With the overall approach starting to gel I wanted to dig down and find the core elements

I’d already established the over riding feel I was aiming for (link to early diary) so with that in mind I next started gathering more photo reference from the war, holiday snaps from Flicker, colour references, aerial pictures and anything else that fed into the feel I wanted. Its not enough to just have representations of trees and landscape .. I wanted to find out what made them live. This is a small selection.

Inspiration Sheet 03I can’t credit everyone but if you’d like your picture removed please just ask.

Well, the most outstanding feature off all the photos is the contrast. Kind of obvious in snowy pictures but I just thought I’d point it out. You could reduce them all to 3 colours and it would make little difference. Black, sky blue and white.

The slight issue with the Bulge is that the first 4 days were overcast and foggy. So no blue. Just shades of grey. Thats not a good look for a wargame map though the reduction in contrast it gives would be of benefit.

You see when you’re looking at something for a long time, like a wargame map, your eyes prefer more subdued, less contrasty shades and it certainly helps when you’re trying to pick out counters.

I’d like to stop mentioning Redmond as I’m sounding like a fanatic but as he pointed out, our eyes are designed for looking at natural colours. (yes you do get the occasional swathes of primary and secondary colours but in the general scheme its rare). Risk type maps with a plethora of bright colours actually aren’t that good to look at for long periods. They’re great for marketing shots in the app store and for attracting casual players but otherwise they’re difficult to play a war game on for any length of time. More so as our poor old eyes age.

But you see we then come to that do-we-don’t-we question again. Too much contrast and colour is not good for a wargame map and won’t please the regular wargamers. Too little colour and contrast won’t attract the newer, younger market we need for growth and success. But when you try to please everyone you end up pleasing no one.

So the answer’s obvious. BRIGHT PRIMARY COLOURS!!!!

So heres some of the preliminary colour studies.

colourStudies for Battle of the Bulge

So what do you think of the bright colours?


All the original posts can be found here ..

The Map – Beginnings
The Map – Finding a direction
The Map – The Visual Feel
The Map – The First Brush Strokes
The Map – Decisions Part 1
The Map – Decisions Part 2