District of Columbia [8/3] V1 Pg1

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District of Columbia [8/3] V1 Pg1

Postby brhiba on Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:59 pm

Map Name: District of Columbia
Mapmaker: brhiba
Number of Territories: 44
Number of Regions: 8
Special Features: none (aside from region bonuses)
What Makes This Map Worthy: *bias alert* There are currently no maps of Washington, D.C. – one of the greatest, most powerful cities of all time. This map fills that void, at least a little.

To Do
There’s a lot of explanation of my method/madness below. I tried to anticipate potential feedback as much as possible. Suffice to say, here’s what’s next:

Immediate: Figure out gameplay; Finalize bonuses; Determine if borders need to be adjusted
Soon: Improve legibility; Tweak design; Post small map (600x480)
Eventually: Code XML once gameplay and borders are finalized

Map Images
Large map (600x750):
Click image to enlarge.
image

Large map with armies:
Click image to enlarge.
image


Gameplay

Borders
It’s not immediately clear if this map is playable. I need help figuring out if all the territories-bordering-territories makes sense. Are regions easy enough to capture and difficult enough to hold (or vice versa)?

The primary borders (i.e. regions: Wards 1-8) are entirely faithful to the actual DC ward boundaries. This was my initial design requisite for the map. Even though they’re a little funky, the goal is that any subsequent revisions leave these major borders intact.

The minor borders (i.e. territories: the neighborhoods) are a little more flexible. Most of the neighborhoods are approximated; usually, they’re just the most recognizable in the immediate area (e.g. “Adams Morgan” on the map is in reality Adams Morgan, Mount Pleasant, and part of Woodley Park combined) and some of them would normally overlap ward boundaries (e.g. “Chevy Chase” in reality sits across Ward 3 and 4).

Bonuses
Also, need some feedback on the bonuses. I ran both the excel bonus calculator and the starting drop spreadsheet, and used a little intuition – but these are definitely draft numbers. As far as other special bonuses, the intention is to keep it basic – see below – but would be open to suggestions, such as a “city unity” award for holding wards on opposite sides, or something.

Etc.
Lastly, because there are lots of small territories in a condensed area, the text is a little hard to read, especially on the small version – working on it. Likewise, I’m playing with different ways to include the Ward numbers/titles in the background.

Design and Distinction *TL;DR alert*

Why this map?
Being relatively new to CC, I was immediately intrigued by the variety of maps – very cool for us history buffs and geo-politics mavens. But as a proud DC native, I was surprised to find no maps of America’s capital city. So, I made one.{1}

Primary Features *soapbox alert*
This map focuses on the wards and neighborhoods across the 10-mile diameter of the nation’s capital, which keeps it clean and simple.

Washington, D.C. – aka The District – is a fascinating city. Most people know only what they’ve seen on school trips or lobbying visits, but true Washingtonians know it’s much more than that. It has a diverse population and a wide range of terrific neighborhoods. That’s why this is titled District of Columbia rather than Washington, D.C. – I want to leave the latter name for the “familiar” version of the city (which I plan to create next, if I make it through this one alive).{2}

That’s also why there aren’t any major DC landmarks. Instead, the layout puts neighborhoods at the forefront and the design relies on DC branding: the flag and the city seal. Also considering adding a watermark of the city motto: “Justitia Omnibus” – Justice for All …(although it’s hard to know if that’s in line with the game’s guiding principles, or directly contrary…)

I also made the design decision to eliminate the Potomac River, since the Wards technically have jurisdiction and their boundaries encompass it. This is chiefly intended as a map of basic territories; water, bridges, impassables, etc. could be featured on another version of DC.{3} In essence, this map is “inherently unique" in location and theme, but not in gameplay - by intention.

As a final design note – an easter egg of sorts: the white lines behind the textured background, which give it a marbled, stone-y feel, are actually an accurate map of the roads that connect to DC from the surrounding areas in VA and MD.

{1} There seems to be a lot of discussion on these pages about “too many maps” – but I say: the more, the merrier. Aren’t we all here because we’re bored of the routine? We want options!

{2} *hopes and dreams alert* The “tourist” version would feature the Capitol, White House, Smithsonian, memorials and monuments, etc. and maybe the Metro as an overlay. That map would focus on the central downtown area including recognizable sights, rather than the entire city boundary. ... And, later – much later – I’m thinking about the burning of Washington during the War of 1812.

{3} Or maybe not...?

Antecedents
My enthusiasm impelled me to go ahead blindly and make this map with no regard to CC history. A subsequent search of the forum archive finds a few threads about a DC map. Maybe those folks want to chime in as well. Looking now at the past ideas, it seems this map does justice to the various options that have been offered so far:

P.S.
I like the clean, “serious” maps. I hope my design and map title reflects that. BUT – we could add a nickname, maybe… SO, “War of the Wards” – catchy, or too cheesy?


That's all, for now...
Last edited by brhiba on Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:19 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: District of Columbia 1.0

Postby Peter Gibbons on Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:31 pm

Yes, yes, yes! This is exactly the sort of map I was envisaging--at least insofar as gameplay goes! Heading to bed now, so not a lot of time to comment, but I really like this start.

I think my biggest critique will be aesthetic... I'd argue for a red/white/blue theme (with varying shades, obviously) throughout the bonuses and maybe some symbolism, like the Capitol, shadowed into the background. I think the DC flag definitely has a place on this map, but not as the entirety of the background. I'd also argue for a new font on territory names. Those are cosmetic/graphic debates for later, though. I'm very impressed with the initial draft and hope it gets a lot of foundry support.

Any thoughts on impassables? Either part of Rock Creek or maybe the Anacostia River?

Anyway, will give more feedback when I can but I'm very happy you started this and hope you see it through!
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Re: District of Columbia 1.0

Postby Jhary on Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:35 pm

Go DOOD! I'll play it!
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Re: District of Columbia 1.0

Postby Peter Gibbons on Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:37 pm

I should have read your post before commenting--I really just looked at the map. I see there are reasons you did some of the things I commented on and that you have intention of making another Washington map. So some of my advice might be off; will take a fresh look tomorrow.
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Re: District of Columbia 1.0

Postby ViperOverLord on Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:53 pm

Are we to glean from the title that there will be a District of Columbia 2.0?
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Re: District of Columbia 1.0

Postby koontz1973 on Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:04 am

brhiba, welcome to the foundry and good luck on what is one of the most fun things to do on this site.

Lets go through all of the admin side of things for you first then we can get to the map. Anything you need whilst in the drafting room, just ask me or send me a PM.
You title of the thread needs to be kept updated and formatted like this:
Title of map - date of last update - version number - page numbers of current map.
So for you it would read like this:
District of Columbia [8/3] V1 Pg1
I have done it for you this time but this is up to you to keep it going.
Some decent reading material to help you get this made include:
Map Handbook
xml guide

Now for some fun with the map. You size is within current limits but remember you need to make the small map as well. What is you programme of choice graphics wise? GIMP or Photoshop? This is a pretty good first attempt at a map.
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Re: District of Columbia 1.0

Postby brhiba on Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:25 am

Peter Gibbons wrote:Yes, yes, yes! This is exactly the sort of map I was envisaging--at least insofar as gameplay goes!

Glad you approve thus far. Looking forward to your feedback.

Jhary wrote:Go DOOD! I'll play it!

Thanks for the support!

ViperOverLord wrote:Are we to glean from the title that there will be a District of Columbia 2.0?

Yes, but also yes. I didn't know about the naming convention, so I put the 1.0 there as the first version - so there will be updates. And also, depending on how this goes, I might make another one with different borders, rules, etc.

koontz1973 wrote:brhiba, welcome to the foundry and good luck on what is one of the most fun things to do on this site. {...} You size is within current limits but remember you need to make the small map as well. What is you programme of choice graphics wise? GIMP or Photoshop? This is a pretty good first attempt at a map.

Hi koontz1973. Thanks, I'm glad to be here.

I'll make sure to keep the title updated. I checked the size limitations and saw the request that the large version be slightly smaller than the max, so I made it 750x600px (I'm also a little OCD, aren't we all, so it's an even 5x4in). I actually already made the small version (600x480) but am not quite happy with it - territory typeface, mainly - so I didn't post yet. I use Photoshop on a PC.
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Re: District of Columbia [8/3] V1 Pg1

Postby isaiah40 on Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:33 am

Welcome to the foundry brhiba!! This is a good looking first draft. As for the small, don't worry about it too much right now, when you are close to receiving the graphics stamp, then we'll ask for the small. Though it is a good idea do a small draft early to make sure everything fits, and is nice and clear and easy to read. If you need any help with Photoshop (I have CS6 myself), just let me know!

Again this is a good first draft, so keep up the good work.
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Re: District of Columbia [8/3] V1 Pg1

Postby koontz1973 on Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:41 am

Forget the small map. Do not touch the small map. You have a long way to go with the large one and to keep changing the small one at the same time is silly. Do the small map if and when you need to a lot later when draft, gameplay are finished with and the graphics are almost complete.

Photoshop is a great programme but not what I use, so I cannot offer any help with that. But others on the site do, so if you need help, ask for it.

Mini map looks good but the text next to it is badly worded. Get rid of the numbers on the right and just have the ward names. So as you do not hit any problems later, I will suggest now that you make the map as large as you can. When you end up shrinking it for the small map, all will become clear but a minimum % needs to be met. You are probably right on the cusp for it but larger is better for this one. We give the space of 840/800 for the large. Use it. You text is a good case for this. In some areas it is hard to read and not even in the region (columbia heights and S.rock creek). These need to fit inside the region with the 888s. You may need to redraw some region lines to help achieve this also. Last thing for now, with the mini map, you have no need to put the district numbers onto the map itself. Have fun and ask if anything is not clear. Looking forwards to the next update.
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Re: District of Columbia [8/3] V1 Pg1

Postby brhiba on Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:21 am

isaiah40 wrote:Welcome to the foundry brhiba!! This is a good looking first draft. {...}

Thanks much. As for Photoshop, I have CS6 too... I'm sure I could use some advanced tips, we can compare notes.

koontz1973 wrote:Mini map looks good but the text next to it is badly worded. Get rid of the numbers on the right and just have the ward names. {...} with the mini map, you have no need to put the district numbers onto the map itself.

Hm, I was afraid of that... the confusing thing is: the wards are all named "1" through "8". So the numbers on the right of the key are actually the ward names. I tried spelling them ("one" through "eight") but it looked weird. The gray numbers on the left of the key, and the numbers actually on the mini-map, are the bonuses.

koontz1973 wrote:We give the space of 840/800 for the large. Use it.

Is 800 the max height or width? I thought that 800 was max height, so I went slightly less. But I can make a version any size - my original is much larger. Though if the map is bigger, there will be some vert scrolling because it's portrait not landscape.

koontz1973 wrote:In some areas it is hard to read and not even in the region (columbia heights and S.rock creek). These need to fit inside the region with the 888s. You may need to redraw some region lines to help achieve this also.

Yup, the text is my top priority at the moment.
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Re: District of Columbia [8/3] V1 Pg1

Postby koontz1973 on Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:51 am

800 is the height.
As for making a map true to life, this has probably never been done and never will be. Things will always get fudged. Ward numbers in colour is good, bonus numbers on the mini map is good, having the bonus numbers on the text part of the mini map is bad. Ward numbers on the main map is also bad. Too much information leads to confusion. We need to find a balance between enough and too much.
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Re: District of Columbia [8/3] V1 Pg1

Postby Shape on Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:57 am

It seems to me 4-corner borders are a no-no, so I think the point connecting South-West, Navy Yard, Anacostia, and Bolling needs to be changed.

D.C. seems like a good idea. It'd be neat to include it's various government buildings in it, since that's what makes a D.C. a D.C., no? Just throwing it out there; not sure how it'd work.

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Re: District of Columbia [8/3] V1 Pg1

Postby koontz1973 on Fri Mar 08, 2013 5:45 am

Shape wrote:It seems to me 4-corner borders are a no-no, so I think the point connecting South-West, Navy Yard, Anacostia, and Bolling needs to be changed.

Nice spotting, yes this will need to be changed. Either move a border or one thing you will need to think about is impassables. That would block this of as well.
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Re: District of Columbia [8/3] V1 Pg1

Postby brhiba on Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:14 am

koontz1973 wrote:800 is the height. {...} bonus numbers on the text part of the mini map is bad. Ward numbers on the main map is also bad. Too much information leads to confusion.

Ok right... so the next version will be 640x800px. Will fix bonus/ward numbers.

Confusion vs. information... one of my favorite graphs... you must have seen this? Image
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Re: District of Columbia [8/3] V1 Pg1

Postby brhiba on Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:32 am

Shape wrote:It seems to me 4-corner borders are a no-no, so I think the point connecting South-West, Navy Yard, Anacostia, and Bolling needs to be changed.

Got it, yeah that doesn't work. I'll alter the border between Bolling and Anacostia... for playability, do you think Bolling should touch Navy Yard, or Anacostia should touch Southwest?
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Re: District of Columbia [8/3] V1 Pg1

Postby sannemanrobinson on Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:56 am

Anacostia to Southwest would have my preference to avoid too much dominance of Bolling. Someone else might have a different opinion though.
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Re: District of Columbia [8/3] V1 Pg1

Postby ManBungalow on Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:53 am

What can you do to make this map stand out from the many other city maps we already have?
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Re: District of Columbia [8/3] V1 Pg1

Postby Peter Gibbons on Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:07 pm

Ok, my first attempt at more coherent thoughts. Take them for what they are worth:

GENERAL
1) I'd argue you should approach the map like it's the only one of Washington, D.C. you will do. To start, this is a long process, so if you end up getting frustrated and don't see a second map (on the same territory) through, we would be left with an incomplete map of DC. I think you make a very good point that you could do a second map of the more touristy areas (the "Federal City," if you will), that includes monuments and other things--maybe including the Metro. But I don't think that means you should ignore some of the capital/American aspects on this map. Just a general observation in approach. If you end up with 2 (or 3) DC maps, that's great. But you might grow tired of this process OR you might like it so much that you want to use your talents on another geographic area after you finish this one.

GAMEPLAY
2) In the spirit of point #1 above, I'd strongly consider adding the Anacostia River in and then use Rock Creek Park as an impassible in the northwest. Neither has to be perfectly accurate, but using them will limit some connections, allow you to manipulate bonuses some more and give you greater freedom to balance gameplay.

3) I think you've already conceded/made this point, but once you follow through on #2 (if you do go that route) you can probably merge some territories even if it's not perfectly accurate--just for gameplay purposes. I'm thinking Palisades and Foxhall and then Deanwood and Benning as prime candidates. Maybe Blue Plains with Congress Heights. A lot of these potential mergers will depend on what ends up being the optimal territory count, so don't take any of those as gospel. Just suggesting them now as something to be on the lookout for.

4) The 4-way intersections have to be adjusted, as others have noted.

THEME/GRAPHICS
5) The rainbow color scheme just doesn't work for me. It's just not DC to the vast majority of people who will play this map. DC is America. You've got 8 bonus regions. I think you can do something with shades of red, blue, white and black. It could be very bold coloring (a deepish maroon red, a bright red, a navy blue, a very royal blue, a white, a black, a dark grey and then a very light shade of grey. If they are spaced appropriately around the map, it could be a very dynamic scheme. Obviously your call and you don't have to follow what I say, but I don't think the rainbow scheme is a winner in the long-term.

6) I really do like/appreciate the roads in and out of DC. I hope that stays part of the map.

7) I don't think the Seal fits, though. Just seems out of place and unless there's a more tasteful way of doing it, I'd like to see that eventually scrapped.

8 ) Like the use of the DC flag, though. Not sure it should be the entire background, but there's plenty of time to work with that. I think it definitely should be part of the map, though.

9) I think you need different fonts. I'm no expert on that sort of thing, but I know there are a lot of experts here in the foundry. I'm sure, through trial and error, you'll find a good one.

10) I don't think you should put any monuments on the map or involve them in the gameplay, but I do think the Capitol dome would be a great graphical touch to be part of the background. No idea how you do it or how it fits with the flag, but I hope it's something you consider. The combination of the DC flag and the US Capitol would give a really nice touch and hit on both parts of the city that are noteworthy.
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Re: District of Columbia [8/3] V1 Pg1

Postby Seamus76 on Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:53 pm

Really nice first draft, I hope you stick with it.

I'm not the best at gameplay, and Peter has pretty much done some great posting, so I'll leave this to you guys for the moment, but if you need anything just let me know. I use gimp as well, so I won't be much help with photoshop.
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Re: District of Columbia [8/3] V1 Pg1

Postby brhiba on Fri Mar 08, 2013 4:14 pm

sannemanrobinson wrote:Anacostia to Southwest would have my preference to avoid too much dominance of Bolling. Someone else might have a different opinion though.

I'll try that.

ManBungalow wrote:What can you do to make this map stand out from the many other city maps we already have?

This map is intentionally basic. I'm biased but I think it stands out strictly because it's DC - a map of which doesn't exist. But I'm of the mindset - and this may be an unpopular proposition - that it doesn't need to stand out in gameplay. I hope the location and design will make it special. But I'd rather add it to the canon of straightforward city maps. My favorite thing about CC is the variety of maps that follow the standard theme - I'd be pleased as punch if there were a classic map of all the major cities.
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Re: District of Columbia [8/3] V1 Pg1

Postby Seamus76 on Fri Mar 08, 2013 4:30 pm

brhiba wrote:
ManBungalow wrote:What can you do to make this map stand out from the many other city maps we already have?

This map is intentionally basic. I'm biased but I think it stands out strictly because it's DC - a map of which doesn't exist. But I'm of the mindset - and this may be an unpopular proposition - that it doesn't need to stand out in gameplay. I hope the location and design will make it special. But I'd rather add it to the canon of straightforward city maps. My favorite thing about CC is the variety of maps that follow the standard theme - I'd be pleased as punch if there were a classic map of all the major cities.

Good luck with this battle. ;) I've been fighting that to a certain degree with my last two maps, and have seen the question posed to just about every new map these days. Unfortunately there is a pervasive feeling that all new maps coming out need to be different in some way, (all I hear is "more complicated") but I agree with you that most players like these standard gameplay maps and are getting bored with the current ones. There is a place for complicated maps, but we also need standard maps with great graphics, and simple gameplay.
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Re: District of Columbia [8/3] V1 Pg1

Postby brhiba on Fri Mar 08, 2013 4:43 pm

Peter Gibbons wrote:...if you end up getting frustrated and don't see a second map (on the same territory) through, we would be left with an incomplete map of DC. I think you make a very good point that you could do a second map of the more touristy areas (the "Federal City," if you will), that includes monuments and other things--maybe including the Metro. But I don't think that means you should ignore some of the capital/American aspects on this map. Just a general observation in approach. If you end up with 2 (or 3) DC maps, that's great. But you might grow tired of this process OR you might like it so much that you want to use your talents on another geographic area after you finish this one.

I'm pretty determined... but then again I'm a rook so who knows. You make good points. I suppose I just have a personal vendetta in the sense that I want to save all things touristy for a different map. I'm personally familiar with all the neighborhoods here, but maybe no one else is, or cares. *pet project alert* I guess. But yes - the approach is to totally capture DC, in a clean and simple way.

Peter Gibbons wrote:I'd strongly consider adding the Anacostia River in and then use Rock Creek Park as an impassible in the northwest.

I considered that at the outset, and ultimately decided against it. My strong preference is to stick with plain territories... but I might have to reconsider if there's enough pushback.

Peter Gibbons wrote:...you can probably merge some territories even if it's not perfectly accurate--just for gameplay purposes. I'm thinking Palisades and Foxhall and then Deanwood and Benning as prime candidates. Maybe Blue Plains with Congress Heights. A lot of these potential mergers will depend on what ends up being the optimal territory count, so don't take any of those as gospel.

I have 44 territories at the moment, which I thought was a solid number (listed among the goldens, and it works well in the excel worksheeet). I can see the Deanwood/Benning thing - which would really make Ward 7 a prime starting point. I can see the Palisades/Foxhall merge in Ward 3 too, but I might consider Cleveland Park/S. Rock Creek instead.

Peter Gibbons wrote:The rainbow color scheme just doesn't work for me. It's just not DC to the vast majority of people who will play this map. DC is America. You've got 8 bonus regions. I think you can do something with shades of red, blue, white and black. It could be very bold coloring (a deepish maroon red, a bright red, a navy blue, a very royal blue, a white, a black, a dark grey and then a very light shade of grey. If they are spaced appropriately around the map, it could be a very dynamic scheme. Obviously your call and you don't have to follow what I say, but I don't think the rainbow scheme is a winner in the long-term.

Ok, I'll throw some paint around and see what lands on the canvas.

Peter Gibbons wrote:I really do like/appreciate the roads in and out of DC. I hope that stays part of the map.

Thanks, I was proud of that one.

Peter Gibbons wrote:I don't think the Seal fits, though. Just seems out of place and unless there's a more tasteful way of doing it, I'd like to see that eventually scrapped.

Darn, I liked that one. It's ironic but it actually makes it feel less DC, which I like. It's not the standard thing anyone associates with DC, which gives it some cool novelty. But if people don't like it, I can live without.

Peter Gibbons wrote:Like the use of the DC flag, though. Not sure it should be the entire background, but there's plenty of time to work with that. I think it definitely should be part of the map, though.

The flag is a non-negotiable for me... not its placement necessarily, but it's gotta be featured somewhere prominently.

Peter Gibbons wrote:I think you need different fonts.

Big time.

Peter Gibbons wrote:I don't think you should put any monuments on the map or involve them in the gameplay, but I do think the Capitol dome would be a great graphical touch to be part of the background. No idea how you do it or how it fits with the flag, but I hope it's something you consider. The combination of the DC flag and the US Capitol would give a really nice touch and hit on both parts of the city that are noteworthy.

Good suggestion. I agree.
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Re: District of Columbia [8/3] V1 Pg1

Postby brhiba on Fri Mar 08, 2013 4:46 pm

Seamus76 wrote:Unfortunately there is a pervasive feeling that all new maps coming out need to be different in some way, (all I hear is "more complicated") but I agree with you that most players like these standard gameplay maps and are getting bored with the current ones. There is a place for complicated maps, but we also need standard maps with great graphics, and simple gameplay.

Well said, sir! =D>
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Re: District of Columbia [8/3] V1 Pg1

Postby Shape on Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:08 pm

brhiba wrote:
Seamus76 wrote:Unfortunately there is a pervasive feeling that all new maps coming out need to be different in some way, (all I hear is "more complicated") but I agree with you that most players like these standard gameplay maps and are getting bored with the current ones. There is a place for complicated maps, but we also need standard maps with great graphics, and simple gameplay.

Well said, sir! =D>

I'm not so crazy about the, well, crazy maps, ha, but I think there can be ways to subtly spice things up without trumping a general classic-style scheme. Seamus76's Alaska map is a good example, or even Thyseneal or American Civil War or Eurasia. (Not gonna lie, I had to look those up :P ). Then again, there can be good reasons to make a plain ol' classic map. I think the plain maps make sense for geographic areas that people are familiar with, so when you conquer, say, the British Isles, it has more meaning than, say, Muskingum County.

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Re: District of Columbia [8/3] V1 Pg1

Postby Peter Gibbons on Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:43 pm

brhiba wrote:This map is intentionally basic. I'm biased but I think it stands out strictly because it's DC - a map of which doesn't exist. But I'm of the mindset - and this may be an unpopular proposition - that it doesn't need to stand out in gameplay. I hope the location and design will make it special. But I'd rather add it to the canon of straightforward city maps. My favorite thing about CC is the variety of maps that follow the standard theme - I'd be pleased as punch if there were a classic map of all the major cities.
Agreed with this totally, by the way. What makes Charleston or Chicago or Puget Sound more needed on CC than Washington DC? If someone wants to make a map of a city, they do it well, and people want to play it, then it should not be held back "just because it's another city map."

If the foundry only churns out maps with unique gameplay aspects, the site will drift away from classic "Risk" play. I don't want that. I think there's room for both approaches. Some mapmakers will get really creative with gameplay. Some mapmakers will stay classic and be creative with design. Both should be encouraged. Some of the more "unique" maps are the least popular on this site, after all.
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