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mearrin69
12-01-2009, 01:21 PM
Hi all,
This is my first attempt at participating in the CWBP. I've selected Argria from industrygothica's excellent Anuroch map [Map 27].

Argria is on the border of Anuroch and the Endless Steppe. I'm envisioning it as an old fortress town, once tasked with holding the hordes at bay. As the barbarians quietened down over the years it has evolved beyond that original mandate - into a bustling border town ripe with trade and the colorful mingling of cultures. Trade now flows across the steppes more easily, with escorts and guarantees of passage from the local steppe-lords or Khans or whatever (have to do some research), though there is still banditry.

In the markets of Argria itself you can find fine Qashyan horses, silks, spices, dwarven steel, and all manner of more exotic trade goods. Sample the fare of the steppe people, cooked authentically in shields over a roaring fire. Just don't ask about the provenance of the meat in your stir-fry. The nomads are known to be a bit touchy about that...

So, on the understanding that the maps are "about" 600 miles on a side, I broke down Anuroch into 100-mile-square regions and took the one containing Argria. Then I divided that into 10-mile-squares (attached). This is my starting point. I'd like to detail more than just the settlement...including some features of the surrounding area. I plan a wall...or moat...or something. We'll see.
M

industrygothica
12-01-2009, 03:46 PM
Excellent. Can't wait to see where this goes.


-IG

Redrobes
12-01-2009, 04:58 PM
Ah someone committed to proper scaling... good sign already !

mearrin69
12-01-2009, 07:22 PM
Heh. Well. It's *highly approximate*. I cropped off the border, made a square the size of the map, scaled it by 50% and then by 33%, and used that to place some guides. Not exactly proper surveyor's tools! :)

@IG: Was wondering if you'd put any thought into the human culture of the area? Architectural influences, etc? With a border town you can get away with a nice mish-mash of stuff but, still, I don't want to conflict heavily with your conception of the culture.

A couple of things I've been thinking about:
1) A very high tower: The river provides a very effective barrier for bottlenecking troops either at fords or bridges (which would be necessary for letting trade caravans cross). If you can see further you can spot the dust cloud and know where to move your troops.
2) A wall: Not terribly effective at keeping folks out, maybe, but good against people on horses for sure. Takes a lot of slaves (or serfs) to build a wall...unless you've got magic. So, I'm also picturing:
3) The Stoneshaper's Guild: It took them more than a hundred years to build the wall even with magic. Over the years a guild of sorts formed and, today, it's still around. The guild's architects are in high demand from all corners of the continent and its headquarters is a sight to behold.

Here's something else: the bullette's teeth. Maybe instead of the wall (but I'm now sort of attached to the guild) or maybe as well as. Horses have trouble on rocky ground. Riding fast across it is a good way to break a leg and unhorse a rider. If you're facing mounted foes riding across a plain, wouldn't it make sense to maybe create a nice strip of small, rock-like obstructions - no barrier to folks travelling on foot, but a nightmare to cavalry. Put it this side of the river and you've got a not-so-good situation for would-be mounted invaders.

Just thinking here. Probably silly stuff...but.
M

industrygothica
12-01-2009, 10:18 PM
I haven't really put a lot of thought into the region as far as architecture is concerned, or any other cultural influences for that matter.

Your ideas sound good and solid to me.


-IG

mearrin69
12-02-2009, 04:04 AM
Here's a (really) rough pass at a regional map layout. I only did it at this scale to get my additions in there, to be explained with flavor text. If I do an "environs" map it'll probably focus on 40mi x 40 mi spanning from the east side of the wall to the west side of the river at the bottom of the map.

Had fun making the icons...even they don't show much of anything. Hopefully I'll get to put some work into designing the city tomorrow. Had a lot of work to do tonight.
M

to be clear, this isn't my map...it's a section I cut from IG's map to set the lay of the land around Argria.

Gandwarf
12-02-2009, 06:57 AM
Oh.. oh.. pretty cool icons!

industrygothica
12-02-2009, 08:47 AM
It's looking pretty good. We're going to have to get a team together to harass you into putting out a pack of those wonderful icons!

One thing that's got me scratching my head though, is why westwall is on the eastern side of the city. Of course, I just woke up and it will be an hour or so before my brain kicks in.


-IG

mearrin69
12-02-2009, 09:26 AM
Heh. Thanks on the icons. They're actually pretty easy...maybe I can do a tutorial. Just used some "concept art" techniques on them and they did turn out pretty cool. Well, mainly the city one turned out cool. The other two are so-so.

Ah. The wall. Well, truthfully, because the city is on the west side of the right place to *build* a wall :) But I put some thought into it and decided that maybe it was a two-tier defense. The forward position gives you a better view of the steppes and earlier warning. The river is a good place to bog down invaders and reduce their numbers - and give warning to the folks on the wall in case you fail to turn them back.

Secondly, the town could serve as sort of the last safe place for caravans setting out across the steppes to rest up and resupply before leaving into no-man's-land. Same goes for those coming in - it'd take longer to get up the elevation to the gate in the wall, especially if you've got the horde on your tail.

It's positioning was one of the reasons I added Bastion. I figure there are others along the river but Bastion is the big one. They're really just outposts writ large...and Argria eventually grew into a city/town. I was thinking maybe it had a more "forty" name long ago.
M

Oh, and, also: without the outposts you might have nomads sniffing right up to your doorstep. They helped the kingdom take and hold the land west of the mountains and provided a handy buffer zone, even though no one really wanted to live there. Maybe there'd now be quite a few relatively new towns between them and the mountains.

I'm mainly making this stuff up as I go along, trying to find the story in the map you made. So, please, do ask questions if something doesn't seem right...it'll prompt me to come up with a plausible explanation or make changes so things make sense. :)

mearrin69
12-03-2009, 01:13 AM
Started sketching tonight, using Autodesk Sketchbook Express (came with my new Intuos4) to try it out. Turned into more than a sketch, though, and I probably will just now move to doing something more finished in PS...I don't think this is really "finished quality" but there's no point my drawing a bunch of buildings to just have to redraw them later. This should give the general layout and feel, I guess.

Basically, you've got the watchtower on a small hill surrounded by fortifications with military structures inside of the wall. Around it, close by for safety, you've got the older structures of the town...the inevitable hangers-on that follow any military force and eventually set up permanent shop and form the basis of the town that some day surrounds the base. Beyond that, things get a bit more structured and maybe slightly more up-scale. Temples, community spaces, market squares, etc. To the west is the nomad quarter, featuring living space (both mobile and permanent), trading areas of the bazaar (ranging from an upturned shield over a fire where "meat" is cooked to horse auctions), and hiring-on markets (where an outgoing caravan can arrange for native escort and spread bribes for "passage banners" that will supposedly allay attacks while crossing the steppes).

I've probably made this into a bigger project than I should have but...hey...that's me.
M

industrygothica
12-03-2009, 01:35 AM
Nothing wrong with big projects, and this one looks good so far.


-IG

Redrobes
12-03-2009, 06:20 PM
I don't think this is really "finished quality" but there's no point my drawing a bunch of buildings to just have to redraw them later. This should give the general layout and feel, I guess.Doing it a little rough, saving time and then mapping it again later at a bigger scale for just a few of the interesting buildings might be a better approach than trying to make a lot of small scale buildings look great all at once taking a lot of time on one map. I think its looking great so far.

mearrin69
12-06-2009, 11:24 AM
Finally got time to make a start on a full-scale version. Nothing much to see but figured I'd post to say that I am, in fact, still working on it. :)
M

industrygothica
12-06-2009, 11:25 AM
Great! Glad to see you're still working on it.


-IG

mearrin69
12-31-2009, 12:45 PM
Between graduations, family visits, work, and the holidays I haven't had much time to do anything fun lately. BUT, I have rekindled this one since I had some free time last night and hopefully over the next couple of days.

I wasn't much liking my Photoshop start so I decided to try out Illustrator. Just bought CS4 and it was sitting there not doing much of nothing so I figured "why not". Right now I'm just trying out some building shapes. Not sure whether I'd rather try to fully draw buildings in Illustrator or to just make shapes and then bring them into Photoshop and use them as a mask for painting. I see some people getting good results in Illustrator but I'm a novice with the tool so I'll probably go the latter route.

Okay, back to it.
M

Steel General
12-31-2009, 12:53 PM
Looks like a good start

Jaxilon
12-31-2009, 01:18 PM
I'm liking your building outlines. Those are what I was thinking we need if we want others to create detailed buildings for our city maps.

zhar2
12-31-2009, 03:48 PM
nvr mind
great start.

mearrin69
12-31-2009, 06:01 PM
I'm not sure about the true sizes of medieval towns, villages, or hamlets. I'd guess this one would qualify as a city even by today's standards. Fantasy settings tend to overpopulate, though, so I suppose that's okay.

As I mess with this I wonder if my scale between the fortress and the city buildings is maybe going to look off. I did intend for many of the buildings inside the walls (and the tower itself) to be quite large...but the buildings in town look miniscule by comparison. I think some of the scale issues will resolve themselves when I get trees and such in there.

Threw on a rough scale and a kludged compass rose.
M

Ascension
01-01-2010, 10:22 AM
Good lookin start...those are some nice building shapes, good clustering, and follow roads well.

mearrin69
01-01-2010, 03:15 PM
Little more mucking about. More buildings, refined labels and textures, added buildings. If anybody has any suggestions for place names to fill my blanks feel free to shoot 'em out.

My basic idea is that the city started as a collection of shops around the main gate and then hovels and small buildings where the merchants lived. Maybe some development also took place along the main road, which caravans took on the way out of Anuroch across the wastelands. The other areas grew up in a bit more organized fashion, but still around the various established tracks around the fortress. On the west end there will be a nomad tent city, permanent earthen hovels, horse pens, markets, etc. I think most chapels will be along the main road and wealthier housing and a few estates will be along the southern edge.

Working on some designs for significant buildings and will drop those in soon.
M

mearrin69
01-02-2010, 12:44 PM
I decided to divide this into districts to go with my labels, which is why buildings are now colored in groups. Won't be like that in the final map, of course, this is just to help me keep somewhat organized. I realize now I should have made this a small town! :)

I've got some trees and details and things ready for when I finish buildings and take it back into PS. Anybody know of any really nice vector trees? I did some searching last night but didn't find much of anything.
M

Ascension
01-02-2010, 03:39 PM
Can't help on anything vector but your city looks pretty nice so far.

mearrin69
01-04-2010, 01:46 AM
This is going much more slowly than I had hoped...and, unfortunately, I'm going to be at CES most of next week so no more progress on this one (or anything else) for a while.
M

mearrin69
01-23-2010, 04:43 PM
Back now and settled in enough to pick up on my many projects. I wanted to make a little progress on this. Finished a couple of the districts and, on the side, been testing some building layer styles in PS. These are going to go into PS as black shapes and then get turned into textured, shaded buildings there...and I want to reflect a good variety of architectural styles, ranging from tents and sod huts to wood and shingles to stone.
M

industrygothica
01-23-2010, 04:47 PM
Looking fabulous. Glad you've returned to it!


-IG

mearrin69
01-26-2010, 02:20 AM
Thanks to work and gaming I haven't had a whole bunch of time to work on this BUT I did make a start on the nomad tent city to the west of town. Because these are in illustrator they're a little regular right now but the shapes represent tents and "mud huts" built by the mostly transient population from the steppes. Some of them are settled permanently, some just roll in to sell horses and native crafts at the markets and pick up the things they need. It's always a party over there though and I plan to show it. T

he building cluster at the far west is the customs and registration area - all visitors must register...though many don't. The larger pens are for horses, and some other livestock, and the larger tents near them are auction "houses". Larger tents along the main road are covered markets with many vendors. Tent groupings tend to be extended families, clans, that have scored, by whatever means, the best real-estate they can for their encampments. Larger tents residential tents are the wealthier families and down from there.

Next to your horses and personal gear (weapons and armor) I'm thinking a family's tent is the most extravagant display of social status...with wealthier families being able to afford larger tents. All tents, however, are decorated lavishly with both a riot of dyed color, painted murals of the family's exploits, and (for those that can afford it or have the skill) fairly impressive embroidery.

Yeah. I'm just making it up as I go along, of course. :
M

Jaxilon
01-27-2010, 03:41 AM
Loving your explanations of what you envision. Having just completed my first challenge and it being a market area I have a greater appreciation for what you are taking on here.

I wanted to create the mass chaos and bustle of the market but it took a lot of energy and details to pull off. It's a lot of hard work. One thing I gained from my exercise was a growing hatred of trying to draw with a mouse. LOL

I hope you can keep going on this, it's a pleasure to watch your progress.

su_liam
01-27-2010, 06:48 PM
This is a problem a lot of 3d 1ps games have. They love squalor, but it's amazing how regimented things look when every trash pile, every bit of graffiti and every puddle of urine in every back alley looks exactly the same. Chaos, anarchy, disorder and squalor take a lot of effort and storage space.

mearrin69
01-30-2010, 12:12 AM
Was reading back through the thread to sort of keep my self aware of the story I've already built and realized I'd never vocalized how much I've appreciated all of your encouragement and feedback. So, thanks!

I'm working on this very part-time so progress is pretty slow. I hope to spend a few hours on it tomorrow to see if I can't get all of the building outlines finished so I can start really playing with it in Photoshop. I've got it planned out...it's just a matter of dragging rectangles around and clicking the pathfinder tool a few hundred more times. :) I've attached a shot of what it looks like at present. When I've got all of the buildings in I'll go back through and selectively edit to make some parks, market squares, common areas, wells, statues, etc. so it looks a little more like a liveable city and less like the Bronx.
M

arsheesh
01-30-2010, 01:29 AM
Looking really good so far Mearrin69. In fact, your town layout is very similar to that of the town that my own campaign has been based around (though I've only done a hand drawing of it). I'm looking forward to watching your map develop.

Cheers,

-Arsheesh

industrygothica
01-30-2010, 06:53 AM
If you'd supply that compass rose as an object by itself, I'd happily steal it from you. ;)

Very nice You do realize that you have to map the rest of Anuroch now, correct?


-IG

torstan
01-30-2010, 08:54 AM
Looks great. I love the straightforward style for the buildings. That's very elegant.

The text could do with being lightened overall to help it stand out from the background. The labels are a little hard to read just now.

mearrin69
01-30-2010, 10:56 AM
Thanks, guys. BTW, those lame district names still need replacing. If anyone's got any ideas please feel free to throw them out. :)

@IG: What format do you want it in? It started as a PNG I found by searching Google Images and was imported to Illustrator, traced, and stylized. I didn't find any copyright attached to it - wouldn't try to put it on anything I wanted to sell in any case but I suppose it's okay for uses of this nature. I intended it as a placeholder but kind of like it now. Anyway, if you want it, I could give it as a vector file or convert it to raster. Just wanted to be clear that it's not my own work. Re mapping the rest of Anuroch: I have to finish this little part of it first! :)

@torstan: Much agreed on the text. Right now it's partially transparent and that's part of what's making it hard to read. The lables are also placeholders...as I intend to rasterize the buildings and work on them in Photoshop, then bring it back into Illustrator for labeling, etc. Now that you've called the style "elegant", however, I wonder if I really should go and muck them up with textures and all :)
M

Sharpe
02-01-2010, 04:16 AM
Really interesting! Very nicely done! I can imagine walking around in the streets. :)

One thing to consider, I think that fortress would want a "killing field" around its wall. With houses and buildings around it that close, archers aren't going to be able to defend against attackers, and attackers will simply be able to climb over the walls. If it were my map, I would remove those two closest rings of buildings around the wall.

Keep it up and keep us updated! :)

su_liam
02-01-2010, 12:32 PM
That is what they'd want, but what grows up in the relative safety under the guns of the fortress might be different. Besides, "killing field," or "cluster of peasant hovels and merchant stalls?" It all works out the same. Everybody involved knows this, but for the folks in the undertown getting their pitiful hovel burnt to the ground every big battle beats getting pwnd every time a band of orcs comes wandering by. Nobody wants a half-orc for a grandson!

mearrin69
02-01-2010, 12:39 PM
Thanks guys. That's exactly right, su_liam. I envision the stuff around the fort walls as mostly riff-raff-built hovels, tents, and vendor stalls at first...when the fort was still in use against the barbarian hordes a couple-hundred years ago. In case of an invasion, though, those people would have been admitted to the fortress walls for safety. It has since grown into a more respectable town and the barbarian menace has dropped to almost nil - most of the tribes have permanent representation in the bazaar these days and the rest roll into town regularly for commerce. And, there are far too many people now to let into the fortress anyway - should an invasion ever come. If it did come down to some sort of invasion, probably from another source, burning out Oldtown might not be a bad contingency plan...giving the archers on the wall a clean field of fire. Although, actually, the tight press of buildings would keep most traditional siege engines from being very effective (heh, especially if those buildings were on *fire*).
M

Coyotemax
02-01-2010, 02:17 PM
Smoke cover works both ways, of course. I think it would hinder the defenders more though, the seige equipment only needs a vague idea of aiming to be effective. It may not hit the walls, but if you're not sure of what you're going to hit, i'd tell the engineers just to aim further than they think they might need to, and let them rain destruction on the town itself until the smoke clears.

People hated me back in my tabletop wargaming sessions :)

As a defender I would either knock down the hovels and leave the debris as a makeshift slow-down tactic (if I knew the attackers weren't the types to set fire to things) or leave the buildings up and boobytrap the **** put of them and wait for the ground troops to try and use them for cover.

mearrin69
02-01-2010, 10:56 PM
Making a little progress on this but nowhere near done with building shapes yet. I probably won't post an image again until I get all of those done at least...don't want to fill the board with several Mb of WiPs :) In the meantime, however, here's the compass rose in AI (saved back to CS2 format) and PNG24 with transparency. If anyone wants it in another format because either of these aren't working just let me know.

Again, to be clear, this compass rose is not my work - it's an AI tracing of a found image. I snagged the original from an image search that led here (http://www.melessee.org/images/Compass-rose-pale.png). I have no knowledge of its original provenance, though I don't think the site owner made it. To be safe I wouldn't go putting it on anything you plan to sell.
M

[edit: Okay, I guess I can't attach the AI file as-is. I've zipped it and attached.]

Coyotemax
02-02-2010, 12:27 AM
I recognize that rose, I've encountered it often during google searches.

You might be interested in the following link if you'd like to know more about it:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Compass_rose_pale.svg

And it's based on the following:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Reinel_compass_rose.svg


Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License. In short: you are free to share and make derivative works of the file under the conditions that you appropriately attribute it, and that you distribute it only under a license identical to this one.

mearrin69
02-02-2010, 12:31 AM
Thanks for that Coyotemax. Well, there you go. I guess it's all legal-like, unless I'm reading it incorrectly. Does you posting that link count as attribution?
M

Coyotemax
02-02-2010, 12:36 AM
I would think so, though to be safe I'd add it as a footnote to the finished map thread when it happens

mearrin69
02-26-2010, 11:22 AM
I see now that it has been ages since I posted an update. I've been buried under mounds of work but this map's pretty easy to open up in Illustrator for half an hour and do some building sketching. Been doing that for the past couple of weeks. Progress has been slow but I'm almost there. Just a couple of small sections and then some clean-up and detailing to do...then I can take it into PS to work it over with fanciness. I'll keep inching along on it; going to be busy for some time to come with real-world work and such but I'll eventually get it done. Seems like there's not much going on in CWBP so I'm hoping others will join in again.
M

Oh yeah, still open to name suggestions. :) Most of the existing placeholders aren't all that great.

Steel General
02-26-2010, 11:42 AM
This is turning out quite nicely Mearrin...

mearrin69
03-01-2010, 11:26 PM
Finished up the building shapes in Illustrator and brought them into Photoshop tonight.

Had a go with creating one of the building styles (a sort of adobe/stucco thing with a flat roof and low walls around it). Took the whole building layer and overlaid it with a seamless sand pattern, duplicated the layer and selected it then contracted the selection and deleted, leaving a 'ring' of textured material. Then I duplicated that layer, moved it below the ring layer, made it black and blurred it, then offset it a few pixels and deleted anything not falling on the building. This gave a shadow for the wall falling onto the top of the building.

So, I plan to create many different building styles - both variations of this one and other things like tiles, shingles, tents, etc. Then I'll just erase out the ones I don't want from each layer. Special buildings like the hippodrome, tower, etc. will get their own treatment, of course. It's kind of cool to see the whole city done up like the attached picture, though. I can't wait until I have a few building styles and erase them out...want to see how it looks.

Also, right now the shadow is single-height. Later I'm going to vary the height in places to suggest taller buildings, etc. I'll have to make a special shadow layer for the tower, fortress walls, and other really tall structures, as they're going to fall across other buildings.
M

Ascension
03-02-2010, 01:26 AM
Looks nice. All I can think of is that they're all the same color, some little bit of color variation might go well. Good job so far, though.

mearrin69
03-02-2010, 01:29 AM
Thanks. Definitely will have lots of variation in the colors...plus other building styles in there. Will probably make sense once I get some of those in there. Will try to come up with a sample to show what I'm talking about. :)
M

Coyotemax
03-02-2010, 01:33 AM
Holycarp! I'm not typically a fan of this style of building creation, but for this purpose it really works well. The shadows will really work to give it dimension once you customize them, yowza!

industrygothica
03-02-2010, 07:20 AM
I had that reverse 3D thing going on for a minute where everything looked puffy and weird, but my brain finally sorted it out after a minute. It looks really great!

Steel General
03-02-2010, 08:44 AM
Looking good...

I've used that method before as well, and a modified version of it on my Shadizaar map.

Coyotemax
03-02-2010, 10:21 AM
I had that reverse 3D thing going on for a minute where everything looked puffy and weird, but my brain finally sorted it out after a minute. It looks really great!
you had that too?? i saw that at first glance, read the post, then saw it normally, and spent like 5 mins trying to get it back with no luck. I passed it off as my meds talking :)

mearrin69
03-02-2010, 10:33 AM
I had it too the first time I looked at the thumbnail in my post after making it...so much so that I opened the pic to make sure something hadn't gone wrong with it. Bit disconcerting. I think it'll go away when I get some different building styles in there. Hope so anyway. :)

I was looking at some reference pics and decided that the thing needs some stripey cloth awnings and such off of the buildings. What do you guys think?
M

Coyotemax
03-02-2010, 12:28 PM
I think that would be quite acceptable :) It'll look great when you get them in there.

I was also thinking that it might be too much work when you get to the shadows, but if you could chop up some of the connected buildings to give the appearance of different height buildings placed right up next to each other, that would be awesome too (if you follow)

mearrin69
03-04-2010, 02:59 AM
Had about an hour total to play tonight...hoping for more free time in the weeks to come.

Anyway, here's a little mucking about with buildings. The solid colored ones are where I've erased out the sandstone/adobe buildings to create some different styles - and there are a couple already in there with different styles of tile roofs (rooves? nah.) I can see now that this might be a really extensive thing to do well...lots of work to make the sloped roofs come out differently. The awnings are just a texture with some color variation warped and placed below the shadow layer...they have their own drop shadow too.

Yeah. Maybe too much work. :) I haven't even started messing about with ground textures, trees, miscellaneous junk and such. Is this level of detail worth it or should I just color the buildings black, call it a schematic and mark it done? Maybe it's worth the hundreds of hours to create a magnum opus?
M

Coyotemax
03-04-2010, 04:02 AM
I think the awnings look great! I had the reverse 3d thing again for a split second :)

Really it's up to you for the level of detail, a plan would be totally functional - but hey, it's only a significant chunk of your life if you go for full detail, right? :P

mearrin69
03-05-2010, 12:40 AM
I fear this now. The file is now at 275mb. Going to need to do some serious managment of layers to keep it workable. Working at 600ppi (6600x4162) so that the buildings are large enough to be useable. Maybe that's going overboard?

Anyway. Spent a little while on it tonight messing with some more buildings and shading. Haven't figured out how to get the awnings that aren't in shadow to look quite right but the ones in shadow look pretty good. Also played on a macro scale with imposing some realistic-ish ground textures and such. I'm going to put in some tiled areas in courtyards, plants, wells, and things like that.

Still deciding if it's worth it. This level of detail would get lost on the map at full-size. I'll playing with it to see what happens.
M

N.B. This is at 100% zoom. I guess if you can't see the details at 100% they're not worth putting in?

Ascension
03-05-2010, 05:20 AM
No no no no no. Gotta have details even if we can't see 'em. :) 600 ppi is overboard unless you're going to make a poster. It looks great, man. If you want to keep file size down, merge terrain layers or work on one city block and then merge that together. Just remember to save any layer styles before doing so.

mearrin69
03-05-2010, 08:32 AM
Thanks for the feedback. I realize now that I've forgotten the reason I spent all that time making building templates in Illustrator: to make it quick and easy to texture the buildings in a variety of styles, make shadows, etc. I think I'm going to stop where I am and roll it back to 300ppi and rough in the building styles. Going house to house at this scale, like I'm trying to take Stalingrad, is going to get me nowhere but crazy. I'm going to have to zoom out and give the impression of detail rather than the detail itself.

BUT I do think there's the opportunity to zoom in and create more detailed district maps at some point...that's one thing having vector building forms gives me.
M

mearrin69
03-05-2010, 11:20 PM
Okay, now we're talking. Resized the file to 300ppi (63 MB now) and it's much more workable. I'm not focusing on detail, just using my layer masks to quickly lay down texture and tone. For the sloped roofs I've made a layer, set to multiply, and I'm just quickly painting the roof shades onto that (using a little guide I made to tell me what color I should use for what angle). This came together from scratch in about an hour--much less than I spent cutting out little tile textures and shading rectangles, etc. as I was doing before. Going to try to find some more textures to use...they need some detail but not so much that you can tell they're going the wrong way. I have a weekend of marathon gaming so won't get much done in the next few days but just wanted to say, YAY!
M

N.B. Forgot to mention that I've got tall buildings in there now. There'll be shorter ones too (which will cast a shorter shadow, but that might not even be noticeable so I might not bother except with the small tents. Second note: this is stil just a test. I've got a color adjustment layer in there that's adding a little too much "candy color" to the buildings. I'll tone all of that down, saving the brighter colors for the awnings, nomad tents, plants, etc.

Coyotemax
03-06-2010, 12:24 AM
dang, that's shaping up nicely!

Ascension
03-06-2010, 12:43 AM
That candy color really fits the the olive drab brown, I would keep it as is.

mearrin69
03-06-2010, 12:35 PM
Candy color it is, then. :) I did some erasing across the entire thing this morning to get rid of some of the sandstone/adobe/whatever buildings and expose some more tiled roofs (and I added another basic tile roof style). No shading on them yet and I'll be adding more roof variety over time, but I just wanted to get a feel for what the city's going to look like with a mix of roof styles. Not too bad, I think. With some color variations spread across the city I think it'll look pretty good. Any thoughts, suggestions? Maybe ideas for a unique style of two for some key buildings?

I'll keep rolling with city-wide broad changes and keep detailing the southeast section I've already started; putting in some little features like plants, fountains, awnings, etc. Don't want to get bogged down in details but I do want to see what works on a small scale before I start trying to do anything across the city.

Some notes: 1) the black objects to the west are various styles of tents and yurts. Haven't done anything with those yet, not even shadows. 2) The purple thing is the "hippodrome" and will have its own style, though I'm not yet sure what that'll be. 3) Same thing goes for the grey fortress and towers in the center. They're going to be tall and cast a shadow across neighboring buildings. 4) There's a hill in the middle of the city so I've got to play around with how to make that pop. Ideally, shadows falling onto the south side of the hill would be a bit shorter and sharper while shadows falling down the north side would be longer and get blurry quickly. Not sure I'm up for that level of versimilitude, however. :)

C&C welcomed. Thanks!
M

industrygothica
03-06-2010, 11:31 PM
Absolutely stunning. Now you have to map the rest of the area. ;)

RobA
03-08-2010, 10:28 PM
That candy color really fits the the olive drab brown, I would keep it as is.

Though Ascension is a bit colour happy... just look at the sig...

-Rob A>

mearrin69
03-09-2010, 01:05 AM
@RobA: Heh, well, I'll cut him some slack on his sig since his maps are so good. :) Actually, I did tone them down just a bit - and now they're spread throughout the whole city.
@industrygothica: I'll be lucky to finish just *this* part of the area at this rate. :) I would like to get around to that fort I talked about (Bastion) and maybe the Stoneshaper's Guild fortress - a dungeon map, I reckon.

Anyway, here's the latest. Much more color and shading variation. Think I'm done with that part. Next time I get an hour to work on it I'll start converting the flat roofs to slanted - as is done in the more detailed area in the small section southeast of the fort. I was turning my shading layer on and off...amazing what a difference those few shaded roofs make. I think the map will really pop when that is spread around to the rest of it.

I'm still pondering how to handle the tents/yurts, hippodrome, and fort. Will probably wait on those until I at least get the rest of the city finished on the macro scale, but before I start putting in plants, courtyards, and all of that crazy detail.
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mearrin69
03-10-2010, 10:58 PM
Here's a *very* rough pass at the fortress and tower. Not so great but it's a start. I think I want those roofs on each of the towers. Have to work on that a bit. Also, the shadows are botched. Suggestions for improving any of this?
M

Al. I. Cuza
03-11-2010, 10:27 AM
If this is a desert town, then there shouldn't be any grey buildings. Red maybe, if there is clay in the area, but grey?

mearrin69
03-11-2010, 10:53 AM
Good point. I had wondered about that...but I'm no geologist. I had imagined the original fort having been constructed by the "Stoneshaper's Guild" but I guess they'd need granite to work with to get granite buildings. I'm working with D&D magic as a background here but forget how wall of stone works...whether it creates stone or merely uses what's available.

Okay, any more stone speakers here? What's the consensus here? Should I ditch the grey and go with more deserty colors?
M

Steel General
03-11-2010, 11:25 AM
Well they could have transported the granite from somewhere... :)

You might consider dropping the gray or shifting it to a dirty yellow/sand color or a more reddish hue as A.I.C. suggested.

mearrin69
03-11-2010, 02:59 PM
I'll try to give the colors at least a tap in the right direction. In the meantime here's a quick (again, *rough*) take on the hippodrome. I'm going to need some lessons on constructing these complex shadows. Mine are mediocre at best.
M

Steel General
03-11-2010, 04:12 PM
I did a 'Circus Maximus' for my Shadizaar map and posted the .PSD file if you're interested.

Not sure how well it would work with your map, but your welcome to use it if you like.

mearrin69
03-11-2010, 07:15 PM
Weird...reply vanished. So, anyway, thanks for reminding me of that map. Very nice and that's a great building. It's a different style than I've got here but I will certainly be happy to steal some of the architectural ideas like that barrier in the center...hadn't thought about that (refs? what's that? lol. maybe I should look at some once in a while). Thanks again.
M

Al. I. Cuza
03-11-2010, 07:27 PM
The stones used for building don't have to be granite. Think of the Egyptian pyramids, who are made from limestone (not sure). Just google desert fort. Should be clear enough what material were used most of the time.

mearrin69
03-11-2010, 07:48 PM
Absolutely. I just like grey stone so was trying to find a reason to use it. :) Anyway, here's a whole city view as it stands now. Filled in the small tents; still trying to figure out to do with the bigger ones. I took a shortcut on the shading for roofs with inclines, using a bevel layer style. I might go back later and redo it by hand but it doesn't look to bad so I might just bank that time for other stuff. There's certainly still much refinement that could happen but I'm going to focus on detailing some area a bit to see how it looks.
M

BTW, I do intend that the tents will be colorful affairs...the current "white beveled hump" thing is just to establish shape for now.

Najmir
03-11-2010, 07:56 PM
Looks great. Love the style.

mearrin69
03-13-2010, 12:21 AM
A little bit more progress. Also, cropped it a bit and added back in my titles, compass rose, etc. from the AI file.
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tilt
03-13-2010, 02:26 AM
that looks really good :) ... great shadows and nice buildings - love it!

Al. I. Cuza
03-13-2010, 04:51 AM
Looks great actually.

Steel General
03-13-2010, 08:06 AM
Nice! I wonder if applying the same bevels, etc. to the compass rose would work to give it a similar effect?

mearrin69
03-13-2010, 09:23 AM
Thanks.

I might redo the titles, etc. to match the map style more closely...these were just something I came up with when I first started making building shapes in Illustrator and wanted something that stood out. Now it stands out a bit too much. This isn't something I'm great at doing so I'll have to play with it some to see what I can come up with.

Also, my district names still suck so if anyone has any suggestions... :)
M

mearrin69
04-11-2010, 12:28 AM
There's still a lot to do before I'd consider this one completely finished but, honestly, I'm running out of energy for it. It definitely still needs some trees. I had originally thought I might even put people and horses and such to make it a true aerial view...at this point I doubt that's going to happen unless I find some way to make that process *very* short. :)
M

mearrin69
04-11-2010, 12:49 PM
Some closeups of me messing about with ground texturing and plants. Not perfect but I like where it's going and it'll require far fewer actual "tree" objects, which will save some time. Any thoughts, suggestions, critiques much appreciated.
M

Gandwarf
04-11-2010, 01:35 PM
The ground texturing and plants looks pretty convincing I think. Great to see the map progressing some more. Really nice so far.

Ascension
04-11-2010, 11:08 PM
Looks good, dude. Glad to know that I'm not the only fussy detail-obsessed city designer :)

mearrin69
02-06-2013, 07:36 PM
Long time, no see. After a bit more work on it I'm going to put this one to bed now. It was languishing on my HD but I figured it deserved to be finished properly.
M