I have another game-related map project on the go, but this time of a nature I don't see very often: mapping a zoo.

I did a fair bit of research before I started this project, and it struck me that there aren't very many *good* maps of zoos around. A lot of parks and zoos seem to forego readability and clear layouts in favour of 'funky' fonts and some hastily-pasted images of the animals on show. My aesthetic disappointment is by-the-by though, as in a practical sense I felt that unlike with transit maps, star charts and street maps, there wasn't any kind of rule set to grasp onto; no Harry Beck or Jean Roque to navigate by. I hope that's where we might get some communal discussion going, if you're game!

What I'm drawing is something between concept art and a game environment. The zoo appears on screen as part of the game interface, and it's interactive insofar as the player can tap an enclosure to see information about its inhabitants, but that's where interactivity ends. Thus, I won't be drawing on icons for toilet facilities and picnic areas, but I will be marking each enclosure in some fashion. The map is shown to the player at a raised perspective, sort of like that employed by theme parks (whose map layouts have proven to be much more useful reference material). It's also worth saying that it isn't a particularly realistic zoo, as the habitats are recreated almost authentically - because it's prettier, and it's easier to communicate to the player.

So far I have a few rough sketches and a 2D map, drawn in Illustrator. I was getting bogged down in matters of perspective rather than focusing on the actual layout when I was sketching, so I decided to get it all laid down somewhere flat, just to free up parts of my brain or whatever:

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At this point I was mainly focusing on getting blocks down in a way which should be visible from a lower angle. The volcanic enclosure looms over the desert, which is visible as it pokes out from behind the mountainous area, and so on. All of it should be nicely visible as the player scrolls around.

I'll be working on the actual graphics once I've slept on it, and seen this concept map afresh. I'd really value your input if you have any, though!