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Preypacer
02-15-2011, 10:23 PM
Hey all...

Been a member here for some time, and have been looking over (read: drooling over) much of the work that's been posted here. Along the way I've tried to learn a thing or two as well :).

I've been working away at a map for a game world I'm working on and, well... I've finally reached the map, and the look that I want to proceed with. I have so many "newmap-##" files stored away it's ridiculous.

The map I've gone with is what you see below, and the style I'm going for is the hand-drawn approach, with a hint of a style they use for the world map of Aden from Lineage 2, which you can see here (http://www.top1gaming.com/uploadimg/c5.jpg).

What I love about that map's style is how it's very hand-drawn, but with each point-of-interest specifically drawn out as a sort of "icon" on the map. I don't know, but to me while playing that game, I would look at the map and think "Hmm.. I wonder what that place is?" and then venture off to find out. L2 has a beautifully rendered world with some fantastic settings for those of you who may not have played it.

Anyway! That's the look I'd like to go for overall... even with the very subdued hues sorta hinting at the type of environment in a given area.

Here's my work in progress:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v634/Lupine73/MapBase.jpg?t=1297822688

What I'm stuck on now is basically filling it in. There are markers you can see, which are the locations of towns and villages, etc. For now, that's what I'll be working with 'til I can get around to sketching out the actual drawings for each. Much of what will be created is still sorta "vague" ideas in my head of the overall look/style/theme of the locations, so I don't really have anything concrete to build off of yet.

Here's where I'm running into a road-bump, though..

Scale... and all that stems from it.

For example.. how large to represent mountains on the map? Things of that nature. I'm thinking the scale of the world will be where each square on the grid overlay is about 50 square miles. That's a lot of land, though, and I'm wondering if it might be overkill. While this is going to be a fantasy world and, so, not "bound" by the rules of ours necessarily, I'd still like to keep things reasonable. If I intend to have a small town the equivalent of 5 miles away from a city, I'd like the map to more or less accurately represent that.

So... I guess at this point, I'm wondering if people here who have faced a similar quandry with their map projects could provide some tips? Any rules of thumb you can recommend? Tips, tricks and the like?

I would be very appreciative of it.... Might even name a location on the map after you! :)

Thanks for reading!

Aval Penworth
02-15-2011, 11:14 PM
Nice little landmass so far. I like the subdued colours and the overall feel of the piece.

So who when you say that the squares are 50 mi.. Do you mean each square is seven points something miles by seven points something miles? Or do you mean that each square is 50 miles x 50 miles? (Actually 2500 mi.) Looking at the map I think you mean the latter, because that would make your landmass about 850 miles across. This would seem more appropriate.

There would be huge amount of terrain variance in a 50 x 50 mile square. So anything you draw in their is only going to be a general feeling for what is in the space rather than getting to specific and detailed.

for instance in the city I live there it is an urban sprawl about 70 miles x 50 miles. Within that area there are lakes, suburbs, towns, forests, a bay, mountains, farmland, hills, about 100 rivers and creeks and so on.

Preypacer
02-15-2011, 11:35 PM
Nice little landmass so far. I like the subdued colours and the overall feel of the piece.

So who when you say that the squares are 50 mi.. Do you mean each square is seven points something miles by seven points something miles? Or do you mean that each square is 50 miles x 50 miles? (Actually 2500 mi.) Looking at the map I think you mean the latter, because that would make your landmass about 850 miles across. This would seem more appropriate.

There would be huge amount of terrain variance in a 50 x 50 mile square. So anything you draw in their is only going to be a general feeling for what is in the space rather than getting to specific and detailed.

for instance in the city I live there it is an urban sprawl about 70 miles x 50 miles. Within that area there are lakes, suburbs, towns, forests, a bay, mountains, farmland, hills, about 100 rivers and creeks and so on.


Hey there, and thanks for the response and comments!

Yeah, I'm pretty happy with the overall subdued look of it as well. I went through a variety of different color schemes (mostly derived from various tutorials on this site), but at the end of the day, I don't know... I'm a sucker for anything "old", and love muted, aged colors. So that's what I ultimately went with. Once I have the hand-drawn icons in place, I will be leaving symbols to represent less important features, but in hues that better match the overall scheme.

You're correct about the landmass, I'm thinking 50x50 miles per square. Also, your description of your local area there is a great "benchmark" for me to go by. In other words, you can fit a whole lot of land in a single square. Almost makes me wonder if it might even be feasible to go a bit smaller. Maybe as low as 25x25 might be sufficient for my needs. Will probably require some experimenting to see how things look as I start laying in more of the details.

Will be cool to see things coming together. Of course, I'll be sharing the work as it does :).

Anyways... Thanks again!

Preypacer
02-18-2011, 11:15 PM
So, quick check-in. Unfortunately, no progress made, at all, on the map, despite several attempts.

Not sure what it is. I know what look I want to go for, but when it comes to laying down details, they never come out the way I want them to. I end up deleting everything, leaving the same blank map I linked in my first post in this thread, close down the program and do something else. Not sure how I intend to finish a map at this rate... maybe inspiration will strike or something. Ugh.

Anyone else run into this problem? Any suggestions on how to work around it? Kinda starting to get discouraging to be honest.

Thanks...

Gidde
02-18-2011, 11:29 PM
I run into this often. I'll usually print or open my inspiration map in a separate window, and literally look at it the entire time I'm working. Still, sometimes it just does take inspiration to strike. If it's really making you frustrated, try working a project that doesn't matter to you (like a random island) using one of the tutorials you've never done before. I find that often gets me unstuck, because (a) I learn new tricks I can apply, or (b) not banging my head against the wall on the project I do care about gives my subconscious the breathing space it needs for that lightning flash of inspiration.

Ascension
02-18-2011, 11:51 PM
Nail - Head <--- Giddehammer Exactly what I do.

Preypacer
02-18-2011, 11:59 PM
Hey guys. Thanks :)

Yeah, sometimes when you're so "inside" something, it's impossible to get the thought process going.

Really, it could just be me being my own worst critic. For all I know, the mountain work I've done has been fine.. I think my problem is the ability to "see it all finished" in my own mind, and not each part in isolation (mountains, hills, trees... etc)..

I am trying to find a boundary tutorial so I can get those laid out as that's going to be an important element of the map in gameplay terms (territorial control is involved). I know I've seen a couple boundary tutorials, though they may have been part of a larger tutorial. Can't seem to track them down now, though :-/. Go figure, eh?

Anyway... thanks again :)

Preypacer
02-26-2011, 11:51 AM
Well, I guess you could call this thread "The end of something big".

I just can't get anything to click and I've run out of steam. Nothing I'm doing looks good to me, and though I've tried numerous times, starting over from scratch with mountain and hill layout, etc... it just ends up looking contrived and not at all "good". So time and again, I'm left with this great looking start to a map... that is ultimately going nowhere.

So... I guess I just don't have the knack for creating map, unfortunately.

It also puts me even more in awe of the work some of you do around here. I honestly don't know how you do it. How you take "nothing" and create these amazing, detailed and - where I have trouble - convincingly structured world maps out of it.

Ah well.

At least I tried. Maybe I'll give it another shot down the road or something.

Ascension
02-26-2011, 01:58 PM
I have the same feeling about my own work...it always looks so, I dunno, machined. Not organic, not realistic. But I always learn a little something new with every map so I guess someday, maybe, I won't feel the same way.

Diamond
02-26-2011, 04:21 PM
I think you guys are way too hard on yourselves. Plus, the only way to improve is to keep on keepin' on.

Prey, you ought to just post some of your attempts so we can offer you suggestions. Sometimes someone will say some random thing on a map WIP I post that sparks an idea, and that's the impetus I need to keep going, to make it better, etc etc.

jtougas
02-26-2011, 04:31 PM
I can also be my own worst critic as I often think my work isn't coming out the way I "see" it in my head. The one thing I can tell you is that having other people look at your stuff can help immensely As you said sometimes it just takes someone being "outside of your head" Don't give up :)

ravells
02-26-2011, 04:41 PM
http://www.cartographersguild.com/images/icons/post.gif


I can also be my own worst critic as I often think my work isn't coming out the way I "see" it in my head.

Yeah, me too.

Preypacer
02-27-2011, 12:23 AM
Hey all... Thanks for the words of support/encouragement.

I think what's holding me up is the same thing I mentioned in a previous post in this thread... the sense of "scale" and proportion. I keep looking at the map after I've laid down mountains and think "man, that's way too much mountain space, compared to everything else...". I don't want to go with what I do, only to find later that I've painted myself into a corner and have run out of room to place important locales that I intended to place. It seems to me that, while you're "safe" enough early on, before things are filled in too much, it's easy enough to make corrections. But when you get into the latter stages, it seems it can be more difficult to "uproot" established locales to make room for others... Not sure if that makes sense.

What I'm thinking of doing is getting the blank map printed out in a large enough size to work with (maybe 2" x 2" or something) and then find a way to laminate it with a dry-erasable surface. This way I can "sketch" things out and quickly make changes where/when they're necessary. Not sure why but my brain almost always works better when I'm not on the computer. I can focus better. So that approach might just work. Anyone here who can maybe recommend a good approach to something like this, that's as economical as possible? I've seen such map sold in gaming shops, so it seems like it would be pretty common in tabletop gaming (though we never used it in my time playing them).

In the meantime, I've turned my focus to working on assets for the prototype of the game I'm working on (which I'll use to hopefully get interest in the project). Here's a couple shots of recent work; merchant stands for the market area of the town the prototype will focus around.

Everything in these shots is my own work, the modeling and texturing. It's done in Blender3D (though I'm sure most here will recognize the software ;-p).

The first shot is a test render of the first stand I've made. The textures are place-holder and, by no means, final. Far more weathering and detail is needed. I created a sort of "backdrop" to place the objects in. I have trouble envisioning things "in a vacuum" (which may also be part of my mapping issue), and so seeing the objects in a scene that resembles the environment they'll ultimately be in really helps give me feedback of how well they "blend" (I'm a consistency freak). In this case, the environment is going to be a coastal forest region, so of course wood is going to be a core component in a lot of their architecture. The sign isn't textured because I'm not 100% on using that style for it.
http://i1234.photobucket.com/albums/ff410/Wolfsong73/Works%20in%20Progress/MerchantStand_TestRender.png?t=1298779622

And here's the latest I'm working on... for a larger, more ornate merchant stand (I intend to have 3 different types and sizes, for variety, etc).
http://i1234.photobucket.com/albums/ff410/Wolfsong73/Works%20in%20Progress/MarketStand_2.png?t=1298779622

Anyway! Sorry to go off on a long post there... kinda hijacking my own thread, but figured I'd share something I am happy with :-p.

Thanks!

jtougas
02-27-2011, 01:18 AM
Wow those are awesome.. :)

Diamond
02-27-2011, 01:29 AM
For printing out stuff, you could go the easy route and just save it to disc etc, take it down to your local copy shop and have 'em print it out at the size you want. They'll probably laminate it too. If you live in the US, Kinko's/FedEx does a good job for a reasonable price. Also, there's our member Gamerprinter, who does it for a living. You might PM him and see what he'll charge ya.

As for getting discouraged... well, I look at those 3D models you've done and want to weep, because I know I could never accomplish anything that cool. So there. :D

Preypacer
02-27-2011, 08:19 AM
Wow those are awesome.. :)

Thanks! :).


For printing out stuff, you could go the easy route and just save it to disc etc, take it down to your local copy shop and have 'em print it out at the size you want. They'll probably laminate it too. If you live in the US, Kinko's/FedEx does a good job for a reasonable price. Also, there's our member Gamerprinter, who does it for a living. You might PM him and see what he'll charge ya.

As for getting discouraged... well, I look at those 3D models you've done and want to weep, because I know I could never accomplish anything that cool. So there. :D

Thanks for the suggestion with Kinkos/Fedex... I was thinking along those lines myself, only I remember them being a bit on the pricey side for things (compared to what, I don't know). I'll look into it, though.

As for doing the 3D stuff... really, it's not all that difficult. Once you learn the tools, and as long as you have some reference pics to work with - hand-drawn or otherwise - it's mostly just the tedium. For example, the most "difficult" (as in, tedious) part of that first merchant stand to make was the canopy. Why? Because it's thin and has to contour as closely as possible to the shape of the supports below it, without overlapping. Took me 3 different approaches before I got the one that worked best. Now, when it comes to things like modeling 3D characters and such... whole different ballpark for me. I'm horrible at that stuff. Trees, boulders, buildings... otherwise "non-living things"... I'm fine. Anything that needs to look, move and appear alive? Forget it. Well, trees are living, but you know what I mean :-p.

Ascension
02-27-2011, 09:01 AM
When doing hand-drawn style I always have the same tendency to cover up every bit of land with some sort of terrain marker like trees and hills. Over time I learned that empty space is good space since I can stick words in there and not have them cover up all of my carefully crafted hills and trees. Just throw up a screenshot so you can get some feedback and see if others agree with your vision.

Preypacer
02-27-2011, 09:46 AM
When doing hand-drawn style I always have the same tendency to cover up every bit of land with some sort of terrain marker like trees and hills. Over time I learned that empty space is good space since I can stick words in there and not have them cover up all of my carefully crafted hills and trees. Just throw up a screenshot so you can get some feedback and see if others agree with your vision.

Indeed, that's basically my concern - covering things up too much. Considering that I intend to have mountains, hills, canyon areas, grasslands, highlands, swampland, etc... a number of different environments, it's really important that I don't cover things up too much.

Mountains, I find, tend to become the "barriers" between biomes. For that purpose, they're very useful, especially in a real-time 3D environment where you need to cover different environment types, but want to avoid harsh and unnatural transitions as much as possible. And of course, mountains are a biome of their own. The trick, then, is to make sure they're laid out sufficient to serve that purpose, but still appear natural and not contrived. Again, the "not contrived" part is what I'm having trouble with, along with having enough coverage... but not too much.'

Anyhoo... I'll give the mapping another go - since I definitely need to get that done - and then post what I come up with for some feedback.

Thanks again!

Lalaithion
02-27-2011, 12:29 PM
Also, rain occurs when a warm, moist wind is forced up into higher altitudes by the mountains. This makes one side of the mountains wetter (forest) and the other side drier (desert)

Preypacer
11-06-2011, 10:29 AM
Also, rain occurs when a warm, moist wind is forced up into higher altitudes by the mountains. This makes one side of the mountains wetter (forest) and the other side drier (desert)

That's very useful information to have, esp. as I get to completing this map.

I have rough ideas of where I definitely know mountain ranges are needed.. but having a better grasp on how they "work" in terms of affecting climate will be a good guideline to follow, too.

Preypacer
11-06-2011, 10:32 AM
So, I seem to have done a bone-headed thing and accidentally deleted the map images from Photobucket that I'd linked here.

I have a tendency to do "house cleaning" on my image galleries sometimes and, as in this case, sometimes I forget why things are there. Doh.

Anyway... I'll be using this site's system instead going forward, so I know they won't get deleted...

Sorry!

I'll eventually have something updated here anyway, so I guess we can just continue on from there.

paulbhartzog
11-19-2011, 05:22 PM
Bummer. I just found this thread and was looking forward to the imagery.

I enjoyed the discussion about feeling like your maps are lame. If Ascension can feel that way, then we all can feel that way.

As a musician, I can hear all the flaws in my songs, but other people don't, and they really like 'em.

I agree with others in here that just discussing WIPs really helps to pinpoint what is working and what isn't.