View Full Version : October Entry - A Merchantman's tale

10-10-2009, 03:58 PM
Can't believe that there are so few entries this month. I'm going to have a go (not sure if I'll finish though).

The first part, which I wanted to get through quickly, so I took a lot of short cuts was to get a reasonable 16th/17th Century map feel. Borrowed liberally from all the lovely symbols that various folks (Wag et al) have posted in the elements library.

I want to get tonnes of cities down so there's lots of labels because I want to use Alfar's Wordbuilder to autogenerate the names (and in Drawplus too, which is what I'm using to make this map). Then I want to animate it - so that's where the real time is going to be spent.

Anyway, here's part 1 in progress.

Steel General
10-10-2009, 04:00 PM
Go Ravs Go!

10-10-2009, 05:16 PM
Yeah, it seems we have hit a dry spell...

10-10-2009, 06:20 PM
Hopefully there are many cartographers secretly squirrelling away and who will unfurl their meisterworks towards the end of the month. Alfar's name generator was amazing, it saves an astonishing amount of time. All these labels in under an hour and a half. It's map slacker's heaven.

### latest WIP ###

10-10-2009, 07:18 PM
Eh, I think maybe everyone's just scared after seeing the masterpieces on display last month ;)

This is looking fantastic, but some of the labelling on the southeastern continent is confusing my eye; it looks upside down. When I think about it I can see where it's coming from, but that first impression sticks.

10-11-2009, 12:41 AM
Very nice start!! This is actually the direction I've been taking my own antique style maps. I'm looking forward to the final version so i can keep a copy in my Inspriations folder :)

In regards to the low number of entries this time aorund.. I may not be entering this month.. not because of the last challenge or anything, but because I just got swamped with several paying projects all at the same time :) But, i'll see about getting something in once these are well taken care of :)

10-11-2009, 02:08 AM
All I can say is "Holy Sheep!" what a nutso level of localities! And here I was worried my map could end up cluttered with the little locations I was tossing in...

10-11-2009, 03:43 AM
Depending on the map you're looking at, this many localities is trivial :)

10-11-2009, 05:02 AM
Thanks All, Gidde: I wasn't too happy with the labelling on the southern landmass either. I'll have a play with it to get it more consistent and have a look at some references as well.

10-11-2009, 05:23 AM
That old map is great Coyotemax. Mostly because it prominently features the Netherlands :)
Lots of water has been filled in with land nowadays, including most of the Zuyderzee.

10-11-2009, 04:35 PM
Oh well, first effort at animating the merchantman's route. This very simple animation has already resulted in a 4.6mb file. Gonna have to find a way to make the file size smaller or it's going to be a very short animation.

10-11-2009, 04:43 PM
I wanted to do the same thing for last month's challenge...animate the route, but there's no way I could do that at the size I was at and since I don't know anything about flash I didn't go that way either. What you have is pretty darn cool, though.

10-11-2009, 05:14 PM
I'm just looking at Flash now...Serif Drawplus animates in that too (and it's easy to learn)...the file sizes are MUCH smaller...by masses. This is great because instread of using stop-frame like in the one I've just done, (old style draw one frame at a time), I can do keyframe animation and move the camera around the map (so I can zoom in and not lose the detail). I might even do a voice over of the captain talking about the journey....ahh the dreams we have before we find out how hard it all is!

hmm need to work out how to host the flash anim on a website or even better embed it here.

test flash.swf - 0.63MB (http://www.zshare.net/flash/66820624b3b7be2c/)

10-11-2009, 06:20 PM
Wow! Really like the animated route. An animated GIF is perfect. Wish I would have thought of that.

10-11-2009, 06:32 PM
Animated Gifs of reasonably complicated images eat memory though...as I found on the first pass...flash is working though. There is no reason at all why you can't do an animation too.

10-11-2009, 07:01 PM
When you wrap this all up, can you do up a tut? I've just gotta learn how to do that but don't have Serif but will get it if it means that I can learn.

10-11-2009, 07:30 PM
The great thing about Serif is you don't have to learn any code (if you don't want to). It's all pretty much drag and drop and the software kind of does it all. Drawplus comes with a pretty decent manual and the help files are pretty good too. There are a lot of actions you can do in the animation. For example you can draw an object and if it is clicked it will start the 'film' rolling from a different point etc. It's all pretty intuitive. I'm flirting with the idea of making a simple trading game using this stuff now, but I'm not going to have much time this month so I'll probably do something much simpler with no user interaction.

Serif (particularly the non current versions) is pretty cheap to buy too. You can download free (earlier) versions here (http://www.freeserifsoftware.com/software/drawplus/) (Drawplus SE has animation but I think the version I have has more stuff) which will give you a feel for the software. Download it and have a play. Besides the animation it's a pretty darn good piece of software for mapping, IMO. Much faster (although not as feature rich - but not far off) than Photoshop or illustrator.

Good video tour here. (http://www.serif.com/drawplus/x3/videos/)

Steel General
10-12-2009, 07:24 AM
Neat stuff here Ravs!

I've done a few things in FLASH in the past, while extremely powerful I find that the interface is kinda clunky and overly time consuming. It seems as though Serif alleviates some of that though.

10-12-2009, 07:30 AM
Thanks SG, I have no basis for comparison of other ways to do Flash as I've only ever used Serif. You just do it in the software and then save it as a Flash file....anyway, I'll keep plugging away at it. The comp is a good reason to learn how it all works.

10-12-2009, 10:50 AM
....ahh the dreams we have before we find out how hard it all is!

So it's not just me! This happens to me on every map. Thankfully, I seem to get a bit further toward them each time :)

10-13-2009, 12:57 PM

If each frame only adds another dash and the frame disposal is set to combine rather than replace, this is quite small (308kB). In yours, each frame is a full copy of the whole image, plus another dash:


This is easy in Gimp. I'm not sure what you are using to create the gif, however, so no suggestions on how to get there.

-Rob A>

10-14-2009, 10:05 AM
Hi Rob, I'm using Serif Drawplus...it may have some sort of setting just to add the dashes rather than redrawing the entire map for each frame. At the moment I'm a bit time poor but I'll look into it. Thanks for the heads up that it's possible with an animated gif just to do the dashes rather than a whole redraw.

10-18-2009, 05:30 PM
Here is the latest update with sound....a long, long way to go. I doubt I'll be able to finish this, but I'll carry on with it if the comp ends.

flash 091018.swf - 0.83MB (http://www.zshare.net/flash/6716244820d44a8b/)

10-18-2009, 05:34 PM
Always trying out new things Ravells... this could turn out really great I think.
How did you create it?

10-18-2009, 06:13 PM
Hehe. That's really cool. Great work so far Ravs, I hope you get time to finish it.

10-18-2009, 06:32 PM
Here's an update....begining to see a bit more of a story to it:

Thanks Ramah....it's a fun learning process. Gand: it's all done in Serif Drawplus which along with being a pretty good vector graphic proggie (with raster bolt-ons) also does flash animation. Doing the animation was a lot easier than I thought it would be.

Anyway here's the next bit with a sea battle. If I have time (ho ho) I'll go back and try and fix the more crappy bits and see if I can script it to the music better. The music, btw is Danzon No. 2 played by the Venuzuelan Youth Orchestra. If you like grand orchestral pieces it's really worth downloading on itunes.

### Latest WIP ###

flash 091018.swf - 0.95MB (http://www.zshare.net/flash/671639763d646849/)

10-18-2009, 06:55 PM
What's the colored stars supposed to represent, though?

10-18-2009, 06:57 PM
Ah, the two cities are at war and the mercantman is bringing in supplies to one of them. Eventually the stars will get replaced by a something more 'warlike'. I'll have a running dialogue to explain what the merchantman is doing but I have no real idea what the story is or how it will progress.

10-18-2009, 06:59 PM
Oh, that means I can add stuff to your story then.
How about the ship needs repairs after the fight? :)

10-18-2009, 07:01 PM
Yeah...definitely. Maybe a shore party that needs to go inland to get some timber...and they end up in another fight or taken prisoner or something....

Steel General
10-19-2009, 07:00 AM
Neat stuff here Ravs!