Community Atlas competition entry: The Summer Palace of the Winter Queen



  • Well this is just about the coolest project. Amazing work, as always, Wyvern

  • Thanks very much again folks! The response here has been equally amazing for me, Lorelei! And "cool" somehow seems very apt ❄️!

    Time for the final Palace 10 map now, this time using the SS2 package as for Palace 9, but now in its Bitmap B format. Even more so than with Bitmap A, the opportunities to use symbols (no varicolor options) were a little limiting, but I did manage to find an upholstered chair in a convenient shade of paler blue, and a fountain with pond that didn't look too out of place either. The background's not actually snow, but the Dirt Grey Light fill, greatly enlarged (wonderful it held off pixellating to such a degree too), while the floor texture isn't ice, but the Marble White fill, both of which worked out quite nicely in their re-imagined versions, I think.

    Having completed all ten sample Palace maps meant I could also now update the Locations map too:

    For reasons I don't pretend to understand, the markers and labels for Places 1, 2, 9 & 10 have all ended up much closer to the two Ocean labels at the top and bottom of this rendering of the map than in the CC3+ file. I tried a higher res version as a test too, and as the markers and labels there were further from the labels, I assume it's just a resolution artefact. It's especially odd that none of the other markers and labels had shifted position at all, so I suspect it may have something to do with these four being nearly aligned with other text blocks. Certainly, even the higher res version didn't have the 1, 2, 9 & 10 markers quite as far from the Ocean labels as the CC3+ original still. Weird the things you find out!

    Comparing this with the earlier version I showed at the start of this topic, I decided to stick with the text size for the Places list, even though that makes it very hard to read in this low-res version, mostly because I wanted to add a miniature of the Winter Queen CA3 marker under it. I also simplified the look of the snowflake symbols for the Palaces list, as originally, I'd simply been copying-in the floor designs from the Palace maps, with whatever fill style they contained. That started to look a little messy, so I thought a more uniform approach might be better. The idea is that, hopefully, our esteemed Atlas Coordinator Remy will be able to use these map-side markers to link-in to the eleven other files in the final Atlas version.

  • I'm still in the process of final checking for the accompany PDF and text-file notes, some of which have been mildly amended since my earlier postings above. However, I have completed typing-up the draft "Quirks" notes for Palaces 6 to 10, so extracts from their current renditions follow.

    The Sixth Palace: A large, central, Ballroom stands out prominently. It fills the area set within the largest, central, hexagonal line, which itself is merely a floor design in the ice. A smaller, but still huge, sunken hexagon fills the Ballroom's central floor, with a large, angular, slightly raised floral design in its middle. A similar design is set in the ceiling directly above it. The Ballroom's form sets the tone for the whole Palace, which is for wide open areas in general, with more large-scale floral patterns showing from just beneath the surface of the ice elsewhere, on floors, ceilings and walls. Only in two places is this open pattern punctuated by some floor-to-ceiling freestanding ice-wall baffles, at the entrances to the Queen's Chambers. and within the first parts of the Reception Area to be encountered by newcomers, close inside the Surface Entrance. The main chambers for the remaining areas of the Palace lie towards the outer ends of their respective radial wings, sometimes with spill-over facilities in one or both of their larger flanking chambers. The Crystal Garden, for instance, occupies all three main elements in its radial wing, each with its own sunken area containing at least one flowing water fountain. The elongated sunken area along the axis of the main, central, line of the wing has three fountains, a single small one towards its inner end, and an elaborate double one near its outer. The Hall of Mirrors though has its vertical ice-mirror panels scattered only along the main central part of its radial wing. There are none in either of the two larger side chambers. Like several others in this complex, these large areas are empty and appear to serve no obvious function.

    The Seventh Palace: This has an unusually elongated form, giving a stretched hexagonal shape to the great central Crystal Garden, with its sunken elongate hexagonal structure and central flowing-water fountain. In addition, the outer walls have intriguingly large, often very well-defined, ice crystals in them, sometimes up to several feet - a metre or so - across. These are visible as distinct plates on the wall surfaces in places, and deeper within the exterior ice, which is more translucently transparent to a greater depth than is normally the case. These crystals in turn seem to allow a greater prevalence of rainbow-coloured refraction effects within the Palace as a whole, making it seem more cheery and bright than many others can be. There are very few freestanding ice-walls inside - just two in the Reception Area and another behind the throne, screening the Queen's Chambers. The throne itself is at the inner edge of the Throne Room, where it abuts with the Crystal Garden. Petitioners to the Queen will actually be standing in the Garden when they first meet her, as a result. All six radial wings have a long, narrow, corridor-like extension at their outer ends, which seem to be used only in the Servant & Guest Quarters and Queen's Chambers, other than in the access-tunnel between the Surface Entrance and Reception Area. That off the Hall of Mirrors does still have more, though often very narrow, mirror-ice panels along it, commonly here like irregular crystalline shards. Reflections and visions in these shard-mirrors are commonly particularly disturbing, as if in-keeping with their "shattered" forms. As with Palaces 5 and 6, an icy-blue cover can be superimposed on this black-and-white map using the toggle, if desired.

    The Eighth Palace: A large Crystal Garden in a huge, step-sunken hexagon fills the central nexus, with a large, circular pond and fountain as its centrepiece, surrounded by a great, six-"petalled", angular, floral line design incised into the floor. The Garden is especially well-organised, with many formal "beds" of ice-plants and flowers. The Hall of Mirrors sprawls out into the adjoining chambers off its radial wing. This size and complexity makes it easier than normal to become disorientated and disturbed here, and abnormal numbers of spirits are trapped, gazing into one or other mirror, or even caught within one. By contrast, the Banqueting Hall, Kitchen and Throne Room are condensed into sharing a wing. The throne is set upon a substantial, cut-diamond-profile-shaped raised platform. The Queen's Chambers though then occupy the entire adjoining radial wing to the Throne Room. The remaining main areas other than these are organised much as normal, each set in the larger chambers towards the outer end of their respective wings. Only the Reception Area has any freestanding floor-to-ceiling ice-walls in this Palace.

    The Ninth Palace: Smooth walls, ceiling and level floors characterise this Palace. The Reception Area has the sole freestanding full-height ice-wall in the whole place, where the Surface Entrance lobe adjoins it. The light within has a strongly blue-green cast, something which is shared by all the ice here, and extends into the rainbow-coloured spots and arcs that sometimes happen as light refracts through the ice. Everything within the Palace - the Winter Queen, passing spirits, and even any visiting player characters - seems brighter, more alive (an odd thing for the souls in some respects), and somehow more real than normal. This empowerment extends to facets of the Palace too. So the Hall of Mirrors, as in Palace 8, spreads into its adjacent chambers, and is again similarly increased in danger for all who venture within. However, its revelatory powers are also enhanced, and may provide strong and positive new information as likely as something terrifyingly negative. The central Throne Room has a large sunken floor hexagon, with a two-stepped rising central dais, atop which is the Queen's throne, able to rotate freely to face in any direction. The Ballroom is unexpectedly elongated, running the entire length of its wing, while the various connected chambers of the Crystal Garden are all linked by a series of neatly-edged sunken pathways and angular areas, three of which have smaller sunken hexagonal freshwater pools, each with its small central flowing fountain. The smoothness of the surfaces here creates frequent additional reflective surfaces, if not quite so mirror-like, or so dangerous, as those in the Hall of Mirrors.

    The Tenth Palace: The central Throne Room has a large hexagonal ice dais for the rotatable throne to rest upon, while the upper part of the dais has been further sculpted into a raised floral form, with the throne right at its roughly circular central point. Much like Palaces 8 and 9, the Hall of Mirrors here is particularly crowded with ice-mirror panels, with similarly increased danger to that noted for Palace 8 (if without the added revelatory properties of Palace 9). Spirits gazing into the mirrors, or trapped within them, are especially common in the larger hall at the outer end of this wing. The Crystal Garden is however unusually small, occupying only the end chamber in its radial wing, with its area of sunken floor, which is here oddly off-kilter to the chamber itself and the connecting entry passageway. The fountain and pool in its midst is also off-centred, and anyone spending time here will find it a less relaxing spot than the Garden is more typically in other versions of the Palace. The remainder of this wing is given over to the Servant & Guest Quarters. The Queen's Chambers take up an entire radial wing of their own off the Throne Room, by contrast to these somewhat cramped Quarters and Garden. The Ballroom wing essentially has two separate Room spaces, as either the broader mid-point chamber, or that at the outer end may be used for entertainments, but never both together for some reason. Only the Reception Area has any floor-to-ceiling freestanding ice-walls here, restricting access from the Surface Entrance much as normal.

    Hopefully, after some further checking, I should be able to submit these for the contest and Atlas formally in another day or two. It's all been a bit of a wild ride!

  • MonsenMonsen Administrator 🖼️ 48 images Cartographer

    @Wyvern wrote:

    For reasons I don't pretend to understand, the markers and labels for Places 1, 2, 9 & 10 have all ended up much closer to the two Ocean labels at the top and bottom of this rendering of the map than in the CC3+ file. I tried a higher res version as a test too, and as the markers and labels there were further from the labels, I assume it's just a resolution artefact. It's especially odd that none of the other markers and labels had shifted position at all, so I suspect it may have something to do with these four being nearly aligned with other text blocks.

    This is an artifact of rendering true type text at different resolutions. This is not an exact science, and the text changes slightly depending on zoom level. See Taming Text on page 37 of the user manual. In this case it is the ocean labels that have expanded a bit. I recommend maybe making them a bit more condensed in the first place so they have a bit of room to grow.

  • Thanks Jim!

    And thanks for the explanation, Remy. I appreciate fonts can be problematic in CC3+ at times, although in this case, the two ocean labels seemed to have changed far less than the placement of the four numerals and their associated snowflake markers, which had moved closer to the labels - on the version above here, much closer - than where they were set on the CC3+ drawing. Interestingly, on the higher res printout I did, the texts hadn't altered at all, so far as I could tell, but the earlier placement of the four markers and labels was wrong; not by so much as the lower res version above, but very noticeably all the same. Which does make me think still that it's been primarily a proximity issue along the same horizontal lines (maybe because both the snowflake and ocean text labels were placed using the same horizontal snap-grid placement). Odd the snowflakes should have dragged the numerals with them all the same, as they're not grouped, just individually placed, and the numerals aren't all on the same horizontal lines. Just one of life's little mysteries, perhaps ?

    I had another look at the Locations map again today anyway, and decided to try moving just the numerals and markers further out from the labels, and that seems to have worked OK:

    The separation is now only about twice what it was previously, yet as you can see, the difference in where they appear is very much greater, and almost exactly where the markers currently are in the FCW file, as well as on the higher res jpg and printout I tried.

    Final checking of the accompanying texts is still to complete, but I'm hopeful of having the set ready to submit by maybe tomorrow or Saturday.

    Loopysue[Deleted User]DakJimPMonsenAleD
  • I'll amend that... Wowsers !

  • Awesome work! My vote is for #9. I love the aqua tones.

    Regarding this:

    Of course, actually drawing the linear "box" is a bit of a nightmare in itself, because you can't just draw an open rectangle like this and tell CC3+ what size you want it to be as you might in a graphics program, or something even more basic, like Word. Instead it means counting dots on an appropriate-sized grid.

    I have probably missed something, but can't you just set the first point of the box and then use a relative coordinate for the next point like @100,-200 for a 100 x 200 unit box?

  • @OverCriticalHit - Never thought of this. Yes that would work better. Like many things with CC3+, there are usually multiple ways to do tasks, and if you find one that works for you, you tend to stick with it, even if it's not the most efficient option!

  • 11 days later
  • So how did you restrict the grid to just the walkable area of the map and not the background? I looked at the files you uploaded and placed my grid sheet in the same order as yours and it still shows up over the background area.

  • @JulianDracos - I physically drew the grid by hand. I do this a lot on maps that have only a small area where there needs to be a grid, or where the default grid available isn't clear enough (where it uses a symbol fill particularly; these are often illegible, I find).

    To get it to fit exactly to the area you want, use the Trim to Entity command on each grid line, where it meets the edge - usually a wall line in a dungeon setting. Remember to hide the floors or other things that might get in the way first.

  • @JulianDracos I struggled with a few ways of doing this last week. Then I found a suggestion in an old forum post that was easy to implement.

    Before doing anything, make sure you've saved your map in case something goes wrong.

    First, change the fill style and size to the size grid you want. I did 5' because of the rpg I'm making it for. Click on the FS bar to the top right, go to the symbols tab, and look for 10' grid. Click on it, and then hit new at the top, changing the name of the grid if necessary. Change the dimensions if desired.

    Second, create a sheet that says something like 'Floor Grid'.

    Third, hide all sheets except for the Floor sheet (and anywhere else you want to put a grid). Then copy everything on the Floor sheet to the sheet you made. The copy command can be found in the edit tab.

    Fourth, hide everything except the new sheet, which should have the floors you copied. Change the fill style to the style you made (ie. the grid you may or may not have altered).

    I hope this is both clear and helpful.

  • Thanks @Autumn Getty . That method seems a lot easier than of Wyvern did it. I did run into a bit of trouble. Using the copy from the menu made it difficult to paste. I could never get it to do it. So instead, I used the copy sheet function to the new sheet. I then used the change properties on that sheet and changed the fill style. The lines were white for some reason. I then had to change it to black.

    That worked for about 95%. Occasionally there are spots with a double line. This may relate to the floor tiles that I had on the floor or something else. I will play around to see if I can get things to get a clean grid.

  • Thanks very much Remy. Looks like I may have broken the Atlas though, as the images aren't showing for me currently, and the links just time-out. At a wild guess though, you're probably trying to load a mass of new material to the Atlas currently, so it's probably not dressed to receive visitors just yet! I'll just try again later!

  • MonsenMonsen Administrator 🖼️ 48 images Cartographer

    It was just a temporary network outage. You just managed to check in during a a very short window.

  • MonsenMonsen Administrator 🖼️ 48 images Cartographer

    And for the record, the rest of the contest maps and other maps in queue will follow, I just don't have time to do everything at once. I did this set first because the 500th map was among them, and as you will notice if you visit the atlas site, we are over 500 now.

  • Hey @JulianDracos/. I had that problem with the double line happening too. In my case, it was because when I was messing around trying to figure it out, I had changed the fill style on the floors sheet as well as copying to another sheet, so see if you can find out if something like that happened by hiding different sheets. Something may have got copied somewhere by mistake.

  • It might be. I did this on a couple of other maps and it worked fine so I think it just happens to be something with the first map I tried. Anyway, thanks for this because it gives me a really good and easy way to do this - especially if I lay things out evenly on a map already. It is seamless between the grid layer and the newly created floor layer. Now, if the maps are not laid out perfectly then there is a bit of discrpency, but it works.

    Autumn Getty
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