View Full Version : WIP: floating boulders (need help/suggestions please)

03-29-2013, 06:03 PM
New map I'm working on (currently unnamed), of large boulders floating above a poisonous fog.

I don't want to add any other major elements to it, but since it's such a simple scene, I do want to include some nice details (on the rocks). Problem is, I've been staring at it (off and on) for the past couple hours and I'm having a complete mind blank.

Any ideas/suggestions about what I could add to "spruce it up" and make it a little more interesting would be much appreciated!

Also, I did consider adding some monkey bridges between the rocks...but I think I'd rather leave them like this, so players have to figure out how to traverse them. >:)

03-29-2013, 06:17 PM
This is beautiful Neyjour. The rocks are perfect.

I really can't think of any possible way to improve it. Have you considered changing the colours of the background? At present its yellow-green, similar to the foreground rocks. One option would be to change this to an 'earth-from-space' blue-green scheme; that might be interesting if it works.

03-29-2013, 07:29 PM
Thanks very much, Jack. Glad you like it. :)

It would be easy enough to change the background colours, and at first, I did consider doing a black/red/orange colour scheme (hot and lava-like). But I've done a few lava themed maps before and wanted to try something different. And the sickly green/yellow really makes me think of poison gas, so I think I'd like to stick with those colours. But thanks for the suggestion!

I thought about maybe adding some small, glowing flowers amongst the creepers, but haven't been able to find any flowers that look right. Actually...I don't have very many flowers to begin with. I may have to do a search at Dundjinni and RPGMapShare, and see if I can find some more. Other than that, I'm still kinda stumped on ideas. :?: LOL! *sigh*

If anything else comes to mind, please let me know! :)

03-29-2013, 10:43 PM
If green clouds is important, then change the rocks to a light charcoal grey and you will still get the contrast difference Jack is suggesting, and the plant life will standout more as well.

Otherwise, it looks great!

03-29-2013, 11:22 PM
Thanks Bogie. :)

Okay, I changed the rock colour. Tried grey and brown, but liked the brown a bit better with the yellow background. It also gave the moss a nicer, more natural colour (since its layer is set to "overlay"). Such a small thing, but it really made a big difference. Thank you both so much! :D

And I also added some chains, to enhance the "floating" feeling...like they'll just drift away if they're not anchored to each other. And I left the smaller one unchained to give the impression that other, smaller chunks drift around aimlessly. Should I add a couple more smaller, unchained ones, or just leave it as is?

I'm also going to try adding a few small, craggy trees leaning out over the sides, with their roots clinging to the edges of the rocks. Still looking around for some elements that will work for that, so we'll see...

I wasn't feeling terribly enthusiastic about this one, but it's really starting to shape up now. Thanks again! :)

03-30-2013, 12:00 AM
It is a subtle change in color but it works. Yeah, maybe one more rock, but small and off by itself.

03-30-2013, 05:17 AM
Added 2 more little boulders (it needed an extra one to balance things out), darkened the moss and chains a bit, and added a tree.

Do you think the tree looks convincing? It's kind of difficult to do something like that, that's not completely top-down, and I'm not sure if it looks right or not...

Christie Shadow
03-30-2013, 06:19 AM
You've done a really nice job on this, congrats!

I'm not sure about the tree. It looks like it's on top of the boulder, but the way the picture looks, it's supposed to be on its side, right? If it's hanging off the boulder, I'd suggest you go with a less thriving-looking tree (it looks almost too thriving for growing on a boulder that floats over poisonous fog!) - a windblown, almost naked couple of branches, maybe. If you add a couple of roots that seems to be coming from two boulders close to each other, you could emphasise that they are drifting apart, but has been closer once.

03-30-2013, 03:00 PM
Thanks very much Christie. :)

Yeah, that's what I was afraid of, that it looked too much like it's sticking straight up off the top edge of the rock. But I think I found one that works much better! I rendered this one myself (on an angle), and the way the roots are shaped/modeled gives a much better "clinging" illusion I think. It's also less thick/sturdy than the other one, and I used a wispy willow tree for the top, instead of the thick foliage. I didn't really want to go with something dead, since vegetation does grow up there. I imagine it has adapted to the environment and thrives in that gassy/foggy atmosphere.

The fog pretty much stays down below, and the air up top is breathable, so adventurers don't have anything to worry about...unless they fall off! Or...I was thinking maybe some of the gasses do rise up (this could explain why the boulders float), so I might try adding some very thin wisps of fog up top. So, adventuring up here won't kill you, but prolonged exposure could make you very sick. >:)

I'm attaching a full-rez detail shot of the tree. Let me know what you think.

And thanks again! :)

03-30-2013, 03:22 PM
I think that looks great Neyjour.

03-30-2013, 03:57 PM
That tree looks much better.

03-30-2013, 04:15 PM
Jack and Bogie, thanks! :)

Here's a very quick test for the upper fog, using the same strip of fog multiple times. I just wanted to get a general idea of how it would look. Overall, I like the effect, but I also dislike how it obscures the details. LOL!! What I'll probably do is provide a with and without version, so players can choose whichever one they like best. Or maybe swap them out during gameplay...where they start out with clean/clear air, then the fog begins to rise and they have to figure out how to deal with it, or get the hell outta there! :D

I'm going to redo this later, with several different pieces of fog. Will post the update when it's done.

03-30-2013, 08:31 PM
Okay, I think I'm calling this done...for the most part. Only thing I'm not too sure of, is if the fog colours are too bright and saturated. What do you guys think?

03-30-2013, 11:55 PM
I like the darker original version.

03-31-2013, 01:19 AM
This looks great! :o
In my humble opinion, maybe you could tone down the fog opacity and settle for somewhere in between the two pictures?

03-31-2013, 03:00 AM
Great map - the only thing that seems off to me is the tree, I see it as growing out 10 foot from the boulder, hanging in the air. I would rather see it fully top down and then use shadows on the boulder to give it height :)

03-31-2013, 11:30 AM
I think that looks great. Perhaps a bit of shadow around the tree-roots to anchor it a bit?

I like the darker look.

03-31-2013, 03:56 PM
On a smaller island, put a giant bird's nest with eggs. Might consider moss on some of the chains, too.

I know you say the fog stays low, but I'd like to see another "layer" of it with a very low opacity a little higher up on the rocks, maybe. They look a bit like stones sitting on a table cloth.

I really like this one! I'd love to use it soon!

EDIT: Didn't notice there was another page of replies!

I like the update, but I'd consider removing the top layer of fog from the surface of the rocks.

Love it!

03-31-2013, 04:19 PM
So...not quite as done as I thought. LOL! :P

Thanks very much for the comments/suggestions everyone!

Okay, I lowered the brightness of the fog to what it was in the beginning, and I do like that much better!

Changed the tree as well, per tilt's suggestion, and I think this version is much better as well! The willow tree top didn't quite work for this, so I tried a different one, added shadowing under the foliage over the rock portion, and added some more drop shadow to the roots.

I'm also going to try Sharpe's suggestion about adding some thin fog just below the top of the rocks, to obscure the shadows a bit. I'll post that version when it's done and see what you guys think. Will also try adding moss to the chains. The giant bird's nest is a cool idea, which I personally like, but it's one of those things that I think may be best to let the DM add themselves. What do you think?

Once this original version is settled on, I'll revise the upper fog version. :)

EDIT: I just realized that the center/trunk of the tree top portion is positioned a little too far off the edge of the rock. I've fixed that and will post the revision with my next update.

03-31-2013, 06:56 PM
Added a thin layer of mid-level fog, partially obscuring the shadows and going up the sides of the rocks, but not over the tops...except for the two smallest ones. I put a thin layer over the top of them, since they'd be on a lower level than the larger ones.

Added a moss texture to the chains, so now they look mossy/rusty. Also, the moss on the rocks was looking a bit blurry and washed out, so I darkened that a little and upped the contrast.

Made a slight adjustment to the position of the tree top (like I previously mentioned).

Let me know what you think. :)

03-31-2013, 09:30 PM
Hey! That's what I meant about the fog! Yeah, now you're cooking. That looks a lot better.

You might add another island or two, but have them (much) lower than the others, almost entirely obscured by the fog (with a top layer like you had it before, going over the surface, but also "cut in half" by your background layer of fog). It may lend some depth.

About the nest, I just meant as a small, out-of-the-way decoration, less than one square in size.

04-01-2013, 01:52 AM
That mid-level fog really did make a big difference! Thank you! :)

With the nest, I thought you meant something really big, for an encounter with some type of creature. :P

I'm not really sure if I want to add any more rocks. I'm liking the layout I've got at the moment, but I'll test out a few extra ones and see how it looks.

Here's the new "rising fog" version. I want it to be obvious that it's starting to rise above the top/ground level (so players will be like: Oh crap! *cough cough* This isn't good! :P ), but not so dense that the overall brightness gets bumped up too much.

04-01-2013, 08:11 AM
looks fantastic and the tree is much better now. I think perhaps the chains are a bit to mossy - if the rocks are floating here and there at least where the chains grate against one another the moss would disappear. :)
Have some rep with my longsword of pretty cool repping ;)

04-01-2013, 10:34 PM
Haha! Thanks. :)

Okay, I lowered the opacity of the moss a bit, and did a soft erase where the links join.

Any last suggestions before I call this done? :)

04-02-2013, 02:13 PM
Looks great, man. :)

04-02-2013, 03:15 PM
Thanks Sharpe. :)

Alrighty...I'm going to call this done. And I want to say thank you SO much to everyone who took the time to comment and offer suggestions. I really, really appreciate it! This would have been very mediocre (and I probably would have ended up scrapping it) if not for your help!

04-05-2013, 06:03 AM
Man, this map looks amazing!

Seriously, it is one of the coolest battlemap I have seen! Did you do the rocks yourself? These look amazing...

04-05-2013, 04:28 PM
Thanks very much! :)

The rocks were a free resource from deviantART. You can see the full credits list here: Miasma Summit (http://neyjour.deviantart.com/art/Miasma-Summit-363380409).

Dornier Spy
04-05-2013, 04:33 PM
Reminds me of Facing Worlds, what a great idea. I personally love this idea.

04-05-2013, 05:04 PM
Thank you. :)

04-12-2013, 07:10 PM
I am amazed! Great job :)

04-12-2013, 08:20 PM
Thanks very much. :)

04-23-2013, 05:19 PM
This is a nice map. I like finding maps that are more exotic and not just the same old forest or cavern. Good job.

This map would actually be great for an encounter I plan to use in the plane of Limbo. Is there any chance I could get a full res copy of this? Even better (if it isn't asking too much) would be to get a full res .png version of this with a transparent background instead of the greenish fog background and without the boulder shadows that are hitting the background fog. Gridless would be nice too. :)

That way people could add there own background to it. And if they wanted them to float in the sky, they would not need the dropdown shadows from the rocks.

04-24-2013, 01:46 AM
Really great fog. It's scaring me a bit. Of course I did just watch a creepy movie, but that fog is roiling! Such nice work, and it's really cool to be able to see the progress. Nicely built.


04-24-2013, 01:56 AM
i have nothing to say all was said. im feelin inspired

06-01-2013, 04:54 PM
Thanks very much guys! Very glad you like it. :D

Oryan77, I'm sorry, this one isn't a freebie. Here's the link to the product page on my website, if you'd like to check it out:
Miasma Summit (http://www.kuroiamerealms.com/miasma-summit.html)