Mapping Issues: Underground Palette

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Mapping Issues: Underground Palette

Postby Thorf » Wed May 06, 2009 5:25 pm

Official maps have given us two rather different palettes to work with for underground maps. The first came in GAZ10 with the Lower Broken Lands map, while the second appeared in GAZ13's Shadowlands maps. While some features of these maps are compatible, others are a little problematic. It would be best to merge these into a single palette for use with updated (and newly developed) underground maps.

I propose that we keep the colours for the compatible terrain types (fungus forests, jungles and swamps; underground hills and mountains) and make a selection between those present in different colours on both maps (solid rock, caves/broken lands). What to do with the deserts, which were labelled as "volcanic sand dunes" in GAZ10 and "desert" in GAZ13, and the "mud flats" (GAZ10) and "mud" (GAZ13) also needs to be decided - whether to merge one or both categories and choose one colour for each, or to keep these distinctions and define the differences.

I have prepared two variant maps to illustrate the result of merging palettes. Here they are alongside their standard replicas for comparison.

Replica of GAZ10's Lower Broken Lands map, 8 miles per hex by Thorf, May 2009
and Updated variant using GAZ13 colours, 8 miles per hex by Thorf, May 2009
Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

Replica of GAZ13's Shadowlands map, 8 miles per hex by Thorf, May 2009
and Updated variant using GAZ10 colours, 8 miles per hex by Thorf, May 2009
Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

At first glance the difference from what we're used to seeing may be quite jarring.

There don't seem to be any obvious problems with the Lower Broken Lands map using predominantly GAZ13 colours, but the Shadowlands map has a clear conflict between the solid rock colour and underground mountains. This is not surprising, since GAZ10's solid rock colour was almost identical to the overland mountains colour, and GAZ13's underground mountains are only a little darker than their overland counterparts. This problem could be side-stepped a little by adding cave borders to the map. (The final updated map will definitely have cave borders back in.)

Any comments or ideas? Which do you think is more acceptable? How could we make either of them better?
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Re: Mapping Issues: Underground Palette

Postby Gawain_VIII » Wed May 06, 2009 6:33 pm

For the desert equivelants: I would suggest the lighter "sandy" and darker "mud" colors. The reverse just looks too orange next to the other hexes, an odd twist to the eyes. (Which I would have never noticed until you pointed them out. Now that I see it, I'll always end up looking at that and it'll end up distracting me.)

On the solid rock and broken lands, I suggest gray rock and brown brokens. Gray rock and grey broken (which wasn't even an offered suggestion) would just mess you up. Brown rock and grey brokens would be okay--except the rock next to mountains causes the same eye problem gray-on-grey would have.

Yes, I'm aware that I spelled gray and grey differently... Just accept it for what it is.

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Re: Mapping Issues: Underground Palette

Postby Thorf » Thu May 07, 2009 1:11 pm

Gawain_VIII wrote:For the desert equivelants: I would suggest the lighter "sandy" and darker "mud" colors. The reverse just looks too orange next to the other hexes, an odd twist to the eyes. (Which I would have never noticed until you pointed them out. Now that I see it, I'll always end up looking at that and it'll end up distracting me.)


I think I agree with you on this. The GAZ10 mud flats colour is a really interesting shade - one which it would be a shame to waste - while GAZ13's mud colour is just too orange indeed. So that's an easy choice. Meanwhile the paler desert colour seems to somehow fit my image of the underground better. (It has just occurred to me that I forgot to change the deserts on the GAZ10 variant map... They're still in GAZ10 colours rather than GAZ13 colours.)

On the solid rock and broken lands, I suggest gray rock and brown brokens. Gray rock and grey broken (which wasn't even an offered suggestion) would just mess you up. Brown rock and grey brokens would be okay--except the rock next to mountains causes the same eye problem gray-on-grey would have.


I agree here too. Brown for solid rock just seems like a non-starter because of the conflict. And as you said having grey on gray would just be silly. So it seems like we're leaning towards GAZ13 colours in general.

Yes, I'm aware that I spelled gray and grey differently... Just accept it for what it is.


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Re: Mapping Issues: Underground Palette

Postby Chimpman » Thu May 07, 2009 3:56 pm

I agree with Gawain on both points as well.
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Re: Mapping Issues: Underground Palette

Postby Chimpman » Fri May 08, 2009 1:53 am

Thorf wrote:I agree here too. Brown for solid rock just seems like a non-starter because of the conflict. And as you said having grey on gray would just be silly. So it seems like we're leaning towards GAZ13 colours in general.

Hmmm.... I'm having another thought here. What about the palette from the City of the Stars? This is basically a grey on gray (with one of them being crosshatched). The brown terrain (no symbol, just plain brown) in the Broken Lands map actually looks a little strange to me. I wonder if something like this could clear that up?
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Re: Mapping Issues: Underground Palette

Postby Thorf » Sun May 10, 2009 4:11 pm

I did as John suggested and added the crosshatching pattern around the cavern walls. Here are my (near?) final versions of the maps using the new combined underground palette:

Updated map of the Lower Broken Lands, 8 miles per hex by Thorf, May 2009
Image Image Image Image

Updated map of the Shadowlands, 8 miles per hex by Thorf, May 2009
Image Image Image Image

Of course you can also find these in their appropriate threads.

What do you think about the crosshatching? It does make things a bit clearer in most places, but I think it also runs the risk of getting a bit too busy when there is a lot going on, as in some places on the GAZ13 map.

I have also worked up the colours needed for deeper water, and you can see them on my newly updated version of the third and last official underground map:

Updated map of the City of the Stars, 2 miles per hex by Thorf, May 2009
Image Image Image Image
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Re: Mapping Issues: Underground Palette

Postby metal » Mon May 11, 2009 5:44 am

I like the cross hatching, to me it does a good job a defining what is solid(rock) and what is open(cavern).
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Re: Mapping Issues: Underground Palette

Postby Chimpman » Mon May 11, 2009 4:14 pm

Thorf wrote:What do you think about the crosshatching? It does make things a bit clearer in most places, but I think it also runs the risk of getting a bit too busy when there is a lot going on, as in some places on the GAZ13 map.

In most cases I like the crosshatching. I started to have second thoughts as soon as I saw it as background for the small (dashed line) tunnels in the Gaz 13 map. I think a good way to alleviate this would be to add in a gray outline around all of the side tunnels (in much the same way as you mask the labels with their appropriate background color).

Of course I can say things like this easily enough, as I won't be the one to do that work ;) Perhaps it is more trouble than it is worth Thorf, what do you think? Given that these are the only 3 examples we have of underground maps, maybe not, but the harder we make things for others to conform to, the more likely these will remain our only examples.

Hmmm... another possibility is to do away with the dashed lines altogether and convert them to "real caverns" (albeit very narrow ones), complete with brown background.
[EDIT: I see this is already on your to do list for that map, so perhaps we can just wait and see if this change will clean up the look a bit.]
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Re: Mapping Issues: Underground Palette

Postby Chimpman » Mon May 11, 2009 5:03 pm

related to underground maps, but on a slightly different topic than we were talking about before: are there any stalagmite/stalactite hex graphics. I'm wondering if we could replace underground mountain hexes with this king of graphic, and if that would make more sense for underground maps?

What could the hex look like? Just as a quick first pass I'd take two mountain hexes and merge them together with a normal mountain hex representing a stalagmite and a vertically inverted mountain for the stalactite. I may try this when I get home tonight, just to see what it looks like.

Anyway, my thinking is that the new "mountain" hex could represent locations where the stalagmites have grown far enough down to meet the stalactites, and the brokenlands symbol could represent terrain where the two still have not grown enough to touch.
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Re: Mapping Issues: Underground Palette

Postby Zendrolion » Wed May 13, 2009 1:18 pm

Late reply... :oops:

I'd go with the gray background, coupled with the crosshatching border around caves.
BTW, excellent job with underground maps, Thorf! 8-)
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