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View Full Version : We want a map!



Ronbo
12-19-2008, 11:05 PM
We want a map! Does anyone else here get sick of that request?

I'm feeling the urge to reflect and gripe a little here.

I'm guessing the majority of people here are story tellers of one type or another. Okay, I'm just a GM. That's sort of like being an author with only a handful of readers.

So I'm telling a story and describing a location. The players respond with, "We want a map!" Okay, fine. I've given them 7 maps so far for this adventure. I'll probably have to come up with a rough map of a rural setting, but that's not a problem.

I've got a final (I hope) location that is in an underground, urban and industrial setting. I was hoping I could catch a break and just find something on the Internet to borrow. So far the pickings look pretty slim.

I'm sure a bunch of us here have played computer games like Halo or Oblivion and thought how great looking some of the settings are. I've been trying to look for maps of these locations online. Of the ones that I've found so far, my reaction has been, "These stink."

Really, when you can look down and see the big picture on how things are put together, you realize that a lot of it just doesn't make sense. The computer environments are put together with the "gaming experience" in mind, and without much concern as to how practical the layout would be for mundane world use. If I can see these flaws, the players (who tend to be smarter than me) will likely take issue with them as well.

Well, if any of you have a suggestion for a source of material, I'd like to hear it. Otherwise, thanks for giving me a place to gripe.

Gamerprinter
12-19-2008, 11:53 PM
We want a map! Does anyone else here get sick of that request?

Well, if any of you have a suggestion for a source of material, I'd like to hear it. Otherwise, thanks for giving me a place to gripe.

No, for the first part, I live to map. But with limited time on my hands, I have to pick and choose the work I'm willing to do. But, no I'm never tired of that request.

Secondly look around this site, theirs tons of great map content here. Most are available free for non-commercial use, as long as CC License is mentioned. Some maps are not available despite being posted here, however, but those will be indicated so in the post.

If the map content you're looking for is not available, that might mean you're going to have to create those maps yourself. No problem, that's our real purpose here is to help guide in getting what you want in map.

We have many tutorials with both industry standard and/or free software. Download or start using the graphics software you have available and make yourself a map.

Anyway... welcome to the Guild!

GP

Greason Wolfe
12-20-2008, 12:57 AM
We want a map! Does anyone else here get sick of that request?

I'm feeling the urge to reflect and gripe a little here.

I'm guessing the majority of people here are story tellers of one type or another. Okay, I'm just a GM. That's sort of like being an author with only a handful of readers.

So I'm telling a story and describing a location. The players respond with, "We want a map!" Okay, fine. I've given them 7 maps so far for this adventure. I'll probably have to come up with a rough map of a rural setting, but that's not a problem.

I've got a final (I hope) location that is in an underground, urban and industrial setting. I was hoping I could catch a break and just find something on the Internet to borrow. So far the pickings look pretty slim.

I'm sure a bunch of us here have played computer games like Halo or Oblivion and thought how great looking some of the settings are. I've been trying to look for maps of these locations online. Of the ones that I've found so far, my reaction has been, "These stink."

Really, when you can look down and see the big picture on how things are put together, you realize that a lot of it just doesn't make sense. The computer environments are put together with the "gaming experience" in mind, and without much concern as to how practical the layout would be for mundane world use. If I can see these flaws, the players (who tend to be smarter than me) will likely take issue with them as well.

Well, if any of you have a suggestion for a source of material, I'd like to hear it. Otherwise, thanks for giving me a place to gripe.

Unfortunately, when taking on the responsibility of being a Game(Dungeon) Master, mapping things out is one of the burdens we must take on. While description certainly can go a long ways towards giving players/characters an idea of what their surroundings look like, sometimes visual aids are still needed.

Now, I'm not defending the players per-se. I've been at both ends of that spectrum, so I know what it's like to be in your shoes. I also know what it's like to be in the players' shoes and trying to figure out what the character might be seeing based solely upon description. One of the things you might consider (and I've done rather often in the past) is make some basic sketches if you don't feel like putting hours of effort into extremely detailed maps. It's amazing what a few pen or pencil strokes on a piece of paper can do for players trying to grasp the scene they are presented with. And, of course, it is as Gameprinter said, there are several around here that might be able to help you out.

So welcome, and I sincerely hope you find what you are looking for here. I've not been here long myself, and I've already found tons or stuff that has been of incredible help.

GW

Redrobes
12-20-2008, 08:00 AM
I think the problem is that the standard keeps going up and players expect it now. In the old days the module maps and art was so much simpler and that was considered neat and good at the time. As a DM on many years ago my pencil sketches were worse than even the old school maps.

Fortunately we have better tools to make better maps now. Its probably faster to make an old school map at the old standard now than it is to make rough one with a pencil.

Even over the last year the challenge entry standard here is going up. You now have to have photo textures and lighting with shadows and maybe 3D with cutaway views and perspective etc etc.

With Halo and Oblivion the target is the gamer not the mapping nut. The worlds must be in 3D which is much harder than 2D. They are designed and balanced for a good shoot up or hack up not for telling a story. There's extra limitations for the game engine and the capabilities of the console too. Halo is a great example where the cliffs tend to be either about 10ft or 10miles high and nothing in between. But as a player knowing whether you will survive if you jump off one is more important than the realism of it. I thought most of the maps in Halo for the story, as opposed to the squad battle maps, were really good tho.

Ascension
12-20-2008, 04:20 PM
I'd say draw up a very rough sketch of something along the lines of what you're aiming for. It doesn't have to look good, it just needs to show the basic layout and you can then use text to put in the detail...like...I need a valve here and a grating here, etc. With that part done, I'm sure one of our many fine cartographers here will do ya up something nice.

Ronbo
01-01-2009, 09:29 PM
Okay, I guess my creative juices have run dry. I need some help priming the pump. What I'm trying to do is create an underground setting made of service tunnels and basements. I think that part I can manage on my own. What I need help on is the surface area. This would be an abandoned factory. It would be spread out with multiple buildings.
I don't need the insides mapped, just the building outlines. I know it should have a large work/assembly building; warehouses; office building; shipping and receiving areas and I have no idea what else. I can't seem to put together something convincing.
Can anyone help? Or perhaps point me to a source of inspiration?

Gamerprinter
01-01-2009, 09:35 PM
Go to texture resources like cgtextures.com - under concrete (look for dirty concrete) metals - scratched, thread plate, find some yellow striped warning lines for dangerous or loading areas in a plant, include large open spaces with periodic support struts on a grid throughout, then walled in areas for defined sections off. There's also machine-parts on that site, and mask-out the parts from the background and place as machines of the assembly floor.

That's how I'd do it. ;)

GP

Redrobes
01-01-2009, 09:36 PM
Just get google maps out, find some big factory and trace over the buildings. You might have to stretch or chop to make it fit with your sewer piping but on the whole its just boxes. If its a really big factory then some of the big car plants should be good.

Put :-

42.302325,-83.16453
52.428702,-1.929753
43.626726,1.35222

into google maps.

Hoel
01-02-2009, 06:45 PM
I've worked at a pretty big factory, Volvo Powertrain (makes the BIG engines). I'd say it would be a real pain to map it realistically. The nice looking boxes you see from the outside are just honeycombed with walls, rooms, and big machines. Even the open spaces are full of struts, girders, pillars, railings and multiple levels, half levels and sub spaces. You could get lost for days if the doors weren't kept locked to prevent it.
When I GM and my players enter any kind of industrial facility, I pull some fireplan from the web or just descibe it to them til they are lost, because that's what I got the first few weeks...

Ronbo
01-20-2009, 09:21 PM
Okay, I found something to use at the following link http://www.arcadiami.com/Exhibits/Factory/factrybp.htm It is a bit fuzzy, but it also comes with a legend that gives the buildings function. I also found a blueprint online for the main office area. So I've put together sorts of detail. Then the player characters come along and only look in two of the buildings. Oh well, at least I had the comfort of feeling prepared.

Hoel
01-20-2009, 09:41 PM
We've all been there.
You map out an area in detail with floorplans, cool encounter locations pouring your soul into the adventure... And then the players just walk on by and doesn't take the hook.
GMs never get enough credit.

Midgardsormr
01-21-2009, 12:45 AM
Or you give them 25 legitimate clues and one red herring, which an NPC tells them right out is irrelevant, and they still pursue the wrong thing.

Ironically, that particular event resulted in one of the best sessions I've ever run. I was totally unprepared for it, but it worked great anyway.

Sigurd
01-21-2009, 02:38 PM
I think there is a level of consideration that makes players explore a good map well and find what it has to offer. I appreciate when players take an interest. I think it improves the game. The players know it took some work to make. I usually make sure that I threaten to pass the DMing to someone else at regular intervals. That makes the players a little more considerate of anyone doing the work.

I find a similar reaction to people on the site asking for maps when:

a) they haven't looked at what is available - really a lot can be adapted from finished works
b) they don't know what they want - if they don't know you will likely not read their mind
c) they cant supply _any_ visual reference at all - starting from something is much much easier than starting with nothing
d) its free work - always be considerate of volunteers
e) they need it in 3 days - how important is this?


Little things like Req = request not 'Required'
If its important enough to map its certainly important enough for a page+ of organized description and\or some links....
Look around for a point of comparison or adaptation. If its a private game, file the names off another map or adapt your storyline - storytellers do it all the time.


This is not meant to discourage map requests by posters (or players for that matter) but to underline that there are ways to treat mappers well. If you treat them well they will stay on projects and you get better maps.


Sigurd

/Rant