View Full Version : [Personal project] VTT map for paintball players in France.

07-03-2011, 11:37 AM
Greetings everyone !
I hope I'm posting in the right section. If not, a word and I'll move my post to a more appropriate place ;)

I'm submitting for your appreciation a personal project I'm working on for the paintball players community I practice with (LARP/Milsim type paintball games), intended to become both a referencing tool for teams wishing to meet other teams and communities, experiment new fields, and fot organizers to help set up large scale campaings.

_ All based on a hexagon-shaped grid, I've isolated eleven field types, from Wasteland (junkyards, or recycled scraps obstacles) to deep forest, and even indoor or caves (yep, we have that type of fields to play in !!:lol:).

_ Each paintball field, wether kindly lent/rented by the owner, or professionnal field, would be described as a cluster of hexagons, based on a rough size estimate, and on its variety, each hexagon showing the type of ground the field has to offer.

_ All these clusters (I intend to reference as many fields as possible) are then to be gathered on a main grid, showing both said fields, and teams location (by its logo/patch or other means).

_ Once this is done, the map, main grid in itself would have to become kind of interactive (still working on a how/what with a computer engineer friend of mine), so any member could click and get intel on the team he wishes to challenge (number of players, type of favourite ground, special characters and so on), and propose a field for said challenge.

I can conceive the amount of work this project involves, but I've been in the paintball playing game since around 4/5 years ago, and organizing scene since about the same time (got the virus right away I might add ...) and I feel now that my knowledge of different fields and people I was led to meet allows me to either do it on my own, or invite organizers friends of mine in the journey, provided all the tools are in place. It's an ambitious project, but don't we need that to drive us ?

So here's what I got so far :

_ In terms of field classifications :


Let's note that all types aren't complete yet, the white doodles are just sketches I drew in my pocket notebook and scanned to fill in blanks. Anyways, it gives a general idea of how the layout would be. Also, I'm thinking of dropping the "field limit" entry, maybe switching it to something else, or making it white, given the dark background. Not sure yet ...

I just realized that forest and deep forest don't look that different when cropped down to a low resolution. I've been working too close to the details and didn't seem to pay enough attention to the overall readability of the tiles. I'll have to fix that ...

So far, just two types of field have been done, regular/mixed forest (and its twin, deep forest) and pinetrees forest (again, with its dense twin) :

Plain, regular forest :

Dense, deep forest :

Fairly spaced pinetrees (often encountered) :

Denser pinetrees


_ What the full grid looks like once all tiles would be assembled :


_ And a rough preview of what the map would look like in the end (not quite sure yet, it is bound to have subtle and/or main changes during the process) :


So, what do you guys think ?

I hope the function/goal of the map itself is clear, although it's still a work in progress, currently submitted to only a few people. It is also still to be cleared by my fellow "coding expert", who has been a great help with this. It will take some time, data gathering, actual mapmaking, glitches fixing and so on, so here is just the embryo of the whole thing. I also intend to add special features in terms of game rules, like special players/team abilities, typical to a field type, and specific to its "controller" during the game, or between games, so lots left to write, sketch and brainstorm on ...

Thanks for any comments ! Cheers !

07-03-2011, 12:28 PM
I think this is pretty cool, nice work.

07-03-2011, 12:52 PM
This looks pretty great. I can't wait to see the entire map filled up so I can see the whole deal.

Steel General
07-04-2011, 08:41 AM
Nicely done, looking forward to seeing more.

07-04-2011, 02:20 PM
Thanks for the comments ! Truly appreciated !

Just added the "urban" field type entry ... and edited the initial post.


Pretty glad about it, I might say ...

Done with sketchup (for the buildings), and photoshop took care of the rest ...

I'm realizing that this project could perfectly fit to the monthly lite challenge, but given the time this thing would take to be fully complete, I'll never make it before the end of July ...
Anyways, If it shows good progress and that I feel like it's worth submitting as an entry, I might do it, enven in a static form ... We'll have to wait and see ...

07-07-2011, 03:14 PM

Just done the semi-urban type field ...


I have a question now ... Is it enough recognizable from the "urban" tile, or should I add more plants, and maybe less buildings ? My head is too much into the work, and I can't decide ...

Now to the hardest part, the wastelands ! Hard finding the proper equilibrium between junk and natural elements, and manage to make each one recogizable (desert, forest, and semi-urban ...)

I'm having problems as well for the indoor tile, I can't seem to find a right way to represent the boundaries without having to put a forest or grass all around ... I'll post an example when I find the time ...

Coming up monday, meeting with the "engineer", to talk abount the feasability of such a project !! wish me luck !:D

07-17-2011, 01:26 PM

Quick note, after seeing the tutorial about deep zoom from MitchPjm, things seem to take a much easier turn, so I might eventually manage this project afterall ! Seems quite easy to mount a zoomable picture, with tags, info and so on ...

Here, just quickly wrapped up the "indoor" tile ... I just hope it's fairly identifiable at small scale, but the zooming ability might solve that issue ...


Only tiles left are the wasteland types now ... I'll might as well be completing the project sooner than expected afterall, provided I don't stumble across some unanticipated technical issues ...:D

07-17-2011, 06:31 PM
This looks great - awesome in fact. In terms of feasibility - its most definitely feasible. If you want a movie of these tiles in a hex grid on a zoom-able map in my app then just shout and ill be glad to show it. I'm pretty certain that MapTool and Fractal Mapper could do this as well if you don't feel like writing a VTT tool from scratch.

07-18-2011, 07:19 PM
Thanks for the comment !
I indeed don't feel like having to plunge myself into a field I'm not (at all) familiar with, so thanks for the tip !

I'm just curious as to what you meant with "a movie of these tiles in a hex grid on a zoom-able map in your app" ... Not sure I understand, sorry for asking ;). But for the sake of it, and of course if it's not too much trouble, I'll be very glad to see that !
Cheers !

07-18-2011, 08:38 PM
Ok, ill put something together and mail a link in the near future.

07-19-2011, 09:34 AM
A movie. Its in XviD format so VLC should play it ok. Its about 20Mb. Its a pit pixellated due to the heavy compression but its not in the app. Its all sharp, smooth and in full color (no banding). Its only pixellated when I open up the Paint app at the end and show the saved picture. I would still recommend looking at MapTool, and Fractal Mapper as well tho. Maybe use this app or FM to make the map and use MapTool to play it as a VTT - I dunno. But I think its better to use one of them instead of writing your own from scratch cos thats a LOT of work.


07-21-2011, 06:11 AM
Hey, thanks a lot ! looked at it a couple of days ago, this software is amazing, and seems to combine everything I'm looking for in a web-based interface for players willing to set up games autonomously.
The only thing is, will it allow the map/the general interface to be uploaded to a site, and played with, without having to download the software in itself ? (correct me if I'm wrong ...)

The thing is that this map/content has to be viewable in any web browser, without having to install any extra-software. Or at least ideally. I know personnally many, if not all of the intended users, and I know that if they have to familiarize themselves with a new program, it will be a major drawback for the project.

Yesterday, I had a quick chat with my friend I talked about in previous posts, and we reached the conclusion that if we want this game setting up tool to be effective, it should be as simple to use as possible, both for the administrative team, and the targeted users. The aim being to give all LARP/Paintball players a platform where they can set up campaings independently from organizers, and staff members. Since I'm not a technical expert in web and information technology, and being quite a newbie in terms of the VTT sphere, I rely on any advice I can get my hands on, even if I only end up doing the graphic part of the project ...

Anyway, I think I'll get one of those tools you hinted me to, just so I gan familiarize myself with the funcionnalities of it, and maybe get new ideas/feedback from it.

Thanks for the tip ! this could become really helpful technically speaking !;)

07-21-2011, 03:11 PM
The software is an app so its not done via the browser. So you could buy one copy and make maps for people and upload the static image but the app is not something thats uploadable to a web site so that people can use it interactively like that. You can use it interactively but only between multiple copies of the app linked up on the net. If you have a lot of people to service then there is MapTool which is somewhat similar but it is free. I am not familiar with it enough to know how it handles hex tiles and overlays like that but I would expect it to do a somewhat similar result to mine. It again is not a web interfaced thing and it is also an app in its own right so people would have to learn how to use these apps in order to do this.

My app does include a web server so it can serve the map as images only. I.e. not interactive in any way. But one person could make the map and other people could look at it. To do this the application needs to stay running on someones windows PC in case anyone points their browser at your IP address.

If it had to be browser based and interactive then I think maybe you would still need to develop something for the browser. There are VTTs that use the browser but as yet I dont know of any that can do the zooming and all the overlays like that via the browser. Saying that, when I wrote mine it was 6-8 years ago and we have webGL and better Flash now. I am sure it could be done. If I had to do it then I think I would consider AJAX + WebGL so thats my best tip tho I am not a web dev.

Have a play with MapTool next and try to set it up so that its hex based and add some icons/tokens/images or whatever terminology they use for your hex tiles and see how easy it is to use it to make the map. All VTTs are interactive over the net but only a few use a web browser to view it with. MapTool is a stand alone app like mine. There is Fractal Mapper as well tho I have not heard about any feature that could link up multiple copies over the net to do multi user map making.

There's a program called Hexographer which I think is free and allows you to make hex maps too tho I don't think it will allow tinted overlays and I am fairly sure it does not do a zoom map interface.

So in summary:

a) Mine as shown. Can make the map and do it interactively if you get loads of copies of it. Could also save out the map image and upload it to a website. Could upload to the web on a zoom interface like the silverlight or google maps interface.

b) MapTool. Like a) but free so could distribute loads of copies. Again - not browser based so only final image upload to web site if must use browser.

c) Hexographer / Gimp - Allows you to draw the map and also free. Not net connected so must upload final image to web site.

d) Fractal Mapper - Not free but has zoom interface. No net support (I believe) so again, final result uploaded to web site.

e) Google Maps / Silverlight - Browser based but uses a static image. Cant interact the map design but would be zoomable. You need to generate the map yourself - using ViewingDale, MapTool, Hexographer, FM, Gimp etc whatever

f) Design own website hack with Ajax + WebGL / Javascript CSS etc. Could be made interactive, designable and via the browser but lots of work.

08-04-2011, 05:47 AM
Haven't had much time to post here, but a quick WIP, just finished the wasteland, desert type tile :


And thanks for that extensive review Redrobes ! that gave me a good global understanding and outline of what might be possible, feasable, and/or just plain difficult to realize. It was very useful to know all that when I met with my friend, and although we talked a lot, we still haven't concluded on an appropriate method for that project. At the very least, I think I'll start with a browser based zoomable map app, maybe with tags, and a message board interface connected to the "game masters/organizers" who will then be able to set up games and strategies. Maybe a little less "real time" as I expected, but still a cool project to work on.

08-04-2011, 03:56 PM
That looks like a fun place to play around in.

08-10-2011, 04:14 AM
Looks like, indeed, but It's all a matter of taste. Here, this type of field is very, very common, because cheaply fitted out with scraps, recycled wooden planks, found tires and pretty much anything that's not dangerous and can be found in a scrapyard. Some have clever set ups, and some don't, so I guess it's all about how much thinking the owner put into his field layout. But after a couple of years, and seeing this type of field all over the place, I think I'd prefer playing in a nice, deep, and vast forest. But hey, that's just me ;)

Anyways, Thanks for the comment (coming from you, whose work I'm just starting to discover ...) It means a lot !
At least, it shows that the tile "works" in a way ...

all the elements were drawn on sketchup, then exported on a Jpeg to photoshop. Adding the mood wansn't too hard, given all the textures, effects, and means available nowadays.

Still having a hard time figuring out an "interactive" way to show it, or at least a way to make it work without having to constantly monitor the players community's activity (that was initially the main goal, to give the players a tool so they could organize their own games, without necessarily having to rely on an organizing team who would like to rest from time to time ...:P)
I guess in the end, I'll just settle with a "zoomable" version of the map, and try later to find a way to add an interface to it.

I think next step, after the two or three remaining tiles are done, will be the global assembly of it. I've already tried a few quick ones, but still am not satisfied with the overall result. I'll try to post a couple of different versions in the near future.
Cheers !