View Full Version : Tarlus (WIP)

01-21-2014, 04:02 PM
An attempt at an imperial capital for my setting. Using GIMP, some new found patterns and roba's building brush. The city's supposed to have expanded up the mountain as it went from city state to capital. Some major buildings are still missing at this point.

01-21-2014, 05:28 PM
Notsonoble, I don't know if you're wanting suggestions at this stage, but here are a few things you might want to consider:

-- you might want to increase the scale of the texture. The tiled effect is particularly obvious in the thumbnail view.

--the buildings all sit a bit oddly on their blocks. I think they'd look better if rotated to face the street, or at least rotated to different angles from the buildings nearby. Photoshop has a brush setting called angle jitter. I don't know if GIMP also has that feature, but if it does, you might want to use it.

--it is hard to tell from the image that there is a slope or mountain. I'm guessing that the way the green becomes more pale at the top is meant to indicate height? Unfortunately your city layout is inconsistent with a mountain slope. Usually, streets would wind back and forth along the slope, to take advantage of the less steep gradient. Buildings on a steep slope are also likely to be smaller in their plan. That walled compound you have about 3/4 the way up the image would be fine on flat ground, but extremely impractical on a steep hill or mountain.

Hope that doesn't sound too harsh. Good luck with it.

01-21-2014, 06:34 PM
I like this map a lot. But.

For the most part, I was agreeing with THW, but.. I can see where you were trying for the slope, I think... and when I isolated that, I could see where those other issues came from...

Here's what I saw (and if I'm wrong, just ignore this whole post :) )
(Excuse the ugliness, I was going for clarity, not looks)


I marked out the cliffs/hills as well as I could see them through the texture (and I do agree, here, the texture, as is, is not right for this map). That told me how the ground was slanting. I tried to trace the main road (big red line) from the original city at the bottom, up to the top... and I hit a wall. You'd need stairs or a bridge/ramp/something to get up those cliffs if they are meant to be as marked. From the angle at which I *seem* to be viewing the slope, The road would (whichever method you use of reaching the top) seem to emerge at a different point. I started the new section of road there. Repeat at the top.

I can see how it would be easy to fix all that (again, if I'm right about your mountain) and even though each SHELF is larger than it would be (in comparison to the cliff faces) on a typical mountain, you could pull it off. But the angle, again, at which I see the slope, means that you would be viewing the walls from the same angle. I started trying to see where your walls would angle, and did fine up until I hit the cliff.

Now, if the city was originally at the base of the mountain, the wall would end at the cliff. Then, you say, it grew. The logical progression would be either to let the mountain itself be the rest of your wall, or to begin building a new wall on the shelf. If you have to angle it down the cliff, it would be really hard to draw (because the cliff face is so short).

And the perspective of the walls would mean you'd need to show the buildings the same way.

IF that's what you were going for with those darker areas I took to be the cliff faces.

The alternative I see is if you were going to try for a "rolling hills" effect:


The darker areas would still be very small compared to anything else...

Or they might be? a side effect of the texture.

I honestly find the texture to be the most distracting thing about the whole map, which is sad because I like your city layout. I think you have a great map here, but I think you could improve it a lot by getting rid of the "grass" texture, and expanding those cliff walls... or shading the ground by hand... something. :P

Anyway, that's my opinion, based on what I see. Then again, I see things differently than most people, so...

01-22-2014, 09:38 AM
All the suggestions are good. Most of this is still in the experiment phase (the texture's new, making the cliff faces was done in a way I didn't know would work, and the buildings haven't been cleaned up from random generation). I still haven't decided on a "satellite view" or drawn map style. I do indeed want cliffs, but not terribly high ones. (Say 5 meters).

01-22-2014, 10:14 AM
I'd agree with the other posters to a large extent. The
grass texture is extremely distracting because of the
repeating texture and because the ground wouldn't
really be green. Grass and trees, of course, but I'd
prefer those to be added-on details later. The base
doesn't allow for that much and, as I mentioned, draws
the onlookers attention away from the city layout.

I'd also like to know why the city expanded as it did.
Maybe there's a mining operation somewhere in the
mountains that contributes to the growth of the area
or needs to be protected. A town might start on a hill
because that would make it more defendable
(depending on the time this town was first established
I suppose).

Consider adding more small cliffs or signs of elevation
change. Maybe that could be shown via buildings or the
roadway. Where your current road goes over the cliff,
there should be stairs, a ramp, or something of the sort.

Maybe the city is also divided into districts. They often
featured a distinct area for trade, cramped residence, and
a nobel's court. A city of this size would need to have an
enormous amount of surrounding farms. I understand it's
the capital of the region, so I suppose that makes sense.
Important people would be in the capital so consider adding
a lot of government/wealthy buildings to the rich section of
the city.

Best of luck!

01-22-2014, 10:53 AM
I'm already dumping the grass texture at this point, I do have three shades of green still for elevation, but that's just for working. I'm also about to move a chunk of a wall.

The metropolis expanded up the cliffs as a lord became a king, and then as his descendant became an emperor. The ruling family is a little cracked so each built a bigger castle/palace as their domain expanded (hence the larger compounds on the higher shelves despite sanity to go the other direction).

I am developing the city and the map at the same time, so some its totally scatterbrained at the moment. I know I need a quarry for all the rock for the wall and palaces (not on the map yet, but in the sections walled off. I'm actually thinking now about having the quarry be the reason for the original settlement, so now I'm looking at how to shift things around to make it fit (thinking the middle elevation western, and moving a lot of the two lower sections east to make space.)

It's definitely a big enough city to have districts. I need to read a little more about where what would be in some situations. (Slums and such would definitely be on the bottom, as its the oldest part of the city, but would the newer construction have a slum? Which trades would move into the expansion and which would stay in oldtown, etc).

I also get to look at quarry maps now. I'm looking at a few satellite images on google maps, but has anyone seen a rock quarry go by here to point me at?

01-22-2014, 11:46 AM
Well... this is a modern quarry. I am assuming:

You'd have no giant trucks/machines in an earlier age, of course, and more small buildings, stables, and the piles would likely be smaller.

They might have some sort of cart system, which, without trucks would help move the rocks along, so you'd have some railroad-type tracks between/leading to the piles of rock.

?? I don't know ?? :P


01-22-2014, 01:27 PM
Workers would often use animals such as horses, bulls, and mules to move
large pieces of rock via cart and sleds. It's amazing civilizations such as the
egyptians were able to construct the pyramids.


01-22-2014, 04:08 PM
Those are helpful, but top-downs would really be handy. Thanks A Bunch!!!

01-22-2014, 05:03 PM
Try looking at satellite images of Machu Picchu, Peru. The terraces there were used for growing crops, but (if I remember correctly) they were also where the residents quarried stone.

01-23-2014, 12:04 PM
Well, new issue. I've just discovered that my scale for the map is all out of whack. For 95 sq mi of map @ 8in x 10in buildings are a little bigger than a pixel.

01-24-2014, 02:49 PM
Well, after some discussion with my Co GMs, and more digging. Looks like I'm going to be doing some reworking. Even doubling the maps size a 30ft wide wall is only 4 pixels wide on the map!!! My imperial palace was over 3 miles wide!
Nevermind, its amazing what a decimal can do to math :P

01-27-2014, 10:58 AM
Okay, here's an update:
Pattern removed: shades of green are place holders so I know which shelf i'm working on.
Scale adjusted: 6.5 square miles on 8x10 at 300 ppi means a lot of things are tiny.
Different building style: Since my buildings shrunk a lot, and I'm mostly experimenting at this point, I played with using the gimp mosaic filter tutorial. I'm going to have to clean up a lot of buildings if I do it this way.

About that quarry. I'm not sure where I'm going to put it yet.

01-27-2014, 11:48 AM
That's already looking a lot better... but the path leading up the cliff still looks strange...

I *definitely* like the houses better... it makes your city come alive :P And +1 on disposing of the texture :D

01-28-2014, 05:34 PM
Another update. The scale and name are not how they'll look once I'm done. Just on there so commenters know what I'm working with.

I'm not liking how the mosaic buildings give a wavy feel to the ground, but I'm probably going to scale up the size of the mosaic's next time. One half is larger on purpose, that's the oldest expansion.

The ugly thing on the side is the quarry. I'll keep working on it as time goes by.

01-28-2014, 05:47 PM
I like the wavy roads!! It looks way more natural... like it follows the land! :D