Ugh, the two floor problem. I assume that because this is a battle map it must be a top down view? If the maps are being made for print, then one solution would be to have your main battle map with the ground floor of the gate house, and then have smaller 'inserts' of the first floor and the roof which can be put on top of the gatehouse. (see image).
If it's for playing on VTT then the only solution I can see (and I'm not a VTT expert) is to have the first floor and ground floor of the gatehouse as separate rooms, so that if the characters move into either, that is what they see. Don't know what you'd do if some of the characters were on the first floor, some on the ground floor and some in the courtyard though.
On the portcullis thing there's a recent long thread about it somewhere in either General discussion or the buildings subforums.
Let me throw an idea out at you. While I have not done a ton of full size maps I often encounter depth issues when doing my top down objects. I think that you could indicate height on areas that need it by using tapered buttresses. The top would match the texture of the higher elevation, and the stone texture and width of the buttress would scale down as it moved away from the structure. This should help establish the roofless area as being higher and make for less confusion to the viewer.
I did something similar with cliffs under this rope bridge object one of my site contributors submitted.
Private use only. Do not redistribute.
I might be able to mock something up over the weekend, if you would like to see an example.
Hope this helps.
Most VTT can handle links to other maps easily. One thing to change for VTT maps (besides the eternal 'no grid needed':P ) is that it is often very helpful to have the map show where an item is/could be and to have the item separate that can be used as an icon that can be moved around.
Originally Posted by tilt
Depending on the size of the structure having the two floors in one image but separate works well also instead of having mulitple maps loaded in the VTT.
I'm not sure its VTT, I think its for print
Sorry, missed out on this conversation for a bit. Yeah, it's mainly for print. Though the client did mention something about VTTs he didn't give any real guidance other than size and resolution. So, this has largely been solved...the client has decided to leave the roof on the gatehouse, ignore the inside of the keep, and ditch the balcony. I'll post another wip after I fix all of that and make a couple of major changes to architecture: I guess the roof of the latrine is supposed to be walkable, with battlements, and there are supposed to be crenelations on the inner lip of the outer wall, facing the courtyard (to my mind, if you're firing *into* the courtyard you've pretty much already lost the battle but...the client's the boss on this one.)
@greytale: dude, that's a pretty pic!
Everything is for VTTs!!;)
Seriously most of us just use PDFs to copy and paste from so the only real difference from a "print" product is the grid and preference for a lack of it.
@anstett: I haven't used VTTs that much. For my own products I was considering providing downloadable maps. Should they be unlabled and ungridded for VTT use? Do some people want grids and labels? What resolution would be best? Your advice would be helpful on this! Thanks.
I have been using VTTs for my game since 2003. For all systems the best maps always have no grid because that way you can use your program to set up a grid if you want it or (as I do) leave no grid so players have to eyeball distances. (Oh so sorry that fireball is just a little too close).
For labels it is a personal thing for the GM but most I talk with do not like labels on the map or at least prefer the ability to remove them. The same goes for secret doors and traps. Being able to show the players one map without those showing is a very handy thing. Multiple versions (or layers on a PDF) are very helpful to show those features in before and after mode.
Interactive PDFs are a good way to go because you can still control a lot of the map from a creators point of view. You can put in an invisible water mark, package several together, etc.
Unfortunately resolution and size are very program specific. I rarely have a problem with any maps at high resolution because I simply crop out the sections I do not need for that encounter.
An example from my game to show how even basic maps work well when zoomed in fairly close.
If anyone wants to log in to see a session or experiment feel free to grab me in IM/email or PM here and I will get you all set up. I have lots of open slots for people to come and visit. The program I use is Java based so platform agnostic and free for players.
I will be glad to work with any content creators to help experiment on how their art displays and works with the interactivity.
I have played VTT a little - just a couple of sessions, then we went back to good old meeting up and using printed maps. And I do believe a high percentage of roleplayers are with either printed maps or battle mats, perhaps that will change when wizards get their VT up and running, but for now I think the off-line sessions still are in "the lead". So in my regard, when you make a scenario - you make it for printing and if you're nice, you add stuff for VTT players so everybody are pleased :)
For better or worse, that is my strategy. I'm definitely happy to try to support alternate play methods where possible, even if I have to go a little out of my way...but my main focus is on creating products for "traditional" face-to-face, pen-and-paper play (heh, though I might end up having at least some PDF-only products).