Development Update: Map Tile Machinations

The Ziggurat is a kind-of overland dungeon crawl at heart. Each map tile represents a region of the “dungeon” rather than a specific room – a zoomed out view at the resolution of a small dungeon zone rather than a specific location for a skirmish or encounter.

The early prototype tiles with fairly random AI imagery looked impressive as a growing map on the table. There’s something wonderful about creating the map as you explore. So I wanted to focus on that feeling and make the tiles a central component of the physical experience.

Top down or isometric? Black and white or full colour? What scale and resolution?

As far as the game is concerned, each “Map Tile” must represent:

  • Map Tile Number and Location Title
  • Connection point for a number of doors varying by tile; including door type of door (standard or secret)
  • Dungeon zone; Caves(Subterranean Labyrinth), Ziggurat(Megalithic Metropolis) and Jungle (Biome)

The Ziggurat is a place where advanced technology mingles with the most mundane. Where magic and science might be indistinguishable from the other. Its a realm of the gritty and gruesome but can also be light-hearted and silly at times. A tough assignment :slight_smile:

At the end of last year I reached out to Andrew Taylor from MarkerMaps to help build a proof of concept for a framework of interconnecting map tiles that both looks fantastic and conveys the information needed to play the game.

I think we have the scale and isometric perspective working well. Andrew has a great aesthetic that captures the “Dying Earth” vibe of the place. The maps are hand drawn, digitally touched-up and then coloured in with marker pens to give an intriguing organic feel.

Right now we’re working on the labelling, iconography and edging to fulfil the game component aspects of the tile.

The illustrations aren’t just random imaginings. Each tile aims to be a reflection of the narrative and lore of the Ziggurat and its many denizens where possible; to capture a myriad of moments in time in a single image. As the Hero, you keep returning to these locations, quest after quest, but always they are different. The observant player may catch glimpses of their escapades on the board itself.

Overall a very exciting development!

PS. If you are a fan of the art style, Andrew has a kickstarter for stickers, zines and things running now :slight_smile: