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Micah Doulos
02-24-2014, 04:01 PM
Hello All,

I'm new here to the forum (I said Hi in the new members area).

My goal here is to create a board game set during the religious civil wars of 16th and 17th century Europe. My problem? I can't find good maps of Europe! I've tried to make my own but failed. So I joined here looking for help. Both from artistic talent and reference. My goal is to either find a good map of Europe for the game, or create one. Will you join me?

The map should (this is not a commission):

- Have a historic feel to it.
- Not contain modern political borders.
-- It should either be devoid of borders which I can fill in later.
-- or it can contain borders from the 16th or 17th century.
- Not contain text or graphics that can't be easily removed or altered.

- I'm really digging the artistic styles being used on overland maps here. What I'd really like to see is the same style applied to the European continent as far as geography is concerned.
- Clearly defined mountains.
- Clearly defined major lakes.
- Clearly defined major rivers.
- Other clearly defined geographic landmarks possibly relevant to Europe.
- A parchment looking border, like the outside edge of the map looks like it's made of medieval paper.
- The inside area of the map can have more color.
- However not so much color as to serve as a distraction to city, road, political borders, and textual graphics to be added later, and player controlled pieces.

So this is kind of an outline to exactly what I'm looking for. Does anyone know of already existing maps that fit this description for the most part? What's the best way to go about obtaining this map in your opinion? If I have to create the map, how should I go about getting started?

Thanks so much!
Micah

Micah Doulos
02-24-2014, 06:51 PM
61761

Here's a draft of the board I made before. The color has been damaged by the light and there is a lot of smearing. As you can easily tell, this is nowhere near a professional level. The coastlines were not traced, they were all drawn freehand by simply referencing a map of Europe, hence the coastal errors.

Raptori
02-24-2014, 07:24 PM
Sounds like an interesting project, will be nice to see how you get on :)

If you can use .svg files (needs a vector editor), then Wikimedia has a ton of European maps you can edit. Here's the category (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:SVG_maps_of_Europe), and here's one particular map (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Europa-no.svg) that looks like it'd be a good start. Obviously you'd have to alter the style, borders, etc, but in terms of having something to work with I think it's a good option.

Micah Doulos
02-24-2014, 07:40 PM
Thanks Raptori. That's a good map. Might be a bit small though. I've never edited .svg files before. I only just yesterday learned what vector graphics were. lol. Is GIMP a vector editor? I'll need to figure out how to paint over existing graphics and replace them with a new style. All new to me! The major part is the coastlines. I'm always afraid if I'm using a paint brush or something, that I'll accidentally destroy a coastline. lol

Raptori
02-24-2014, 07:55 PM
No problem! The size doesn't matter because it's a vector, you can make it as big as you want and it'll stay crisp and clear :)

I've never used GIMP, but assuming it handles them similarly to Photoshop then it should be able to open them and resize them properly, just not edit them very well. For that you'd need a vector graphics program like Illustrator - I've heard good things about Inkscape (http://inkscape.org/en/) in the past.

At least it's fun though! I'd probably just use that existing image as a reference, so that if you change anything you can always compare to the original to see if it still matches reality :)

Llannagh
02-24-2014, 08:01 PM
Hi and welcome to the forum!

I like your project, the setting definitely makes for an interesting one.

I think with the map you were on a good path with the one you posted. The projection seems good for a board game. The one off wikimedia is a straight top down view, and although it shows all of Europe, I don't think the parts east of what now is Germany are needed for the game. As far as I remember, most of the wars happened in western Europe. Not entirely sure though...

Anyway, my point is, if you want enough space on the board for markers and such, you'd need a proper projection, since most of Europe is relatively small.

I also wouldn't worry about the coastlines too much, realism probably wouldjust get in the way of praticalitiy. If you look at the boards of Ticket To Ride, for example, they are nowhere near accurate.

GIMP s not a vector editor, it's pixel based. Illustrator or Inkscape (which to my knowledge is freeware) are vector based programs.

I don't think I could help you with the actual drawing, since I am still learning and have limited time, but if I can help with anything else, I'd be happy to do so! Looking forward to seeing how this'll turn out!

Llannagh
02-24-2014, 08:06 PM
Oops, I just realized I was thinking about te wrong time period! I thought you meant the hundred year's war, but that was a couple hundred years earlier... ahem.

Micah Doulos
02-24-2014, 09:48 PM
You're still spot on about the battles being mostly fought from Germany westward. East of Germany Lutheranism took root fairly safely without causing too much political turmoil (from what I've read). I think the finished project will not include northern Africa or the Iberian and Italian peninsulas, but will focus on central Europe and Britain. What is this you mean by projection?

Maraxus_
02-25-2014, 01:41 AM
The orthodox Russians and Muslim Ottomans make a natural eastern border for a game that focuses on the Catholic/Protestant struggles.
I would, however, include Poland and Lithuania, just because they successfully averted most of the trouble in the real history does not mean, they would do this in any alternate version and that's what the game is about, isn't it?

However, I would expand the map northwards, at least all of Denmark should be in there.

Azelor
02-25-2014, 02:09 AM
Is it just about the civil conflict? I'm asking because if you include wars between countries you would have to add country like Russia and Sweden for the Thirty years war.

Raptori
02-25-2014, 06:01 AM
You're still spot on about the battles being mostly fought from Germany westward. East of Germany Lutheranism took root fairly safely without causing too much political turmoil (from what I've read). I think the finished project will not include northern Africa or the Iberian and Italian peninsulas, but will focus on central Europe and Britain. What is this you mean by projection?

I know literally *nothing* about this time period so I'll let these other knowledgeable people talk about that :D

"Projection" means: "the representation on a plane surface of part of the surface of the earth or a celestial sphere", i.e. how you distort and adjust the surface of the planet in order to transpose the three dimensions onto a two-dimensional map. In this case, it's also a matter of deciding which areas should be on the map, and which should be cropped off, which as the others have said is probably best decided based on which areas were involved in the conflict :)

Micah Doulos
02-25-2014, 10:16 AM
So here's a map I meticulously made using google maps. This shows the more updated areas I wish to include into the game.

61772

Maraxus, as you can see. I've included all of Denmark and a part of Poland. Thoughts?

Azelor, thanks for the historical reference. I had to look up the thirty years war. It does fit somewhat into the game. But the amount of content which will be squeezed on to the board (especially the number of towns) would make it less practical to make the map extend that far north. Expanding would reduce my ability to really zoom in on the key areas of France and Germany.

Thanks Raptori, I'll have to look into how to mess with the projection of maps I possess and see if it would work. I'm not sure how to cause a new projection other than top down, but I'll look into it. Any suggestions?

To compare:
61773
Is it possible to make a "spoiler" in this forum so I can hide this map until clicked on?

Micah Doulos
02-25-2014, 10:22 AM
Is it possible to edit this google's map by changing all the colors to a brownish scheme to reflect a more historical flavor?

Raptori
02-25-2014, 10:26 AM
No problem! Someone on here mentioned a program called G.Projector, which I've downloaded and found to be really good and dead simple to use - but that seems to be more for taking an entire world map and then projecting it onto a globe for example, rather than regional maps like this. I'd be inclined to just adjust the shape of the layer in Photoshop for this kind of map, but there might be other programs made to do that much better too.

Edit: if you mean just change the colours of an image, I'd use Photoshop or GIMP. I think Google now do allow you to customise the colours for their maps, but not on satellite view since that's just a bunch of images.

Micah Doulos
02-25-2014, 12:16 PM
I've got no skill when it comes to photoshop, so I'll mess around a bit with G Projector.

I'm also going to mess around with the color manipulation in GIMP. I'll see what I can come up with! Thanks Raptori. :)

Azelor
02-25-2014, 01:31 PM
I think Lambert Conformal Conic would be a good projection of Europe but others could be great too.

Micah Doulos
02-25-2014, 03:08 PM
Hi Azelor, I downloaded the G.Projector and set the map to Lambert Conformal Conic. My map disappeared (it was already tiny beforehand. Do you have any experience with G.Projector?

Raptori
02-25-2014, 03:18 PM
When you loaded the image, it asks for the image boundaries; what numbers did you choose?

Micah Doulos
02-25-2014, 03:46 PM
I chose the actual degrees of Europe by looking at a European map. The map was on the screen, but was small because it was a part of an invisible globe. So it plotted Europe where it would be on a globe, but wouldn't let me work on just that location.

Raptori
02-25-2014, 03:57 PM
Okay cool. Try the same settings, using Lambert Conformal Conic, and fill in the following numbers where it says "Centered on Lon...": 15, 50, 60, 30, 20. That should roughly center the projection on the area of Europe you're looking for, just adjust those numbers to move the map around. :)

Micah Doulos
02-25-2014, 04:18 PM
Okay cool. Try the same settings, using Lambert Conformal Conic, and fill in the following numbers where it says "Centered on Lon...": 15, 50, 60, 30, 20. That should roughly center the projection on the area of Europe you're looking for, just adjust those numbers to move the map around. :)

Hey... that worked! Thanks! I'm gonna try a bunch of combinations with this program now.

Raptori
02-25-2014, 04:20 PM
Awesome, glad to help! :)

Micah Doulos
02-25-2014, 06:53 PM
61793

I worked with that projection and I'm liking the feel to it!

I think the board games title and related text will fit neatly into the top left corner.

Micah Doulos
02-25-2014, 06:58 PM
Before Projection:

61794

Micah Doulos
03-01-2014, 06:13 PM
Hi guys. So I was looking at a tutorial on how to make custom brushes in order to quickly add terrain to the European map. I ran into a problem with using Gimp. I followed a long with the tutorial and made the simple mountains (12 of them) and it worked perfectly. I decided to make more detailed brushes and it doesn't seem to work so well.

Here's me working on mountains:
61928

Here's me working on trees:
61931

I'm doing it exactly how the tutorial says to do so, except concerning canvas and image size. However I encountered some problems...

I'm saving it like I thought I should be. The brush worked fine at only 3 layers. When I saved at 5 it only produces the top layer even though it is set at random.
61930

See?
61932

And the mountains, also set at random 5, only produces 3 of the 5 mountains.
61929

I was super excited about this project, but if I can't get this figured out, I'll lose steam. :( Please help guys!

Azelor
03-01-2014, 07:20 PM
What tutorial are you using ?
Your problem could be solved by adding each tree individually to avoid the overlap.

Micah Doulos
03-01-2014, 08:34 PM
Adding each tree individually? Like an individual brush for each tree? What do you mean, overlap?

I recently bumped the thread in the Tutorial subsection of the forum. It's called: [Award Winner] Fast and Easy Artistic Maps in the GIMP

Micah Doulos
03-05-2014, 03:49 PM
Hi Azelor, the problem is resolved. The Number of Cells box must also reflect the number of layers. So both the Number of Cells and the Number of Ranks should be the same number as the layers in the file.

Micah Doulos
03-07-2014, 03:26 PM
62112

Here's my outline and borders. I don't really care for the textures, so those might change. :/

Micah Doulos
03-07-2014, 03:56 PM
62119

I was going to use these very detailed mountains, but I don't think they fit well at all with this map style. Or any map style for that matter lol. Bummer, I worked so hard on making tons of detailed mountains.

Azelor
03-07-2014, 04:13 PM
I think your mountains feels cartoonish but it might not be a problem if you plan to change the texture anyway.

they could suit a style like this http://www.cartographersguild.com/finished-maps/26077-mist-continent.html

Micah Doulos
03-07-2014, 10:34 PM
Thanks for the reply Azelor. I'm gonna try out some different styles and see if I can find something that works.