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Thread: Ruined temple district (WIP)

  1. #1
      Meshon is offline
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    Wip Ruined temple district (WIP)

    Well, I'm attempting to do a really big battle map for playing Mordheim on a virtual table. The full size is 96x48 in virtual inches (or grid squares if you like, though it will be gridless) but I only have a section here (roughly the eastern half). There are a whole host of things to work out as I build this, but I'll start at the beginning and keep updating my progress here.

    The battle map is supposed to represent part of a city in ruins with an open plaza at the centre (the circular flagstone pattern on the left hand side). Because this will be used for a skirmish game, my major challenge is representing the different heights in some way that is unambiguous (or at least relatively easy to figure out) for players using it. Rather than a flat map where walls block line of sight, the walls on this map will be varying heights: some will be nearly completely crumbled, others will extend up one or more stories. The game involves a lot of positioning for those pesky cross-bow snipers, sneaking through cover, and finding ways to outmaneuver your opponent.

    So my requirements are:
    -unambiguously display height differences
    -show windows and similar gaps
    -show walls that are only partial, provide cover but don't block line of sight
    -show walls that are solid and block line of sight
    -show walls that block line of sight on a lower level but are only partial on a higher level
    -provide a playable and strategic table
    -and look at least a little convincing, though concessions will be made to playability and time

    I'll keep posting updates as I go, but I'd be happy to hear any advice on resolving the difficulties, or pointers to examples of maps that do similar things. Going forward my first task will likely be to fill in the large blocks with more precise building outlines.
    Oh, and the yellowish areas are going to be places where the ground is elevated one story up.

    Thanks for reading!

    cheers,
    Meshon

    Ruined temple district (WIP)-temple-square-sample.png

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      arsheesh is offline
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    Sounds like a cool project. Look forward to following this thread.

    Cheers,
    -Arsheesh

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    Guild Journeyer Freehand 5.5's Avatar
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    Yeah, I play in Mortheim, too.
    So i'm very curious about this.

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      Meshon is offline
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    Glad to hear there are other people who still play this game! I will definitely admit that playing Mordheim on a virtual table top has its compromises (mostly in the 3rd dimension), but it's been worth it to be able to play again with my old crew now scattered across the country. I'll be interested to hear what you think as I make progress here: one of the features of playing traditional Mordheim is laying out the terrain pieces before the battle, so creating a pre-built map goes against that a bit. However I've found the piece-by-(virtual) piece maps we were using to be less than satisfying, and using pre-built maps is actually kind of interesting as our warbands return to the same areas and can try new approaches and strategies on a familiar battlefield.

    I hope you like it!

    cheers,
    Meshon

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    Guild Journeyer Freehand 5.5's Avatar
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    I heard about virtual gaming tables as quite expensive devices.
    What table do you use for this project? What product? How big is the screen size?
    Do you use the original miniatures on your table or are they virtual, too?
    Or do you simply speak of playing online via a platform like vassal?

    Btw: I do not play the game Mortheim. I said we play >in< Mortheim - just the setting.
    We use the miniatures but RPG rules (the german Trauma Universalrollenspiel from FlyingGames.de) unfolding
    even more complex stories and gaming as in the tabletop.
    Such a map of yours would be quite handy for me being the game master.
    Printed maps are much more convenient for RPG scenes instead of building up 3D scenery like in the tabletop game.

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      Meshon is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freehand 5.5 View Post
    I heard about virtual gaming tables as quite expensive devices.
    What table do you use for this project? What product? How big is the screen size?
    Do you use the original miniatures on your table or are they virtual, too?
    Or do you simply speak of playing online via a platform like vassal?

    Btw: I do not play the game Mortheim. I said we play >in< Mortheim - just the setting.
    We use the miniatures but RPG rules (the german Trauma Universalrollenspiel from FlyingGames.de) unfolding
    even more complex stories and gaming as in the tabletop.
    Such a map of yours would be quite handy for me being the game master.
    Printed maps are much more convenient for RPG scenes instead of building up 3D scenery like in the tabletop game.
    Haha, I'm cheap, so yes I'm referring to an online virtual table. The one we use is MapTool and I've built a framework for playing the Mordheim game.

    Very cool that you are using it as a setting! My group has gone a bit of a different direction, but we've adapted the core Mordheim setting to our own game world, in which we also play D&D. So sometimes we play skirmish games and sometimes roleplaying, but all in the same world.

    I imagine I will be breaking the map down into smaller sections to work on, so I will maybe have something you can use before the whole project is completed.

    The only problem might be that I am building it at 100px per inch resolution, so it might not look great printed. The file is just too big for me to work any higher though.

    cheers,
    Meshon

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    Guild Journeyer Freehand 5.5's Avatar
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    Ah, okay.
    It's not very usual to play D&D in a Mortheim-like world. But I think that fits pretty well.
    Recently I played a RuneQuest Legends session in the g+ hangout with some friends. We used maptool, too, and that worked without problems.
    I like this development of online role playing. But while playing I wished I had two monitors.

    144 dpi would be a lot better, but 100 dpi is acceptable.
    Wouldn't it be possible to paint it in higher resolution by dividing it into smaller parts?
    What is the maximal file size your compi can handle?
    Do you work in Photoshop?
    Or is it a problem of handling the final file in maptool?
    Aventhar likes this.

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      Invictys is offline
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    Nice Meshon, I look forward to seeing how this works out. I play on a Virtual table top also (Fantasy Grounds 2) and have wondered how to build a cityscape with unambiguous elevation changes too.

    I've recently started messing with heightmaps/bumpmaps which I feel could be a good way to do it if used properly and in a subtle way not the typical mountain terrain building way.

    I have a finished map I posted today that uses the technique and links to the tutorial I used. (Link in sig to the Sandy Ravine encounter map in my finished maps)

    Anyway, look forward to seeing how you work it all out.

    If its applicable I could use a technique for a similar situation with a sunken city lying at a 30 degree angle, I have no clue how to depict that in an unambiguous and attractive way on a VTT
    Photoshop newbie =)

    My Finished Maps

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    Guild Artisan Jacktannery's Avatar
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    Interesting project Meshon. I'm going to keep an eye on this because I'm terrible at making city maps.

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      Meshon is offline
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    Well, there is certainly more to this project than I realized, which is good. I'll be learning a lot. It also means I won't always have amazing stuff to post, but I will keep updates going and try to explain what I'm doing as I go along.

    Also I've decided to keep it at 100px per inch. I started building it at 200 but the file is already over 1GB and I've just barely started. I thought about working on the map in pieces, but there are a few elements that span most of the map (streets) that I'd have to make sure fit together, and a few of the operations I want to run will be easier for me to manage if I'm working on a file that is the whole map. I'd still like to figure out a way to produce smaller sections that fit together, but that may be next project.

    This is the Illustrator layout file. I like using a vector program here because it is so easy to move things around and edit. Also my cobblestone streets are Illustrator brushes so that's where I start. In an older version of this I had a bunch of separate buildings; this time around I'm going for more of a medieval over-crowded city feel, where the houses and shops are all stuck to each other. We'll see how it goes.
    Ruined temple district (WIP)-templedistrictlayout.jpg

    Then I start pasting things into Photoshop. I was thinking about really streamlining the map, for example having all the floor surfaces be on one layer, but I realized that the pattern overlays are not going to work well with that. I'll need to make each floor a separate layer and figure out a good way to align the patterns.

    Next step is probably to try out some wall styles to see what I can come up with that looks half decent!
    Ruined temple district (WIP)-templesquare200.jpg

    @Invictys, I checked out the map, and thanks for the link. I hadn't originally planed on any rough stone surfaces in this district but now I'm pretty much sure I'll find a place to use those techniques.

    @Jacktannery, I need some work on city maps too, so here's hoping I'll figure some things out as I go.

    Thanks for reading!

    cheers,
    Meshon

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