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Thread: Detailed City Maps

  1. #1
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    Post Detailed City Maps

    I'm new here and I've been looking through this City maps section and although there are some very beautiful maps here (lots of them in fact) there are very few that seem to be useful for actual detailed campaign usage (such as a module based in the city).

    I'm interested in working with city maps that one can read all the street names and identify individual buildings.

    Anyone working with this kind of project here?

  2. #2
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    In my time here I can't recall coming across anything quite that detailed. Now that doesn't mean there isn't any though - maybe one of the more elder members know of one.

    I am currently working on a fairly large and detailed city for this month's challenge (here), though it's a long way from finished and I wasn't planning on adding street names but I don't think it would be to hard to add them after the fact.
    My Finished Maps | My Challenge Maps | Ghoraja Juun, my largely stagnated campaign setting.

    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Steel General View Post
    In my time here I can't recall coming across anything quite that detailed. Now that doesn't mean there isn't any though - maybe one of the more elder members know of one.

    I am currently working on a fairly large and detailed city for this month's challenge (here), though it's a long way from finished and I wasn't planning on adding street names but I don't think it would be to hard to add them after the fact.
    That's a fine looking city-WIP you've got there.

    One thing that I've had to deal with is the issue of scale. To have the detail I want, the city has to be very small. That seems to be very 'unusual' for most campaign city maps I've seen, but not at all unusual for historically realistic 'medieval' cities that were more often than not, no more than 5-10k pop and usually even less than that. Big 100k plus cities in the medieval era were extraordinarily rare.

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    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhiteRabbit View Post
    That's a fine looking city-WIP you've got there.

    One thing that I've had to deal with is the issue of scale. To have the detail I want, the city has to be very small. That seems to be very 'unusual' for most campaign city maps I've seen, but not at all unusual for historically realistic 'medieval' cities that were more often than not, no more than 5-10k pop and usually even less than that. Big 100k plus cities in the medieval era were extraordinarily rare.
    Thanks... Then mine might be a bit big for what you are wanting, I was imagining it would be upwards of a 50K population, maybe more.
    My Finished Maps | My Challenge Maps | Ghoraja Juun, my largely stagnated campaign setting.

    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.



  5. #5
    Guild Journeyer Feralspirit's Avatar
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    Post Hey, White Rabbit

    Hey White Rabbit, running on time today, I hope.

    Stern's Bridge, while unfinished, was aiming for a population of 2500 to 3000. This is including about 300 people living in off screen farms. True, I haven't labeled any streets, and might not. The scale I'm working on would make any text on the streets unreadably small (I've only named a few, to be honest, and the only one hinted at on paper is west main, what's more, I don't even know how to let text follow a curve with GIMP yet, can someone answer that, I'll post it again in my thread). There are many fine city maps, many photo-realistic (a quality I envy, and will work on going forward), if that's what you're looking for. If you are looking for something specifically 5-10k, I'm not sure where to point you. A lot of villages or large scale cities. If you are looking for some kind of package-deal that you can pick up and play with little to no prep, I'm not even sure you're in the right place. There are, however, many fine and instructional tutorials to assist you in building a city that would fit your needs, and the needs of your game. Good luck, and happy mapping!

  6. #6
      Sigurd is offline
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    There are two issues with very detailed city maps.

    1. They are generally a lot of work .

    2. The detail is best made in conjunction (before, after, during) the creation of a story. It is often a better strategy to leave sections vague and then tighten them up when there is something going to happen there.

    Part of this is technical - the screen shows so much detail at once so multiple maps at different zoom levels give you clearer images. And part of this is psychological - if I envision any major city I know, details might be directions (ie Joes house is north of the river) but they are never spacial there's too much detail (ie Joes house is 3.5 kilometers from the river but only 2.3kilometers from the little tree with the withered branch on the northern side, about halfway up the trunk below the crown but above the paintmark from mardi gras '87). I think a less defined city with plausible neighborhood maps is the more real one for story telling.

    Different scales have different things to tell you. Whole city maps tell you regions, physical characteristics, and maybe roads. These should inform your choice for neighborhood and more detail. The neighborhood maps are don't retell the broad city information and they are free to concentrate on smaller buildings, factions etc....

    This is not to say that in a truly mature project detail couldn't be shared and reinforced wherever possible. But maturity takes a while and a lot of concentration.

    Even a picture of the real world has to settle on a single level of magnification. If you try to view all the magnification levels at once its just a blur.

    If you want drill down detail, look into something like Viewing Dale. I think that's the sort of thing viewer can understand. As it zooms in it redraws what you are looking at for more clarity. Necessarily, what you are not looking at mostly falls away.


    Scale and what can be shown is one of the issues I'm curious in.


    To assemble something for a module, without making your own, you're probably best to find building maps you want and locate them on bigger maps with a star or a label. Unless you are using the city Castle or the high temple it might not be represented on a city scale map.


    Sigurd
    Last edited by Sigurd; 02-11-2009 at 03:29 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Feralspirit View Post
    Hey White Rabbit, running on time today, I hope.

    Stern's Bridge, while unfinished, was aiming for a population of 2500 to 3000. This is including about 300 people living in off screen farms. True, I haven't labeled any streets, and might not. The scale I'm working on would make any text on the streets unreadably small (I've only named a few, to be honest, and the only one hinted at on paper is west main, what's more, I don't even know how to let text follow a curve with GIMP yet, can someone answer that, I'll post it again in my thread). There are many fine city maps, many photo-realistic (a quality I envy, and will work on going forward), if that's what you're looking for. If you are looking for something specifically 5-10k, I'm not sure where to point you. A lot of villages or large scale cities. If you are looking for some kind of package-deal that you can pick up and play with little to no prep, I'm not even sure you're in the right place. There are, however, many fine and instructional tutorials to assist you in building a city that would fit your needs, and the needs of your game. Good luck, and happy mapping!
    I'm not looking to use some other's work - just curious if anyone else is interested in the idea of detailed city-design.

    I've already spent a couple years of research and practice on my map program in order to create this type of map. I'll post some examples.

    And the only reason I'm working with 5-10k pop size is because I want my map to be printable on 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. Any larger and I just can't make the details work on that size limit (I'm using 320 feet to the inch).

    I'm not so much into 'photo-realism' as that tends to make beautiful maps onscreen that print out like crap. For gaming purposes, I want my maps to print out nice and pretty!

  8. #8
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    Btw, if anyone needs any historically accurate information about medieval towns and cities, I've spent years studying the topic and can usually point to good reference material for just about anything.

    I'm also into medieval economics, but I'll spare you that!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sigurd View Post
    There are two issues with very detailed city maps.

    1. They are generally a lot of work .

    2. The detail is best made in conjunction (before, after, during) the creation of a story. It is often a better strategy to leave sections vague and then tighten them up when there is something going to happen there.

    Part of this is technical - the screen shows so much detail at once so multiple maps at different zoom levels give you clearer images. And part of this is psychological - if I envision any major city I know, details might be directions (ie Joes house is north of the river) but they are never spacial there's too much detail (ie Joes house is 3.5 kilometers from the river but only 2.3kilometers from the little tree with the withered branch on the northern side, about halfway up the trunk below the crown but above the paintmark from mardi gras '87). I think a less defined city with plausible neighborhood maps is the more real one for story telling.

    Different scales have different things to tell you. Whole city maps tell you regions, physical characteristics, and maybe roads. These should inform your choice for neighborhood and more detail. The neighborhood maps are don't retell the broad city information and they are free to concentrate on smaller buildings, factions etc....

    This is not to say that in a truly mature project detail couldn't be shared and reinforced wherever possible. But maturity takes a while and a lot of concentration.

    Even a picture of the real world has to settle on a single level of magnification. If you try to view all the magnification levels at once its just a blur.

    If you want drill down detail, look into something like Viewing Dale. I think that's the sort of thing viewer can understand. As it zooms in it redraws what you are looking at for more clarity. Necessarily, what you are not looking at mostly falls away.


    Scale and what can be shown is one of the issues I'm curious in.


    To assemble something for a module, without making your own, you're probably best to find building maps you want and locate them on bigger maps with a star or a label. Unless you are using the city Castle or the high temple it might not be represented on a city scale map.


    Sigurd
    Yes, clearly you've spent some time thinking about city-maps!!!

    Indeed, I'm not young'un - I've been DMing for a couple of decades and I've already been down most of these roads (so to speak).

    Earlier generations of my city-mapping were focused exactly as you said - with different scales for different views of the city (meta-view and local-views). This is the ONLY way to deal with large cities.

    That's why I've switched to small cities (5-10k pop). This is both more historically accurate AND easier to work with since I can eliminate the 'meta' scale and do the whole town at the micro-scale.

    As I noted in a post above, I want my maps to print out complete on 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper so they can actually be used for a city-level campaign (involving Thieves and gangs).

  10. #10
    Guild Journeyer Feralspirit's Avatar
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    Post Historical Resources

    Aha, I actually believe my docks are too large in Stern's Bridge (50' long, 20' wide). My intention was to make this town the furthest upstream navigatable point. Do you have anything or can you point me towards medeival river craft (dimensions and whatnot)?

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