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Gozdom
04-05-2012, 11:25 PM
Hello all, this is my first post. Maybe not even in the right forum, sorry if so.

I need a couple of town maps for a children's book. These should be modern towns, not sci-fi or flying cars, but with tram lines, factories, block houses, tower blocks, hotels and such. While I may easily end up offering a commission, I still think I can do it on my own.

I checked the trial of Esri City Engine. It's a dream, one of the greatest pieces of software I have ever seen. But well beyond my knowledge, and I don't have months to climb the learning curve. It's also too much, all I need now is a top-down map.

I also need buildings to be separately identifiable, that is, not a huge blob of grey depicting a street block, but individual houses. I need car lanes too, and a plausible map with towers in the centre, blocks in the inner city and family houses on the outskirts. This could all be done in CE, and the end result should look like a top view of a CE map, but it's no problem if it's a little cartoony.

Question is, can it be done with Profantasy City Designer 3? I don't mind a bit of nudging in Photoshop, but don't want to redraw the whole thing either. The largest city in question is fairly big, with about 40 000 inhabitants. I have only seen fantasy/medieval maps with CD3 so far.

Thank you!

Joshua
04-06-2012, 12:11 AM
Hi there. :) CD3 can do modern cities, but I'm not sure at what all the different items and whatnot are (in terms of trams, etc). But I know it at least has the basics for modern. I have CD3, but I've only used it for fantasy settings, which is why my knowledge of its modern capabilities are limited.

atpollard
04-06-2012, 12:20 AM
You only have so many pixels on a page, so a city covering square miles (like the 40,000 person city) will inevidably reduce buildings to a single pixel, so your level of detail will be limited whatever software you use. Otherwise, good luck.

Gozdom
04-06-2012, 12:39 AM
The capital map will be a centerfold, maybe even a foldout wallpaper (4-page size). I will also use closeups in the book, covering a few streets or a district.
The trams can be overlaid later in PS, it's not crucial. Car lanes are more important as it would be a tremendous amount of work to trace all streets and convert them into work paths.

Gozdom
04-06-2012, 12:43 AM
So, the important parts are modern buildings. Factories, industry, power plants, modern ports, warehouses, railway stations, state buildings, bridges, malls. I see CD3 has a building designer included, maybe it can do the job. Unfortunately, it has no trial. I need to know if it is suitable before I commit to buy it, especially as it comes bundled with CC.

Gozdom
04-06-2012, 12:48 AM
You only have so many pixels on a page, so a city covering square miles (like the 40,000 person city) will inevidably reduce buildings to a single pixel, so your level of detail will be limited whatever software you use. Otherwise, good luck.

The capital map will be a centerfold. I will also use close-ups of a few streets or a district. So I do need buildings.

Joshua
04-06-2012, 01:34 AM
I just took a look through it, and the current symbol sets for modern city maps are a little lean. Keep in mind, everything is VERY top-down. But here's a sample. I just tossed things out onto a background, so it's in no way the full potential of the program, but it'll give you an idea of what you're looking at. This contains only a few things as well. The skyscraper (the huge thing in the upper left) contains some add-ons, and you can expand it to your heart's content. There are some symbols for smoke or smog coming out of a rooftop too, which may work for your factories. Anyway... Hope this is at least a little better of an idea.

43734

Joshua
04-06-2012, 01:36 AM
Now, I will also throw out there that often additional map packs, symbol sets, etc are released to fit various things, but you do have to kind of search through the various years, and you do have to pay extra for them. But additional options do exist.

Gozdom
04-06-2012, 01:46 AM
Thank you Joshua, this is great help. It can do reasonable roads and lanes, which is good news. It's also really really top-down. I would not mind some perspective but can do without it. The bridge is also fine. They have a Modern symbol set for USD 22, this is well within budget. So, I'll give City Engine a few days until the trial expires, because it certainly is the real deal, but very hard to control. Then, I guess CD3 can do the job. One more question, this was not clear from the description: can it adapt to a given terrain (river/coast layout) and can it generate a city, or do I have to manually draw all the streets?

Joshua
04-06-2012, 03:23 AM
In terms of adapting to terrain, I'm guessing you're wondering if it's always linear or if it can handle curves and such? It can do curved roads, etc. It can't generate a city, so you will have to draw it in manually, but they do have some tools to help with that (including a random building road setting, where you just draw in a road and it "auto-populates" it with generic buildings). There are also some good tutorials here that people have written regarding how to successfully learn and use CD3. :)

alp
04-06-2012, 09:24 AM
You can also check out theses annuals for ideas
http://sub.profantasy.com/2010/june10.html
http://sub.profantasy.com/2011/may11.html
http://sub.profantasy.com/2007/september07.html

Unfortunately they are from 3 different annuals, but all the annuals are a great source of symbols / styles / fills etc

Adam

Gozdom
04-06-2012, 10:47 AM
In terms of adapting to terrain, I'm guessing you're wondering if it's always linear or if it can handle curves and such? It can do curved roads, etc. It can't generate a city, so you will have to draw it in manually, but they do have some tools to help with that (including a random building road setting, where you just draw in a road and it "auto-populates" it with generic buildings). There are also some good tutorials here that people have written regarding how to successfully learn and use CD3. :)

No, by adapting I mean importing a river/coast layout, but this only involves software that can generate a city. Drawing all streets by hand is a bit frightening. CE can generate a very convincing street layout even if it needs some touchup.

Joshua
04-06-2012, 12:59 PM
I agree with you, creating all the streets by hand is no easy task. It's one of the main reasons why I scrap every city I attempt! It always ends up looking unnatural and forced for me. But some of the designers here create masterpieces, so I know it can be done. ;)

Katto
04-06-2012, 02:42 PM
Both programs can do the job. You could even use PS/GIMP or Illustrator/Inkscape. You should be more precise concerning the style you imagine for your maps: top down view/3D, realistic/atlas style etc.
AFAIK there is no ready to use style for what you want. That means you will have to spend time on learning the desired program and then work on the style.

Gidde
04-07-2012, 02:37 AM
You may want to try out the RPG Citymap Generator (you can find it here: http://www.stargazersworld.com/2009/02/27/roleplaying-city-map-generator/) to get a starting point for street layout; it has presets for modern cities in addition to more medieval/fantasy stuff.