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Making a 2d map look cool

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I'm doing a simple game for a university project and I'm going to have a map screen. Here's the raw map (well, I've split the roads/buildings/etc into new layers, and coloured it):


and a few ideas that I'm playing with:



anyone got any ideas for ways to improve these (beyond the obvious touching up that needs to happen (like, don't tell me I need to stitch the backgrounds together better - I know!))

I like the idea of 3d-ifying it a little (as you can see). Any tips or shortcuts?

Any cool map effects you know of?


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If anyone wants to play with it, here's the PDN (1.18Mb)

I'm not asking you to do my project for me, but, well, I'm finding it a challenging project, you might too.

If you do do anything with it, I'll either not use it, or use your ideas and techniques in my own way - I won't just use your image (and I'll credit this forum in my report in any case).

EDIT: (the actual project is wayy more than doing a map; I'm using VB.NET to write a university sim game, imagine "Theme Uni" and you're close)

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looks like a motion blur straight down in buzzkill's entry?

how did you get the depth of field, some kinda magic gradient-blur tool?

I just did a multi-stage gaussian blur gradient. I duplicated the layer twice so I had 3 of them. The I blurred the top a lot and the second one a little less. Then I used the transparent gradient tool to blend the 3 layers together.

I'm sure BoltBait or Madjik could make a "magic gradient-blur" plugin of sorts with relative ease.


Take responsibility for your own intelligence. ;) -Rick Brewster

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