View Full Version : Town mapping with Gimp?

04-18-2011, 11:26 PM
Well I have only a few short weeks until next game... About a dozen ecnounters and matching battlemaps to flesh out. A Castle and surrounds to map. Plus story and other non-combat stuff to design. Including coming up with a map for another town.

So time is at a premium!

I have a picture in my mind of the town so I figured I'd tackle that first.

A smallish town surrounded by a palisade, with about 750-1,000 souls inside it. The town is near a coast road (roughly east<->west coast) on a roughly north<->south small river.

Nearby there's a keep/castle.

Should be easy, huh?

And of course I previously lifted coffeefery's D&D Campaign Town Map: Wintervale (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?8558-D-amp-D-Campaign-Town-Map-Wintervale) map and that's the style I'd love to keep for my village/town/city maps in this region.

As a Gimp user I'd love to use that but I'm a town mapping neophyte. I see only Photoshop tutes on this subject. And I'm not up to the learning curve. Not in this timeframe with this much to finish.

I've done several hours of homework on this on here and the interwebs in general... With minimal luck.

Before I burn any more time I thought it might be a good idea to ask for some pointers!

04-20-2011, 07:05 PM
58 views and nothing? I actually spent hours on this but didn't want to make my original post too noisey.

In case anyone stumbles in here looking for something related...

In the Tutorials/How-To (http://www.cartographersguild.com/forumdisplay.php?48-Tutorials-How-To) forum I found Ascension's Photoshop Town Tutorial (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?6536-Photoshop-Town-Tutorial) and Pyrandon's A medieval town map tutorial in Photoshop (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?1150-Award-Winner-A-medieval-town-map-tutorial-in-Photoshop).

These look good but I don't have PS :D... I was hoping for GIMP help and wouldn't know where to start with PS, assuming I could get access to it. And I just don't have time to wade through the conversion - I can see other folks have puzzled through that and it just looks like it'll take more time than I can devote.

I did see Alfar's Gimp Plugin: A better lazy man's city? (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?6616-Gimp-Plugin-A-better-lazy-man-s-city/page2) and played with it. It'll be useful but it'll take a lot of work to clean up and get into shape.

Of course I trawled the Town/City Mapping (http://www.cartographersguild.com/forumdisplay.php?39-Town-City-Mapping) forum. While there's plenty of great maps there these are mostly for much bigger or smaller villages, towns and cities.

More widely I found the following, which aren't too bad in terms of style, etc. But none of them look like they'll work for this map, assuming their owner lets me use them (with modifications)...

DarkWolfStudio's The Town of Vreba-Haj for LA FRPG (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?1248-The-Town-of-Vreba-Haj-for-LA-FRPG)
geoff_nunn's Fenwatch (http://www.cartographersguild.com/album.php?albumid=125&attachmentid=33924)
Salama's Small Ferry Town (http://www.cartographersguild.com/album.php?albumid=86&attachmentid=20728)
Michael Morris' NWN2 toolset town map (http://www.cartographersguild.com/album.php?albumid=63&attachmentid=20651)
Aval Penworth's I want to improve this town (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?9564-I-want-to-improve-this-town)
Plenty of similar stuff out on the interwebs.

Anyway hopefully someone looking for something similar will find something useful in that lot.

04-20-2011, 07:47 PM
Town maps are (imoo) the hardest (read most time consuming) to do without a library of building symbols.

Especially the photorealistic style you references.

In general, unless you hand draw/place every building it usually looks too random to look good.

-Rob A>

04-20-2011, 07:52 PM
Thanks for your thoughts RobA!

Somehow I seem to have ambarked on this beast so... Do I smile or frown? Don't know if it'll be ready for next session and I'll have to ration my time but I guess we'll see.

I've sourced some libraries of top-view buildings and will make some more so that part shouldn't be too hard... I hope.

That leaves...

The river
The keep
The wall
The landscape
The bridge
Market square, etc...

Should be done in no time, right? ;) <J> LOL!

I might do a WIP thread in the town forum once I get some of the basics done.

04-21-2011, 02:17 PM
I agree with Rob - this is a tricky subject. I did a bit of experimenting with the mosaic plugin that did a moderate job of giving the impression of houses. It discusses using shaped gradients to give you peaked roofs which will almost certainly help you even if you don't use the mosaic plugin to generate the shapes. Give me a shout if anything in there doesn't work as expected and I'll dig out my notes on it.

Using the Mosaic plugin to generate towns in Gimp (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=3392)

04-21-2011, 07:36 PM
Thanks torstan, I'll do that.

I found your thread when I did my original hours of research... I have a hardcopy of the PDF and it's where I first came across Sagenlicht's plugin.

04-27-2011, 08:07 PM
I must be mental but it looks like I am going to tackle this.

I started a WIP thread called A windy river, a town, a keep... A GIMP project. (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?14535-A-windy-river-a-town-a-keep...-A-GIMP-project.)