Friday, February 26, 2010

Map 2 of 26!: WWII Invasion

Map 2 of 26!: WWII Invasion!

Let me preface this whole post by stating that I love my eldest brother dearly. He also collects gaming miniatures and is a huge history buff. This is how a recent conversation with him went down:

Me: Pete, I'm making a WWII map.

Pete: Yeah

Me: It's going to be black & white

Pete: Why's that?

Me: Because it's in the past, duh...

Pete just laughs at me.

I've wanted to do a Normandy-esque WWII map for a while. I like the idea of Cap and Bucky putting the beat down on Red Skull or the JSA and Sgt. Rock going toe-to-toe with Per Degaton. For me, this map had to be black & white. It's what makes it WWII to me.

I also wanted to invoke the feel of an old movie reel. You may notice I've darkened the black & white effects around the perimeter of the map to give it that old box camera photo feel.

As goofy as it is, I love the "Allies Storm Axis Beach" across the side with the 48-star flag.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Map 1 of 26!: The Lost Jungle!

Map 1 of 26!: The Savage Land... err... umm... The Lost Jungle! Phew, I was just nearly grazed by a Cease and Desist!

A fellow realmser challenged me to do a Savage Land map. I always liked the idea of a hidden dinosaur jungle nestled in a secret Antarctic valley so I jumped at the challenge.
For me this map needed a few things to symbolize what I envision when I think of this location. I needed the elevated ice plains, I needed jungle, and I needed dinosaurs... lots of dinosaurs.

The dinosaurs added some gaming challenges. What kind of terrain are dinosaurs: hindering, blocking? I hate blocking terrain that shouldn't be blocking like the tank on the airbase map. In the end I liked the idea of clumps of jungle with dinosaurs hidden inside and just roping a green line around the whole mess. I still wanted an unobstructed dinosaur on the map and so I went with a quick hindering carcass.

Remember, I'm no artist and there are a lot of artistic concepts that are long outside my abilities. The transition from elevated ice shelf to lowland jungle for me was difficult to achieve. The mechanics of the game only provide two types of terrain that allows a grounded figure to traverse between elevations: steps and ladders. I tried to pull off a convincing natural rock staircase up the cliff and didn't like the way it looked. Ultimately, I opted for the rope ladder. I assumed one of the mutates left it there!

Also... I need to do a quick shout out to the gangs at the Dundjinni forums and RPGMapshare who basically provided me everything I needed to get my feet off the ground.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Finally... my personal modding challenge.

For the longest time, I have been considering challenging myself to a personal modding challenge. Originally the concept I was batting around was doing a 52 week challenge where each week I would complete one custom miniature mod from one of the books I read from that Wednesday's new releases. Logistically it became a problem for me to acquire the parts I would need for each week's challenge in under a week. Laziness crept in and the project never got off the ground. I am also about 18 issues behind in most of the books I'm reading!

I've also been toying around with custom maps for the past two years and slowly have been teaching myself the in's and out's of various programs like Dundjinni, Paint Shop Pro, Google Sketch Up and Daz. I have dozens of maps half started. So it seemed logical for me to start to complete my custom maps.

The fuel that really started the fire burning was the Secret Santa exchange I was participating in over at HCRealms. I wanted my first printed map to be my Secret Santa gift. It's recipient loved it and it was well received by the gang at my venue. This was a map of a Nativity scene for Christmas. All the positive compliments I received have really motivated me to push myself further.

So here is my personal challenge... 52 weeks... 26 completed maps. The goal is for me to produce one map every other week. When you consider that my career, family life, new home and responsibilities judging at my local venue all will take time out of my week; one map every two weeks seems daunting to me.

Also at this point, I do not plan to release any of these maps for sale or mass distribution. Especially given the fact that I'd like to challenge myself to make some very specific comic locales. The cost to print a 24x36 map at Kinkos is $44, so actual production of these maps will be limited for my personal use.

So, wish me luck... god speed... and carpe mappum.