View Full Version : Swamp village

01-21-2009, 06:21 PM
Hello, this is not a town map just yet, but i am working on it. It is the basic layout for a little village in the swamps. This will be my first big project.

I am making this as the hometown of my Eberron d&d character. He is an Orc living in a swamp tribe with other Orcs, Half-Orcs and Humans. Orcs are not as evil in Eberron as in most other d&d games.

Anyway, about the town. It will be a small town with about 50 villagers. The houses will be on the swamp islands and wooden platforms which are connected to the island by little bridges. There will be three watch-towers. Special houses for the Chieftan, Shaman, Smithy, Fisherman and Farmer.

The wooden platforms are the town squares with firepit's and market stands. Most trade is done by boat, like those thailand floating markets.

This is what i have so far. Any tips?

01-21-2009, 07:55 PM
Looks interesting. I'm curious to see how it turns out.

In your shoes, I'd try and determine where the waterline is and how big the scale will be. The waterline will tell you settlement patterns and density. The scale will tell you numbers and types of items you'll be drawing\creating.


Good luck.

01-21-2009, 08:19 PM
Your welcome to download my swamp tiles (www.viewing.ltd.uk/Temp/CG/GeomorphicTiles/Marsh.zip) and steal bits of them to make some marshy areas if you like.

Looks interesting anyway.

Steel General
01-21-2009, 09:16 PM
Definitely some interesting textures there, will keep an eye on your progress.

01-22-2009, 05:52 AM
I wonder where this might be going

01-22-2009, 08:23 AM
I was able to do some work on the map today. I added the platforms (town squares) and the bridges.

Next time i will add the basic shapes for the houses. The people live in simple round tipi shaped houses with enough room for 4 familly members. The houses are small and simple because most of their daily life takes place outside.

01-22-2009, 10:14 AM
I like the concept, but right now everything is quite dark and hard to see.

01-22-2009, 10:24 AM
You may want some variation in the shape of your lily pads. Right now, they're all evoking Pac-Man.

01-22-2009, 10:32 AM
I agree with landorl, it's way too dark
and the layout of the islands make it look like the whole map is bulging up for some reason

01-22-2009, 02:54 PM
I like the map and the idea behind it. I'll be watching to see what it looks like when you are finished. It could be because the map is really dark, but it is difficult to get a feel for the scale of the map. Also the water looks gray, almost granite-like in texture. Perhaps a little more blue-green in the water would make it look less like rocks. Just my two cents.

01-22-2009, 05:12 PM
Right now I'd just make the wood lighter, more light gray-brown rather than this dark black-brown. But we'll have to see how this progresses to be sure.

01-22-2009, 07:30 PM
Okay, i lightenned the map up. I tried to get rid of the fish-eye look, i pimped the water lily's, i added some green to the water. Thanks for the tips!

Also i added the basic structures, four guard towers and twelve houses. The houses hold about 2 to 5 tribe members.

I'm trying to get the thatched houses to fit in more. Any advice on that?

01-22-2009, 08:14 PM
I'm liking it. Looks good when it's a bit lighter.
I suppose the jungle comes next? You can't have a swamp without a bunch of rotting old trees..
Getting the houses to fit... Try giving the ground around them a different texture, the inhabitants will wear away the plants around the entrances and making paths and open areas.. that might make it better.
I think you could do with some fireplaces around the village too..

01-23-2009, 07:30 AM
This is turning into a sweet map, can't wait to see the final result.

01-23-2009, 10:20 AM
Thanks for the compliment gandwarf.

I've added some junge, a road at the entrance, a different texture under the houses (still needs some tweaking i think).

@Hoel, i'm trying to create some rotten trees but i really can't seem to get it to work. Got any tips for that?

01-23-2009, 12:49 PM
I think you should go with individual trees here. The scale suggests you should be able to make out atleast the top layer of trees. My first suggestion would be going to the dundjinnu forum and pick up a bunch of trees and just paste them in.
My second suggestion would be drawing a dozen or so trees by hand, but it's much easier to use something someone else has already done.
Third suggestion would be cutting a piece from a aerial photo...
Don't forget old logs in the water..
Btw, I meant to ask before. How did you do those nice platforms? Hand drawn?

01-23-2009, 03:41 PM
Looks great - I can't wait to see what it looks like completed. In addition to the Dundjinni forums, you could grab some trees from RPGMapShare (http://rpgmapshare.com/index.php?q=gallery&g2_itemId=2414). I found tree stumps and logs for the water at this Dundjinni thread (http://www.dundjinni.com/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=3536&KW=stump&PN=0&TPN=1).

01-23-2009, 04:53 PM
I think the main thing buggin my eyes is that the water looks more stoney than the land does. To do a quick fix on that I'd add a color overlay of something dark teal to give it more of a water feel; then play with the opacity or blend mode to let some of the stone peek through. The huts look sort of rainbow-like in that they seem to have numerous pale colors; the overall texture looks great but the colors look a bit odd...again a color overlay of tan should help. Overall, it looks pretty cool just needs 2 tweaks (IMO).

01-23-2009, 08:35 PM
@Kihmbar, thanks!
@Hoel, the platforms are made from a texture, then i added some lines and details myself, and cut them out roughly
@Ascension, Do you mean the green foamy/swampy water or the blue/black spots that peek trough?

01-24-2009, 02:12 AM
Oh, I didn't even notice the black spots.

01-24-2009, 08:56 AM
I was able to do some more work on the map.

I fixed the 'rockyness' of the water. I changed the houses collor a bit. I added some dundjinni trees and some drifting logs.

Next up: Firepits and boats.

01-24-2009, 09:10 AM
Yes! Now we're cooking... Looks very nice and swampy.
I would double the amount of trees, but I'm very fond of covering my mistakes with trees.

Do you have access to any water texture filters? If so, experiment a bit to get that swampy stagnant water feel...

01-24-2009, 10:42 AM
Do you have access to any water texture filters? If so, experiment a bit to get that swampy stagnant water feel...

Nope :) where to get them?

Steel General
01-24-2009, 11:51 AM
Coming along nicely Woekan...

01-24-2009, 11:53 AM
Look around for freebies or buy... I think I've seen some water texture tuts around too, using PS standard tools

01-24-2009, 04:14 PM
Yup, this is turning out nicely. I actually like the water the way it is.

My only crit on the water are the dark veins moving throughout it. Any way to remove them?

01-24-2009, 08:29 PM
Wow this has really improved. It looks great!

01-25-2009, 07:06 AM
Yup, looking great.

01-25-2009, 07:04 PM
Thanks for your comments.
I have updated the camp with some more trees. I added some fire-pits and some boats.

Next up will be small details like crates and barrels. I also want a bakers oven. And i'm thinking about what to put uppon those town square platforms. Something to trade, something to do with fishing. I don't know. Got any ideas?

01-25-2009, 07:56 PM
Man, that looks nice!
Love the boats. Have you done them yourself? Can I have them?

About the platforms, I figure it should be something that defines the village... Something that'll make you instantly know what the village is about. Is it a fishing village, add a lot of hanging nets, fishing rods and such. Is it a trading village, put a lot of trade goods and maybe some market stalls... Or both...

01-25-2009, 08:29 PM
If that's the entire village then I don't think they'd have much to trade with such a small populace so I'd go with fishing village or some sort of outpost.

01-26-2009, 09:49 AM
Yea, its a small tribal town. They take care of themselves, fishing, hunting, gathering.

Hoel, thanks for the compliment. I made the boats with photoshop. You can have them if you want. Ill add an image.

01-26-2009, 11:48 AM
I did some more work on the map, it's almost finished. A few more details.

What do you think i should add/change?

01-26-2009, 12:36 PM
Thanks for the boats, but could you make it a transparent .png or .psd?
Super work on the details! The nets especially. It looks inhabited, lived in... That's not a small thing for a map on this scale.
The crates look a little clean if you want some minor detail to work on...

Steel General
01-26-2009, 12:52 PM
Very cool Woekan! - I agree with Hoel about "grungy-ing" up the crates, barrels, etc. A minor thing really, but would improve the overall piece.

01-26-2009, 01:16 PM
Thanks for the boats, but could you make it a transparent .png or .psd?


-Rob A>

01-26-2009, 01:27 PM
Thanks Rob. Beats doing it myself :)

01-26-2009, 06:24 PM
That is incredible, I'd give rep but I have to spread it around some more. Question, do you have any techniques to doing this sort of realistic looking map?

01-27-2009, 07:50 AM
That is incredible, I'd give rep but I have to spread it around some more. Question, do you have any techniques to doing this sort of realistic looking map?

Thank you for this compliment.

About techniques. There are alot of little tricks i use.

I learned a great deal from Ascensions continent tutorial. Especially realistic texturing. Previously my maps always had a kind of drawn or comic feel to them.

One trick i use, is using a black inner and outer glow set to normal blending mode instead of drop shadows.

01-27-2009, 07:59 AM
If you use multiply and 75% opacity you get the exact same effect as drop shadow minus the offset.

01-28-2009, 10:15 PM
This map is amazing! I love the concept especially, but the map as a whole is awesome. I also like the fire pit idea! I am super inspired by this map!