Forest Region Map
So I have to start off this thread with a brief explanation. I'd started a thread about this map in the wrong place and just now remembered that there's a section specifically for WIPs further down the main page... So! I decided to actually continue by putting it in the right place.
As it stands, this would be my 4th update to the map since I started posting, the previous versions are still attached to the posts in the original thread, back in the General section, if y'all would like to check them out before the thread is rightfully deleted. /facepalm.
In a condensed version of what I'd originally posted, some of you might recall I was working on large world map for a game project I'm involved with. I was having trouble with coming up with a look/style I like as well as getting a sense of scale and proportion. Well nothing's changed... it's still giving me trouble lol. I think my problem is that when I get over a certain size, scale and proportion become somewhat abstract to me and I'm not sure if I'm making things too large, too small, etc. Something I need to work on. I'm settled on the look I want now, which is something else that was giving me trouble before; so now it's all about execution.
So, instead of becoming despondent and wallowing my life away in pity over my large-scale cartographic ineptitude, I decided I would instead work on some smaller scale stuff, specifically area maps for the zones that will eventually make up the larger map.
I decided to go with a more "iconic" approach with some detail but not as much as I might have otherwise tried to use. The reason being
A) I want to keep the map as clean as possible, with solid clear lines
B) The map will become a basis for a heightmap which will be used to bring the area(s) into a real-time 3D setting
C) I'm not that skilled with GIMP yet and don't want to overwhelm myself.
In order to maintain a clean look, I'll be adding labels and names to the map in Inkscape. I'm not a fan of GIMP's text tool.
The map is of a temperate coastal woodland region of about 2.5 sq. miles, give or take and includes a number of different features which will become points-of-interest, focal-points for the game's setting, etc. This zone will be one of the starting areas for one of the game's races.
All that's left for this now is to get some icons of trees drawn to spread around to make it look "foresty" and to get everything labeled. There's also some icons for ruins that need to be drawn, as well as a few miscellaneous items to indicate certain points-of-interest.
All told I've put about... 10 hours into this, spread out across the past week. It started with a hand-drawn map which I scanned in and 'digitized' to what you see here.
Feedback, comments, suggestions or questions about the map are welcome and appreciated!
Last edited by Preypacer; 10-30-2011 at 06:29 PM.
So here's an update to my map so far. The biggest change to be seen is the addition of trees.
My goal here is to create the impression of a forest that changes in terms of the density/sparsity of trees, as well as the overall size of them. Obviously, these trees are not "to scale" but are more intended to give an overall representation of what type of forest you'll find in those spots.... without totally cluttering up the map. Hopefully the setup gives that impression and I've mostly achieved the result I'm after.
Any feedback on this is appreciated.
I still have to get the trees made for the swamp region, which will look darker and more "swamp-like", while still maintaining a more "iconic" look.
Beyond that, there's still more to do in terms of creating icons to represent ruins, work on the town itself (off on the East side of the map) and other points of interest that will require unique icons.
I'm also seriously considering going back and making the small cliffs look more realistic. As the basic map I was originally intending to make, plain lines and shadows would have sufficed. However, with the detail I'm adding now, they're starting to look very out of place.
Starting to feel like I'm having a conversation with myself here... lol...
Well, they say people who talk to themselves tend to be highly intelligent, while those who actually respond to themselves are insane. Hmmm...
I was looking at my last update again and I dunno... sometimes I like the trees, sometimes I don't. I like the idea of having trees scattered about to resemble a forest.. I'm not sure if I'm sold on the trees themselves. Something about it just isn't sitting right with me. Not sure if it's the colors, the design... maybe not enough variety in their shape, being only scaled and slightly rotated?
I think I might do some research around here, or perhaps on Google to see if I can find a style that would better suit it. In the meantime, I think I'm going to work on making the cliffs look better, this way I'm at least doing something while I work out my tree conundrum.
Maybe some folks here can help me out with this? Perhaps I'm chasing the wrong rabbit to begin with in terms of the style I'm going for with the trees? I think the insight of a more objective and experienced eye could be really good for me on that aspect of it.
Last edited by Preypacer; 11-02-2011 at 12:01 AM.
Alot of people stalk these forums, so no your not talking to yourself! I was actually stalking this thread without saying anything also! Nice work so far!
Last edited by Preypacer; 11-02-2011 at 12:26 AM.
I think the map is really good, the river is awesome looking. Look forward to seeing more updates on your work.
I like the style of your cliffs as they are now, but let's see how your alternatives look like. I also like the trees... they are exactly the iconic style I would expect to see in such a map. The thing that really puts me off is the "black" areas. I can understand them in game terms... but in the map, they are a huge distraction for me. Alas, I cannot offer any idea how to alleviate that.
The roads definitly need a rework in my view. With the shading you use now, they look as if they are floating above the ground.
And last but not least.... the river is indeed awesome looking!
I join the compliments so far for the way the river is drawn. Really well done.
If I may add my 2 cents I have some problems with the "third dimension" (read: elevation) of the map. The cliffs and the river are in my opinion not interacting correctly. At each cliff passed by the river, a nearby "gap" in the cliff is present. This (should) mean that an easier way for the water to go is available (the cliff will be less steep compared to the nearby ground where a cliff between the two levels is not formed) and my eyes are seeing the actual path as a little strange due to this.
Anyway, very nice map!
Originally Posted by Freodin
I'm glad to hear some positive feedback on the trees. I still think I'm going to draw up one or two more variations representing different types of trees just to mix it up a bit more.
As for the cliffs, yeah I've already started "sketching out" rough ideas to see which way looks like it has the most potential; softer edges, harder edges, different shading, etc.
For the dark areas.. I intend to address that as well. It's mostly serving right now as a "template" for me to fill in, and having those dark areas helps me keep my focus in the areas folks will actually be exploring, etc. I have a few ideas on how to dress that up so it blends better with the map later on.
The dark areas and plain lines will also serve the purpose of giving me a solid template to work against when painting out the rough heightmap later when I'm ready to bring it into 3D.
I definitely agree it's too dark right now for a "finished" product.
Originally Posted by Erior
I know the exact spots you're referring to, and I've thought about that myself... "Why wouldn't the water just flow down that slope?". I've lost perspective a few times and had to remind myself "they're broad strokes" also lol.
There will be much more detail "locally" in the actual map and those areas will be much more logical. Also, I'll be addressing those specific spots when re-drawing the cliffs just so it makes more sense when looking at the map.
Overall though, everything in the map (except for its overall shape and layout) is intended to be very generalized, describing an overall area rather than specific spots. Nothing is to actual scale. It's intended more to be iconic.. "a river will run through this area following this overall path, the trees are larger and more sparse in this area, or smaller and more dense in this area... the town is located in this area, etc".
Hopefully that explains the setup, etc...
So, just a quick update.
I was working on the map some more last night, making the small cliff areas look more cliff-like and was pretty happy with how they were coming out.
Then I hit a bit of a wall, literally and figuratively.
When I got to where the cliffs would meet with one of the solid areas (dark brown on the map), I realized that there was a clash of perspective and style that was beginning to pervade the map overall.
Some parts of it are done from a straight-down PoV, while others are from a more 3D/Perspective type of view. Up 'til last night everything I was doing was as much a learning process as a creative one. And I guess I got so caught up in how I was doing things that I lost sight of what I was doing, in terms of style, etc. A forest for the trees type of situation.
So! I've rewound a few steps and am starting from the basic outlines again. This time, however, I'm going to go with a more consistent look.. all the cliffs (the boundaries as well as the elevation changes) will be drawn in a more "3D style", etc. I'm also going to keep some color in it, but not nearly as drastic. I'd like to go with a more "parchment-y" look overall.
I've looked at a few more maps on this site and see things that people have done that I love the idea of... so I'm going to find ways to incorporate those ideas into my own.
I'll still have the basic outlines to use as the basis for my heightmap when I get to that point... but the map itself will look much more consistent and much better overall, I think.
So.. the next time you see an update, it'll be quite different-looking than the last one.
Last edited by Preypacer; 11-03-2011 at 11:27 AM.