Little Bighorn Battlefield Map

At this point, the map is at a stopping point while I move on to other projects. As one can see by the title, it is the area in which the Battle of the Little Bighorn (aka Custer's Last Stand) was fought. I need to tune the road network, consider if I want to place buildings and other objects on the map, and add place names. I really like the way the shaded contour areas define the terrain and combined with the water courses and the vegetated areas, highlight the ridgelines and draws.

The map will be for a science fiction game based on Hammer's Slammers stories by David Drake (with his permission).

My quandary at this point is the vegetated area. As the map is drawn right now, those areas are solid. The drawback is they block the contours of the map, as can be clear seen in the lower right corner of the top image. The alternative is to fool with the transparency, and the second image shows that. I think it makes the map look like it has small pox or something and the vegetation since it is fairly light, seems to blend in with the terrain. The last image shows a close up of the lower right with transparent terrain.


1. Just leave it solid and be done with it.
2. Fiddle with the transparency and accept how it looks.
3. Split the vegetation layer into two layers with one area covering top or left side and the other area covering the bottom or right side and have the transparency different. I think this would give the map a very odd look.
4. Go through and convert all the vegetation to Polygons with no fill, leaving only the border, then fill the polygon with symbols, and then convert all the polygon boundaries to no line. This would probably give the best artistic look, but would be tedious. It also would potentially put non-topographic symbols on the map (if I use top down tree symbols) or look kind of weird if I used the available topographic symbols for various types of vegetations, mostly deciduous trees.
5. Convert the contour polygons so they are hollow and then place them over the vegetation symbols. This has the draw back of making it more difficult for some people to visualize the terrain. Many game players don't really know how to read contour lines. (I find it interesting for instance, that Google Maps/Earth don't have them.)

At this point, I am sort of leaning toward option 4. It requires Brute Force and Ignorance to get through, I think, but some say that is what I excel at to get through notty problems. It will take a lot of fiddling to get the fill to look right and at some points, for very small regions, I may just manually plop the symbols down.

I'd appreciate comments and other potential solutions.


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