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mearrin69
12-24-2010, 12:33 AM
Hi guys,
I'm getting started on several commissioned maps for BlackStar Studios:
BlackStar Studios (Facebook: BlackStar Studios (http://www.facebook.com/pages/BlackStar-Studios/115204471879374)and Twitter: @BlackStarGames)

Three of these are battle maps and, as I'm working on them, I'll post my progress to this thread for feedback...and simply to come out of my cave once in a while. I'm going to attempt to do these in a textured, semi-realistic style. FYI, the two others maps are a city map and a regional map.

There's too much back story to post but these works will center around a human city (Greco-Roman influence) built on the ruins of a city from a much older Elven culture. The predominant terrain is jungle and, yes, there are dinosaurs.

Here are the basics of the three maps (I'll post more specifics when I get to them):
1) A ruined bridge (Elven design) over a river, where the PCs are ambushed by velociraptors.
2) A portion of a ruined city where the PCs rescue someone from an attack.
3) The home of a crime lord.

First up is the river crossing.
M

mearrin69
12-24-2010, 12:41 AM
And, here's my first rough sketch of map #1. It's just the basic layout so far. There's a dearth of jungle-like vegetation and I'll sketch that in shortly. The bridge needs some work too. I think it'll be more slender in the middle...more graceful. Picture, I think, the ruins in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion if you know it. If not, then the elven stuff in the Peter Jackson LotR movies will stand in. You know, typical fantasy fare. I'll try to make it pop, though.
M

Edit: Yeah. Those "logs" across the top are my poor attempt to sketch some sort of arches. I think a bit of architectural design is in order before I work on the sketch anymore. See if I can whip something up and post a sketch.

mearrin69
01-03-2011, 12:17 AM
Here are the rough "layout drafts" for two others in this series:

* First is an encounter that takes place in the ruins of an ancient elven city. I've only rendered a portion of one of the buildings, to sort of give a sense of the style of the place and the devastation caused by long abandonment. The other buildings will be similiar and the whole area except the center will be very overgrown by jungle vegetation. Again, this will be done (if I can pull it off) in a semi-realistic textured style similar to other maps I've posted.
* Second is an encounter that takes place in a crime lord's home in the city of Tarina. I want to show the interior of the home and the surrounding areas, so this is the basic idea. Again, just mock-ups to show the general idea.

I'm working on maps for the city and its surrounding areas as well. Will post a link to that thread in a bit.
M

Jaxilon
01-03-2011, 12:47 AM
Looking good so far! I'm thinking if you want to work on those arches you might want to have the light coming from the north or south of the map so you can show the arch's shadows on the ground. I haven't done this yet myself but I've seen others do it to good effect. I'm excited to see more.

mearrin69
01-03-2011, 01:12 AM
Thanks. I should have mentioned that, in discussion with the client, we've decided to widen the river and make the bridge almost completely destroyed. So, the arches are going away...we'll mostly end up with some supports sticking out of the river with slabs and such laying in the riverbed.
M

mearrin69
03-03-2011, 12:49 PM
Thought I had posted some intermediate stages but I guess not. I pulled a "do-over" on the river crossing map. Here's the progress so far. The river is a placeholder and there'll be lots of more intact ruins (bridge supports and some miscellaneous leftovers of buildings) and more piles of rubble and paving. Over that there'll be some more, higher-level vegetation.
M

Ascension
03-03-2011, 04:36 PM
The crumbling path and foliage look sweet, man.

mearrin69
03-04-2011, 12:38 PM
Thank you, sir! Here's a little work I've been doing towards getting the ruins to "read" as such. I feel like it's getting there.

The rubble piles are basically three stacked layers of stone texture, masked with shapes painted in and a bevel, shadow, and outline. The larger ruins are masked textured shapes with no layer effects. The covering vegetation is painted on top with a photographic texture of some moss using the pattern stamp tool (I'll tone down the bright green when it's done). On top of everything are a light and shadow layer (layers painted with white and black on screen and multiply, respectively).

So. Yeah. Kind of a pain in the backside but I sort of like the effect I'm getting...and it's not too much work now that I've got it figured out.

C&C and ideas appreciated!
M

Edit: I should note that these are *really* ancient ruins...there's not supposed to be much left. Over all of this will be some additional vegetation...so it's going to be like looking at some of the old temples in SE Asia (the ones not as well-kept as Angkor Wat).

Gidde
03-04-2011, 07:35 PM
This is looking really cool, mearrin!

mearrin69
03-05-2011, 12:58 AM
Thanks! I'm getting the hang of this now, I think. The technique will come in handy for the ruins encounter mentioned above.
M

mearrin69
03-05-2011, 12:25 PM
Now working on the bridge (there's no shading at all yet, just the shapes and rubble surrounding it). Still have to do something about that placeholder water. If anyone has any suggestions for putting in mid-level foliage and suggesting overhanging jungle canopy I'm all ears... :)
M

Gidde
03-05-2011, 12:32 PM
You could maybe put some overhanging fronds around the edges ... enough to make it look like there's canopy there, you've just removed or gone under it for the sake of the map.

Ascension
03-05-2011, 12:53 PM
Set down a pattern of some foliage, mask off most of it, then use the brush tool (on the mask) to draw some lines out over the water.

mearrin69
03-05-2011, 07:29 PM
Good ideas. Thanks! Here's a little progress. Finally getting the bridge to start to look like it's the remains of a structure standing in the river...still a lot more work to get it all of the way there however.
M

Ascension
03-05-2011, 08:59 PM
Lookin really sweet, man. Very nice.

anstett
03-05-2011, 09:08 PM
Very nice work on the maps.

My comment from a user perspective is that they are too "close". I like the bridge for instance, but only having 20 feet of space surrounding it on the map is had to use for an encounter. I know you don't have full control over it but perhaps a snapshot view showing the bridge and more surrounding vegetation? Or just a "blank" vegetation map to use as tiles on either side?

I just know my players will have their bows/laser rifles ready from dozens of yards away wanting to aim there and blow up what is left into even tinier pieces.

BOB

jtougas
03-05-2011, 10:40 PM
Looks Great M :)

Jaxilon
03-05-2011, 10:46 PM
That looks fantastic M.

mearrin69
03-05-2011, 11:18 PM
Thanks, guys.

@anstett: I definitely see your point there. The client chose the size, I think, because it'll be an ambush battle...with some velociraptors or something jumping out at the PCs as they approach the bridge ruins. I don't think the map's to be used as an actual print-and-play battlemap, more as a reference for the GM to the basic terrain (which is basically dense jungle beyond the edges). I'm a big fan of a more zoomed-out view for exactly the reason you mentioned.

mearrin69
03-06-2011, 01:43 PM
Lots of placeholders but definitely getting there.
M

Jaxilon
03-06-2011, 02:06 PM
Loving all that great looking foliage.

mearrin69
03-07-2011, 01:15 AM
Thanks, Jaxilon! Here's an update on the ruins encounter map. Roughing it in quickly with the same techniques I used on the river crossing. The black lines and dome/fountain are holdouts from the sketch, leaving them in for now for reference. Working on the walls and rubble now. Vegetation is mostly placeholder at this point.
M

jtougas
03-08-2011, 07:28 PM
Looks awesome :)

mearrin69
03-09-2011, 01:19 AM
Thanks! Here's a bit more progress. The fountain's in as is the "hideout" building north of it...where someone the PCs are going to be saving has barricaded himself. I've been saving the dome for last but it looks like I have to move on to that now because most of the rest is done apart for some tweaks and touchup.
M

mearrin69
03-09-2011, 02:27 AM
Couldn't let the dome sit overnight...had to finish it. I'm calling this one, along with the river crossing map, about done. Here's the final-ish map. I'll come back to these and do some tweaking after my eyes get used to not seeing them for a while. I know there's a bit more I'd like to do to them but I'll just bust them up if I keep messing about with them.

One more map in this series to do: the mob boss domus mentioned (and sketched) on page one of this thread. I need to get this one out of the way by the weekend so I can finalize the area map and finally turn back to that great big crazy city map I'm doing for BlackStar. It's going to take *hours* more work...

Hope you guys dig these. I'll post the whole bucketful in the Finished Maps section when they're all done.
M

Jaxilon
03-09-2011, 02:29 AM
I really like this one, it looks like it will be a blast to play on.

anstett
03-11-2011, 11:52 AM
Great mix of foliage and stone. Would be good to see without the grid and text.

BOB

mearrin69
03-12-2011, 02:36 AM
Thanks! Will see what I can do about posting one without an overlay. In the meantime, here's the current sketch for the mob boss encounter map. It covers the boss' "domus" as well as a waterfront office (in the "mini-maps" below the main map). Waiting for a confirmation from the client that the layout is good before I start to execute on it. Shouldn't take me long once I get going...
M

mearrin69
03-17-2011, 01:28 AM
More on the mob boss map. Looks like I skipped posting a step or two. This one looks much better than the most recent, I think. C&C appreciated....
M

anstett
03-17-2011, 06:01 PM
Perhaps if you had another small call out to show the building with the roof on?

I like the idea of having the map be available as an interactive version where you can show with the roof on and without. Seeing the courtyard just makes me want to get up on the roof and go in that way rather than the front door >:)

BOB

mearrin69
03-18-2011, 01:36 AM
Not a bad idea though there's not much room because of the other callouts. I would LOVE to do interactive maps that let you change levels or remove roofs and such.

Here's a little update with some more refinement and some additions. Working with the client to determine the exact functions and contents of the rooms. Won't post again until I get some furnishings in.
M

mearrin69
03-18-2011, 11:31 PM
Starting to get some Roman-style mosaic flooring in there. Lots more to do though. Pools/baths are in but the water's a bit bright at the moment.
M

mearrin69
03-19-2011, 01:45 AM
And more. Some furnishings tomorrow.
M

anstett
03-19-2011, 08:36 AM
Very nice choice to have the mosaics rotated to orient to face the doorways.

If this were interactive (show with roof on, show with roof off, remove layer with furniture, etc) I would definitely buy this for my game.

Not that they are in any sort of area where this building makes sense but it is too cool to pass us :)

BOB

mearrin69
03-19-2011, 11:32 AM
That's an interesting idea but I'm not sure how it'd be implemented. I've had a couple of situations recently where I'd like to have a map interactively layered (GM secrets, removing roofs or changing floors, etc.) Maybe it could be done with a layered PDF but I don't know anything about them. Have to look into that.

In the meantime, I've been furnishing rooms. Here are the dining room/pantry and the storeroom, which also doubles as a torture chamber.
M

anstett
03-19-2011, 08:35 PM
Yes a layered PDF is the way to go. If you have not seen them 0onegames puts out exactly that type of product.

http://dragonslayers-society.org/4images/details.php?image_id=19

This is a screen shot from a battle using one of their maps. Turn on and off all the GM things, grids, etc. Extremely useful for VTTs

BOB

mearrin69
03-20-2011, 09:00 PM
My connection has been hosed for some time now...plenty of download speed but no upload. Anyway. Been at work on this map a bit. Here are some more rooms. Mostly done but I'll probably continue to spruce them up until I think I'm overworking it.
M

jtougas
03-20-2011, 09:06 PM
They look great M. I particularly like the shadows and the water. :)

mearrin69
03-24-2011, 12:41 AM
This is nearing completion. Waiting for client feedback and a few little details here and there to fill it out. Any suggestions?
M