About this project
Since our first successful kickstarter making fantasy maps for tabletop roleplaying, I knew I wanted to bring something to the table for the sci-fi / skirmish / open battlefield crowd. Using satellite imagery, photoshop, and our excellent quality printing, that may finally all come together in Sci Fi Terrain Maps. With your support, we can make a large variety of open terrain maps, printed in any format you'd prefer. So join in, and speak up in the comments!
A Little Background on Sci Fi Terrain Maps
Last year I began experimenting with using real satelite imagery from Nasa and other sources to create aerial terrain maps, and then applying various graphical tricks to see what I could create. The results were a mix of useful geographical terrain and abstract science fiction landscapes, and some of them were incredible.
I knew I was on to something really neat.
The problem I faced was the gridding - even if we custom tailored the opacity of the grid for each landscape, some games preferred smaller grids for soldiers and skirmish warfare, and some games needed larger grid for epic mech battles and spaceship crash landings. Having just 1 grid completely ruined the otherwise incredible versatility of these maps.
But earlier this year, with the success of the Clear Map Grids campaign, we can create plastic overlays as the grid for these maps. This will not only allow you to instantly swap grid style or sizing, it also means these maps do not need to be laminated, since the overlays are already wet and dry erasable. This cuts down on sheet thickness, weight, cost and production times.
Whats in a "Box"?
At least 24 pages of maps, with double sided printing. But with stretch goals, we can go higher, to a maximum of around 40 pages per box (plus overlays). The number of different 'scenes' will depend on how many pages are used to create each scene.
The original experiments were made in a 3-page-wide format. All of our maps are cut to 11"x17", so these came in at a total of 33"x17" per scene. It's a very nice size. Our initial funding goal will be for the creation of this initial box format, with 24 double-sided pages, that make 16 scenes of 3 pages each. We're starting out with 9 different experimental maps, but we'll be creating more and polling our backers to see what styles they prefer, and what direction they would like this project to go.
Costs are locked in at $80 + s&h per box. If the initial goal is met, maps are $3.33 a page, but as the box gets larger it decreases the price per page significantly.
If some boxes have special pricing concerns, we'll address them on a case by case basis.
What are the downsides with your technique?
What you see is what you get. I'm working with satellite imagery of freaking moons and planets, virtually all of them are resolutions lower than what you'd expect from standard print. We can do a variety of things with photoshop to amplify color or make things have a more painterly style, and some of it is incredibly cool (and solves a great deal of the resolution problems), but I can't work miracles.
Some of the pieces are going to be "fuzzy" when you look at them close up. Sometimes a damn cloud was in the way. Sometimes the source imagery is glitched out, and I'm repairing it as best I can (I've often referred to editing real life as drawing with crayons on the Mona Lisa.)
Now, don't misunderstand that these are going to look 'bad'. It's my job to make sure that doesn't happen. In fact, at various shows around the country I've shown these experimental prints to hundreds of people.... and none of them even commented on the resolution. But when i gripe about it, they lean in and say "Oh, I didn't even notice until you mentioned it!" And certainly some are worse than others. Our Moon Lake especially is a terrible resolution... and it's STILL one of my absolute favorite pieces, and everyone says basically "you know, I don't care at all that it's fuzzy" because it's just sooooo cool looking.
So maybe I 'shouldn't have said anything' but this is Kickstarter, lets be frank and open about it.
They won't be 'perfect' but they're going to be awesome, and I'm not going to spend an enormous amount of time trying to make something into what it isn't, and cannot ever be. Instead, I'm going to enjoy them for what they are and I hope you do too.
Some of my friends want even larger scenes, like a 2x3-page format, spanning 6 pages, and creating a 33"x34" scene. In some cases, the art may support this (but lose even more resolution), in other cases, it just wont work.
Then we have our traditional 2x2 page format for a 34"x22" scene, and we could also do a full-table 2x4 page format for a 44"x34" scene.
I also personally think theres an AMAZING opportunity to create a slew of single-page scenes, for quicker encounters.
With stretch goals, we'll start start making additional formats, and sourcing art that will work specifically for each.
Ultimately the number of 'scenes' that fit in your box depends on which format you choose, but the total number of pages will be consistent across each format. Each format will also be it's own "Box" of maps, and I personally believe each "Box" should have it's own unique art, but we'll discuss this in the comments sections.
If we hit additional stretch goals, we'll talk about how each format will grow.
Why don't you have a video (yet)?
1> I strongly believe that this project, more than any of my previous projects, has the potential to change it's scope and ultimate direction dramatically within the first few days/weeks. Once I start getting your feedback on what you want out of these geographical maps, I'll make a video about our solidified goals. This is also why i've set the duration of the campaign higher, so that I can have more time making prototypes during the campaign and getting feedback.
2> I'm in Sacramento and Philip is in Orange County, and I'm already heading down there the first of October, so things will line up perfectly. We'll make a video then.
Risks and challenges
This campaign will have a lot of back and forth dialogue between the backers and myself. Some people will want more maps of a certain type, and less maps of another. This can be frustrating, and may lead to many internet arguments.
Plus, polling programs can be notoriously cumbersome.
Really thats the only challenge I see here, we've produced and delivered many maps.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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