Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy New Year: Ball Dropping Danger! Free Map!

Well, I may be late with a free Christmas map, but I'm barely early with a New Year's Eve map!

Again I want to thank you for a great 2010. This blog and my maps, would not be what they are without all of you supporting me. Thank you so much for a great 2010!

And here's to all of us that we have a flawless 2011. I'm still a few Dark Alley map sales away from hitting the numbers I need to produce a second map. But if we reach that goal, I've got a few big surprises for everyone for 2011.

I've always wanted to experience New Year's Eve at Times Square. And since I can't convince myself to endure that level of madness... I felt mapping it would be the next best thing!

For you New Yorkers, hopefully this map adequate captures the feel of Time Square. I'm in New York for business often enough that I was OK with watering down One Times Square to its bare essence. Ok New Yorkers, I know that Broadway comes in on an angle and isn't at a perfect 90 degree, but square grid maps lead themselves to right angles.

I also cut out the Police Station and the Recruiting Center. I have nothing against either structure, I just couldn't get them into the map without losing the side elements I wanted.

Those of you that remember my Martian Clockwork map know that I'm a fan of balls and this map has both a Dick and a Ball! That's right! That's our old, old, old pal Dick Clark on the side of that building. And that's a 12 foot diameter ball! Look out Dr. Manhattan.

Also, unlike the North Pole, this map contains very little hindering terrain. So look out Clown Prince of Crime, odds say that the Caped Crusader is in that mailbox!

If you want to rock your battles on this Rocking New Year's Eve Map, you can find it here.

Happy New Year! I'll see you in 2011.


Merry Christmas: North Pole Nightmare Free Map!

Yo Ho Ho! or just Ho Ho Ho!
It's Christmas and who doesn't like free gifts!?! This has been a wild 2010 for me. I started this personal challenge to design 26 maps in 52 weeks. With your encouragement and your kind words, this has blossomed from what was really just a pipe dream to my mass producing one of my maps for the public. Last February, I had no idea that my work would be so appreciated. Thank you!

Way back on December 10th, I previewed this map over at HCRealms. I was hoping to finish it two weeks ago, but with barely a few hours left before Christmas, it's done and ready to download.

I actually started this map a few years back and it was originally intended for a horror game and was riddled with dead elves, dead reindeer and a dead Santa. In the end I decided to clean this one up a bit and use it for more friendly battles.

Santa's workshop is a Stealth player's heaven. There are tons of workbook benches, ornaments and trees to hide in. Looks like Batman has been a good boy this year.

While vectoring the green lines around all those tables, I started thinking about Snow as a game element. One would expect Arctic snow to be deep and hence able to be submerged in. And it's made out of water... so with that I thought, "Eureka! Snow is water terrain!" Merry Christmas, Aquaman! All that snow becoming water terrain lead to some unique and intricate map areas. You need to really watch and plan out exactly where you're stepping and where you want to go.

I hope you like it and you can download this map here.

Thank you again for reading and Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 29, 2010

3 New Tabs at the Top of the Page!

We're getting fancy over here at Curious Lurkings!

Three new tabs have been added at the top of the page!

Home: Here you'll find all my inane ramblings and previews of my mapping projects!

Maps Available for Purchase: Here you can get info on how to buy my maps. Currently we've got a double-side map available with the Dark Alley on one side and the Nightclub on the other. Prices include shipping and International Ordering is available.

Free Maps for Download: Here you'll be able to occasionally get info on how to download special free maps. These maps will be only available for a limited time and new maps will be made available periodically.

As always, thank you for your support!

Free Map: The Video Maze

Well, it has been a wild November. My first mass-printed maps were ordered and delivered and I've started selling these maps online. This has been an interesting and intense month. From hyper-analyzing each printed copy I've mailed out to learning the in's and out's of Paypal, every day has been busy.
I want to get back to where this journey began... designing maps. I've got a few beauties in the pipeline and I think everyone will be please for what's in store for December and January. Occasionally, I want to have a few maps available free for download. These maps will tend to be either a bit more simplistic than my normal maps and the maps that I will eventually make available for sale.

The Video Maze may be texture light but it's far from simplistic. Since I got in to miniature gaming I've wanted to see a playing field like this one with lots of turns and blocked lines of fire.
Of course, I can't take credit for the genius who initially designed this board but hopefully I've packed enough classic imagery to satisfy the inner geek in all my followers. And yup, more orange lines, however this time I can't imagine that there isn't someone who can't figure out how to house rule that one.

Thanks for looking and if you haven't purchased my Dark Alley / Nightclub map... well what are you waiting for!!!


Monday, November 15, 2010

Maps now available for sale!

That's right! After hundreds of your emails and private messages goading me into mass printing maps, I am officially selling one of my maps. Well... actually two. Now available is the Dark Alley and The Nightclub printed as one double-sided map.

These will start to ship out on Thursday and the price will be $15.00 USD for one shipped in the US and as a break to all those judges trying to stock up for their venues you can get three copies for $35.00 USD. Right now these are just available in the United States however in a week or so, I'll have pricing up for international customers.

If you want to see these maps up close, check here and here.

The Dark Alley

The Nightclub

And guys, I'm not sure this will be a regular thing. I have no real plans to start a business out of this. As my blog followers are aware, this has always been a personal challenge to design twenty six maps in one year. This time last year I would have never thought my dining room would be filled with copies of my work. Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the past nine months!

What are you waiting for??? Get buying!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Clix for a Cure: Leaving Pennsylvania for Maryland in 11 hours.

Well I've got the big caravan rented to haul everyone down. I pick that up in the morning. We've got snacks and beverages for the trip... and well the map, its got that new carrier smell.

I thought some real life shots were in order.

It's tough getting a six foot by three foot map in one photo!

This looks like a job for Gorilla Man!

Thanks for looking and check back frequently!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Clix for the Cure Maps: Terrain Lines Added

I thought so more images of the map was in order. Here we can see what all three maps look like lined up and what just using the top and bottom sections get you!

Just using two sections
Using all three sections...

Clix for a Cure Maps: Up Close!

Evening folks!

I thought I'd post some close-up images of some of the details from the Clix for the Cure Maryland map. I hope you enjoy.

Call Mom!
Very Interesting!

Warning: Objects in Mirror appear closer than expected.

Is that Pacman???

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween: The Occult House

Yo ho ho and Happy Halloween. Let me just get this right out of the way now. I have the worst stomach ache from eating Paydays and Dots and Pumpkin Cupcakes with cream cheese icing.
Doubled-over from the sugar pains and I decided to squeak this map in between bouts of nausea and the start of The Walking Dead on AMC.

The three biggest requests I see weekly are for maps of Hell,  horror gaming maps, and free downloadable maps. Two of those three requests come often from ProfessorShenanigans over at HCRealms. However, I'm not sure if he plays Horrorclix.

With Halloween in the air and the weight of the Horrorclix community coming down on me, I feel it's time to give them a properly scary map. The type of map that makes you want to start going to church on the weekend. And with that I give you... The Occult House.

Is it a haunted house? Is it a gateway to Hell? You can decide that for yourselves.

Now I haven't played that horror game since the game came out. I kept buying figures, just never got the time to play. So Horror fans, chime in and tell me where to put the victim blood stains and I will do so over the next week.

Personally, I'm a big fan of special terrain. There is no way the vast tapestry of every location imaginable can be pigeonholed into either blocking or hindering terrain. So I am going to use the orange line at any given chance. I'm not going to come up with the rulings. That's for you to decide. In the end, you can just rule the orange line is hindering or you can come up with your own scenario rules.

Yup, and this map... it's free to download. Let me know if the google document feature doesn't work. This is the first time I'm using it.
You can get the map here at:
Heck, if you print and play this, and don't mind taking a picture, send it to me and I'll post it here!
Also, next post, I'll be showing you the finalized Clix for the Cure Map. And later this week we'll talk about my first map pack which will be available for sale in November.
Happy Hauntings!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Maryland Clix for the Cure Map

Yo ho ho!

I'm very happy and honored to be able to donate a few custom maps for the Savage, Maryland Clix for the Cure event.

I wanted to do something special for the event and so in chatting with tom730 from HCRealms we were able to work out my doing an exclusive map just for Clix for the Cure.

Well in typical lurker madness what started out as one map quickly spiraled into three maps. I'm not sure if tom730 plans to use these as prize support or auction. I still have some touch-ups to make and I need to add the terrain lines in.

Also if anyone wants to chime in custom rules for the open sky area, feel free to comment!

So I hope you enjoy seeing these maps and I hope to see you at The Family Game Store on November 7th.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Status Check...

Just wanted to mention a few sundry items.

Just got the sample posters from the printer yesterday. I'm comparing paper weight and folding methods. But I'm damn near close to having the first run of maps printed.

The next map in the 26 Map project will be delayed a few weeks. I've been working on a super-secret project for the past two weeks that is consuming my time. Hopefully I'll be able to post full images of the sheer madness of the task I'm working on in the next few days. I'm just waiting for someone to give me the go ahead to release the images.

However, while I wait... a tiny teaser wouldn't hurt if we keep it between friends! Keep your eye peeled folks over the next few days.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Printing Time!!!

Yo ho ho!

First off! I want to thank everyone who has posted about my customs maps either here, at HCRealms, or sent me a private email. I'm overwhelmed by the support.

My customs map project started as a personal endeavor but is quickly growing beyond that. Since May of 2010 my blog was has received thousands of hits. Blogger allows me to see a wealth of statistics or who is viewing my site and how they are viewing it. I chuckle when I see people have accessed my site from half way round the world or used their Wii to browse my maps. It's all surreal.

Now that I'm receiving daily emails from folks wanting to buy my maps, I'm researching doing a limited double sided print of two of maps. However this a pricey venture I'm considering so I'd like to know who's interested in getting these maps and which maps most interest the community. I have a printer nearly locked (the first two I tried lacked the quality control I was looking for) and I'm hoping to have the first run printed around Thanksgiving.

So add your opinion below or vote at HCRealms if you're a member!

So tell your friends, please vote and, as always, thanks for reading!

Below you'll find a list of potential printing candidates!:

Map 1: The Lost Jungle

Map 2: WWII Invasion

Map3: Blue Atoll

Map 5: Warrior Island

Map 6: Mission Abort

Map 7: The Mystic Tower

Map 8: Mighty Pants

Map 9: Deadly Cargo

Map 10: The Dark Alley

Map 11: Asgard!

Map 12: The Resurrection Pool

Map 13: The Nightclub

Map 14: The Chemical Plant

Map 15: Doomtown

Map 16: Paradise City

Map 17: Pizza Loving, Martial Artist Sewer

Map 18: The Ray Ship

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Map 18 of 26: The Ray Ship

Phew... Still on schedule!

Sure, every hero gets a map. Everybody is rushing to do an Arctic fortress, gadgety cave or chartreuse planetary defense post. Heck, even the villainous clown gets a factory map here and there. But can the coolest underwater mutha, get a map? For eight years the answer has been no.

Until today.

That's right the legions of evil get a cool new submersible ride. This aint no seahorse.

This map had me up for days. Most miniature game mechanics lack a fluid way to show the transition from underwater openness to inside an underwater layer. I bounced around a lot of ideas with my fellow gaming friends and in the end I decided to ignore the minutia and went with the broad stroke method of just simplifying the map down to Water and Indoor terrain.

The starting areas I felt also needed to be tweaked. The standard left side meets right side method of mapping I felt didn't work in the visual space I had to work with. The nice thing about not being fettered with corporate ties means that I don't need to worry about the metagame. I liked the idea of the heroes being able to pick and choose from what side they could mount the offensive against the defensive position of the ship's crew.

Anyway, I'm off to finish that mancave I showed you last week.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Work in Progress: Plain Manor with Mancave (Part 2)

Here is a quick draft of how the terrain markers would look if we went with the first 12 columns being elevated.

For the sake of disclosure, this is a quick, sloppy, inexact marking. The true grid would be much thinner and more precise. I just wanted to slosh some color on the reduced blog image for a reference.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Work in Progress: Plain Manor with Mancave

I mentioned in a previous post that there are a few iconic locales every map maker needs to take a swing at and this is one of them.

Most of the custom maps I see attempt to only map the cave. This, I feel, is disrespectful to the thousands of faithful butlers out there that defend their employer with great zeal. I also am a fan of showing transition in a map so I wanted to show outside the manor, the manor, and into the cave.

Traditionally the cave is lower than the house, this is an interesting dilemma as that would force the manor and outside the manor into being elevated terrain. Technically the first 12 columns (all of the grass and manor interior) should be surrounded by a red line. Then the 6 manor columns and the 12 cave columns should have a yellow line.

I could end the dilemma by removing the two sets of stairs into the cave on the top and bottom of the map, but I feel the stairs are visually necessary. We all have that image of a certain butler carrying down a tray of vittles to his master.
Anyway this map is easily 10 man hours away from completion. The bathroom needs to be fleshed out and I need to paint in wall shadows, clean up some viscous transitions and add terrain lines. So I wanted to let everyone see the work -in-progress and give me a shout out as to whether I should bag the steps and lose the elevated terrain dilemma or keep them and roll with the big 12 columns of elevated terrain.

Post your thoughts here or on HCRealms at

Thanks for reading.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Map 17 of 26: Pizza-Loving, Martial Artist Sewer

The goal is twenty six maps in fifty weeks. To be on schedule, Map 17, this map, needed to be posted by September 24th. I'm doing a happy dance as for the first time in months, I'm on schedule.

What can I say... this map was begging to be made. Everybody wants a certain select four reptilian ninjas. The "Man" has the license already. I have the cash in my wallet to give to the "Man" for them. Is the "Man" man enough to step up to the plate and take my money?

Sure, some of you are on the wheaty side and want comic based miniatures while the others are on the frosted side and want cartoon based miniatures. You can say I'm not being a purist with this map, but come on people, they're just pillows.

Heck, I just realized I was making a shredded wheat analogy up there and the major villain of these guys is called... hey now, that's crazy and completely unplanned.

Me personally, I'm an Italian guy and I'm playing into a stereotype, but I like pizza. The map needed it.

All in all, a fun map to make and I can't wait to play on it.

Thank you for reading and the next map I post will pay homage to my favorite villain.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Map 16 of 26: Paradise City

I will apologize in advance for the cornball Guns N Roses joke that is about to happen. Last Monday I posted the toughest working environment in the cosmos to commemorate Labor Day. This week I take you up to Paradise City where the grass is green and the gaming is pretty.

Yeah, I couldn't resist that.

It's tough to visually represent a floating city without showing the ground below. Top down maps utilizing a square grid system have some inherent issues with a lot of locations I want to represent. Those typical bubble cities, like Atlantis or Gorilla City are difficult to pull off. Get to close to the city interior and you don't get to see the city boundaries which is where the magic happens. The same thing applies to your floating cities. Without seeing the transition from air to ground, you just can't tell its above the earth.

This leads to game mechanic issues. How do you represent an area where clearly no non-flier can exist? I've opted for the easy way out with the poor man's fix... the orange terrain line.

In the last post I mentioned my hatred of blocking terrain and yet here I'm showcasing it. The five sculptural monuments are blocking terrain. I jumped between the idea of either making them hindering or blocking but in the end like the tight spaces they create.

This map has a lot of different terrain elements crammed in a very tight space. I can't wait to print this bad bear and try it out. In the meantime, send me your thoughts on what the special rulings should be for the orange area.
Thanks for reading and I'll see you guys again in the next few days.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Map 15 of 26: Doomtown

Oh no, not Latveria. We have a passable Latveria map already.

One of my biggest pet peeves is that lack of non-terrestrial maps that have been put out. Comic Books have spanned the galaxy and stretched from the beginning of creation to the end of time. Yet somehow a lot of the maps produced these days tend to follow the town, park, office, rinse and repeat pattern. I've even annoyed myself with my own generic town maps.

I started reading comics in the 70's and as a kid I was always blown away by Jack Kirby's artwork. You cannot pick up one of his books and not immediately recognize his particular style. This map has been on the burners for a while. And seeing how today is Labor Day, I felt it was time to finally finish the map the signifies probably the worst place in the galaxy to work.

This map has gone thru a few developmental stages over the years. However what kept me from releasing this image was that I was never comfortable with the realism one can get on a map and how that realism blended with some natural Kirby-esque imagery I wanted to use. So today I hunkered down and practiced my Kirby dots.

As I flip thru those old comic books, I love how Kirby would dot up everything and add these bizarre geometric lines and circles. Hopefully I've captured that feel here. As far as the rules go from the fire pits, I was torn. I hate blocking terrain as I have never been a fan of any feature stopping Superman or Thor. So I decided to mark them as Special. As the player, you can determine if they're blocking, have special rules or, heck, maybe they're just hindering.

I was particularly happy with the slave wheels as well as they were cobbled together from numerous sources including an item from the original Dundjinni set.

And this is a map that lines up nicely with itself! Here you can see nine of them put together in three rows of three.

Next map will be around the corner in a few days. We saw Doom town, so next I'll be showing off Paradise City. After that, the next map may be having you say, "Kowabunga, dude!".

As always. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Map 14 of 26: The Chemical Plant

Though 14 maps have been finalized, over the years I have popped out dozens that I experimented on or toyed with. There are some locations which just about every mapmaker just has to produce as though the creation of that map is a rite of passage. Two of those locations are a certain vigilante's cave and a nice chemical plant for the creation of his main villain.

Yesterday, at Baltimore Comic-Con I had the privilege to meet Jerry Robinson. He signed a copy of the Batman Archives Vol. 1 for me and as a comic book collector and a lover of DC's prodigal Archive series, this was a great moment and one that I will cherish. So having met the Joker's creator, I felt the need to dust off and clean up a Chemical Plant map I started back around 2005.

Oddly, you'll notice that the elevated catwalk has access steps and ladders on only one side. I like the idea of the map being the third player and forcing its own will upon the game. Here we a place where grounded characters fear to travel hoping they won't be knocked back into an area they can't escape.

You'll notice more orange terrain from me again. I like house ruling an area to have special rules and not forcing feeding my rules onto a player. With these elevated chemical vats, you could just rule them as Water terrain or you could rule them as blocking or you could do what I plan to do and rule that these squares are poisonous and anyone starting in them takes Poison damage.
With that, I'm off to tinker with the next map.
As always, thank you for reading.