View Full Version : [WIP] mapping a vast paintball field for a LARP/Scenario game

08-11-2011, 02:00 PM
So, It's been confirmed, dates have been set, and wheels are starting to get in motion, me and my team of organisers are going to plan a 2 to 3 day long game, set in a remote part of the french country.

All the details haven't been figured out yet (like the actual scenario, the final number of players, the duration, and so on ... just the rough outline of the event), the news is just fresh from yesterday, but I figured that I could use this great resource and community here to both show and feedback the whole process of mapping this soon to be adventure.

And for the first time, the field is so vast, and with som many tiny features, that setting up a map both for players and organiser, and having it show the most information possible is going to be quite a task, and that's why I hope to rely on your criticism, feedback, and advice. This is a six months (give or take) project, so even if I have plenty of time on my hands, I'd rather start a thread now, and be prepared, instead of rushing everything to the last minute as I'm used to.

Now, to the point.

The field is approx 430 acres, give or take, and can be either reduced to adapt to a small number of players, or widen, if the neighbors agree (still awaiting on some data on that part, but I don't think we'll get to that point. besides we have enough on our plate as it is already).

There's a river on one side of the field, going through a narrow valley, between cliffs or hills. It's just a small stream of water, really, and can be crossed anywhere, if the players aren't scared getting their hips wet.

The castle, actual home of the owner is off limits to the game, but has a small piece of land where tents and temporary accomodation can be installed. mounted on the edge of a cliff, it overlooks the whole domain, safe from what is behind the main hill.

Then, we have an indian village, made of bits, scraps and rags (very strong atmosphear ...), a "scrapyard", a little like the wasteland I've showed recently in my personal project (check sig), a western village, with a saloon, a few houses, a windmill, and a central fireplace (a No Play zone, given the state of the old timber buildings). Here we have the smaller features.

The main trait of this field is that the hill lieson a big limestone deposit, perfect for building, so across the ages, quarries, caves and undeground mazes were dug all over the place, some of them closed permanently, or blown down, for obvious safety reasons, but most of the main ones still remain. That gives us three main quarry entrances, that can be quite huge, and two of them leading to various underground halls, rooms, corridors, with high ceilings, vents, and so on, all safe to wander around in. One of them has three different exits, roughly a couple of hundred meters distant from each other.

I don't intend to show everything on one single map, for it would have to be a large format, and no player wants to carry around a 30sq foot poster ... All of this has to fit on a small A4 or, event better, A5 format, with the possibility of having two, or three separate sheets, depending on the features shown.

Now, to the mapping. I've used Flawedspirit's exellent tutorial and got started on the relief, hills and mountains. I've whipped up a quick sketch using his method and based on what I was able to retrieve both on the net, and on the field :

This one only has the terrain lines layer, and the textured ground, which I'm not quite satisfied with, even if it gives a general idea of the land layout. I guess I'ts going to be a trial and error type of work, untill I master the technique, and untill I get a sense that all the field is properly shaped.

Now, let's introduce the main features to this empty moon landscape :


Now, for your information, this is meant to have proper land, trees, river and labelling, all in due time. Here we only have the main skeleton of the map, and untill we haven't come up with a scenario yet, not much can be done, since I don't want to spend hours on something that might change after a work session. :roll:

So given that all this project is still in a womb state, I won't rush forward, at least not right away. Instead, I'll try something else, an "exercice de style" if you will.


I'll take this fragment (upper left corner of the global map), and try mapping it in different styles, from sci-fi with a hex grid, to a more fantasy style, maybe a post-apocalyptic mood ... The aim will be to be able to test different ways to show the information, so when we finally settle for a mood, atmosphear and story, the rest will end up being simple to reproduce. Also, I can test and improve my skills, in a fun way, trying to represent the same piece of land in as many styles as possible.

Anyways, thanks for reading, and hoping to read from you soon, any comments/critics are greatly appreciated !

08-15-2011, 06:22 PM
Time for an update !

Spend most of the weekend fiddling with photoshop going nowhere, then went old school, and drew the bloody thing on paper and scanned it ...

Not finished yet, but I think I managed to catch some kind of mood to it :


The compass is definitely too big and dark, and makes the whole thing look a bit clumsy, I'll need to fix that.