When I was (playing around and) making Zombie Mall - at least 7 years ago - the part I had the most fun with was making map tiles. One of the things I've been putting off for my generic gaming scenery/Walking Dead game has been re-sizing the map tiles I've used in the past. While they've worked well, the 7½" size they magically started at is not expanding well as my scenery wants grow.
Instead of just resizing the tiles to 6", this was an opportunity to make them better. The road sections from a Fat Dragon Games paper scenery kit worked well in the beginning, and I was used to the look of their road. The sidewalk was another feature I was used to, and wanted to keep it. Resizing the sidewalk to what was appropriate wasn't much of a problem. The grass... the grass I wanted to make better.
Back in Paint Shop Pro (best $100 I forced Jerry to pitch in on in 2001 - yes, I hit "about" in PSP to double check) I used some various grass texture I'd purchased at some point through DriveThruRPG and added some layers, opacity, magic, and a tweaked eraser tool to limit straight lines. After a couple of false starts I ended up with a curved road that look improved over the previous curved road. SUCCESS!!!
Although with a road you would normally thing Straight, Curve, T & X Intersections, I was planning ahead for different parking lot entrances. I'm still sticking to 2-lane roads, but now I've added in a 1-lane parking lot entrance on the right, a 2-lane entrance on the left, and while I'm at it let's see how many of those combinations I can mix up. A how about a variant with a curved sidewalk at a corner instead of a hard right angle? This led to 10 variations of parking lot entrances. With the original, basic road sections, there would be 19 types of map tile after factoring in bordered by sidewalk and bordered by grass.
With smaller map tiles, I would need more for those occasions I wanted to cover up table. Generally I think of the max playing area I might use as 4"x4". With the bigger tiles, 5x5 was the max I could fit. At 6" square, I could now use 8x8. 64 tiles to cover the table. As I thought about it, a little more variation in those tiles would help. Potholes, trash, road patches. That would make a 8-section road more interesting! And that's what happened.
Thanks to the original layered PDFs these roads came on, potholes, trash, and road patches were available. New variants for each of those 3 were copied and the new layer (of crap) added in. 19 types of map tile grew to 76. Actually 79, as there was a full tile of sidewalk, grass, and pavement that never got the extra clutter treatment. 79 map tiles sound like a lot more than 19. My plan was to print around 250 map tiles to make sure I had enough combinations of road, sidewalk, and grass so I could put together whatever layout I might want. 250 map tiles doesn't care if it comes from 19 files or 79 files once you get down to cutting and gluing.
Cutting and gluing is later. Now that I've got all of these files made, saved, and converted to a printer friendly format, it's time to print. There's multiples of each file to print. I made a list to help make sure I get at least the minimum of some of these printed out. Printing is step 2 (step 1 was graphicing the mess UP!). There's not a lot of viewable detail in the thumbnails below, but I was due a blog update of some type and this helps me feel like I'm making some hobby progress since the last post.
After printing, these will be cut and glued to 6"x6" cake boards, with the "sidewalk" copy on 1 side and the matching "grass" copy on the other. For the overly-happy-with-exits versions, the square and curved versions will be on opposite sides. With the fun I have on cutting (and gluing) straight lines, that part will be the time sink.
When it comes to minis for the Walking Dead game, I try to find reference pics to paint by. I'm not good with color choices so going by what someone else has that already looks good helps. In addition, using a "good" template helps my skills along.
This time, I had 3 goals. The ever present first goal of "Don't glob on paint and make them suck" was foremost. Second was "try to make some eyeballs that don't look retarded." Finally, "Change up skin tones" was a direct result of the last batch needing too many coats of paint & wash to not look from pasty death to rotted death.
The packs of minis this time didn't contain 1 "Hero" and 2 zombies. I guess they've released enough zombies? Except for Zombie Duane, son of Morgan, Distraught Father, added in to Morgan's pack of 3, the packs I opened up all had 2 "Hero" minis.
Walking Dead reference pics (from Mantic Games) that I used for reference:
Over the course of 2 weeks, even though there were 9 minis lined up to paint, I eschewed the assembly line method of picking a color and using it on every mini that could use that color. Instead I did what (I've heard) works better - start at the bottom/hard to reach level of the mini and work up. Normally that means "skin". If a hand is holding something, that isn't necessarily true. I started with Abraham, for some reason I wanted this one to turn out the best, to make sure I took my time on. Skin, red/orange hair (easy to do with the Citadel orange wash), green camo clothes. Everything was something I'd done before, although camo painted uniforms were more of what I painted in the 80's and 90's.
Since I was trying to vary skin tones, thanks to the Juan Ton Soop incident of last month, there wouldn't just be a base skin tone and flesh wash applied. 4 black (African-whatever, I've never tried to be PC here, just ask Juan Ton Soop), 1 Latina (fine, a little PC), and the rest are normal white guys. I always have a hard time with black, as I'm wary of going too dark (covering up features) and often end up too light (hey, nice tan, bro). Even the white guys are normally too white, with me depending too much on the flesh wash.
Taking my time helped. When things didn't look right - of course the first 2 passes of my black guys were all too light - I tried to find a shade to LIGHTLY APPLY to see if it made things better. Most did. Some, of course, did not. By the time I was done, Jud was the only mini I wasn't at least halfway happy with. Jud's skin was too... sunburned is the best way to describe it. And there had been enough layers of paint and wash that he'd reached the tipping point of having enough detail showing to be presentable. When you don't make the cut, you get experimented on! Jud, welcome to the tattoo needle! The tattoo needle is really a pen tip, but that doesn't sound as ominous. Some light scribbles and Jud, whoever he is in the comics, is now a tatted up rough looking dude.
The rest stuck pretty close to the reference pics I was using. Abraham turned out the best, as I'd hoped. Eugene, holding a radio, ended up better than I expected. Almost everyone had eyes that ended up looking in the same direction. Morgan's eyes look a little weird, but I was trying to go for the "distraught/crazed" look and went a little too crazy. I knew my attempt to fix it would screw it up, so Morgan remains "super distraught and crazed".
For once I haven't noticed any obvious mathematical formula errors in the painting progress spreadsheet. I also haven't bought anything since last time. This means, for the first time in a long, long time, the spreadsheet shows PROGRESS! +9 painted! +1% progress!
There's another batch of Walking Dead minis awaiting priming so they'll be ready to paint when the mood strikes. It's rainy, humid day and I've learned that priming when it's raining leads to runny primer covering details. In keeping with the Walking Dead progress, I pulled out the Greene Family Farm scenery expansion and thought it might be nice to make their barn. There's also plenty of other, prep-work tasks I've got to keep me busy so I can have something cool to show later. Plenty to do!
After 20 years, and somewhere around 3-5 months, I no longer have a mortgage payment to make. I haven't moved, which can only mean...
I paid off the house!
Honestly I'm amazed I haven't moved in 20 years. By the time I graduated high school I figured out we had managed to move every year and a half on average. I was determined to stay put for a while. Although honestly I didn't want to go through the hassle of trying to sell the house, pack up and move to some other place, unpack, etc.
In essence, being lazy paid off my house.
On tap to celebrate this weekend is a road trip to a Birmingham Shrimp Basket with the Whitmore Clan. I think I'm supposed to be buying since I'm suddenly flush with extra available income.
A little random painting got finished! This batch of minis was "random Chronoscape just to relax and show some progress." I hereby mark that as a success! This batch of 5 non-related minis included:
As there was no reason to paint these other that "fun" and getting over the disappointment of how the last batch of minis turned out, I was in no hurry to get these painted nor had any formula or pattern of how they should look in mind. Once again I returned to my best working method of using washes as much as I could. I also thinned out the paint, a lot. Instead of using water, I remember I had thinner medium. Thinner medium is a horrible name, and I had to have 2 people explain to me as to why to use it. Thinning with water, as I've done for years, works but it's inconsistent in how it thins the paint. Thinning medium thins evenly. All paint has thinner in it. Whenever I dole out some paint and there's unmixed, usually milky/murky fluid - that's thinning medium! The color is called pigment by those that know more than me, and when you put medium with pigment and shake vigorously, you get paint. That was the explanation that stuck with me.
As I had years ago painted Chan Li, who I affectionately call Chop Saki because I've never been convicted of being politically correct, I thought I would reverse the clothing color scheme and see how my skills had improved on the new Chan Li. New Chan Li would not be called Chop Saki Jr as that's too obvious. No, he is instead Juan Tahn Soop. Chop Saki had a good skip shade - just enough of a yellow tint to look Asian. Juan - Juan ended up with a sunburn. The Pale Skin base was too white. I tried some shades of brown and orange to get away from that, but it did not go the right direction. Sunburned and dirty Juan it is, in the end.
Dr Dread, as I mentioned above, I didn't see as Dr Doom but just another robot. He started out with a yellow tunic as I was using some bits of yellow wash on other figures and the yellow wash works well on clothing and hair. After it was pointed out to me that this was really Dr Doom, I wondered how well a green wash would cover up the yellow. I've got 4 Citadel green washes/shades, and the brightest (Coleia Greenshade) covered the yellow just right. I think there may actually be some yellow highlighting that comes through in a couple spots that looks natural.
There's more shifting of numbers than what actually got done on the progress chart. Some of the "to paint" Walking Dead packs only had 2 minis instead of 3. More importantly, when calculating the percentage of what's been done, the total to calculate against should not just be what's left to paint, but also include what's been painted. You know, the TOTAL! Kind of a downer that I hadn't made almost the 50% progress that had been shown, but that always felt overly optimistic. Now I know why! Obviously, I can't do math.
After all the ups and downs of this spreadsheet since trying to keep track of my progress, I think I really am at 33% of what I want to get done completed (13% overall).
Already primed and ready to see what progress I can make over the next week or two are 9 Walking Dead minis. Now you can easily figure out how I came to find that some WD packs had 2 minis in them instead of the 3 I was used to.
After being called out by Bob for lack of content, I provide a minimum of interesting content. Interesting to me, at least.
As part of Getting Shit Done, I'm trying to dedicate an hour per night to the menial tasks needed before I do something cool. An hour per night is really turning into an hour every other night.
One of my hobby projects is to re-do my map tiles I've been using for the Walking Dead game, which will realistically serve any 28mm game that comes along. Why re-do them? I have lots of reasons!
Originally I printed my tiles at 7½" square. Why? I have no idea, that's just how the first batch I'd printed ended up sized. They were supposed to be 6". The basis for them were 7" tilesets from Fat Dragon games, but there's a 1" row missing from the end print so I know that I tweaked and resized them. 7½", while I fine and usable size, does not scale well for modularity if you want to use anything but 7½". Case in point - I want to make bigger tiles for the MDF buildings that I'm adding in. Sure, I could just use 7½" and stick multiples together, but in the long run I'm lazy and would gripe and moan every time I had to pick out the right combination of tiles to fit together for this specific building.
As such, everything is getting resized to 6".
I've oft complained/admitted to my inability to cut a straight line. The foam core the 7½" prints are adhered to show that after enough of them are lined up. This is my chance to try and compensate. Instead of cutting foam core, I'm instead planning on mounting all of this on cake boards. Lots of cake board sizes! Let somebody else cut those straight lines!
I've currently got the basic road with sidewalk graphics files complete. Next is to add in some versions with ground clutter to spice it up. Also needed is the grass (instead of sidewalk) version of each which will get glued to the opposite side. I generally take my time tweaking graphics so even though all of this could be whipped out in an hour it'll likely take me a couple of weeks.
I'm not in a real big hurry. I'm supposed to be having fun with this!
As always, correct spelling is optional in any blog entry. Keep in mind that any links more than a year old may not be active, especially the ones pointing back to Russellmania (I like to move things around!).
Tags have been added to posts back to 2005. There may be an occasional old blog that gets added to the tag list, but in reality what could be noteworthy from that far back?
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