View Full Version : [Award Winner] Creation and Depiction of Fantasy Cities - Parts I & II

08-30-2008, 10:01 AM
I am putting together a guide on the creation and depiction of fantasy cities. Rather than publishing it here only after I've finished all of it (the liklihood is that it would end up in development hell and never see the light of day), I'm publishing it in parts.

Attached below is part I. C&Cs gratefully accepted and may be incorporated into the second editon when I finish Part II.

Edit: Second Revision completed.
It's a 8.9 mb download in .pdf form.

CLICK HERE to read the tutorial online (http://issuu.com/ravells/docs/fantasy_cities?mode=embed&layout=http%3A%2F%2Fskin.issuu.com%2Fv%2Flight%2Fl ayout.xml&showFlipBtn=true)
Click the cover below to download the file.


http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c217/ravells/cover.jpg (http://www.cartographersguild.com/hosted/CG%20Guide%20on%20Fantasy%20Cities%202nd%20Ed%20-%20R%20Shankar.pdf)

08-30-2008, 11:34 AM
Are you interested in proofreading feedback? 'Cause I've found a couple of errors already. First paragraph on page two: "In this guide I is an explanation..."

Third paragraph, same page: "you would not expect to see Bedouin tents in Arctic tundra any less than you would igloos in the desert"

That should read either "you would expect to see Bedouin tends in the Arctic tents even less than..." or "you would not expect to see Bedouin tents in Arctic tundra any more than..." The way it's phrased now makes it sound as though you should expect igloos in the desert.

No errors on page three (har har). If you'd prefer to keep your momentum going on new work, perhaps passing the document off to someone else to edit would be a good idea. Writing is fun, but revision is work, as they say. I'd volunteer my services, but I don't have software capable of editing pdf at the moment. I'm more than happy to keep proofreading, though, if it's helpful.

08-30-2008, 12:00 PM
It's very helpful, thanks Mid! Keep going and post the revisions here and I'll amend accordingly.

08-30-2008, 01:07 PM
My guess is that your introductory essay was the last thing you wrote, and you were eager to get it done, yes? I didn't find any glaring errors in the rest of the document, although the double 'l' in tranquillity threw me. I hadn't realized it could be spelled that way until I looked it up.

Very fine work, ravs! Five stars from me!

08-30-2008, 01:12 PM
Thanks! Actually I wrote the introduction first, but I have a habit of going over and re-editing again and again and after awhile I get typo blind.

08-30-2008, 02:57 PM
I'll give a read momentarily. OFF TO THE POOL with the family.

08-31-2008, 06:13 AM
Absolutely brilliant, thanks for sharing it!

08-31-2008, 06:13 AM
Wow this is a gold mine of useful information. Can't wait to read the next part!

08-31-2008, 04:07 PM
Woah. I'm going to give this a good read later on, but this looks very detailed and interesting :)

08-31-2008, 06:49 PM
An excellent addition to this article is a book I bought yesterday.

Writer's Completer Fantasy Reference (http://www.amazon.com/Writers-Complete-Fantasy-Reference/dp/1582970262/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1220222885&sr=8-1)

This book is just chock full of useful info, and yes some of it is very useful even for mapping ;)

08-31-2008, 07:03 PM
Yum, I'm going to have to get this! Thanks for all the kind comments, everyone!

I've corrected those annoying spelling errors / incorrect usages that Midguard kindly pointed out and optimised the file size to 2.8 mb.

09-02-2008, 06:51 AM
you get a five star ratinging from me rav! You have been repped as well!! I eagerly await the rest :D

09-02-2008, 07:07 AM
Wow. I'd love to Rep, but it won't allow me. So, I'll just have to settle for rating the thread. Five stars from me as well. This is easily in the same quality leagues as the city design supplements around for purchase. Can't wait for part II.

Steel General
09-02-2008, 09:09 AM
Haven't read it closely, only skimmed it so far. But very nice work.

So nice that I had to beat upon your skull with a reputation stick.

09-02-2008, 10:17 AM
I've read it, and it was a good read.

The only thing I'd say would to shorten some sentences. It is quite readable already, but some sentences could be better split into two or three sentences.

I don't really have much to say about the content right now :)

05-02-2009, 03:33 PM
It's been months since anyone posted here, it seems. I declare: this is AWESOME and I can't wait for part II. This is an absolutely brilliant work. I have to ask if you've ever read Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities - I think you'd find it interesting if you haven't.

05-02-2009, 07:08 PM
Thanks Novarri! Part II is on my todo list, but I'm still in the process of working out what to put in Part II. I haven't read Invisible cities but I'm always on the lookout for books on urban design and planning, the subject fascinates me, so I'll definitely look it up. Thanks for the pointer!

05-12-2009, 03:26 PM
Novarri isn't the only one waiting for the next piece of brilliance... :D

05-12-2009, 03:41 PM
Don't guilt me into getting on with part II which I know is way overdue...too late, I'd better think about making a start on it, hadn't I?

05-12-2009, 03:54 PM
Perfect time for a bump - I'm city mapping at the moment. Looks great Ravs. Thanks for the good read. The art is well placed and breaks up the text nicely. Good job.

05-14-2009, 08:45 PM
This has been incredibly useful. Thanks.

05-17-2009, 07:22 AM
Very well done, hope Part II comes soon. ;)

05-17-2009, 04:18 PM
Making a start on the second edition with the second chapter on this now. Only 3 more pages added, but I've beautified it somewhat (had to lose a lot of the beautification when the file size came in at 107 Mb though.

Anyway more to come soon, but I wanted to put up the new cover more than anything as more people are reading this and the old cover was pretty plain. You'll have to download it from Mediafire as the Guild limit on file size is not enough.

(http://www.mediafire.com/?sharekey=0bd5ec34ac8b9a9cab1eab3e9fa335ca75baac93 ff305efd)Link Here (http://www.mediafire.com/?sharekey=0bd5ec34ac8b9a9cab1eab3e9fa335ca75baac93 ff305efd)

05-18-2009, 09:53 AM
Wow. This is REALLY cool. I know you're still working on this, but wanted to let you know that on page 12, you have some text being partially obscured by a pic.

I can't wait for the finished version ... this is going in my hardcopy reference book for sure once it's done.

05-18-2009, 11:10 AM
Thanks gidde. Ill amend and repost it. Keep your eyes peeled for typos!

05-18-2009, 11:52 AM
Ooo, more great stuff! ::rubbing hands together happily:: I'm so excited to see you working on this. You go into some good details involving the underlying structure of a city. Very helpful.

Typos! Alas, there's one on your very lovely cover. You've swapped the places of the G and the T in "Cartographers'." Oops. (Or does this mean we're now some kind of fancy cargo movers? :D )

Page 17: I'm not sure what to make of this sentence:

Cities are rarely composed of a uniform set of buildings each of about the same size, shape surrounding public space, colour and decoration.

The whole first paragraph on that page could use some serious attention. :-/ The other errors I saw were minor. If you'd like, I'd be happy to proof all your text...

05-18-2009, 01:22 PM
Yeah, good stuff Ravells. I am pleased to see you found some use for the city of Sirilion (the last page mentions you used Sirilion as a background image, but where? I did see figure 23).

More importantly, where can I download the Cartographers Guild logo!? I noticed you using it on the first page. I looked around on the forum, but couldn't find the image you are using.

05-18-2009, 03:16 PM
StillCypher: Thanks! I shall make those amendments post haste! If you could proof read the rest you can get a free copy of the book :) . Seriously, any proof reading would be very gratefully accepted and paid in rep!

Gandwarf: Sorry I had Sirilion as a background image but it made the file size too big (107 mb) so I had to get rid of it. I'll need to remove that acknowledgment from the bibliography.

I'm not sure how protective Arcana is about the CG Compass Rose, let me ask him first and if he's OK with it, I'll ask him to put the .png in the miscellaneous drop down list at the top with all the other CG images.

Sorry there was so little to add this time round in terms of new material, but now I've got the look and feel basically how I want it - rats I still want that background image....maybe for the final version, I can get on with content rather than formatting.



05-18-2009, 03:31 PM
ahem: I rock it old school - http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=370

Wow...look at that topic number...370...thats WAY back in the day.

I'll see what I can do about getting it in the misc section.

05-18-2009, 03:33 PM
Yeah, I found the CC3 symbols. That's not the version Ravells seems to be using in his PDF though?
EDIT: ok, I downloaded the file and I guess it is the version Ravells is using :D

So can I use this compass in my maps?

05-18-2009, 04:10 PM
StillCypher: Thanks! I shall make those amendments post haste! If you could proof read the rest you can get a free copy of the book :) . Seriously, any proof reading would be very gratefully accepted and paid in rep!

How would you like it to arrive? Email? Private Message? Smoke signals? (I'll have to look into the latter, I'm probably a little rusty...)


05-18-2009, 04:22 PM
Email is great: ravifelicity [at] yahoo.co.uk


(Probably a bit far for the smoke signals :))

I've put in the edits so far given and substituted the file.

05-18-2009, 04:35 PM
ahem: I rock it old school - http://www.cartographersguild.com/...read.php?t=370 (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=370)

Wow...look at that topic number...370...thats WAY back in the day.

I'll see what I can do about getting it in the misc section.

I had so forgotten that thread!!!

05-18-2009, 05:58 PM
That thread must be from the days when it was just Robbie and me and a few members. Back when I could actually keep up with every post. :lol:

05-18-2009, 06:32 PM
Heh...I've just noticed that I joined the guild 2 months after you.

05-18-2009, 06:45 PM
So what took you so long to get posting? ;) :lol:

05-19-2009, 07:29 PM
Ravs, your edited version should be in your email box! And now that I've sent it, I remember that I was going to make a comment (I mean another comment!):

It may just be the PDF reader I am using (Mac's Preview and Adobe Acrobat Pro), but some of the reference pictures are either blurry or pixelated, making it a little tricky to SEE what you are talking about. If I'm the only one having that problem, then I'll just go sulk in the corner. If I'm not, you might want to look into increasing the quality (yes, and making the file bulky).

You have done such a very good job with this tutorial. I am so impressed!

05-20-2009, 09:03 AM
Cheers Still C!

I'll take a look this evening.



08-21-2009, 08:50 AM
Did ya take this pdf off the shelves? I can't seem to find it at mediafire any longer. It just says '0 files found'. (Sorry if I missed a note about it or something)

08-21-2009, 08:52 AM
That's interesting, I was trying to upload something to mediafire and although it uploaded the person trying to download had the same problem....I thought it was me but it might be a problem with Mediafire....thanks Alfar, let me come back to you.

08-21-2009, 08:53 AM
Ah, I think I changed all the folders to private which was what caused it. Could you try now please?



08-22-2009, 06:30 AM
I just tried downloading, it'll show me the file, but I get file not found when I attempt the actual download (that was.. 2 mins ago?)

Correction, I have it now. I clicked the link for the file, it took me to a "if it does not download immediately, click here" and them immediately reloaded to "The page cannot be found. The page you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable. "

I tried several times, same thing each time.

then I thought like a smart monkey and hit the back button, and the page stayed on the download page itself, and then offered me the file.


But ultimately, got me what I wanted :)

08-22-2009, 06:39 AM
How weird. I think there may be something strange going on with the site. When I tried it worked first time. I'll try again.

Thanks a million for testing it Coyote



08-22-2009, 07:09 AM
It's always possible the issue is on my end as well, we'll find out when other people test it I suppose :)

I just finished reading this too, it's great info. Very relevant to the Cruzamento map, and it appears I was in the process of re-inventing the wheel yet again - I'd already taken into account a fair amount of what you had in this guide. That having been said, I'm definitely going to incorporate some of your processes if/when i do another city (unless I keep expanding Cruzamento, heh.. another 2 or 3 revisions, it'll be a full out city.. 5 and it'll be a capitol!!)

10-26-2009, 12:23 PM
FYI, I just downloaded this from the link in the first post, and it worked swimmingly.

10-29-2009, 08:43 AM
Ditto Gidde's post - just downloaded it from the first link without any issues. Great document, extremely useful and informative!

05-03-2010, 06:57 PM
Bump because this is simply an awesome directional marker placed on the map showing the way towards shining greatness (in mapmaking :P)

05-06-2010, 09:39 AM
Just an update that this file is now being hosted here at the Guild rather than MediaFire.

Hopefully this will alleviate some of the issues, as it is a great resource everyone should have!

Thanks again, Ravs!

-Rob A>

12-17-2010, 05:26 PM
I downloaded it with no problem and saved it. I need to read it!! It looks awesome so far! I have soooo many cities! Arg!

12-18-2010, 09:27 AM
Thanks Chehime, I'm in the process of writing the next update to it, but unfortunately I've lost all the root files which were on my old computer, so I'm having to reconstruct it from the .pdf which is taking some time since I'm reformatting it completely.



02-18-2011, 08:21 AM
Awesome! Thanks so much for sharing! :)

03-15-2011, 09:54 PM
This is very helpful and has given me a lot of food for thought. Thank you! :)

03-16-2011, 09:39 AM
Hello, All.

I've linked ravells wonderful article in the Tutorials in PDF Format (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?4987-Tutorials-in-PDF-Format) thread in the Tutorials/How-To forum.

It can be found on Page 1, in the "Informational Articles and Manuals" section in Post 2.




04-19-2011, 03:02 AM
Just downloaded, looks very good. I can't wait to dig into it and see what I can use.

11-13-2011, 05:07 PM
although I usually try to avoid "necroposting" I have to say that this is brilliant! Awesome work you have done here. It shows me that the culture of sharing and caring is still on the net! Thanks for creating this and making it available.

11-15-2011, 04:45 PM
I thought I was quite well versed in city planning and some of the patterns that underpin it, I'll have to think again! Thanks for sharing, it's an interesting read with plenty of information and even links to further reading! Wow!

11-15-2011, 06:21 PM
Glad you are finding it a good read! I'm redoing it and adding to it, but I keep getting sidetracked!

11-16-2011, 01:32 PM
Well would you mind retaining your focus please, folks are a-waitin', an' none too patiently either I might add!

(I'm sure your mojo would rise if you get more of this completed ;) )

11-16-2011, 04:51 PM
lol..... right on it!

02-14-2012, 07:07 AM
Just a short "Thank you" for this really detailed explanation. :)

07-02-2012, 05:54 PM
Thanks for this! its helped me tremendously with my city planning!

12-24-2015, 11:13 AM
Informative and useful resource. Good call on making it in parts though, we might not have seen any of this :)