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  1. #1

    Default Modern Maps tips and tricks

    Not seen a lot of modern mapping here which is unforntunate as it's an area I need immediate help with. So I thought I'd make this thread as a sort of collective place to gather tips on making modern day maps, either cities, neighbourhoods, tile maps and such for modern RPGs.

    Any hints and tips for any of these areas would be greatly appreciated as instead of using a real world city for my World of Darkness games I decided to go down the fictional city route.

  2. #2
    Guild Member Scot Harvest's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Vallejo California (near San Fransisco)


    You are right, this forum tends to focus on Fantasy and current day maps. Not a HUGE selection on SCI-FI... if that is what you meant.

    Keep searching though... their are some useful bits here and there.

    Maybe you could contribute some of your own?!?

    I intend too contribute, I LOVE SCI-FI gaming.
    The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.
    Albert Einstein

  3. #3


    For modern maps, I prefer a vector approach, with Illustrator or Inkscape. Modern life is far less about the terrain that a fantasy or historical map tends to show, and wayfinding is much easier, but there is a lot more information to be had. So a very textured, satellite style map is less useful than something that looks more like a typical road atlas.

    While designing, I like to think a bit about the history of a city in order to do something interesting with it. Did it spring up around a railway line? Gallup, NM is stretched out along mostly one side of a rail line. The expense of creating crossing points in a relatively poor community limited growth north of the rails for many years. Did the original city planners try to orient the city at 45 degrees to the cardinal directions? They did that in Denver, so the center of town is twisted in relation to the rest of the city. Some of the neighborhoods in that area have peculiar 5-way intersections where the suburbs met the old city.

    I haven't done a lot of this kind of map design, and I don't think I've ever carried a city map out to completion. Usually I just scribble it on a piece of notebook paper and use it only for very general reference, or I use a real-world city and just use Google Maps in-game. I usually try to keep actual locations rather vague so that nobody can call me on an inconsistency later!
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist

  4. #4
    Guild Apprentice
    Join Date
    Jun 2013


    One thing I've done in GIS is use a historical map as the background image for the data I'm trying to show. Basically, you just get a high resolution scan of the historical map and geo-reference it on a few known points. It will not be extremely accurate, but it does make a pretty map.

  5. #5


    Thanks for the tips guys, a sort of road map style map was all that I was really needing for the game, the assorted tips and tricks tutorials gave me a few ideas of how I could do a quick and easy reference map for the city, background wise it's only been broke up into districts and some other important area, I'll probably add to this later with street names and icons to show where important locations are in certain districts.

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