What a great idea.
I've been mulling city tile ideas. I did 4 city map tiles for Wayfinder 4 - here's an example:
It's pretty, but has some problems. The issues I have with it are:
- The directional light means I can't rotate the tile and still have it look good.
- The square shape and roads around the side mean that a city map will be very gridded
- The buildings are relatively large, so it suggests a literal depiction of a city and you'd need a LOT of these to make a reasonably sized city
That led me to wonder if there was a way to get round these problems. I came up with a hex based sketch:
This has some upsides - and some downsides:
- Non-directional lighting means it can be rotated
- Hexagons mean that you get 6 tiles for the price of 1 with the rotations
- A larger scale per hex means that you'd need fewer tiles for a city, and it doesn't look like it should be taken literally. It's more a sense of urban area than a house by house depiction
- The larger area per hex makes it harder to show individual locations when you need a special area
- Roads coming in on the middle of each side rather than following the sides means that the hexes automatically fit together, and helps to break up the repeating hex structure.
A quick test with just one tile gave this:
I'm pretty pleased with that and I'm going to play with taking this further whenever I have time between other projects. Currently the plan is to create a couple of tiles for a few different types of district:
- Rich - big houses, parks
- Medium - large houses, terraced
- Poor - high density small houses, no big streets
Then I need to figure out how to include specific features into the map, such as a castle, rivers, docks, city walls, a market and so on. Some should be given markers that just indicate they exist (such as a specific inn). Others should e shown on the map (city walls, docks). I'll resurrect this whenever I come up with new sketches, and any feedback is always good but this won't move quickly as I'm stacked up right now!
There's a bit more discussion of this on my blog here:
What a great idea.
Even if I am correct, I would still advise you to follow your heart. This whole Cartographers Guild thing, it seems to me, is more about passion and skill and learning new techniques than it is about definitions and rules.
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The main things I was going to suggest are walls/gates/towers and some tiles that are less populated for something like a village or act as the suburbs outside the walls of a keep (edges of the city where things are more spread out as opposed to the tightly-packed downtown area). To that end you might want some of those town-house types where the houses are built adjoined.
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Agreed on the less populated hexes for smaller towns and villages.
Overall a great idea and very useful for us end users!
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looking good torstan, much more organic this way
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Great idea Torstan... maybe you should consider doing sewer tiles as well?
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I agree, this holds great promise.
I've been playing with the idea of a making tiles using a colour "mask" and a heightfiled. After rotating them and pasting them you take the heightfiled layer, duplicate it twice and emboss one copy and run an edge detect on the other. It is a lot of work to make the heightfilelds, but once a "library" were built it would be fairly easy to assemble these (or generate random maps programatically using imagemagic)
Sample tile colour mask:
Sample tile HF (note there is a road as well, it is just a small difference from the background, and maybe I shouldn't have done that.... Even terrain could possibly be added in):
Rotating these tiles gives me this "map" when embossed:
And the edge detect (inverted) for "outlines":
And the final result... emboss layer set to overlay and edge detect layer set to multiply:
The only thing it doesn't create are shadows
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I have been thinking about something similar ever since I saw this fellow's geomorphs (TiltingWindmills). He does a great job of giving the appearance of randomness despite having square tiles. Just creative use of streets and angles, I think.
Last edited by RecklessEnthusiasm; 03-24-2011 at 03:37 PM.