A place wherein this Dwarven Cleric can share his love of maps, dice, miniatures, and all things involving gaming and general geekery--not to mention the occasional witty non-gaming observations--whilst escaping from the humdrum existence of his routine Terran existence.

Hail and Well Met, fellow traveler! May my Stronghold provide a place for enlightenment and amusement, and somewhere to keep your dice dry. Enter and rest awhile.

24 December 2013

[Map Monday] Goblin Warrens of Weepcur Glen (Lvl 1)

Yeah, it's Tuesday, but I'm going to still call it Map Monday, because my internet was having fits of frozen rage all weekend. This was the first time I could get this uploaded.

I present for your viewing pleasure today, the Goblin Warrens of Weepcur Glen!

I don't have a lot of background for this map. I'd like to imagine lots of little goblin nests throughout, particularly right in the middle, on the top terrace, using the large stalagmite for cover to rain arrows down upon a bunch of murder hobos adventurers....

To be frank, I'm not sure I like this map much at all. I know, that's a ringing endorsement.... Don't get me wrong; I'm still putting it out here for y'all, and I'd love to hear if you use it. Honestly, I'd like to get any feedback on this, period.

It was more of a project, an experiment.

You see, I don't get to use GIMP as much as I'd like. In my professional day-job life, it's not really even vaguely required. And, honestly, I let so much time lapse between digitizing my maps that I truly forget some of the tricks and tweaks I've used in the past. For example, I've COMPLETELY forgotten how I did the various water effects in the Caverns of the Sceades map from last year. I've seemingly misplaced the graphic I used for the parchment effects on my previous maps. But also, I wanted to try out some new techniques with this map.

I have a confession to make. Maps can be tedious.

To digitize, that is. Especially if you're like me and you like lots of little elevation changes. Those little elevation lines on the ledges? If anyone could tell me a fast and simple way to do that in GIMP or Photoshop, you would instantly become my hero. If you could tell me a fast and easy way to put the elevation lines in the crevasses? Yeah. I may just put you in my will. It takes so much time and energy to put the little lines in, time after time...I think that's why I let so much time elapse between map uploads here.

So, with this map, I used a fine tip Sharpie marker (y'know, the ones that say "fine" but are really quite large and fat?) on 1/4"-graph paper. I uploaded it, then contrasted out the lines, and added in a layer of digital lines. I also created my own "cross-hatch" effect and threw that on their as well. I wanted to see what effects were possible by hand-drawing then simply digitizing, with minimal digital touch-ups and re-draws.

Yeah. Didn't turn out nearly as well as I'd hoped.

I don't like the smoothness of the lines. I don't like re-drawing over my lines after I digitize a map, but I think it may have a more organic feel when I do. I also don't like filling the page with cross-hatch; I'd much rather do a partial fill like Dyson Logos' and Matt Jackson's maps. I know there's got to be an easy way to do this digitally, rather than by hand, but I have yet to find it. And I really don't want to ask these guys about their professional tricks: this is bread and butter to them, after all. (And yes, I've tried it by hand. The results were...well...frightening.)

I also ran into a problem with "transparency." I found it difficult to add colors (like the parchment paper) without over-writing them with other layers. Again, I know I'm missing something, I'm just having trouble finding (or re-finding) the answers. If anyone knows of a good GIMP tutorial, especially in re maps and map drawing, I'd love a reference. I'd also, like I said, appreciate any other feedback or criticism you can offer. Hopefully someone out there can use it in their own world, at least as a hook or an idea. Drop me a line if you do, would you?

The JPG is here and the PDF is here.
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