Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Visual Dungeon II - Simple Stencil

Last post, B king gave a link to a Jonathan Roberts tip on how to make isometric maps (I hope that link isn't G+ only, can't find it on his blog, here it is.).  Oddly, two example iso maps I was looking at were by Mr. Roberts but I didn't know they were by the same person.  Anyway, that tip was cool, but I wanted to know how to vary the appearance of steepness and wasn't sure how.  Last time I visited my dad I got to talking to him about it.  He was trained in drafting.  We fiddled around with the distort tool in Gimp as a pretty good way to get a look you want digitally, but he pointed out the D&D coloring book map was simply shifted up diagonally.  Aha, we like simple.

So, want to do something with your hands?  Here's a quick and dirty way to use a stencil to make iso-looking maps. Get some coins and trace them for quick circular rooms.  Cut them out:

You can do other room types too.  Stencil them onto your map:

Then shift it diagonally to a degree that looks good to you and stencil again:

Now erase the underground lines and shade the upper walls for your false perspective:

Not too shabby for a first try.


  1. Wow. I like this. Definitely worth a try!

  2. Very nice, I am impressed with how easily you pulled this off, a seemingly very complex idea that you took to task and made it appear very simple. Awesome!

  3. Link for the non Google+ page


  4. Very cool. I'm looking forward to seeing where you take this.

  5. Like it a lot! Time to draw a map I think...

  6. Looks great. I've goofed around trying to do something along these lines and had crap for results unless I spend ten times the amount of time I'm will to on it. And even then it's still semi-crap.

    Well done.

  7. Another good virtual tool to use as a guide could be http://sketchup.google.com/ You can mark and drag up walls in a 3d manner. Again, as a rough idea "sketchup" (pun intended), after which you could mimic with pen and paper once you fiddled with the overall 3d layout in sketchup. Great work in that simple mirroring for iso effect.

  8. @Brandon, Bard: Thanks a bunch, more on the way.

    @Matt: If my blog has a goal it's to do just that, so I appreciate your comment a bunch.

    @JasperAK: Thanks, I found it as one f the tips in the Week 2 compilation post.

    @Christopher: I think you'll like what's next, maybe have it up by tonight.

    @Mattias: That's the best comment, go thee and map!

    @Lord Kilgore: Yeah, I had to come up with this technique because I was boggled at how to do it freehand at all. I've always loved that map in the D&D coloring book.

    @Peter: Thanks, I hope people try it out. I'm on Linux and last I checked they didn't have a version for us. So, paper and razors for now.

  9. Another good tip is to make anything deeper darker. Those pits in the middle of the room might be improved with a bit more shading at the bottom.

  10. @Oddbit: thanks, that's a great tip. I had intended those to be fish ponds, so a better representation of water would have been good too.

    @shlominus: Thanks

    @Tim: Sweeet!

  11. Very nice looking results, and a good way to show the "depth" of a space, without resorting to numbers.

    It would be interesting to see a small worked example of this style, once you have figured out all of the process.