Somewhat long-term lurker (a couple of weeks at least), first time poster.
Can I just start by thanking everyone here for the hints, tips and tutorials; they've been an absolute godsend. In particular can I thank Larb for his excellent Town Map Tutorial, which has been the main influence/creative force/how-to guide when everything is going wrong that I've used but I've devoured so many other tutorials and seen so many other excellent pieces of work that I struggle to remember all the names. Suffice to say if you've ever posted a piece of work or a tip here then you've been a great help.
This is my first attempt at making a map of any sort (and it shows) but I'm fairly proud of what I've achieved.
The landscape was done using the standard version of L3DT and the rest by the use of Photoshop.
The map is for an online RP I'm part of, a system "lite" version of Deadlands, with the setting being the town of Gomorra from the trading card game set in the Deadlands world called Doomtown. My knowledge of the setting overall is fairly minimal but from my understanding it's essentially an Old West game with a distinct steampunk and horror flavour to it.
The map-specific background information (and apologies for anyone familiar with the setting who I'm teaching to suck eggs or where I've got details wrong) is that prior to the start of the game California was hit by a series of massive earthquakes which resulted in much of its coast tumbling into the sea and leaving behind "The Great Maze", a winding set of mesas, caverns, ridges, cliffs, ravines and waterways that now comprise the coast. These earthquakes also revealed "Ghostrock" which is a sort of wonder-fuel and, as such, the mining of it is a very lucrative business. Gomorra is a "boom town" set up in the wake of the quakes as a regional centre for mining.
I should note that I'm not GM'ing the game and a lot of the details of the town were decided before I offered to attempt a map for it so I'm somewhat restricted in how I positioned and arranged everything. In essence while I could say where individual buildings were within an area I couldn't change how the area itself was laid out.
There are six main mesas in the area (all named on the map for the dominant power in the area):
1) Gomorra itself: the main town and the one which most closely resembles a "traditiional" Old West area.
2) The Collegium: The mad scientist/steampunk area, the mesa itself having a metallic sheen/covering
3) Soddom: A huge tent city for intransigent miners and workers. The only really notable detail is a baseball diamond which has been chalked in.
4) The Whateley Estate: A sort of stereotypical Old South plantation home belonging to a rich family with some horror/dark magic influences
5) Deadman's Rest: The huge graveyard of Gomorra. Outside of the graves and mausoleums the only notable details are an abandoned mental hospital to the south and a run down mansion to the north.
6) Sweetrock: The corporate face of mining, a big corporation which has moved into the area and wants to control all mining operations.
Gomorra itself is also split into roughly six districts, roughly split by the roads (currently not named on the map). From due North:
1) Ballot Boulevard: The business focused area; offices, warehouses and the like with few houses.
2) Steam Alley: Tradesman based area, focusing on high quality goods, often of the steam punk/mad scientist variety.
3) Tourists' Folly: Another shop/tradesman based area although also with a number of saloons, brothels and restaurants, albeit one that focuses on lesser quality goods (although often still at high prices), mainly based on fleecing new arrivals to Gomorra.
4) Miner's Peril: Similar to Tourists' Folly in that it contains shops and entertainments but this area is based on providing services to the miners, be it materials or cheap liqueur and women. The most notable building is the large one of many colours just off the square with two fences; this is the Union office and the centre of the Miner's Union's power.
5) The Tracks: The most affluent area of Gomorroa containing large, impressive homes and a few shops which cater to such refined people.
6) The Line: The main residential area of Gomorra, for those not rich enough to afford a house in the Tracks but too well off to live in the tent city of Soddom.
1) The Big One; Six more maps, each a more detailed close-up of each particular mesa, naming the key buildings, areas and roads
2) The water's a bit too flat for my liking; I want to give a sense of movement to it.
3) The roundness of the landscape is a bit jarring (a result of my highly limited skills with L3DT) and its somewhat obvious that it was put together using a series of circles. I want to change that effect.
4) Somewhat combined with number one I want to go into more detail to differentiate the structures. For example, too many houses/shops/offices look identical (and like boxes...), all the tents in Soddom are white and the grey circles on Deadman's Rest are meant to be mausoleums while the grey circles on Sweetrock are meant to be Gatling gun emplacements.
5) The wood effect on the bridges and docks needs some real work as do the bridges to Sweetrock and the Whateley Estate.
I'd love any thoughts, opinions, comments, criticism (constructive and non-constructive) and the like.
And if I can finish on a final thought to anyone lurking or who admires some of the incredible maps put up on here but doubts they have the skills to do even a basic map. I can't draw to save my life, aren't traditionally artistic in any way, my photoshop skills are at best mediocre and I learnt L3DT as I did the map. I don't know exactly how long it's taken me but probably in the region of 10-12 hours... and that involves reading tutorials (and then flicking back to them), desperately banging my head against L3DT trying to work out how to make it do what I wanted it to and the actual creation of the map. I could probably replicate the same thing from scratch in two or three hours now. Now I'm not going to say the map is great... or even good... but from sharing the draft with others in the game (who aren't "sophisticated" in cartography) they've liked it and it's certainly functional. I can see myself getting better with each attempt I make (and it's making my general photoshop skills improve as well) and I'm having a damn good time doing it. Have a go. It's fun to make maps and while a first attempt will never be as good as some of the incredible stuff you see here you'll quickly improve and be able to produce something that's usable.