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Thread: working on a map from an online rpg: The miracle, map 1 - Kingdom of the Westlands

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  1. #1
    Guild Apprentice
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Sanremo, Italy

    Default working on a map from an online rpg: The miracle, map 1 - Kingdom of the Westlands

    I decided to create a series of maps from a online rpg, an adaptation of the old Ultima Online (basically totally rescripted) i play since 2003.
    The whole map has been made from scratch by the server staff, so it does not resemble at all the old Britannia someone probably remember!
    (if you are curious and understand italian language, here is the website: The Miracle )
    The map, as i said, is totally reworked: toponomastic instead is a mixture of names copied directly from a lot of different sources.
    What I would like to create is a set of maps with a look a bit ' good, proposing them for the use of the various guilds or the staff itself.

    In the past I've created something similar, not necessarily getting the best results: here you see a "portolano".

    Click image for larger version. 

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    This time, I would try to do it step by step getting comments and corrections by those who will want to contribute to my efforts
    I will use mainly Photoshop CS3 with a wacom tablet, working when i have spare time.


    The first map that I intend to create is the one of the Kingdom of Westlands, with its capital city Hammerheim (fancy that ..). I mean , in principle, to try to use isometric elements (mountains, trees etc.).

    First of all, the very first step: to get the basic structure of the land mass, I have taken a screenshot of the game map, which I paste below, and I would use as a reference layer. I would get at this point, with a simple selection (magic wand tool), the contour of the land itself, as the sea is only one shade of blue and does not present any particular problems.

    I want to create an image of fairly size, still intended for a screen-only view: i think that doubling the actual size of the screenshot should work.Consider that i want to create something cute, with a couple of details, but i cannot put on it all the places or annotations because the rules of the game prevent me to reveal off game too much informations.
    All the maps i will eventually create will bring the mark of the Cavalieri dell'Alba (sunrise knights), an order of knights founded by me and a friend of mine in 2003, still today active and that manage an in-game library of about 1400 books.
    So i will need to create a consistent "style" for this maps.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    North is in the top-right corner of the map (is the orientation that game itself uses).

    Description of the map:
    the "kingdom" is the central area of the map: the capital is the isle on the left, connected to mainland with a huge and horrible bulky bridge; the border runs along the Orus maer chain of mountains in the north, than follows south the river Aben to the lake Sareen, than from the southern bank goes east to the sea along the other river, the Anduvian.
    The three island in the lower part of the map, Isola dei pescatori (Fishers Island), Isola del fiume (River Island) and Isola vittoria (Victory Island) are part of the kingdom.
    The "volcano" area in the upper part of the map is a meteor crater, where stood the city of Edorel since year 266 (current we are playing in 277: 266 was 2002), and where now is the Black Tower, a damned evil place (is not Mordor, more like Orthanc maybe).

    Ok, for now, that's all.
    Last edited by EruSilme; 10-13-2013 at 10:01 AM.

  2. #2
    Guild Apprentice
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Sanremo, Italy


    I have started the work, as i said, with the magic wand tool: there are probably a couple of shades of blue, so i changed the tolerance to 6 and added (pressing shift) the majority of water areas i saw on the map (rivers, lakes), then i saved the selection in a new channel for futher use.
    As maybe you can see if you look closer, some of the man-made (sometimes elf made ) structures stretch out on the water, and they are often large enough.

    Therefore, wishing to have a selection that included only the "coast" i had to switch to "Quick Mask" and manually delete these areas, such as port facilities on the Isola dei pescatori, the bridge of Hammerheim and the piers of Rotiniel (the elven city that is seen in the upper left corner).

    Even now, I see a problem I may face in the nearest future, and on which I would like to admit some advice: how to manage the city?

    It is clear that, by the very nature of the game map, the cities are very "large " compared to the map itself.
    On the other hand I can not even put a tiny marker in the middle of the island of Hammerheim, and say "there is the capital", when virtually the entire island is covered in buildings.

    The solution I had in mind was to depict the houses themselves, essentially, using the original map as a track : so to speak , something like this

    The buildings are not many, although some might create a little bit of problems ...
    It ' a setting that I've never tried, but I would like being able to adopt for further use! Simply i am not an artist

    The alternative could be to adopt a top-down view of the city, but at that point I guess I should also adapt the rest of the elements ( mountains and forests ) to this point of view, giving up the isometric one.

    maybe i am missing some alternative?
    Last edited by EruSilme; 10-13-2013 at 11:04 AM.

  3. #3
    Guild Apprentice
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Sanremo, Italy


    a little bit more of work.

    First of all, i want to use my own map elements; so i started to sketch some mountains (these are only a wip, but i would be glad for an opinion). I wanna achieve an overall "hand-made" look, since the setting of The Miracle is comparable to the late Middle Ages, and maps that you see around in game are all created by hand: there is no print press.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Considering instead the whole map, as you can see i have outlined as stated before the land (the original image is in background for reference only): i plan to put the scroll with the title, araldics etc on the upper left corner, the "red" area, and maybe a legend on the left side, referring to letters placed near the points of interest (to avoid visual cluttering)

    The yellow areas are not part of the kingdom: so i think that could be useful to let them "blank" with only a superimposed writing ("impero di Amon" ecc), to focus the attention of the viewer only on the Westlands. Maybe i should keep rivers and mountains to give the idea of the geografical continuity.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    About the town style, i have found that Torstan, in the Games of Thrones map serie, have used an approach like the one i was wondering about, using little isometric buildings (i am looking just now at an example, the free cities map).

    Considering that i am NOT an artist, i was thinking about a trick:
    1) import the original city map from the game in Sketchup
    2) draw with sketchup the volumes
    3) put them in isometric perspective
    4) import the sketch in photoshop to use it as a guide for handmade drawing.

    About the colors, i have not thought about them: i think i'll need a couple of palettes, for sea and land, and one for the buildings ... i do not want to stick exactly with the original colors, neither to use an extremely different look.
    Last edited by EruSilme; 10-15-2013 at 06:08 AM.

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