Tag Archives: building

Building Avencourt

Avencourt update 04-12-13

Well, I’m still working on this map and finally making some real progress towards a completed draft. The image above is a top-down parallel projection view from within SketchUp, with all the buildings redrawn to fit within the new walls & towers layout. I increased the size of the Royal Palace and the walls around it (on the inside of the town), and I drew in entirely new building footprint shapes within the Royal Palace district itself, for the most part. At the moment, the only thing missing is the Tartarus Prison (other than the terrain, which I’ll be adding in by hand during the final pass). I’ve been having some trouble placing it just right in Sketchup, and since most of the prison itself is actually underground, I think I may just set it up once I get the map into Photoshop for tweaking.

I still plan on printing out the map and tracing over it by hand in pen to get the best hand-drawn quality for the lines. Below is an idea of the town in parallel projection (again, just a SketchUp screenshot):

Avencourt 04-12-13 - Parallel ProjectionThe colors in both these images are just part of the SkU style I selected to make the images more readable. The final colors will be more in keeping with the 17th century style of the maps referenced by the client.

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Posted by on December 4, 2013 in Architecture, Cartography, Map, Update


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Mapping by Hand

Recently I got a bit fed up trying to map my fictional city Graven on the computer. Although I have the ability to undo anything I don’t like and I can change virtually anything in just a few minutes or less, drawing the map on the computer not only felt painstakingly boring, I have the entire island to look at. I kept getting caught up in the idea of carefully “organizing” the city or having it “grow” out from select points, small villages expanding into large towns expanding into the giant metropolis I have in mind. Even when I told myself I would let the city “find itself” – in other words, I’d just erase streets in rather randomly (based on a random “reference sheet” I put together from screen shots of Google maps) and create the history of the city from whatever ‘presented itself’ – I still felt like it was agonizingly slow and incredibly boring. I think the biggest problem is that I have nothing to work with until I start filling in the smaller lots and even the individual buildings, so working down from the major roads through smaller and smaller streets to alleys and individual buildings means that I have to wait until I’m practically ready to start labeling the map before I can start doing other things with it.

So I tried something new today:

Hand Drawn Map

Hand Drawn Map

I drew all of this on an 8.5″ x 11″ piece of printer paper (a misprint page, so there may be text showing through here and there). I used a new steel Sharpie Pen I just picked up, and didn’t plan a single thing. It’s growing organically, and I don’t think about much except what looks good or what I feel like including at the time I’m drawing. Which means it looks a little cluttered and disorganized and in place I’ve made some “mistakes”. The really gigantic walled area in the north is based on the (feeling I got at the) Luxembourg Gardens and the Boboli Gar, and the large buildings in the east are supposed to be stores, based (again on the feeling I got in) the shopping district east of Hyde Park in London. The long narrow strip near those stores is supposed to be an elevated plaza with a statue of … something in the middle and at the northeast end. The larger circle to the south of the strip is a fountain. The areas outlined in little dots/short lines are supposed to be parks, maybe even gardens. Because of the thickness of the pen, I can only detail so much; I have a .01 pen I think I’ll use for smaller details later; right now I don’t want to keep switching pens while drawing.

As you can see, I’m starting to reach the edges of the paper in several places. Once I fill in a bit more in the corners, I’m going to tape another sheet up against one side (not overlapping) and start filling in the buildings that overlap. Once I cover the edges of the 2 papers, I can undo the tape and keep going if I need to, or I can place tape on the top faces of the pages to keep them together.

I’m currently taking finals, so I don’t know when I’ll be able to update again; this was just a break I took between writing essays.

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Posted by on December 12, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Word Building

I’ve finally finished drafting the grammar for the constructed (fictional) language of Graven, currently called Mijanu. I have a handful of words I created earlier, with the original possible sounds (a whole lot of them), but today I’m reducing the number of allowed sounds and reworking the vocabulary a little. Most of the words I already have will remain, although I will edit them a bit to fit the reduced number of sounds. For those interested, I’m using the Risus Monkey: Fantasy Language Cypher Generator to generate words that sound like a combination of Japanese and French. Just input sample text you like the sound of, type or copy in a text you’d like to “translate”, and the generator “translates” the text into a ‘faux-language’ modeled on the sample text. You can use any text as a model, as long as it’s in the Latin alphabet. The easiest way to get samples, especially of languages that don’t use the Latin alphabet, is to go to, and go to the “Babel Text” page. Omniglot offers hundreds of translations of the passage from the Bible talking about the tower of Babel, and all but one of the samples I looked at had at least one transliteration (French has several, from various Bibles; Chinese has several different styles of pinyin transliteration).

I’m currently working on creating a word list by “translating” Japanese vocabulary words (romanized) into the “faux-language” the Risus Monkey generator creates, and then editing the words as I like. I’m working on a page that shows what I’m doing, with the sample text I’m using. Once I’ve edited the grammar and have a short sample text translated, I’ll post both to show you the full language.

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Posted by on September 19, 2012 in Uncategorized


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