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The Noro Cooperative

Started by noahclem, January 30, 2013, 03:41:12 PM

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What type of airport should NORO's new one be?

Passenger only
Passenger & military
passenger & general aviation (private & charter aircraft)
Passenger, military & general aviation


Wow, great project! I think you should make at least 50% of the delta a natural preserve.
btw. I'd love to see some quebec-inspired city, although I guess that's not in your plans, is it?

Thanks! 50% sounds good to me, depending on what is actually considered delta (the whole light-colored area or just the places where there are lots of little waterways). Interesting that you mention a Quebec-inspired city--Robin has been the main visionary on the region's style and he wants it fairly Canadian--so maybe a bit of Quebec will sneak in but he would know better than I.



Creating maps in InkScape
Part 2: Water, Infrastructure and Cities

We continue at were we finished last time. Up to now, we only have a landmass. In this part, we're going to add water (seas, rivers) as wel as cities and infrastructure.

First, we'll add some water. We start with the sea. Because the example map is an island, this land is surrounded by sea. You can achieve this very easily:

  • Create a new layer called "Sea". This is the second most bottom layer (the bottom layer is the base map).
  • Select the Rectangle-tool and make it as big as the entire page.
  • Color the rectangle blue, preferably a light, unsaturated colour.
  • Presto! Your sea is ready!
TIP 1:When using the rectangle tool, a task bar appears at the top of the screen where you can modify the exact size of the rectangle:

TIP 2:When using the regular selection tool, the following task bar appears at the top of the screen. With this task bar, you can move, resize objects precisely. You can also easily mirror or turn objects 90 degrees:

We continue with rivers:

  • Hide the layers "Sea" and "Land". We will keep these layers hidden for a while. Otherwise we can't see the base map.
  • Create a new layer called "Riviers". This layer is place on top of the "Land" layer.
  • Make a river with either the Free Hand or Node Draw tool.
    TIP 3:You can modify the paths later with help of Node-tool. You can move nodes, add or remove nodes or change node type to make curved lines. Because I can't explain well how to do so, I advise you to experiment with this tool. It's quite easy to control it yourself.
  • Assign a good line colour and thickness to the rivers and disable the fill colour. It looks nice when the rivers have the same colour as the sea.
  • Repeat these steps until you've drawn all rivers on the map.
It's time to add cities!

  • Create a new layer called "City Symbols". For now, this will be the top-most layer.
  • Use the Circle and/or Rectangle-tool to make the symbols and place them on the appropriate spots.
  • Give the symbols proper colours. I often use a red fill for large cities and black for smaller towns
    TIP 4:Hold the CTRL-key pressed to give the rectangle or circle an integer proportion (1:1, 1:2, 1:3, enz.). Useful for making perfect squares or circles.
    TIP 5:First create the symbols for every city class (often from small to large) and simply copy these for all cities with the corresponding class.
  • Create a new layer called "City Names". For now, this will be the top-most layer.
  • Use the Text-tool to add names. "Text Boxes" will appear, where you can write names in. You can change the contents later again with the text tool at any given moment (behold one of the many advantages of vector images!). At the top of the screen, a task bar appears where you can modify  font type, size, spacing, line distance and other properties:

    TIP 6: Use different font sizes and capital letter (or not) for different city classes.
    TIP 7: Copy-pasting Text Boxes is very useful to inherit its properties.
    TIP 8: Advanced users can add an extra background layer to add an extra contrast to the placenames to make them better readable.
  • Place the text boxes at their corresponding city symbols, in such a way that they are properly readable. You can move it elsewhere later when necessary.
  • Repeat these steps until you've given all cities a name.
    TIP 9: This method also works for naming rivers, lakes and seas.
    TIP 10: If you want to add developed area, do this in the same way as you created your land mass. Create a new layer called "Built-up Area" and arrange it in between the layers "Land" and "Rivers".
We're now ready to put in main infrastructure. Making infrastructure looks similar to making rivers. However, I apply an useful trick to make the lines look better really fast.:

  • Create two or three layers (depending on colour scheme and style) for the motorways. Call these layers "Motorway_0", "Motorway_1", etc. These layers are arranged just above the "Rivers"-layer. Order these layers that the highest indexed layer is on top.
  • Create two or three layers for main roads. Call these "MainRoads_0", "MainRoads_1", etc. Note that "MainRoads_0" is arranged just beneath "Motorway_0", "MainRoads_1" just below "Motorways_1", etc.
  • Repeat this for other road classes.
  • Create one or two layers Called "Railroads_#". These are arranged on top of the topmost "Motorway layer"Maak voor de Spoorwegen één of twee lagen aan (afhankelijk van het kleurenschema en stijl dat je kiest) en noem deze "Spoor_0", "Spoor_1" enzovoort.
  • Select the layer "Motorways_0" and draw all motorways. All layers indexed with 0, I'll call them base layers.
  • Repeat the steps for all other road classes.
  • Make the lines thick and .
  • Now here's the trick: select one of the base layers and select everything from that layer (CTRL+A). Then copy this layer (CTRL+C), select the corresponding layer above this layer (i.e. "Motorways_1") and paste in place (CTRL+SHIFT+V). Make this line thinner and give it another colour (and possibly another striping pattern.
  • Repeat this until you've filled every layer for every infrastructure type.
  • Presto, you have multi-layered infrastructure lines!
For inspiration, here are some colour schemes you could use for your infrastructure (text is in dutch, sorry about that):

The result for now will look like this (small detail: I also added a border and area names):

Stay tuned for Part 3

Lurk mode: ACTIVE


This looks fantastic! Is that map available anywhere?

Thanks! You can pick the map up here

~ NAM Team Member


Noah, Robin, Mandelsoft, and all other participants in this project,

I'm really curious about this project! I've discovered it a few days ago and I didn't find time to respond for whatever reason :) However this was a very promising project by the time I first discovered it and the first pictures and the map indeed came up to my expectations ... actually I didn't expect anything else  ;D And the mapping - tutorial is extraordinary!!!!!!!

I'm still curious :)


Hello Theresa, I'm really happy we have your curiousity, now we just have to find a way to keep it.


Angels can fly because they don't take themselves too serious!


So, I may be hijacking this thread for now, but this will be the final part of my mapping tutorial. I think it will be of great use for quite some people. After that, I'll hand the stage back again to Noah and Robin ;)

Creating maps in InkScape
Part 3: Administrative subdivisions, route shields and area names

We now going to "decorate our" map with subdivisions, route shields and area names.

Creating borders is relatively easy:

  • Create a new layer called "Borders". It's arranged on top of all infrastructure layers, but underneath all name and symbol layers.
  • Select either the Free Hand or Node Draw[/i] Tool and draw the borders, just like you did with roads and rivers.
  • Go to the Stroke style tab and give the lines a striping pattern (which one is your choice). It's advised to make the lines somewhat transparent too.
  • That's it. It's that simple.
Cutting your land into pieces
Now we going to divide the map in subdivisions. This is a bit harder, but with the pictures below, I can explain an appropriate method for this:

  • If you haven't unhidden the "Land"-layer, unhide it.
  • Create a new layer called "Provinces" (or counties, states, municipalities or whatever fits). This one is arranged just above the "Land"-layer.
  • Copy the borders from the previous step to this new layer (figure 1)
  • Start with the outer territories. Extend the border so it encloses the whole area. (figure 2)
  • Copy the land mass from the "Land" layer to the "Provinces"-layer. Select the recently extenderd border and the land mass, go to the menu "Object" and select "Combine, overlap" (CTRL+*). Give this area another colour (and disable the stroke colour. The result can be seen in figure 3
  • Repeat the previous steps for all other "free laying" territoria (figure 4).
  • With enclosed territoria, things get a little harder. Do the same when making a not enclosed territorium (figure 5 and 6), but you also copy the surrounding territoria. Select the terretorium you want to cut to size and one of the just copied surrounding territoria. Go to the menu "Object" and select "Exclude" (CTRL+"-") (figure 7).
  • Repeat the steps for all remaining territoria

Area names
  • Create a new layer called "Area names". This will be the very top layer.
  • Make a text box and type in the name of the area. Make sure it's placed on a location where it's easy to read and it doesn't overlap other names or important stuff.
  • Make the name semitransparent. Black text and a white stroke give a nice effect.
  • Repeat the previous steps
Route shields
Are also relatively easy to make, although it depends on the design you choose. You can use a simple rectangle with a number on it, or you can make a complex route shield. You can design your own shields or you can pick one design from Wikimedia Commons. Below are a few examples you can find in the real world:

Here's an overview of different routeshields used on a geofiction website I'm member of, Atlantisgeo.nl:

A route shield has two basic elements: a background (shape and colour) and a print. I will use this terminology for every type of route shield, disregarding the design (except the British ones; these don't have a background, they are text only with a distinctive font or colour).

  • Create a new layer called "Route Shields". This layer is arranged on top of all layer with the exception of city symbols and name layers. It's advised to make a separate layer for each route type.
  • Pick a shield background from your choice.
  • Type in the text. Make sure the text alignment is set to "Center".
    TIP: If you want to use a real sign font, search the internet for "Font download" and one of the following terms: "Transport", "DIN1451" (love this font!), "Tratex", "Highway Gothic", "Clearview", "Roadgeek 2005" or "SNV".
  • Center the text in the shield.
  • Group text and shield background. You can do this by selecting both objects and use the "G" key. You can ungroup objects with SHIFT+"G", but you can always open groups by triple-clicking on them.
  • Move the routeshield to the rightful spot.
  • Copy the routeshield and change the route number when necessary, and repeat this and the previous step until you're done

The result:

Anyway, that was my map making tutorial. I hope I've teached you some of the basics of InkScape with this tutorial!


For a tutorial of this quality...you can hijack our thread any time you want.  Great work Maarten, again a huge thank you for this.  I will most certainly be using this program and you tutorial in the very near future.

Lurk mode: ACTIVE


Great tutorial Maarten! Now, let's get back to Noah and Robin and see what they'll show us ;)

Always a pleasure to have you here  :thumbsup:  Hopefully more exciting stuff coming soon!

You can call me Matt


So... it has been over a week since the last update and I was wondering: how's progress with the project? I'm just curious ;)

Thanks Maarten! We'll try to do a better job keeping you guys up to date with what's going on  :thumbsup:

Lurk mode: ACTIVE


Quote from: MandelSoft on February 10, 2013, 02:15:40 PM
So... it has been over a week since the last update and I was wondering: how's progress with the project? I'm just curious ;)

Ditto ;D

:D  -N
New Horizons Productions
Berethor ♦ beskhu3epnm ♦ blade2k5 ♦ dedgren ♦ dmscopio ♦ Ennedi
emilin ♦ Heblem ♦ jplumbley ♦ moganite ♦ M4346 ♦ papab2000
Shadow Assassin ♦ Tarkus ♦ wouanagaine


Don't worry folks, I've simply been telling Noah what he was doing wasn't good enough. Blame me  $%Grinno$%

Update coming soon, though.



Quote from: Swordmaster on February 12, 2013, 10:05:44 AM
Don't worry folks, I've simply been telling Noah what he was doing wasn't good enough. Blame me  $%Grinno$%

Bad Willy. >:(

And I infer you had a preview?! :angrymore:

;D  :D
time flies like a bird
fruit flies like a banana


Quote from: vortext on February 12, 2013, 10:38:07 AM
Quote from: Swordmaster on February 12, 2013, 10:05:44 AM
Don't worry folks, I've simply been telling Noah what he was doing wasn't good enough. Blame me  $%Grinno$%

Bad Willy. >:(

And I infer you had a preview?! :angrymore:

;D  :D

Hehe, I suppose I can show a recent shot:

click to enlarge

Willy has been offering a lot of help in tuning the terrain/water/etc textures and settings and that picture is part of the product of that effort. We've actually moved on to some different things and there's been a lot going on behind the scenes, not least Robin's tireless efforts to build a well-fitting plugins folder. More coming very shortly and thank you all for your interest and patience  :thumbsup:


Looking spectacular as always!

Where are the curved SAM from though? I almost exclusively use the asphalt SAM streets but don't have curves :(

Thanks you as always! You can find those curves under the "rural roads" section of the NAM roads menu.

New Horizons Productions
Berethor ♦ beskhu3epnm ♦ blade2k5 ♦ dedgren ♦ dmscopio ♦ Ennedi
emilin ♦ Heblem ♦ jplumbley ♦ moganite ♦ M4346 ♦ papab2000
Shadow Assassin ♦ Tarkus ♦ wouanagaine


Even that single picture was worth waiting! It looks so great! The wales, the eagle, the lonesome fisher ... all composed to a harmonic scenery! Very well done!

Thanks a lot Theresa! Xannepan's new animals have been a lot of fun to play with.

Angels can fly because they don't take themselves too serious!



We've been quieter than we would like recently but things have actually been quite busy behind the scenes. As I mentioned in the previous post, Robin has been doing a lot of work getting the plugins together while Willy and I have been trying to get the terrain mods and settings perfect. The picture above is the region view of the central part of the region with our best-tuned Appalachian version. Willy, by the way, is now part of the Noro Cooperative and I hope you'll join me in welcoming him!

The most exciting recent development is in the area of our cloud sharing and syncing. Switching from Skydrive to google drive seems to have made this possible for our group without paying a subscription, and with 5GB of free space it should be more than enough for our whole plugins folder and regions folder. We're now trying to decide if it makes most sense to run the game straight from the synced folder or if that's likely to cause problems. Does anyone have any advice or light to shed on that issue?

The other news is that I've redone our region's config.bmp in a way that city borders fit the shorelines and mountains in a way that makes them more playable, and that many cities now border 6 other tiles instead of bordering 4 tiles as they previously did. Willy has also created a numbering system for the new tiles for easier reference. Here's the region as it is now, using Willy's new SC4Mapper colors:

click to enlarge

I've prepared a couple mosaics designed to show the terrain experiments we've been doing. I apologize if they're a bit repetitive, but they're primary purpose is to show the terrain work (and of course to let me have a bit of fun with Xannepan's new creatures  ;D ). The first is using our Appalachian settings, shown here with a narrow beach enabled. Willy has replaced the Maxis ocean floor texture with one of the Appalachian textures, vastly improving the look of the shorelines where there are no beaches as well as helping to reduce the jagged edge effect in those areas. Changes have also been made to the terrain mod's tiling factor. The water is Loch Lomond and the beach is Nantucket, both created by Gobias and both LK tiling versions. The rock mod is from the LK starter set, though you can't really see it here.

click to enlarge

Here's another view of the Appalachian textures:

click to enlarge

Since that time I decided I was unhappy with some of the textures from the Appalachian Mod, mainly the look of hills and snowy mountain tops. Applying the same techniques we worked on the Appalachian Mod to the Sudden Valley Mod I ended up with a look like this:

click to enlarge

This is where we're at now and, outside of some minor changes, where I expect us to remain. Beach size can be adjusted as needed (it's eliminated in the previous pic). We hope you enjoyed this little update and look forward to hearing your thoughts  :thumbsup:


It's nice seeing some movement here! Of course, the waiting was worth it. Really like the new pics :)

Willy will be a great addition to the project (i just hope he still updates PSC as often as he used to).

Glad you liked the pics! We'll try not to distract Willy too much from PSC--Robin and I love it too of course ;)

You can call me Matt

Shadow Assassin

I like what you guys have been doing here,  and it's always good to see how you're using cloud services to create a collaborative region and hopefully you succeed where others have failed.

5GB may seem like plenty but when the region gets larger and larger, and depending on the size of your plugins folder, you may find yourself sailing past that limit quite quickly. You might have no choice, in the future, but to pay for a Google Drive upgrade.

Anyway as long as you have a local copy which is synced with Drive, I don't see a problem with using the cloud based files during normal gameplay.

Holy crap, we've caught the attention of the great SA?! :D  It's a pleasure to hear from you and I'm glad you like the idea of what we're up to--hopefully things work well for the NORO Cooperative. We'll see how the limit goes, though I think you're right there could eventually be a problem. Thanks for your thoughts Daniel.

New Horizons Productions
Berethor ♦ beskhu3epnm ♦ blade2k5 ♦ dedgren ♦ dmscopio ♦ Ennedi
emilin ♦ Heblem ♦ jplumbley ♦ moganite ♦ M4346 ♦ papab2000
Shadow Assassin ♦ Tarkus ♦ wouanagaine
See my uploads on the LEX!


Awesome project, *follows*

FYI, you used Su twice on the map (one should be Sw).

I'm thinking of hacking together some form of index/linkfest website that would let you tag/categorize/etc your updates/images/etc with things like the tile they occupy, the update they came from, and other stuff. I've already gone through that map and made a version which link to each tile tag. I've attached it: download and unzip the html file, then open it in your browser. Each tile will link to the fragment associated with it (for example, the incorrect Su tile links to #sw). This can then be made to show the page for that tile. If you want I can build and host such a website, with whatever features you wish.

Regarding the 5GB limit, you could attempt either multiple accounts, or use different services for the different parts. If you each can get 32 people to sign up for dropbox, you can get 16GB free there, or 23 if you get through the 'getting started' stuff.


Sounds like a really cool project and I really appreciate the offer. I had trouble getting your file to work for me but I'm guessing it's user error :D  That kind of presentation is definitely something to think about. We'll see about the sharing stuff. I'm thinking it may eventually make sense to separate plugins from region or do even more separations at some point. It's so early in the game now that it's hard to say what our eventual needs will be though. Thank you very much!

Copperminds and Cuddleswarms


Joe, you're talking gibberish man. Wrong tile, I can see no wrong tile. I can send you a pair of glasses if you like. ;)

Quote from: vortext on February 12, 2013, 10:38:07 AMBad Willy. >:(

And I infer you had a preview?! :angrymore:

It's good Willy this time. And you think I'm privileged? I've actually been trying to get rid of this Noah guy who's been stalking me. ;D



Your combined skills are just admirable! And the results are really stunning! I'm really curious about what you guys will tinker next!!!!!

Haste makes waste. So just keep your time :)

Thanks Theresa :)  Plenty of tinkering to come and I'm very happy you're enjoying things over here. Speaking for myself, I'm trying not to rush into things but I can't help but be in a rush to build and tinker around here ;)

Angels can fly because they don't take themselves too serious!


Hi, just discovered this project. I like very much what I see so far. Indeed promising.
A suggestion for the nature preserve: North-east corner of Is, most of he blocks Jq, Lq and Mo, except the main river. Qu, Su, (Sw), Uw might also be candidates for a nature preserve...
Starting to read trough, when I first saw the map on the 1st page, I immediately thought of a skiing area in the north-east of the map, combined with some nature preserves - finding out later, that you're just planning that...
I will follow this project closely!

@Mandelsoft: Great tutorial! I'll keep that in mind...

Welcome to the NORO Cooperative! Thanks for the suggestions. I've also been thinking a nature preserve would be good to have in that southeastern area. In particular Uw seems like a nice place to me. When I was still using our Appalachian terrain mod that area had a beautiful marsh texture that I'm considering trying to import into our version of the Sudden Valley Terrain Mod. The biggest problem for all these low-lying possible nature preserves is good swampy flora, preferably seasonal....

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