Last issue I promised new and different stuff in the Newsletter. So we bring you our latest section, WCA's Tablet, focusing on graphics and their use in mapmaking. This issue, he challenges all of you to a mini-map competition of sorts, see the Tablet for details. Unfortunately we have no Spotlight this issue, as the mapmaker we selected requested not to have the interview run. Instead, we've got another new section: Inside the Spotlight, by ZeakCytho. This issue he'll be going over what decisions he makes to bring you the Spotlight each issue. In future issues, he'll be applying those decisions to each selected map and showing you how it's done. Our final new feature is the Community Request section, headed by Gimil. In it, he takes some aspect of Photoshop and does a tutorial on it. This week, it's the very useful pen tool. On the normal slate of things, Maps presents the latest happenings and A Look Back is part 1 of covering the British Isles map, this issue with the original mapmaker Nobunaga. Unfortunately, nobody replied for Community Perspective, so we don't have a thing there. C'mon, we ask for input and we receive nothing. Everyone's got an opinion, share it!
Enough berating, hope you enjoy both the new and the old,
- Not a one this issue, which isn't surprising since the large batch from last issue hasn't gone up for live play yet.
Name: Cairns Metro
Description: In yet another map by the seemingly tireless Cairns, he's covering the metropolitan area of his hometown, Cairns. Adopting a slightly more pastel color scheme than his recently-released Sydney Metro, the map also employs fewer continents and territories, making it have a significantly different gameplay than Sydney. So for yet another top-quality Australian experience, look for this map in the coming weeks.
Present Development: Very recently forged and awaiting feedback from its latest version.
Name: France, 18th Century
Description: The French Revolution changed the course of European history, so having a map based on the country at that time only makes sense. It's a simple, attractive small map, with classic gameplay. The clean approach to the map has made it very interesting to watch as it has progressed.
Present Development: XML stamped and looking ready for a quench.
Name: Germany Revamp
Description: The current Germany map, as many German members have pointed out, is quite inaccurate. In this revamp, Pepperonibread is redrawing many of the borders to more accurately reflect the real Germany, as well as changing many of the territory names. Finally, the graphics will be completely overhauled and replaced with, in the words of Gimil, "super cool, shit hot graphics."
Present Development: VERY recently forged, awaiting an update.
Name: Golfe du St-Laurent
Creators: Lone.prophet and Unit_2
Description: The Gulf of St. Lawrence (French, Golfe du St-Laurent) is the world's largest estuary, but conservation takes a backseat to beating the pulp out of others on this map of the gulf and its surrounding areas. It's an average-sized map with well-done textures and area-appropriate colors. Its classic gameplay is without any gimmicks and should be easy to pick up.
Present Development: Lone.prophet has gone missing, putting the map on hold for the near future.
Description: Romania is a little-known country in Eastern Europe, yet steeped in history dating back to the Roman Empire (hence its name). This map takes the country and infuses a piece of parchment with a no-frills depiction of the country, with a touch of hand-drawn charm.
Present Development: Looking quenchable, despite the mapmaker's absence.
Name: San Marino
Creator: Ruben Cassar
Description: The Ruben Cassar formula to a T: a simple map based around a small area. It's attractive to the eye, and while being average size has plenty of bonuses that should be easy to get and hold onto.
Present Development: No recent developments.
Name: USA 6 Region Map Pack
Description: This project is bold. WM is aiming to create 6 maps based on the 6 regions of the USA map, all with the same essential mechanics. The graphics are simple and effective, reflecting the colors and territories of the USA map while keeping a new set of flair. It's sure to be perfect tournament material, as well as an interesting set of maps to play with friends.
Present Development: XML Stamped now, and still just as ready for a quench stamp.
Description: With maps of Ireland and Scotland already quenched, it is only natural that a map of Wales be developed. The graphical style is simple, and makes heavy use of Welsh motifs. The gameplay is mostly classic, with one twist: each geographical territory has two sets of armies, one for each clan in the area. Special bonuses are given for holding both clans in the same shire.
Present Development: Very recently forged and awaiting a post-forge update.
Name: WWI: Ottoman Empire
Description: World War I has also slipped into the void of uncoveredness, but thanks to Trench Warfare and this map the War to End All Wars will get its just deserts. The map takes on a lesser-known part of the war (though the famous battle of Gallipoli was fought here), focused around Turkey and the Central-allied Ottoman Empire. The general theater is portrayed in simple, understandable colors and the gameplay is fairly standard on this medium-sized map.
Present Development: After a slew of tweaks, this map is looking right and ready for quenching.
Name: Das Schloß
Description: This map is unique in several ways. For one, it is the only map that can only be won by completing the objective. For two, it's gone back from quenching into the foundry with a major rework of the map's mechanics to fix some unforeseen balance issues.
Present Development: Once issues are resolved on those and all present games on the older map are completed, the map will get re-quenched. According to Game Finder, that is a mere 2 games (7 months after the map released).
Name: Eastern Hemisphere
Description: What happens when you slice the world in half then age it 90 years? This map showing the far side of the world around 1910! It's the time when the great European empires are crumbling, and the creator has worked hard on making gameplay appropriate to the time setting. Expect a fresh world experience soon.
Present Development: A few small graphical tweaks have been suggested of late.
Name: Feudal Epic
Description: The long-awaited sequel to the original conquest map, Feudal War. Whereas Feudal War was restricted to only 6 players, Feudal Epic has enough for 8 people, with wide and expansive village regions in between to clash and vanquish your enemies in. Otherwise, the gameplay is the same, if not better, than the original Feudal War, making this a certain favorite when it quenches.
Present Development: Text color has been the issue of late, with worries about the green text's visibility.
Name: Indian Empire
Description: Taking a cue from another, more modern attempt at India and its surrounding countries, Oaktown has taken the period of time when India was a British colony, and translated it onto a beautiful rendering of a history book (Editor's Note: he used the same book for the Brazil revamp contest). Combining simple colors and a hand-drawn look for terrain features and the like, the map is fairly simple on gameplay, with classic continents and a railway bonus to spice things up. Rewrite history for who controlled the region in the 1800's, or join those building the next railway for the ruler. The choice is yours.
Present Development: A new version in light of recent feedback should be released soon.
Name: Land and Sea
Creator: Edbeard and Gimil
Description: This is a map of the world including both land and water territories. The graphics are basically non-existent right now, but the gameplay is undergoing serious discussion. The main feature of the game is that land and water territories only connect at certain points.
Present Development: Some graphics solutions have been proposed, but no consensus has been arrived at yet.
Name: Maze Craze
Creators: WidowMakers and yeti_c
Description: This map is big: 454 territories big. And it has a very novel gameplay revolving around neutrals that reset to much higher values when they're conquered. This is definitely a map to watch as it develops further.
Present Development: Still waiting for that XML update, with the thread being home to some high-end gameplay discussions at the moment.
Name: Peloponnesian War
Description: From the creator of some of the greatest WWII conflicts, comes Peloponnesian War! A Military conflict from 431 to 404 BC in ancient Greece that pitted Athens and its allies against Sparta and its allies. qwert is always up to a challenge, and this map could very well be that.
Present Development: A solution to confusion over the inset's territories has been proposed, and an update using it should be out soon.
Name: Poison Rome
Description: The Julio-Claudian dynasty of the early Roman Empire has a family tree complicated by multiple marriages between the members of the gens Julia and the gens Claudia. This map is currently in version 8, with a unique family tree layout. It will make for some interesting gameplay.
Present Development: Now sporting a graphical poll on different ways to represent the marriage connection mechanic on the map.
Description: Switzerland is famed for its bank accounts, neutrality in war, and sweeping mountains. So have a hostile takeover on this average-sized map of the country. Graphics are simple and the gameplay matches, with only classic continents and impassables.
Present Development: Abandoned by the author, but people are already volunteering to finish the map up.
Name: Trench Warfare
Creator: Mibi, Incandenza, and Yeti_C
Description: This map brings WWI style Trench Warfare to life! Two opposing fronts are separated by a large no mans land. Players will scramble for bonuses in trenches and use gameplay features such as mortars and artillery to bombard a path across no-mans land before rising from the trenches and blasting through to the other side. The high-quality and realistic graphics compliment this gameplay style very nicely.
Present Development: Stalled awaiting an XML update.
Creators: Premier2k and Nemesischild
Stamps: [Advanced Draft]
Description: Ever want to visit Atlantis? Ok, maybe a myth, but not anymore! Atlantis is unique map that is sure to get CC gamers talking. Great layout and design, with a bounty of colors keeping it lively.
Present Development: A slew of updates in direct response to feedback have happened of late. Unfortunately, both makers have gotten a large increase in real work recently, so updates will be slower.
Name: Battle of Trafalgar
Stamps: [Advanced Draft]
Description: The Battle of Trafalgar was a turning point in Europe during Napoleon's reign With unorthodox naval tactics, Admiral Nelson destroyed the French/Spanish fleet with no ships lost. This map strives to depict that pivotal battle, with cannon bombardments, boarding parties, and bonuses requiring most, but not all, of ships to be held. A clever model depiction and a solid color scheme help to make the map a bird's eye view of naval warfare at its height.
Present Development: Layout is being edited to make gameplay instructions easier to understand.
Name: Caribbean Sea
Stamps: [Advanced Draft]
Description: If you were a pirate, this would be your dream, but this is not your pirate dream. This is creation going in a fun direction!
Present Development: Due to a recent naming poll, the map's name will be changed soon, as well as updated.
Name: Castle Lands
Stamps: [Advanced Draft]
Description: This map is a depiction of a castle under siege. The central castle is surrounded by four quadrants of terrain, each with catapults capable of bombarding the castle's tower. For the most part, however, this map has classic gameplay.
Present Development: It took a while for this map to generate momentum, but now it's sailing smoothly through the foundry process. Gameplay alterations (perhaps starting locations?) are the main developmental focus now.
Stamps: [Advanced Draft]
Description: A map based on one of the oldest games, to put it simply. It's a lovely rendering of a late-game chess match, with auto-deploys on held pieces and attack routes based on piece movement. That alone makes for a different and engaging gameplay, sure to set this map apart. So grab the speed clock and claim checkmate soon.
Present Development: Awaiting another update but hampered by the lack of a good Photoshop trial.
Name: Conquer Mart
Stamps: [Advanced Draft]
Description: Ah, the shopping mall. Home of After Thanksgiving sales, last stands against the zombie apocalypse, and armed conflict. Well, in the past there wasn't any armed conflict, but this map seeks to change that, with fights over the departments and stores of a standard shopping mall being the order du jour. An overhead view shows off the floorplan of conquest, similar to a mall directory.
Present Development: Working on department names and other various improvements. Suggestions are encouraged.
Creators: Thenobodies80 and Pikkio
Stamps: [Advanced Draft]
Description: This is a map of the continent of Oceania, including Australia and the numerous island chains of the South Pacific. Its graphics aren't anything too fancy, but they convey the essentials of the classic gameplay on this map.
Present Development: After some fussing with glows and (early on) which islands to include, this map looks to be making steady progress towards the Main Foundry.
In A Look Back, we look at either a recently quenched map or a mapmaker who has contributed to CC but hasn't done so recently.
This week, we interview Nobunaga, creator of the original British Isles map:
Nobunaga wrote:How old are you/what gender are you/where do you live? Answer specifically, vaguely, or not at all. How did you find out about Conquer Club?
… I’m 41 years of age at present, was 39 when I made the map. I presently reside in Ohio, but that is a recent development, after spending 1997 to 2007 in Japan. I made the map while in Japan. I found out about Conquer Club through a friend, another local ex-pat, username, Zawbanjito.
What is your favorite map currently up for live play? Why that one?
… I like the maps wherein “Classic Style” play can be found. I like Classic Shapes, in spite of its demotion from what was once my favourite. I am a fan of the Asian map, and, if I do say so myself, I like the British Isles. Ancient Greece is also fun, though I have yet to win a game on it. Absolute favourite? I have to say (since the demotion of the Classic Map), Asia.
What interested you in mapmaking, or, why did you decide to make this map?
… When I signed on to CC there were but two maps, the Classic Map and Asia. Then some player somewhere submitted a Middle East map, which, all pretty much agreed but few stated, was not at all well done. I figured, if something like that can make it on the board I can do as well. I had the spare time to work on it, so I made the map. In my mind I saw armies of knights, longbow archers and such, I just needed a geographical location to put them. I went with the British Isles.
… I will be the first to admit that my map is chock full of mistakes, both geological and geographical, but it was the best I could do. With regard to bonuses and numbers of territories per “continent” I tried to use the Classic Map as a guide. South England was created as the equivalent of Classic Map Asia, Lands End, Australia, etc…
The Foundry process was very different back when you made this map. What was necessary for you to go through in order to get this map up for live play?
… It was a very simple process. I just slapped the thing up on the forum and let people comment on it. I adjusted it here and tweaked it there, went with the consensus more often than not. The XML was a bit tricky for me. I cannot recall who told me how to do it but somebody on CC walked me through the XML set-up process and then I was set.
How different was that from the process now?
… To be totally honest, I am not very familiar with the current process. As soon as the artists started creating (gorgeous) maps I knew I was through.
What about this map do you think people enjoy the most?
… I think I somehow managed to pull off the “classic game-play” feel I was looking for, and I believe that is why people still play it.
What ended up being the most rewarding about creating this map?
… I love playing it for one. I made that map as much for myself as for the CC community (as I said, there were only three maps back then). Perhaps the one thing that I truly enjoyed was a PM I received from Lack wherein he told me that my map was (at that time) a smashing success.
Have you ever thought about returning to the Foundry to do another map, either the graphics or the gameplay?
… Not really. As I stated, there is so much talent around now and so many who can do the job so much better, I don’t think I could pull it off.
In the Editorial, we ask a member of the Conquer Club community to write about some aspect of the Foundry. Subjects thus far have ranged from first-timer perspectives to a fictional look at future mapmaking, with plenty in between. Anyone interested in writing an Editorial is asked to PM TaCktiX about it.
This issue we asked Night Strike about his feelings on the Foundry, its role in tournaments, and the like. Here's what he had to say:
Night Strike wrote:I would first like to give many thanks to the Foundry Newsletter Staff, CA's, and the Foundry as a whole for the great work they do for the site. Without their very hard work, this site would not have made it this far. Although I sometimes feel that there are too many maps or too many complicated/non-standard maps, I know that those designers have put in their hard work. But I still don't understand the infatuation with Feudal War and the Age of Realms maps.
I feel like starting out this editorial with a personal issue that I occasionally see in the forums regarding the relationship between the tournament and cartography medals. It really bothers me when mapmakers and other forum regulars give tournament organizers grief over earning their medals. Yes, there are many organizers who put together small tournaments just to get a few medals out of it, but most of the organizers who are worth their salt and have a good reputation run very creative and elaborate tournaments. I'll admit that at times the tournament medal system doesn't always work out the fairest, but that doesn't mean that overall our medals are less noteworthy than the map ones. Both organizers and mapmakers put in their hard work and effort because those are the things they are good at and can use to contribute to the site. Instead of bickering about the validity and number of our contribution medals, we should all focus on the fact that they are indeed contributions and take note of how each of our contributions have bettered our community.
So, my little rant conveniently leads to the topic TaCktiX suggested for me to write about. For every map that comes out, a good organizer can design a tournament for it or a similar group of maps. Some organizers decide to let their participants choose the map to play, but I guarantee that the best ones could design a tournament featuring that map without a problem. Organizers can feature various standard real-world maps like in my Amazing Race: USA and Amazing Race: Europe tournaments (there are a couple more of those planned for anyone who is interested) or focus on the more abstract maps like in Sir. Ricco's Official Age of Realms Trilogy Tournament (now being run by Lufsen75). Every mapmaker has an inspiration behind every map he develops, and every organizer designs a tournament for a reason.
WidowMakers set out on a project bigger than any other successful map to date. Although I don't know if the idea came from a conversation with someone or from his own initiative, the result was a set of maps designed first for tournaments and second for general play. The USA map pack is a compilation of 6 different maps with each being based on the various bonus regions of the USA map. The stated goal of this set was to provide a set of maps that could easily be used in a tournament format. I think this was a GREAT initiative from him and that more mapmakers should branch out and design map sets that will benefit tournaments.
Although not without a few of our own scuffles from time to time, the foundry and tournament forums are by far the best places to be on this site. There is always someone eager to help another member or to contribute to this site. And the whole site needs to realize the contributions that many of us make on a daily basis. You don't have to be a mod to help the site. Remember that the next time you see someone spewing hate against CC in the forums because all of us have shaped and will continue to shape this site in the mold that we design.
This week, the Spotlight Editor, ZeakCytho, describes the process of producing a Spotlight for each issue.
ZeakCytho wrote:There are two main factors that go into choosing what map gets spotlighted each issue. First, I look at the mapmaker. Has he been interviewed before? It would get boring to interview the same people again and again, so I look for mapmakers we haven't done before, both new and old. Second, I look at where in the foundry the map is. I aim to spotlight maps that already have both the gameplay and graphics stamps, but are not yet in the final forge. The makers of maps in that stage have spent a long time crafting their map and have an almost finished product; I find that this makes for the most interesting interviews. However, maps at earlier stages of production are not entirely ruled out - some of them are quite interesting and have been spotlit before.
After selecting a list of 3-4 maps that satisfy my criteria, I decide which one would produce the most informative and entertaining interview. I then take my list of stock questions and modify them for the map in question - add in certain ones that pertain to the map, delete irrelevant ones, and modify the language to flow with the map better. Then I PM the list of questions to the mapmaker and eagerly await the response. After that it's a simple matter of letting InkL0sed, the proofreading editor, make sure it's grammatically correct (Ink edit - which, believe me, can be a real head ache).
Hello to everyone!
I'd like to introduce you to the newest section of this newsletter, "WCA's Tablet". This is a section where, once per issue, I (wcaclimbing) will attempt to keep all of you entertained with whatever graphics-related ramblings I can come up with.
This section will explore many different topics, one in each issue. What I write about might come from one of your comments, or it might just be from whatever I think of within the two weeks between issues. The only rule I have for this column is that it somehow has to relate back to mapmaking. Other than that, this section is pretty much open to anything, so expect so see some interesting stuff in the future.
To start this column off, I'd like to offer up a bit of a creativity challenge for anyone reading this.
This isn't a contest, its more of a 'what interesting thing could you create' kind of challenge.
The goal is to take this image and turn it into a map:
That is all. Just make it into some form of a map. As long as it looks somewhat like a map, it's OK. The map doesn't even have to be complete. Just do what you want and try to have fun with it.
It doesn't matter what you create, just try something that you've never tried before. Maybe there is a new graphics style you've been interested in trying out, or maybe there is a tutorial you want to try. Maybe you aren't even a mapmaker but would like to give it a try.
Whatever it is, give it a try on this map.
You could make a simple rough draft and work through some bonuses:
You could go all out and try something crazy:
Or you could do anything in between. Its all up to you. You can even photoshop a bunch of random stuff together. As long as it could be played as a map here on CC and it uses the satellite image I provided as the base for designing it, its is good.
If you do decide to attempt this challenge, create an image and PM it to me (wcaclimbing).
I'll feature everything that gets submitted in the next issue of "WCA's Tablet".
I'm hoping this works out all right and gets a bit of a response. If we get a bunch of submissions for this challenge, that would be awesome!
To any of you that managed to read through this whole section, thanks for taking your time to read it and I hope you enjoyed it
I'll be back with another section of "WCA's Tablet" for the next newsletter.
Hi Foundry goers, and welcome to the first installment of what we hope will be a regular section in the Foundry newsletter.
Today gimil has put together the first part of his two-part tutorial to show Photoshop users the basics to the wonderful pen tool.
Before we start on this tutorial, there is some basic stuff about the pen tool that you should know. If you look at the diagram below it will show some key images you might want to take note of.
Basically this week we are going to learn to use the pen tool. It allows you to create paths and vector shapes.
Using the pen tool
To begin with import an image into Photoshop which you want to practise on with the pen tool. I picked something modest
Open the path window as shown above and make sure you open and select a new path.
Then pick a place where you want to start from and click on the line you want to trace. I will start from Jessicas neck. Oh and feel free to zoom in a little, it helps a lot.
Now you can see that you have created your first anchor point. Now pick another point somewhere along the line you are tracing to place your second anchor point, this time click and hold. Once you are holding, if you move the mouse around, you will notice that the line the two anchors have created is moving around. Get a feel for this, and try and get the line to match the one you are tracing.
NOTE: MAKE SURE YOUR NEXT ANCHOR ISN'T INTENDED TO MAKE A CURVE OVER 90 DEGREES
This will help you loads when you start working in tight curves and other situation. I won't go into detail explaining it but if you don't use the alt key on every anchor you will see what happens
Now continue around around your entire image, carefully picking where to put your anchor points. But you need to remember this important rule: with every anchor you place, hold the alt key and click on the new anchor. You will see this takes one or two arms away.
Finish off your shape now using what you have learned, until you have a complete path around your image.
Now with this path you can do a few neat things. If you right click on the path in the path window you will see a selection of stuff to do or you can even use control click on the path layer and it will select the entire area within your path.
Play around with those last two points and see what you can come up with using your shape!
The Two Rules
So that is simple enough, yeah? Before I go on to explain different places to use the pen, here are the key three rules to always remember:
1. Never try to use two anchors on a curve over 90 degrees.
2. Always use the alt key on every anchor point to reduce it from two arms to one arm.
3. The more anchors you use, the more detailed your line will be. The fewer anchors you use, the smoother your line will be.
Ok guys, that's the basics for you all to go away and learn and practise with. In the next issue of the Foundry newsletter we will go into some more advanced stuff like vectors shapes and sub paths. Feel free to send me (gimil) some examples of what you have done. The best ones I receive will be published it the next issue.
Enjoy this week's issue? Haven't signed up yet?
Then feel free to subscribe to the newsletter by sending a PM with your name to the Newsletter's senior editor, TaCktiX (clicky). By subscribing you will receive every new issue of the Newsletter straight into your inbox, keeping you up to date with all the new latest developments in the Foundry.
We would like to thank you all for taking the time to read and enjoy our newsletter.
See you next time!
gimil - Graphics, Community Request
InkL0sed - Formatting Editor, Proofreading Editor
reelkmcn - Maps In Development Editor
TaCktiX - Senior Editor, Editorial Editor, Perspectives Editor
wcaclimbing - Graphics, WCA's Tablet
ZeakCytho - Spotlight Editor, Maps In Development Editor, A Look Back Editor