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Virgil Vansant
09-27-2009, 12:47 PM
I have started building maps for a VTT game I'll be running set in the 1940s after World War II. For my first map, I've decided to start pretty simple with a single building--a small town train depot.

Obviously, this is a work in progress. There's no ground texture on the right side of the map yet. I'll probably place a small road running parallel to the tracks and some grass and dirt over there. I need to clean up the ground between the grass and the gravel from the rails as well. I like the way the platform is shaping up, and I want to add some more wear and cracks to it. It also needs more eye candy so that the platform looks like it's in use. I plan to add a luggage trolley or handcart, train signals, a bench, and it needs stairs and a ramp leading down from the platform. I haven't done any shadows yet, except for the roof.

This is my first map, so I'm looking for input and constructive criticism. Also, what's the best way to show ramps and stairs without making them look too flat?

Redrobes
09-27-2009, 02:28 PM
Looking good. Id drop the scale on the grass. At mo it looks like each blade is a few feet long. It could do with better blend onto the gravel too. How to do that. Well you can get a mask and fade it out and add two textures or you can generate a stamp type brush of some partial grass partial gravel and put some of those down on the blend line.

The house looks fine, the platform looks fine tho bare at mo. No theres not a lot wrong with it so far.

Theres lots of web sites with dioramas of 1940's stuff with model trains, tanks and so on. Because this is a station I would think that there would be some images of platforms as reference. Also a no end of holywood films set in 1940's around platforms too. You didnt say which country its based on but theres probably a selection of historical pics to reference too. I would think that all the trains were steam at that time (not an expert) so coal bunkers and water tanks and all that gear could be added.

wormspeaker
09-28-2009, 09:28 AM
I agreee with Redrobes. The grass texture is too large. Otherwise it seems to be shaping up well. I would point out that the overall size of the map is probably too small for a WWII encounter though. Everyone on this small map would be at nearly point blank range of everyone else on the map when using modern firearms.

Virgil Vansant
09-28-2009, 10:33 AM
Wow, I hadn't even noticed the humongous grass texture. Thanks for pointing that out! I've fixed the border between the rails and the grass, too. The platform itself is shaping up with some more decorations. I've made a luggage trolley and put in some stairs, but I definitely need to add some more objects still. Fortunately, there are plenty of images out there of train stations and depots from the time period.

Wormspeaker, I'll see if I can increase the size of the map. I don't want it too large so that it becomes a single building with a lot of empty space. My PCs will likely not be carrying any firearms, but I want the map to be usable for others as well, so increasing the area around the train depot makes sense. Maybe I can add a switch or spur to the rails, and some other rail decorations as well, to at least increase the size north and south. I've already thought about making larger variations now that I'm assembling the pieces I need. Different sizes of platforms and buildings, for example.

I'll post a new WIP map later today.

Virgil Vansant
09-28-2009, 11:44 PM
Okay, here is my updated version. Still lots of work to do, but it's coming along pretty nicely. I still need more clutter on the map, especially on the platform. Another flowerbed needs to be added along the sidewalk. The sidewalk itself needs some work to make it less uniform, and I think I will add a little driveway from the road to the dirt on the southern portion of the map. Some segue between the grass and the dirt, and some freight-type clutter along the ramp. I'd like to add a truck there if I can find or make one, too.

The shadows around the platform were both the hardest and easiest thing to do. Technically, they were easy enough to make with gradients. But I kept thinking that the shadows had to be consistent and coming from one light source in one direction. Making a top-down map required a different mode of thought for me, where the shadows are needed not to show lighting, but to demonstrate height and depth.

Steel General
09-29-2009, 06:44 AM
This is coming along nicely.

You may want to adjust the scale on the dirt, to me at least, it seems a bit off. Also, your depot needs some shadowing like you did with the platform to give it some depth.

armoredgear7
09-29-2009, 03:14 PM
I agree with Steel General about the dirt, it could be smaller.

Otherwise this is solid work; the grass/tracks blending is working well and the detail is coming along. Good job.

Virgil Vansant
09-30-2009, 06:21 PM
Thanks for the input! I have shrunk the dirt texture, fiddled with the shadows some more, and I added some pallets to the platform near the freight ramp and a signal beside the rail. I'd do some more, but this was my relaxing procrastination time, so it's back to work for me for a little bit before I do any more work on the map.

Steel General
09-30-2009, 06:33 PM
THis is progressing nicely...

Coyotemax
09-30-2009, 07:38 PM
Was just looking and thinking... does the building use electricity? Yo could have power/telephone poles and lines go past, perhaps some street lamps along the street.

One of the things I do to break up patterns (the sidewalk blocks are looking better with the cracks, but towards the bottom of the map they still look pretty uniform) would be to add an overlay of some texture that goes the entire length of the sidewalk, that way they each end up with an individual look.

I really like the textures you've chosen for the dirt area, and especially the gravel. Very nice! (and the cracks are very well done)

Gamerprinter
09-30-2009, 08:12 PM
It needs details. Let's see there would probably be at least one light source on the platform, even in the 1940's, probably than one, so light poles with a globe or something more like a street lamp. I was thinking a drain at the gutter, but not if this is a rural station. Otherwise possibly a manhole cover visible on the street. There should probably be an external waste basket (garbage can) of some sort. Perhaps a cart with luggage and trunks awaiting loading onto train. Perhaps benches or some sort for those waiting for the train, closer in towards the building and not blocking walking traffic. Perhaps a tree, fencing, a mailbox.

The devil's in the details, I always say.

GP

Juggernaut1981
10-01-2009, 01:32 AM
Historically the majority of long distance phone and telegraph lines ran parallel to the trainline, often inside the railway easement (the bit of land the railways use that includes the rail-line).

The place should have at least one large overhead light... With one of those nice wide-conic metal covers to splash light onto the station. (Not saying the lighting effects are needed though)...

Virgil Vansant
10-02-2009, 03:11 PM
Great suggestions everyone! They are all definitely going to keep me busy working on this map. :)

Here's an updated version with bench, telegraph poles, and a water tower for the trains. I expanded the southern portion of the map a bit. I'll probably need to expand to the west as well, and make some more space between the rails and the props there.

Coyotemax, I love your idea on breaking up the sidewalk. I added a pattern overlay to the layer and it does help with the monotony.

I'm planning to add more props. Lights, electrical wires, a trash can, and lots more. But what I also need are a few vehicles, too. So I've started trying to make my own, starting with a '47 Chevy sedan delivery truck. It should sit nicely on the dirt near the freight ramp.

Coyotemax
10-02-2009, 03:45 PM
Yes, the sidewalks turned out nice :) Everything else is looking good too, nice work on getting the curve of the wires too! You might want to blue the shadows a tad more, they're pretty sharply defined (but that's just me)

Nice stuff, coming along fabulously!

Gamerprinter
10-03-2009, 01:59 PM
Instead of sidewalk going all the way across the dirt loading area, shouldn't there be a transition between the street and the driveway; a concrete ramped enbankment, so trucks don't have to drive up a straight curb and damage their tires especially when carrying heavy and sometimes fragile loads.

Driveway ramp, that's what you need on the southern end of your map.

On an aside, how about a newspaper stand, or at least a coin-dispensing newspaper box (or would that be inside?)

GP

Virgil Vansant
10-09-2009, 09:56 AM
Wow, it's been almost a week already? I'm still at work on the map, but progress has sadly slowed down. I have some street lights in place, and I want to add a fence somewhere between the grassy area and the rails. I'll put a trash bin near the bench, too, I think. I like the idea of a newspaper box, but I might save that for other buildings.

I realized that I started this map without really thinking about scale. Sure, I'm trying to make sure everything on the map is properly scaled in relation to other objects (knowing that the space between the rails is 4'8" makes it easier), but I haven't thought about the scale of the map itself. I would imagine it varies depending on the VTT game or campaign in question, but is there any de facto standard for scale on tokens or maps?

Gameprinter, your driveway suggestion makes a whole lot of sense... why didn't I think of that?

Coyotemax, I blurred the shadows a bit, and they do look better when they aren't as sharp. I also rearranged the wire shadows some over the water tower so it doesn't look like they are ignoring the laws of physics as much. :)

Coyotemax
10-09-2009, 02:38 PM
Ooh excellent! I hadn't caught the water tower issue :)

Can't wait to see the next installment :)

Juggernaut1981
10-11-2009, 07:32 PM
Extra recommendation for your dirt delivery-van area:

Darken and then heavily blur an "axle-width" pair of lines. If cars are driving on dirt repeatedly, there will be dirt that is compacted and forced into a pair of nice parallel lines... I'd probably attack the area with a smudge/blur effect...