Floating City

Highland_PiperHighland_Piper Traveler
edited April 11 in Show and Tell

CA63 (2012) Jon Roberts Cities with CA165 (2020) City Cliffs

I'm normally more of an overland mapper or interior like building plans or dungeons. I don't do too many city maps. However my son asked for a map for his floating city campaign so how could I refuse.

I'm not very good at city maps and my terrain contours will need an overhaul before I continue to past the raised cliff area. I've got Google Maps open on my other monitor and I'm trying to get the street layout and building types looking less modern.

This map is going to be HUGE. So nice of my son to make it so ambitious. The raised cliff in the picture below is the castle and mansions of the ruling class, below the cliff will be more rich houses then slowing turning into slums on the edges with farmland in between.

Any suggestions or links to tutorials would be helpful


  • Highland_PiperHighland_Piper Traveler
    edited April 11

    For some reason there was no option to place the picture in the first post. Kind of miss the HTML forums if I'm being 100% honest.

  • LoopysueLoopysue 🖼️ 26 images Cartographer ProFantasy

    That's pretty great for someone who declares themselves to be not very good at city maps :)

    I'm having a little difficulty with this comment too, so I will come back later to add another one about how to make it look like it is floating.

  • This is the whole island. The majority of it will be city but I will be putting in agricultural areas as well like fields, orchards, and grazing areas. I put the Floating Island above water, and the edge of the island uses the Cliff face symbols.

  • LoopysueLoopysue 🖼️ 26 images Cartographer ProFantasy

    Ok. That is a pretty big city.

    The floating bit will be easier to work on if you have a two tier system in your sheets. Basically, make all the same sheets again and name them the same apart from adding "TOP" or "2" to the end of the name to distinguish the new sheets. Don't duplicate things like frames, borders and ocean backgrounds. Then copy all the sheet effects over to the new sheets, and move all the stuff for the floating island onto the new set of sheets so that the floating island is entirely separated from the rest of the map. You might at that point have to give the floating island it's own 'land' background the exact same shape as the island itself. It will be this shape that will cast the shadow from the island onto the rest of the map below.

    Once you have done that I recommend hiding the island sheets altogether and then working on the rest of the city until it is more or less finished, so that you don't subconsciously take roads around the island or place buildings to make space for it. When the island is shown again it should cut things in half - because it's not on the same level.

  • 20 days later
  • I have been getting a lot of useful help from the mapping community and I have made some progress over the last day on the map I'm making for my son. I've added some reservoirs and canals, some fisheries, and I'm starting to plot out some agricultural areas as well. The walled center area is where the majority of the upper class and government facilities are. just outside the walls by the gates will be the mid tier merchants. These areas will be more densely packed then the center. It will eventually thin out to resemble a moderately rural area towards the island edge. Because who wants to live on a cliff face that is miles off of the ground!

    I don't make many city maps, I usually just make overland, interiors, and a few villages so this has been a learning experience.

  • Is there anyway to fill in the gaps between the wall sections and bridge sections?

  • LoopysueLoopysue 🖼️ 26 images Cartographer ProFantasy

    The city itself is looking really good :)

    Be wary of following the rectangle of the map with things like roads, rivers and canals. For some reason our human brains seem to want to do that, but it doesn't look very natural. I used to do it myself. You have to consciously decide whether it is really feasible that all such features would automatically be perfectly N-S or E-W aligned, and try to avoid dead straight lines - even when drawing canals. Most canals aren't that straight, but tend to follow the contours of the land in gentle curves unless an awful lot of money has been invested in viaducts and tunnels just to keep them straight.

    As for connecting symbols not quite meeting up...

    If the gaps are still visible in the exported map you may need to make a short length to one side of the map and zoom way in to move the pieces manually for a small overlap. Then group the section and clone it into place on the map, using SHIFT, or SHIFT+CTRL to rotate the cloned copies to the right angle.

  • 7 days later
  • A bit more progress today. All I can say is thank goodness for Random Street tool! I need to fill in some of the blank spaces but this covers the "Upper Crust" from the ultra rich to the Upper Middle Class/Merchants. After this is filled in a bit I have to start out on the outside of the wall. I think I will start out with the business and trade sections and expand outward from there. Smaller houses or Terraced style houses turned into rows of three to four story slums.

    A happy accident with my inability to grasp how to draw the "U" shaped buildings properly. Made an area that looks like a very large stable next to the East Gate. Working on the Warehouse district next to the floating docks. Need to find some top down "Spelljammer" ships to place in them.

    Is there a chimney symbol anywhere? The random houses are just shapes with no chimneys.

  • RalfRalf 🖼️ 16 images Mapmaker Administrator, ProFantasy

    The city is coming together nicely!

    Concerning chimneys: The Jon Roberts style doesn't have any, but load up the CD3 Bitmap A default catalog and you'll find some chimneys which fit it just fine.

  • LoopysueLoopysue 🖼️ 26 images Cartographer ProFantasy

    Really looking good now :)

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