1. Generate a Concept
|Russ Nicholson's representation of the chum spouts!|
2. Draw a map
|An unpublished level from the Abyssal Dungeon|
|My original map for the Catacombs of the Fleischguild|
|The Depths, Level 2 of the inverted White Jungle|
3. Look at Visuals
Often when I'm preparing to stock the map, or even before, I gather a trove of images. Frequently, I have some images in mind from the very beginning as part of the concept of the place. Indeed, my current (not yet public) project was born from a single illustration by Liz Danforth that captivated my imagination as an adolescent. Since I can’t quite talk about that yet, consider these images from Lotte Reiniger’s masterpiece The Adventures of Prince Achmed which I had in mind from when I started thinking about the Ruins of the Inquisitor’s Theater. These images were the source of the shadow puppets and the weaver of shadows in that dungeon.
While Prince Achmed is a movie that I had seen previously, my main tools for this stage of the process have historically been searches of online repositories of images like Tumblr and Pinterest. Tumblr, which was fantastic and is now a bit of a ghost town, but it never had a good way to organize saved images. So I used the “like” button for years for this purpose, but it’s hard to search through images you liked. Pinterest even if a bit let brilliant, is easier to work with. Here you can create different boards. If you click on a pin you like, it will recommend similar pins. Over time you feed can become mildly interesting too.