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Thread: Practice Map - Arabesque city

  1. #1

    Wip Practice Map - Arabesque city

    Hi all, I thought I'd show off this work in progress I started a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to test the waters, see how people respond, get some useful feedback. The first image is the complete map, the second is the town so far.

    The map began simply as a way of testing a method for doing multi-levelled roofs in photoshop, and grew from there. I rather like the result (so far), even though it does look very digital. The things that I specifically want to change about it are the roofs (a few different types, like wood, tiles, and awnings would look good; I tried domes and they looked awful), more stairs, and perhaps some ladders across different buildings, better trees, paraphernalia (eg market stalls), etc.

    This map (now and when finished) is also free to use in any non-commercial way, so if you are interested in using it I can probably change it to suit your needs. My attempt to start giving something back to the guild for all the help I've received.

    Lastly, to anyone kind enough to comment on this map, I will try to respond to you, but please be patient. My 'busyness meter' recently went off the scale, and I haven't had time to get it fixed.

    The Hoarse Whisperer
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  2. #2


    Great map, I love the style of your buildings. They definitely have a middle eastern/adobe feel.

    Your river edges are not very smooth though, they get a bit pixelly which is particularly noticeable on the second image. Also the outer glow on your legend letters isn't really strong enough IMO. Could be brighter but with less range/size.

  3. #3
    Guild Master Facebook Connected jtougas's Avatar
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    The buildings are great. I really like the roof outlines. Perhaps you could blur the rooftops a bit (maybe 1-2 px) to take out some of the regularity of them. This is a very well done map
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  4. #4


    LOVE THESE MAPS! I've been DMing Al-Qadim lately and this was really inspirational. I mentioned this post in my latest WIP for the current lite mapping challenge.
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  5. #5
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    Your river is behaving a bit strangely... It would have to be in a marsh-like area, or possibly be a dammed river that formed into a artificial lake for these shapes to form.
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  6. #6
    Guild Journeyer Facebook Connected anstett's Avatar
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    I really like the feel of the city. It almost seems to be close to the 3d terrain style or a close in zoom on Google Earth.

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  7. #7


    I really like this map, it conveys a nice feeling of depth for the varying building and terrain heights. I also like the way the street width varies so certain areas have a feeling of closeness reminiscent of the chase scenes through bazaars in Raiders of the Lost Ark or the Bourne Ultimatum. As a GM I'd find that very useful.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lalaithion View Post
    Your river is behaving a bit strangely... It would have to be in a marsh-like area, or possibly be a dammed river that formed into a artificial lake for these shapes to form.
    Perhaps the river's odd shape could be the result of some sort of cataclysm of supernatural origin. Maybe this was once a lush wetland until a conflict between some great powers reduced it to desert somehow?

  8. #8


    Sorry I haven't been able to update in a while, but as I warned, busy busy busy. Great comments though, as always. I haven't changed the map, but I'll add an update soon.

    @Larb: the second map is so pixelly because it is just an expanded section of the original. As far as I know, cropping an image and then expanding it in Photoshop always does that, but I would love to know if there's another way. I'd like to make the focus more on the city, and less on the countryside, to show off the detail. Also the text is, for now, just to give an indication of places - I will try to finish it more later, and I'll definitely remember your suggestion then

    @jtougas: do you think the roofs need to be blurred? I'm kinda nervous about doing anything that makes the city less distinct, because it is already so confusing with all the alleys, streets, stairs etc. I'll give it a try, but since the roofs are all on different layers, I'll need to finish the city first anyway.

    @anomiecoalition: thanks for the publicity. I checked out your map - looking good (repped)

    @Lalaithion: I plead not guilty to the charge of river violation (although I might be a bit guilty about crimes against hills and mountains). Actually, when I made those rivers, I had in mind all kinds of riverine concepts - braided rivers, meanders, levees etc. Looking back at it now, I can't remember what most of them are, and so, yes, I might have made a few mistakes. I kinda like your idea of a dam, though. I might put one in (the map will probably also shrink down to only the city, so most of those rivers will disappear).

    @anstett: thanks. Generous praise indeed.

    @jimmyray73: as I said in my original post, this map is free to use, if you like it (maybe wait till its finished first). As for cataclysms etc - I don't give that side of things much thought anymore. I just want to make pretty maps. Just gives more liberty to players, though, eh.

    That's a pretty long reply. I'll try to be more regular from now on (if busy-ness permits), and remember, a map update will be included next time (I really think it's time the city crossed the river...).

    The Hoarse Whisperer.

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