, recoloured, fiddled... researched. If you get blood on the front of a scroll and roll it up? The blood transfers onto the back of the next bit... doh. Anyway, not feeling keen to justify all the CSI aspects of the bloodwork I just left the pattern as before and put some extra "dry smudging" on a bit I didn't like too much. Given the excellent example of a coffee-stain recently perhaps my Tin Man should have been alien and bled espresso.
Ho hum. Back to my laser-guarded cart! (Lasers huh? I think this site needs a Weirdness tool like the Rep one! I award 10 Weird-points to Jax!) LOL!
### LATEST WIP ###
I'm still not convinced myself...

08-18-2010, 04:51 PM
sorry - not convinced either... the blood has a much better color now, but the last "stribe" where its smudged.. the smudge acts a bit like a drop shadow lifting the blood of the document. Overall much better without the heavy blurring, the edges are a little sharp though (or should I say lines). You also have some white spaces at the edge of the document where the parchment color hasn't "hit" and the overall blurring/smudge/dirt effect on the document gives some strange blurry artifacts here and there. Looks ok most of the places zoomed out - but not zoomed in.

08-18-2010, 11:54 PM
I like this. I don't get it but I like it.

Given the pseudo-Asian vibe you've got there, however, I almost want to see the horizontal parts of it on strips of bamboo tied together with twine. Like this, but with wide strips:

08-19-2010, 12:18 AM
I can see this map in use.. I've been looking closer at the flow of the locations, and I could absolutely run a campaign based around it, probably even make it last a few years as the party goes traveling looking for whatever is supposed to be at the end of the trail :)

Blood is getting better, but not quite there yet. I've been working on a few ideas but nothing worth scanning yet :)

08-19-2010, 03:22 AM
I must have an obscure mind, that's the second time someone's said that about not understanding my stuff!! LOL! I apologise!
The basis of the map is the olde worlde route mappe where all the corners are straightened and you only get the information you can sort of see from the route. Wander off the path and you're up that proverbial paddleless creek. There are some primitive directions shown as a sort of code when the sun is shown with an arrow pointing at it, basically - assuming you hold the map infront of you and have the rising sun at the angle to you as shown by the arrow you're pointing the right way for your general direction. Like I said, primitive. The desert sun is a possible error, or deliberate misinformation or works on the midday sun... who knows?
Sometimes there are horizon landmarks shown rotated 90 degrees across the path - to show what the skyline should look like ahead of you - and (say) head to the right of that flat-topped hill...
It is asiatic - so it reads kinda backwards. The Tin Man's "home" is the island in the bottom left - that is journey's "start" and it goes left to right then up one and left to right again - the "end" is the port on the top right...
Some information is repeated with detailed drawings, like the rope bridge and the stonehengey thing. Crop types are crudely represented as are game and "perils" e.g. skull and crossbones in one of the seas, bows or axes for what might attack you... snakes!!!
The intention is that it should be confusing to the players, I hope it is, the map is a tool the Tin Man had made up to remember the salient parts of the journey. The fact that only he may know what it "says" is just another part of his paranoia perhaps. I've tried to keep the thing as open ended as possible so a GM can make anything of it in any fantasy genre he's playing... perhaps.

The bamboo idea is blinding! I wish I'd thought of that! Crikey. I'll see if I can find time to try something along those lines. It has 3D smeared all over it!

@Coyotemax & tilt -- The Blood. Yah, I think I have the right thing on my own bloodied scroll. :D The blood has squidged out very thin between paper layers and when separated and the blood is still wet it wicks together at the last contact point. I get a sort of "ridge and veins" affect very similar to some mountain range styles I've seen in regonal maps here. There is a very thin line at the boundary. You suddenly recognise it as blood because at sometime in your life you've probably done something similar and left a palm print or side-of-hand print on the formica tabletop when dressing a wound on your hand. Perhaps an excessive ninja paper cut experience?

The Wagon
In the mean time, I've continued the ideographics onto the hard-top wagon, and since Mr Jaxilon seemed to consider security was an issue I called in an old friend to guard the thing while in storage and do a bit of advertising by the by.
Not a latest wip, just a part of the scenery....

08-19-2010, 03:30 AM
Yeah baby, I can see that guy doing disco.

Btw, what are you doing with the 3d carts and wagons anyway? I get the map with the blood on it and it's confusing which makes it cool for a player map but are you going to put these 3d deals onto that map? I think we are having the same thing we had on your solur Nexus in that some of us don't know how this all fits together....I'm going to go back and re-read the start again to make sure I haven't forgotten something.

Edit: Yep, I had blown a fuse in my rememberer :) Nothing to see here folks. Carry on.

08-19-2010, 03:35 AM
@Coyotemax & tilt -- The Blood. Yah, I think I have the right thing on my own bloodied scroll. :D The blood has squidged out very thin between paper layers and when separated and the blood is still wet it wicks together at the last contact point. I get a sort of "ridge and veins" affect very similar to some mountain range styles I've seen in regonal maps here. There is a very thin line at the boundary. You suddenly recognise it as blood because at sometime in your life you've probably done something similar and left a palm print or side-of-hand print on the formica tabletop when dressing a wound on your hand. Perhaps an excessive ninja paper cut experience?

You've nailed the description of it! It's hard to replicate digitally if you're not looking right at it, and even then I think the best way would be to scan. I was messing around with a combination of hotsauce, worcestershire (sp?) sauce, vanilla, something else, vinegar, etc to get something that would sort of act like blood (for those who might want to recreate the look without the real thing) and while I got some neat results, nothing authentic.

Maybe I'll nip down to the butcher's and see if I can get a half pint or so o play with :)

08-19-2010, 03:37 AM
I get that a lot! LOL!
The wagon is going to have a naaasty accident involving a ditch and a band of brigands OR a very annoyed Psycho Donkey!
The liitle security guard does do disco "By Your Command" - as required. He was going cheap, old stock, replaced by something with longer arms apparently.

08-19-2010, 03:40 AM
Maybe I'll nip down to the butcher's and see if I can get a half pint or so o play with :)

Do I see a change of sig quote coming on? "...sometimes the most efficient way to make something look bloody is to simply stab your hand..."

08-19-2010, 03:55 AM
So the map is a prelude to the full scale block buster scenario "Snakes on a Wagon on a Rope Bridge" ... I'm looking forward to the toilet scene.. you do have a toilet on the wagon, right? ;) will Samuel L Jackson be playing the security guard? *lol*

... fun aside - wagon looking really good, I'm looking forward to seing more :)

08-19-2010, 04:11 AM
Hmmm. You know, I think there's an episode of Dexter where Dex tells us how he makes the fake blood he uses for splatter analysis in the lab. I think it's corn syrup and something else. I'd be willing to bet that, though it's a TV show, it's pretty well researched - they probably have an on-staff blood expert. Probably could find the recipie on the Interwebz somewhere. Edit #2: Here's a convincing looking article: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Fake-Blood

Edit #1: We have very 'chatty' challenge entries this time around...

08-19-2010, 04:59 AM
My scanner doesn't appear up to the task particularly but this is what I got anyway.
This is real ME blood (A Neg) on paper (A4) which I rolled up when it was wet, and it unravelled a bit afterwards, hence the wicking effect. All I've done is cut and paste all the patches into a group preserving lots of white paper around each one.
Given the nature of the images I can imagine someone turning these into some map or other, in which case, as copyright owner of the blood I would, of course, expect royalties on any sales as "blood money". Any further puns are banned.
It isn't exactly clear but you can see the sort of "veining" effect I mentioned leading off from the "mountain ridges" a bit like rivers or sub-ranges.
Definitely not a WIP. (Oh Lord, I predict more puns!):D

08-19-2010, 07:15 AM
I was messing around with a combination of hotsauce, worcestershire (sp?) sauce, vanilla, something else, vinegar, etc to get something that would sort of act like blood (for those who might want to recreate the look without the real thing) and while I got some neat results, nothing authentic.

Canadians can get Worcestershire sauce? My faith in humanity just levelled up. :)

08-19-2010, 09:44 AM
Canadians can get Worcestershire sauce? My faith in humanity just levelled up. :)

I think every Canadian household had some ;)

Mine does,

-Rob A>

08-19-2010, 10:08 AM
Ok, Crayons, I almost feel sick. I can just imagine someone passing out at their monitor about now, LOL. What's that called when people faint at the sight of blood?

At least we can say, you are dedicated to your passion.

08-19-2010, 08:59 PM
Ok, another part of the jigsaw, the goods cart and (some of) the goods. There're some barrels - water, oil, perhaps, too heavy and cheap for the original bandits to haul away. Also, 4 crates of Tin ingots, similarly abandoned as far too heavy. They're probably worth a decent amount around here but it's a fortune where the Tin Man was going.
The crates and ingots are relatively simple, new objects, the barrels and flags have been used in other things I've done but they're modified.... a bit. I need to make lots more "junk" to leave lying strewn around... that's a drag! My mistake!
Lot's to do!

08-19-2010, 09:36 PM
I like those Barrels

08-19-2010, 10:57 PM
Hmmm. You know, I think there's an episode of Dexter where Dex tells us how he makes the fake blood he uses for splatter analysis in the lab. I think it's corn syrup and something else. I'd be willing to bet that, though it's a TV show, it's pretty well researched - they probably have an on-staff blood expert. Probably could find the recipie on the Interwebz somewhere. Edit #2: Here's a convincing looking article: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Fake-Blood

Edit #1: We have very 'chatty' challenge entries this time around...

(sorry, one last threadjacking post)
Fake blood is easy enough when you want it to look like fresh blood - the trick here is to get it to look like *dried* blood when it dries :) That's what I've been working on. No luck so far :)

08-19-2010, 10:59 PM
I dunno about threadjacking...blood seems to be an integral part of this challenge entry! BTW, that link I gave had some recipies that seemed to simulate the color of dried blood.

08-19-2010, 11:13 PM
The colour that "grabs" me is rgb #4b0101 - it compares well with my real sample and it's the one I used earlier, just too thickly and with th wrong distribution.

08-20-2010, 01:58 AM
Ok, so I went ahead and came up with a recipe partially based on the fake blood ones. A bit of soy, few drops of red colouring, and a bit of worc. sauce since our soy is too clear, then a bit of corn syrup for thickening. I've got it in the oven right now, I actually rolled a piece of paper (roughly then crinkled a tad) and tied it tightly, then messed about with the blood mixture. I'm waiting for it to finish drying in the oven right now.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to have some real blood soon - I poured some of this mix into my hand to see what it would look like, then walked into the living room and said "i think I oopsed, what do you think?" (the colour was a bit off, and usually my wife remembers my train of thought from previous conversations.. apparently not this time, lol)

[edit] I give up. the paper tore to shreds when i tried unrolling, and the one I had on the baking sheet with the real blood from the porkchops stuck and I couldn't get it off. back to the drawingboard.. or chopping block.. or something...

08-20-2010, 05:54 AM
Ladies and gents, please be careful out there with your blood experiments! I have a nasty feeling someone is gonna get hurt or have a coronary or something.:((

Anyways, I've had yet another go at it myself. I got a thin border line by contracting the selection area. I hand drew in some lines, scribbled really, sprayed liberally and softened it all somewhat. Then I got out my handy smear tool and jiggled that about set to quite hard and opaque, then went wibbly with it set to about 20% transparency thingy. It's better, I think, but still doesn't do it all. I'm afraid my potential virtual FRPlayers are just gonna have to use their imaginations with this handout...
### LATEST WIP ###

and here's the battle map so far...
I've rendered it without the hexmap overlay for now to fully emphasise the horrendously vibrant green grass verge that is annoying me so much at the moment. This annoyance has been mitigated, in part, by a shallow sense of smugness that I have just found a simple way to keep randomly placed things from getting too close to each other! Oh the joy! ;)

08-20-2010, 09:52 AM
woah.. that is green... or more like GREEN!! :) .. otherwise, starting to look good, but very expresionalistic colors... or pointed.. or pixelated.. its very sharp

08-20-2010, 10:19 AM
I think this is going to look pretty cool but it's really pixelated at the moment. I'm thinking you have a handle on that though.

08-20-2010, 01:21 PM
Thanks! I'm embarrassed at your mistaken faith in me Jax! LOL!
It's that age-old POVRay Grass Thing again, and there's the rub, as Hamlet would have it.

There are ways and means of "doing grass" (in the legal sense) and this one probably isn't one of them, but I'm going to play with it a bit more to see if the wind can't blow it around a bit more.
It's created very simply (and so renders fast) by having a duplicate "soil" height_field and then just spraying it white (with opacity fiddled with) so, basically each "blade" of grass is a sharp pointy little stalagmite sticking up through the brown soil field. Being 1 pixel across and that pixel being flat topped means lots of sharp dots. You could cut yourself on this grass it's so vertical!
The VERY green bits are where the spraygun hardness/opacity setting has made the grass more like a surface "blob" and I think I can fix that now.... I think a bit of Wilburing might do the trick - that looks like some sort of differential spray gun in there!? There are other things to play with for this method too... good old post-processing in PSP, but...
If that all fails, well, I could try a texture thing on the web but it's not my "creation" and I try to stay with what comes with POV where I can - the texture is GNU but....
well anyway
another method is basic brute force and plant lots of individual blades of the stuff and hide bare patches with.. erm, a change of seasons - so that there are leaves on the deciduous trees (hiding much! - sadly also the "player character space"). However, even that is likely to be too much for my poor little computer unless the grass is really BIG! LOL!

08-20-2010, 02:07 PM
Let no man doubt the dedication of the guild members in their quest for authenticity... I'm off now to hack myself up with a rusty blunt instrument to get some ink for my map...

08-20-2010, 05:11 PM
OK, well, what I've done is turn to Wilbur, the 6ft Invisible White Rabbit, and use that to spray controllable height "grass spikes" to impale yourself on. Unfortunately, Health and Safety moved in and I had to smudge all the spikes to safe points. Basically, quite a mix of jiggery and industrial-grade pokery and a colour change and the verdancy was less eye assaulting. Phew.
The smudgy thing also allowed me to attempt to show the path of the attackers coming out of the trees earlier, brushing the wet grass flatter as they went about their evil ways.
It then occurred to me what was seriously wrong - big time - was that by being in Autumn, so we could see the ground and thus move our prospective player counters/icons visibly (except for the "fir" trees which are to be considered too dense for movement through) - I had neglected the fact that the leaves must fall somewhere. So I've liberally sprinkled 30,000 of them all around.

All in all, the grass now looks more like the stuff the regional mapping chaps use for forests, and, well, I can't explain myself there, but I think it'll have to stay much like this.
To do list...
A Shrubbery! Well, more of the small twiggy thing.
More "fir" trees in the top left area.
Luggage, looted and strewn around.
Something for the weekend I guess?:D

08-20-2010, 05:21 PM
NI I say... NI ;)
and I'm sorry to say so... but leaves just don't fall like that.. or at least don't stay like that.. they clump up due to wind and rain and so forth... but damn nice... my own entry seem rather inadequate..

08-20-2010, 05:43 PM
Don't get sorry - get even!!! LOL!
The leaves, yes, I know, I'm thinking about that problem. The leaves might look like that for a brief time if they all fell in wind and really hard driving rain that made them all stick to the ground. Huh. That's a real bogus line of BS if ever I wrote one! Seems to me I have to manually place another 30,000 leaves in clumps. That sounds like a spraygun effect. I might be able to do it with some custom brush thing in a graphics tool as post-processing but... first I think I'll try a 3D solution. Another height field, sprayed with dots, then detect those and put a leaf at each dot.
If you did that entry of yours so far in one sitting then I envy you the talent! Using 3D code still feels like artistic "cheating" to me but I just love seeing what happens! This has also taken rather considerably longer!! Never say die!

08-20-2010, 07:10 PM
OK, well, clumpy leaves..... a bit. I'll have to muck about with the spot reference png over the weekend and probably change the amounts spread evenly vs. clumped but the principle seems to work reasonably.

And, ah spit! - I only just noticed that the fir trees need fiddling with to stop that concentric circle effect.
Ah well.
This render also has anti-aliasing on for once.

08-21-2010, 09:52 PM
I've done about everything I wanted (and more, thanks to everyone for their advice so far!).
This is a smaller render of what might be the final version of my BattleMap part of the challenge. I've added some chests/boxes, a bit of cloth, some tent bags etc as looted debris. It can be safely assumed that the original bandits made off with all the horses/mules and loaded them with all the good and smaller "stuff".
I'd gladly welcome any last advice about this section.
For example, the hexagon "Overlay" - I can tone it up or down, rescale it and so forth, I can even move it lower so that the taller parts of trees obscure it - which could be handy to indicate "impassable" areas. However, the trees would then shadow the hexes too. The hexagons are "40%" Grey which seems a balance between being able to see them on the "road" and being too contrasty for the fir trees. Dunno.
Does the sun need to be higher giving shorter shadows? Are the shadows too dark?
Happy to hear anything really!

As for the final "dual pic" with the "hand scrawled" map, I was considering just having them as 2 A4 elements one above the other - no border and no other text on the images. However I hope to accompany the final version with a load of "ideas" for campaign use.

08-22-2010, 05:28 AM
I would say that the grid is way to dominating, it actually makes a lot of the graphics hard to see. Tone it down, and perhaps concider the scale. A normal scale for a battlemap would be 1sq = 5 feet ... this would make your carts rather big :)
Leaves looking much better ending in big piles at the edge of the road - much more natural - I still think there are too many on the road. If it had a storm the night before (as the puddle implies) then the leaves on the road would be drowned in mud only leaving a small percentage visible + those which have dropped since :)

Steel General
08-22-2010, 09:58 AM
I'm with Tilt that the grid is a bit overwhelming. You might consider changing the color to white and lowering the opacity.

08-22-2010, 11:14 AM
you might try using brown and green on the grid if you can. Brown where it's over the road and green over the forested areas. I have never had a need to try that myself but it might help the look. It does sort of fight with the map for dominance the way it is.

08-22-2010, 01:39 PM
I had a feeling the grid was going to be an issue! LOL!
FYI, I'm a GURPS player so the hex grid scale is of the order of 1hex = 1m (or yd). That makes the cartwheel about 1m in diameter which has been my main "reference" point - approximately.
Both suggestions sound good - changing the colour of the hexes is trickier than messing with the opacity but it might be that the opacity change will greatly increase render time... I'll have a "play".
Less leaves? Yup, I can see that, no problem. That'll speed up the render too. (It's not onerous at the moment)

08-22-2010, 05:12 PM
Unless you can just export everything to Gimp or another similar thing and do the grid there.

WOOHOO for another GURPS player!

08-22-2010, 10:32 PM
Right! Time for the final version (except for the later versions when I change it all again.):D
Besides, I feel a bit like I'm coming down with something so I might not feel like fiddling with it much more in the time remaining.
Thanks to everyone for their advice and ideas. I think the finished product is all the better for that.

As I think I mentioned before I took the challenge as the start of a campaign and an important aspect, I feel, is that that is all it does. The rest of the campaign is up to our prospective players and GM to sort out.

To reprise the information dotted around in this thread...

The Tin Man's Map

This is a deliberately "open" design for a Campaign start scenario. The GM is left with the majority of choices as to how to progress it. Some ideas are presented here.

The basic salient points are
a) the player characters stumble upon the scene in the battlemap.
b) they find the "map"

There has obviously been a fight here and the wagoneers lost. The scene has already been looted of horses and/or mules and all major expensive and/or small goods.
The GM needs to decide where to place any bodies and active combattants that might be around now.
It could be that the original brigands have returned to load up more booty on the horses. The carts themselves are largely useless to them as they won't pass between the trees around here. It may just be scavenging wolves or other itinerant looters (like the players?)

The fundamentals are that the Tin Man is some sort of trader from afar who has found a good supply of Tin somewhere. Tin is a rare commodity where he hails from and has traded 4 crates of Tin Ingots for gold (which is more abundant for him). He obviously intended to "make it big" taking this home. Clues to this could be identified by his tin "jewelry" and the use of gold in some everyday utensils that may remain. Perhaps the brigands did not believe that the mugs had real gold bands on them?

The Map
Is cheaply hand scribed and has seen some wear and more lately, some blood. It would most probably be found hidden in the Tin Man's robes. The language is obviously "foreign", ideographic in written form, and translators are probably scarce (if any) or perhaps a survivor remains. Some smiling little asiatic old woman stereotype??? There could still be a language problem.
Even then, the ideograms could be in "code" known only to the Tin Man.
The map "should" be read from bottom left to right then up "one" and left to right again, ending in the top right. The players should be able to work that out?
The map itself has some diagrams depicting possible perils (skull and crossbones, bows, axes, snakes etc) some of the more interesting elements are enlarged in adjacent copies ("stonehenge", rope bridge...). Crops, livestock and game are pictorially shown, perhaps to assist in smalltrading along the way?
Navigational aides are sometimes shown by the sun (either at sunrise or noon) or moon and an arrow. It might be that holding the map flat before you and aligning the sun/moon along the arrow might mean you are facing the correct direction? Sometimes the horizon is drawn at rightangle across the path to show a reference point to head for.
Finally - other things on the map warrant investigation? Maybe the little old dear can say a word that everyone recognises - and point... "Ygsdrason!" Nodding furiously! Lots of flapping arms...

The Tin Man himself?
Who is he?
Well he could just be a lone trader looking for "the big one".
There is a black symbol repeated twice on the side of his living wagon and on his banner on the goods wagon - even once on the map!(?). Is that just his trade symbol, or is it the symbol of something more powerful and, heaven's forbid, more sinister? Perhaps it's the symbol of some sort of Trader "tong" or the passport emblem for some "protection" organisation.
If the players decide to complete the Tin Man's trade (and it's likely to be very lucrative) by completing the journey with his carts, are they going to have to talk very fast to explain themselves? Perhaps the ingots all have this mark too?

Take it where you will...
### LATEST WIP ###

Technical bumf.
I apologise if it's in anyway grainy - it's a 25 factor compressed jpeg. It should work out as A3 when viewed at 300dpi.
S'all folks!

08-22-2010, 10:53 PM
Sweet, love the info. Instead of an old woman I think i would toss a small child in there who somehow was hidden in the floor of the wagon or something because then, the players are faced with another dilemma: If this is the heir to the trader do we keep the money from this at the end or do we provide for the child? What if we find his family, what then? Maybe the child can only read a little bit and thus, only certain words on the map would be translated, which could allow the GM to give some hints along the way. It would also allow the GM to have the kid suddenly recall what a certain symbol means as kids are prone to not always bother with correct specifics. Hopefully, child does this right after he's told the players that the symbol means cave in side of mountain...... **after huge fight with angry warebears** "Oh Yeah! This symbol can also mean room at a Inn...I forgot before."

Hehe, deviousness is fun.

Nice entry

08-23-2010, 12:55 AM
Jaxilon: I love the way you think!