View Full Version : The Big One.

02-06-2011, 03:08 PM
OK, I think I'm ready for this. Am I mad? Yes! Will I get even madder after I've done this? Definitely!

I've essayed in the craft with a few smaller cities and towns...it's time for the big one. If Serif Drawplus takes one look at the number of nodes involved, it will laugh at me, thank me very kindly for my interest and shut down, so I'm going to do this one in Photoshop.

Here's the base image which is an RPG City creator generation (that program just rocks), the guy who wrote it was a genius. I've exported a sliced image with the final composite being 6400 px on each side.

First win! There's no antialiasing in the RPG city export! This means to separate all the elements into their own layers is a simple magic wand job. Fantastic, I can work without anti-aliasing and deal with that at the end if I need to by using a bit of gaussian blur.

Wish me luck! I'm going in!

Zeta Kai
02-06-2011, 03:28 PM
The looks like a massive undertaking to turn that into a semi-realistic urban map. The best of luck to you, Rav. Also, how can I get a copy of RPG City Creator? Is it freeware? Lastly, what do each of those colors mean in the map? I imagine that the blue is a river, & the black are buildings, but are the yellow/red/green lines all different kinds of roads? Are the orange areas parks?

02-06-2011, 04:01 PM
RPG city creator is sort of semi abandonware.....the guy who wrote it gave it out for free and I know that someone at the guild has popped a copy of the install file on server where we can still find it. Ah found it You can download it from here. (http://www.megaupload.com/?d=xz9panj2)

Yeah the yellow / green lines are all roads but I probably won't use them (the buildings define road edges) the oranges are meant to be parks but I just wanted something to break up the city and they were good to do it with. I'm probably going to use another generated city with very small and windy roads for certain parts and drop them in somewhere.

Enjoy it, it really rocks - and with a bit of clean up produces stunning results.

02-07-2011, 07:34 AM

Steps taken:

Didn't like the town centre inside the river bend so I put a more compressed and windy road town centre there. I wanted a super compressed bit in the middle so did the same again with a more compressed road network. The bridges didn't work at all, so got rid of them. Stuck in a google maps screenshot of carnaefon castle to give me an idea of scale. Popped in a castle map I'd made previously on another thread.

I think I now need to sit down and try and work out what sort of personality I want the city to have before I do anything else...

Aval Penworth
02-07-2011, 05:34 PM
Yay. This looks like it could turn into a super-cool monster map. May the universe bless you with the time and inspiration to create a marvel. :)

02-07-2011, 08:26 PM
Cheers Aval...I'm not so sure, but thanks for the best wishes!

02-07-2011, 11:09 PM
Sir, we have a straighjacket with your name on it because this map is insane :) !!!



02-08-2011, 09:34 AM
You can't have my cookies....*drools* Just awesome already Rav :)

02-08-2011, 09:41 AM
Wow, I think you might be certifiable for this. I'm already amazed by the progress. It's looking great.

I'd link those bridges up with some arterial roads. Even the earliest town will have a power center and straight(ish) roads leading from it. Looking forward to seeing how this comes on (and monitoring your deteriorating mental health!)

02-08-2011, 02:41 PM
Give my condolences to your life, Ravells :D

02-08-2011, 03:31 PM
I think I'm just doing this to get away from finishing that font!!!!!

02-08-2011, 03:32 PM
I think I'm just doing this to get away from finishing that font!!!!!

Hmm yeah.. I would see how working on a MASSIVE city would be distracting... :)

02-08-2011, 04:57 PM
I think I'm just doing this to get away from finishing that font!!!!!

But why? ;) (she says as she starts work on a 3rd font because neither of the first two work for the cities in her map ...)

02-09-2011, 05:07 PM
Well you may ask, Gidde! I'm getting font guilty now!!!

Anyway, I wasn't happy, binned everything except the river and have started again - this one will get binned too, but it's closer to the look I want.

Thanks for the encouragement, all! Being the slacker I am I will try to find as may shortcuts as I possibly can!

02-09-2011, 05:09 PM
That's not being a slacker, it is being *efficient*! This is looking really cool, can't wait to see more :)

02-09-2011, 05:13 PM
Cheers, Gidde, ( like the way you think, you spin doctor you!) I have this terrible habit of running with the first thing I get. I then get into all sorts of problems later when it's all too late to repair. As this map is so damn big, I want to be absolutely satisfied that I've got the right road / building proportions, the right negative space, the right 'scatter' of outlying districts etc etc before I move onto the 'prettification'.....I just love the prettification though, so usually rush through this stage....not today!

02-10-2011, 11:22 AM
A little experiment with tiling textures that went horribly wrong, but it's given me an idea.....

02-10-2011, 03:02 PM
Hmm..I had just downloaded those textures that you so graciously put up. I'm really enjoying watching this progress :)

02-11-2011, 10:34 AM
that look great Ravi, looking so much forward to seing it progress... and progress... and progress :)

02-13-2011, 04:08 PM
A thought (I haven't read the whole thread yet so this may have already come up) - having visited medieval cities those orange areas in the original could also be plazas, open squares for public gatherings, marketplaces, probably not cemeteries although maybe, estate grounds surrounding large churches/manors that got absorbed as the city grew, etc.

As I said, just a thought.

02-18-2011, 10:32 AM
I so didn't want to go down this road (I wanted to do a 19c style overhead map), but I had to use those imagesynth textures...and bryce. I made some Bryce perlin hills and slapped on the city (as you can see the river flows uphill in places..lol!), but the 'city texture' effect isn't too bad. I reckon if I mixed up a few more textures in there it would look quite respectable.

02-18-2011, 12:03 PM
That looks pretty good. The textures are so cool I've been trying to figure out a way to use them myself :)

02-18-2011, 02:14 PM
very nice... the roads in the far end get a little wide though :)

02-18-2011, 02:18 PM
lol, yeah they do. It's meant to be a top down map so I made the roads wide enough to name the major ones....doesn't really work for perspective.

Steel General
02-19-2011, 08:27 AM
Neat idea Ravs!

02-19-2011, 04:19 PM
So, back to square one and hopefully putting the texture fest behind me. I've scrapped the City Generator roadmap....too much cleaning up and you really cant have much say in what goes where. Looking at the references of 19C city maps....19C cities were on the whole really boring compared to what fantasy cities should be. I'm taking a disciplined approach this time...

02-19-2011, 04:45 PM
Looks like a great start (again..) :) The "Hive of Scum and Villainy" sounds like I might need to buy property there... :)

02-19-2011, 04:48 PM
Have they thrown away the key yet Ravells? :) At least you're having fun! (I hope...) Good luck!

02-19-2011, 05:13 PM
Lol...moutarde, it's a mixture between fun and torture.

jt, I shall make a house there with your name on it.

here is a close up of some of the detail.

02-19-2011, 07:03 PM
http://www.davidrumsey.com/maps1370.html as a final, eh?

02-19-2011, 07:04 PM
That looks pretty good, bro.

02-20-2011, 05:56 AM
Cheers Big A.

Good Eye, Joe, Here is the reference I'm working from. I liked the Isle de France island in the Seine, so this is going to be Paris 'Fantasyfied'. The Hebrew university online map library has a stack of reasonably high res city maps of a cartographer called John Stockdale so I have a lot of reference material to try and emulate his look and feel. The real magic in these maps is getting the edge of the city line right.



02-20-2011, 12:46 PM
All the main roads now completed. The fun begins! Working out where to put big negative spaces and large buildings and the like.

02-20-2011, 05:59 PM
I've kind of figured out that if I keep treating this city in the abstract (like most of my maps, they are not for anything except for my own enjoyment), I'll never finish it. I've got to get personally involved in it, otherwise it will have no character, and I'll go off and do something else. So I thought I'd take a leaf out of my own book (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?2844-Award-Winner-Creation-and-Depiction-of-Fantasy-Cities-Parts-I-amp-II&highlight=creation+depiction+fantasy+cities) (literally) and mind map / splatter diagram the city, think of little stories in it and build up its personality that way. Also zooming in small and zooming out big to make sure the detail hangs with the whole (that's the theory). Hopefully all of these ideas will give stuff I can put into the city and have reasons for said stuff being there, and most importantly give me something to put on the map.

I've started with the wizard's enclave (self contained on a nice little island) and just made up little stories in my head about what it's like there,

So I looked at the wizard's enclave. Big Wizardy schooly thingy, I didn't want to go the way of Hogwarts, but something more Stephen Erickson 'Mazalan' dark fantasy with teeming populations and lots of plots and counter plots. So it's a Wizard school, but also a safe haven granted by the ruler (this is the Capital city) to Wizards where they form a political power base. Wizards are a secretive lot, so they have their enclave, but they're also a backstabbing bunch, so the really powerful ones live somewhere else (which gives me more locations to map - wizard houses in rich areas). I was also interested in the junior wizards. I thought it would be interesting that rather than being allowed to stay in the enclave, they had to live in digs (and they're poor). I liked the image of the acolyte wizard sitting in his garret overlooking the river at night, so I made the right hand side of the island a poor area (suggested by small, windy streets and the crinkly edge overhanging the river), the wizard population need servants etc so this gives them a ready supply in the same area. It's also nice to think of all the acolyte wizards going out drinking in some flea-pit tavern together and the locals, having lived there for a bit, although not mages themselves, know quite a bit about what wizards are about. This nicely defines the character of the Island to me as a self enclosed community - the powerful and poor.

To make ends meet the lower level wizards have a potions market where they sell minor potions to the city population (so there is interaction between the wizards and the population), but near enough to the Enclave where it can be easily controlled - this gave me the potion market square and a reason for it being there. I liked the idea of the Wizard's enclave having a tall tower that dominated the skyline of the city as a symbol of power, which gave me the big tower circle.

The enclave itself has the big tower surrounded by what might be a complex structure (twisted wizard minds = complex structure), the gardens and trees suggest a level of wealth.

I'm sorry to ramble on (there is nothing that bores me more solid than someone going into excruciating detail about their world building), but I thought I'd explain a bit how I'm approaching this project and how the worldbuilding part interacts with what I actually put down on the city map.

I'm thinking about font sizes (I've set 4 pt. as my minimum) as the map would be printed on A3 sized paper.

Anyway, all of this is just a peek into my head, now I'm approaching this project in a more disciplined fashion.

02-20-2011, 06:27 PM
Pfft, quit being sorry, that's good stuff! And the map's looking great too :)

02-20-2011, 06:45 PM
See? THIS is how cities are born (at least in MY head) if you have a solid story then you have reasons for stuff to be where/how it is. This is really great Rav and I'm eagerly watching :)

02-20-2011, 06:57 PM
Well thought-out world-building, or in this case city socio-political-econo building, is always interesting. I like your ideas here, man - sounds pretty fun. Lots of opportunity for stories, episodes, game-play - especially if you're a fence, assassin, thug, or other type criminal. I play paladins so that sort of leaves me out, though :) I'd get toasted in a hive like this. Good stuff good stuff.

02-20-2011, 07:53 PM
Well thought-out world-building, or in this case city socio-political-econo building, is always interesting. I like your ideas here, man - sounds pretty fun. Lots of opportunity for stories, episodes, game-play - especially if you're a fence, assassin, thug, or other type criminal. I play paladins so that sort of leaves me out, though :) I'd get toasted in a hive like this. Good stuff good stuff.

Alethmer Shadowhand knew dealing with wizards was never easy. They always had a hidden agenda. His business was discretion and one never knew if a wizard was going to erupt into a ball of flames or turn you into a frog. Wizards however had need of men like him, men who would do things that a wizard could not. Potions required ingredients, ingredients that often were to put it mildly difficult to obtain. This particular wizard being highly ranked in the Enclave was no different. He had come to Shadowhand through the usual third party in need of a ingredient only available in the darkest of markets.....

Oh..sorry I was just thinking aloud there... :)

04-11-2011, 02:44 PM
I love it, this one makes me want to design a city. As if I did not have enough hobbies! Curses! *shakes angry fist towards the sky*

Uh anyway - did you ever update this?

04-11-2011, 05:38 PM
Too much r/l stuff on at the moment, bartmoss...when it's all over I'll come back to it...promise!

04-11-2011, 07:31 PM
Nice work Ravs, It's a great start, and I like the others enjoy hearing the thought process of any map making. Also I just started reading (well 4 weeks ago, I've been busy) Erickson's Garden of the Moon.

Ryan K
04-11-2011, 08:42 PM
I love this style. I reckon I will go in this direction when I make Demazon.