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Thread: [Region 1][Map 13][Town 02] Ascension

  1. #1
    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    Post [Region 1][Map 13][Town 02] Ascension

    City mapping has always been difficult for me. I've attempted a tutorial now and again, but I've not managed to come up with a map that satisfies me. So I am going to try to develop a new style for city mapping in this thread. Any and all suggestions and pointers as I go along are welcome.

    I'll provide a bit of info on the town in a little while, but for now, here's a concept image for the river. It's simple enough: the river shape filled with a deep blue, new layer with an interior stroke in a very light blue for the shallows, and I then smudged the border between the two colors in the direction of the water's flow.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails [Region 1][Map 13][Town 02] Ascension-ascension-river.png  
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    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    Alright, thinking about the environment of Upper Groam, it's a high valley between two mountain ranges, descending from a somewhat lower ridge down to the flatlands. I am imagining the area was built up over the eons by dirt blown up from western winds, so it's sandy soil and relatively arid, but not desert. Seasonal rains create rivers that may be dry part of the year, but they cut deep furrows in the relatively loose soil. The rivers are typically muddy and slow moving, and they are prone to changing their courses.

    The rivers carry a great deal of silt, making their banks fertile and attractive to farming. The largest are navigable most of the year, but for the most part, the denizens of Upper Groam do not rely on them for trade and transportation.

    Prior to the silver rush, Upper Groam was sparsely settled, but as mines sprouted to the north and south, many larger towns grew up along important routes from the mountains to the lowlands. Ascension was founded at the confluence of one of the region's only large rivers and a smaller seasonal tributary. The river is navigable during much of the year, so many silver and tin merchants set up shop to purchase metals from mining convoys and then send it the rest of the way to the lowlands by flatboat. Supplies flowed the other direction--up the river and into the convoys' carts and wagons.

    When plague began striking the miners, the flow of silver and tin ebbed, and most of the wealthy merchants went with it. They were replaced by refugees from the mines and the crumbling cities of the Tawaren Basin. The influx of diseased outlanders prompted the Silver Watch to quarantine the town early. The first of the great walls was built on the western edge of Ascension, along with a quarantine jail used in an effort to prevent the illness from spreading further. The effort failed, and the line of quarantine was moved further westward, leaving Ascension fully in the grip of despair and death.
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      Torq is offline
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    Love it, Love it, love it! Great writeup as usual Mid. I'm really chuffed that someone is doing a Groam settlement. Its really what this project is about IMHO. I cant wait to see what you come up with.

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    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    Heh. I was about to apologize, but then I looked up the word "chuffed."

    The southern bank of the river rises steeply into a one hundred fifty foot sandstone cliff, limiting the town's growth to the north bank and providing a convenient citadel site for the Grey Watch to oversee the area. A mule-driven tram permits supplies and personnel to move across the river and up the cliff. Both ends of the tram are secure within fortresses on the west side of the wall. Climbing the cliff is possible, but difficult since the river is deepest at the cliff's bottom.

    Here's an expanded river image, with the confluence. I'll be altering the colors to represent the silty water eventually. I wanted to get that smudge-stroke down first, though.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails [Region 1][Map 13][Town 02] Ascension-ascension005.png  
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    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    It's been a while, but I've finally gotten back to working on this one. This is what I had when I got distracted by Mennin's Hallow:
    [Region 1][Map 13][Town 02] Ascension-ascension005-copy.png

    I imported a low-res copy of that image into City Designer Pro and started in on it:

    [Region 1][Map 13][Town 02] Ascension-ascension006.png

    Once I had a layout that pleased me, I brought it back to Photoshop:

    [Region 1][Map 13][Town 02] Ascension-ascension008.png

    I need to go back and match the resolution of the CC3 output to my original Photoshop image so I can recomposite it properly (the scale sketch is particularly odious).

    I still haven't quite arrived at a good way to render the cliff. Any other suggestions or comments? Questions?
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist
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    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    Wip

    I recomposited and cleaned things up a bit, and I tried out a hand-drawn hachure approach to the cliff. My next task will be to isolate the roads and houses, and recolor the houses so I can get all the roof shading going the same direction. City Designer didn't do a very good job with that.

    I'm not sure how much I like the cliff at the moment. I think I'll wait until I've done a bit of work on the houses before I decide. Once again, advice is not only welcome, but coveted!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails [Region 1][Map 13][Town 02] Ascension-ascension011.png  
    Last edited by Midgardsormr; 07-22-2008 at 11:31 PM. Reason: It'd be good if I attached the file, probably.
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist
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    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    I like it so far... maybe the shadowing on the buildings you mentioned will help make it look less flat.
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      NeonKnight is offline
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    I hear your pain, it's one reason I am pining soooooo bad for CD3.
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      torstan is offline
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    Looking good. Is there a reason for the river being green? I have to say I prefer a traditional blue

    It might be nice to darken the river towards the southern cliff, as it is deeper there, and should also help to give more of a sense of height to the cliff at the same time.
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    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    Wip

    Yeah, I haven't quite sold myself on the green, either. My initial idea was to try to make it look like the rivers I am used to, which are generally more brown than green, anyway. But if I made it brown, then it'd just look like more dirt. I'll probably go back to blue but keep the brown silt on the banks.

    I did try to darken the water at the base of the cliff, but I don't think I did enough. I'll try that again tomorrow if I have time. There are a couple of other things I intend to tweak: shadows for the docks and boats, the castle walls, and the altar. Longer shadows for those 5-sided towers. Some farm fields and other vegetation.

    While I was building the Mennin's Hallow map, it was suggested that I reverse the inset, so that the town take up the main map, and the inset have a regional mini-map. I think I'll try that out here.

    Any thoughts on those hachure lines for the cliff? If they stay, they need to be cleaned up, but I'm still not sure if they're really showing what I want them to show.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails [Region 1][Map 13][Town 02] Ascension-ascension014.png  
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist
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