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Thread: Your best advice for city-building/drawing

  1. #11
    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    On the topic of verisimilitude, here's an excellent article about demographic calculations: http://www.io.com/~sjohn/demog.htm Especially note the calculators linked from the bottom of the page.

    Knowing how many of a given professional should be working in a city of a particular size can help in allocating space for various neighborhoods. In the case of a planned city, knowing just how many smiths there should be in a city of 12,000 will help you to know how long the Smith's Way should be. In a more organic city, you can spread out some basic professional, such as the bakers, and build your neighborhoods around access to that particular crafter.

    When designing a city, I typically start with the history: why did people settle here, and how did they build at first? What caused a small settlement to become a large city? How did those forces shape the way the city grew?

    There are a number of factors that might go into such questioning: its military significance, the economy of the area, the personalities of its rulers, its proximity to other cultures/rivals, local terrain, building resources, weather, food supply. Any or all of those things might need to be considered.
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist
    http://www.bryanray.name

  2. #12
      Wraith is offline
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    When thinking of city development, think of a few major events that shape the city's history. if we take Florence as an example, after the Plague wiped out half it's population laws were enacted so that people had to build larger buildings to a high qualiy. They could do this because the city was still rich from it's wool trade. The result? a lot of very large well built houses in the city with more public space.

  3. #13
      Joshua_101 is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Midgardsormr View Post
    Knowing how many of a given professional should be working in a city of a particular size can help in allocating space for various neighborhoods. In the case of a planned city, knowing just how many smiths there should be in a city of 12,000 will help you to know how long the Smith's Way should be. In a more organic city, you can spread out some basic professional, such as the bakers, and build your neighborhoods around access to that particular crafter.
    This can also be affected by geographical location. Is the city is located in or near mountains with rich veins of ore? If so then there should be lots of miners in the city (perhaps a miners quarter or specific residences for miners) as well as specific smithies/forges for smelting raw materials from rock, gemcutters, goldsmiths or silversmiths... maybe even a rock quarry nearby.

    The same if its a coastal city... Lots of fishermen! Docks, shipbuilding yards, lots of dockside taverns, a trader's market, fishmarket, entire stores devoted to netmaking, ropemaking, sailmaking, anything that goes into or on a ship. Towns that build ships should also be located near a large forest and have a significant logging operation with loggers, plainers, and carpenters.

    These are just two examples but you can see how geography effects occupations. So a desert city probably wouldn't have that many carpenters but might be famous for its glassmakers (as glass comes from melted sand). A port city might not have that many metalsmiths but might make a lot of money on tariffs levied to export a nearby city's metals. I could go on and on but I won't.

    Can't wait to see this article when its finished! Cheers!
    Joshua
    Graphic Designer
    & Amateur Photoshop Cartographer

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      pyrandon is offline
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    Just sticking this in here in case this tutorial ever materializes. Bryan recently posted a link to "A Magical Medieval Society: City Guide", a free publication about cities in Western Europe, available at Your Games Now from Expeditious Retreat Press.

    http://www.yourgamesnow.com/index.ph...&products_id=2
    Don
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  5. #15
      Airith is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyrandon View Post
    Just sticking this in here in case this tutorial ever materializes. Bryan recently posted a link to "A Magical Medieval Society: City Guide", a free publication about cities in Western Europe, available at Your Games Now from Expeditious Retreat Press.

    http://www.yourgamesnow.com/index.ph...&products_id=2
    Thanks for that link pyrandon, although I wasn't really looking for the 'City Guide,' the mapping guide just below it looks awesome. I got both all the same though
    And our time is flyin', see the candle burnin' low
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  6. #16
    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    Bear in mind that those are just sample chapters from larger books, and the complete books are well worth their weight in Jolly Ranchers.
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist
    http://www.bryanray.name

  7. #17
    Secret Super-User StillCypher's Avatar
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    Along the line of S. John Ross's "Medieval Demographics," I came across this Online Population Generator. It is pretty generic, but it looks like it could -- at the very least -- provide a good jumping-off spot. The first portion deals with regions, while the second goes into settlements (cities/towns). As a bonus feature, it's got an offline version (scroll way down to the bottom of the page!)


    Online Population Generator

  8. #18
      Kagehito is offline
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    First of all, a great compolation of ideas from various sources. I think most of the key points have already been hit (demographics, terrian, politics, etc.) but a couple of other things should also come to mind as well.

    A couple of side notes after reading everyones posts.
    -Though this has been hit a few times it need restating. Some sort of sembiance of origionality. It has to be unique. No one wants to be there if "vannila town 1" and "Vannila town 2" are essentialy thesame thing. Many cities have prospered simply because they were different then all of the surrounding places (venice for example). This is one of the reasons for rebelious teens from suburbs to "go out in the world" after they reach 18.

    -Taking things in from the history side is a must! but it doesn't have to be the end all be all. Hell, rome wasn't built in a day... But the Arch Magus Of Eternity could do it in a few days atleast! Magic and things we deal with in our games can make the process of town creation, gradual or semi-instantanious, have a little more diversity then what there actually was, but it shouldn't be overdone either. A blending of the "real" way that history shows and the extremety of game wrolds that utilize forces not known to us will lead to something that is not only familar, but fantastic at the same time.
    (I have to quote the matrix on this, but "the first matrix was a utopia, but you humans denied it..." If we can't wrap our heads around it, it wont seem real enough to believe, but a right amount of odd is perfect for creating things that will be relavent to our understanding, and just enough to make us remember it as great and leave a lasting impression in our minds.)

    Thats about it for right now... I might try and think more about it latter... I'm at work right now, so I'm jummping around doing alot of different things.
    The pen is truly mightier then the sword, for with one quick stroke, a pen can kill your drawing; but the sword takes a couple hits before you drop it into negitive HP.

  9. #19
      Maldin is offline
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    Greetings everyone! Its been a VERY long time since I've stopped by here. I see I have a private message from quite a while ago, however I can't respond to it until I've posted a few more times, so apologies to Ravells. Please feel free to email me directly at maldin (at the) canonfire.com (domain name)...

    Anyways, I'm afraid several people misread my article... as did half - but only half! - of the CC2 users group over on their listserv back when I originally uploaded that webpage several years ago (it caused quite a stir over there).
    Quote Originally Posted by NeonKnight View Post
    To me, it would be critique the user not the software in CC2's case,
    That is exactly what I actually do in my article.
    If I may be so bold as to quote myself several times... ;-)

    "While the nature of CC2 might foster the bad design principles described above by encouraging shortcuts (and hence is reflected in the majority of maps being done that can only be described as terrible), the problem is not with the program's capabilities. The problem is bad design by the user, no matter what program you decide to use. "

    and

    "With good design sense, even CC2 can be used to great effect, ..."

    and

    I also go on to heap well deserved kudos on the VERY good work the Harn mapping group has done using CC2, consistently showing that it is not the program, but the average user.

    When I describe the mistakes often made when creating maps, I go through great pains to stress each and every time that it is not a problem of the CC2 program, but a problem of "CC2 users" and "CC2 mappers".

    Anyways, just wanted to clear that up. ;-) Many thanks for the compliments! Recently, by the way, I've added a couple of new maps (Khor - both the Greater Cavern and City maps) which you can get to from my mapping advice page by clicking on those particularly map snippets at http://melkot.com/mechanics/map-guide.html

    Denis, aka "Maldin"
    Last edited by Maldin; 08-05-2008 at 02:16 AM. Reason: Didn't realize I had an auto-sig set already! ;-)
    Maldin's Greyhawk http://melkot.com
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  10. #20
      jezelf is offline
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    I was watching a documentry on Motte and Bailey castles (narrated by Leonard Nimoy actually). One thing, which I expect has already been mentioned, is the layout of rank among the people radiates outwards - it's obvious really, but worth mentioning...

    the Lord> bishops and nobles > troops > trades and craftmen > common folk

    It was where the placement of trade and craftmen interested me. I assumed they would live among the common people, ( which has more in common with modern life ) but now I think about how people like blacksmiths and carpenters would be important menmbers of a community to keep it going it makes sense and so a higher importance.

    here's a site on Life in a Motte and Bailey Castle

    http://www.middle-ages.org.uk/life-in-middle-ages.htm

    http://www.castles.me.uk/motte-and-bailey-castles.htm

    http://www.learner.org/interactives/...es/feudal.html

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