View Full Version : *** August 2009 Challenge Voting - Create a city map for Kaidan ***

08-27-2009, 03:56 PM

view the thumbnails: August 2009 Thumbnails (http://www.cartographersguild.com/utilities/Thumbs/Html/Challengers_Aug09.htm)

(the thumbnails page also shows maps that weren't finished - I haven't included those maps in the voting)

Summary of the rules for this month's challenge:

August '09 Sponsored Mapping Challenge - Create a City Map of Oten-jo, for Kaidan: a Japanese Ghost Story setting.

Sponsor: "Gamerprinter", Gamer Printshop & Dementia 5 Publishing House

Challenge: Create a City Map of approx. 3500 people, which is roughly 500 homes, 100 shops, 3 temples, 1 shrine park, 1 castle within city walls, wharfage on the west bank of a river.

You are free to choose your own style, use any software, even hand-drawn work.

References: 3 sets of images offer views found in feudal Japanese cities, please review all of them as each shows a different aspect of a city. Note the closeness of buildings and the narrow streets, alleys often have small gates limiting access.


Tanaka's challenge (mentioned in the reference material):

Although as the Nagasaki map shows Japanese systems use a grid format for street layout, but also castle towns are a bit maze like to prevent direct access to the castle from the city gate.

Good voting everyone and don't forget to rep the work you liked!

08-27-2009, 04:00 PM
Ow ow ow! I'm going to have to sleep on this one...only one choice...arrrgh!

08-27-2009, 04:00 PM
Well, since I am the sponsor of this challenge, I am abstaining from voting this month as that wouldn't be fair, but I did REP everyone except for CoyoteMax and Ascension, whom I recently REPped for other recent works - but I'll catch up to those two eventually.

Great entries from everyone, I am not envious of the voting, as this will be one of the toughest votes with so much good work this month.

Good luck!


08-27-2009, 04:06 PM
The quality of the zeven entries is insane... it's so hard to pick one!
I almost wanted to include the entries of the people that dropped out, so we could make 2 choices...

08-27-2009, 04:07 PM
I'm seriously thinking of wimping out, voting for nobody and repping everybody.

08-27-2009, 04:08 PM
p.s. Gand did you update the thumbnailscraper?

08-27-2009, 04:09 PM
[edited out to hide my stupidity]

Also, I am not voting today. It's too hard.

08-27-2009, 04:10 PM
Ehhh... scrap that. Updating is just clicking a link. I did that just now. Latest WIP's should now be visible.

08-27-2009, 04:11 PM
I've looked at them all again really carefully and I'm making a pure emotive decision. Coyotemax. I'm not even going into why...technically they were all superlatative but Coyote's in the end, got me in the gut.

Congratulations everybody on what I think is the hardest and most worked for challenge yet. I've repped everyone I could. Great challenge you lot and very well done everybody.

08-27-2009, 04:18 PM
I took the plunge... no point in delaying it. I voted for MysticMagellan. I liked all the entries, but I liked the colors in his map best. Very crisp, very clear. Very nice :)
This was really, really hard... all the entries were great. Repped everyone!

08-27-2009, 04:23 PM
I placed my vote for Ascension, although there were several worthy entries. Ascension is my mentor and his mastery of style and color in Photoshop is an inspiration. I learn things every time I look at one of his maps.

I dare say I have never seen a challenge here that had so many really good entries. I have rep'd everyone who finished simply because they flat out deserved it. Good job guys!

Steel General
08-27-2009, 04:45 PM
Well after an hour or so of 'chewing on it' I voted for ArmoredGear7 - though I easily could've voted for anyone else (except myself).

Congrats to all who finished! :)

08-27-2009, 05:08 PM
I voted by putting everyone in a bracket like college basketball march madness. Top-down on one side, artsy on the other. CM has the most authentic looking and beautiful image but RJ's is more "mappy"...but just barely. RJ to the semi-finals. SG and Imm were good but there was just something missing that was present with AG7 and MM...polish. Imm is getting closer and will win one of these soon, I'll have to seed him higher for the next march madness :) MM's is more of a traditional D&D style that I would see in any adventure (and that's a good thing) but AG7's seems to keep drawing my eye because of its clarity...AG7 to the semis. So I had AG7 and RJ for the crown and in that battle I had to pick the most polished and professional one...AG7 for the win. Congrats man :)

08-27-2009, 05:24 PM
This is a really, really tough choice for me.

Usually, I know what I like.
I just put all the pieces in question next to each other and decide.
Which I did... but this is a tough one nonetheless.

But decisions have to be made, so I went with Armoredgear.

It was no easy descision. Very good entries all around.

I also deeply respect the amount of work that went into this challenge. The added up work hours of all the pieces must be insane.

08-27-2009, 05:50 PM
Yeah tough with one vote. I went with AG too because I liked the natural feel of layout and the mix up of buildings. MM's one had that characteristic too but the buildings were mostly at 90 deg so that was a near miss this time. I really liked the artsy one of CM. I think that sort of style fits the task better than the rest and that made it a close contender too. Ascensions, Steels and Immolates maps all looked great but I thought that it was just too uniform in places. I know its tough changing stamps on a huge estate but it needs it a bit. RJs map looked good but I think a city map needs a lot of time which is a scare resource really and I knew I would not have been able to muster enough to make even a paltry attempt so well done to all.

08-27-2009, 06:04 PM
Heh. I considered canting the city about 20 degrees about a week ago, but decided not to. Live and learn.

08-27-2009, 06:04 PM
RR: It's funny but I never talked about the methodology I used on my buildings, which really does have everything to do with the "look" of the map. I didn't really think about it until you mentioned "stamps", which I assume is a reference to the use of brushes or other means to put a pre-designed structure in place.

The method I used was one suggested by Butch Curry who you should all be familiar with if you use Photoshop. I used the line tool at varying widths from about six pixels to well over a hundred. That's all my buildings were is lines with layer affects added on. For your gee whiz consumption.

08-27-2009, 09:50 PM
In the end, I had to take all the artistic elements out of the equation, they are all great renditions. There are just so many things that make each map great on their own. I broke it down into smaller questions - which one looked most maplike, which one could I see being printed out as a supplement in an adventure, which one is best for labelling, and so on. It kept being too hard to decide.. finally what I boiled it down to was this - which one gives the best following of existing material (tanaka's challenge). And to be honest, mysticmagellan took that one with a clear lead in my opinion - so after 20 mins of casting around for something to say "that one has better elements" I finally found something, so goes my vote.

Well done to all, and certainly thanks for the inspiration and advice (and votes, even!) that got my own map to where it is. I'll Rep where I can, and hopefully I can get to everyone this time around :)

Dang, this was fun!

08-27-2009, 10:58 PM
Watching MysticMagellan finish before I had done most of my Photoshop work was tough. In my mind's eye, what I originally intended to make was very close to what MM made; that probably shows in the style similarity in our results. It was tough to work around my original plan to come up with something different.

MM's map set the bar for me and it was a real incentive to work really hard to develop my own solution. Anybody that can make a map that beautiful and get me working hard gets my vote! (and some rep too)

08-28-2009, 02:19 AM
I love Asian maps! And I also very much enjoy city maps (still have to create my first one). All finished entries are of excellent quality. So, as everybody else, I had a tough time picking my personal winner. In the end, I went for MysticMagellan. Armoredgear7's map looks a bit more professional and the hills on the left side of the map are a fantastic addition. However, MysticMagellan's map triggers my inspiration and makes me want to walk through the streets of Oten'jo. To me, the various gardens, the buildings which I assume are temples and the city's fortress make the difference. But that's probably a matter of personal preference :)

08-28-2009, 05:55 AM
There were very good maps posted on the challenge this month. GamePrinter must be very satisfied with the overall quality.

On my part, the voting was somewhat a duel between armoredgear7 and MysticMagellan. Both have very good looking maps, with different kind of strong & weak points (well, I shoudn't call them weak points, but you get the picture..:)).

armoredgear7's map:
+Layout of the city
+base ground texture
+natural shapes
-use of space (forest on the left) and cropping of the area
-washed out color palette (especially the buildings look too pale to my taste, ground could have used darker tones)
-scaling of the roof models, scaling of textures

MysticMagellan's map:
+Layout of the city
+Vivid color palette
+Use of space and perfect cropping of the map
+Small details
+/-textures (there were very good textures on this map (damn, I just loved those roof textures), but also some that fell in the "needs some work" -category)
-Unnatural shapes (the fields for example)
-scaling of the roof models, scaling of textures

So as you might have noticed, most of the strong points I listed here were actually the weak points of the other map and vice versa. However, there were also some shared excellence as well as shared issues. But in the end, it a good example how two participants could learn from eachothers maps.

I would have liked to vote for both, but as that is not possible, my vote goes for MysticMagellan with a very very VERY small margin. :)
(note: MysticMagellan, I coudn't give rep as I have to spread it around first.. but I'll try to remember give some later on for this map)

08-28-2009, 06:58 AM
Oh I was torn, so torn between the maps of Coyotemax and MysticMagellan. Since I was given only a single vote (curses!) I checked what others had voted so far, and seeing that of the two MM was ahead by one vote, I bumped CM up so that they'd be even.

When in doubt, support the underdog :)

08-28-2009, 07:53 AM
COyoteMax fo me too. That one just captures the very feeling of the oriental style and the map leaves room for imagination.

The others are very nice also but almost too detailed. I think sometimes city maps can be like that when every house is painted, but I very much admire the patience and hard work put into it.

Good job all.

08-28-2009, 08:44 AM
A very hard choice between ArmoredGear and CoyoteMax there.

Steel General
08-28-2009, 09:41 AM
Ascensions, Steels and Immolates maps all looked great but I thought that it was just too uniform in places.

There are a lot of "faults" with my map, the uniformity is probably the most obvious. I was so pressed for time just trying to get it done that I had to let a lot of things slide that I may normally have done.

Some things I wish I'd have had time to go back and 'tweak':

The roof texture(s) - They only really shows in the castle and some of the larger buildings
The river - the color is to bright and needed some more texture work it looks shallow.
House shapes - wanted them less square, but I tried to vary the sizes
The Castle - Should be larger overall

Honestly I'm surprised I got even one vote so far (which I do appreciate), but I was fully expecting to get none.

08-28-2009, 12:10 PM
Well, I went with Mystic Magellan. I liked Armored Gears in appearance and style, but it gave me the impression of being the "Town" of Oten-Jo instead of the "City" of Oten-jo, if you know what I mean - it just seemed a little small in size compared to the impression I got from the original description of the city. MM's looked good, and also captured that sense of being a crowded city, to me.

Overall, a lot of great entries!

08-28-2009, 03:01 PM
Armoredgear7 won my vote (his rooftops are better than MysticMagellan's, and tipped the scale). I almost voted for Coyotemax's because I love the oblique aerial angle.

Ascension used the best color scheme, in my opinion.

Overall, I think everyone did really well. I feel inspired now!

08-28-2009, 10:40 PM
When I heard about this month's challenge I knew right away that I wanted to participate. I immediately pulled down a bunch of old Dungeon magazines and other modules containing city maps, browsed many sites and looked at many photographs, and did as much research as I could into the style of Japanese cities. Shortly after starting the design of my map I noticed that I wasn't the only one. I think everyone did their homework on this challenge, and I know I was inspired by different aspects from the various different entries over the last month.

This made my voting decision very hard. I think every map here is good enough to publish. Ascension's belongs printed on canvas and hung on a wall. Coyotemax and Rovingjack's feel like illustrations to me rather than usable maps, and I hope one or both can grace the intro pages to the city of Oten-Jo. When it comes down to gaming maps though, I prefer certain elements, and though Immolate and Steel General have good layouts that experiment boldy, they seem less polished then Armoredgear7's entry.

To Armoredgear7 - you said I set the bar, but I think I was only trying to stay ahead of you after seeing our similar styles near the beginning, and I think I've learned the most from watching our two maps evolve.

Blaidd Drwg
08-29-2009, 09:44 AM
I'm voting for Coyotemax' map. The landscape-like rendering gives it a very old-fashioned look, which I think fits the subject best. :D

08-29-2009, 10:10 AM
My vote went to Coyotemax. That map is:


2. Stylistic and so representative of the theme


08-29-2009, 11:16 AM
To Armoredgear7 - you said I set the bar, but I think I was only trying to stay ahead of you after seeing our similar styles near the beginning, and I think I've learned the most from watching our two maps evolve.

I have learned a lot from this competition. Illustrating a city is really hard work when you choose to go with the scale you & I did. It was more work than I was expecting to need to put into a city map, especially since this is my first.

I also think that Jykke is spot-on with his assessment of our maps. I really loved your colour scheme from the beginning and tried to make something different. I also felt that your map didn't represent the mountain well enough, which is understandable based on the layout & orientation you chose; that became another point of differentiation for me. Finally, the small details like the stone paths and rock gardens really help the scale and add lots of relevant stuff for roleplaying. It's one of those things I didn't really get to.

In all honesty, I feel like the ideal Oten-Jo map is a combination of the things that you and I have done. It's been a great learning experience.

08-29-2009, 11:57 AM
Successful challenge then :) We try to use them as learning tools and for those who know a lot they can use them as experimental exercises. Now we need to get some dungeon challenges so that I can learn those too :)

08-29-2009, 12:38 PM
Too bad you can't participate in the Lite challenge Ascension. You could do a dungeon then :)

08-29-2009, 12:41 PM
Definitely a succesful challenge in that regard. I've learned quite a bit off the other maps that will be taken into account on my next city.

And as a personal challenge to myself to offer something completely different in a style I've never considered using before? 100% success, so as far as i'm concerned, I've already won what I wanted to win :)

I highly recommend pushing your limits and boundaries to places you never would have previously considered :)

08-29-2009, 01:04 PM
You can participate in the Lite challenge though, Coyotemax... :D

08-29-2009, 01:24 PM
Yes, I suppose I could.

"And now for something else completely different..." heh

08-29-2009, 02:35 PM
I also think that Jykke is spot-on with his assessment of our maps. I really loved your colour scheme from the beginning and tried to make something different. I also felt that your map didn't represent the mountain well enough, which is understandable based on the layout & orientation you chos; that became another point of differentiation for me. Finally, the small details like the stone paths and rock gardens really help the scale and add lots of relevant stuff for roleplaying. It's one of those things I didn't really get to.

It's really funny thing, because if you hadn't differentiated your map from MysticMagellan's one, there would probably be two almost identical maps :)

08-29-2009, 04:04 PM
It's really funny thing, because if you hadn't differentiated your map from MysticMagellan's one, there would probably be two almost identical maps :)

Absolutely, I think they would have been nearly identical. I'm almost wondering if we would have had three identical maps if DevinNight had finished his too; his buildings & colour palette are also similar to MM's & mine.

08-29-2009, 06:39 PM
It's turning into a neck-and-neck race :P

08-30-2009, 10:10 PM
Holy cow.
I did not think that there would be so many great maps.
Boy am I an idiot.
The maps look great, not just 1 or 2 of them but the 6-7 finished ones all are contenders.

I finally had to cast my vote for Mystic, I love the how clean it is, but with all the subtle textures and colors.

I wish I would have had the time to keep working on mine, but I am sure that it would have paled next to the entries I just looked at.

Great job to everyone.. I'm so impressed.


08-31-2009, 10:27 AM
Lots of great maps here, and a very hard vote. I went with AG because I felt like it managed a high level of detail yet still looked crisp and clear. Also, its color pallet really appealed to me. That said, there were a ton of others that were great, and everyone who finished should be very proud of their work.

08-31-2009, 11:56 PM
AG 7 gets my vote, I liked Coyotemaxs for style and I really mean I liked it. It's one of my favorite looks. It's artistic and well call me a sucker for a person who will research materials to the degree detailed in the posts, but for devotion to the idea definately a winner.

Why then did I go with AG 7, well the thing I think I missed in my map and I see being a problem in CMs is... In an adventure, where the heros run through the streets and back allies, facing opponants and leaping obstacles, which path do they take to get from the bussiness district to cross over one temple grounds and head through the residential district.

Basically they are pretty and they give a good basic feel, but when it comes to functionallity on an in city adventure... not so much.

AG7 just seemed best suited for that style while still giving some sense of clarity of the vision.

09-01-2009, 04:17 PM
Looks like we have a winner... congrats armoredgear7!
Let me see where we stashed the gold medals...

Lots of great maps, everyone!

09-01-2009, 04:20 PM
Well done guys. I think the close run of this poll shows the sustained quality of all the maps this month.

09-01-2009, 04:23 PM
Yep, the quality of the submitted maps was insane. It was very hard to pick a favorite!

09-01-2009, 04:43 PM
Congrats to AG7!

09-01-2009, 04:46 PM
I'm just happy I did as well as I did - the real win for me was doing a new style for the first time and getting good results. It's nice knowing I can run with the big dogs and give them a serious run for their money :)

Congrats armoredgear!

09-01-2009, 06:55 PM
Gandwarf, I feel like I should make some kind of acceptance speech for the challenge award :)

Thanks to everybody who voted! Special thanks to all the challenge participants; strong competition brings out the best maps, and I think we're all proud of the maps we've made this month. See you next challenge!