What a great idea.
I've been mulling city tile ideas. I did 4 city map tiles for Wayfinder 4 - here's an example:
It's pretty, but has some problems. The issues I have with it are:
- The directional light means I can't rotate the tile and still have it look good.
- The square shape and roads around the side mean that a city map will be very gridded
- The buildings are relatively large, so it suggests a literal depiction of a city and you'd need a LOT of these to make a reasonably sized city
That led me to wonder if there was a way to get round these problems. I came up with a hex based sketch:
This has some upsides - and some downsides:
- Non-directional lighting means it can be rotated
- Hexagons mean that you get 6 tiles for the price of 1 with the rotations
- A larger scale per hex means that you'd need fewer tiles for a city, and it doesn't look like it should be taken literally. It's more a sense of urban area than a house by house depiction
- The larger area per hex makes it harder to show individual locations when you need a special area
- Roads coming in on the middle of each side rather than following the sides means that the hexes automatically fit together, and helps to break up the repeating hex structure.
A quick test with just one tile gave this:
I'm pretty pleased with that and I'm going to play with taking this further whenever I have time between other projects. Currently the plan is to create a couple of tiles for a few different types of district:
- Rich - big houses, parks
- Medium - large houses, terraced
- Poor - high density small houses, no big streets
Then I need to figure out how to include specific features into the map, such as a castle, rivers, docks, city walls, a market and so on. Some should be given markers that just indicate they exist (such as a specific inn). Others should e shown on the map (city walls, docks). I'll resurrect this whenever I come up with new sketches, and any feedback is always good but this won't move quickly as I'm stacked up right now!
There's a bit more discussion of this on my blog here:
What a great idea.
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The main things I was going to suggest are walls/gates/towers and some tiles that are less populated for something like a village or act as the suburbs outside the walls of a keep (edges of the city where things are more spread out as opposed to the tightly-packed downtown area). To that end you might want some of those town-house types where the houses are built adjoined.
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Agreed on the less populated hexes for smaller towns and villages.
Overall a great idea and very useful for us end users!
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looking good torstan, much more organic this way
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Great idea Torstan... maybe you should consider doing sewer tiles as well?
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I agree, this holds great promise.
I've been playing with the idea of a making tiles using a colour "mask" and a heightfiled. After rotating them and pasting them you take the heightfiled layer, duplicate it twice and emboss one copy and run an edge detect on the other. It is a lot of work to make the heightfilelds, but once a "library" were built it would be fairly easy to assemble these (or generate random maps programatically using imagemagic)
Sample tile colour mask:
Sample tile HF (note there is a road as well, it is just a small difference from the background, and maybe I shouldn't have done that.... Even terrain could possibly be added in):
Rotating these tiles gives me this "map" when embossed:
And the edge detect (inverted) for "outlines":
And the final result... emboss layer set to overlay and edge detect layer set to multiply:
The only thing it doesn't create are shadows
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I have been thinking about something similar ever since I saw this fellow's geomorphs (TiltingWindmills). He does a great job of giving the appearance of randomness despite having square tiles. Just creative use of streets and angles, I think.
Last edited by RecklessEnthusiasm; 03-24-2011 at 03:37 PM.