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: