View Full Version : City Improvements Needed

Aval Penworth
10-02-2010, 02:53 AM
Time for a revamp of this map. I started this several years ago and my RMFRP campaign at the time moved away from the area so I never really finished it. But the storyline is coming back to this city fairly soon. So I thought I would make some improvements.

Steel General
10-02-2010, 02:50 PM
It's pretty cool as is.. I guess you could add some color to the roofs, etc. to help break up all that white.

10-02-2010, 02:56 PM
Wonderful map. Seems like it took much time to create. I agree with SG, the other possibility is to change it to a greyscale map.
Edit: What are those black squares in every building?

Aval Penworth
10-02-2010, 06:17 PM
Wonderful map. Seems like it took much time to create. I agree with SG, the other possibility is to change it to a greyscale map.
Edit: What are those black squares in every building?

They are chimneys.
I was thinking of colouring and shading the roofs and then adding some extra drop shadows on higher buildings to better show the multi-levels. I wanted to redo the landscape and streets now that I am better with textures. Put some boats in the harbour and so on. The chimneys will blend better once it it coloured and shaded. I can always make a greyscale version from there. (Just for you Katto)

I am hoping to turn this into something really special.

Aval Penworth
10-03-2010, 11:15 PM
Made a start on colour and shadow. Whole map and detail attached. Comments and critique invited.

Edit: I aslo added a version that is just the colour layer so that the back ground is not distracting the eye.

10-03-2010, 11:17 PM
Looks Great !! I love those buildings :)

10-04-2010, 05:11 AM
Fantasic work Aval. Were all the buildings hand drawn?

Aval Penworth
10-04-2010, 05:38 AM
Aww thanks guys. I did not expect such a positive response at this early stage of the WIP. Now I am worried I'll stuff it up. :)

Fantasic work Aval. Were all the buildings hand drawn?

I used CD3. Some default city tile symbols and some that I made myself. Unfortunately I lost my homemade city tiles when I had to reformat my pc a while ago.

10-04-2010, 12:41 PM
I like it, but....there is an issue with using the same pattern of buildings as geomorphs over and over.

As can be seen in the attached image, when you join your prebuilt collection of building together, you get into a situation where one of the buildings has no entrance available to it. No one cam get inside, and thus it detracts from the map as a whole.

Aval Penworth
10-04-2010, 05:56 PM
I like it, but....there is an issue with using the same pattern of buildings as geomorphs over and over.

As can be seen in the attached image, when you join your prebuilt collection of building together, you get into a situation where one of the buildings has no entrance available to it. No one cam get inside, and thus it detracts from the map as a whole.

The obvious repitition is more of a concern to me that the building entrance thing. As I go through each section, I will now look at varying the roof styles to break that up. So thanks for pointing it out.

When I first made the layout, a long time ago, I didn't put a huge amount of thought into it. Which is why I wanted to revist it and improve it.

As for the 'no entrance' thing...is that really such an issue. The rooms inside the middle section can be accessed via internal corridors. There is no reason why that section can't be an extension of a building with street access.

Edit: After looking at older cities on Google Earth I have noticed that although there are some instances of buildings as I have them, it is actually much more common to have a courtyard or open air walkway. So I guess I will replace some of those locked in buildings with courtyards.

Aval Penworth
10-04-2010, 11:37 PM
I have made a little more progress...

Is it working? I am trying to keep the colours, shadows and saturation levels consistent... but as I zoom in and out I think I might have made some buildings too dark.:?:

I want to add trees, fields, paving and such later on, but as I have not made the buildings photorealistic, photo textures won't blend.
I tried adding some trees (top left) but I am not sure if they suit. Ideas?

10-05-2010, 02:55 AM
The trees have a higher level of detail, but I think that is no problem. Try to change the color of them a bit.
Looks like a lot of work. Are those artifacts around the arena and city walls because of the high compression to post it here or do you have to fight with that also?
Well done so far Aval!

10-05-2010, 02:59 AM
The trees look a little small compared to the size of the buildings and to my eye are a little too cartoony compared to the buildings. I've attached some sample trees I made in Bryce which are not quite photo-realistic and might work with your map. You can download Bryce 5.5 for free and make your own trees. Drop me a line if you need me to walk you through it.

Aval Penworth
10-05-2010, 06:05 AM
@ Katto The artifacts you notice are not in my original file (the PS file is 380meg). I imagine that I will replace the entire backgroud befor this is done so I won't worry about it just yet.

@ Ravs Thanks. I will give your samples a go for my next WIP and see how they fly.

Steel General
10-05-2010, 07:33 AM
I think the roof coloring looks good, nice mix of colors without going overboard.

You might try lowering the opacity of the drop-shadows on the buildings. The really stark shadows tend to give them a case of the "floaties" (at least to my eye).

Aval Penworth
10-05-2010, 11:15 AM
I've done a little more. Surprisingly little for 4 hours work, but I was having fun. It's 2am, and I am adhering to the adage "If it is no longer fun, walk away."

It's amazing how quickly it can go from fun and exciting to annoying and tedious. Y'all know what I'm talk'n 'bout.

So I put in a few of Ravs trees. But they didn't seem quite right. I added a stroke, bevel, drop-shadow and inner glow. So let me know what you think of my FUBAR trees. (Filtered Up Beyond All Recognition).

I replaced some of the background too. Here it is.

Aval Penworth
10-07-2010, 01:51 AM
With renewed vigour I made a little more progress.

I am trying to find a paving colour and grass colour that will compliment the buildings... is that better?

The trees I am still not sure about. I think they look cool but do they work with the established style?

10-07-2010, 02:22 AM
I think the grass is just about right although I liked the paving color of the previous post (the dirt) the trees fit well with your style. Also I love the coliseum it looks just perfect !!. I know how how you feel about "walk away when it's not fun" hence why there hasn't been a Riverhewn update for a while. the monster is wearing me out.. :)

10-07-2010, 06:06 AM
I have to disagree, I think the old grasscolour looked a better, maybe it's more realistic this way, but.. I still like the old one better, maybe something in between?

Aval Penworth
10-07-2010, 11:56 PM
I have changed the Background again, and I quite like it this time. I will eventually put a subtle penstroke or crosshatch on the b/g so that it better matches the buildings, but I imagine that I will add and remove some paths before the end.

Started on some hand shading and highlights of the buildings.

Thanks to everyone for the comments.

Aval Penworth
10-12-2010, 10:59 PM
Some more progress. I will never finish this if I try to do it all by hand. I wrote and applied some selective photoshop actions to give the roof tops more depth. I think that they worked fairly well although I notice that some of the buildings I thought were selected, have been missed and I accidently created a bunch of 'transparent buttons' in odd places, but I think I managed to get rid of them.

Anyway, here is the latest installment.

Steel General
10-13-2010, 07:09 AM
Look like some of the buildings along the 'southern' wall have lost some of their details.

10-13-2010, 02:57 PM
I am jealous.. ;) looks great a couple of little tweaks here and there and it will be perfect..

10-13-2010, 03:35 PM
Looks cool! I can't identify the building next to the castle in the NW. Looks like a carousel ;)

Aval Penworth
10-13-2010, 06:43 PM
Looks cool! I can't identify the building next to the castle in the NW. Looks like a carousel ;)

It is meant to be the Lord Mage's residence.

@ JT. Actually I have a lot more planned on this baby. I want to label the districts and streets directly and also have a legend on the right.

Aval Penworth
10-15-2010, 08:02 PM
I have now completed the colouring. Nit-picking encouraged

10-16-2010, 06:02 AM
I'm really liking the variety of rooftops here. To be nit picky, the jetties look too similar to me, same shapes and colours.
I can easily see myself wanting to borrow this for my own campaign!

10-16-2010, 12:25 PM
I like it very much! Have you tried to add a bit of depth to the coast or perhaps a soft brownish stroke here and there?

10-16-2010, 02:51 PM
I think it looks superb. I love the little windy streets, the small courtyards, the little neighbourhoods; the whole thing just feels right.

Just one question though: In the lake you have what looks like a half submerged jetty in the top left...is that what it's meant to be?

Aval Penworth
10-16-2010, 07:36 PM
@ Crayons. Good point, I agree and I will look at a bit more variety.

@ Katto. I haven't even started thinking about how I am going to handle the coast. I guess I will rough it up a bit and add a glow and stroke.

@ Ravells That jetty is a mistake born of trying to reduce the number of layers and maybe missing a colour select step. I will fix it.

Thanks to each of you for your comments.

Aval Penworth
10-22-2010, 02:08 AM
I found a little time today to make some progress on this map.

I added a 30% opacity grungy cloud layer to the buildings. If anyone thinks it adds to the atmosphere of the map, let me know. Also played around with the coastline.

Might put a tent market or faiground in somewhere?

Still considering a numbered or grid referenced legend. I worked out the population to be 21,600 or so. So that's a lot of places of interest to put in.

Aval Penworth
10-28-2010, 08:30 AM
City Update. Started on the cartouche. Is this too boring? Or does it suit? . Comments welcome before I dig myself too deep.

10-28-2010, 09:20 AM
I think the Cartouche positioning and size looks fine. May as well use that dead space. An alternative might be to give yourself some more room at the bottom and do it horizontally. Either way, you might want to tab the text so that it doesn't overflow under the numbers column.

10-28-2010, 03:35 PM
Ad hoc I say you will need two colums to name every POI. I would also try to position each entry in one row and yes, TAB is your friend ;)

Aval Penworth
10-30-2010, 10:33 PM
Thanks again Katto and Ravells.

I think I like Ravs idea of placing the names below the map, it gives more scope to add places of interest. I can then put the compas rose, a shield and scale in that water area.

My issue now is; do I keep numbering the POIs or create a grid ref system? Will it be too crowded and confusing to have 130+ numbers on the map.

Comments encouraged:)

10-31-2010, 01:44 AM
I think 130 poi's are a lot to place without have a ref-grid, so I'd go with that :) ... and a little note about tabs, you should set the first tab for the numbering, it should be a right aligned tab aligned after the . after the numbers, and then then next tab is where the text begins :)

Aval Penworth
10-31-2010, 02:42 AM
This is my 1st attempt at labeling with inkscape. I did not realise you could set tabs. I'll take a closer look.

10-31-2010, 01:08 PM
I like the idea of a legend below the map. It gives you the chance to group the buildings (taverns, public, shops etc.) in the columns, perhaps with an additional colour or symbol coding. Another idea is to divide the town into different parts. You should reduce the size of the numbers IMO: it is ok for the larger buildings, but too large for the houses. You should also label it the same way: outside or inside the building.

Aval Penworth
10-31-2010, 01:16 PM
Good Idea re grouping. I guess I will put all the places into a spreadsheet so I can easily group and alphabetize them. Will I be able to import that into inkscape? Hope so.

I think I am going to change to a grid ref anyway. I put too much effort into the roofs to cover them with numbers. I planned to put all the numbers outside but it won't always be possible.

11-09-2010, 03:02 AM
This maps has developed amazingly well since its inception. Have some rep!

Aval Penworth
11-09-2010, 08:50 PM
Thanks again for the feedback so far. Once again I am hoping for some CC before I move too far with the grid and legend.

A little more progress... I have partially done a few things to see how it feels.

I plan to replace all the (place holder)industry category columns with specific grid refs.
I will also replace the frame which is a place holder.

Is the border too stark? Is there a better way to label this? Where the heck is that grid generator I saw a few months ago? Or can I get away without grid lines.



Steel General
11-10-2010, 08:47 AM
The grid lines would help, but I don't think they are necessary.

PS should be able to generate the grid for you (IIRC), or check in the Mapping Elements forum there should be some grid images you can add as a new layer in PS.

11-10-2010, 01:00 PM
You should remove the beginning 'The' in the tavern section, too much IMO.

12-09-2010, 06:59 PM
Beautiful.. :)

12-12-2010, 03:29 PM
Looking superb.

About the grid and neatline - I think if you're going to go for that and put a grid on top it might look too cluttered given the number of lines you're going to have to draw over the map for each grid reference. Might be better to make fewer grid squares on the map. Another thing I noticed, I downloaded the map and dropped a vertical line from the top neatline divisions to the bottom ones, but they didn't match :( so you may have to do your neatline again if you want a grid.