View Full Version : Chicago 1920's gangland map for a Con...

11-02-2009, 11:22 AM
No map yet, but back in March 2008, I created a WW1 Trench war map for a local who runs "one-off" games at a small Game Convention in Rockford, Illinois called Rockcon - held in the gymnasium of a Catholic Middle School (believe or not.) Well the guy came back to my shop and needs a map of a Chicago city neighborhood street scene for a 1920's gangster and cops game.

Rather than a top down map, he wants a very slightly isometric view, at least enough to show the fronts of specific buildings he needs for the scene. There will no interiors, just exteriors. The specific buildings he requires is: a movie theater, a police station, a Chinese laundry, and an apartment building or flop house. Other buildings might be a small church with small graveyard, a storefront of some kind, a small park, a couple private townhouses, a bank, a tavern and a warehouse.

The map will include two streets one north/south, the other east west and will probably include at least one alley. The scale will be 1" = 3 meters with probably a hex grid placed on top (not sure at the moment, have to check with client first)

But this is the second map commission for this guy, my only local who needs game maps, still its cool.

Here's a link to the map I created for him last year - WW1 Trench War map...


I'll post something up in the next day or two.


11-02-2009, 11:49 AM
Sounds like a fun project. I'm don't have a good concept of how the final will look...non-top-down...so I'm looking forward to seeing how you handle it. Good luck. Love the trench map, BTW. Hadn't seen it before.

11-02-2009, 11:53 AM
Consider it a mostly top-down map, that is only slightly askew from top down, so I can show details of the fronts of the buildings, especially the one's needed, like the police station, movie theater and chinese laundry. Consider it 20 degrees off from top down, which means the buildings on the opposite side of the street will have their fronts hidden from view via the angle. Compare that to a true isometric view which is a 45 degree angle of view from top-down.


11-02-2009, 12:53 PM
Here's an early WIP of my plans - I'm probably even going to use this to base the final on. This was generated in Izware Nendo, a subdivisional surface modeler for 3D. Though the final won't be 3D generated, probably line traced by hand, or in Xara Xtreme and colored in Xara Xtreme.

But it shows what I mean by not quite top-down, not quite isometric.

The buildings are left to right: movie theater, store front or laundry, and flophouse. I'll probably put the police station next to the flophouse. Many buildings yet to add, sidewalks, street lamps, mailbox, streets, etc.

Still it shouldn't take too long... progress anyway.


11-02-2009, 01:18 PM
Hey. That's looking pretty sharp. Doing the mockup in 3D's a good idea...I'd never get the perspective correct without that kind of help. :) This should be a very cool map. Might have to try a 3D to 2D project myself at some point.

11-02-2009, 05:33 PM
The final map when complete will be 36" x 36" at 1" = 3 meters, printed in full color at 300 ppi and laminated, as it will used to run a one-off game for the convention.


PS: more coming tonight.

11-03-2009, 04:31 PM
I'm still at the 3D mockup stage, trying a different camera angle. This time using a conical camera, instead of an isometric camera. This angle of view will represent just about the southwest corner of the final map. Thus the rest of the map will have a slightly more skewed angle of view. More of the south side of buildings will be exposed the further north of the map, and the more west side of the buildings will be exposed the further east of the map.

As a main street seen in the mockup will go across the south end of the map, another main north/south street will lay just to the left (west) of this mockup.

I like this angle better than the previous one, as it works better for the overall map. If I maintain the previous angle, more and more of the buildings north and west will be too much.

Anyway, moving right along, almost done with the mockup stage, maybe one more when all the intended buildings and other street is complete, before I finalize the design and do the actual map itself.


11-03-2009, 04:41 PM
Next thought, I'll need to place some 1920's era automobiles, a truck, alley garbage cans, street lights, newspaper stand, mail box, etc. Lots of little details to insure it has a specifically roaring 20's look. That will be almost too much work, but then I can always save the objects for a future map use.

I may have to charge more than I expected - oh well.


11-03-2009, 05:04 PM
Looking good. The details you mention sound like they'll really make it pop.

Mood-wise I think it'd be nice to see the light coming from either the top or the bottom of the map, so that one side of the street is in shadow...but that might not be the best thing for the map game-wise.

Only critique on the mock-up modeling, which may not matter for your final, is that the front stair assemblies look a little chunky compared to the rest.

Cool project! You should see if your guy will maybe snap some shots of it in play.

12-02-2009, 07:16 PM
Been puttin' this off, doing other projects - mostly the publication, but I need to finish this by tomorrow, so I knocked out the rest of the buildings, got the basic sidewalks and streets.

I need to add fire hydrants, street lights, electrical poles and lines, several 1920's cars and trucks, some manhole covers, perhaps convert the alleyway to brick road surface, even the main streets - haven't decided yet. Toss in some garbage cans, boxes, crates, loose garbage, and call it complete.

I need to "dirty" the place up a bit, too, so its not as sanitary as it is now.

Anyway, next update for this Chicago 1920's Gangland map...


PS: like I ever have spare time, I've decided to enter the 2010 Paizo "RPG Superstar" contest. Its a five step contest, first enter a Pathfinder rules legal "Wondrous Magic Item" in 300 words or less, with appropriate mechanics, etc.
32 runners up are chosen as keepers, followed by three surprise challenges, each with three days to complete them - things like create a new monster that's Pathfinder legal, create a villains lair with included map and another of similiar nature - final challenge create an adventure proposal. At each step, half are chosen as keepers, so 32 to 16, then 16 to 8, 8 to 4... until there is but a single winner - wish me luck.

12-02-2009, 08:59 PM
FWIW I do not believe they lined the styreets in the 20's but there will be trolly rails.


12-03-2009, 02:57 AM
Center lines did exist by the 1920s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road_surface_marking#History), but I don't know when they got to Chicago.

12-03-2009, 03:54 AM
Yeah, no doubt. As I already mentioned, I'm replacing the asphalt roads with brick, then removing the center lines, placing some trolley tracks as suggested, put in some power line poles, maybe lights only on the main street on north end of map, then automobiles, trucks, garbage and some other riff-raff.

Finish this tomorrow.


12-03-2009, 10:36 AM
Looking cool.

Good luck with the RPG Superstar. I'm going to give that a go myself. Started working on an entry when I got the announcement...though I got nothing on the kind of guys who usually win that thing so it's just for fun.

12-03-2009, 12:05 PM
I replaced the asphalt with brick, as well as the sidewalks and this looks 1000% better. I also dirtied up the brick road with some loose gravel, which also gives it a less sanitary and more realistic looks.

The client mentioned that though light poles and such would look more realistic, it might be distracting for his needs, so that spares me some work. Also, I was going to place some period automobiles, but then the client said, he was going to use tiny toy cars for use with the map, so printed cars would be unnecessary and might look funny when also using toy cars. More work spared. I still need to label the rooftops of the buildings to indicate what is what, but I don't think I need to post the labeled version (so this is my last entry of this here.)

So I think I'm done! Yay.


Steel General
12-03-2009, 12:21 PM
Turned out quite nicely GP.

12-03-2009, 09:40 PM
Cool looking.
if they decide they want some lights, heres a good shot, with the street lamps.

Good luck with the contest.

12-04-2009, 12:52 AM
After printing out and laminating this map as a 36" x 36", I asked what game this was for? He replied that he's using a paid for rule-set (like FUDGE, but not free). Then he plans on designing his own Gangster Game, for the purposes of use at Rockcon, in Aurora, Illinois.

You start the game as a gangleader, and begin recruiting "talent" from the neighborhood. Members start their own rackets, take on murder assignments. Each of the businesses in the neighborhood, become either a hangout for the gangsters or someone to threaten for profit. Remember this is prohibition too, that's why there's no tavern/bars in this map.

Eventually, hill billies from downstate move into the Wilcox Tenements, that row of buildings on the west side of the map - which sets off a local gang war between the Chicago gang and the Downstate gang...

That's about all I know of the game - except, that the client just watched the new Dillinger movie, "Public Enemy" and was inspired to create this, hoping for the movie's popularity to make it a hit at the Convention. I have no idea if he plans on marketing this, or just creating it for the fun of it.


PS: the posted last image is a 35.7 x 35.7 inch map at 200 ppi JPG, so it is print ready, though I used a 300 ppi TIF of the map to print a better quality for the client.