Intership Shminternship

It’s been a while, but I’ve finally found something good to write about again. Today I wanna talk about my internship at Gray Lake Studios. It’s a small company located in Utrecht, which is very good for me, since I live close by. It’s about 20 minutes to walk there and located at Kanaalweg 17A. The location is interesting because there are a lot of buildings where companies of all sizes, mostly small, can rent some space. Among them is Gray Lake Studios, where I am right now.

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Gray Lake Studios is working on an app called ProDnD.  This is a map generator for pen and paper roleplaying games like Dungeons and Dragons. For those not familiar with the concept, it’s like playing with swords, chess and monopoly adopted a child and did everything to raise him less shallow then they are. For games like this, there is a Dungeon Master, the person who plays against the players. He sets up a story, uses the rule books and makes sure the game is fun. The players use pages full of information about their made up character. Their characteristics, their inventory and their skills. Games like these usually take more than just one sitting, as there is a whole story and world the players could explore together. The maps are of villages, fields and dungeons. They have grids so that players can put tokens for where their character is on the board. They have certain amount of units they can move and terrain they can walk on.

Example of a map used for Dungeons and Dragons.

Example of a map used for Dungeons and Dragons.

Using ready-made maps and scenario’s is not uncommon, but since this game involves a lot of creativity, people like to make their own story and use their own rules. To help them with that, ProDnD was created. It already has a lot of random map generators that allow you to create your own map at the click of a button. There are a lot more features in there, and even more are being worked on right now, but I won’t be talking about that much more.

What do I do then? Right now these maps have simple squares. light tiles for floors, darker for walls, and even darker for abyss or impassable terrain. Me, as an artist, will create tile sets to give these maps more flavor. I will have to design them in a way that allows them to be randomized and used in many ways. Which is quite a challenge for now. I have to think about the big picture. How do the tiles look on their own? How do they look next to each other? What do they look like from further away? I’ve found some answers, but I still have a lot more to learn.

As for now, I am working on a pen and paper style tile set. This means that I was inspired by those who drew their maps on graph paper while being bored during math lessons. It allows me to use a very stylized visualization of all features you would expect on a map, but also done in a way that it looks like it could have been drawn by hand. This is really hard, because the tiles will actually be used my an automatic mapping generator!

I used the program tiled to view my work quickly for myself, no good way to incorporate them into the app yet!

I used the program tiled to view my work quickly for myself, no good way to incorporate them into the app yet!

That’s all I wanted to say for now. Soon I will write about what Dungeons and Dragons is, about the people of Gray Lake Studios, how I work and more!

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