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    •  
      CommentAuthorQuenten
    • CommentTimeSep 16th 2018
     
    This is a thread where we can share thoughts, experiences, how we have approached it in the past, the problems and solutions we come up with, and what we intend to do differently and why. This is mainly for design of big towns and cities - say a lower limit of ~5000 population. I hope Sue, Remy and Scott, Jerry and Joshua, who have all done substantial size settlements for the Atlas, and any others who have done, or are thinking about creating such settlements would consider putting in their thoughts. I think we could all benefit, and I know I most definitely will.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeSep 16th 2018
     
    Making a city is a lot easier if you've read the Tome of Ultimate Mapping parts that relate to it, and which contain detailed instructions for the making of your first city, and then practice on at least one small settlement first :)

    Then you need a clear idea of what your city is for - who built it, why, and where it is geographically.

    If you don't have instant inspiration for a road pattern, you can either start it off using the Random City tool, or find a random city pattern you like from one of the many random city generators online.

    This last tip isn't strictly necessary, but if I know I'm going to be altering the sheets and adding many more than there are in the template, I usually also carefully plan all my sheets and what they are for, and I make sure they all have clear logical names - so that I don't lose anything or get confused. For example, if I'm going to use two shades of grass texture to break up the redundancy and add a bit more interest, I create and name them "GRASS 01", and "GRASS 02".
    • CommentAuthorScottA
    • CommentTimeSep 16th 2018
     
    Tips..? Hm...

    Well, when I dod a city or town I start with the idea of where it is -- what the environment and weather are like. Then what the town is? Is it a coastal whaling village? A farming town? A small woodland stop-over for travelers, etc. Those two factors, for me, are key.

    Then there needs to be a water source close by.

    Buildings -- the number and type -- depend on the purpose of the town. There are always inns and taverns, some sort of mayor, and a town hall, sometimes with a jail in it, sometimes the jail is separate. Militia barracks and guild halls and at least one church are pretty standard. And then typical businesses that every town would have -- butcher, blacksmith, baker, physician, stables, market, etc. The larger the town the more different businesses there are. And again, it depends on what sort of town it is. A fishing village would have a fish house and maybe a drying station to dry fish in the sun, plus ship or boat builders and docks/ports. A farming town would have bee keeps for honey and pollination, mills to grind wheat or crush grapes or apples for wine/cider, etc.

    I usually put all of that behind a city wall, filling in the rest with housing, usually very tight and clustered. Usually, housing spills out beyond the walls of the city, as places grow and expand quicker than walls can be added. Frequently these outer settlements are shanty towns of small cottages clustered together.

    And so on...

    Hope that's some help and maybe inspiration. A GREAT book on the subject which I HIGHLY recommend is A Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe by Joseph Browning and Suzi Yee.
    •  
      CommentAuthorQuenten
    • CommentTimeSep 16th 2018
     
    Good points about the naming of sheets, Sue. I have also learned to do this. Many people are quite hesitant to create more sheets, but it certainly helps if you what each to different, or non overlying effects, eg Fade Inner edge, Glow.
    I also like to work out what the population would be, to decide how many buildings I need. I use the following rule of thumb, and please feel free to disagree and say why, I first decide what density - very, medium or low, then average number of stories - 2.5 for high, 2 for medium and 1.3 for low, then average number of people per storey (rather than square metre) - 6 for high, 4 for medium and 2.5 for low. So a medium density city of 10000 pop would have 10000/(2[stories]x4[people per storey])= 10000/8=1250 buildings. This formula, which takes into account ALL buildings, seems to work, even tough square metres of living space would possibly be more accurate.
    Then I decide on the average footprint of each building based on prosperity of city - wealthy (200 square metres), average wealth (150 square metres) and poor (80 square metres)- giving my medium, average wealth city an area of 1250x150=187,000 sq metres, or say 433x433 metres. Then allow for surrounding country side, and start with a CC3+ map size of 500x500 metres for this dimension city. Or for a rectangular type city, say 300x623 metres, use a 400x700 map.
    Finally (for this stage of planning) I decide what architectural style-which depends on what the surrounding culture is, and what styles I have available - and thanks to Par Lindstrom for his ruined city styles, and Sue Daniels for her Asian city style to add to the styles already present in CD3 and Vintryi medieval collection.
    Only then do I start to think about the nature of the city as a whole. And yes, there is lots of planning I now do before even looking at city generators, let alone drawing sketches. I have learned the hard way - and for an example of a city I did without all the planning I now do, you can see the city I put in the Atlas as Monsein town (http://atlas.monsen.cc/Maps/Monsein%20Town), as compared to my latest submission of Torstan city (http://atlas.monsen.cc/Maps/Torstan)
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeSep 16th 2018
     
    Oddly enough, I don't tend to worry so much about the total population or the demographics in general. Maybe that's just one of my idiosyncrasies :)

    Its possible that I may do at least some of that stuff in my head at the planning stage, but count it as part of the "Why am I mapping this city, where is it, and who built it" stage.

    I DO stick very religiously with the default symbol scale (1) these days, having learned what a pain in the neck it is to use something different and then forget what it was later on. And I DO enlarge the map area by redrawing the frame and border if necessary - if I have under or over-estimated the size.

    I have to go out soon, but later I will do a list of the major mistakes I made when mapping Merelan City...
    •  
      CommentAuthorQuenten
    • CommentTimeSep 16th 2018
     
    I have also altered the size of the map after starting it, but I like to have an idea of the size in buildings, average size of buildings, and overall population first, so I can reasonably accurately set the city footprint, and decide what buildings (and how many) of specialized buildings I want - I will post my ideas of this later on. I have come around to your idea of sticking to 1 default style though - wish I had done this with Torstan - ah well.
    •  
      CommentAuthorMonsen
    • CommentTimeSep 16th 2018
     
    For me, mapping a city is always about making the city believable in the setting where it exists, even because it is fantasy, it shouldn't exist purely because you needed a city, but there should be reasons why your fantasy people built that city right there. (And I personally despise the "it's magic" excuse).

    So, to reach that goal, the first step is always research and planning. Look at historical reasons for cities to start and grow. Transport of goods is an important one here, so natural harbors and big rivers are major attractors of cities. In addition, a city needs food and fresh water, and in historic times, it is simply not feasible to have all that shipped in from afar, local sources are strictly necessary. Politics rarely play a major role, cities are usually far older than your current government anyway. For a city to form, there also need to be a sizable population in the nearby areas, both to manage the farms that feed the city, but also to provide the actual populations that lives there. Settlers from afar in a new land doesn't just hop ashore in the first harbor and build a city there, they spread out to take advantage of the land, only when there are a sizable number of new settlers, and a large number of the early ones have settled the land will a proper city start to form near the harbor.
    Even if there is a good harbor/river nearby, that might not be enough for a city to form, the population must also have a need for the transport opportunities provided, which means they must either be producing or importing goods or raw resources, preferably both. Once a city has a solid foundation for existing in the first place though, growth is to be expected because people in the city needs services, and as the number grows, the city becomes a good place to do business in because of all the potential customers which leads to further growth and so on. In the end, the original reason for the existence of the city might not be that important anymore, but it is still important to know these original reasons because it helps you plan your city.

    Once I know why my city exists, I can start plan it out a bit more. Decide on a size for the city depending on population. Again, I prefer to be inspired by historical cities (medieval Europe mostly for my part) and the living conditions there. And in olden times, they didn't have the large houses or apartments of today. Many families lived in a single room smaller than my own living room. Here they made food, they ate, they lived and they slept. This means that population density is actually quite high. They didn't have the technology to build too many floors, no modern highrises, but even then, there where quite a bit of people packed per square meter. Streets where generally narrow too which means they have much less effect on the population density calculations when compared to the wide roads of a modern city like New York.
    Note that if a city has a city wall, it is going to be especially tightly packed. Cities grows, but unlike an Orange where the peel grows with the fruit, the walls are stationary. The walls where there for a reason (city walls are quite expensive to build btw, and wasn't put up just for the fun of it), and people wanted to live behind the walls. The walls might be spacey enough immediately after they where built, but the space inside them quickly gets crowded, and every square inch becomes valuable space. This generally meant that free open spaces where very limited inside the walls, and even very rich people couldn't operate huge villas with large gardens, these where usually found as their own estates outside the city where space was plentiful, probably overseeing some area they where responsible for, such as a farming community. Of course, there where still differences in different locations in the city, the harbor tended to be more cramped and more tightly packed than other districts, making it the place for poorer people, while houses in better places of the city might have a minuscule garden spot where they could grow a few vegetables for their family.

    Only when armed with knowledge like this am I ready to start mapping my city. If I have a map of the area, I try to find a good spot for it, and then make a city map with an appropriate coastline. (Most probably, I already made an area map with city symbols on it long before I planed the actual city (which often happens in role-playing games, I map what I need, and an area map was more important than a city map. Still, when making thew area map, I try to thing a bit about where I plop down my city symbols, making sure they are in a location appropriate for a city, even if I didn't do all the planing above at that stage).)
    I start by making the landscape first, especially coastline and rivers, and determine any height differences, and where the city meets the sea and where it resides on cliffs elevated above the sea. The city is probably not completely flat.
    The first thing I try to establish is roughly how the districts will be laid out in the city. These will always be rough, because unless they are physically divided by a wall (probably not) or particularly prominent road, district borders are going to be fuzzy. Once I know this, I move on to draw the city walls (if appropriate). I like to get the walls in first, because when making a tightly populated city, it is easier to draw houses to fit in between the walls, than making a tight wall around afterwards. Besides, even if the wall usually didn't come before the city, the wall is usually one of the oldest parts of the city, because houses was torn down and rebuilt all the time, so the houses in the city "today" would be naturally restricted by the wall when they were built.

    I then lay out a rough street network of the major streets. Here, it is important to keep in mind that in most medieval cities, often most streets weren't paved, they where packed dirt (not to pleasant in the rain). So I generally limit my use of the paved road tools, and stick mostly with the dirt ones. Also, I keep them narrow, most streets wasn't wide avenues, they where narrow and windy. Another thing to keep in mind is that not all houses lay by a street. You often had to go through a narrow alleyway or passage to get to buildings at "the back".
    When doing the road network, I also plan out some of the more important spots that shouldn't be covered with houses, such as the actual docks, probably a market square or five, the location of the lord's manor (or palace), other major buildings like guard barracks, temples and such.

    Then, it is on to mapping houses. I usually use the street tool in CD3, but I change the settings to pack the houses as tight as possible, I find the default settings way to open. I a tightly packed city, the buildings were built up right up against each other, no garden or large space around every one of them. I also configure the houses to touch the actual street, and not being placed several feet away from it. Knowing that people tended to use every last inch possible, I then go in with the house tool and draw houses in whatever shapes that fits gaps I might have, especially at the ends of streets and street corners. This is the part about cities I really don't like, because it is tedious and time consuming, but taking your time makes for far better results.
    When placing the houses, keep scale in mind. Most houses probably house multiple families, so you can get away with somewhat large houses, but keep in mind that most medieval houses were far smaller than today's modern ones.

    As for my cities, I also always assume they were built by hand the same way as real cities of the period, and not by the use of magic. I love fantasy, but I do have a problem with my suspension of disbelief when magic becomes just as common as a shovel. I always consider magic something rare, something special and fantastic, not something to be used for menial labor. In my worlds, I usually keep it sufficiently rare that it isn't just about the money, but the rarity itself, so even rich people and kings can't go around hiring construction mages, because they simply aren't available. An unless you are running a VERY high-magic world, paying wizards to build stuff when you have a city full of people that are in need of work and do it 100 times cheaper doesn't make much economic sense anyway, no matter how much money you have. Maybe the king build his palace with magic if sufficiently available, but not the whole city.
    •  
      CommentAuthorQuenten
    • CommentTimeSep 16th 2018
     
    I agree with all of what Remy has just said with a few minor divergent opinions. I do prefer to set size in area and population first - since my overland map already has set the major and minor settlements down (as a rule). My next step is to go about it as Remy has said, The quibble I have is about apartment blocks - all Roman Republic and Empire cities had them - in fact 3-4 stories high. Not so common in medieval cities in Europe, but not unheard of either.
    One of the things I now do take notice of is Remy's cramped housing rule - and in many ways I wish I had made Torstan more dense. I think some latitude can be given to 'Noble'houses, but in general i agree with Remy on his point that estate type dwellings will be outside the city - meaning they will generally not occur so much in border cities or those with hostile neighbours close by. Again, if redoing Torstan from scratch, there would be fewer grand living areas in the walled city.
    I agree with the street comments Remy has made, but am quite happy to change them to fit what may have laid down - and especially when it comes to the winding ones. Again I now am doing houses in the walled area just as Remy has said - buildings touching, going straight to road, and in general having their narrower side the side facing the road - since in many cities, buildings were taxed on road frontage.
    And I too dislike the use of magic in construction, except for very special cases.
    Finally, tedious doesn't begin to cover the work in a really large city! (if you are mapping all buildings).
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeSep 16th 2018
     
    Merelan City mistakes:

    Having read Remy's all-encompassing breakdown, I think I would say that most of the mistakes I made with Merelan City were related to not doing any of those things :P

    The biggest problems I had with it, however, relate to scale (not thinking long enough about the relative size of the island and the size of the city), and the fact that the tiered structure (with lots of cliffs and houses at every level) caused me to have to create over 135 sheets to get the shadows to work properly under the cliff faces. A single tier (and there were 8 tiers) had this structure:

    01 ROCK
    01 CAVES (to draw black polygons marking cave entrances)
    01 GRASS 01
    01 GRASS 02
    01 ROADS
    01 BUSHES
    SYMBOLS Lit 01
    SYMBOLS Shaded 01
    01 TREES Lit
    01 TREES Shaded

    That's 80 sheets to start with - not counting special sheets, like all the windmill sheets (8 to get the shadows right because they were built using shaded polygons), and something called ROAD BLEND, which allowed me to mend all the issues caused by roads of different levels meeting, and having visible joins where they met because of the sheet effects. I also had a lot of unique sheets on each tier, like COPPER ROOF, and various wall and wall tower sheets.

    Then there were the 15 sheets I used to create the background - the mainland marsh and the ocean, with all its levels of sand, grit, stone, rocks, weed, 4 levels of water to get that special transparent look.

    I think you could say I went a lot overboard with the pictorial aspects of the map, in my wish to make it look something like an aerial photograph.

    Not content with that, I added another 5 sheets just to create the frame, and make the whole map look like it was stuck to a velvet covered board within the main wooden frame.

    So the major mistake I made was getting way too complicated, when a city map is already complicated enough without all those tiers and background details.
    •  
      CommentAuthorQuenten
    • CommentTimeSep 16th 2018 edited
     
    OMG. I look forward to your Sanctuary city background.
    One problem I have is depicting hills (without using cliffs) with streets and houses on them. Any ideas?

    Cities are complicated? Is that just an example of British understatement, Sue?
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeSep 16th 2018
     
    I'm kind of stuck where Sanctuary is concerned until I get a new computer. Its not even half done, and its already too big for my broken laptop to manage - hence the sudden burst of activity making symbols instead. Symbols = enjoyment for all + money towards the new computer fund ;)

    Hills are a problem with CC3. If I was making Sanctuary for myself, and not to share the FCW with everyone, then I would leave them out entirely and add them in GIMP post processing as hill shading. I've been trying to perfect that method I showed you for your most recent city, but its very much a hit and miss technique, and they aren't the solution.

    An understatement? Well, I suppose that's down to the cultural emphasis different English speaking nations put on the same word. To me, complicated means horrendously difficult and very frustrating. I came across this meaning mismatch most noticeably with my American friends a couple of years ago, when I used to use the word 'worried' a lot; "I am worried about..." To me its synonymous with 'concerned', but apparently 'worried' is a whole lot more frightening and stressful a thing than merely concerned is - if you are an American. I had to learn to say concerned instead on most occasions, unless I was nearly dying of shock and horror.
    • CommentAuthorJimP
    • CommentTimeSep 16th 2018
     
    For hills, use different color bitmap fills to show elevation. Not sure how well that would work with effects.

    Even Americans use words differently... to me, worried and concerned are about the same level, with worried a bit more concerned.

    If i was on my way to the hospital, I would say, wait for it, I was on the way to the hospital. In other words I tend to use the dictionary definitions of words, rather than the colloquial version of standard vocabulary words.

    Well, I have found, and ourchased, several books that detail how worss have changed over the past few hundred years, and words no longer in use. But I don't use those words, I bought the books for entertaining reading. Lugubrious indeed !

    As for mapping, if I can make a nice town, I'm happy. Cities, like Dtillan Orsti, I used geomorphs.
    • CommentAuthorPerryC
    • CommentTimeSep 16th 2018
     
    I haven't tried tackling a village or city, other than old school paper and pencil, but there are some really good points to think about for when I do.
    •  
      CommentAuthorMonsen
    • CommentTimeSep 18th 2018
     
    I find it interesting how different me and Sue's priorities are when it comes to this. She is the artist who's priority is to make a visually stunning masterpiece, and uses a lot of time to find the perfect fills and effects to make it look as good as possible, making hundreds of sheets to get the correct visual look, while I am the more technical mapper where the city planning really is the important part, and I don't really use any special or difficult techniques at all.
    •  
      CommentAuthorQuenten
    • CommentTimeSep 18th 2018
     
    I am somewhat in between, but closer to Monsen than Sue, I also tackle the planning in a different order to Remy, though I think we all do the same thing.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeSep 18th 2018
     
    Different people, different priorities, and different methods.

    That's why we all do different kinds of maps - have different styles (even when we are using the same set of fills and symbols). But if we were all the same and made maps that are all the same - baked with a unified 'one and only' thought process, after a while we would have exhausted all the possible different arrangements between us, and no one would ever feel the need to draw another map.

    I love the variety.

    All maps are beautiful - each in their own particular way.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeSep 18th 2018
     
    Oh yes.

    The other really big flaw in Merelan City was the total lack of a legend. I named the areas, but was too concerned about keeping some of the novel's secrets back to reveal too much more. That's something I really regret.

    No matter the style or the artist, every city deserves a decent legend!
    •  
      CommentAuthorQuenten
    • CommentTimeSep 22nd 2018
     
    Does anyone have any ideas as to how to indicate contours (without contour lines) for a city with buildings on it, and without drawing cliffs, but using a bird's eye view. I would like to do a hillside city, which is why I am asking.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeSep 23rd 2018
     
    Without contours or cliffs?

    That only leaves you two options

    Hill shading or altitude shading (the latter mentioned by Jim above) - neither of which are particularly easy in CC3, or even very useful where there are lots of buildings obscuring the ground.
    •  
      CommentAuthorQuenten
    • CommentTimeSep 23rd 2018 edited
     
    Perhaps I could use solid and white fills of differing strengths on sheets below the rest of the city...mmm, I'll see how it works out.
    • CommentAuthorScottA
    • CommentTimeSep 23rd 2018
     
    That's something I've struggled with, as well, so I'm watching this now with great interest...
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeSep 23rd 2018 edited
     
    That would look a bit odd where normal shade buildings appear on the summit of the highest hill.

    Try inverting that by adding several sheets of black polygons the further down you go from the highest peak - each with its own Blur and Blend mode set to about 12 % opacity.

    And I would put them above all the buildings, since the buildings will appear to float over the top of the deeper levels of the map if they are not included in the altitude shading.

    It's what I did with Merelan City.

    EDIT: actually, no. I'm wrong. I didn't use the black sheets to do the altitude shading in MC. I used the black sheets to do the relief shading. The altitude shading as achieved in a similar way to the way Jim suggested - by using gradually paler and more yellowish shades of grass towards the top of the island.

    I blame 4.5 hours sleep for the mix up!
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeSep 23rd 2018
     
    I think, having read the last few comments again, that we are talking about different things here.

    I am talking about altitude shading, whereas I think Quenten is thinking about relief shading.

    Altitude shading is far easier because it follows the contours of the land, while relief shading is much more difficult because it represents the amount of light falling on the land from an angled sun - usually one at about 315 degrees north and at about 60 degrees elevation from the horizon.
    •  
      CommentAuthorQuenten
    • CommentTimeSep 23rd 2018
     
    I am talking about altitude shading, not relief. I'll experiment a bit, and share the results.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeSep 23rd 2018
     
    Altitude shading is best done like Jim suggested, and like I actually did it in Merelan City - by shades of grass.

    Deepest level a dullish grey-blue green, top level a pale golden colour.

    That way it doesn't get all mixed up with the black relief shading, if you should decide to add that as well a bit later.
    • CommentAuthorJensen
    • CommentTimeSep 23rd 2018
     
    I had the same issue as Quenten, I‘m curious to see your experiments!
    • CommentAuthorRoyalWolf
    • CommentTimeOct 8th 2018
     
    I always struggle where to begin with city maps as well

    is there a good annual package that helps with this. I've done the basic village tutorial but that's pretty simple, I am trying to create a bigger city.

    something that looks along the lines of these

    https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-OAvAxILnkM4/WBhwKddvTHI/AAAAAAAAEHU/aYBaJUL8zVIYQ1gSAZBpTp8BCNVLfdlEQCLcB/s1600/Sirilion_Gandwarf_small2.jpg

    or

    http://rpgmaps.profantasy.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/04_Eldolan.jpg

    or

    http://1zl0mp2pjotb1miw5i17vw1t.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/CA63_StAurelius.png
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeOct 8th 2018
     
    If you haven't done a city map before, possibly the best starting point is the section of the Tome of Ultimate Mapping which provides a full tutorial on "Creating a City" in the "City Designer 3" section on page 276.

    The tutorial takes you right through the entire process from start to finish, including all the things that budding city designers often fail to consider - like the reason for the city, its structure and planning, etc.

    If you haven't got the Tome I would strongly recommend getting a copy.
    • CommentAuthorRoyalWolf
    • CommentTimeOct 8th 2018
     
    ahhh I forgot the tome had tutorials as well.

    I do have one town that I worked on a year or so ago (see thread link), so I have some basics, already, I just wanted to get a bit more in depth with a bigger city. this tome tutorial should help me quite a bit. thanks

    http://forum.profantasy.com/comments.php?DiscussionID=6962&page=1#Item_28
    • CommentAuthorTexas Jake
    • CommentTimeOct 16th 2018
     
    One thing that has help me in mapping cities is to view a section of an old city in Google Earth and try to replicate it. I also take measurements of road widths, building sizes, etc. to give me some baseline dimensions to work off of.