View Full Version : Format maps for VTT and set up vision and light for DnD 3.5x and 4.0

02-11-2011, 11:58 AM
Hey there! I don't play many pen and paper RPGs and I have never used a VTT so I was hoping someone 'in the know' could do or link to a quick tutorial for how to set this stuff up--I am hoping to put some maps up on RPGnow and would like to include VTT formatted (maptools and... are there other major ones?) versions of the files.

I know other members here (like Torstan) do this sort of thing all the time--perhaps some screenshots of the basic settings windows would do it? Sorry if I am not being clear, as I don't really know much about the topic!

02-11-2011, 02:40 PM
In addition to maptools Wizards are getting closer with their version of a VTT, but I don't think there are any formats for that yet (haven't checked though) as its still in beta.

02-11-2011, 03:04 PM
My personal experience is just to use Maptool personaly. Here's are three categories of video tutorial's for it to learn the basics.
MapTool : Overview (http://www.rptoolstutorials.net/?page_id=7)
Tutorials : Step by Step (http://www.rptoolstutorials.net/?page_id=12)
Tutorials : Beyond the Basics (http://www.rptoolstutorials.net/?page_id=14)

Aside from that, I personally don't think distributing a VTT ready file is the best method. You would need to set it up for each application out there because they all have their own proprietary file format from my understanding. Up to you on where you wanna go with this and good luck!

02-11-2011, 04:01 PM
Geamon's right. Setting up one file for each format would be a pain and create bloat. In my packs I provide a map with grid, a map without grid, and then a maptool file with a few more bits addes - vision blocking, lights and so on.

The main issue is making sure that the grid in your map is an even number of pixels. So don't create it at 100px per grid and then downsize it by 33.3%. No-one can line up a grid to a 33.3px square. Some Vtts prefer pre-gridded maps. Others (like maptool) prefer them without.

Obviously leave off any secret information from the vtt map. In the vtt it's used as the board - so if it's there, the players will see it.

When you save out a jpg, use come compression. You can't see the difference between maximum and high (or even medium) quality inside the vtt. As people play with these over the internet, the filesize really matters. Hope that helps?

If you're going to do maptool files, then pick up the latest build and play around with it. That's the best way to figure out the questions that you need to ask about it.

02-11-2011, 05:09 PM
By the way, torstan, those of us who have tried maptool and your maps LOVE you for doing the vision blocking. What a pain for newbies to do on their own. Not, of course, to dissuade you from doing the same, RE! We mappers love pain! Or so I tell myself every time I go to draw lots and lots of tiny little lines no one will probably ever see anway ;)

02-11-2011, 05:17 PM
Glad to hear someone's getting the value from all that work! It seemed like a good (and pretty straightforward) thing to do to add value to the packs.

02-11-2011, 10:28 PM
Torstan - Thanks for filling me in! I do have a couple questions:

--It seems like there are always discussions about version compatibilities for maptools--does the program not generate backwards-compatible files?
--I've seen that there are .cmpgn files and that there is a 'map export' option that is available in some of the newer versions. Do you know which is best to include?

Thank you so much! I'll download and start fiddling ASAP. Once I get everything in order, I'll probably put a free map or two up in order to get some friendly crits...

02-11-2011, 10:31 PM
Torstan - Also, do you have a recommendation as to which one of your map packs one might download to see how a master does it?

02-11-2011, 11:45 PM
The version compatibility has settled down now. It's almost at a stable release so I'd pick up the most recent and go with that.

You can set up a campaign file or a map file. The map file is easier to import into an existing campaign. However the campaign can hold more information. Campaign files hold information about the rules system - such as what kind of light sources you have. So you can set up a square torch lighting area in a campaign file. However a map file doesn't contain rules system information (the feeling is that a map file is more low level and should be importable into anything).

I set these map packs up before the map export function existed so I've stuck with the campaign files. I'm thinking about playing with map import/export when maptool hits final.

If you want to check one out then I'd suggest the Low River pack. It's got a few light sources and it's a classic dungeon setting. I think it covers all the main points. Let me know if you have any questions - and if you don't get an answer then send me an email. I don't manage to read all the new posts on the forum as often as I'd like.

02-12-2011, 01:21 AM
Thanks again, Torstan. I have picked up the Low River map pack and I'll study it. You might hear from me with some questions soon.

Gaemon - thanks for the tutorials, I'll watch then ASAP.

02-12-2011, 07:36 AM
I'll try and answer questions as well if torstan isn't around I haven't dabbled around as much as he has but I think I can answer most. What I've done for the most part is add the monster, traps, npc, pc tokens etc and add topography for lighting. Then I handled initiative turns etc for 4e on other apps or analogical because the people I play with wanna still do it P&P. Good luck though!!!