Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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The map discussion

Discussion in 'Age of Decadence' started by Elhoim, Jul 27, 2007.

  1. Helton Arcane

    Helton
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    The craters seem fully 3d, even to the point of having shadows. The mountains all only show a single side. The mountain range at the top of the map doesn't bother me so much because of where the viewpoint is (if they had shadows, or the craters didn't, I think they would be fine). The mountain in the forest and the range at the bottom of the map stand out a lot more. The angle should be different.

    The mountain in the forest, being more in the center of the map and by itself, is a bit of a sore thumb. Giving it dimension seems the solution, and a plateau could be roughly the same size while showing depth.

    If you're asking why it would be simple: the base is already drawn and the forest texture doesn't seem all that complicated to adjust. You'd just need to change the peak to a top.
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  2. ViolentOpposition Liturgist

    ViolentOpposition
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    I can't wait to explore the asscrack on that map.
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  3. PseudoIntellectual Snob Novice

    PseudoIntellectual Snob
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    That's nitpicking ¬¬

    I am sure there's quite a few valleys around, but that does not negates the generalization of the world being a continous entity.

    But the borders of the self-contained story can be thematic, instead of physical. If the game is about the great pyramids, then there is no need of going outside certain parts of egypt - Even in P&P there is a limit to the "freeform exploration" a GM will suffer before just saying "Ok, you left and went on with your life. Make another character."

    Most people live through self-contained stories. Most never go beyond two or three cities without even knowing how the country in-between looks like. They are not contained by geographical accidents, and everyone knows there are other places beyond the corner. They just have more interesting, immediate, or critical things to do - The rest of the world is little more than background fluff for them.

    Ergo, the emphasis i added to your words: It should be reasonable, yes, but within context. If it is the story of a siege, the keep and surrounding lands are reasonable. If you go beyond that "contextual" border, then you are out of the story. If it is a CoC-like supernatural horror mystery, then the area related to such mystery (the town and surrounding countryside, for an example) are the reasonable area. If you want to abandon insmouth half-way through and go tourist in Boston, then you are either going to die or manage to abandon the story. Make a slide show ending and be done with it.

    Also, a border can be political instead of geographical.

    On a side, joking note: I was just playing Perimeter. If you have the game, look for the mission were Harback fights the imperial viceship, just after they reach the original worlds and have to go back. The world were they fight, called Sota in my version, reminds me of this discussion. xP

    I imagined they were concentrated for a similar reason. On the craters i was just arguing they looked very symetrical on their location. The southernmost cluster looks perfectly aligned ( "O:." ) and the six smaller craters on the central cluster are separated in two groups with the exact same spread, just tilted: "Two perfectly aligned craters with a third one in the middle, towards the top."

    If you want them like that for some reason, then great. I am just pointing things that seem weird from where i am standing. It is your game. Ergo, you know better by default.

    Well, sorry about that. That line of mine you just answered came along quite in-character, but was not my intention. I may seem to be a bit overly critical about your game, but i am really just try to be helpful and make myself useful.

    Thinking about it, all the post came as being aloof and snobish. Again, i am sorry about that.

    I was under the impression it was an "in-character" map, like in "The map the little guy on the screen carry in his bag" - made by some cartographer inside the setting, and not an artistic rendition trying to focus on such contrasts. If it is the latter case, then it is all well: The two styles actually come along as one being very objective and detailed (the areas i mentioned as "focus") and the other being more idealized/abstracted (the ones i mentioned as "Filler") - since i was under that impression mentioned ut supra, i saw the second one as not being coherent.

    Also, if you are in a revealing mood - What is that chasm northeast of the central cluster? It looks quite interesting, and huge. Also, is there concept art on that location that you can show?
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  4. galsiah Arbiter

    galsiah
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    Yes - but the point is that the contextual border doesn't work when there are perfectly good solutions to the contextual problems just across the border. If the best way to tackle the problems of the context is to pop over the border into the adjoining civilization, achieve X, Y and Z, then return, it doesn't hang together as a story.
    It's important that it wouldn't make sense for the best solution to lie outside the current context. If the lands concerned have suffered some kind of apocalypse, you can't expect that to be true if there are greener pastures just around every corner.

    That people tend to live in a fairly restricted context is irrelevant - they have the option to look outside that context for solutions to their problems whenever it makes sense. In a game world, the PC can't look outside the game world for solutions, so it has to make sense that he wouldn't be able to find any there (even if those areas were all simulated).

    Many borders are both - the politics follow the geography.
    In any case, using mere political borders would probably make things even more contrived. You'd need to have every bordering country have some xenophobic policy, and to explain their role (or lack of it) in the cataclysmic events. If they aren't significant parts of the story, it needs to make sense that they aren't - bloody great mountain ranges and oceans help to provide this sense.

    A p&p DM should only prevent players going outside the context when they aren't aiming to pursue any related subgoals, or solve the current problems laterally. A game designer must always prevent players going outside the game's context, so it needs to make sense that no good solution would lie there. Otherwise the game's story is a load of nonsense.
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  5. Noceur Scholar

    Noceur
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    Love the map. And if anything's going to be changed for the sake of coherency in design, I'd rather the craters were changed than the mountains. Simply because I find them more artistically appealing than the craters. Redrawing the more pronounced craters while keeping the "background texture" of that region would probably make the style coherent enough.
    I'm not sure if a change of perspective is what's needed though. More like making the craters look painted, as the mountains do. If the artist's using Painter, suggest he go at them with the palette knife (or a brush of that effect, preferably heavily loaded), especially the slopes/edges of the craters. If he's using PS, the same brush he did the snow on the mountains with should do as well. More sloppy and wet are the keywords (in so many things in life).

    Anyway, I like it the way it is.

    EDIT: I was wrong, changing the perspective seems to be imperative to make the craters look more painted. Anyways, I took the liberty to make a quick test.

    http://www.noceur.com/aod/noceur_edited_map.jpg
    http://www.noceur.com/aod/map_comparison.jpg

    Fixing perspective of the craters + adding the same kind of texture and detail of the mountains should probably make the map more coherent.
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  6. Vault Dweller Ubersturmfuhrer

    Vault Dweller
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    Thanks. That's very helpful.
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  7. Claw Erudite

    Claw
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    So.. any clues on what the area around the forest is meant to be, and what those parallel bright/dark areas at the border are supposed to signify?
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  8. Vault Dweller Ubersturmfuhrer

    Vault Dweller
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    No idea what you are talking about, but if you mean the pale green area it represents plains.
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  9. Blue Novice

    Blue
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    These changes make all the difference in the world. I agree that the craters had a top down view and the rest of the map had different perspective. It looks fixed now. Excellent job.
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  10. mytgroo Scholar

    mytgroo
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    The mountains look wrong, they don't follow a natural cycle-- water falls on top of the mountain, rivers flow down through scrubland or forest, then into desert. Scrubland or prairie is missing from this map. It looks a little bit wrong. Also the river leading to the sea looks like it should be connected to the main mountain.

    There are no cities placed on this map. I would assume the cities follow the rivers or mountains.

    The topography is odd. What is the big stained area-- deadlands, or swamp it is not clear.

    There are no topographic indications. It looks like major meteor strikes, those would be some kind of metal falling from the sky-- in clear kill zones to destroy cities.

    It looks apocalyptic with apocalyptic weapons. I can't imagine what the tears in the earth are from.
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  11. Elhoim Developer

    Elhoim
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    I agree that giving the craters a side perspective makes them look much better. :)
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  12. Joe Krow Arbiter

    Joe Krow
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    I don't know if theres any way to make those mountains look right on a map. They are done from a (roughly) ground level perspective... maps tend to use an overhead view. Of course you could draw out the craters from ground level to match the mountains. That would give it that "drawn as it was discovered" look some early maps have. As long as the perspective is consistant it will be fine.
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  13. Elhoim Developer

    Elhoim
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  14. Severian Silk Arcane

    Severian Silk
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    Noceur's edits are a definite improvement.
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  15. GhanBuriGhan Arbiter

    GhanBuriGhan
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  16. galsiah Arbiter

    galsiah
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    Sure - that's why the craters look odd. They don't use the conventional fantasy map style, whereas the mountains do.

    Noceur's edits are ok, but they don't really fix the perspective. If you chopped the top off one of the mountains at the back, you'd get a clear ellipse. The craters are still almost circular. The perspectives aren't the same.
    I'm also not too keen on the way he's built them up to help get a non-overhead look. They look more like extinct volcanoes than impact craters to me. That's fine if they're intended to have been mountains/hills that got blasted, but not if they're impacts in flat land (as they appear in the unedited version).

    If the craters were made elliptical, it wouldn't be necessary to play with elevations and shadows in order to fake the right perspective: they'd already be the right perspective. Circles have no place in anything other than a top-down view.
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  17. Noceur Scholar

    Noceur
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    Yeah, I made them a bit eliptical... I really just fiddled with the perspective, plus removed the photoreal details so VD could get an idea of how it'd look with changed perspective, etc. My work was in no way intended as final.

    Btw, craters do have a raised edge around them... you know, the impact of whatever made the crater pushes the ground outwards. Granted, I've made mine too high. Then again, the mountains are an artists impression of mountains, so the craters should be as well.

    Another problem is that while the mountains don't really mark individual mountains (it's an iconic mountain range... the peaks in the map aren't nescessarily there in the real world), the craters might actually mark out real craters. Then it might not be wise to fiddle with the perspective too much either, since it's like charting ocean or something.
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  18. Claw Erudite

    Claw
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    Clearly, words fail me. So I'll try this again.

    [​IMG]
    What am I seeing here?
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  19. Vault Dweller Ubersturmfuhrer

    Vault Dweller
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    Plains.
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  20. Claw Erudite

    Claw
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    Well, if that's all, I strongly dislike the stark contrast.
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  21. nihil Savant

    nihil
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    While I understand the point of conflicting perspectives, I don't think it matters a whole lot. Satellite-style mountains probably wouldn't be very esthetically pleasing, so if anything, change the craters, in my opinion.

    However, looking at the map, I kinda get the feeling that it's a number of more or less independent areas that are just slapped together. It's not a huge deal, I like the look of it in general, but one way to improve it would be making the desert a bit more contained by extending and merging the fields south and east from it. This would probably make more sense anyway if the desert is the result of a war. With my highly limited Photoshop skillz this is the result:

    [​IMG]

    Something along those lines. Just a thought.

    EDIT: This looks rather awkward, since I just added some color, but I hope it proves the point. In a real update, you'd probably want to change the shape of the big field slightly and extend the greens of the field to follow the edges, so that the shape has a better flow.
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  22. Vault Dweller Ubersturmfuhrer

    Vault Dweller
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    Thanks. I'll pass your (and other) suggestions to the artist.
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  23. Amasius Scholar

    Amasius
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    I think a glance at the NWN2 map could be helpful. The style is somewhat similar (except for the post-apocalyptic stuff - craters, chasms and such) but better executed. I don't like the smoke, but the rest is very well done. Especially the transitions between land and sea, between the plains, woods, hills and mountains are excellent. The sea and the coast are almost realistic while the woods and mountains are quite blurred.


    [​IMG]
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  24. Elhoim Developer

    Elhoim
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    Even tough I like it from an artistical point of view, I didn´t like the perspective of the NWN2 map very much. I made everything feel as it was crumped together, with no real sense of distance.
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  25. galsiah Arbiter

    galsiah
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    I much prefer the AoD map (any version) to that NWN2 map - or rather to that NWN2 picture, since it really isn't a map at all. A map's primary purpose should be to provide functional/contextual information and an interface; pretty pictures are secondary. The top-down view does a good job of putting clarity and function first.
    I'd rather see the mountains changed to fit with the top-down view, than the view switched to accommodate pretty mountains. That needn't mean making the mountains top-down - it could mean finding a way to make their current perspective feel more natural/right (e.g. by changing their style somehow - I'm hazy on specifics).
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