16 January 2008

Halfway to an empty pledge: a RPG map tileset

One of my many failures in 2007 was to get the people at the Open Clip Art Library into holding a "month of cartography", such a benign defeat is a good show of how bad I react at losing.

A few years ago I made a proof of concept about how Inkscape can be used to create RPG maps and a (small at the time) number of terrain SVG tiles. This showed to be one of the hottest topics on my blog, with important traffic, many reactions and follow-ups (I got many people contacting me offline about it). It can be considered a success.

Recently on the Inkscape users mailing list the topic of cartography came to attention so I got the idea about holding a "month of cartography" at OCAL, we used to have such things, but the (still unfinished) migration to ccHost shifted the focus. They are good for channeling energies, gaining momentum, generating buzz and potentially bringing new contributors and users.
My approach was to make a pledge: if at least two other people back me and will contribute, I pledged to contribute at least 50 new, original, images.

The idea didn't got enough traction, nobody backed me. So here is me bad at losing: once the idea was developed in my head, I continued working on it and created (at a slow pace, due to the low motivation) the above mentioned quantity of images. So today I am halfway to this pledge: I finished the outlines (this was the hardest part) for 50 images, they still nedd to be colored (that is the second half), see below a few highlights:


For now the images are available for download as part of my own clipart collection, after I add colors they will be uploaded (both as outline and full-color) to the Open CLip Art Library. The coloring process will follow at the same slow pace, probably I will make enough noise when ready.

The set is not consistent as style, scale, perspective or quality but, hey, I pledged 50 images, not 50 quality images... (could it still be labeled as a set?) see also a screenshot with the entire set:

When approaching the target number a motivational issue appeared and I got confused about what to do next: start coloring, as originally planned, draw more new shaped, as I have in my head a large list of items which could be drawn or just call all this thing off, freeze and upload as it is.
Most likely I will stick to the plan but he work speed may have to suffer, watch the tileset to monitor the progress.


  1. these look awesome nicu! i love em!

    i wish i could draw... i reckon you upload a few, id say it might inspire people to draw more. if i get a spare chance, i may try colouring in a few...

  2. Actually, the drawing process was not that hard: I used mostly polygons with straight lines, converted strokes to paths and edited the nodes.
    I consider writing a short "how it's made", but only after the entire set is done.

    That bridge is about like how I intend to, but I imagine lighter colors and maybe no gradients, I have to test how visible are the gradients at such small size.

    I will do the colorization myself, as I want a consistent set and most likely will upload to OCAL both versions as variations of the same file (along with one single thumbnail).

  3. agreed, consistency is key when making a set. cant wait to see the coloured versions...

    just a thought: once you have finished the couloring, to have the pallet of colours that you used would help others try to make tiles that match yours...

  4. I thought about creating a palette with Agave first, but didn't decided yet for or against it (it involve a lot of planning work).
    But a palette file after the fact is an easy task.

  5. hey Nicu, I'm gonna get working on the US government sets and upload those since they are public domain. just found several good PDF files that are vector based.

  6. whoa!! that was really cool nicu..
    looks like you are an aoe fan!

    linux doesnt have an empires clone.. hope this could be of use in linux

  7. As a matter of fact, I am a Heroes of Might and Magic fan...

  8. Nicu, I wish I had half the talent you do for whipping up kickass vector art. Every time you post something I just sit back in awe. Keep up the good work, even if no one pushes you.

  9. Hi Nicu,

    Nice graphics! Would you be interested in helping to create graphics for a gnobots remake?
    Take a look here
    Gnobots makeover in Python!

  10. Andreas, I would love to. I'll comment more on Bugzilla

  11. Fantastic! These make me want to put my PhD on hold and go back to the game I have been coding.

    Super work.

  12. A game which could use this tile set? Mmmmm... tasty!

  13. U R just awesome realy very very nice