View Full Version : Fogdown - Redux

07-27-2009, 03:11 PM
Woah, long time no post...

So, I was brainstorming some ideas for converting my Fogdown D&D 3.5e game to the new Eberron 4e rules and to help facilitate that, I thought I would give the ol' Fogdown map a go again. I was never really happy with some of the things in the last map, so here is my chance to fix it up, and to hear everyone's great suggestions!

I started to lay the bases for the buildings and the land mass, using a tweaked version of Ascension's continent building tutorial, as well as some experiments along the lines of the Lazy Man's City builder tutorial.

Currently, I'm going around the edges and "breaking up" some of the building clusters (like the top part). The idea is that the outskirts are maze-like shanty towns and tenements. Closer to the center, the building have a little more order and represent more of the commercial and industrial centers. Finally, on the largest buildings are immense towers that loom over the city.

Let me know what you think!

07-27-2009, 03:19 PM
Looks like a real and large city to me :)

I'm excited you are going to another version. You are breaking the city up in multiple islands I think?

07-27-2009, 03:32 PM
Yeah, the last map didn't have enough bridges for cool fight scenes, so thought I'd breakup the island a little. :)

Also, since Eberron is a little steam-punky, i like the idea of races to opening draw bridges, leaps to barges passing underneath and fights on ferryboats.

Steel General
07-27-2009, 03:59 PM
Sounds like a neat idea, looking forward to seeing the finished product.

07-27-2009, 04:39 PM
Wow, I put Fogdown in my 'Creation and depiction' tutorial as an example of great city building....so wonderful if you're going to improve it even further.

Your base is the kind of base that I use for the lazyman's city, but check this thread out. (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=6296)

Alfar has kindly made a 'context free' program which will make some interesting shaped buildings to break up the monotony of the voronoi / mosaic shapes, which I think will work excellently at this scale.

Please post lots of WIPs Redstar. My mapmaking is on hiatus while I'm waiting for a new computer to arrive (Thursday...hurrah!) and I'll be making a city quite closely aligned to the same principles you're using for Fogdown redux. I made a start here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=6228) until my computer packed in...so I'd love to compare notes as I/we progress in our work.

All the best


07-27-2009, 05:00 PM

That's funny, it was your commissioned piece that got me thinking of ways to redo the Fogdown map! I love this site... :) I saw the deception pdf just the other day, I'm glad Fogdown could be used to help other folks out! I'm also glad you give fair warning for the "close up maps", noting that it can take days. I hoping the Lazy Man technique can let me focus more on details and not on layouts. There is a strange zen to drawing squares though...

That context free render script looks like it can come in handy. I'll be sure to post plenty o' WIPs as I go along -- partly to sedate your mapping fix, partly to hear what folks think :P

07-27-2009, 05:03 PM
Stop talking and start posting WIPs!
Haha, just kidding of course. But I am kinda excited. Loved the first map and I am a sucker for town maps.

07-28-2009, 05:47 PM
Worked on the map a little today...
- I got impatient and started experimenting with the textures. I'm not sure if the water is exactly what I'm going for. The ground I also have mixed feelings about. The buildings I like and may add a few more different textures to add some variation.
- I also need to add the "unique" buildings
- Need to mess around with the road texture a little more to get more sand in there

07-28-2009, 06:19 PM
I found a way to make variated colours on the buildings using (I think) clouds with strong colours and then the posterize filters...you end up with each bulding having about four colours or so on it and then you wand/fill them to colours of your choice....I'd have to play around a bit to remember it properly tho'

It's looking really good!

07-29-2009, 01:43 AM
That is looking really SWEEEEET

Steel General
07-29-2009, 07:41 AM
that is looking really sweeeeet

He Lives!!! :D

07-29-2009, 12:03 PM
He Lives!!! :D

Nice! :P

@ravells - Thanks for the tip! I'll mess around with the posterization and see if I can't get some different colors in there.

07-29-2009, 02:36 PM
He Lives!!! :D

I find it more likely a spambot took over his account :P

07-29-2009, 04:47 PM
Next up --

- Still can't take myself away from texturizing, so I added water, mountains, building finishes.
- Started to add special buildings. I tried experimenting with posterization, but it still needs more work. My idea is that each the largest building will be more unique, sort of like how the Empire State is different from the Woolworth building , which is different from the Chrysler building. These huge towers will hold the major houses and political centers.
- Still need to experiment with the colors more, I want to capture a more lifeless, smokey, stinking city, not a water color painting :)

Thoughts? Suggestions?

07-29-2009, 04:52 PM
Color sets the mood so I would gray up that ocean to reinforce what you're trying to convey and the blues in the ocean kind of counter that. Murky colors = murky emotions. I think the yellows around the beaches are too bright as well. I try to think murky, dark and brooding thoughts when making something to look that way (which is like 90% of what I do :) ). I stay away from bright happy colors at all costs. Eh, anyway, my two cents.

07-29-2009, 05:58 PM
and break up the mosaic buildings with the occasional odd shaped one.

07-29-2009, 05:58 PM
I like the rough areas (with no housing) a lot. The water is murky enough, but not sure if I like it. The houses look really orderly and clean, so you definitely need to grunge it up a bit :)

Oh, and definitely what Ravells said!

07-30-2009, 11:00 AM
I couldn't sleep last night, so I spent some time working on the textures and colors. The posterization worked great once I started to tweak how the it layered with other textures. Each "group" of like sized buildings where colored with a black and white cloud render, then a pattern overlay was applied to them with an overlay layer style, then the same group of buildings have a layer of posterized colored clouds on top as an overlay layer.

- Added docks. Need to make them more jagged/randomized
- Added new water... i like its mood better ;)
- Tweaked mountains to give them a sharper look
- Need to add more special buildings to break up mosaic pattern
- Need to add details to special buildings
- Need to add landmarks (prison, junk yard, cemetery, arcane engineering school)


07-30-2009, 05:17 PM
Bored at work... ah, the joys of a G5.

- Added more "special buildings" to cut down on the patterns.
- Added the lighthouse
- Added the "junk" bay
- Tweaked water... considering adding fog

07-30-2009, 05:22 PM
That water is juicy! Love that! I just used two, count 'em TWO, exclamation points...I never use exclamation points. Everything else looks good too so far. Once this gets wrapped up you can count on some rep from me.

07-30-2009, 09:13 PM
I'm no expert here, but I think the water remains too strong a feature. I think it looks very nice, but that is also the problem, it sorta distracts from the city layout itself too much still, which is the best bit. It's a very nice map though!

07-31-2009, 01:44 PM
@Ascension - Oh that makes me happy. I've always loved the waters you've done. They are always very vibrant, but full of ominous darkness -- the exact feeling i was hoping to capture with this map.

@Larb - I appreciate the feedback! Though I disagree about the water: see above :D

Well, I think we are nearing the end...
- Tweaked mountains more to give them an even sharper look.
- Everything is grudged up - areas with smaller buildings (i.e. the poor areas) are darker and dirty, while places with taller/larger buildings I tried to make slightly cleaner.
- Added smoke to the industrial area
- Added the flooded cemetery
- Added even more special buidlings: do folks think I've added enough? Any area specifically that need to be broken up more?

07-31-2009, 01:54 PM
Well, you have certainly grunged up stuff. Nice!

The biggest problem for me is the mosaic look of the houses. Part of the problem is that most of the houses don't share walls. At the moment to me the mosaic look kinda ruins the image of a living, breathing city... my best advice: try pushing houses closes together, so they share walls.

Love what you did to the mountains.

07-31-2009, 04:18 PM
Personally, I love the separated houses. If I knew for sure that back in the year 1100 that people built houses connected then I'd do mine that way but I just can't force myself to believe that people believed in such things way back then...especially in such a stratified society where everyone had their place and the nobility had the possessions. We see all of these old cities like Rome and Milan and we see the Google shots of the buildings but, for me, they look Renaissance and not medieval. It's a philosophical difference and I know that I'm in the minority...I just accept that. Know that I'm on your side and will carry the banner of separated houses along with you :)

07-31-2009, 05:32 PM
Let the houses stand free then :D
We are creating fantasy maps anyway, so we can take liberties.

Still, I l think lots of houses sharing walls makes a more organic, realistic looking city.

Steel General
08-01-2009, 08:42 AM
Stop the oppression of FREE STANDING HOUSES!

(I know I'm silly, but sometimes I just can't help it)

08-01-2009, 06:44 PM
I also like (more or less) free standing houses. In the poorer, dirty areas like on the top tip and bottom tip, I placed two sets of "separated" houses on top of one another to create the feel that the area is very crowded. Does that satisfy those who are opposed to free houses... *cough* Gandwarf *cough*? ;)

08-01-2009, 07:04 PM
I also like (more or less) free standing houses. In the poorer, dirty areas like on the top tip and bottom tip, I placed two sets of "separated" houses on top of one another to create the feel that the area is very crowded. Does that satisfy those who are opposed to free houses... *cough* Gandwarf *cough*? ;)

It's your map, I guess it will have to do ;)
Although the houses look a bit like a mosaic I still very much like the map.

08-01-2009, 07:39 PM
I like the colors of the buildings, large and small but I do not like the shaded look to the buildings at all. Looks like polished pebbles embedded in rock. Don't get me wrong, I really like the tone and color of the map, its great, but the buildings, in my opinion, detract from it, their layout is good, good pattern and believable... its just those roofs that bother me.

08-01-2009, 09:42 PM
I see what you're getting at and it because of the bevel effect...everything points to the middle creating a hipped roof (has a center point and all sides slope down) instead of a gabled roof (has a center line running the length of the house and two sides slope down). We have yet to find an effective way of creating gabled roofs quickly...they take a load of time to create and rotate one by one. I found this link to maybe clarify:


08-02-2009, 10:21 PM

Bob Villa meets fantasy cartography :)

Maybe if I turn down the bevel, it might help to make them less "polished rock" look.

08-02-2009, 10:30 PM
I do two things to try to ameliorate that look:
1. change the white highlight mode to soft light and lower the opacity if need be or
2. lower the depth of the bevel, thus reducing the effect of both highlight and shadow.
3. you could also just change the colors of the highlight and shadow to something else but i only do that for forests

08-03-2009, 02:45 AM
It never occured to me to change the blend layer of the white highlight, I always change the colour of it to a slightly lighter shade of the base colour, always, no matter what I'm bevelling it looks ten times better than the white version.

Steel General
08-03-2009, 06:35 AM
Bob Villa meets fantasy cartography :)

Great, all we need now are him hosting episodes of "This Old Map" on PBS. :D

Which will then sprout episodes of "The New Yankee Cartographer Shop" with Norm Abrams :)

08-03-2009, 11:19 AM
@Steel General - Ha! This old map would rock :)

@Ascension - Thanks for the tip. I altered the highligh mode, and I think it brings it down a notch. I'm hesitant to make it too light, as I do want the buildings to "pop". What do you think?

- Most of them are subtle - added fog, added name plate (might tweak this some), tweaked building highlights, tweaked mountains (again), added some special landmarks, tried to add more "grunge" to city centers.

Almost there... must... stop... tweaking...

08-03-2009, 11:34 AM
Great update, looking much better :)

08-03-2009, 12:35 PM
Looking great Redstar! My new copy of photoshop hasn't arrived yet, I'm going to make a start on mine from scratch with Serif photoplus and I'll see how I go.

Thanks for showing the way!



08-03-2009, 03:25 PM
I'd say put a really nice frame on it and hang it in a gallery.