View Full Version : Siete Torres - The City of Seven Towers

10-29-2009, 03:04 PM
This was a challenge map for the October 2009 challenge "Trading".

The map was based on the river in Ascension's town tutorial (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=6536), which is absolutely gorgeous, and the walls and towers in CoyoteMax's Cruzament De Rio (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=7274). After that, I went my own way.

Siete Torres has a number of unusual characteristics. The shadows are all hand-created using a -45 global light. Contrary to popular opinion, I am not a masochist: I did this so that I could represent complex shadows on surrounding layers of multiple elevations. It's a tricky process, and you can't be perfect with it, but the results are quite satisfying.

The shields are another unique feature. There's nothing mysterious about them, but I'm happy with the way they turned out.

There were a few other, more minor innovations throughout the map, but mostly it was a product of a massive investment of time, and the tireless efforts of a few people who offered invaluable criticism and encouragement. They are:

CoyoteMax, Gandwarf (master of cities), Steel General, Gidde, Ascension, ravells, nolgroth, Roger, shantedracule, rdanhenry, mearrin69, armoredgear7, ffxfiend, Ashenvale, Ramah, Xyll, and Skinnerman02.

Thanks to all of them for the help they provided.

If you want to follow the day-to-day growth of the map, see the challenge thread (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=7425).

The changes to the map from the original thread are:

Complete replacement of the residential area inside the walls with a more varied construction and a large, colorful great fair tent. One can find any manner of good or service at the fair, not all of which are strictly legal.

Legend of unlabeled icons as suggested by one of the commentors. I looked for the comment to identify who it was that suggested it, but couldn't find it. Whoever you are, thank you!

I hope you enjoy it.

Steel General
10-29-2009, 04:04 PM
Very nice, love the 'Circus Tent'.

10-29-2009, 04:12 PM
Yeah, glad you replaced the last part of the buildings. This looks a lot better (and it was already a stunning map). Great work, I salute you :)

10-29-2009, 05:05 PM
I'm glad you approve Gandwarf. It was primarily your discontent with that last section that chipped away at me and finally caused me to go in and redo it again. If anyone has an eye for cities, it is you.

I am warmed by such high praise from the master.

10-29-2009, 05:26 PM
This is truly an awesome map and your latest refinements really sell it. BTW, you should revisit that Aztec-looking piece you did as a city in its own right. It looked cool.

10-29-2009, 05:36 PM
It does indeed look better. I'm glad you decided to change it. :)

Btw... although that first stab at doing that part of the town didn't really fit, it did look really cool. I'm hoping that you decide to make a city around that style. It reminds me a little of some of the cities in Morrowind.

You know you want to. :)

Oh my word... did I really spell "look" as "luck"? :S

10-29-2009, 06:29 PM
Yeah, do it. I want you to as well :)

10-29-2009, 06:36 PM
Not sure I'm primed for another city after Oten'Jo and Siete Torres in rapid succession. They really do suck the will to live out of you.

10-29-2009, 06:39 PM
This is true. We will remind you next month then ;)

10-29-2009, 06:42 PM
I don't recall anyone asking for a legend of the shop signs. I did say that there were a few I couldn't figure out (and now I see that was meant to be a wizardy hat for the Magic Shoppe). Maybe you just thought of the legend as a solution to that yourself and thought you'd read it suggested?

I like what you did with this edit and the big tent adds a new focus of interest. I think it balances the design a little. You've added some really nice finishing touches to a map that had me amazed when it was half-done.

10-29-2009, 08:33 PM
I vaguely remember someone suggesting a legend, and I really appreciate its inclusion; I always wondered what some of those meant. The rework of that last section is awesome. This is going into the inspiration folder for sure!

10-29-2009, 10:56 PM
Beyond the obvious functionality, I think the legend adds something to the map aesthetically, so I'm very happy with it.

10-30-2009, 12:41 AM
omg, i thought the challenge version was gorgeous - this is bloody well amazing!!NICELY DONE.

10-30-2009, 05:34 AM
Have I mentioned yet that this is my favorite city map ever? ;)

EDIT: And I foresee a Cartographers' Choice selection of this map in the near future too. Be crazy not to. Of course that is my mere opinion and I am not the Powers That Be.

10-30-2009, 11:39 AM
Seconded! Of course I'm a nobody too. :)

10-30-2009, 07:35 PM
As we so down here in the South, ya'll about the bunch of nicest nobodies I ever did see!

Thanks for the props. It really makes the hard work worthwhile.

10-31-2009, 11:25 AM
Absolutely fantastic map. Many congratulations on all those hours of hard work paying off in the end.

11-01-2009, 01:47 PM
Hard work always pays off, though not always in the way you were hoping it would ;).

11-01-2009, 02:10 PM
Amazing map. Keep up the good work!

11-02-2009, 08:34 PM
Thanks Zelig, owner of the best post-to-rep ratio ever ;)

11-04-2009, 10:38 AM
Yeah, that's a pretty great looking city-map. Nice work.

11-04-2009, 10:58 AM
I loved "walking" in this city.
Very beautiful.

I just starting to make city maps, but this map is a model for me.

11-05-2009, 05:20 PM
It's funny Noon, I know Siete Torres better than any town I've ever lived in, having spent so many hours in her streets.

Oh and thanks for all of the praise! I really appreciate the motivational fuel :)

11-05-2009, 07:58 PM
Once you've built a city like this you really get to know it and if there's a writer inside then you have all the fuel you'll ever need for a setting because half of the work is already done. You just need to flesh out some stories for the people who are already here...like the baker or the blacksmith or why the turner has a pegleg. World-building is easy compared to city-building and much better for generating stories in my opinion. Once it's done, you don't want to leave...you want to explore those nooks and crannies and find out what's there.

11-07-2009, 06:40 PM
I must say that im truly impressed. and i dont know were to start if i ever want to do half that good. Only one thing springs to my mind... your "Gates" or the small square towers on the wall. they seem sligthly transparant? you can actealy see the wall beneath them, as if it hat an alpha of 98% ore some.. is that on purpose or? :S

Still great map and Way to go :D

11-09-2009, 09:26 PM
Ascension... writing is easy, mapping is hard. I don't know why that is. Words flow effortlessly most of the time, and once they've started, they just keep coming. But cartography requires constant effort and constant validation. If what I'm creating doesn't appeal to my eye, I lose energy and volition. I am a craftsman at heart, not an artist. I want to construct something of beauty at some level that pleases with its aesthetic. The biggest gun in my armory may be my pen, but I can't see or judge the quality of my words. Mapping is hard, but it satisfies.

So using cartography as an inspiration for words--not so much. I think mapping is instead a potent short-hand for words, with a well-crafted image conveying a massive wellspring of information, seemingly without effort. But we here at the Cartographer's Guild, we industrious gnomes, we know better. We don't spit out maps... we birth them, with all of the pain and mess that entails.

Zleaping Bear: that doesn't surprise me. Somewhere in the fever swamp of inspiration that was Siete Torres, I evolved out of my "blending through transparency" stage. There are probably other examples. There is great value in understating and transparency is a powerful tool for that purpose, but it isn't the only tool, and sometimes its the wrong tool. As much as I'd like Siete Torres to be perfect, it would be too easy to get stuck in that map and loose the motivation to produce and progress. But thank you for bringing it to my attention, and even more, thank you for caring enough to look that closely. It is that sort of scrutiny that prompts me to cross my t's and dot my i's.

12-15-2009, 09:17 PM
This map is stunning. The icons are a fine touch and are very nicely done.

12-16-2009, 01:04 AM
This is an amazing map. Have some Rep!

12-16-2009, 06:49 AM
Beautifully composed map. The shadow on the bridge looks a little bit odd, because it seems as if the bridge undulates upwards in the center, but it doesn't really detract from what is a lovely map.

12-16-2009, 07:04 AM
Actually, that's exactly what both bridges do - rise in the middle. I suspect you're referring to the one in the NW, where the shadow stays mostly under the bridge.. compare to the bridge in the SE where you see the entire structure's shadow. Based on the angle of sunlight vs angle of bridge, that is what the shadow would look like from this perspective.

12-26-2009, 08:14 PM
As you can see, I haven't been spending a lot of time reading the boards this month. Thank you guys for the praise. As stated before, I stood upon the shoulders of giants to create it, so I don't pretend to be totally responsible for the outcome. I encourage anyone who really likes Siete Torres to follow Ascensions's city tutorial from whence the gorgeous river came, and to take inspiration as well from Coyotemax's Cruzament de Rio, both of which are linked in the OP.

As for the bridge shadows, I can add nothing to CM's explanation, which is spot-on. I agree that it was awkward having one bridge that happened to line up almost perfectly with the light source, and that the view of the bridge from overhead didn't give clues to it's structure beneath. Had I planned the bridges before I created the geography, I would have done things a bit differently. But of course I didn't know then that the river would turn out well or that the bridge would a big "wow" item.

Most of my favorite parts of the map just sort of came out that way, without me knowing they would be as cool as they turned out. The market tent was one, and that a second attempt after the old adobe buildings I'd put there before didn't work out well. The flags in the inner city were another. The giant lilies in the moat and pots of dyes and tanning solution were other things that really gave back more than the effort put into them.

Of course the shield icons were a big favorite, and I liked them from the very first one put on the monastery. I am sure I will use that device again.

07-20-2012, 04:00 PM
Nice map! I like colored banners and the shadow effect on the bridge. I also really like how you've created a legend packed with icons to label everything; A very nice touch!