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Coz

Designing maps

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I need some ideas or toughts about designing maps. By maps I mean world maps, cities and rpg stuff.

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Personally, I first do a fully over-head map layout with primitive shapes as the buildings. I label them also. Then I go back and do another map that looks somewhat like a player''s guide drawing... then I do some more detailed drawings of certain areas of the maps and stuff... BTW that was for cities, towns, and villages... and forests... For countries and worlds and so on I''d just draw it like an actual map.

COOLNESS!

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For world maps, I''d recommend doing some research into geography, climatology, etc. At the very least, knowing something about trade winds, rain shadows, ocean currents, and probably half a dozen other things will help make your maps more realistic - otherwise you end up with vast amounts of magic/energy being expended just to keep your deserts from flooding and your swamps from drying out...

For cities, it''s worth thinking about how "real" cities develop - generally I''ve noticed two types - planned cities which are laid out in a grid pattern (like a lot of US/Australian cities) and the other sort which grew out of a fort, university or trade route junction (or similar) and tend to be layered like an ogre (or an onion) - the original core, usually with a roughly circular bounding street, then outer layers (not usually symmetrical) with a mix of street directions (often radial/tangential, though on junctions settlement tends to spread along the routes). Also, in older cities, there may be areas where natural disaster has demolished the buildings, and the reconstruction has been done in a different style. To make a map of an older city, it may help to draw several maps, say a century or two apart, showing the course of development...

Of course, all this takes time, and it may be more appropriate to your purposes to either copy existing information (there''s bound to be some old maps of places like London around somewhere) or just make it up and hope it''s not too unrealistic... Anyway, it''s far from clear how likely most people are to spot mistakes in this area.

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Thanks! :D

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Worst case (like if you need it quickly or just don''t really want to go through the creative process): do what a lot of game designers and authors do.

Pick an example from this planet.

Early Ultima games were based on Britain. All books by Glen Cook use Europe, or a horizontally flipped version of the Americas. A whole slew of authors have used the British Isles, just slightly varied.

You can still be somewhat creative (which example you pick, flipping it, slight geographical tweaks, etc), but you''ll end up with something that makes sense: cities and towns where they would naturally spring up.

Or find yourself an old copy of SimEarth and play with it. ;-)

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