View Full Version : The Capital

08-11-2009, 12:15 PM
As with all my attempts this will be slow going but I'll get there :)

Iíve still been working away on my islands for the RPGBN co-op setting and Iím currently at the point where Iím beginning to describe the capital of the my island nation and Iíve gone as far as broad statements can go without having something drawn up that I can use as a map for the city. Iíve been having a great deal of trouble getting it drawn up at the scale that I want it as my PC just canít handle the file sizes and the tutorials Iíve been following are all for much smaller scales.

Iíve came to realise though that my original ideas for the city were too grand. I originally had a huge city 2-3 miles across and it would take forever and a day to map that out but the limits placed on me by my computer have actually made me realise that a) my nation could never support a city that size and b) if I cut up the land into blocks my PC can handle it far easier. Yet again Iíll be following a tutorial by Ascension but Iím taking a lot of hints from Coyotemax who put his own slant on the tutorial.

The as yet un-named city is the capital of The Isles (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=6115&highlight=isles). Each island has their own ruling family and the King is drawn from the most powerful family. For many years the seat of government moved around the islands depending on who ruled the roost at that particular moment and this was fine until one year a neighbouring nation declared war and sacked the Kings island and kidnapped him looking for a ransom. The Islanders rose to the challenge and rescued their King but at was at this point that they decided a dedicated stronghold built to withstand any attack was needed.

First phase
Capital situated on a promontory in a bay whoís entrance can easily be defended. The land behind the castle is mostly deep bog preventing all but the most tenacious/foolhardy attacker attempting an overland assault. Keep, barracks, religious, diplomatic and council wards built and surrounded by wooden palisade. Only entrance to the palliated area is via small harbour beside the Keep. Siege weapons hidden at mouth of bay with Signal towers High up on cliff tops.

Second Phase
Wooden palisade upgraded to stone wall and gatehouse built to allow access to the the market and encampment that grew up around castle. Additional larger barracks added at this point and the harbour increased in size to accommodate military ships.

Third Phase
Shipyard built and market harbour built to increase rapid growth of market. Dedicated crafters quarter set up. Wooden palisade built around encampment and some permanent buildings appear within these walls. Mostly innís and taverns at first but as the crafters became more settled smiths and other heavy industrial crafts build more permanent premises.

Fourth Phase
Encampment is now 80%+ permanent structures. Land outside of palisades gradually converted to agricultural land. The city is still unable to be self sufficient and has to ship most of itís food in from other towns and islands.

Fifth Phase Ė Current.
Market Harbour increased in size and coastal defences upgraded to safeguard the entrance to the city. Land surrounding city can now support the basic needs of the people but all luxury goods and foodstuffs still need to be brought in from outside.

This is going to be time consuming and most likely tedious at times but it is the heart of my small part of the setting and so it needs completing before I move on to the other islands.

08-11-2009, 12:45 PM
How tightly packed is the barracks going to be? It seems kinda big comparatively.

Or perhaps this city is much smaller than I think it's going to be. . .

08-11-2009, 12:55 PM
The city is not one that grew up with a civilian population although one did come along afterwards. It was the new seat of government and they weren't going to see it sacked again so they made sure there would be a few troops about.

I should also point out that it is also the centre of the nations navy and as such the training point for all new troops as well as holding the cities Garrison. The barracks within the walls house the King's personal guards

The city is roughly 1 mile across at it's widest point

08-11-2009, 01:04 PM
Ok, I can wrap my head around that just fine.

08-11-2009, 01:16 PM
I like the way this is heading. And thanks for the mention
*feels honoured, thank you!*

it'll be interesting to see how the history aspect affects your city.

Actually I was looking a bit closer at the areas in your layout and got to thinking (uh oh)
The keep itself may be a little close to the water, close enough for a naval bombardment of sorts. Myself, i would put the diplomats over there - if someone came in and started bombarding, that area would likely get hit first. This opens the likelihood of involving other nations on your side of the conflict since their ambassadors were the ones attacked first :)

Of course that may not work as well if the diplomatic envoys came later on in the history, as the keep would be heavily established by then, but I see you have them listed in phase one :)

08-11-2009, 02:37 PM
The phases/generation thing is a neat idea to flesh out a city. Will have to use that in the future as well.

Can't wait to see the next WIP :)

08-12-2009, 08:31 AM
This was quickly thrown together over lunch to get a sense of scale. I seem to have got things about right now. I should be looking at 1 pixel is 1 foot I hope which makes teh wider roads about 30 feet wide and the smaller roads 15 feet wide.

I have lots of tweaks to do on the coastline and the roads aren't in their final position but it's nice to see roughly where they will go.

As for how the history will effect the build I'm aiming to draw each section of the city as it's built in the hope that you'll be able to tell that the wooden palisade outside the main stone walls was built at a later date etc. Obviously I wouldn't double up my work by drawing the original wooden palisade around the keep although some sections within the stone walled area might retain the original walls.

I'm also wondering if swapping the poor folk and the middle class folk around is a good idea. Originally I had the poor folk in the low level pop centre but they will probably be working in the market and so would have to travel daily through the barracks which doesn't feel right. If I treat it like The Sims and have the low level pop centre being where the rich folk live then it might work a bit better. Anyway..one of many things to think about.

As I say...quick run through of the tutorial to get things moving and I'll get stuck into the rest as well as the tweaks as and when I can. As a side note the image attached is half the size of the original as I couldn't get it to save as a jpeg otherwise (kept getting scratch disc errors).

08-12-2009, 11:48 AM
You could even put in a separate walk, around the barracks if you really wanted to keep people segregated. That would certainly give it a feel of a harsh military town.

How easy is it for people to come and go between the sections?

Can anyone go through the barracks and into the keep, or are we looking at strict inspections, possibly paperwork at each gate/

08-12-2009, 12:43 PM
If your not a citizen of The Isles your not leaving the market/crafting area. If you've not got an invite your not getting into the stone walled section at all no matter your nationality.

The original idea was everything had to go through the barracks to go anywhere but im not sure that would be practical on a day to day basis for the general populous whne it means they need paperwork and checks just to go get their gorceries. I'm thinking linking up the low pop/med pop/crafters section may work around that.

08-12-2009, 01:32 PM
I wouldn't but of course its up to you. I'll make my case anyway.

If it's difficult to move through the barracks, than the more desirable place to live is where you currently have the middle pop. Even if it's technically easier for the middle pop to get through the barracks, people are less likely to do whats good for greater efficiency and more likely to shorten their daily walks if they can afford to do so.

Where you have the mid pop now is much closer to their desired daily locations. Even if it started as the poor area of the city it would naturally flip over time unless their was something equally as desirable about the further area of the city.

What I would instead do is put a road between the mid pop area and the barracks, with the wooden palisade on both sides. I'd make it just big enough for a wagon to travel on either side. This would make an excellent position of defense.

I would then probably remove the gate between the barracks and the low pop area completely so that the peasants have to go through the run to get to the barracks and beyond. This makes it a little harder for the militia to be deployed to that area, but it's only the peasants after all.

You could keep the middle gate, in the mid pop section, and simply make the mid pop people move through the run briefly, or go around, to get to the barracks, or if you wanted something more exclusive you could use a little foot bridge, like when you need to cross train tracks.

Theres a lot of suggestion there. Feel free to pick and choose what you like, or ignore it completely. Considering the amount of though I just gave it, I imagine it will end up in one of my designs anyway.

08-12-2009, 04:58 PM
After rereading some of the background I have for this nation I'm not sure the total lockdown idea is the way to go. During peacetime they have a standing army of around 20% but when war comes it raises to around 60%. Almost every able bodied man and woman is included in the war effort somehow and as such are technically part of the army/navy. They wouldn't need papers to move through the barracks. It's just not ideal on a practical front to have people moving back and forth through what is the capitals garrisons living and training space.

The market/crafting section will still be closed off though to prevent foreigners getting through uninvited.

The wooden palisades around the outer sections are multipurpose in that they divide the city up into sections but they are also defensible during a siege rather than for use to control the populous.

08-13-2009, 08:29 AM
Right I've decided that every day that I do something on the map I'll post up a pick.

Today's efforts have been the product of my lunch break at work. Not much more has happened on the map but I've blocked in the stone walls and a very rough keep and gatehouse. I'm not happy with the look of the stone as it seems too clean and light but as I say it's not the final product. The keep looks nothing like how I imagine it ending up but it's something to go on with.

Hopefully tonight I'll get some time and I can block off the inner sections and get dummy buildings down to see how things fit together. Once that's done I'll maybe see about getting the military harbour started as well.

08-13-2009, 08:40 AM
I love the way this is shaping up, it's looking very promising.

(and not just because the walls look so familiar, heh)

Moving the main cross street outside of the barracks was probably a good idea, your logic is sound :)

08-13-2009, 08:50 AM
Hey it's a quick and easy way to get the walls done :)

The reading of the tutorial, working out that I'd left my travel mouse at home, getting my laptop set up on my busy desk, fiddling with my trackpad to get the walls etc drawn all whilst eating my black bean chilli wrap took a grand total of 30 minutes.

God help me when I get my WoW account back. I'll never get this finished at this rate!

08-13-2009, 08:54 AM
Could have been worse.. your travel mouse could have been travelling withoout you instead of being at home :)

Sounds like you had a hectic lunch :) I started off working with the touchpad on my laptop with phoitoshop, but wasn't long before I swapped back to the mouse. I can work ok, but I definitely need both hands, I can't imagine trying to eat while drawing on the touchpad :)

08-13-2009, 09:19 AM
'Freehand' drawing is completely out. Thats why I was working on the walls as although time consuming it's easy enough to mess about with paths for as long as is needed before stroking them.

One handed trackpad use is easy. Just gets a little complicated when I'm trying to quickly load a selection from another layer or anything that requires a keyboard shortcut as well as mouse movements.

08-14-2009, 04:52 AM
This is going to be an impressive map if you find the resolve to finish it. Lots of empty space to fill :)

08-14-2009, 08:43 AM
Not much change from the last one but I did promise a new post whenever I get something done on the map ;)

I've sectioned off the areas within the stone walls/battlements and started fleshing out the religious area. I should point out that the people's religious beliefs are based around the druidic system and so the area only has one building and all the various alters and worship areas are within the wooded area. The building itself is only used for accommodation of the druids in residence at the capital.

I forgot to tidy up around the wooded area though and drop it below the wall layer. Easy enough to fix though. Not happy with how dark the woods are either but something to work on and the house will be worked on as I'm not entirely sure how I want the roof to look at the moment. As before it's all about the scale and placement of things at the moment.

08-14-2009, 11:39 AM
Oooo. Heavy military community with druidic practices, neat.

06-12-2011, 09:41 AM
After two years I'm finally getting a chance to get back into this!

06-12-2011, 11:11 AM
OK...Taking my redundancy and setting up a business with my wife kind of killed off any and all free time I've had over the last two years but I'm back.

I've been having a few thoughts over the placement of housing and I'm going to change a few things about.

So far today I've added in the council's living/admin quarters, the diplomatic quarters and started on the inner barracks.
I think that will do for this afternoon. Took me forever to find the .psd files after all this time!


06-13-2011, 08:46 AM
OK. I'm stuck.

I'm trying to come up with a quick way to make lots of acceptable low cost housing. With the celtic feel I'm trying to get I figured long houses and round houses would be relatively easy but I'm struggling to get anything close to how I want it.

So far I've tried scattering a round paintbrush about and then throwing a few basic styles at it but it's too uniform even if I stick some size jitter on there. What ive settled on is just to hand drawn 'blobs', throw the styles at it and then surround them with a mud path. I'm trying to emulate the style of housing and closeness of buildings from the attached photos but I don't think I'm doing them justice.

Anyone have any thoughts or advice?

06-13-2011, 02:09 PM
Well, I wish I could help, but I'm a GIMP user myself, and not really all that familiar with PS. However, it looks like what you are going are thatched huts. Have you had a look at this thread (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?1932-Award-Winner-Thatching-for-dummies...&highlight=Thatch) yet? I don't know, it might prove useful to you. Looking great so far BTW!


06-13-2011, 03:44 PM
First, and most important, is that you need more yellow in your roofs...too green. Second, you could try using my thatch brush (link in sig) to get more lines than a chisel bevel will get you. Use the marquee tool, click inside one house to create a selection, click the path tab and turn the selection into a path, stroke the path with the thatch brush, still on the path tab, turn the path back into a selection, select - inverse, hit the delete key to remove thatch lines from outside of the house. Move on to the next house. A little time consuming to do hundreds of houses but it's the best I've got right now. A faster version, but awkward looking and only on round huts, is to use a gradient overlay. Set the style to angle, click on the gradient to edit it - on the pop up where it says "solid" change that to "noise"; where it says "roughness" change that to 100%; where it says "color model" change that to LAB, on the bottom 2 sliders drag the little triangles to the middle to make the gradient black and white. You can hit the randomize button a few times to get something that you like. The more lines that you have in the gradient the less it looks like a tent. Now you can add your color and pattern overlays. Here's a screenie to show what just layer styles can do on a 300-pixel dot.

06-13-2011, 05:18 PM
I'd completely forgotten about the colour. It was carried over from another layer and I'd never got around to changing it :)
Not sure about it being quite that yellow though. Most thatched houses I've seen have been nearer to brown that yellow.

I'm trying to have thatched roofs that are 'pillowy' if thats a word. I like your path and brush method but I think it might be a bit much work until I work out how I want to place everything.
I've noticed that thatched roofs tend to only show the ends of the stalks rather than the full length so I gave this a try.
Pattern overly with the standard grass pattern. Mode set to darken and opacity at around 50%
Still not as good as yours but for a quick result I kind of like it.

06-14-2011, 04:38 PM
Not too bad. For quickness, it'll work.