Been thinking about possible graphical overhaul of ThiefRL. Basic idea is to keep things very symbolic (since realism is expensive and possibly less readable) while still making them more attractive.
I'm a fan of David Macaulay's books and am attempting to ape his illustration style to some extent. The left-hand side is crappy but I was experimenting with different line weights; ideally you'd have one or two line weights in the final drawing. I also need to figure out how to lay in ground texture while keeping it distinctly in the background. There could be watercolor-style washes of pale color under the ink-work.
There is a paper texture (not a great one) and some vignetting to suggest an overhead light source. The ink lines have been filtered a bit to look like they have bled a bit into the paper. People might be represented by tokens or push-pins on top of the page. It might be interesting to have little drops of blood soak into the paper and gradually oxidize at the spots where people are injured.
Compare to original ASCII-based shot:
Not everything has been transferred to the mockup. The aspect ratio of the mockup tiles is 1:1 while the screenshot tiles are 1:2, as well. Buildings would be redesigned to not looked squished under the square aspect ratio.
I've been kicking around the idea of putting walls on the lines between squares (instead of running down square centers) while I'm at it but I'm unsure if it would be a good idea or not.
You definitely get more of a “night” feel from the original. Maybe the “blueprint” look is not the best way to go.