The creation of MedioEvo Universalis

Genesis and assembling from the first ideas until the creation of the prototype

The creation of MedioEvo Universalis

Messaggio da leggereda Veldriss il 6 giugno 2016, 20:40

Making the prototype “less prototype possible” wasn’t as easy as it seemed… on the contrary, it was quite complicated once I had considered every point of view… let’s try and analyze each factor to see what was awaiting me.

1st problem: the name of the game
2nd problem: a historical (not an imaginary) map
3rd problem: a box which would contain everything
4th problem: Risiko’s model tanks used as armies
5th problem: ships and cargo of the Serenissima used for trade
6th problem: the Civilization ships used for combat
7th problem: Shogun’s polystyrene bases
8th problem: Shogun’s sword
9th problem: Shogun’s miniatures
10th problem: Shogun’s pawns
11th problem: the pack of cards and the images on them
12th problem: the coins belonging to Marco Polo, Serenissima and Anno Domini
13th problem: the cities of Civilization
14th problem: the fortifications of Anno Domini
15th problem: Napoleon’s horses in Europe
16th problem: the camels of Through the Desert
17th problem: dices
18th problem: rules on diplomacy
19th problem: brochures
20th problem: general rules.

… and a lot more… :shock:

Seen all together these problems are scary, and honestly I would have shot myself if I had to think of solving each of them…even I didn’t expect something so drastic (which meant a completely new game), at the beginning I thought I could change the 4 most important points, the ones which would surely have given me problems in the future: the name, the box, the map and the mini-tanks…

Let's see what I've done:
But then I got carried away and I went on ;-)
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Historical research on internet

Messaggio da leggereda Veldriss il 6 giugno 2016, 20:43

First of all the map of the game…the one I had was a deluxe size version, there was even a 15cm strip all around the edge for the players, for the cards, the panel, pencil and paper, a calculator, and obviously a snack :D
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But it was too big for, allow me the word, normal people…plus it wasn’t a historical map, and this was a problem that had to be solved!

Before I could start thinking about a solution I had to analyze the historical problem…in which year would I place the map? The first idea was the beginning of the 11th century, so I could use all the Crusades:
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Unfortunately it was evident that it would be impossible to have 10 balanced players like I had in mind; it was also true that I could have considered a potential Spanish or Polish player, the Abbasidi were divided in 3-4 caliphates and this was ok; I had English players, and also Francs; maybe the Sacred Roman Empire was a little too big… but I wasn’t going to make a map for fewer players :evil: !

If in 1100…
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…and in 1200 things weren’t better,
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In 1300 it was definitely a lot worse, and even though the Crusades were over, things weren’t going well :(
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Studying more, I noticed that between 1260 and 1270 the situation was suitable: Spain, for example was finishing the Reconquista:
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Furthermore the Nicean empire had reconquered Constantinopolis giving new life to the Bizantine empire, the Selgiuchid Turcs were about to be defeated by Khanato, the Mamaleks had substituted the Ayyubides… etc etc…
3 months of research on internet and various books were necessary, I’m not sure I did a perfect job, obviously I didn’t consider very little countries, but I still have some doubts on the historical setting and the borders… this is why I have created in this forum a section called History: the 13th century to go into those matters as soon as possible… and if it is necessary, I will remake the map (I already want to do this, to improve it from an aesthetic point of view! :D ).

Once decided the setting, my father gave me some historical maps, photocopied in the library:
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Immagine

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Making the map

Messaggio da leggereda Veldriss il 6 giugno 2016, 20:47

Once I had decided the borders, I started from a “clean” map:
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The selected area had to be reduced as much as possible, to reduce the final dimensions of the map and also to make the selected territories slightly bigger, since I had decided not to use the little Risiko tanks, but something else… this was what the map looked like after the operations of reduction, scale, remaking borders:
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These are a couple of maps I used during the initial stages, to understand where I was heading, so as not to make silly mistakes and waste hours of work.
This is how kingdoms and cities were defined…
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… these are the first colours…
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I hadn’t even started and there was already a convention in Chivasso, so I quickly finished a map, so I could show up with something new… furthermore I would have the chance to start testing the new borders:
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Once I returned from Chivasso, I took an empty map and started working, introducing a hint Tino Cappelleri had given me (thank you Tinuz! ;-) ) while in Chivasso: more delimited borders when there are fewer players:
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This will then become the map to explain the rules and this concept:
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The next step was to create 4 terrestrial areas, to determinate the areas of influence of events…I had begun with 5 areas, but they became 4 so each area had the same number of territories (I only partly did this, as there are between 34 and 40 territories in each area, but if we move Provence in the gray area the range is below 35-39):
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I prepared a series of textures to fill in the territories, basically it was the same texture, and I added different colour effects (AND, LOGICO, OVERLAP, SOFT, DARKER, etc etc):
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I didn’t like one coloured textures, so first I tried colouring the 10 kingdoms of the players, and the colours I used were the same ones used for the tanks in the previous prototype…
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… and then all the smaller kingdoms:
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So far so good :D
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Types of ground on the maps

Messaggio da leggereda Veldriss il 6 giugno 2016, 20:49

I had to add the type of ground on each territory, so I used some pictures from internet and from my father’s atlas to solve the problem…
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Processing:
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The initial idea was to use a completely different symbology compared to the old prototype, so I started collecting a series of images for the different kind of grounds, but to save time at the end I used the old ones…
Here you will find some of the alternative symbols I had considered:
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This time I was differentiating hills from mountains (such as the Alps) to have a more realistic situation; anyway I used the same symbols, and the mountain was a lighter, symmetrical, stretched hill:
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The normal wood with snow had become only aesthetical (even though I was thinking about some climate rules, but I didn’t enter the matter). The objects on the ground were only temporarily put on the map, as I had to add other things and I didn’t know if that would be their final position:
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Detail:
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The cities on the map

Messaggio da leggereda Veldriss il 6 giugno 2016, 20:52

It wasn’t easy for the cities, I had to decide the quantity and the position.
My work began from Marco Polo’s map for Mesciòt, also considering successive works (this is the reason I had made some decisions and not others).
Everything had to fit in with history, so I had to have cities on the map which were important for that period.

The idea was to have the same number of cities in each area, but this idea was only partially successful, at the end there were 10,9,9,8…36 in total.

For the images I looked in the “library” I had created a few years earlier, using buildings from various computer games I had bought… almost 700 buildings!!!
This is one of the pages of the “library”:
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From here I chose 100, and eventually skimmed down to the final 36 cities; they were mainly single buildings, but some were compositions I had created. I also asked my friends to vote and asked IDG for an opinion to see if a city was “wrong”.
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This is what some of the 36 cities looked like up close:
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Cities on the map:
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Detail:
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Names of the territories on the map

Messaggio da leggereda Veldriss il 6 giugno 2016, 20:52

Even though I had already done a research for the names of the territories, I did it again because I wanted to be absolutely accurate with the historical period I had chosen… in fact many areas change their names according to the era (more than once from the Roman period till now).

The maps which my father had photocopied in the library and internet were extremely useful.

I then had to consider the problem of the “scale” of the map, so some names disappeared, while others included bigger areas etc…

The research was long, but it took very little to put the names on the map:
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Detail:
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More details on the map:

Messaggio da leggereda Veldriss il 6 giugno 2016, 20:59

Now there were a few details missing on the map…I prepared all the objects, I tried various sizes and colours.

I wasn’t sure if I would keep things like in the previous prototype, with a colour combined to a size of text…
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…I preferred to associate a colour to a specific area, so I prepared the names of the cities…
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…the names of the kingdoms, the dukedoms, the principalities, the counties (different sizes according to their importance in the game), the seas, the gulfs and the straits...
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…the symbols of the ports, series of images…
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…the final choice…
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…the numbers for the terrestrial areas and the letters for the sea areas…
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This is what it looked like at the end:
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Detail:
Immagine
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Areas for the cards on the map

Messaggio da leggereda Veldriss il 6 giugno 2016, 21:02

The 3 remaining blank areas had to be completed.

In theory all 3 were necessary: 2 to put the packs of cards and 1 to manage the diplomacy…but this meant that the necessary area was too big compared to the available space on the bottom of the map.
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I had hoped to be able to include the parchment of diplomacy on the map, so I had already bought the colours to paint the miniatures which would have represented the diplomats…I had also bought the coloured clips to clip them on to the panels and show the diplomatic agreements…in the end I had to give up, there was no space: I would find another way :D

So I completed the 3 blank areas in the following way:
first I put the name of the game on the back of the cards…
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... then I chose a background I liked to put on the top right corner, where I was going to put the packs “Empire” , “Events” and “Disaster”…
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I did the same thing at the bottom, in the center, for the pack “technology”…
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… and on the bottom right corner I put the image of an angel spreading its hand toward Jerusalem, an artistic touch, with a 3D effect of the wings and arm overlapping the map edge…
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… this is the final result:
Immagine
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Putting the sea on the map

Messaggio da leggereda Veldriss il 6 giugno 2016, 21:03

I had almost finished…seen altogether it looked ok, but before printing everything, I waited a few days… you never know, and I had learned to bide my time... ;-)

I showed my father the map to see what he thought: “Sacred Germanic Roman Empire is too dark, the sea is too dark…”
Sob…he was right though…changing the basic colours at this point wasn’t easy; I had more or less 50 steps memorized, so it was a tedious job.

I thought about it and decide to change the sea colour, the rest was ok as it was.

Once I had selected the whole sea area, I started testing the colours…I would have liked a shade of gray, considering the historical period, but then it didn’t look like water any more.
I also tried various shades of colour, darker at sea and lighter along the coastline, but I couldn’t find a solution.
In the end I chose quite a pale colour, which lighted up the whole map:
Immagine
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Final aesthetic touches

Messaggio da leggereda Veldriss il 6 giugno 2016, 21:04

The last touches were necessary to finish the whole work:

The symbols of the wares on each city: yellow if they were convenient to buy, blue if they were convenient to sell:
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Other objects, such as the whale tail I had always used on my maps, some ships here and there, the windrose (a softer version this time) e I changed the straits name in red to remember the rule on ship blockage more easily.
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Once I had finished, this is what it looked like:
Immagine
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