This will be my first WIP threat, and bear with me because we've already finished quite a bit of work. I'm getting myself into the practice of listing and explaining our steps as we work, because typically we fly through it so fast we forget all the stages (or don't have any images to show to make it interesting).
Goal : Dungeon maps. Reversible, tilable, rotatable, common doorways (but NOT a complete tile system, because that's boring).
Focus : Each "two-page" map pairing needs to be specifically tailored to be useful, and well-made. 'Fitting' together is not good enough. Needs to be interesting and tactically useful.
We started with these old tiles we made ages ago:
But as you can see, they just don't fit our new criteria.
So we sat down with a blank 2-page artboard (17'x22') and using guides to show our walls and doorways, and we started drawing in pencil. We decided that we'd like to have our classic 'ramp' where you come down the stairs, and there's a ledge on your side. Something you could jump down or possibly up, but cuts the standard movement path from a straight line. We went with this idea to start, and began deciding on ways we could "maze" a player.
We actually worked backwards this time, because we knew the initial room layout we liked, and we knew the "final" room needed to be a large boss fight. We just needed to fill in the middle and then start editing. At this stage, our drafting boards looked something like this:
The "Green" box is an area we need to leave open, but that we expect players to commonly block off. So we started to design a winding path with ramps and ledges. Once we were happy, we rotated our pages around - Does map 1+2 look good? Does map 2+3 look good? Does map 1+3 look good? Can they be rotated? Etc.
After all this, we started texturing, throwing in a few objects and doing lighting.