PDA

View Full Version : Twin Falls Island



DaltonSpence
06-21-2007, 05:49 PM
It started with a castle (as these things often do) that needed an interesting setting to show it off. It quickly became a project in its own right, that needs to be finished before I can continue designing the castle. Here's the map with some background information.

Twin Falls Island lies in the middle of the Dioscuri River about three miles to the east of the Lesser Divide, a 200 foot tall glacial escarpment that marks the boundry of the Western Lowlands from the Eastern Highlands. Over the millenia, the river has carved a gorge deep into the bedrock, ending at the falls about 200 feet east of the island's western tip. The fast moving Dioscuri has served for centuries as a natural border between the lands to the North and South, with the island providing a convenient trade and invasion route. After the last Great War (about 200 years ago) the nations on both sides of the river decided to promote a lasting peace by making the island largely independent of either government, to be ruled by a local lord with strong family ties on both sides. While legally the island is split between the two nations, in practical terms it serves as neutral territory and considerred a duty-free zone (goods purchased for local consumption are exempt from all customs duties, regardless of the nation of origin). The island's main sources of income are bridge tolls and a portion of all customs duties collected for each nation.

The Twin Falls the island is named for have their own official names (Kastor and Polydeuces) but are most commonly referred to as The North and The South. West of the falls is the 150 foot deep Dioscuri Gorge, home to the Lower Dioscuri Rapids which are not navigable for up to a mile due to currents and rocky debris. Erosion has caused some landslides along the walls of the gorge, narrowing the waterway in places to two-thirds its nominal width. A century ago a minor earthquake caused a temporary 50 foot dam to form about a mile downriver, creating a major flash flood when it finally burst. This led to the building of Twin Falls Castle on the western tip of the island, with a six story tall observation tower at its center to keep a watch down the gorge for further slides.

Seperating the castle from the rest of the island is the Castle Ditch; a nominal moat dug from the North Shore past the front of the castle under the drawbridge to empty over the edge of the island past the South Falls. (The Ditch also feeds the Castle Pond, which is a favorite of local waterfowl and has been stocked with a few fish for the lord's pleasure.) The island is connected to mainland by 200 foot long bridges to the north and south, each capped on both ends by gatehouses for customs inspections, toll collection and access control. The roads are;

EW roads from North to South: North Bank, North Shore, Castle, South Shore and South Bank. Note that North and South Shore Roads connect directly at the east end of Castle Road.
NS roads from West to East: Castle Ditch (connecting North and South Shore roads), South Bridge (running south from North Shore) and North Bridge (running north from South Shore).

I'm planning on adding some houses, a church and an inn (catering to honeymooners perhaps?) to the island, with perhaps a warehouse or two for transhipping goods. Maybe some buildings on the North and South Banks. Any comments or suggestions?

--

Dalton "who won't put a revolving restaurant in the castle tower" Spence

RobA
06-21-2007, 11:35 PM
Living just a bit east of you, I have a sneaky suspicion <couch>Goat Island<cough> where your inspiration came from......

-Rob (but revolving restaurants are nice) A>

Robbie
06-22-2007, 08:53 AM
Where the heck have you been? hehehe...long time no post!

Anyways...lookin pretty good...though I'm not sure about those whatevers at the ends of the bridges. I'd like to see a higher resolution and the grid subdued a bit.

DaltonSpence
06-22-2007, 01:14 PM
The structures at the ends of the bridges are "Gatehouse 1" symbols from ProFantasy's "Source Maps: Castles! (http://www.profantasy.com/products/smc.asp)" product slightly customized for CC3 (ie. I replaced solid colours with bitmap fills, and may eventually draw up interior plans for the structures). This package is what got me started; my Twin Falls Castle design was largely inspired by the Beaumaris, Castel Del Monte and La Belle Colline plans from that collection. I find it a bit of a challenge drawing a CC3 map using a product designed for CC2; none of the tools, symbol sets or map templates take advantage of sheets or PNG bitmap symbols or fills, so I have to improvise a lot. However, I purchased the Source Maps Bundle (http://www.profantasy.com/products/bundle.asp) containing "SM: Castles!"and its companion products "SM: Temples, Tombs and Catacombs! (http://www.profantasy.com/products/ttc.asp)" and "SM: Cities! (http://www.profantasy.com/products/cit.asp)" more for their informational and inspirational content than their software tools, so I am very satisfied. (Although I wouldn't say "No" to a CC3 upgrade of the products. ;) )

Below is a slightly higher res version with the map borders removed and the grid subdued as suggested. I even added some labels, although I'll probably replace them with numbered tags and a map legend. Tell me what you think.

--

Dalton "who is thinking of adding a casino" Spence

RPMiller
06-22-2007, 02:47 PM
The first thing I would suggest is making the rock that contains the waterfall raised up more. As it looks now, the rock appears to be at the same level and makes me wonder why the water just doesn't flow over it. Probably just apply a bevel to that sheet would work.

Eru
06-22-2007, 08:13 PM
Very nice map. I'd love to see just a little character in the water itself, perhaps a few wavy lines and swirls indicating currents and eddies. The toned-down gridlines are also a huge improvement over the first version.

That said, you're not fooling anyone with this "observation tower" story. Who builds a mammoth, uber-defended structure like that just to observe a once-a-century land slide? Given the scale, this beast covers something like 16 times the square footage of the standard square keep from the CC2 symbol set. With around 30,000 square feet - per floor - protected by walls you could have accomodations for hundreds, maybe thousands, of soldiers. Oh yeah, you're planning an invasion of epic proportions no doubt.

I'm watching you.

RobA
06-23-2007, 10:08 AM
The first thing I would suggest is making the rock that contains the waterfall raised up more. As it looks now, the rock appears to be at the same level and makes me wonder why the water just doesn't flow over it. Probably just apply a bevel to that sheet would work.

Another possible way to differentiate the downstream side of the falls is to draw in a lot of turbulence and froth.

Here is photo I grepped on the interweb that shows how white large falls get due to all the air being incorporated...

http://earthsci.org/flood/J_Flood04/image_pro/other_images/niagara_falls.jpg

btw- as a completely off reference topic, anyone ever hear of water powered compressed air...? I used to live near ragged chutes when it was a compressor station:
http://www.cobalt.ca/ragged_chutes.htm

-Rob A>

Robbie
06-23-2007, 11:57 AM
I figured out what else is bugging me about the map...the land and water fill styles are WAYYY too small and repetitive...switch to a VH style and force the repeat size in the fill style...its way too repetitive as it is. Still lookin good though.

DaltonSpence
06-23-2007, 02:04 PM
I've modified the map above rather than post a new version.
That said, you're not fooling anyone with this "observation tower" story. Who builds a mammoth, uber-defended structure like that just to observe a once-a-century land slide? Given the scale, this beast covers something like 16 times the square footage of the standard square keep from the CC2 symbol set. With around 30,000 square feet - per floor - protected by walls you could have accomodations for hundreds, maybe thousands, of soldiers. Oh yeah, you're planning an invasion of epic proportions no doubt. I don't suppose I could convince you the extra space is just warehouse storage for goods in transit? :wink: Actually, I'm very new to designing castles, so I didn't consider the implications of its size (when I think "castle", I think "BIG"). Since the gatehouses on the bridges (and the river itself) already serve as an outer perimeter, the concentric design I originally considered isn't really needed. I'll change it later.


The first thing I would suggest is making the rock that contains the waterfall raised up more. As it looks now, the rock appears to be at the same level and makes me wonder why the water just doesn't flow over it. Probably just apply a bevel to that sheet would work.

Another possible way to differentiate the downstream side of the falls is to draw in allot of turbulence and froth.Ironically, the photo you included showed most of the turbulance above the falls. I'm not sure how to draw rapids and shoals with CC3. Any advice here would be appreciated.

I figured out what else is bugging me about the map...the land and water fill styles are WAYYY too small and repetitive...switch to a VH style and force the repeat size in the fill style...its way too repetitive as it is. Still lookin good though. I switched from Dungeon to Overland scale fills to fix that. The trick will be finding the correct Dungeon scale fills to match the Overland ones for the detail submaps. I'm also experimenting with sheet effects to define the edge of the Gorge. Currently I have a black overlay with an "Edge Fade, Inner" to produce an inner shadow and a white outer Glow to soften the edges. Not quite satisfied yet, but I'll keep working on it. Any ideas?

--

Dalton "who appreciates all of your helpful suggestions" Spence

Eru
06-23-2007, 03:29 PM
I've modified the map above rather than post a new version.
That said, you're not fooling anyone with this "observation tower" story. Who builds a mammoth, uber-defended structure like that just to observe a once-a-century land slide? Given the scale, this beast covers something like 16 times the square footage of the standard square keep from the CC2 symbol set. With around 30,000 square feet - per floor - protected by walls you could have accomodations for hundreds, maybe thousands, of soldiers. Oh yeah, you're planning an invasion of epic proportions no doubt. I don't suppose I could convince you the extra space is just warehouse storage for goods in transit? :wink: Actually, I'm very new to designing castles, so I didn't consider the implications of its size (when I think "castle", I think "BIG"). Since the gatehouses on the bridges (and the river itself) already serve as an outer perimeter, the concentric design I originally considered isn't really needed. I'll change it later.
You know, in a fantasy world there are all sorts of reasons why a castle could be as large as it currently stands. However, if you do want to bring it down a touch, a real simple fix would be to modify the scale from 50 feet per square to 25. That would cut the square footage to 1/4 its current size.

Also, as it stands, your bridges are a full 20 - 30 feet wide, enough for heavy vehicle traffic (wagons or something similar) to be going in both directions at once. If there are hundreds of vehicles crossing the bridge each day in both directions, or the builder was extremely aggressive, that makes sense. However, if you mean for this to be somewhat out of the way, then a reduction in scale could work for you here too by decreasing the bridge width to 10 - 15 feet, limiting vehicle traffic to one direction at a time.

Anyway, modding the scale is always an option, and an incredibly easy one. Just change four little numbers and you're done! =)

DaltonSpence
06-23-2007, 08:24 PM
You know, in a fantasy world there are all sorts of reasons why a castle could be as large as it currently stands. However, if you do want to bring it down a touch, a real simple fix would be to modify the scale from 50 feet per square to 25. That would cut the square footage to 1/4 its current size.The tower is ... well ... central to the purpose of the design, so changing its dimensions wouldn't work too well. Since the castle was mainly supposed to be residential and not military in purpose, I decided to remove the outer curtain wall and connected structures making the inner octogonal base the outer wall. This let me move the castle much closer tp the island's western tip, making it a bit more defensible. The ditch, pond and Castle Ditch Road were also moved west.


Also, as it stands, your bridges are a full 20 - 30 feet wide, enough for heavy vehicle traffic (wagons or something similar) to be going in both directions at once. If there are hundreds of vehicles crossing the bridge each day in both directions, or the builder was extremely aggressive, that makes sense. However, if you mean for this to be somewhat out of the way, then a reduction in scale could work for you here too by decreasing the bridge width to 10 - 15 feet, limiting vehicle traffic to one direction at a time.The two lanes (16' between bridge walls, wide enough for two 6' wide oxcarts to carefully pass each other) were quite deliberate; I see this as the major trade route between the two nations. There is another fording place 50 miles upriver, but beyond that the Dioscuris is fed by the Great Freshwater Sea that runs eastward for hundreds of miles to the foothills of the Greater Divide. Trade to the west is impeded by the Lesser Divide and hostile Lowlanders.

One of the main duties of the gatehouse keepers is traffic control; if a wide-load wagon (larger than 6' across) is waiting to pass, an extra toll is levied and a flag goes up signalling the gatehouse opposite to halt all oncoming traffic. Since they have to wait until the incoming traffic already on the bridge arrives, such wagons usually travel in small convoys for convenience. This is only permitted at off-peak periods, and never at night for safety reasons.

EDIT: Changes to Tower.

--

Dalton "who has no clever tagline right now" Spence"

Eru
06-24-2007, 12:13 AM
Very cool - sounds like you've given this quite a bit of thought! I really respect that level of depth and verisimilitude in design work.

If you're interested in publishing the setting so that others might appreciate and even use it themselves, check out http://eruvian.com. The site, while still under development, is designed for world-builders to post settings and pieces of settings (locales, characters, items, spells, deities, vehicles, and so on) for other gamers to rate, review, and use. The component data is all structured, compartmentalized, and searchable to make for a consistent layout and navigation across multiple settings and also so that GMs can go there to find individual components for their own settings.

For example, you can go there and use the search engines to find a half-elf 5th-level rogue/3rd-level assassin, a map of a large town, or a magic amulet that automagically casts cure minor wounds on you if you fall below 0 hit points. The content is limited, and the site won't be promoted until its Beta launch in early July, but the existing features are fully functional and there is a small group of users actively building content every day. Given your attention to detail, any content you'd care to contribute would be most welcome!

As a member of the dev team, I'd love any feedback you might have to offer...you can reach me at contact@eruvian.com. Thanks and great map!

DaltonSpence
06-28-2007, 01:08 AM
Added chimneys and a flat roof to the tower. See above. (My birthday present to you. ;) )

--

Dalton "who just celebrated half a century on the planet" Spence

RobA
06-28-2007, 04:44 PM
I switched from Dungeon to Overland scale fills to fix that. The trick will be finding the correct Dungeon scale fills to match the Overland ones for the detail submaps. I'm also experimenting with sheet effects to define the edge of the Gorge. Currently I have a black overlay with an "Edge Fade, Inner" to produce an inner shadow and a white outer Glow to soften the edges. Not quite satisfied yet, but I'll keep working on it. Any ideas?

I don't know what can be done in the software. I pulled it into gimp briefly and did a quick touch up at 2/3 scale...

I'd make the gorge water darker than upstream and apply shading to the walls to make them darker as they get deeper.

I also added a cloud/mist of white to the downstream area, and streaks to show flow/slight turbulence upstream. These get heaver as the edge is approached, but that would really depend on the river :)

I don't know how much of that is useful, but HTH.

-Rob A>

Eru
06-28-2007, 07:30 PM
Hey, very nice...I really like the effects on the water. I'm going to try something similar with my map of Hydanham to create storm clouds....

Robbie
06-29-2007, 09:39 AM
This is a prime example of how important postwork can be when it comes to mapping software and the ART of cartography. Its one thing to create a great map in CC3 or DJ...its another to take that map and apply post-work to it to kinda "finish it off" I love it...

My only critique at this point then would be to adjust the levels or contrast of the image...its a bit too evenly colored or too pastelly to me...but I'm color blind...really, so feel free to ignore me or refute me on that regard.

DaltonSpence
07-01-2007, 12:48 AM
I switched from Dungeon to Overland scale fills to fix that. The trick will be finding the correct Dungeon scale fills to match the Overland ones for the detail submaps. I'm also experimenting with sheet effects to define the edge of the Gorge. Currently I have a black overlay with an "Edge Fade, Inner" to produce an inner shadow and a white outer Glow to soften the edges. Not quite satisfied yet, but I'll keep working on it. Any ideas?

I don't know what can be done in the software. I pulled it into gimp briefly and did a quick touch up at 2/3 scale...I'm not really that good with paint programs, although GIMP has been very useful to me for creating variant bitmap fills. I'm more of a numbers person, making vector graphics perfect for me.
I'd make the gorge water darker than upstream and apply shading to the walls to make them darker as they get deeper. Done! Looks much better. (See above.)
I also added a cloud/mist of white to the downstream area, and streaks to show flow/slight turbulence upstream. These get heaver as the edge is approached, but that would really depend on the river :)

I don't know how much of that is useful, but HTH.Looks great! I'm not really near the post-production stage yet (I'm planning to add some buildings to the island, maybe on the riverbanks too, perhaps some trees and side roads ...), but this is very much where I want to go with this. Now if I can only figure out how to do this with CC3 sheet effects. ;)

--

Dalton "who may have jumped the gun installing that latest upgrade" Spence

The Cartographist
12-21-2007, 06:49 AM
DaltonSpence -
Whatever became of this map? Did you finish it off? What about the actual castle plans?

Interested readers want to know!!

su_liam
12-27-2007, 01:14 AM
Does the Castle Ditch fall off as a smaller cascade at the south west end of the island. I saw a picture by F. Kenton Musgrave on the cover of a computer graphics magazine back in the 90s, I think it was called, "Exalted State." I really loved the island. Basically the island gradually rose up from the sea on one side(let's call it the "east") and then dropped off in a big rocky cliff on the "west." I always wanted to make a map based on that island(wanted to call it Promontory Island with Castle Promontorium on the west side. That would fit in beautifully with this idea.