Isometric buildings in Inkscape

It’s been a while since I’ve made a new building in Inkscape, but this weekend I had a crack at a building I’ve been admiring for a while, Manor Apartments in Brisbane CBD.

I’ve been making these for a while. They’re stylised vector-based isometric building tiles that can be used in some hypothetical game I might make one day. The colours are specifically chosen from a palette that lets me programmatically recolour them on the fly.

I find getting the base sorted at the start is really useful. In most cases, this just involves drawing a square or rectangle base and I have a template which you can see in the image that lays out a standard block size of 256×128 pixels. This building is easy in that it’s essentially a rectangle so I can get away with minimal changes.

Next step is drawing windows, or other repetitive features. These can be cloned so that they don’t need to be re-drawn, and any subsequent changes only need to be made to the original in order to flow through to the entire image. Usually there’s two copies of each feature with different shadows; one facing left and another facing right.

This building is a little more tricky because it has the sweeping arches on the ground floor, as well as various arched windows which are more difficult to draw since they’re not basic square shapes.

Once the ground floor is done, it’s a step-by-step process to add floors until we reach the roof. For the most part these can be duplicated from lower floors or assets can be reused in different arrangements.

This building is fun because it has so much variety on the different levels. I stylised or glossed over over a lot of the ornamental detail in the original building because it doesn’t fit with my existing style, but I like how it adds a sort of plastic simplicity to the end result.

My plan with this building was to make it modular, so that I could repeat variations of the first tile a few times to create the rest of the building. This image shows two very similar tower pieces placed next to each other to make a larger building. I’ve colourised it, and added a couple of other older buildings to check the styles work together.

Finally, I’ve added and subtracted some floors, added a roof and placed a few different sized blocks around to make a completely new building. No longer Manor Apartments, but a series of blocks that can be configured numerous different ways.

The end result are four separate tower pieces that can be combined or used individually to create various large and small buildings. I think it worked really well, and it’s something I want to explore in future buildings.

Manor Apartments