Free Map 020: A Complex Cave System

Free Map 020: A Complex Cave System
I'm still busy making cave maps.

If you don't like cave maps....sorry? Part of the reason for these maps is to play around (have some fun) while learning new skills and strengthening those I might already have.

Like last week when I did a mental shift on how to approach a natural maze, this week I wanted to try my hand changing things up with a multi-layered cave map. In previous attempts I'd just draw everything out and scan it it. It was pretty painless once I figured out (thanks again Matt) how to use Adobe Illustrator to cut it down to a quick task.

My initial scribblings
This time I started with a series of individual caves/odds shapes and worked with them as individual pieces or layers. The map I'm presented here is not finished, but I'll get into that later. Since I didn't have an idea on how I wanted the pieces to fit I needed a way to show which levels were underneath each other without drawing the little dashed lines like I'd do when drawing it all out at once.

I toyed with the idea of assembling the layers, selecting the appropriate walls, and then just using a white paintbrush to essentially remove small bits of wall. I tested that quickly and did not like the end result. A couple weeks ago a different Matt started sharing some maps where he colored in the lower levels. To be fair he may have been doing this for years, but I only noticed a bit ago. Since I was going more than two levels deep this isn't an option, but it got me thinking of "simply" using a lighter grey color to designate wall sections underneath a layer above it. Since I didn't have any individual wall section two deep, I thought it was worth a go.

"Finished" Cave Map
I liked the results, but it was a bit of a PITA. The steps themselves were simple, but I end up having so many layers on this map that it was hard to keep track of things. I was reducing the file and saving my progress in steps to put together another how-to post, possible later this week.

This map isn't finished in the sense that I have a few things I want to play around with still and I deliberately have not connected the various levels.....yet. In my mind's eye each level is anything but level and if I dare to try a 3D or side view I'll be able to show this off. As-is though, the map is almost good-to-go, you just need to put in connections between the different sections.

I've got a couple hours easy into this, believe it or not, and I'm sure I'll have a few more before I think it is finished.

To get the hi-res (300dpi png) map, click on the header graphic or feel free to use this link.


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