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View Full Version : May Entry: The North East Towers of Jocelyn Castle



Torq
05-07-2008, 08:56 AM
My plan is to create a battlemap depicting the topmost towers of an ancient castle to make for an interesting and potentially very dangerous fight. There will be three towers in total. I will do the ground and lower level structure last as I am panicking as to whether I will be able to pull off a height illusion.

Obviously this is very much a WIP with a few seam marks on the ground texture but I just wanted to get something up.

The statues are courtesy of the Dunjinni Forums.

Torq

## Latest WIP ##

Gamerprinter
05-07-2008, 09:34 AM
I've often thought about how I'd best do a map showing depth. Especially your map, since the "grid area" is only at the tops of the tower, and not the ground at all.

I always wanted to try to blur the distant area - making it out of focus. Since the eye is focused on the useable area, the tops of the towers. Don't know if this would work, but its something I've thought about in the past. Probably use a filter to blur the trees and ground structure.

GP

Torq
05-07-2008, 09:39 AM
Yes, I think blurring is the answer. I saw some very effective use of it on the Dundjinni forums. My worry is that its the kind of thing you really have to get right or ithe entire look of the map can be ruined. I'm going to use a blur, with some low level clouds to try and enhance the effect.

Torq

RPMiller
05-07-2008, 11:56 AM
Torq, when you do this I would be interested in the map size before and after the blur is applied.

Gamerprinter
05-07-2008, 02:47 PM
Another detail to improve the look of depth is to create a silohouette (however you spell that?) shadow, like I did for the Monastery way back in the October Challenge. Rather than a drop shadow, a defined shadow of the structure can hint at how tall it is - make it a long shadow.

The only thing is you'll have maintain the same shadow angle on your drop shadows for other stuff.

Combine this with the blur and it should really help. :idea:

Chgowiz
05-07-2008, 04:55 PM
Scaling as well. You could maybe scale the items on the ground just noticeably less than the items on the tower top? Along with the shadowing, that would definitely give the impression of height.

Neurowiz

Torq
05-08-2008, 09:58 AM
Here's the latest, weighing in at a measly 57kb. I am trying to finish all the detail on the action level before going into the blurred background effects.

Torq

## Latest WIP ##

JFJohnny5
05-08-2008, 10:23 AM
Looking good Torq.

First, a question. I thought the map had to be at least 1280x1024?

Second, a suggestion. When you do add in the ground level, to really pull off a depth illusion, be sure to make it in different layers in Photoshop. Then blur each layer differently. The idea is this: objects farther from the focal plane (in this case the tower tops) will be more out of focus. So a tree top will be less blurry than a bush on the ground.

Torq
05-08-2008, 11:12 AM
Oops. Yes, I forgot about that one. No wonder it compressed so much smaller. I'll iron it out in the next WIP.

Torq

NeonKnight
05-08-2008, 11:32 AM
Looking good!

Torq
05-12-2008, 08:01 AM
Here is a version with background, including blur and a weak cloud layer below the level of the action. Since including the background I've had to compress the file much more to get it under the limit, so there is a significant drop in quality.

After the challenge I will post a hi-res version.

Torq

### Latest WIP ###

jfrazierjr
05-12-2008, 08:58 AM
Me thinks I have found the entry I shall vote for....

Nice work Torq, that is really cool. I like the "roof" line below the main turret, it's a rather nice effect and very realistic. Great job on the flagstones for the floor, those are sweet... did you do those by hand or use a mosaic filter in PS? And the broken stone/mortar showing the underlying base roof material is really a great artistic touch that makes the floor come alive (thought they don't look quite deep enough inset to match the tiles that are laying around thickness wise).

One thing about the background though, the scale make it seem as if the "camera" is about 10 stories up. Not a complaint, just an observation.

ravells
05-12-2008, 10:03 AM
Superb work, Torq! Really sweet entry!

Torq
05-12-2008, 11:00 AM
Me thinks I have found the entry I shall vote for....

Great job on the flagstones for the floor, those are sweet... did you do those by hand or use a mosaic filter in PS? And the broken stone/mortar showing the underlying base roof material is really a great artistic touch that makes the floor come alive (thought they don't look quite deep enough inset to match the tiles that are laying around thickness wise).

One thing about the background though, the scale make it seem as if the "camera" is about 10 stories up. Not a complaint, just an observation.

The Flagstones are just a texture I got on the CGTextures website. It had a few seams though that I fixed manually. Its all done in Gimp and I applied a slight bump map to try and take away the very flat feel.

The drop shadow between the flagstones and the underlying cobbles is different in size from the drop shadow cast by the removed flagstones. I will fix that.

I was trying to create the impression that this castle is unbelievably tall, but maybe I went overboard a bit.

Thanks for the kind words.

Torq

jfrazierjr
05-12-2008, 11:30 AM
I was trying to create the impression that this castle is unbelievably tall, but maybe I went overboard a bit.

You achieved that very well.. of course, you could play off of that and make the castle a flying castle and just leave as is...heh...



Thanks for the kind words.


Your very welcome.

Redrobes
05-12-2008, 02:19 PM
Thats 75K of pure sweetness right there.

Edit -- do you want to put another WIP tag in... Seems a shame not to !

RPMiller
05-12-2008, 04:27 PM
Thats 75K of pure sweetness right there.

Edit -- do you want to put another WIP tag in... Seems a shame not to !
I added it for you Torq.

That there is an incredible result given the allowable size and would definitely give the players fits as the moved about their tokens realizing that one misstep would send them to their doom. Doom, I say. DOOM!! Ahem. I'm done now. :lol:

Torq
05-13-2008, 03:25 AM
Thanks RPM. The scary height thing is definately part of the plan. I am a bit of a vertigo sufferer myself so I wont be without empathy when I use this in a game. I am running a game using the Iron Heroes D20 system, which specialises in heroic and stunt filled combat, with characters performing all manner of unimaginable feats, so disaster will be a real possibility.

Torq

torstan
05-13-2008, 05:58 AM
Given the strength of the shadows on the tower roof, it would be good to have some shadows on the blurred lower levels from the towers. There is a small shadow, but given the length of shadow a battlement is casting, the towers should both cast long dark shadows across the lower terrain.

Otherwise I have to agree with the others. This is a fantastic achievement within the strictures of the mapping challenge.

Chgowiz
05-13-2008, 07:25 AM
Wow, that turned out really really cool!

Chgowiz

delgondahntelius
05-13-2008, 11:59 AM
Amazing Torq.. really great entry!

Midgardsormr
05-13-2008, 06:21 PM
I was trying to create the impression that this castle is unbelievably tall, but maybe I went overboard a bit.


Take that Rapunzel!

Torq
05-14-2008, 08:57 AM
Thanks for all the very kind comments. Here is an almost finished version, with creepers, flags, statues anda few shadows added. Its slightly over 75 kb but I will make sure the finished one fits with the rules

Torq

### Latest WIP ###

jfrazierjr
05-14-2008, 09:06 AM
Cool. Can't wait to see the high res version. The ivy vines are a really nice finishing touch. It looks like the invasive crap has taken over the lower roof and battlements!

ravells
05-14-2008, 09:22 AM
Magnificent! How you've managed to keep so much definition at that file size is beyond me!

dorpond
05-15-2008, 12:28 PM
Fantastic!
Man this map is really really nice.. I love the textures, effects and attention to detail. Brilliant!

Torq
05-21-2008, 02:27 AM
I know this offends against just about every rule of what should not be put on a VTT map, but I just couldn't resist it.

Torq

###Latest WIP###

ravells
05-21-2008, 05:18 AM
Keep it! I thik it adds a great atmosphere to the tower and adds to the illusion of depth. This is such a superb entry, I can't believe you can still find ways to continue to improve it.

RobA
05-21-2008, 11:01 AM
Torq- love it. except for the bird shadow at 1:00 on the main tower roof. It is cast on the wood roof to the tower "floor" and seems to break the light angle.

The question to be raised... is this your entry map, or is the one without the flying creatures? Just asking because one of the other entry threads asked if the challenge is to make the "prettiest map" or the "most usable in a VTT map"...

-Rob A>

ravells
05-21-2008, 11:08 AM
I thought they were bats! Crows would be nicer...

Torq
05-21-2008, 11:25 AM
Rob I see what you mean by that shadow. I'll sort it out. They are bats by the way. Ravs, I agree crows would be nicer but I only have crow brushes rather than actual art work, that dont really have any depth to them and I dont have GP's art skills to make my own.

It was Dorpond who rasied the question, as to whether the challenge is for the best looking VT map or the most useful VT map. I think its a very vaild question and will probably depend on what the sponsor's are looking for. I get the impression from what I've read that they're probably looking for the latter, so I might lose the bats altogether.

Torq

dorpond
05-21-2008, 12:12 PM
I love the bats! Very cool looking!

But..

I woud love them as an image that I can plop down during game. Mainly because the way it is now, the players will be stepping on the bats while they make their way around.. :P

The bats really should be above the player tokens.

Which brings up the question: Do any VT's allow for that currently? I know Maptool does not yet but will in version 1.4. Just curious..

Redrobes
05-21-2008, 01:57 PM
Do any VT's allow for that currently?A yes from over here... providing its on a separate PNG bitmap type thing.

su_liam
05-21-2008, 03:45 PM
That is kinda purdy.

Torq
05-27-2008, 05:11 AM
Thanks all for the kind words and the advice through this challenge. I decided to leave the bats in after all, and leave it up to the personal tastes of the viewers. Generic usefulness vs evocative imagery will continue to pull in different directions, but at the end of the day the VT users (more likely the VT using GMs) will have to make the decision based on their own personal preferences.

Good luck everyone.

Torq