View Full Version : Map for a PBEM strategy game

10-20-2011, 04:52 PM
Hi all, Ive browsed this forum a lot enjoy the fantastic maps everyone creates, and I thought I'd try my hand at one myself, for a Play-by-email strategy/RPG game I will be running for my gaming group soon. I skimmed over jezelfs tutorials to create this and just randomly tried things as well to see what worked. Im interested in some feedback on it. Its not finished yet, hit a wall when trying to figure out how to do forests properly. Its my first attempt at map making so be brutal.

EDIT: I replied to the thread, with an update to the map, but it never posted? Wierd. Anyhoo. hes the current update of the map. Ill keep this short cause its just an edit. Ill try posting a full update later.

10-21-2011, 04:20 AM
Very nice! Good color, clean, and readable. It looks like the highlights in your mountains got a bit blown out—there's not nearly as much visible detail on the sunlit sides as there is in the shadows. I think you could use with a bit less contrast in the mountains' shaded relief.

I'm not sure what's going on with that lake in the mountains. It looks as though a river begins in the foothills and climbs up to empty in the lake. It's possible that the river actually runs from the lake into wetlands, but that isn't how it appears, and the wetlands would probably occur out in the plain, anyway, not in the hills. In either case, that's an enormous lake to be found in a mountain range like that.

For forests (I am assuming that since you're following Jezelf's tut that you're using Photoshop), try a small, hard brush with scattering in both axes set to maximum. Set your foreground color to a dark green and paint in the forests on their own layer. To add just a little bit of depth, use the Bevel and Emboss layer style. I like an Inner Bevel with Depth at 1% and Size and Soften both at 1 pixel. You can adjust the settings to taste, but I think very subtle is usually best. Set the Highlight color to light green and the Shadow Mode color to very dark green. That should make it look a bit less plastic. If you want to add some color variation, add the Satin layer style, too. Again, subtle is best; you just want a little bit of color variation.

If you want your relief to show through, make a copy of the relief layer, set the blending mode to Overlay, and put it on top of the forest layer. Right-click the layer and choose Create Clipping Mask. Then adjust the opacity until you get the effect you're looking for. You might also want to blur the clipping mask a bit to take out some of the detail.

10-21-2011, 03:42 PM
Just an update with the map. I was playing around with ways to do forests. @Midgardsormr, thanks for the suggestion! I incorporated your ideas into this with some tweaking. I changed around the mountain lake a bit, still agree that it needs to be smaller though. Havent yet figured out how to add more detail to the northfacing slopes without it being too garish. I Showed it to my players, they are quite happy with it so far, and three castles (The gold stars) have been claimed already. (For any interested, the Mountainside lake keep is taken, the Island Keep, and the bottommost keep on the map)

I added some names to the regions, kinda amalgamated words, and a few suggestions from the players too. Also added visual lines representing the sea routes. Controlling a settlement with a sea route gives the player access to specific trade goods, extra money, things like that. The next step is roads (If I can just fingure out how to do them.)

Im keen on peoples opinions on this. Im quite enjoying mapmaking, never thought it could be so much fun.


10-23-2011, 10:14 PM
Sorry - can't be very brutal - it's got a lot of good going on. I'm with Midgardsormr on the contrast, and on the lake. I'd believe both your lakes if they had outlets, actually. Unless it's a particularly dry area, all your rivers would benefit from some more length. What's there is OK, they just look kind of stubby. I don't use PS so I have no suggestions how, but depicting a more extensive river network would be pretty effective if you tapered the additional upstream bits.

Midgardsormr's forest tips are probably apt, but simpler than that, would it work to use the present green as forest, and shift to a more beige/tan surface for bare land and desert?

I wouldn't cross the coast with a label unless it was unavoidable (Plahnslen, Crossarrok).

You've got some good stuff going on here - keep it up. Oh, and a dollop of rep for a map in the first post - bravo!