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wdmartin
02-18-2014, 08:33 PM
I'm working (slowly) on a map based on the Osireion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osireion), a temple associated with the funerary complex of Seti I. It's not going to be an exact replica -- I'm basically just using roughly the same floor plan.

So far, I've got the basic floor shapes worked out. The Wikimedia foundation had a public domain floor plan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Plano_Osireion.jpg) for the original temple. I loaded that up in Inkscape and traced it, yielding something like this:

61543

This was all manual tracing, on a layer above the original. That was a good start, but of course it's teeny, and rather irregular. This is going to be a battlemap for use with a VTT, so it needs to be very regular to accommodate the grid-based motion system. So I copied it to a new SVG file, turned on two grids (100px lines and 10px dots) and set about regularizing it. Here's the result:

61544

I'm envisioning this as having a ring of chambers around a central pool of water, with a stairs down to a walkway across the middle. The side chambers got expanded somewhat. I'll use this as a mask in Photoshop later to define the basic floor/wall divisions.

One problem has to do with the grid. The basic shape is now regular, but there are a couple of places where it fits awkwardly on a 100px = 1 square grid. Here's a version with a 100px grid superimposed:

61545

(The grid is not visible in the thumb, you'll have to click it to see.)

The edges of the side chambers are only half a square each. And the stairs at either end of the causway straddle the border between two grids. I'm tempted to just turn the grid down to 50px = 1 square, which would solve both of those problems at once:

61546

(Again, grid is not visible in the thumb, you'll have to click it to see.)

The 50px solution gets all the side rooms neatly aligned with the grid, and same for the stairs. It also makes the place absolutely MASSIVE in size -- 200 feet by 360 feet in game terms. That's huge. The visual detail of the map would likely suffer when zoomed in to the scale players usually need it at.

So I'm torn on that point, and it kind of needs to get decided before I proceed, since the scale will affect how I build the rest of the map.

SVG files:

61541 (initial tracing)

61542 (sized up and regularized to a grid)

wdmartin
02-19-2014, 02:29 AM
Mmm kay, here's the latest WIP:

61547

This is an attempt assuming a 100px grid. I've moved the stair railings further towards the edges of the causeway to make it work sensibly as a 10-foot-wide staircase rather than a 5-foot-wide staircase chopped in two by the grid. All the side chambers have half-squares around their borders, but oh well. Maybe those can be filled with props or something.

I used the Cunning Cartographer's water trick, and it's working reasonably well here.

As usual, the big problem is depth. I'm not satisfied with the sense of depth. The water looks like its simultaneously level with the upper floor and the lower floor, which is of course impossible.[1] Likewise, the pillars in the pool should feel like they extend upwards, but at the moment they look more like big stone lilypads, level with the water.

It's also ... really, really rectilinear. That comes from the design of the actual real-world temple, of course, but I do get tired of 100% straight surfaces. Maybe I could swap in some round columns or something.

Meh! Gotta let it simmer a bit.

[1] Barring magic or a really oddly shaped aquarium.

seredemia
02-19-2014, 06:29 AM
Liking the look of this so far. Loving that water, that water trick really paid off! As for the depth problem, hmmm. Have you tried adding some bevels? Those may help, although I'm not sure if bevels is something you wanted to add to the map. I don't see a problem with it being too rectilinear, to be honest, but I suppose adding some round columns would help as well.

Xeonicus
02-19-2014, 10:42 AM
Maybe some things to attempt with the water (I don't know to what degree each of these will work). Overlay a high opacity layer on the water using a filter--something subtle to distinguish some type of surface while still allowing the marble floor beneath to show. I'm not sure about the shadows around the pillars in water. It looks like maybe the shadows are resting on the "water" surface. Perhaps a more rippled, dark tinted shadow might work? I'm not sure? Maybe some type of surface reflection on the water.

Jalyha
02-19-2014, 11:08 AM
Okay, well I think a large part of your depth issue is your stair railing(s).

I know... (well I think I know) it's a railing around the pools partially obscured by the second floor, and then another railing, around the second floor area, BUT it looks like it's all on one level.

A large part of that could probably be fixed by extending your (second) floor out slightly beyond the railing. Thus:

61565

The issue with the shadows/floating objects seemed to me to be obvious - the shadows are all the way around the objects, not directional.

And then I thought "Well if the light is directly overhead...."

And I literally thought about it overnight.

The problem is twofold.

First, unless the light source is reallllllly close to the object, a shadow will be *UNDER* the object.... the way your shadow shrinks closer to your body nearer to noon, or a tree's shadow disappears from the ground around it.

That's all well and good for a real life temple, or maybe even a detailed painting, but it doesn't give the illusion of depth you need for a map.

And then I thought, unless it's A) an outdoor temple, or B) lit up like a modern day business... the light won't be directly over *everything*

Your stairs are a good example.... if the light is directly overhead, the northern stairs' shadows go to the north, and the southern stairs' shadows go to the south.

Objects to the southwest would have southwestern shadows, west objects westward shadows, etc... basically, the center of your map is full of light, and everything further away from that is progressively darker.

Second: Your 2nd floor would cast a shadow on the first floor, though probably not a large one.. idunno if i explained that very welll.... :)

02-21-2014, 07:27 PM
Shadows the only way I've found to portray depth. A simple ripple effect on the stone under the water and some shadows there too will help remove that sense of floating. I really like that its based on the actual temple, wonderful idea.

Edit: cunning's advice here should help
http://www.cartographersguild.com/dungeon-subterranean-mapping/26101-experimental-cavern.html

Jacktannery
02-22-2014, 05:50 AM
Great temple map Wd Martin.

I agree with the other comments that a sense of depth will come through shadows. I think to make a large rectangular temple like this look good you need to really focus on the shadows and lighting. I recently put together a quick map of a similar-sized rectangular temple-thing (http://www.cartographersguild.com/virtual-tabletop-battlemap-mapping/25969-quick-battlemap-game-shrine-undeath-floor-1-a.html) and you'll notice it feels like it has a bit more depth. Compare the wall shadows: mine are a LOT heavier and extend further into the map. I also have a lot more contrast. Here's another example: http://www.cartographersguild.com/attachments/finished-maps/55329d1371158796-some-new-d-d-battlemaps-aonf-orcus-a2-sarthel-library.jpg, again a very square simple plan using similar colours to yours. Here my wall shadows are a lot lighter, but I have very dark shadows elsewhere.

What I'm suggesting is that the way to break up your large homogenous space and give depth to it, is contrast. Contrast=shadows sometimes: if your shadows just involve a little bit of black 'mascara' around the walls, that won't give a lot of contrast. For contrast you really need big parts of the map to be dark, and other bits very light. For this reason I would recommend the following:
1) make the shadows around your walls much darker and bigger, so they match the shadows of the steps.
2) darken the wall colour, perhaps in an uneven manner. You need it to contrast with the floor.
3) lighten the water colour heavily, and make sure to darken the edge of the water. You want the water to be very heavily contrasted from light (in the middle) to dark (at the edges), a bit like these pools of blood: http://www.cartographersguild.com/attachments/finished-maps/50236d1353885274-assault-nightwyrm-fortress-encounter-maps-heart-shadow.jpg.

Sorry to keep linking to my stuff but its only because I have been exploring ways of resolving exactly the same issue that you raise here. Hope that helps.

wdmartin
02-25-2014, 01:57 AM

Yes, shadows are what I need for depth. I have a few other ideas as well, but those are the really crucial things. The version posted above only has a very minimal omnidirectional shadow; it's basically just there to add some visual contrast between the walls and the floor. I fully intend replacing it.

Aaand here's the latest WIP.

61767

Changes:

- added walls (with shadows) to the perimeter of the pool. Not entirely happy with the result, as the stairs lack anything similar for their sides.

- Removed the inner glow and outer shadow on the walls.

- Put a bevel with a custom contour on the walls.

- Made the whole map dark and added some light. The yellow dots are references for light sources, which will eventually be replaced with some suitable light-emitting props.