Home Store Products Research Design Strategy Support News

15 May, 2008

 Products The Guns of Gettysburg Design Diary A Stone’s Throw

The Guns of Gettysburg Design Diary: A Stone’s Throw

One odd feature of the Gettysburg battlefield was that it had fields of boulders near its southern end (around Little Round Top and Devil’s Den). The 1868 map showed them, but none of the other main source maps I was using did. This was a particular problem regarding the area of the gameboard south of the 1868 map: were there any other boulder fields there or not? It was actually my concern about boulder fields that led me to obtain the aerial imagery that you’ve seen bits and pieces of in previous diary entries. You see, it occured to me that fields of giant boulders weren’t likely to be things that would change very much over time and so a modern source might still be quite good. Shown below is Little Round top, from the 1868 map and from aerial imagery (this is really zoomed in way too far for the map to look good, but I wanted to show the same ground represented in both images, and if I zoomed out too far the boulders would disappear in the photograph):

Little Round Top, 1868 Map (1:12,000)
Little Round Top, Aerial Imagery

From a graphics design point of view, the boulder design was pretty uncomplicated: just lots of gray, boulder-shape-ish ovals. At one point I played with actually tracing over the boulders in the aerial imagery, but they were too small at the map scale for that to work. I did however, actually draw each boulder individually rather than working with a boulder symbol set like the set I had for woods. The boulder shapes were simple enough that drawing them wasn’t really much different than dragging and dropping them around. Here is a sample (incidentally, this is not at the same scale as the illustrations above; the above images correspond to just the bottom-right corner of this image):

Game Map Boulder Art
Boulder Art

While there is no shortage of modern-day Little Round Top and Devil’s Den photography out there, here is one from a systematic series of shots that Joel Ferich volunteered to take for me, this one showing the ground-level view from Little Round Top, looking about East-South-East. The cars and people on the left side of the picture give you a good idea of scale:

View of Devil’s Den from Little Round Top

View of Devil’s Den

And of course, here is the next veil drop in the Guns of Gettysburg map strip-tease, this time with the boulder layer revealed. As usual, click to zoom in:

The Guns of Gettysburg Boulder Map

Gettysburg Boulders

Click on the image above to open in its own window