Thursday, February 24, 2011

Maps!... ahaaaa!....

They show us theuniverse!

One of the things I enjoy the most about running a tabletop RPG is the virtually endless inspiration it provides to fuel other creative pursuits. The Catch-22 being that running a game is also a major time commitment, which severely cuts down on the time available to act on said inspiration. Nevertheless, I still occasionally find time to work on some of the stem projects, which are inspired by, but admittedly not completely necessary to the successful operation of the game itself.

The Westerlands
As I mentioned in my previous post, I have:
  1. long been fascinated by maps and worldbuilding
  2. been recently thwarted by my attempts to craft a truly satisfying world map for my game

Well, to quote a certain spitoon-wearing martian, I decided to go "back to the drawing board" last night. My previous post had inspired me to crack open the old open-source electronic drawing machine and take another pass at a map for my game setting.

The big problem I had with my previous iteration of this map was the way the mountains appeared to hover over the lowlands without properly blending. This happened because the tutorial I was working from was designed to be used by someone who didn't know where they wanted their mountains to go. In my first version, after rendering the mountains, I cut and pasted them into position. This is what caused the ghosting effect.

This time, I modified the technique slightly and instead of cutting and pasting the mountains after they were rendered, I cut, pasted and lightened the cloud layer -the digital ether from which the mountains were digitally conjured- prior to rendering them. I feel the result is much more organic. Mountain, WIN!

Now, I have identified the next problem. Trees. I used a separate tutorial to create the forests peppered throughout the countryside. While they look "okay" my tiger-ego is making dissatisfied grumbles about the abrupt edges to the forests. It looks as though the land is infested with boogers. So, tonight I will continue to chip away in an effort to conjure a more perfect forest.

As I was adding links to this post, I noticed that the guy who made the forest tutorial addresses the issue in a forum thread. I was working off of a pdf originally.

Anyway, this map project is part of a larger effort to establish my own visual "style" when it comes to the presentation of my game. I hope to discuss other aspects of the project in future posts... stay tuned.

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