View Full Version : April 2012 Entry: Gladiator

04-04-2012, 10:55 AM
This is my first ever mapping challenge! I hope I am not being too ambitious.

My idea is to create a roman amphitheatre battlemap, but to have various sub-maps that show the battle arena changing round by round as it gets flooded, and the combatants need to swim and then climb on to and fight over boats.

This will probably turn into a disaster because the one thing I know for a fact I absolute cannot do, is water. I just can’t do water at all. Nevertheless, I will try.

And I also want to add an elephent. But I also have no idea how I am going to do that.

The first issue will be scale: I want to show enough to get a sense that the fight is inside an amphitheatre (but I won't try and depict an audience - that would be almost impossible for me), but the entire structure can’t be depicted because it would dominate the map and not leave enough room for the battle arena.

I am very much hoping for feedback and advice on this throughout the process. Also if anyone knows of any existing colosseum/amphitheatre battlemaps out there (surely there must be loads) please let me know so I can get ideas.

Grid will be 100 pixels and map will be 20 squares x 20 squares (thus 2,000 pixels by 2,000 – which is the limit my computer can take before crashing. May have to make it slightly smaller due to computer power – we’ll see.


EDIT: scale concept (with grid at 50 pixels and width of image 2000 pixels):
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Questions: is ratio of arena/battleground to audience tiers about right, or not? Is the arena/battlefield big enough (ie enough grid squares) to have a ship battle in it? Probably not - perhaps mini-ships?

04-04-2012, 03:02 PM
To give you an idea on size for ship battles, one of Paizo's flipmats measures two ships in a battle at 16 usable squares long (80 ft) and 20 usable squares long (100 ft). They are both about 6 usable squares wide (30 ft) at the widest point. If you plan on using them as props with cannon fire and raiding from one ship to the other, your map might be sized just fine. If you mean for the ships to actually be able to move around each other, that map would be way too small. Just depends on how you want the ship battle to go. :)

So far as the view goes, I like how you've laid out the amphitheater. I think it gives a pretty good feel for what we're looking at while leaving ample space for the arena itself. If you're going to change the size of the arena, I'd suggest just changing the grid size. Making the grids about 3/4 of their current size would probably be as small as I'd go on this map though.

04-04-2012, 03:42 PM
Thanks Joshua - the ships are really just props, so they can be pushed through the arena creating a moveable fighting stage - I like that idea. And I'm glad my scale will work.

I'm trying experiments out for getting a good old-bloodstain colour.

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04-04-2012, 05:03 PM
They did have actual ship battles in the Coliseum, but the ships were only about 30 ft long, not full sized galleons.

04-04-2012, 06:21 PM
Experimenting on colours for the outside. Definitely won't be using this texture - probably just go for a flat colour without texture for the stonework.

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I'm seriously considering removing the lowest of the three seating tiers in order to make more room for the battle. It won't be as accurate (the exiting ratios are based on a roman plan I found) but it might make for more jolly battles.

04-05-2012, 04:40 AM
Or you could just resize the map, so there is more focus on the arena and less on the seating ...

04-05-2012, 05:19 PM
I started on the steps. After a little while, I stood back and realised that this is going to be an absolute disaster. My amphitheatre seating tiers are going to be at a completely different scale to the arena. I am starting to seriously wish I had put a bit more thought into the concept before leaping into it so publicly.

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04-05-2012, 08:29 PM
For what it's worth, I think it's pretty awesome so far and a REALLY cool concept. I'd want to play it out if I were one of your players. I think you should keep with it and see what you ultimately make. Revision--even heavy revision--isn't something to ever be ashamed of. :) It shows incite and initiative.

04-06-2012, 07:12 AM
Thanks Joshua - you've given me the courage to continue. I've started on the columns. I've tried to take WIPs that show my work methods, because they are so odd. I draw the basic shape, then decide what shade to paint them; number them; then paint them. I'm probably doing the entire thing backwards.



Found an image of a generic classical column on google images and used cut and paste and rotate, then changed all my layers to overlay.


Or you could just resize the map, so there is more focus on the arena and less on the seating ...

Tempting as that is, I feel that the map would not fit the title of the challenge (cinematic fight scene) without the colonnades, columns and epic feel.

EDIT: pretty much done with the columns now, and am quite happy with the result. I'm going to see if I can use a circular gradiant the then reduce the number of shades to get a patchwork stone effect that follows the shape of the arena to use as a background texture - should be possible.

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04-06-2012, 12:14 PM
Those columns came out really nicely. The only thing that seems a little off are the shadows of the columns. They seem to all be pointing toward the center of the arena. You know, when I look closer at the seating, I don't think the scale is unworkable. They're probably going to try to sell as many tickets as possible and flood the place with viewers, right? Those benches look to be one foot deep, about... So yeah, people will have to squeeze by to get to an open seat, but it seems totally acceptable given the circumstances.

04-06-2012, 07:22 PM
Shading the steps

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04-07-2012, 12:27 AM
That gave it some good definition and depth.

04-07-2012, 10:47 AM
Thanks Bogie. More work on the stairs (I am starting to absolutely hate this map now - why did I do this?)


EDIT: Did some clever jiggery-jiggery using digital photographs of colloseums set of overlay to add texture. I think the stands and surroundings are now as good as I am ever going to get them - certainly the colours and shading are fine. They are not supposed to be absolutely accurate - the idea is to give the sense that the action is taking place inside an amphiteatre after all - and I really need to focus on the water now.

On that subject, I have an idea: rather than water flooding into the amphitheatre, what if the sandy floor was actually a wooden platform supported on massive beams. Someone presses a button and the floor folds away, revealing the flooded underbelly of the arena.


EDIT2: fixed some of the errors and brightened up the arena - this is coming together now for me:

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04-07-2012, 07:11 PM
Ok - time for a comparison with the real thing: Rome's Colosseum. As you can see, my version is much more realistic.


I've been using photos of the Colosseum to draw this map (obviously) but I have suddenly realised that the upper area on my map (with the columns) are actually areas of ruined seating, and should not have been visible at all. Oh well - you can't win them all.

04-08-2012, 06:33 PM
Some quick attemps to see if I could easily add a crowd to the amphitheatre. I've just stuck on two images from google images 'crowds' onto the map to see if it could work.

43854 43855

I think the first one is ok; the second one not so good. I'd need to check that it is open for use first, then I could cut and paste and rotate the crowd image to fill the stadium. However, in order to look good I will have to delete parts of each of the crowd segments so that the underlying step seating shows through, but to do this I would need to very carefully delete individual people from each copied image. That would take a LONG time, and I'm not sure it is worth the effort.

EDIT: also experimenting with an elephant (! yay !) and some dead gladiators. These are not by me: the elephant is by Alynnalizza, and the gladiators by totte and ProBono. I'm just trying to get a feeling for the scale.


04-08-2012, 07:00 PM
I think it's definitely worth the effort. Or maybe just cut'n'paste in smaller sections of crowd. You put work into the steps and seats... They should be seen! :) My only complaint about the first image's crowd is that it looks like a large number of people are looking up at the sky (i.e., toward the viewer) instead of into the arena.

04-09-2012, 11:44 AM
Ok, here goes. First attempt at water and the flooded amphitheatre.

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04-11-2012, 10:52 AM
Looking back on my water, it probably looks too bright and pleasant - like that of a wonderful swimming pool. I think I need to desaturate it, darken it, and generally make it look more threatening. I also want to try and suggest that the water surface starts much lower down below the seats, and that it continues beyond the arena edges under the seating tiers. I'm not sure how to do that.

Here is my concept for the change from normal arena to flooded arena:


I got the idea fom looking at photographs of the vast underbelly of the Roman Colloseum. So my next step will be to try and make these beams and show the transformation of the stadium.

04-13-2012, 02:55 AM
New improved water with less saturation and darker hue. Hopefully its a little better.

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And the first WIP of the steel beams that run under and support the arena platform. You can see the shading is off from where I cut and pasted many short beams into a long one - this I will need to fix up somehow (any ideas? smudge won't work here).


04-14-2012, 06:56 AM

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04-14-2012, 08:35 AM
You can see the shading is off from where I cut and pasted many short beams into a long one - this I will need to fix up somehow (any ideas? smudge won't work here).

Get a longer beam? :) Or highlight the beam and replace with a seamless texture.

04-14-2012, 07:07 PM
I've been working on the edges of the flooded stadium. No matter how much time I spend trying to get it right it always looks unfinished. I hate this map more then ever.

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04-14-2012, 10:58 PM
for what it's worth, you should definitely not hate this. it's coming along VERY NICELY.

That having been said I understand the love/hate relationship with my own work :)

One thought about the water - i would expect to see that colour of water if it was deep and had a light or white coloured bottom, like a pool.. but for something that was built the way you describe this i might expect it to look a bit more muddy. maybe just drop the transparency of the water and let the bottom show through?

Of course, maybe whoever built it had more of an aesthetic sense and deep pockets so it really is lined iwth light coloured slate/limestone/tile :)

04-21-2012, 09:48 AM
I am not going to have the time to do what I wanted with this map, so I'm going to leave it as it is. It has been an education and I have learned a lot.

Somewhat disappointing to me, is that I now realise I could have achieved a much better map in a tiny fraction of the time if I had just grabbed some good tourist or aerial photos of the Colosseum and copied, pasted and rotated them around until I had an amphitheatre. This would have probably resulted in a more realistic map, and I could have spent my time focusing on the actual arena and atmosphere rather than the stands.

Something else I have learned - to have a much clearer concept of what I want to achieve from the onset, and to focus on that instead of on side-issues. In this case too much of my focus was on the seating and tiers, which don't really add much to the map in the end, when I should have put more time and energy on the central arena.

The finished map feels too sterile, uninteresting and empty. It lacks any cinematic quality. Still, I enjoyed contributing to this challenge and hopefully will take part in another one soon.

EDIT: having said all that, there are still things that I like about my map:
1) I like my use of dark green in colouring and shading the stadium - a non intuitive choice that I feel worked out really well.
2) The map looks really great in thumbnail form, or when you step back from the screen and squint at it without your glasses on.

Final map (same as the ones above):
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