Representing Sea Level Rise on Game Maps

By April 26, 2019Dealers in Hope

Dealers in Hope – Europe in 2215

This is my first post about APE’s upcoming game, Dealers in Hope, a deck-building war game set in Europe, 200 years in the future.

Dealers in Hope was submitted to APE (by veteran Kevin Nunn (Rolling Freight, duck! duck! GO!)) as a Napoleonic-era game, but we eventually settled on a futuristic theme – Europe at war after sea levels rose, resulting in reduced land mass and insufficient resources.

In this article I will show you the process I used to create the map.

First, I found several sites on the web that discussed scenarios for sea-level rise. globalfloodmap.org allowed me to use pre-selected values, or enter my own.

I needed my future Europe to have appreciably less land mass and I want players to see the difference. So, the map will have three main regions – land, ocean, and the space between that I’m calling shallow water.

Europe After the Flood – Silhouette Prototype Art

The first thing I want to say about this is that it’s prototype! The artist I’ve hired to do the map is working on a spectacular piece in watercolor. She’ll use these layers that I’ve created as examples and masks. More on Irena in a future post, once the art is further along.

The final map image will be about 24×36″ at 600 dpi.

The turquoise background is the ocean – that was easy. I simply added a solid-color background layer.

The shallow water layer is shown here as light blue/green. To create this, I simply took a map of Europe today and blurred the edges somewhat, since this is underwater and will blend with the ocean over the years. I didn’t blur too much, though, as Europe needs to be recognizable.

The gray layer on top is what remains of the land mass. I started on Global Flood Map and cranked up the water level. I won’t lie – I went pretty high. But that’s part of the reason I set the game hundreds of years in the future.

Europe in 200 Years? – by GlobalFloodMap.org

I moved this into Photoshop, and colored all of the land green. You see that some of the land here is gray. Those are the areas that I colored.

Then I created a mask using Select->Color Range on the color green. This gave me the silhouette of all the land on the map.

I copied this land mass silhouette into Illustrator and made a vector image using Live Trace. I copied this back into the Photoshop file and stretched it to the full 24″x36″ over the shallow water layer.

The result is what you see above!

I can’t wait to talk to you more about this game – the art by DoFresh, the map by Irena, the design by Nunn – there’s so much goodness here!

Watch for more over the coming months, and the Kickstarter later this summer!!

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