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MysticMagellan
08-04-2009, 07:28 AM
This is a layout I'm working on in Illustrator. I've still got a way to go, but I'll discuss my approach.

I've curved the river a bit to match the larger map, and placed a bridge at the northern side of town that leads across to a scattered farmland and fishing villages. (It seems a few people are placing their bridges to the south, but I think that might make shipping more difficult, not to mention storms could pull away docks and sweep them into the bridge). GP's map only has one residential district, but I have added another smaller residential area on the southern side of Oten-jo assuming that residents often spread outward in all available directions from a city.

I have laid out most of the Downtown District in a grid, but have taken steps to make approaching the Castle difficult by forcing potential visitors to backtrack and cross small bridges over canal and river, then wind their way through the Samurai District and ascend a road alongside fortified walls to get to the Castle Gate.

The Castle and Samurai District are surrounded by a defensive wall, but I'll probably add another smaller wall around the Downtown and Merchant districts.

On a side note, I've tried to incorporate a scaled down version of GP's street layout for the chase through the city. You can even see the little cove on the far side of the river. In fact, I sort of built outwards from the chase area to give me a better feel for the city in general.

Gamerprinter
08-04-2009, 11:13 AM
Lookin' good so far, MM!

GP

Edit: I was hoping someone would use the approach of Tanaka's Challenge May Map to get some idea on what the map might look like - its looking well.

WidowMakers
08-07-2009, 12:00 AM
Fantastic start. Wonderful layout and good reasoning for it as well.

My brain is still trying to figure out what to do. I can only hope to get the puzzle pieces together. It has not helped that I have been completely swamped this entire week but hopefully next week adn I mess around.

Good Luck.

http://img364.imageshack.us/img364/8693/wmminibwpd0.png

MysticMagellan
08-14-2009, 05:45 AM
I was out of town for a few days, but now I'm back and throwing myself into this fully. Here are some buildings I'm drawing up in Illustrator. I've looked through dozens of images of Japanese buildings, temples, and castles and learned a lot about their architecture, and have attempted to make specific structures (such as the castle, temple, and gate buildings), as well as modular roofs to piece together throughout the city.

I've also done research on a few other interesting aspects of Japanese art and mapmaking, but I need to get back to work on the layout first, so I'm going to save those as surprises for later.

Gandwarf
08-14-2009, 05:53 AM
Nice work so far MM!
This is another thing what makes this challenge so hard: the Japanese architecture. It's the reason why I didn't take a stab at this challenge.

MysticMagellan
08-15-2009, 07:49 AM
Adding buildings to the map. The Merchant District is mostly done, but it's slow going because I'm drawing each building in Illustrator and they have a lot of detail (too much really for Illustrator to handle in mass, so I'm working in pieces). In addition, it's tough for most of the structure's I've designed to bend around corners that aren't 90 degrees, and to complicate matters most Japanese buildings are built with roofs that angle towards the street, not to the sides like a lot of western architecture.

### Latest WIP ###

Gandwarf
08-15-2009, 08:04 AM
This is starting to look very good MM. The castle especially looks great.

Ascension
08-15-2009, 08:21 AM
I agree, lookin nice.

MysticMagellan
08-18-2009, 05:36 AM
Here's another update for my version of the city. I'm about 70% done with building placement, which I figure is the hardest part of this project for me. I'm working at 11x14 at 300dpi, which allows me to put a lot of detail in the buildings and street layout. I'm spending a lot of time imagining the city at both street and rooftop level, and I've tried very hard to crunch buildings together within the walls of the city, but also place them so that each one can be entered from the correct angle. A ninja would love all the alleys, side streets, and rooftops to sneak around with.

Anyway, I only have a little left of the Downtown District to design, and once that's done the rest of the structures should be much easier. Then I'll paint up the river, trees, and terrain.

### Latest WIP ###

Jykke
08-18-2009, 06:05 AM
It's coming together quite nicely. I really like the clean look of the houses as it makes the map really stand out from the rest of the participants :) Can't wait to see how the terrain river etc come together in the final version. Good work!

ravells
08-18-2009, 09:12 AM
Looking really great MM! Are you planning to texture the ground any more or leave it looking more 'schematic'?

msa
08-18-2009, 09:18 AM
The buildings in this map are beautiful!

MysticMagellan
08-18-2009, 10:02 AM
I'm planning to texture the ground, but I'll probably keep it fairly subtle. Most of my maps start off sort of like schematic drawings that evolve in photoshop, and I usually try to stay away from using photo realistic textures for most of my maps, but some of that hesitancy is due to inexperience with applying them.

msa
08-18-2009, 11:33 AM
I'm planning to texture the ground, but I'll probably keep it fairly subtle. Most of my maps start off sort of like schematic drawings that evolve in photoshop, and I usually try to stay away from using photo realistic textures for most of my maps, but some of that hesitancy is due to inexperience with applying them.

I wouldn't necessarily advocate for photorealistic. It can look very impressive but for me it doesn't always mesh with the idea of a fantasy map: the "photo" detracts from the map and the "realistic" detracts from the fantasy. That is 100% personal opinion.

That said, I think some textures and bevels on the ground layer would do a lot to take this from a good map to an amazing one. To my eyes, the very detailed buildings clash with the very simple ground layer, and I would rather see them both at the same level of detail.

If I were you, I'd push myself to do some work that I'm not comfortable with to get some experience. That's the most valuable thing I've got out of my few challenges, in any case.

armoredgear7
08-18-2009, 12:44 PM
That said, I think some textures and bevels on the ground layer would do a lot to take this from a good map to an amazing one. To my eyes, the very detailed buildings clash with the very simple ground layer, and I would rather see them both at the same level of detail.

This is a good point. There's really no reason to leave the ground so stark, other than maybe time constraints. I think it should be a priority though.

Also, of all the styles in the competition, MysticMagellan's and my own are the most similar. I'm really looking forward to seeing how our two maps turn out compared to one another.

MysticMagellan
08-19-2009, 07:28 AM
Another update. Finished the Downtown District and the Samurai District, plus added a few walls to separate certain structures. Next I'll fill out the Residential and Rural areas outside the walls, and after that I'll get down to the terrain, which I didn't intend to leave looking as is. I tend to make a layout then design in sections, and often the final result is far from the look of the layout. My last entry for the Home Away from Home challenge (a Druid's Tree) is an example, though I think I went a little too far with it.

### Latest WIP ###

Ascension
08-19-2009, 05:12 PM
This looks great, man. I love your daimyo compound.

ravells
08-19-2009, 07:04 PM
This is utterly gorgeous. I love the little gate-houses that you have on some of the buildings. I hope you don't texture it too much, I really like the style as it is. Maybe some noise for the ground if that. There's just so much interest on the buildings and the city layout looks realistic too.

Fab work.

MysticMagellan
08-19-2009, 07:48 PM
Thanks for the encouragement. I am planning on a bit of landscape texturing as well as a subtle cobblestone effect for the main roads and a muddy look for the rural paths. I'm still toying with ideas for the farmlands, and I think I'll create some rough stone walls around some of them, specifically the rice paddies, and convert a few of the others into planted rows or groves. But first I've got to finish all the structure placement, which should be quick now that I can drop them a little more randomly beyond the walls of the inner city.

MysticMagellan
08-22-2009, 08:31 AM
Another update. Too exhausted to say much about it. Going to play around with the fields and ground, maybe add a couple ponds to individual homes, then create a legend.

On a side note, I can't remember if I said so, but these posts are at half resolution. I'll post the final at full.

### Latest WIP ###

armoredgear7
08-22-2009, 01:49 PM
Very impressive! I'm still hoping I can hit a similar level of detail by the deadline...

Also, I noticed that a couple of farmhouses in the bottom left corner of the map that appear to have their shadows facing the wrong way.

Jykke
08-22-2009, 03:16 PM
That is just AWESOME, goddamnit! xD I like it a lot!

Gandwarf
08-22-2009, 03:53 PM
Very, very nice. This is going to be a difficult vote I think.

MysticMagellan
08-22-2009, 07:43 PM
Good catch on the farmhouses. I just noticed another on the east bank. I need to add a few more structures next to the road on the west side of the river bridge and I'll fix those then.

MysticMagellan
08-23-2009, 08:02 AM
I'm very close to being finished here. I've been pondering a legend, but I noticed that the map should be without labels, correct? What about a border?

### Latest WIP ###

Gandwarf
08-23-2009, 08:24 AM
Stunning, really!

Jykke
08-23-2009, 08:36 AM
Yeah, looks stunning! I'm glad I didn't participate this month.. so many good entries!

Coyotemax
08-23-2009, 11:12 AM
dang, that's nice.

msa
08-23-2009, 06:09 PM
I really like the pink cherry trees scattered through the map. Just overall really nice work.

Ghostman
08-24-2009, 08:02 AM
Other than the stark red coloring of the bridges, this map looks flawless. There is a strong contrast between the water, the fields, the trees and the buildings that gives it a lively feel. Add a good border and you'll have a fine candidate for winning the contest.

MysticMagellan
08-24-2009, 08:56 PM
I think I'm pretty much done. I've added a few trees, plus a few more blooming cherry trees, and added a couple fine details, such as stone paths in the city garden and castle, plus sand gardens next to the river temple and the castle temple (look closely and you can see rings in the sand).

Prior posts have been at 50% size. This one is at 80%.

### Latest WIP ###

Ascension
08-24-2009, 09:06 PM
Knowing the amount of time it takes to put in all of these details I am really hard pressed to pick a fave. Looks great.

Coyotemax
08-24-2009, 09:53 PM
Oh that is so cool! I love the zen garden, thanks for pointint it out, i'd missed it :)

Ghostman
08-25-2009, 06:12 AM
The waves on water near the banks of the river are another nice detail.

Immolate
08-26-2009, 05:47 PM
Great map MM, rep to you.