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Rahva
01-11-2009, 02:57 PM
Hello there!
I've been making maps for a long time now, but I've only recently gone about making them legible for anyone but myself. I've found some awesome tutorials on this site, so I signed up.
I mostly do maps for my fantasy worlds, sometimes at city-level, but I often get confused (I want to map my most interesting cities, and they are somewhat convoluted) so I stick to world-level.
I also do dungeons for my gaming group, but I have yet to find a program that makes it comfortable. I"ve tried Dundjinni and CC3, and can't really do what I want with either of them. So I just draw those on graph paper :D

In more personal news... I'm a 21 year old female English major from the Netherlands. I GM DnD, write in a ton of different settings, so I've been dabbling in tons of styles of cartography.

Anyway, that's me :D Hello.

Korash
01-11-2009, 03:29 PM
glad to have you here :)

As you most likely have noticed, there is plenty of advice in the many styles so post early, post often, but most of all, POST. (maps that is) :)

Gamerprinter
01-11-2009, 03:46 PM
Welcome to the Guild, Rahva!

As Korash, said, "Post some maps!" Don't worry is you don't think they are "worthy", let us critique, comment and point you in the direction you want to go. The best way to learn how to do a better map is post what you have and let us help you out.

What is it about your planned city maps that are convoluted? Perhaps we can get you in the best direction for that so the convolution is not a problem, but an asset to your map design.

And don't mind if you get "assaulted" by a bunch "girl crazy" mappers, saying "hello" and giving you REP - that's what happened to the last girl who signed up - LOL. We've got more than several female cartographers here, but you are still in the minority.

Again, welcome, I hope you enjoy your visits and learn a thing or two!

GP

Gandwarf
01-11-2009, 04:05 PM
Hi Rahva,

I am Dutch as well and a user of CC3 and CD3.

Redrobes
01-11-2009, 04:27 PM
Welcome,


...but I have yet to find a program that makes it comfortable. I"ve tried Dundjinni and CC3, and can't really do what I want with either of them.

What is it that you want to do that these didn't do well for you ? You must have something in mind and I am sure we can proffer some advice.

Rahva
01-11-2009, 04:29 PM
Thanks for the welcome everyone :)



What is it about your planned city maps that are convoluted? Perhaps we can get you in the best direction for that so the convolution is not a problem, but an asset to your map design.


Well, for example... One of the cities I would really like to have a map for is in the world I posted here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=3926).

It's called Hub. It's situated in the middle of a narrow path through a sacred forest. The country, Almin, used to be a number of provinces that were conquered under Almin rule some centuries ago. Before this was the case, Hub was an Almin enclave on foreign soil. This caused many foreign fugitives to run to Hub because their own government's laws did not hold there. That, plus the fact that the 'pass' through the forest is a major trade route, caused the city to grow rather quickly.
However, it is forbidden to cut down the forest, so the city is quite long and narrow.
The trouble with mapping it is that it is also very tall.
In Hub, a single tower can hold several different types of housing or shops, be connected to several bridges or other houses on different levels, be a gate on another level, and so on. There are streets on ground level, high level, and everywhere in between. Generally speaking, the higher your house is, the more prosperous you are.

Long story short, a map of Hub becomes a random cluster of squares and lines pretty quickly. I don't think anybody in Hub itself has a full map of it. Not a good map to start with, methinks :)
I might try and map one of the other cities first, or one of the little towns around it... So much to do.

Rahva
01-11-2009, 04:41 PM
Welcome,



What is it that you want to do that these didn't do well for you ? You must have something in mind and I am sure we can proffer some advice.


Today I was trying to start on a map for an upcoming DnD session. It's a huge underground complex under a ruined city, partially located in one of the Lower Planes.
I tried this in CC3, with the Dungeon expansion. I had a 10ft (2 square) wide hallway, with several 5ft hallways branching off of it. No doors, just branching hallways. However, because of the way the 5ft hallways snapped to the corners of the grid they were half in one square, half in the other. Not a problem in itself, but I was trying to remove the wall that separated the main hallway from its branches. I couldn't find a way to do this to only half a square, and I couldn't find a way to move the branches a half square to the side.

I'm pretty sure there is a really simple solution to this though. Just not one I've found.

For Dundjinni, it just doesn't work. Some problem with Java.

I've tried doing dungeons in Photoshop too but it's too much work there. I can draw it on grid paper, scan it and touch it up in about the same time it takes me to create a grid in Photoshop.

Hoel
01-11-2009, 04:43 PM
Make a realistic map, that will show the clutter
If that's how the citizens see it, why not let the map show just that

Redrobes
01-11-2009, 04:43 PM
Well if your mapping stuff in XY and Z for height then you might need a 3D app. Another option is to link maps together so that when you climb a staircase then the app automatically fetches the correct next level map for you. Otherwise you will have lots of maps to deal with. A good indexing system could bypass that issue but having a good index and something to get the right one with a click is better.

In terms of linking maps together you can put them up as web pages and have links to other pages. Or you can use a map program which will do that for you too. You can use google sketchup for the quickest way to do buildings in 3D but its no good for terrain and other non city stuff. Also I don't think it can link groupings of 3D maps together. Maybe I am wrong there tho - I am no wiz at sketchup. Doing stuff in 3D is harder than 2D too.

So do you think you want linked maps or full 3D for the city ? And if linked do you think you would be organized enough to maintain a good indexing system or would you want the app to do the linking and fetching for you ?

EDIT -- ill add some more from the second post.

Most mapping apps should be able to snap to grid and not snap also. So I guess that its just an option to find. If sketching something out on paper and scanning works for you then it seems to me that its a case of organizing all those scans together into one big map. You could touch up the image with some basic flood fills or texture them a bit more or maybe go more detailed with a paint app and get that sketch looking better. So is your issue more about getting your scanned in pen work better or getting a map app that can do these things (like removing bits of wall and no snap to grid) that you want to do easier ?

It seems to me as though it depends on whether you want lots of your city mapped roughly (like pen sketch) or a small amount of city mapped really well (realistic textured etc).

Ascension
01-11-2009, 04:46 PM
How do they build up without wood? Is it all stone, or dead limbs, or is it dug out around the trees, or is it all tents? Nonetheless, I'd start with something smaller or something random just to get my feet wet and develop a style then come back when ready for this one. I'd also try some different software as well to see what fits ya...CC3 is pretty common for cities but many of us use other things. I'd say find a tutorial that produces a style that you like then find out what software they used. By, the way, Welcome to The Guild.

Gamerprinter
01-11-2009, 04:59 PM
Thanks for the welcome everyone :)



Well, for example... One of the cities I would really like to have a map for is in the world I posted here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=3926).

It's called Hub. It's situated in the middle of a narrow path through a sacred forest. The country, Almin, used to be a number of provinces that were conquered under Almin rule some centuries ago. Before this was the case, Hub was an Almin enclave on foreign soil. This caused many foreign fugitives to run to Hub because their own government's laws did not hold there. That, plus the fact that the 'pass' through the forest is a major trade route, caused the city to grow rather quickly.
However, it is forbidden to cut down the forest, so the city is quite long and narrow.
The trouble with mapping it is that it is also very tall.
In Hub, a single tower can hold several different types of housing or shops, be connected to several bridges or other houses on different levels, be a gate on another level, and so on. There are streets on ground level, high level, and everywhere in between. Generally speaking, the higher your house is, the more prosperous you are.

Long story short, a map of Hub becomes a random cluster of squares and lines pretty quickly. I don't think anybody in Hub itself has a full map of it. Not a good map to start with, methinks :)
I might try and map one of the other cities first, or one of the little towns around it... So much to do.

Depending on the size, I might create halves or quarters of the city to capture all the detail and all the city. And I'm sure this would end being lots of maps and work to do, but I'd start at the ground level and go up level by level, including all other buildings in the quadrant or other map area.

Depending on the number of floors per building, this could be lots an lots of maps, but it would effectively do the job.

I use Xara Xtreme for all my mapping, but I'm pretty much alone at using it around here... its a raster/vector hybrid drawing program. I do hand-drawn to completely Xara created maps for all my stuff. Another option would be GIMP, the free Image Editor, like Photoshop. Or perhaps Inkscape, which is like Illustrator, but like GIMP, free. Xara is inexpensive, but not free.

GP

Rahva
01-11-2009, 05:00 PM
How do they build up without wood? Is it all stone, or dead limbs, or is it dug out around the trees, or is it all tents?
Imported materials, nowadays mostly stone.
There was a simple trading post there first. Just somewhere traders spend the night on a long journey, tents and such.
When this started to prosper more people came to live there to make a profit off the traders, and a militant order of Almin monks came to make sure nobody touched the forest. Instead of beating in the heads of the heretics they provided building materials from Almin at discount prices. They made it an Almin settlement so that the money spent protecting the forest would eventually come back in taxes, profit, foreign trading goods, and so on. (This wasn't something the monks made up, but the Almin government, of course. It was one of the conditions for allowing them to go there.)
In the 'modern' era the religious aspect of Hub is more in the background. The most obvious sign is the huge cathedral that was only recently finished. It's pretty much the only building not physically attached to the rest of the city.



So do you think you want linked maps or full 3D for the city ? And if linked do you think you would be organized enough to maintain a good indexing system or would you want the app to do the linking and fetching for you ?
I tend to be kind of obsessive when organising this sort of stuff. If I do linked maps I'd be able to build a comprehensive website around it no problem. That's a pretty good idea, thanks :)
But now that you mention 3D I want to build this city in Maya. Oh man what am I doing.

Redrobes
01-11-2009, 05:25 PM
Maya :o

You have Maya ??? and you sketch your maps. Flippin eck - I think you will be teaching us Maya with some tutorials before long. Some of us here try to use Blender and I use Light wave 3D too. Arcana and a few more go with 3D Studio and theres a few more less well known ones being used in there too. RobA uses PovRay as well.

But I think most of us here make the 3D stuff, render it flat and then use the image as the map. I.e. we dont use the 3D model as the map itself. That could be done tho. I think since you are able to, then make web pages for these maps and put links on them to other maps. Thats tedious and I think theres better ways to do that but its a free and moderately easy way to do it if your technically confident enough to do it.

Rahva
01-11-2009, 05:43 PM
I've never really thought to use Maya (or any 3D program really) for maps, save for Terragen.
Do you use this for city maps, interior maps or for terrain?

Steel General
01-11-2009, 08:42 PM
Welcome Aboard!

Gamerprinter
01-11-2009, 09:00 PM
There are a few Terragen mappers here. Periodically I use Nendo to create subdivisional surface models then import to one of 3D apps to render the final. Although a challenge early last year, I did an entire dungeon layout in 3D and a slightly not top-down map - more an experiment really.

Often, however, I create hand-drawn map elements that begin as 3D models that are rendered, then referenced for hand-drawn work.

Plus there are other mappers here that use a variety of 3D apps, from 3D Studio Max, to Vue 6, and Bryce.

Anna another member here is completely recreating the world of Greyhawk, in largely Bryce and Vue generated maps.

GP

Ascension
01-11-2009, 09:35 PM
Man if I had Maya I'd never leave my house. Hope to get it next year :)

ravells
01-12-2009, 08:35 AM
Welcome to the Guild, Rahva!

Redrobes
01-12-2009, 09:23 AM
I've never really thought to use Maya (or any 3D program really) for maps, save for Terragen.
Do you use this for city maps, interior maps or for terrain?

Mainly I use 3D modellers for making tokens - images that I can put down onto a map using another app. We have a challenge every month - I am sure your aware, last month I did a Dr Who themed one where I rendered up some Daleks and used these as tokens on a map.

http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=3687

For terrain I exclusively use 3D. I find that a computer can do a reasonably good job of performing the physics of terrain and its a lot of effort to do manually. So I create height maps, run a terrain physics sim on them and texture the results of the sim.

I write my own mapping app, terrain app and texturing app so I am somewhat biased and odd in my toolbox. But people use Bryce, Terragen, Fractal Terrains, a little bit of WorldMachine, Global Mapper, and some more use photoshop type apps to create some noise maps and render with them too.

NeonKnight
01-12-2009, 07:13 PM
Welcome to the Guild!

jfrazierjr
01-12-2009, 07:58 PM
Welcome to the Guild!

Though I am not a big fan of CC one thing that it is really good at is the whole linking of one map to another. If you are using CC "online" during a game, you can easily click from one "level" to another within the same physical map.