View Full Version : Tower & Bridge - an isometric map in the making

01-27-2014, 05:22 PM
Hey there cartographers, having largely wrapped up my last map, and because I want do more drawing, I have decided to focus my efforts on drawing the map of a tower connected to a bridge, or vice versa really, but whatever.

Anyways, having seen some of the one page dungeon challenges from past years, I decided I wanted to make this an isometric map!

I'll be using this thread to track my progress and ask any question I might have!

Here's the initial floor plan and the beginning of the wall being drawn:


Now, it isn't much right now, but it'll give you a good idea of what i'm aiming for even though I'll be deviating from the plan as I get to the top of the tower.

However, on to question(s):

Does anybody know a reliable way of drawing a spirally staircase? I'm using GIMP and I don't think I can get precise enough with my paths for it.

01-27-2014, 06:34 PM
Does anybody know a reliable way of drawing a spirally staircase? I'm using GIMP and I don't think I can get precise enough with my paths for it.

1. Google images search 'isometric spiral staircase'.
2. Pick one, for example http://gerryld.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/dsc_1649.jpg
3. Use it as inspiration; or if the map is just for personal non-commercial use then you can copy the image, import it into your map, resize it, then trace it.

01-27-2014, 09:38 PM
@Jack, thank you sir, that's an excellent reference (and although my maps are non-commercial, I don't like to copy or trace so a reference is all it'll remain unfortunately)

Anyways, here's tonight's progress, I got the majority of the bottom chamber done, aside from aforementioned staircase, which I'll probably draw separately and insert in before I finish the interior lighting for this room.


As I said, the interior lighting has yet to be finished, and the process of drawing those (admittedly rudimentary) boards was surprisingly painstaking. I shall add some more detail to the boards before the staircase and lighting go in however. I also began to set up (largely not in the picture as the layers were turned off) the boards and joists to support the second floor.

At this point I'm having some trouble discerning the true scale, I'll have to draw in a figure or two to sort it out. Other than that, I think it's all set. If anyone has any questions about peculiar features please ask them! Or if you have something to point out or critique do that too!

I hope you guys are/will enjoy this process!

EDIT: Is this better off in another forum section? I haven't noticed any similar projects on the building/structure subforum's frontpage.

01-28-2014, 06:48 PM
Alright, another update, of which I hope to get another out tonight!

Anyways, I wanted to start on the light of the first floor before it got too cluttered so I proceeded to do so before I finish putting in the beams and the lifts (let me explain that). Furthermore, I've decided that given the style of this drawing and the architectural limitations of this building the spiral staircase will actually be a lift!


the lift placeholders/outlines are just there to give you the general idea/size of them. Ideally they should look like they'll be able to transport both people and cargo.

Anyways, what do you guys think of the wall lighting? I know that it isn't the most meticulously consistent, but is it... believable?

EDIT: whoops, I forgot the brazier flame didn't I?

01-28-2014, 09:30 PM
Alright, this is the bulk of what got done tonight, I fully added lighting to the first floor, and some bare lighting to the beams 'cause those will get covered up next update by floor #2. This update pretty much finishes floor #1, I won't go back to it until I finish the rest of the drawing, then I'll be adding doors and some miscellaneous details.


Hopefully this can be utilized by someone playing a P&P, or at least that you'll all enjoy looking at it.

Since you guys have already seen my draw an entire room, I'll stop posting nightly's and just update whenever I finish a room from now on! I figure that'll be less dull.

As always, if you have any questions, advice, or critique please feel free to ask, give, or critique me.


01-30-2014, 03:00 PM


I'll just drop this here, this is as far as I'll get for a few weeks, because I think I want to try my hand at the current lite mapping challenge! Anyways, enjoy this in it's unfinished state. This doesn't mean it won't be finished, it just means not right now! In this hiatus, if anyone has something to say about this project, speak up!


01-30-2014, 04:22 PM
Oh I see what you're doing now :P

I wasn't sure what it was at first, but you're showing like a cut-away of the tower :D

(Takes me a while to get things, sorry!)

And yay challenges! :)

01-30-2014, 06:28 PM
Looking forward to see that spiral staircase scoopz.

01-30-2014, 07:01 PM
Well I changed out the main mode of transportation to lifts. But ya know what? I think I'll add a side tower for the spiral staircase!

01-30-2014, 11:35 PM
I'm not sure if the lightning effect is right but it look nice and the rest of the building is even better 8)

01-31-2014, 05:16 AM
I'm very interested in the spiral staircase in isometric. I'm currently investing a lot of time designing city maps in isometric using Inkscape and GIMP. I've seen a lot of "tutorials" that explains how to draw them, but most of them are side views, not isometric. I have tried a few methods in Inkscape, but I haven't been happy with the results yet.

01-31-2014, 02:49 PM
After I get my next challenge draft done, I'll provide my own linework on the isometric staircase. It's not hard, if anything the only limiting factor is how time consuming it is, especially if you're using GIMP. Although you can draw one section and copy & paste the rest. So stay tuned, my friend!

02-11-2014, 10:15 PM
Now that I've largely completed my Lite Challenge map I will be returning to work on this relatively soon. However, I've been thinking about it a lot lately, and there doesn't seem to be a lot of focus maps similar to this one. Even in the boardgame mapping subforum. I don't know if this is because people largely aren't interested in making this type of map or because of apprehension on how to approach it. If IT is the latter, would anyone be interested in a tutorial detailing what goes in to making a detailed isometric "dungeon" map? I offer, only because the inspiration for this particular map was drawn from similar maps which turned out to be some of my favorites (http://fantasy-maps.com/wp-content/gallery/dungeon-maps/1pdc2012_djekspek.jpg), and I'd definitely like to see more like them around!

Well if you are interested, the tutorial would include a section on "what are 'isometric maps'?", "The advantages of isometrics", "laying out an isometric grid", and then a bunch of smaller parts detailing what goes into making the textures for grid spaces and lighting stuff.

... But maybe i'm overstepping myself here, idk, I thought it might be a good way to get back in to this map and provide some helpful tools to people, what do you guys think?

02-11-2014, 11:44 PM
I would like to see a tutorial. ^.^

02-14-2014, 03:01 PM
Alright, after some intense thought I've decided to start over on this piece. Frankly, there's simply too much uninteresting space and I don't have patience to colour it all in.

Expect a revised draft sometime today.

... and if anyone has a burning need to see this done, feel free to finish it!

02-14-2014, 03:24 PM
:O what, I like it though :(

02-14-2014, 03:29 PM
It's not the quality that bothers me, although it could use some touching up. (those bricks are tedious as #^$@ and I get sloppy on them) It's that the picture itself is very empty. So i'm going to draw another draft and see if I can make it more interesting.

02-15-2014, 01:19 PM

Alright, the new layout is <ALMOST> complete, I still gotta add more detail, but I think this will get the point across.

I also think the new design is a little better composition-ally than what I had before.

EDIT: there will also be a considerable amount of rubble not shown in this picture.

02-15-2014, 01:53 PM
I love this piece, reminds me of when they still taught drafting in school.

02-15-2014, 02:09 PM
There was never a drafting class at my Highschool as it's really a college prep school. HOWEVER, it used to be a little more tech oriented and luckily I got to take a couple of classes that provided me with ample drafting experience (actual drafting, not CADD (which I also have experience with)).

03-15-2014, 05:29 PM
That new design looks really cool! Looking forward to seeing your progress on this.
Also, in case you would still be willing to write that tutorial, I am very much interested in reading it! :) Even more so after seeing your challenge entry.

03-16-2014, 01:29 PM
Well thanks! I've been overloaded with work the last 2 weeks or so! This is the first time back on the guild in a week now I think. I'll try and get some work done on this for next weekend!

Thanks again for the interest.

07-10-2014, 02:25 PM
This is cool. I really like the isometric view. Makes the map feel more real and allows you to get a cool perspective on the area.