View Full Version : List of Mapping Software

01-21-2008, 12:05 PM
I've decided to formalize the discussion of software programs, and am starting this sticky thread. Please feel to reply with additions and corrections and I will keep updating the initial post. Eventually, this may become "The Big List of Mapping Software" or even "The Ultimate List of Mapping Software", but we all have to start somewhere :)

Please help by adding on posts in the following format. The categories are suggestions, feel free to suggest new ones:

Title: XYZ Software
Vendor: XYZ Corp
Web Site: http://www.somecorp.com/
Type: Raster/Vector/Tile Based
Focus: General/Mapping/Fractal/3D
Platform: Windows/Mac/Linux/Web Based
Price: $USD
Short description, usually from the vendor, though Wikipedia often has good summaries.
Links to posts with sample maps using this program. Hopefully posted here, but off site links are OK too. These should be representative of the program's capability. If anyone comes up with better examples, suggest away!

I'm starting by seeding this list with a few, but hope the community will pitch in and do the heavy lifting by adding/correcting. I'll move additions and changes into the list and delete your post unless you indicate Do Not Delete in your post. I'm trying to keep reviews and editorials out of this (at this point :) at any rate...) Initially, this list will be alphabetical.

01-22-2008, 09:47 AM
The CG List of Mapping Software:

Title: AutoREALM
Vendor: Open Source
Web Site: http://autorealm.sourceforge.net/index.php
Type: Vector
Focus: Mapping
Platform: Windows/Linux(under wine)
Price: Free
AutoREALM is a Free GNU mapping software (a "cartographer") that can design maps of castles, cities, dungeons and more. AutoREALM is generally used by Role-playing Game practicants who enjoy doing their own maps.
Website Gallery (http://autorealm.sourceforge.net/mapsAG1.php)

Title: Campaign Cartographer 3
Vendor: ProFantasy Software
Web Site: http://www.profantasy.com/products/cc3.asp
Type: Vector
Focus: Mapping
Platform: Windows
Price: $44.95+USD (MSRP)
Designed to draw maps for role playing and miniature war games. The cad engine is based on FastCAD, although most of code is written by the publishers. It includes a variety of add-ons (purchased separately or in bundles) for different genres, including fantasy, modern and science fiction.
Vendor Gallery (http://www.profantasy.com/products/cc3_gallery.asp)

Title: Drawplus X4
Vendor: Serif
Web Site: http://www.serif.com/drawplus/ (http://www.serif.com/drawplus/drawplusx2/)
Type: Vector
Focus: General
Platform: Windows
Price: £79 (approx US$ 150). Earlier versions in gradually scaled down prices (Drawplus 4 is a free download)
Drawplus is a budget end version of Adobe Illustrator and a popular alternative to it. Serif pride themselves on ease of use and Drawplus excels at this. The serif community forum is helpful if you run into any problems.
Deckplan (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=444), Map (http://www.cartographersguild.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=33234&d=1297008852)

Title: Dundjinni
Vendor: Dundjinni
Web Site: http://www.dundjinni.com/
Type: Raster
Focus: Mapping
Platform: Windows/Mac
Price: $39.95+USD (MSRP)
a full-featured fantasy map creation program. It allows users to create walls and floors, place objects, insert text, and more. It boasts an intuitive interface and an impressive selection of objects and textures. Additional object/texture packs are also available for purchase. There is a large active user community exchanging artwork.
Vendor Gallery (http://www.dundjinni.com/info/gallery.htm)

Title: Dungeon Crafter 3
Vendor: Shard Games
Web Site:
http://www.dungeoncrafter3.com/Type: Raster/Tile Based
Focus: Mapping
Platform: Windows
Price: Free
It is easy to create your own Floors, Objects and Walls for Dungeon Crafter III and share them with the large user community in the Dungeon Crafter III forums. Four different drawing layers, 72x72 pixel Floor tiles allowing for more detail, Four different zoom levels Alpha graphics support, Adjustable shadows for Walls and Objects
Website Gallery (http://www.dungeoncrafter3.com/screenshots.php)

Title: Dungeonforge
Vendor: None
Web Site: http://www.dungeonmapping.com/df/public_html/
Type: Raster/Tile Based
Focus: Mapping
Platform: Windows
Price: Free (website registration required to download)
An easy-to-use map creation program for Role Playing Games. Can use any PNG, JPG, BMP art. Multiple layers, Cell size range from 20x20 to 512x512, Maximum world size 1200x1200 cells.
Monestary Battlemap (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showpost.php?p=3999&postcount=1)

Title: Fractal Mapper 8
Vendor: NBOS Software
Web Site: http://www.nbos.com/products/mapper/mapper.htm
Type: Vector
Focus: Fractal
Platform: Windows
Price: ????
Features a fast vector graphics engine optimized for fantasy map making. Objects can be individually selected and modified-rotation to any angle, resizing, reshaping, scaled lines, bitmap pattern fills, and variable levels of transparency. In addition, FM features a powerful zooming capability that lets you fill in small map details on continental or even planet-wide maps.
Vendor Gallery (http://www.nbos.com/products/mapper/mapper-screenshots.htm)

Title: Fractal Terrains Pro
Vendor: Profantasy Software LTD
Web Site: http://www.profantasy.com/products/ft.asp
Type: Raster
Focus: Fractal
Platform: Windows
Fractal Terrains Pro is ProFantasy's fractal world-generating program. FT Pro lets you create maps using either fractal algorithms, real world data, or from scratch. FT Pro includes height, climate temperature and rainfall information, all of which can be edited. You can add rivers, craters or paint your own climates to customize your world. View your maps in a variety of projections and color schemes and export any view to CC2. Export into JPEG, BMP, VRML, linked HTML, and Spin View. Extensive real world and Mars data is included.

Title: GIMP (The GNU Image Manipulation Program)
Vendor: Open Source
Web Site: http://www.gimp.org/
Type: Raster
Focus: General
Platform: Windows/Mac/Linux
Price: Free
A freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It works on many operating systems, in many languages.
Monestary (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showpost.php?p=8569&postcount=34),Overland (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showpost.php?p=8394&postcount=1),Regional (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showpost.php?p=10269&postcount=1)

Title: Heavy Metal Map
Vendor: RCW Enterprises
Web Site: http://www.heavymetalpro.com
Type: Hex Tiles/Symbols
Focus: Mapping
Platform: Windows
Price: $27 USD
Hex based tile mapping program optimized for use in sci-fi mapping, expecially for use in Classic Battle Tech with mechwarriors, incorporates CBT rules sets and tables for use in gaming.

Title: Heavy Metal Map
Vendor: RCW Enterprises
Web Site: http://www.heavymetalpro.com
Type: Hex Tiles/Symbols
Focus: Mapping
Platform: Windows
Price: $27 USD
a Hex based tile mapping program optimized for use in sci-fi mapping, expecially for use in Classic Battle Tech with mechwarriors, incorporates CBT rules sets and tables for use in gaming.
(don't have any or know of any, contacted company for this...)

Title: Illustrator CS3 (Adobe Illustrator Creative Suite 3)
Vendor: Adobe
Web Site: http://www.adobe.com/products/illustrator/
Type: Vector
Focus: General
Platform: Windows/Mac
Price: $599USD (MSRP)
A vector based drawing program that can be used to create sophisticated artwork for virtually any medium. Industry-standard drawing tools, flexible color controls, and professional type controls help you capture your ideas and experiment freely.
Pirate Lair (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showpost.php?p=10991&postcount=1)

Title: MapX
Vendor: None
Web Site: http://www.dungeonmapping.com/df/public_html/
Type: Raster
Focus: Mapping
Platform: Windows
Price: Free (website registration required to download)
Was actually the precursor to Dungeonforge. Any size tiles. Supports polygonal rooms, including angled, curved and fractal walls. Also hex grids. It also supports the tile mode that Dungeonforge has.
Village (http://mwgillette.googlepages.com/CahliA0.jpg),Classic Keep (http://mwgillette.googlepages.com/skullkeep.PNG),Classic Tomb (http://mwgillette.googlepages.com/Moria.PNG)

Title: Nendo 4.1
Vendor: Izware (formerly Nichimen)
Web Site: http://www.izware.com
Type: Modeler
Focus: 3D
Platform: Windows
Price: $49 USD
a subdivisional surface modeler for 3D, one of the fastest s-d surface modelers available, the modeler application from within Mirai, able to export to most 3D formats, for the creation of 3D map objects to be rendered in standard 3D applications and export to PNG format.
created the onion domes in October Challenge - Temple Transformation

01-22-2008, 07:11 PM
The CG List of Mapping Software (continued):

Title: PD Particles
Vendor: Project Dogwaffle
Web Site: http://www.thebest3d.com/pdp/
Type: Partical Based (Raster)
Focus: General
Platform: Windows
Price: $19 USD
particle based paint system called Optipustics, natural FX brushes used to create realistic plant life for use a map-objects in most mapping applications. Uses alpha channels, varying degrees of transparency, includes: mass, gravity, splits, follow mouse, alpha and fades. Can be used as a standalone paint program.
(PD Particle tutorial in software discussion category)

Title: RPGMapMaker
Vendor: Francois Menneteau
Web Site: http://fmteau.club.fr/rpgmapmaker/rpgmapmaker.htm
Type: Raster/Tile Based
Focus: Mapping
Platform: Mac
Price: $37,- (through KAGI)
RPGMapMaker is a tool for drawing maps with polygonal grids. This kind of maps is used in Role Playing Games, but of course can be designed for any other purposes.

Title: ViewingDale
Vendor: Viewing Ltd
Web Site: http://www.viewingdale.com
Type: Raster/Symbols
Focus: Mapping
Platform: Windows
Price: £25 boxed, includes worldwide P&P. (~ $49USD)
ViewingDale is a mapping program, zoom browser for maps and VTT. It maps at no fixed scale meaning that you can have multiple icons or maps on screen at all different scales / resolutions. Grids in square and hex. Maps are created by placing clip-art/images within the map environment handling opaque, cut out and semi transparent icons with grouping
Vendor Gallery (http://www.viewing.ltd.uk/cgi-bin/viewingdale.pl?category=pictures)

Title: Xtreme 3.2
Vendor: Xara LTD / Magix AG
Web Site: http://www.xara.com
Type: Hybrid Raster/Vector
Focus: General
Platform: Windows/Linux
Price: $79 USD / Free Linux version
This unique hybrid raster/vector application is built on a very fast rendering engine, one of the few apps allowing you to perform post-edits on objects with special effects already applied, powerful transparency, edge feathering, beveling and drop shadows with add-on photoshop plug-ins. Animation and web graphics features round out this all-purpose DTP application.
January Challenge - a thousand welcomes, October Challenge - Temple Transformation

------ Not Alphabetized after this point ------

Title: planetgenesis
Vendor: Open source(David Burnett, Did Datta, Colin Paddock(?))
Web Site: http://planetgenesis.sourceforge.net
Type: Raster Based
Focus: Fractal
Platform: java(works on Mac, Windows and presumably Linux)
Price: $0.00 USD
A noise engine based around a node interface. It has a wide selection of noises including fractals and multifractals(built on straight, ridged and billowy perlin or perlin simplex basis functions), worley noises(a variety of voronoi-based noises), fault noise, and a variety of terrain features and gradients.These can be modified with a number of functions such as absolute, clamp, craterize, scale, sine, logarithm, mask(a threshold function), and even a really disfunctional and slow erosion. These can also be combined using simple arithmetic, exponentiation and a number of distortion methods.
It outputs planar landscapes or spherical planets as 16-bit png or sgi images, povray meshes(slowly), terragen files and YAFRAY landscape meshes.
Just about every map by su_liam has some pG in it somewhere, but here is a specific example (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=1712).

Title: Terraform
Vendor: Open source(Robert Gasch and David Bartold)
Web Site: http://www.firedrake.org/terraform/
Type: Raster Based
Focus: Mapping/Fractal/3D
Platform: X-Windows(works on Mac and, I believe Windows)
Price: free
Terraform is an open source interactive height field generation and manipulation program, giving you the ability to generate random terrain and transform it. Terraform runs under Linux and other UNIX systems under the X11 Windowing system. It uses the GNOME desktop platform and thus has a (more or less) consistent graphical user interface which doesn't require use of the command line.
Terraform allows you to generate random terrain using a number of algorithms and then selectiveley change the terrain using a variety of transformations. Where possible, the transformations provide a real-time preview, giving you instant feedback on the effect of any parameter changes.
None Yet.

Title: YeOldeMapMaker
Vendor: ThinkingImpairedStudios
Web Site: http://www.yeoldemapmaker.com/
Type: Tile Based
Focus: Mapping
Platform: Web Based - Flash App. Flash version 8 required
Price: FREE!
-Design grid-based (DnD style) RPG maps using premade walls and objects
-Print maps for free directly from your browser. (Maps span two 8.5"x11" sheets of paper)
-Save maps privately or publicly to your account for later use (Free to signup)
-In a rush? Load a public map, edit it to your needs, and print it in a snap
-Public maps can also be saved as new maps under your own account!
Check out one of the many public maps from the site!

Title: Wilbur
Vendor: Slayton Software
Web Site: http://www.ridgenet.net/~jslayton/software.html
Type: Raster
Focus: Terrain / Height field
Platform: Windows XP or later; 64-bit version available
Price: $0
It allows an individual to play with terrain data (height fields). It can import data from and export data to many popular file formats. In addition, it allows the data to be modified with a number of image processing operations as well as height field painting tools.

Title: Relief Map Generator
Vendor: Greenfish
Web Site: http://greenfish.extra.hu/downloads.php
Type: Fractal
Focus: Terrain Maps
Platform: Windows
Price: 0$ - FREE
Description:This utility generates random images which resemble real relief maps. The randomized maps contain settlements with random names, hills, plains, lakes and seasides. The program can generate random town names (which are fictious and do not exist anywhere), or pick them randomly from a provided text file. The generated images are public domain and can be used anywhere.

Title: It's full of Stars
Vendor: Claus Børnich
Web Site: http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/7472/ifosweb/index.htm
Type: who knows
Focus: Star System maps
Platform: Windows
Price: 0$ - FREE
Description: (From the website) It's Full of Stars is a utility program for creating star maps and solar systems. Using 3D graphics it displays both starmaps and the solar systems with planets and moons in orbit around the star. A quick and easy to use point-and-click interface, room for lots of data, as well as several 3D rendered objects. Animation of orbits, placing of routes, generation of random systems, as well as guides and other functions make this a very useful utility for astronomer, writer and gamer alike.

Title: Ortelius
Vendor: Mapdiva, LLC
Web Site: http://www.mapdiva.com
Type: Vector
Focus: Mapping
Platform: Mac
Ortelius is a map illustration program for Mac OS X. Features specialized cartography tools, hundreds of symbols and styles, feature labeling, scaled drawing, and ability to maintain map attribute data, GIS shapefile import, more.
See Website

01-22-2008, 07:13 PM
Another general purpose product I know is used a lot to make map/object art over at the DJ forums is Real-Draw http://www.mediachance.com/realdraw/ but I personally have no experience with it.

-Rob A>

01-22-2008, 07:34 PM
Perhaps we have the makings for a mapping software list, as well as a map object creator list... and perhaps 3D should be on its own list? I'd say the relief mapping tools belong in the mapping software list, however.

I do think its a good idea to create these lists - could provide another asset on the forum, thus bringing in more members... thoughts.

02-05-2008, 12:34 AM
Hmmm. Maybe make this the suggestion/nomination thread, and create a FAQ outside the message board? Then you could keep this thread sticky and have a link to the FAQ in the first post.

03-13-2008, 04:03 PM
OK - I have cleaned up the list by taking it offline and can regenerate the posts on demand. Keep adding new thing, if you have suggestion, please.

-Rob A>

03-13-2008, 05:19 PM
I did not see one for Inkscape, I saw the software mentioned in several posts and came here to see if there was a software link.... and there wasn't ... but you can find it at http://www.inkscape.org/index.php?lang=en unless of course.. it is up there and i'm a moron and can't see it :)

I don't have the stats on it, sorry I didn't put it in a format

Also, is this goign to just consist of mapping software alone.. or will you have a category for things like useful tools that help mappers... like the name generator EBoN and things like that?

03-13-2008, 08:03 PM
Yeah - I use Inkscape a fair bit, but haven't had the time to add it :( An example you might have seen was my ice pirate cavern challenge entry (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showpost.php?p=11288&postcount=6).

-Rob A>

03-26-2008, 05:56 PM
I'm surprised no-one's mentioned it yet, but you can use the Aurora toolset provided free with NWN to make area maps (Though large-scale overview maps aren't possible, that I've seen). The only problem I've come across with it is that there's no simple way to export a shot of a finished map, apart from upping the screen resolution and hitting "Print Screen" (Or using FRAPS).

04-12-2009, 05:32 PM
I noticed töff recommend DungeonCrafter3 in another thread.

I think it ought to be noted that DC3 is a barely functional program that has not been developed since 2007. It has a fixed cell size of 72x72, a maximum map size of 15x15 (developers said it slowed down too much with more complex maps) and cannot save, only export.

DC1 was a perfectly functional program, but limited in terms of cell size and the images it could use. DC2 had improved usability but was never finished and a lot of users used both DC1 and DC2 to work on a single map. DC3 was released when it was in a pre-pre-preAlpha stage, had a very minor bug fix and then nothing. DC1 and DC2 (and tilesets) are available from the DC3 website (Legacy section) and are also available on teh Dungeonforge website.

04-30-2009, 11:33 AM
I'm surprised no-one's mentioned it yet, but you can use the Aurora toolset provided free with NWN to make area maps (Though large-scale overview maps aren't possible, that I've seen). The only problem I've come across with it is that there's no simple way to export a shot of a finished map, apart from upping the screen resolution and hitting "Print Screen" (Or using FRAPS).

If your video card (or whatever it's called) is a Radeon, you should pick up ATI Tray Tools here http://www.guru3d.com/article/ati-tray-tools-/. It has a good number of features, including a great screenshot feature. I've got mine set up to transfer to a folder on my desktop, with the number pad + as the screenshot key. It's really quite useful...

04-30-2009, 11:48 AM
If your video card (or whatever it's called) is a Radeon, you should pick up ATI Tray Tools here http://www.guru3d.com/article/ati-tray-tools-/. It has a good number of features, including a great screenshot feature. I've got mine set up to transfer to a folder on my desktop, with the number pad + as the screenshot key. It's really quite useful...
Congrats! You just earned yourself some rep. :D

05-01-2009, 11:29 AM
I would add MathMap

Is free, available as standalone for MAC
Or in Linux and Windows as a Gimp plugin

As the mame indicate is ideal for mapping several mapping filters are included other available here

and for edit equirectangular images here


other filters may be easily created (well "easy" is subjective, let say easier then write a correspondent C code
or Gimp script).

Linux version is much quicker, while the Windows last build
included the extra scripts quoted above.

06-11-2009, 07:00 AM
Hello, I`m new here!

Personal thoughts on the Greenfish Editor...

- Custom number of towns to be generated on the map
- Custom town names (from a txt file)
- Custom map size
- Custom water/land ratio
- Nice looking terrain
- Cool staff - nice reply to my feedback & suggestions mail.

- Early stage of development, some bugs in rendering town names close to edge of map
- Random seed not allowing much customization of terrain shape / type

(no, I`m not an ad bot, I just like this little app :P)

06-11-2009, 07:21 PM

Now about the app I'm playing with it, it's kinda neat, I wish it'd let you make some adjustments once you've got the random image... I put some names in to a text file for generating a map, and it likes to put some that start with Port in the middle of land areas... :P

06-12-2009, 02:24 AM
As stated in their reply to my suggestions mail, "Development at GFIE is suspended now but will be continued in about a month." so I`ll keep a close watch on this :)

06-19-2009, 12:04 PM
Campaign Cartographer was mentioned but it is important to note that several of their add-ons can be used in multiple mapping programs to place art objects. And their add-on cosmographer is one of the only software programs that can build a galaxy for the sci fi enthusiasts. (If anyone knows of a better sci-fi galxy builder please list it, as I am always up for that challenge)

06-19-2009, 12:13 PM
Campaign Cartographer was mentioned but it is important to note that several of their add-ons can be used in multiple mapping programs to place art objects. And their add-on cosmographer is one of the only software programs that can build a galaxy for the sci fi enthusiasts. (If anyone knows of a better sci-fi galxy builder please list it, as I am always up for that challenge)

I can't vouch for it's utility since I have never used it, but nbos.com develops and sells AstroSynthesis (http://nbos.com/products/astro/astro.htm) which has abilities to map and create star systems, including some type of randomizing(as well as scripting) of body creation. I have also heard of several others, including some that are free, but can't remember the names off the top of my head.

06-19-2009, 09:05 PM
I think it kind of depends on what you mean by a galaxy map. Isomage is scripting up a Traveller sector map. I did a scripted galaxy part map for the challenge a while back (Aug08 maybe...) and many programs can use tokens and CAD type effects to make galaxy maps by hand. I think there are plenty of options tho if one style of map floats your boat then I reckon that only then is there a 'best' app for it.

06-19-2009, 10:35 PM
I think it kind of depends on what you mean by a galaxy map. Isomage is scripting up a Traveller sector map. I did a scripted galaxy part map for the challenge a while back (Aug08 maybe...) and many programs can use tokens and CAD type effects to make galaxy maps by hand. I think there are plenty of options tho if one style of map floats your boat then I reckon that only then is there a 'best' app for it.

Well in a cosmographic map I prefer 3D mapping not just texture, similar to what I'd expect in a topographic or bathymetric map. More closely resembles maps you'd find use by an oceanographer which can be viewed at multi angles in 3d. As for best, don't really care I'd like one better than cosmographer as graphically its images remind me of an old apple 2 e. I've found a couple but they require you to really understand physics to even begin to utilize their programs.

My addition to the mapping software: It's full of Stars
This system generator has a steep learning curve and very ancient graphics but it is probably the most in depth one I have used.

Sorry if you wanted to keep this strictly planetary.

06-25-2009, 11:48 AM
Google Sketchup should be on the list. Its easier to use than some other map making programs and virtually no limitations of how detailed and perfect you can make your maps. Oh yeah its free too and has so many user created plugins you will feel like a virtual demi-god as you create vast 2d/3d cities and landscapes with ease.

07-02-2009, 08:29 AM
There is a great wiki page comparing raster editors here. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_raster_graphics_editors)

Mark Oliva
09-21-2009, 02:35 PM
Title: Fractal Mapper 8
Vendor: NBOS Software
Web Site: http://www.nbos.com/products/mapper/mapper.htm
Type: Vector
Focus: Fractal
Platform: Windows
Price: ????
Features a fast vector graphics engine optimized for fantasy map making. Objects can be individually selected and modified-rotation to any angle, resizing, reshaping, scaled lines, bitmap pattern fills, and variable levels of transparency. In addition, FM features a powerful zooming capability that lets you fill in small map details on continental or even planet-wide maps.
Vendor Gallery (http://www.nbos.com/products/mapper/mapper-screenshots.htm)

This information is partly incorrect. FM8 is not a vector program but rather a dual vector/raster program. One can make great FM8 maps without using any vector graphics whatsoever. One also can combine both vector and raster graphics in FM8. All of the remaining information above is correct and applies equally to vector and raster mapping.

11-19-2009, 01:21 PM
You should mention carrara pro 6, too, since it is now very cheap (around € 20). You only have to buy Les Pardew: Figures, Characters, and Avatars; 2009. Its an introduction to DAZ Studio. The book in itself isn't important but it comes with a CD that has the full version of Carrara 6 Pro (and Hexagon 2) on it. You only need to ask for a (free) serial at the help desk of daz 3d. Great deal for a few bucks!

Carrara is a bit slow at rendering but has a nice 3d modeller and especially a fine terrain editor and great plant editor.

11-19-2009, 02:29 PM
Carrera pro is going for 20 Euros??? The last time I looked at it on the Daz website is was about $200 or so. I'm going to check this out now....thanks!

Edit: novice42 - could you check this link on Amazon UK please (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Figures-Characters-Avatars-Pardew/dp/1598638165) and tell if you think this has the disk with the 'free' Carrera Pro? It's not mentioned in any of the blurb so far as I can see. Many thanks!


11-20-2009, 02:37 AM
Hi ravells,

yes, exactly. You need to proove the purchase of the book and you need a free account at daz3d. As proof its enough to mail a scan of the invoice. http://forum.daz3d.com/viewtopic.php?p=1824683#1824683 has some more info.

11-20-2009, 06:05 AM
Thanks novice! I'll check it out!

11-29-2009, 08:12 PM
The Dungeoncrafter III web page has been hijacked by a virus. If you need to get to the software, the download page at http://www.dungeoncrafter3.com/download.php is still working.

There's no telling if the issue will get fixed, since Dungeoncrafter has not been updated in two years, and I couldn't reach the Shard Games web page, either.

01-04-2010, 06:13 PM
I once created a large fantasy 3d-like map with Painter 7 (which is a few years ago - Painter 11 is the current version) so despite its rather high price I think it should be mentioned, too:

I have not tried ArtRage for a map yet, but this one is similar to Painter but much cheaper. More info can be found here:



Servant Of Thor
05-02-2010, 02:23 AM
Might some one have a download link, or the file to "it's full of stars" the webpage doesn't exist any more...

05-07-2010, 10:27 AM
A lot of the software links in this thread are dead (all geocities links for example).

One obscure tool for creating random maps is the Dominions 2 map creating program DomMap 2.17. Currently you can get that from here (http://www.strife.com/dominions-2/files.htm#utils), but there is no telling when that site ceases to exist, since Dominions 2 is a very old game. I may host the files myself later just to preserve them. The program itself is free and can be used as a base for creating landmass shapes, but it will require extensive editing to get anywhere.

Instructions on how to use this utility: Read the documentation that comes with it. I recommend using the following color code switches to produce a visually pleasing map where you can immediately see what's what:
Plains: dcbe9b (220, 190, 155)
Sea: 87afcc (135, 175, 204)
Tundra: dcebf0 (220, 235, 240)
Swamp: 969673 (150, 150, 115)
Forest: 3c733c (60, 115, 60)
Farm: d2dc73 (210, 220, 115) OR bed282 (190, 210, 130), whichever you like, but I think d2dc73 is slightly better.
Mountain: 7d5019 (125, 80, 25)
Waste: e6b473 (230, 180, 115, bit more faded) or e6b464 (230, 180, 100, brighter) both are relatively good
Landborder: cd3200 (205, 50, 0)
Seaborder: 414187 (65, 65, 135)

If you want maps with few borders, just set the number of provinces to a very low number (one sea, one land). If you want maps with ready-made borders for kingdoms, principalities, states and whatnot, pick the number you want and the program will do that for you.

The program produces the maps in .tga bitmap format, and also produces a .map file (specific to the game Dominions 2: The Ascension Wars). The map file is readable in any text editor, and contains the random seed number for the map. Running the program with the same seed value will always produce the same map, so you can write the number down for maps you like and fiddle with the color settings if you want to try something else.

05-07-2010, 12:30 PM
As far as I've seen, the only geocities-link in RobAs list is 'It's full of stars' which really is hard to find. In addition to that, the links to Greenfish Relief Map Maker and Terraform are dead. I'm going to host those files on my site (just waiting for the subdomain to be activated). I'm now recreating the 'It's full of stars' site, I'll give you the link as soon as I'm finished. If you want it, that is ... : )

looking for information about ifos

05-07-2010, 06:26 PM
Please, excuse the double post but here are some "updates" to Robs list ... I will just add changes since the last update and post a "new" list probably this weekend. Enough talk, here we go ...

Serif Drawplus: New version (X4) available. In addition, I was not able to find that free version.
Fractal Mapper 8.0: The prices are US $20/34.95/39.95 (Upgrade/Download/CD)
Fractal Terrains Pro: The description text looks out of date to me as there is CC2 mentioned. Shouldn't there be CC3?
Heavy Metal Map: I may be wrong but can it be that you have a duplicate of this entry right after the first one? The prices are US $29/37 (PayPal/Register now).
Illustrator: CS5 (Adobe Illustrator Creative Suite 5) now, price: US $199/599 (Upgrade/Buy)
Nendo: At their site I could only find Nendo 1.5 ... weird ...
RPGMapMaker: If you want to buy the software you have to open the link in a new tab/window. Otherwise, the site will open inside that frame ... (personal note: $15,000 for the world-wide license?! *speechless*)
ViewingDale: The price is £17.50 now
Xara Xtreme: Latest version is Pro 5 for US $299 ($199 for people having another graphic software or something like that ...)
Terraform: The link is broken. See below for further information.
Greenfish Relief Map Generator: The link is broken. See below for further information.
It's full of Stars: The link is broken. See below for further information.
Roleplaying City Map Generator: Not mentioned here, I guess, but it doesn't really matter because the site's down too. See below for further information

For those who are searching for I'ts full of stars and other software not available anymore:
I searched for those programs and collected them in my Skydrive Public folder. You can find it here (http://cid-7325663db937b6cf.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/.Public). But be careful as I'm going to move them to my site this weekend, together with a longer software list. But for today I'm tired ... it's midnight here, so my bed is calling *laughs*

sleepy as always

Servant Of Thor
05-08-2010, 02:03 AM
Thanks a ton! can't wait for that site to be up!

06-14-2010, 05:43 PM
Title: Genetica Viewer and Wood Workshop
Vendor: Spiral Graphics
Web Site: http://www.spiralgraphics.biz/index.htm
Type: Texture Creation
Focus: Textures
Platform: XP/Vista/Windows 7
Price: Free
Description: Genetica Viewer and Wood Workshop allow for nearly limitless random(ish) textures. Both fantastic utilities for those that like using more organic and varying textures in their maps.

06-20-2010, 07:23 PM
Many choices. A newbie like me should love this:)

07-08-2010, 10:17 AM
Good News: 3D Artist has Carrara 7.2 pro full on its cover disk (no 17). Just bought it. Previously, Carrara did cost approx 500 US-$

07-08-2010, 10:22 AM
Oh yummy, which country are you in and is it a demo version which will expire after a bit? Can't believe they're giving the whole thing away for free (but I live in hope!)

07-09-2010, 04:42 AM
no demo but the full version with serial on the disk. Though as I can see now its only the version 7, not 7.2. Daz3d did the same with Carrara 6 last year. Customers who bought the software for the full price are a little bit upset about Daz3D's policy (have a look at the official board). But to be sincere: i appreciate it much to get Carrara that cheap :)

07-09-2010, 06:14 AM
Yeah I use Bryce 6 for my renders but Carrera is better (although Bryce 7 is a good facelift but have only played with the beta). I'm getting the Magazine.

07-10-2010, 04:37 PM
Antheon - thanks a ton. I can't believe you went and found all of those.

08-16-2010, 11:11 PM
I happened to trip over an ad for Hexographer today. So first of all, congrats to SowelBlack for successfully bringing his software to the market. And second, it should be added to the list. http://www.hexographer.com/

martin f
10-01-2010, 05:46 PM
Title: Copan
Vendor: UGL
Web Site: http://www.underhill.ca/Software/Copan/Windows/CopanWin.php
Type: Vector
Focus: Surveying/Engineering/COGO
Platform: Windows
Price: $0 (free)
Coordinate geometry (COGO) tool for land surveyors, who make maps of real places based on field measurements.

A little off the topic of fantasy map making, but in case anyone's interested in converting actual measurements of the land (or a papier mache model, say) into coordinates, for mapping, or for going in reverse -- converting map coordinates into bearings and distances...

10-01-2010, 05:54 PM
Wow, this is really cool, martin! Thanks for posting!

12-12-2010, 06:53 AM
Can my "RPGplaneMapMaker" photoshop action set be in the list?

01-28-2011, 10:15 AM

3d world magazine issue 139 has vue 8 frontier for free at its dvd. Vue is a powerful landscape editor/generator (like Bryce but has more features). More on vue at http://www.e-onsoftware.com/products/vue/vue_8_frontier/.

02-11-2011, 10:33 AM
Has anyone here looked at a terran generator called World Machine? It looks intriguing but I haven't tried it and am not sure whether it would be useful for what we do here. Plus it looks very shiny and sparkly and distracting. :D www.world-machine.com

02-11-2011, 12:03 PM
Yeah, lots of us have played around with it but I think there's only one or two guys who are actually proficient with it. It's not intuitive and uses things called nodes, which basically act as a function that happens to the terrain like raise it or lower it, erode it or erode it more, etc. It looks like a flow chart that you'd find in an office somewhere so it's kind of hard to get used to. But if you do get the hang of it, it does some pretty cool stuff.

02-11-2011, 07:26 PM
If you do get used to a node-based workflow, though, you'll wish everything worked that way. What wouldn't I give to have a node-based image editor? I tend to do photo retouches in my film compositing software now rather than Photoshop.

02-12-2011, 10:32 AM
Here are some more.

Great program for serious application or just fooling around

Excellent for creating seamless textures from ANY image

Free - useful for opening DEM (Digital Elevation) files

Texture Maker

Flaming Pear
Photoshop plugins. India ink and Lunar cell are pretty cool

The heavy weights ...

Global Mapper
The Daddy ...

Excellent! good for ecosystems - massive learning curve but worth it

Pain to use ... has some cool features such as importing OSM (Open Street Map) data

03-01-2011, 03:59 PM
Many thanks to everyone contributing to the thread, I now have a weeks worth of programs to try out!

03-21-2011, 10:23 AM
Ok, I'm also new here but am amazed to see nobody has mentioned Tiled (http://sourceforge.net/projects/tiled/).

The blurb Says
Tiled is a general purpose tile map editor, built to be flexible and easy to use. In addition to its own map format, Tiled supports read/write plugins for using it with proprietary map formats or formats used by other editors.

A list of games created using Tiled can be found HERE (http://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/tiled/index.php?title=Made_With_Tiled) and include Platformers, RPGs (both Orthogonal & Isometric perspectives) & Shoot-em-ups.

randy carter
06-14-2011, 10:12 PM
Dungeon Painter Online
Free online mapping software.
Plenty of textures and objects,
layers and groups,
export to images and PDF,
map hosting,
hex and square grid,
simple file format, etc.

07-23-2011, 05:41 AM
Does anyone know an alternative to the "Its Full Of Stars" program?

09-26-2011, 01:26 AM
Title: PhotoPlus
Vendor: Serif
Web Site: http://www.serif.com/ for current versions
http://www.freeserifsoftware.com for fully functional older versions
Type: Raster
Focus: General
Platform: Windows
Price: approx US$ 90. Earlier versions in gradually scaled down prices, down to free!
("Starter Version" doesn't say what prior numbered version it equates to, but past practice has approx. 5 year old version for free, and progressively newer ones at incremental add-on cost. Current freeserifsoftware site doesn't show the old numbered versions; their typical marketing has been to offer you the intervening ones at a variety of prices, once you register the freebie. So definitely DO choose to receive promotional info during the registration)
PhotoPlus is a budget end cousin of Adobe Photoshop or the GIMP and a capable alternative to either. Their DrawPlus package has similar old=free, latest=still only moderate cost; as with the Photoshop/Illustrator pair you can do some things easier in one than the other. For example I do text along a curve in DrawPlus, and import the result into PhotoPlus.
Examples: not stellar ones, but they're what I've got. Please - add better ones!
10-year-ago free version (5.0 or 5.5 or 6) Haromszek Topo (http://www.cartographersguild.com/album.php?albumid=3230&attachmentid=38763) Venda (http://www.cartographersguild.com/album.php?albumid=3230&attachmentid=38761) Polar Arc (http://www.cartographersguild.com/album.php?albumid=3230&attachmentid=38760)
6- or 8-year old version (7 or 9) Vrcholce (http://www.cartographersguild.com/album.php?albumid=3230&attachmentid=38759) Lucco Hovy (http://www.cartographersguild.com/album.php?albumid=3230&attachmentid=38756) Nizny Tybic (http://www.cartographersguild.com/album.php?albumid=3230&attachmentid=38757)
5-year old version 11 (as far as I've bothered to go) Zanannia (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?13055-WIP-Zanannia-and-environs&p=140918&viewfull=1#post140918) Basse-Georges (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?15428-Basse-Georges-political-amp-historical)
Newer ... I dunno; Ravells did you ever do a full map in PP?

Don't assume PhotoPlus can only do what I linked to; those are all my style, with the flat colors and minimized filesize -- I'll warrant the same sort of styles as many CG denizens with a more photographic, classical, or hand-drawn look are just as doable in PhotoPlus as some of the more usual raster tools. Ravells did a review thread (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?5991-More-functionality-than-photoshop-CS4-at-a-fraction-of-the-price&p=67049&viewfull=1#post67049) a couple of years ago that gives some pros and cons. Anybody know if they've got better cloud filters in X4 or X5? That was a deficiency when Ravells looked at X3.

09-26-2011, 03:45 AM
Hi Jb - no, I never did a full map in photoplus. I already had photoshop, and although I bought photoplus to get the Eyecandy filters (they were going incredibly cheap) I found that although it had most of the functionality of photoshop, it struggled with larger file sizes. I use it on my laptop though!

09-30-2011, 02:39 AM
Title: Inkscape
Vendor: Open Source
Web Site: http://www.inkscape.org/
Type: Vector
Focus: General
Platform: Multiplatform, uses GTK+
Price: Free
A Free/Open Source vector graphics editor comparable to Corel DRAW, Adobe Photoshop, or Xara Xtreme.
Examples: The Lands of the Inner Sea (http://www.cartographersguild.com/album.php?albumid=3018&attachmentid=37214), A Planisphere of Her Majesty's Martian Colony (http://www.cartographersguild.com/album.php?albumid=158&attachmentid=36691), SEI Habitat Loss in the Cowichan River Basin (http://draconic.ca/portfolio/sei_habitat_loss.pdf), Solid Geological Map of the Capel Curig, Snowdonia area (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?15213-Solid-Geological-Map-of-the-Capel-Curig-Snowdonia-area.), Canada (http://www.cartographersguild.com/album.php?albumid=158&attachmentid=43675).

Title: ArcGIS Desktop
Vendor: ESRI
Web Site: http://www.esri.com/software/arcgis/index.html
Type: Raster/Vector
Focus: GIS
Platform: Windows
Price: 1,500 USD for a Single Use ArcView license, it goes up from there rapidly.
One of the top commercial desktop GISes.
Examples: Vancouver Island Community Groundwater Mapping Project (http://wells.viu.ca/vicgmn/), SEI Habitat Loss in the Cowichan River Basin (http://draconic.ca/portfolio/sei_habitat_loss.pdf), Solid Geological Map of the Capel Curig, Snowdonia area (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?15213-Solid-Geological-Map-of-the-Capel-Curig-Snowdonia-area.)

Title: QuantumGIS (QGIS)
Vendor: Open Source Geospatial Foundation
Web Site: http://www.qgis.org/
Type: Raster/Vector
Focus: Desktop GIS
Platform: Multiplatform, uses QT
Price: Free
A Free/Open Source desktop GIS.
Examples: A Planisphere of Her Majesty's Martian Colony (http://www.cartographersguild.com/album.php?albumid=158&attachmentid=36691), Canada (http://www.cartographersguild.com/album.php?albumid=158&attachmentid=43675)

Title: GeoServer
Vendor: Open Source
Web Site: http://geoserver.org/
Type: Raster/Vector/Tile
Focus: OGC Compliant WMS/WFS/WCS server.
Platform: Java
Price: Free
A Free/Open Source geospatial information server and the official reference implementation for the OGC standards. In simple terms, it is a program that can provide the data to run a "slippy map" like Google Maps, Bing Maps, etc. It can also provide data to plug into a GIS.
Examples: Vancouver Island Community Groundwater Mapping Project (http://wells.viu.ca/vicgmn/)

Title: OpenLayers
Vendor: Open Source
Web Site: http://openlayers.org/
Type: Raster/Vector/Tile
Focus: Web based slippy map.
Platform: Javascript
Price: Free
A Free/Open Source web slippymap with support for WMS, WFS, KML, Google, Bing, ArcGIS, and various other data sources.
Examples: Vancouver Island Community Groundwater Mapping Project (http://wells.viu.ca/vicgmn/), RetroMap (http://draconic.ca/RetroMap/)

Title: PostGIS
Vendor: Refractions Research
Web Site: http://postgis.refractions.net/
Type: Vector, Raster in development.
Focus: GIS layer for the Postgres RDBMS.
Platform: Postgres
Price: Free
Adds robust GIS data types to Postgres, including OGC Simple Features for SQL.
Examples: Vancouver Island Community Groundwater Mapping Project (http://wells.viu.ca/vicgmn/),RetroMap (http://draconic.ca/RetroMap/)

Title: uDig
Vendor: Refractions Research
Web Site: http://udig.refractions.net/
Type: Vector, Raster.
Focus: Desktop GIS
Platform: Java
Price: Free
A somewhat simpler desktop GIS written in Java.

Title: GRASS
Vendor: Open Source Geospatial Foundation
Web Site: http://grass.fbk.eu/
Type: Vector, Raster.
Focus: GIS
Platform: Multiplatform, Unix Oriented
Price: Free
Probably the most advanced, powerful, and flexible Open Source GIS, though the interface is a bit arcane.

Bruno Cabral
10-25-2011, 12:51 PM
some body use coreldraw?

10-25-2011, 01:50 PM
I used to use CorelDRAW, but I switched to Illustrator a while ago. Not because Illustrator is necessarily better, but because it has more market and I'm more likely to encounter Adobe on the job than Corel.

10-30-2011, 12:14 PM
Pity they don't make this one anymore ImageSynth2
Excellent for creating seamless textures from ANY image

02-07-2012, 12:36 PM
This is an amazing thread, and exactly one of the things I was hoping to find here! Thanks for all the suggestions and contributions - lots of programs to play with and learn!

02-14-2012, 04:54 AM
I´ve used Aurora toolset in the past and i recommend it

03-31-2012, 11:18 PM
I keep trying to get my head around CC3 plus add-ons, but someone (wish I could remember who) pointed out a simpler program, thought it was cosmographer, but that's ProFantasy again. It was a name like that, though.

I'm a bit behind the times in all this digital stuff and the VA didn't do me any favors, so simple but attractive is what I'm looking for, at least until I can get my brains back.

04-10-2012, 04:05 AM
I use the Gimp and Inkscape.

05-04-2012, 11:50 AM
Fractal Mapper 8 is $34.95 DL or $39.95 CD. There is a sizeable discount available if you buy it bundled with The Keep.

05-10-2012, 11:22 AM
Title: Unity 3d game engine terrain toolkit
Vendor: Unity3d
Web Site: toolkit: http://unity3d.com/support/resources/unity-extensions/terrain-toolkit after you have the engine
Type: Heightmap, 3d
Focus: General/3D
Platform: Windows/Mac/Linux/Web Based
Price: $0
The Terrain Toolkit is an integrated set of tools for the Unity Editor which is designed to streamline and improve the workflow involved in creating realistic terrains for games. The toolkit enables the creation of large scale, realistic and playable game worlds within a very short time span.

Creating heightmaps http://vimeo.com/album/150503

Here's an example I made from the game Ultima Online's map in 3d:

I can make scalable 3d maps of just about any feature/bay/mountain range based off a google image in around an hour for the base, it takes a little longer to paint on the textures, but definitely far faster than hand forming terrain...

05-20-2012, 12:59 AM
Just wanted to say thanks for all the work done in this thread. It's making the hunt for the right tools so much easier.

06-27-2012, 11:40 AM
a quick scan of the thread and I didn't see Blender. Blender isn't a mapping software but rather a 3D modeling software like Maya but the price is right - free. Its pretty powerful software with Perl support built in so you can write your own algorithms (if you are so inclined). There are tools that allow for terrain mapping and the animation functionality is pretty sweet. I can't imagine you would use this for 2d maps, but for 3D scenes and fly by films it is good stuff. There is a huge learning curve, but don't let that scare you. There is plenty of support, documentation, and tutorials as well as a vibrant online community. You can learn more at www.blender.org.

06-28-2012, 09:14 AM
Someday I will be able to use Blender. The learning curve feels like a cliff. I'm currently attempting to model my boat modification in it (in my oh-so-copious free time lol).

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

09-06-2012, 03:33 AM
Title: TwistedBrush Pro Studio
Vendor: Pixarra
Web Site: http://www.pixarra.com/
Type: Raster
Focus: Fine Art
Platform: Windows
Price: $99
A cross between Corel Painter and Adobe Photoshop. Has a HUGE number of procedural natural media brushes (which scale properly by preserving density) and most of the usual filters and some not supported by PS. This software is primarily intended for drawing and painting, not photo editing as PS / Gimp are.

I've only just got this software and am so far impressed. Using it in conjunction with a tablet makes it really sing. It will import layered PSD files (don't know about Gimp) but it does not have enough keyboard shortcuts (hopefully these will come in future editions), and those it does support do not mirror PS so there is some relearning required. Incredibly good value for money.

10-18-2012, 01:59 PM
I have tried GIMP and CC3. CC3 seems a bit more user friendly and effective.

12-10-2012, 10:04 PM
Reading through this list I was surprised to not see G-Projector. Nifty little piece of freeware from NASA that allows you to take any equirectangular map image and convert it to a different project - there are several dozen projections available. I tested it out with a simple square projection from the donjon fractal world generator, and was quite pleased.

NASA GISS: G.Projector — Global Map Projector (http://www.giss.nasa.gov/tools/gprojector/)

Edit: Another free program I've just discovered (haven't tried out yet) is Artifex Terra, a realtime landscape modeling program. Anyone here familiar with it?

Also, DAZ3D's Bryce Pro 7 and Hexagon 2.5 are both free for a limited time.

Columna Durruti
01-26-2013, 12:10 AM
Thanx for the introduction to these software.
Columna Durruti

04-26-2013, 07:37 PM
Thanks ravells, I'm going to try the free version, Twisted Brush Open Studio.

07-17-2013, 01:20 PM
Anyone use ESRI products like ArcGIS or ArcScene? Obviously not intended for use in fictional maps, and expensive with something of a learning curve. I'm mainly looking at using them because 1. I'm strudying it for real-world uses anyway and 2. it's highly robust ability to store data geographically. I.e. you could select everywhere with an altitude under X and create an ocean feature to cover it. It also has tools for calculating watersheds and such to model very realistic rivers from a set of elevation values. Overkill for most purposes I'm sure. Hopefully I'll one day have my Mars map at least partially created with Arcmap to show here.

07-17-2013, 07:26 PM
There are a few GIS users around, but I don't know if any of them are using ESRI products. I have been lusting for CityEngine for a while, but I doubt I'll ever land a project that will justify the price tag. It would have been nice for my current job, though, where I wound up creating 3d proxy geometry for almost all of downtown New Orleans.

Osmium Guidon
10-01-2013, 03:57 PM
This is really helpful for us newbies... Thanks for making the effort

12-05-2013, 02:32 PM
I want just inform that Xara Xtreme is free for Linux users. I found it more easy and stable than Inkscape.

12-05-2013, 02:52 PM
I want just inform that Xara Xtreme is free for Linux users. I found it more easy and stable than Inkscape.

I use Xara Designer Pro 9 and it is Xara's current flagship product, though Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 9 can everything you need for maps and doesn't cost nearly as much (but not free.) I've used Xara Xtreme for years, but I recently upgraded to Pro 9, which is a 64 bit application. Great toolset and like you said, very stable software.

12-09-2013, 02:25 AM
Title: Terraform
Vendor: Open source(Robert Gasch and David Bartold)
Web Site: http://terraform.sourceforge.net
Type: Raster Based
Focus: Mapping/Fractal/3D
Platform: X-Windows(works on Mac and, I believe Windows)
Price: free
Terraform is an open source interactive height field generation and manipulation program, giving you the ability to generate random terrain and transform it. Terraform runs under Linux and other UNIX systems under the X11 Windowing system. It uses the GNOME desktop platform and thus has a (more or less) consistent graphical user interface which doesn't require use of the command line.
Terraform allows you to generate random terrain using a number of algorithms and then selectiveley change the terrain using a variety of transformations. Where possible, the transformations provide a real-time preview, giving you instant feedback on the effect of any parameter changes.
None Yet.

The link above does not exist. I searched the site for Terraform and came up with nada. Not sure if anyone already posted this. If so, sorry.

12-09-2013, 02:34 AM
I guess I spoke too soon on my last post. It turns out a lot of the links for free software are bad. I'm not complaining, just pointing it out. Not sure if the original posts in this thread can be updated. I'm really interested in cartography and was hoping to play around with some of the software and tutorials on this site. Thanks for the info!

12-16-2013, 01:08 PM
I guess I spoke too soon on my last post. It turns out a lot of the links for free software are bad. I'm not complaining, just pointing it out. Not sure if the original posts in this thread can be updated. I'm really interested in cartography and was hoping to play around with some of the software and tutorials on this site. Thanks for the info!

Terraform Home Page (http://www.firedrake.org/terraform/)

-Rob A>

12-30-2013, 09:14 PM
This is a great list. A bit overwhelming perhaps. Any opinions on the best tool to start with for drawing fantasy overland maps? Looks like Campaign Cartographer 3 might be where to start, but are there any free tools that rival it? TIA :)

02-09-2014, 09:34 AM
I'm currently running photoshop and I love it, but my computer does not. It's a bit processor heavy for the poor thing. Does anyone know if Gimp is a little easier on the computer to run? Thank you!

02-09-2014, 01:11 PM
I don't know how it is compared to photoshop, but GIMP gives my 7 year old laptop a stroke about once every 3 days or so...

then again if I didn't have like 5 of the 4000 x 4000 images open, maybe it won't....

Brian McBride
02-18-2014, 09:38 PM
Hello, I'm Brian and I'm new here. I'm an author and find it very convenient to create maps for the fantasy worlds I create. I'm fairly fluent in GIMP and do not use photoshop simply because I cannot afford it. What I'm looking for are some tutorials for rendering maps in GIMP. Could anyone direct me? Thanks.

02-19-2014, 04:25 PM
Probably a good place to start is RobA's tutorial on creating an artistic map in GIMP - its probably the most read tutorial thread on the board. Note the search box at the top right of this site - just enter "GIMP tutorials" and you'll find a bunch.

I noticed your thread on ENWorld boards, and was going to point you here, but seen someone already did in that thread. Good luck in your search for a cartographer, but I'd recommend, if you are somewhat familiar with GIMP to follow the tutorials, make your own map and save you some money! I do commissions too, but you can't afford me, and I'm too busy anyway. Good luck in your endeavors.

05-20-2014, 04:48 PM
I've seen XYZ on a google search. As I stated in a post the other day I am looking for software and will look into this one. David :)

05-20-2014, 05:03 PM
By the way, I think Heavy Metal Map is listed twice. David.

09-01-2014, 11:23 PM
Is there a consensus of the best (combination of ease of use and best features?) mapping software? I am especially focused on interiors of fantasy settings such as dungeons and buildings, but would also like to be able to create nice overall maps.

Mark Oliva
09-02-2014, 12:23 AM
Is there a consensus of the best (combination of ease of use and best features?) mapping software? .

There are lots of opinions but nothing like a consensus. Each of us has his or her own favorite tools, and they make up a long list of alternatives.

10-19-2014, 08:03 AM
truly amazing resource guys!!!

where has this been all my gaming life?!

thanks for posting ! :)

10-20-2014, 12:05 AM
One more to add to the list... currently under development, with a Kickstarter campaign, but hopefully still of interest:

Title: Worldspinner
Vendor: Worldspinner LLC
Web Site: Worldspinner.com
or the Kickstarter site: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/worldspinner/worldspinner-fantasy-rpg-worldbuilder-and-map-make
Type: interative and rendered maps
Focus: Fantasy RPGs
Platform: Web based
Price: free to try; pay for printed maps
Worldspinner makes it easy to create richly detailed maps of your own fantasy world in minutes. The tool creates an entire world (geology, climate, ecology) then populates it with people (cultures, nations, and cities) and if you like even adds adventure content (plots and points of interest on the map to explore). The focus is to make worldbuilding easy, by enabling the user to make broad choices that control the type of world being made, and to allow cities and points of interest to be easily added or altered, rather than to allow/require the user to provide every detail of the world by hand.

10-25-2014, 01:57 AM
old thread and one that is in need of updating , maybe start a new one ?

but in the meantime ....

it really comes down to WHAT one is doing and what TYPE of "map" one is making

with that in mind , I start with a 32 bit floating point image or a 16bit Unsigned image
i find that when working on a 16 bit image that unsigned ( 0-65538 ) works better in most software than using a signed image ( -32768 to 32767 )
and move that data into 32 bit float .

this reduces the software that can be used

Also most of the work on said maps tends to be in "Simple cylindrical" for a full planet
Mercator for the areas around 45 to 85 north/south
Polarstereographic for the two poles

so for my needs the "best software" is different than someone making a dungeon

ISIS3 ( yes it is mainly for THIS solar system and NOT the Earth )
USGS Isis: Planetary Image Processing Software (http://isis.astrogeology.usgs.gov/index.html)

GDAL: GDAL - Geospatial Data Abstraction Library (http://www.gdal.org/index.html)

this has many variants like FW-tools that include Proj4
FWTools: Open Source GIS/RS Binary Kit (http://fwtools.maptools.org/)


For viewing and over all image editing there is Nip2/Vips
VipsWiki (http://www.vips.ecs.soton.ac.uk/index.php?title=VIPS)

it is like a cross of lotas123 and gimp
the GUI " nip2" to the VIPS imaging library works a bit like a spread sheet
it handles 8 bit ( signed and unsigned)
16 bit ( signed and unsigned)
32 bit long and double
32 bit float
image data

there is also for working on 32bit images
16 bit can be done with imagemagick Q16
This has REPLACED IM as a tool i use

G'MIC - GREYC's Magic for Image Computing: An Open and Full-Featured Framework for Image Processing (http://gmic.sourceforge.net/)

as above it also handles images these forms
bool | uchar | char | ushort | short | uint | int | ulong | long | float | double
( but you need to hack the current source code to RE ENABLE some of the little used formats )

you can also use gmic's math functions to run a polar transform on a map to work on the north/south poles

there is also Gimp 2.8 is still 8 bit
sometime soon ??? Gimp3 will be out and that will handle 16 bit and i think 32 bit images

12-02-2014, 04:18 AM
IF you are a real human

you posted the first sentence form post #20 on THIS thread

and the others are about the same

12-03-2014, 06:36 PM
Thank you johnvanvliet for reporting the bot - it has been exterminated :)

01-20-2015, 01:43 AM
I realize this is a bit late but...

Two pieces of software whicih seems to have been overlooked are:

1. Visio
2. Fireworks

I have used CC3 and am testing out the new CC3+. I really do like CC3 (and +) but when I use them I have to think in reverse. It is like some of my early programs I used to write at NASA. You basically have to set everything up AND THEN do the operation. The thing is, several years earlier I had had to learn Visio 2003. Unlike the current version of Visio, the 2003 version is a 2D CAD system with graphics capabilities. The later versions are an art program with CAD capabilities which have been slowly hidden or removed from the program. The 2003 version has some very nice things that it can do. Primarily among those "things" is to include what are called the INK capabilities. These capabilities allow you to draw freehand any line you want to draw. You can then convert that line to a geometric shape which then allows you to insert new points, remove points, and do everything else you can do to a 2D CAD shape. A great way to make a coastline is to use the INK drawing tools, convert it to geometry, and then insert a rectangle large enough to cover the INK drawing from one side to the other. Then you select the line and rectangle and tell Visio to Fragment them. This will split the rectangle into two parts. You take one part and color it green and the other part blue and you have the ocean next to the land. One of the other great things about Visio is that it does handle vector shapes so just like with CC3 - you can increase or decrease the size of the images. The thing about Visio is - you can just drag and drop how large you want to make the image OR you can set it manually. Visio does it either way. Which is one of the reasons I use CC3 to do most of the layout and then I import it in to Visio to work on it more.

Fireworks is Visio on steroids (or CC3 on steroids). Fireworks (I have the CS3 version) allows you to have any size surface to work on. Like CC3 and Visio, Fireworks handles both Vector as well as Raster images. But it doesn't stop there. Unlike Illustrator where you have to have to work in a certain way, Fireworks allows you to create images in several ways and not only does the entire workarea have layers BUT the individual objects have layers. So you can have a house and put various items onto just the thatched roof or just the doors. Further, unlike Visio 2003 - Fireworks CS3 has never crashed on me. No matter HOW large of an image I am working with. (Like a 763 MB map that I had scanned in at 1200dpi and was 4ft x 3ft. Visio croaks but Photoshop and Fireworks just keep chugging away. And yes, sadly, CC3 croaked trying to load it in.) I bought the Master Suite of Adobe's CS3 products but mainly just used Photoshop until someone showed me Firewworks. I like it better than Visio but I am very used to using Visio. So I still use it the most. But Fireworks is a close second.

Don't think though - that I don't like or don't use CC3. CC3 has some amazing things that it can do and I use it a lot when I am ref'ing a game. In some instances it is a lot faster to use than Visio. So it really just depends upon what I am doing.

Anyway - Visio and Fireworks were left off of the list and they really should be on it. :-)

01-20-2015, 02:00 AM
just to clarify
For visio you are refering th the Microsoft Office program
that runs $254.99 USD

and for Fireworks
you are referring to Adobe -Fireworks

01-21-2015, 04:38 PM
Yes. Except Visio 2003 can be had for as little as $50.00. You have to keep an eye out for it. I bought Visio 2003 for $50.00 a while back and then bought a business suite of updates from Microsoft for $20.00. What is weird about Visio 2003 is that sometimes people post wanting up to three times the original value of the software. Other times you can get it for next to nothing. Over the past ten years I have bought Visio 2003 three times for $50.00 or less. I bought so many because I had my development computer, a graphics computer (I am digitizing all of my manuals), and then a computer I carry around with me to various companies when I'm doing contract programming.

Fireworks CS3 I got off of eBay for $250.00. This was the entire Master Suite including Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks, and at least ten more programs. If you divided up the cost it would be $250.00 / 13 ~ $20.00 per piece of software. Of course no one sells the separate programs that way but that is the approximate price per piece of software.

Currently on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/190-3193467-9528115?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=%2Bvisio+%2B2003

Visio 2003 is beteen $97.00 and $150.00

Visio 2003 on eBay: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2050601.m570.l1313.TR6.TRC1.A0.H0.Xvisio+ %2B2003&_nkw=visio+%2B2003&_sacat=0

Visio 2003 is $55.00 (Buy it now)

Fireworks CS3 on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=%2Bfireworks+%2Bcs3&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3A%2Bfireworks+%2Bcs3

Fireworks CS3 on Amazon.com : Grossly expensive

Fireworks CS3 on eBay.com : http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=%2Bfireworks+%2Bcs3&_from=R40|R40&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR2.TRC1.A0.H0.Xadobe+ master+suite+%2Bcs3&_nkw=adobe+master+suite+%2Bcs3&_sacat=0

Adobe Master Suite CS3 which contains Fireworks CS3 : $195.00
(So less than I paid for it.)

01-21-2015, 05:14 PM
Just look out that you don't buy an upgrade version, since those require a valid license for a previous version in order to install.

01-21-2015, 05:18 PM
dose viso 2003 require MS office 2003 ( AKA : MS Office XP ) ?

if so
xp is dead and unsupported

and both MS and adobe really dislike breaking the End user agreement and reselling the LEASED not bought software
at least in the USA that is a violation of the DMCA

01-21-2015, 10:05 PM
Ok - this is my sixth try to respond. It is taking me so long to write my reply that the forum keeps timing out and then it deletes my message. :-(

First, let me say that your last message (johnvanvliet) is a bit incendiary.

1. No. Visio 2003 is a stand alone program that can be used with Microsoft Office 2003, 2007, and even 2013 as well as Open Office.

2. XP is not dead. It is unsupported - but it is not dead. To prove this, all you have to do is to go to any major retail outlet (such as Walmart) and look at a terminal that has crashed. It is running Windows XP. Or you can go online and find out that approximately 30% of everyone online is still using Windows XP. Or you can go to your favorite ATM machine and, when it crashes, see that it is running Windows XP. If XP was dead - then no one would be using it still.

3. To answer your LEASED statement - Ask yourself why does Microsoft et al allow Amazon.com and eBay.com (and other locations scattered around the internet) to sell used versions of their software?

The answer to that question you would have to go back something like twenty years to the landmark lawsuits/cases which, once and for all, put a stop to Microsoft et al trying to prohibit people from selling software they no longer used or wanted. A group of about 100 companies filed suit and the Electronic Frontier Foundation defended. In all of the courts the trial was held (all the way up to the Supreme Court of the United States of America) the courts upheld the right of second sale. That is why they don't sue. Because people have the right to sell that which they no longer want.

Remember that we are talking about older software and not the current stuff that is happening. Note that Microsoft, Adobe, and other companies are going to a format where they do NOT give you any kind of physical object. You are also told up front that you will be paying from now on. With Microsoft and Office 365 you usually pay on a yearly basis. With Adobe's Master Suite Collection you pay every month. In both cases - if you don't pay - you don't play. That is true leasing. Before, you bought a piece of software, you installed it, put in the key, and you could use it forever. That difference is the difference between leasing and buying. The courts also recognized this and put it in their decisions.

That is why older software that is not truly being leased - can be bought and sold multiple times between people.

Now! Before you go off half cocked - here are the DMCA rules regarding ANYTHING: You may buy something, use it, and the resell it. You may NOT buy something, make copies of it and sell the copies but keep the original. You may NOT buy something, make copies of it, and sell the original but keep the copies. You MUST get rid of not only the original but any/all copies you may have made. The DMCA FURTHER allows you to let anyone in your immediate family use the item without regards to any legal repercussions. The DMCA FURTHER allows you to let your BEST FRIEND (a really grey area thing) also make use of the item. BUT IN BOTH CASES no one else may use the item at the same time.

The above is easiest understood when talking about books (which is what copyright was originally written for). You can buy a book, read the book, and then sell the book. You can not buy a book, read it, make copies of it, and sell or give the copies away but keep the book. You may not buy a book, read it, make copies, sell the original but keep the original. You MAY give the book to anyone in your immediate family to read. You may give the book to your best friend to read. As far as I know - aunts, uncles, cousins, and such can not be given the book although I am sure people do it all the time.

I hope this helps to clear up your misconception about both what leasing in, how it applies to computer software, and the DMCA.

01-21-2015, 10:32 PM
there is the free GPL'd OpenOffice and LibreOffice "Draw" program
great for diagrams

and it dose not require using a killed off operating system ( microsoft has been trying to kill XP for 5+ years)
and it runs an Microsoft 7,8,8.1 and soon 10
and on Apple osx
and an BSD a
and on Linux

Mark Oliva
01-22-2015, 01:31 AM
Ok - this is my sixth try to respond. It is taking me so long to write my reply that the forum keeps timing out and then it deletes my message.

When this happens:

1) Write your message with a text program. i.e. Word, OpenOffice.org Writer, Windows Notepad, etc.
2) Copy it into the clipboard.
3) Open the guild forum window.
4) Insert the text from the clipboard.

Say Amen and send your message.

01-22-2015, 01:53 AM
Wow. Really way too short of a wait time before timing out. :-)

johnvanvliet: I am sorry you seem to hate XP - but both will run on XP also.

Mark Oliva: Yeah - that is what I wound up doing. I notice there isn't an Edit feature for something you've already posted. I noticed a few typos after I posted and had wanted to correct them. Am I missing something?

MS DOS - Still used at Universities because it is very stable. A friend at the Chemistry Department at the University of Houston uses it to analyze the chemical composition of molecules using a million dollar x-ray projector device. On the internet it is estimated that 0.0000001% of the almost 3 Billion people use it to get on the internet. How? I don't know.

Windows v3.1 - Still used. I have two friends that still use this OS. They get on the internet and do everything everyone else does (except things that use jQuery or Java, etc...). They love that their 1.8Ghz systems can still use the OS. Only I think they only get to use something like 512MB of memory or maybe even less than that. Estimate on the internet is 0.000001% of the people still use it. Most of these people are found in Europe where some people believe 8-bit systems are fast enough for what they need it to do. My wife's parents who live in the boonies out in Arizona only recently upgraded to Windows 7 from Windows v3.1. They kept all of their private information on it as well as the volunteer fire department's information and records.

Windows 95 & Windows 98se: I just finally got some clients to upgrade from these to Windows 8.1. This was only because their hard drives had started to go bad and I have been laid up with DVT since last Thanksgiving.

Apple ][+ thru Apple //gs - Still used. Mainly for hobbist. I have a //gs which sports such thinigs as an SD card interface card and a USB interface card and an Ethernet card. I can surf the net with it and it isn't all that slow.

Lisa Mac thru the Power Macs - I own a Power Mac and can do everything up to Netscape Navigator v4.x. Last Mac I owned before switching to PCs.

midgardsormr : That is very true. Only buy the full blown package unless you happen to own the earlier one. Even then you should just buy the full blown package. I've had updates muck everything up before. :-/

01-22-2015, 08:28 AM
There are some of us who get timeouts on 25-30% of the page loads we do over this entire forum, and so far no one seems able to do much about it, and those who don't get them, don't believe it's really happening. If it continues to be a problem for you, post in the Support thread.

01-22-2015, 10:57 AM
I also had problems with timeouts before. I think the solution is to check the ''remember me''.

01-22-2015, 05:12 PM
I'll have to try that Azelor - thanks! :-)

01-22-2015, 06:37 PM
johnvanvliet: I am sorry you seem to hate XP - but both will run on XP also.

i do not HATE xp
Microsoft KILLED IT OFF!!!! after 14 YEARS ( 5 years past when Microsoft wanted to )

the same goes for Internet explorer 4,5,6 and 7
you still DO NOT use the same internet explorer that was in win98 ( IE 3 and 4 ) do you ?
and IE 6 is being ACTIVELY KILLED OFF by microsoft
ie6 was in xp sp1

01-22-2015, 08:05 PM
Microsoft has not killed anything. Nor has it made anything die. Simply because they do not support it any longer doesn't mean it is dead or killed. Nor are any of the Internet Explorers killed or dead. Not used much anymore - yeah. But there are still software programs that require IE6.

But to answer your question - yes I do. As a software programmer I test all the way back to IE 3 and NN v2. I do this because hackers use the older versions of software to break in to websites. The older versions, unlike the current versions, allow you to see things that the newer versions do not allow you to see. Also, well written software (Javascript and HTML in this case) should be able to gracefully fail and not just crash. Further, some hackers start off with a current browser and then switch to an earlier one to try to crash a website. So you have to have and use those older browsers to see if the site will crash. So they are still useful even today.

It is true though that Microsoft has urged everyone to use a different browser than Internet Explorer. They named both Chrome and Firefox as alternatives to using Internet Explorer. Yet Microsoft still is developing updates and new versions of Internet Explorer.

Last, if I may, you should know that every version of Windows since Windows NT is just that - Windows NT. Windows XP was just Windows NT v5.x. Vista, 7.1, 8, 8.1, and so on are just later versions of Windows NT. So when you say Microsoft killed it off - you are also saying Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, etc.... were killed off also because the basic heart of Windows NT (ie: the underlying OS) was last twiked under 8.1 but the last major revision to the underlying OS was done with XP. So you are still running XP - just with some upgrades. Just like I'm still running NT - just with a lot of upgrades. You can verify this by Start->Control Panel->System->Advanced Tab->Environment Variables and look for the OS variable. It will say "Windows NT". Or you can open a command window (start->run->"cmd.exe"<CR>) and type "winmsd" into the command prompt. Even though it will say something like "Microsoft (c) XP" - if you open the "Software Environment" tree and click on the "Environment Variables" you will see the OS variable showing a value of "Windows NT". Because that really is what you are running. Plain old Windows NT just with a lot of upgrades. To think. This OS has been around almost as long as Linux but they are still finding bugs in it. My version of Windows NT is 5.1.2600 Service Pack 3 Build 2600.

01-22-2015, 09:20 PM
The thread is getting clogged with a lot of posts that are not germane to its intent. I recommend a CL move the above discussion to a separate thread in the general forum so as to maintain a good signal-to-noise ratio in this one.

01-23-2015, 09:05 AM
I agree. Actually - why not just remove those posts about Microsoft and XP altogether. I didn't come here to argue about that. So for my posts - please just get rid of them. Thanks! :-)

01-24-2015, 04:27 PM
Back on topic: I was browsing around for a good beginner-level dungeon and wilderness map maker, but I see that CC3 is rather expensive and Dundjinni is giving a SERVICE UNAVAILABLE response.

sooo... Is there something that's maybe a little less robust than CC3 or can someone tell me what happened to Dundjinni? (I don't know if I want it, but I do want to look at it).

cheers. :)

01-24-2015, 05:45 PM
there seems to be a frustrating lack of options here unfortunately. i'm trying to track down dungeonforge.

I've used CC3 before and while it's powerful it's interface is something out of the mid 90s that just kept adding more features. it's also way more geared towards outright cartography rather than building game maps/dungeons, despite the add-ons.

Mark Oliva
01-25-2015, 01:36 AM
Try out Fractal Mapper 8 from NBOS. I've used FM8, Dundjinni, CC DOS, CC2, CC2 Pro and CC3. FM8 will do all that you want, and it's easy to learn, where CC3 has a very high learning curve.

Dundjinni has been mostly out of business for a few years now, and it appears that it went totally out of business a few weeks ago. The Dundjinni website has gone totally dead. Dundjinni is/was a good program for dungeons and battle maps but not particularly well suited for town or overland mapping. The program last was updated 7 years ago, in 2008.

You can evaluate FM8 completely without spending a cent. Just do the following:

1. Download the free trial version at http://www.nbos.com

2. Download the free manual-tutorial PDF at http://www.nbos.com/nox/index.php?action=1001&id=125

3. Download the free raster mapping tutorial at http://www.vintyri.com/vintyri/tu1.htm

The trial version of FM8 is identical to the full version with two exceptions: You can't save files, and you get a smaller symbol library. If, after you've tried FM8, you decide it's not for you, you haven't lost a cent.

01-25-2015, 12:20 PM
Thanks for the info. Someone might want to update the opening posts of this topic so that new folks are not inadvertently misled...

01-26-2015, 02:03 PM
Someone mentioned Inkscape. It is FREE and it will allow you to import images. All you have to do is to go to Google, click on the IMAGES link and type in something like overland mapping. You will get tons of images that you can use. Also try the +FREE clipart rivers (or mountains, valleys, forests, etc....). You will get tons of images. Anyway, Inkscape allows you to use everything as an object. There is also DIA (or is it DAI?). This is a CAD program that also will allow you to import images. Inkscape is more like an art program but with the two you can create anything. What I do on my FRP BBS is I do everything in Visio and then for my users I do the same design in Inkscape and post that (not always but most of the time). This allows the players in my game to move their figures around on the map to show me where they want to stand in relation to the monsters.

I've also used Screen Monkey from NBOS. It is ok but it lacks a lot of features like what Roll20 has. Last, but not least - there is Obsidian Portal. All of these are browser based programs mainly for playing an RPG on. But you can also use them to build maps which is why I even mention them. But for most people starting out I'd recommend Inkscape just to get started. Once you've exceeded what Inkscape can do you can then look into CC3, Fractal Mapper, etc....

01-26-2015, 02:05 PM
By the way - Dundjinni is back up and running! :-)

01-27-2015, 12:25 AM
Sorry - go to Google, click on the Images link. Type in "river art" or "mountain art" or "forest art". At the top there should be a horizontal line of things to select. Select the "ClipArt" option and that will take you to the tons of images that are free. I'm posting this because I tried what I had posted and it was not right. So I went through the steps until I had it down pat. Have fun! :-)

Oh! Also - I don't think anyone has mentioned just using MacPaint or Paint (Windows). Both can also be used to draw maps and other images.

01-29-2015, 05:05 AM
I'm interested in this Cartography software list.

There are so many listed and it is difficult to swim through all the Pros and Cons of each one.

Basically I'm looking for a piece of software that allows me to plug-in some coordinantes x,y,z and then it adds a point.

It's for a game called Entropia Universe where you mine underground. I'm mapping resource depth underground and hoping for a visual representation where people could see where underground resources were found.

01-29-2015, 06:03 AM
Your problem is too simple - no specific cartography software I know would do only that - generally they do more complex things.
What you need is just a small mathematical program like http://k3dsurf.sourceforge.net/

With that you can plot any 3D surfaces you want. F.ex you can consider that every ressource deposit is a small sphere of varying center and radius and this kind of software will plot all the spheres wherever you want them to be.

01-29-2015, 01:33 PM
mind you that k3dsurf is a fork of "opencscad"

and the windows prebuilt "k3dsurf-062.exe" was BUILT in 2007

k3dsurf is 7+ years out of date and might not run on win7 or 8
and will not run on a ARM powered win8 laptop /tablet ( surface)

underground as a whole planet ?
if so then you only need to plot things in the outer 2 % of the sphere

for that i would just use a flat map of the planets surface
and map the depth of things below the surface

something like this maybe
or fig6 here

or if you are looking for something like this
-- image --
-- there are MANY free and GPL'ed software products that can do this like VTK

02-02-2015, 12:45 AM
Thanks for this comprehensive list.

02-07-2015, 11:37 PM
Still finding it hard to find something that suits my needs perfectly. I may be better off going the photoshop route, but one of the simpler ones rather than the "Realistic" ones which would give me a headache.

02-09-2015, 12:53 PM
I tried Dunjinni but it's too slow and clunky and awkward. Dungeonforge has a really nice interface, but an extremely limited tileset :(

02-09-2015, 05:59 PM
Try Inkscape or Dia. Both are free. Inkscape is pretty neat and there is a lot you can do with it. A good idea is to get a screen capture program also (or maybe use Snippy?). Because you can draw something, grab it, and then insert it in to something else. (Or you can just draw something and save it.) Both of these programs are general purpose drawing programs. But if you turn on the grid and do a snap-to-grid option then you can load in tiles as you need them and apply them where you need them. Both programs also have layers so you do the ground, then the walls, then put in trees and lay them on top of the ground. Same with bushes, flowers, stepping stones, etc....

Daxon Khaed
02-13-2015, 08:38 PM
Hello folks Im new here and Im looking for mapping software that I can use to generate maps for a game Im running on fantasy grounds 2. I had dundjinni but apparently that website is so screwed up I cant retrieve my software key from thier store. So I am looking for new software. It needs to have the capability of generating a hex grid, as well as having tilesets for modern and science fiction games. Cost is mildly a concern but if it lets me make what I need I can certainly consider it. Any help would be great.

02-24-2015, 06:49 PM
A hex grid is really simple to make for any software (well - for most software). Check out Visio Guy's (http://www.visguy.com/)website. He has a quick way to do hexes. (Yeah - it is mainly for Visio but it shows you the technic on how to make hex grids.) There are a lot of really great software listed here. If you are looking for something that is free (just try it out or use it) - I would suggest Inkscape. It is a vector and bitmap program. Also, Pencil2D is good (but a bit buggy). The thing about Inkscape is that it would allow you to turn on a grid and adjust it so it fits your grid spacing. (This is a square grid though.) It also has layers so you can create a hex grid (or heck - just go online and download a hex grid), save the hex grid and then load it into a layer. In this way you can display the grid once you are through or overlay everything with the grid so you know you are making everything to scale. Inkscape will import all of the common file formats so all you have to do is to adjust the size of the icons to fit the grid properly, import such things as walls, doors, trees, or basically anything else. They will all become objects in Inkscape and you can drag and drop them where you want them to go.

I use Visio to do a lot of this same thing. You get a nice parchement background (or maybe find some grass), put everything else on top of that - and you have a map. Import the hex grid, send it to the top of the display stack, and it will overlay everything.

The great thing about Visio (or Inkscape) is that you can reload everything in and make changes to everything as needed. So like on one of my maps there was a fight in a forest. The players set the forest on fire. So now the forest on that map is partially burnt out (about two miles worth). To do this I just grabbed all of the trees in that area, went into the picture adjustment area and turned the brightness all the way down. This made all of the trees turn black. Then I just removed about half of the trees by just moving them to another layer and telling that layer not to show up. Suddenly this nice thick forest was a bare, burnt area - except the grass was still green. So I just made a circle, made it partically transparent, made it black, and overlaid the grass with it in that area. Now the grass is a really dark green - almost black - and it looks burnt also.

I use Visio 2003. I say this to tell you that you don't have to have the most current software with all of the bells and whistles. Many people here use older software. It's because then you just pay once for it and never again. Unlike most of the software now being sold where you have to pay for it each month. You can find good deals on Amazon, eBay, and other places. Be aware that the cheap software you see on these locations are usually free software the people are just packaging on CDs and then selling the software cheaply.

Anyway - I'd try out Inkscape. It is fairly good. And also download GIMP. GIMP can help you do textures and there are a lot of really neat modules and plugins that people have posted on here. Like RobA's dungeon maker. A really nice program.

Diego Araujo
03-13-2015, 12:00 PM
I didnt' go through the whole 13 pages of the thread, but just would like to mention which softwares I use for my art and that would be very good for map creation:

2D Digital Painting: GIMP (free and open-source). Yup, most people may have mentioned or be using it.

2D Concept Art: Alchemy (free). Ideal for finding inspiration and shapes from random strokes and other modifications/functions. Never thought of using it for maps, mainly for character concept, but the possibilites are unlimited.

3D Modeling/Animation/Simulation/Game Creation: Blender (free and open source). http://www.blender.org/

3D Fractal Art: Mandelbulber (free). Ideal for generating chaotic images for inspirational work. Some formulas generate very interesting surfaces that could be the base for a city or planet. http://www.mandelbulber.com/

05-27-2015, 08:05 PM
I am looking for the best set up for making various maps for D&D campaigns. I am thinking about getting CC3, CD3, and DD3, (Campaign Cartographer, City Designer, and Dungeon Designer) but I am unsure as to if this is the best choice. I love the style and feel that they offer, although I don't know if that is something that is readily available through the programs or it I need to work with it extensively to be able to achieve that look. If you look at maps of Fearun (Forgotten Realms) http://www.pocketplane.net/volothamp/images/faerunlarge.jpg then you can see the type of feel that I am going for. Ideally, I would have a more aged look to the maps, but that requires more expertise than I have now. I have always just drawn my maps up to this point or printed ones that fit my campaign from google, although I am working on making an extensive campaign setting like Forgotten Realms or DragonLance called Auewk-Nea and it requires that I up my game.

Digression of the original question aside, is there anyone who has used these programs that can tell me how user friendly they are? I am a rather quick learner, but I am learning from scratch without even an iota of pc cartography experience. The closest I have ever come to PC cartography is printing large maps, piecing them together, then taping them. :|

05-27-2015, 08:39 PM
Well, the CC suite of programs are (simplifying here) symbol based with a CAD pedigree waaay back. The style of the symbols used will give you a certain feel to the map. There are a lot of styles available, but I can't tell you if they are available by themselves or bundled with some other styles, or bundled with other stuff. Some people have had problems with the learning curve, while others didn't. It all depends on how your mind works I guess.

If you want to know what can be done with the CC suite, do a search for CC on this site and you should get a very good idea of its capacity.

**EDIT** If you are more of a procedural type of mindset, Gimp is free, and can be considered to be equal in capacity (weaker in some areas, stronger in others) to Photoshop. There are plenty of tutorials here at the Guild for both Gimp and Photoshop. They both have a learning curve that can be intimidating however.

05-27-2015, 09:14 PM
My paycheck is going to be hitting in about 2 hours and I think I am going to get the CC, CD, and DD bundle for $99. I have been looking at different map making programs for a while now (about 2 years on and off if you can believe it) but I was never quite to the point of dedicating myself to this project of mine until now. I have a decent paying job, plenty of time to where I can tinker with the maps, and I want to have my father help me on this project as much as possible while I still have him with me.