View Full Version : Béan, the Vertical City (WIP)

02-29-2012, 09:00 AM
My second WIP post - this is my city of Béan, which is largely hidden inside the cone of an extinct volcano. The mountain was originally the redoubt for a large external metropolis, which was destroyed in a brutal war. The surviving citizens built themselves a new city inside the safety of the mountain. This is a kinda steampunk city, with volcanic hot water heating, and gas lighting.

This is a Photoshopped version of a hand-drawn map but I'm struggling to find ways to jazz it up or improve it. Any ideas? Mapping a 3D vertical city is fairly unusual, are there any other examples you can suggest?

Note this isn't an architectural plan, it's meant to give an impression of the city's layout to visitors; it isn't strictly to scale and doesn't show all the myriad homes and side tunnels. The city's main "street" is meant to be roughly a spiral, I'm not sure this comes across very well. You might notice there are arrows next to each of the big cave-halls on the outside of the city, these are meant to indicate which direction the openings point, I'm planning on changing these to compass roses or something.

I'd be glad of any thoughts or suggestions of how to improve this!


02-29-2012, 10:41 AM
Looks very cool so far. I really like the idea, although to be honest I can't help but get images of Rowan Atkinson in my head.

02-29-2012, 11:28 AM
The main street doesn't give the impression of a spiral mainly because of the points it hits the halls. Do those windmills at the top power a pump that draws up water from the bottom? (the dashed line)

This is a really cool map though, but I'm not really sure what to suggest. I've never attempted this style map myself. But I like it.

02-29-2012, 11:53 AM
Cool map Robulous, I'd like to see how this one turns out. The closest thing I've seen to a vertical city is Schley's Diyun or that fantasy tower city that was losely based on Kowloon Walled City a few months back.

I'm with Larb on the absence of a spiralling main "street", but I don't think that it detracts from the map. What does confuse me is the lack of dotted lines showing where the throat and the conduit lead to the magma chamber in the volcano. If your city is built around the crater, there should be something there to indicate it. Otherwise it just looks like a vertical city in an upthrusting finger of rock.

Something else that would be cool is an inset or two of a critical area showing residences, important buildings, etc.

Keep at it, this looks like it is going to be one very cool map.

Niall Mackay
02-29-2012, 02:12 PM
If i read the first post correctly, then it is in the cone of an extinct volcano - so actually in a upthrusting finger of rock, the cooled magma in the vent with everything else eroded. ;)

About the spiral street: I agree, it doesn't look very "spirally". Maybe try some kind of a laying S, if you know what i mean. If you just look at a spiral from one side, then the slope should appear higher at the edges, where the street seems to run towards the viewer. I hope you understand what i'm trying to say, otherwise just look at a spring from one side. ;)

02-29-2012, 02:55 PM
Lol, it's not Mr Bean, it's meant to be pronounced Bay-ahn! Haha, this is always the trouble with fantasy orthography! I tried writing Bé-än or something like that but it looks funny, I'll have to think more about the spelling.

Re the shape - Niall is right it literally is a "vertical city in an upthrusting finger of rock". It's a volcanic plug (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volcanic_plug), rather like Edinburgh Castle. The rock is what's left of the solidified lava in the throat of a long-dead volcano, the soft ash cone has long since been worn away by weather and glaciation. There's still a little bit of residual heat, enough to make hot water, but it's otherwise extinct.

Larb you're right, the windmills are indeed for pumping water into big storage tanks and a reservoir uptown. I'm actually not that set on the main street being a spiral - there's no real reason why they should be since much of the city's formed from natural tunnels, I'm happy to ditch that idea.

thebax love the idea of insets. maybe I should do some cross-sections too, to give an impression of layout.

03-01-2012, 06:16 PM
A nice idea... I am waiting for the final results with textures...

03-06-2012, 02:21 AM
I wasn't thinking of Rowan Atkinson, but if you don't want giggles to ensue, it is probably prudent not to provide a map of "Bean" (even with an accent mark on it) with the "Gas Tower" being one of the first things one sees.

03-06-2012, 01:38 PM
Bean, Gas Tower, Vertical, Jack Stalk!

I think the map looks very cool, but the slight "angling" at the bottom (the circum city wall) doesn't quite match the 2D cross-section of the rest of the map. You'd either have to do the whole thing in perspective, or use an inset to show what the whole thing looks like from a birdie's eye view.

A thing that would make it sharper would be more detail on the visible structures (top tower, etc.).

03-11-2012, 11:54 PM
Awesome! I am very impressed.

Klaus van der Kroft
03-14-2012, 08:44 AM
Great map! Reminds me of Karen Wynn Fonstad's cross-section maps, which is always a good thing.

03-21-2012, 04:21 PM
Maybe try "Beian" to convey the correct sound? I know you're probably going for something that sounds vaguely Gaelic but you must remember that most English speakers utterly fail at pronouncing things in actual Gaelic as well.

Very cool. What are the little arrows on the outside of the halls though?

03-21-2012, 09:18 PM
Nice work Robulous. Hope to see Draft 2 soon. I'm glad octopod posted today otherwise I might have missed this fun map.
So many maps and threads so little time. Stick with the original names, let the person viewing the map pronounce as they like. When I read text in language I don't know, I pretty much fudge it in my head and read for context. (provided I know enough to find context at all)

04-06-2012, 09:23 AM
I think this is an excellent concept! I like the idea of a spiraling main street, but if you go with idea of using natural tunnels, you might want to make it look more organic and random.

04-16-2012, 11:08 PM
Love it! Awesome concept!

04-21-2012, 07:23 PM
I like this map. It inspires me to finish my longitudinal cross-section map of an asteroid base I am working on for a friend. Your map gives some good ideas in style, if not concept. I like the original spelling for the map's name. I find that with English, the orthography usually does not have accent marks, so it gives it a unique and foreign feel already, IMO.

04-21-2012, 11:07 PM
A suggestion for making the streets look like a spiral: perhaps have the ones ascending left bow down slightly, and the ones ascending right bow up slightly? Not enough to make them look like they are curving through elevation, but just enough to suggest a coil. Try stretching out a spring and looking at it from a slight angle to get the idea of what I mean.

06-09-2012, 06:17 PM
Very nice concept. Is it finished or are you going to work on it more?

06-16-2012, 05:03 PM
This is a very cool map/concept. And the quality is excellent, too.

06-19-2012, 01:43 PM
What a fun and well illustrated map. I just kept thinking of all the uphill walking! It would be cool to add a lift system on the outside of the mountain.

06-21-2012, 08:14 AM
I really like this concept! The only thing that I may make a slight critique on is that some of the smaller text is hard to read.