View Full Version : Help: software and methods for quick small towns

03-17-2011, 07:49 PM
Greetings to all. I have checked the software list already and the tutorials, but there are so many options it's hard to choose. The challenge: a children's book, much like an RPG GM's encyclopedia/world set. The theme is political, not fantasy. I need to create the maps of a few small towns and a somewhat larger capital (1000-1500 buildings approx.) Some coastal, other inland.

Now, the problem. I have Photoshop, and willing to purchase additional sw if necessary, though I don't like the add-on policy of the City Designer series. I read a bunch of tutorials, and tried to recreate them with more or less success. The "Fastest Town in the West" is a very nice solution and I'd be glad if I could get it done with it alone, but can't. I need to be able to put in some larger buildings like council, church, factories and train stations, and do it consistently with the houses (perspective, shadows etc), without each having the same roof. Also need apartment houses.

Most of the other tutorials create cities without distinguished buildings, rather just blocks. That's no good for me.

So I'd be very happy if someone could advise me on a way to explore, and preferably closer to the "generator" principle than everything hand-drawn. (I also need to work on the storyline itself, even though the maps are crucial.) I may have skipped some tuts due to the immense amount of knowledge accumulated here. Thanks in advance!

03-18-2011, 06:58 AM
Hi Gozdom and welcome to the guild

I'd love to tell you that there is a silver bullet that will do all that you ask. The nearest that I've come to it is software called 'City Generator' (google will take you to the site). But City Generator is expensive and it has high learning curve (knowing how to write code is very, very helpful). City Generator builds 3d models of cities for you.

There is the (free) RPG City Creator (do a search on this site). That has a lots of dials and knobs but it is much easier to use, but it will not produce individual roofs. You will have to draw those in yourself.

I'd be interested to see what others have to say, but I can't think of an easy way to do what you want.

All the best


03-18-2011, 04:33 PM
Yes I realized this won't be done with a few clicks. That's OK. I already have RPG City Creator and it looks like the most promising candidate with Photoshop effects. (If only RPGCC could use a given landscape and build coastal cities... but I can solve that.) Seems I'll play around with the methods in the Fastest Town and modify them to produce flat tops. I'll also need to dig up a good railway tutorial. A little bit of perspective (as opposed to full top down) would also help, but I fear that would take ages, especially with large buildings.

03-18-2011, 04:43 PM
Depending on your exact requirements style wise, Google Sketch up might help since you would like a bit of perspective. There are lot's of pre created models, you just have to spend the time looking for what you want, and if you can't find it, you can always make it yourself. It may not meet all of your needs, but I would start there as you have total control over the perspective. The only issue I can think of is your use may conflict with some of the prebuilt model licenses...<shrug>

03-18-2011, 06:30 PM
In fact, I googled "City Generator", but I don't know what you meant by it. It gives lots of links to fantasy "city populators" which spit out numbers of trolls and such.

SketchUp is a good tip, though it's more like building a scale model of a city than generating one. Unless there is a script similar to RPG City creator, to generate the "ordinary" houses. I like the idea of 3D but don't have the time to plot 1000s of buildings. Also, 3D demands a greater degree of realism, while a map can be more abstract.

03-18-2011, 06:36 PM
Oh.. one other thing.. The Vintyri (TM) Project headed by Mark Olivia has a fairly decent number of house models on their site in png format. I have not downloaded them as of yet, so I have no idea if they are rotatable(ie, no shadows preexisting) or what not. The few I have seen samples are are sort of fantasy in nature. If you do a search here for his name, you will find some samples he has posted as well as links to the project site.

03-18-2011, 07:14 PM
Whoops I'm really sorry! It's called 'City Engine'

My fault entirely!