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KeithC
06-20-2009, 07:55 PM
I need advice.

This is the second CC/CD3 map in my series. In this one, I'm trying to create a fantasy version of the old west mining town. A couple of general stores, a few inns, some taverns and then various other businesses such as blacksmiths, jewelers, fur traders, metal workers (fine crafts), armorsmiths, weaponsmiths, cobblers, clothiers, etc.

The town relies heavily on surrounding villages for agricultural trade. An agreement the surrounding villages are more than happy to continue.

I've only put a few hours into this map so far but I'm not sure if it's developing the way I'd like. I'm trying to convey a sense of enclosed settlements surrounded by steep yet low hills not cliffs. The main town is the southernmost section of the map and then I have outlying communities in other small pockets around the hillsides.

I don't want to make the trees too dense because I'm trying to keep the hills as the main geographic feature.

So where I'm looking for advice is this;

Is the map portraying well the pocketed isolation?

Are the building placements ok?

Do I need to add / remove any elements?

Basically... what have I done right and what am I doing wrong so far?

Bear in mind that this is the very beginning of the map and nothing is set in stone yet. Buildings will be added/moved, roads will be placed to connect areas, shadows and sheet effects (layer effects in photoshop terminology) will be touched up and so forth.

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Gandwarf
06-20-2009, 08:04 PM
You keep churning them out :D

Anyway, you definitely need some more roads to connect the other pockets of houses. And a reason for the houses being there, especially the group of houses to the north. They are very close to the town center, yet far enough to make me wonder why they are there.

It being a mining town, wouldn't it need a small docks for barges? Not sure what the technology level here is, but if it's medieval, water transport would be the most efficient.
Where are the mines located anyway? Close to town?

And as you were talking about the old west... I have this cliche in my head of towns situated in the desert or badlands. It kinda clashes with the green look :D

KeithC
06-20-2009, 08:21 PM
All great comments and suggestions!

This was the second time I tried to post my write up and I left out a very important part...

The mines are no longer in service. The people who live here are able to prospect enough ore, mineral, and rarely some gemstone that they are able to earn a living but they don't mine enough raw ores to trade in that. They trade in finished product, tools, services, fine metal workings, etc.

As for where the mines are located, not close, hence my oh so clever name of "Longhaul." :P

Each outlying pocket is a small community in and of itself. Extended families, groups of craftsmen etc... That particular group is comprised of successful craftsmen who wanted to be close to town but still have a sense of privacy. As to why it's not included with the town proper, the hills are meant to be too steep to build upon. The town is located here because it's the best of a bad situation.

As for the green color, it's hilly and temperate so there will be ample ground cover and water.

So I think I need to work on my hills to make them look steeper.

Gandwarf
06-20-2009, 08:30 PM
Hmm, if the mines are no longer in service, it might be hard to get enough ore to create armor and tools and such. A lot of towns died once the mines closed down. Also, it was quite rare for frontier towns to have all the services you mentioned. Mining towns were mostly just doing the mining and shipping the ores to manufacturing centers.
This is your world of course, so ignore my comments at will :D

The hills are quite ok, but you might want to try and make them stand out a bit more. This is difficult in CC3 however, I have experimented a lot and never got satisfying results... if you get better results, be sure to share the effects :)
Still, if the hills are too steep to climb, your best bet might be ridges.

Feralspirit
06-20-2009, 09:00 PM
Regarding the isolated pocket of buildings; unless you (or those residents) have a reason for wanting to keep them isolated I would still consider giving them a road, maybe just a half-sized one (or less, as you want to convey the impression of 'seldom used'). There is a place in the NE where a road would not be required to go over the hill, or maybe a switchback road over the hill, or one following the eastern side of the river. Among other, very minor nit-picks, your river seems to be twice as broad along the southern edge as it was just upstream. This is explainable, of course (perhaps that pond is also spring fed, or the river becomes shallower), but at this scale river tapering isn't necessary. This would be less noticeable if the width of your river/stream were just a bit varied. The addition of a cultivated field or three might serve as a pleasant break from your vast expanses of green (if you can find some conveniantly flat land). To that end you may also consider foresting your steep hills. As I mentioned previously, all minor nit-picks. A nice map over-all.

KeithC
06-20-2009, 09:17 PM
It's so hard to reply without going into a great long explanation of my world's history and development. Suffice to say that this town is meant to be both mining town and manufacturing center but on a very small scale. It's not a large town, it doesn't service and large area.

I'll work on the hills some more. After I get them looking good I'll move on to city planning and developement.

KeithC
06-20-2009, 09:23 PM
I posted my last reply before reading Feralspirit's post. Yes, roads are a must. This is really just the beginning of the map. All of your comments are right in line with what I was thinking with the exception of the fields, though I might add those in as well.

As for the stream, you actually hit on exactly what I was trying to do. The stream does indeed get shallower as it leaves the pond in the SW portion of the map and there's more water to transport. The pond serves as a repository for all the run off from the surrounding hills both surface and subsurface water. So even though there are no definitive streams leading into it, it does indeed collect more water than just what is fed from the stream above.

Feralspirit
06-20-2009, 09:27 PM
No, if there is a reason to keep them isolated, this is your map. My nit-picks are written as if I were going to edit and like you say, without going into a long explanation (which might not even get read) you may have a reason in mind, which is fine.

lol, our timing seems to be just a bit off:lol:

KeithC
06-20-2009, 10:55 PM
Ok, so here's some minor changes. Color, hills are more pronounced. Isolated community is removed for now. Might use the area for fields or I might put the buildings back.

Right now I'm more concerned with getting the hills to look prominant enough.

Gandwarf
06-21-2009, 06:22 AM
Some great improvements on the hills, I think. How did you create them?

By the way, removing the pocket of houses to the north makes sense to me, because I would expect the houses to be near the river (as a source of water, a way to get rid of sewage and a resource for production and transport). I know you are thinking about adding the houses back... just wanted to let you know my opinion.

If this is a manufacturing town, you might also consider adding some watermills.

Feralspirit
06-21-2009, 10:40 AM
The shadows alone have given your hills a great deal more pop, and has also served to break up your green. Very nice. I am a bit saddened by your cuts (the northern houses and the bridge) but you must be the one you are aiming to please. ;)

KeithC
06-21-2009, 05:14 PM
Sheet Effects
Bevel

Length 50
Strength 20
Invert Colors 1
Fade 5

Blur

Radius 35
Bevel

Length 50
Strength 40
Invert Colors 1
Fade 3
Blur

Radius 30
Bevel

Length 50
Strength 50
Invert Colors 1
Fade 0
Blur

Radius 30
Bevel

Length 50
Strength 75
Invert Colors 1
Fade 0
Blur

Radius 40
Bevel

Length 20
Strength 40
Invert Colors 1
Fade 5
Blur

Radius 20
Adjust Hue/Saturation

Hue 0
Saturation -25
Lightness 0

Gandwarf
06-21-2009, 06:52 PM
Thanks, will definitely be trying it out in the near future.

KeithC
06-22-2009, 03:56 PM
Update.

I've redone this map a few times now and I keep running into the same problem, too many buildings. The original concept for this "village" was to be a very loose collection of buildings built in a hilly area with a small creek that provides fresh drinking water and little else.

So at this point I'm keeping the hills and scratching everything else. I will post another pic if I get this to look anything like what I've got in my head. A map that should be very easy to create is really frustrating me this time around.

Thanks for the help so far.

Ascension
06-22-2009, 07:06 PM
I have that same problem...the easy and simple stuff is the hardest for me to get right.

Sigurd
06-22-2009, 09:14 PM
I can't make a comment without asking questions about your preferred level of abstraction.

The tops of the hills could have rocks. Rocks in general would break up the field of green.

Fields could go on the map. (In an isolated settlement there is no replacement for the harvest.)

Your towns seem equal in wealth so far as the building size, design and upkeep go. More variation might please the eye but might be completely improper. If you introduce differences they should be real not just window dressing.

There are no wasted\abandoned or ruined sections - maybe they are there but not important.

No churches? No Guilds? No government buildings? No implied relationships between the houses?


All of these are questions but they may be irrelevant if they are outside the aims of the map.


Its a good map.