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View Full Version : Any general tips, techniques, or guidance on hex maps?



Sigmund
02-24-2012, 09:02 AM
I'm a new guy, so hey :) Not sure if this the correct subforum for this, but figured it was a good place to start. I have Hexographer Pro and plan to start my map making with some hex maps, which I love anyway. I'd love any tips or guidance folks have on hex maps such as 5-mile hex vs. 6-mile hex, what all info do you include on the map (i.e. do you include political boundaries, trade info, etc...), how much do you take real world geography into account, or anything else anyone can think of. Thanks for this fantastic resource, and I look forward to soaking in as much of ya'all's skill and experience as I can.

dangerdog15
02-26-2012, 04:37 PM
As far as what to include on the map, that's up to you. It all depends on what you're looking for, and the purpose of your map. Most map-makers will tell you that real world geography is important to take into consideration. Unless your world is "fantastical" in nature, and defies logic. Keep in mind the natural flow of rivers, as this is very important. River placement can be a hard lesson for first time mappers, so search the forum for tutorials.

Good luck, and have fun!

Sigmund
02-26-2012, 06:17 PM
As far as what to include on the map, that's up to you. It all depends on what you're looking for, and the purpose of your map. Most map-makers will tell you that real world geography is important to take into consideration. Unless your world is "fantastical" in nature, and defies logic. Keep in mind the natural flow of rivers, as this is very important. River placement can be a hard lesson for first time mappers, so search the forum for tutorials.

Good luck, and have fun!

Thanks for reminding me about the rivers. I do indeed want to try to make my geography as "realistic" as possible. I've actually been looking at real world maps for guidance on mountain placement and transition forom one typ of terrain to another. I will also start looking at rivers and how they flow. I don't want to obsess about it, but I do want to make the suspension of disbelief as easy as possible for my players.

Lukc
02-27-2012, 02:37 AM
Depends on how you're going to use the hexes and at what density. In general, hexes are just a different kind of grid, which you use to determine the general form and layout of an area. If you're using it for wargaming, you have to decide whether you're going to put rivers at the borders of hexes or not - which determines the overall level of abstraction of the map.

In general, hexes are a really cool and simple way to make pretty useful maps for wilderness adventures. I really should do one again ...

Sigmund
02-27-2012, 09:10 AM
It'll actually be for RPGing, hexcrawling with Openquest most likely. I was just thinking about whether i would want to run rivers along the hex borders or not. I'm thinking I will just draw them to look good and not worry about hex borders, but I'm not sure as this will be my first hex map.

jazzon
03-07-2012, 08:07 PM
Some points to note.
Rivers flow where they do because of elevation changes that much is obvious, but the part that is often missed is the "path of least resistance" issue. Water will run down a mountain (especially if a glacial peak or seasonally iced/snowed peak) to river at the base. But the river wont flow away from the mountain until it has traveled along the base of the mountain for a ways. The weight of the water is not enough for it to force a new path yet, so it follows the easy path where the stone of the mountain turns to softer earth (usually with a layer of stone just beneath preventing further draining).

All mountains are surrounded by foothills. Usually steep sided hills which flow at uneven elevations into one another. While that is true in reality, if you put them all on a map it quickly becomes overwhelmingly busy, and the hills dominate what the viewer percieves. Place your larger foothills deliberately, and leave the lesser ones implied, dont actually render every part of the range.

Regardless of climate, broadleaf deciduous plants require a lot more water than conifers (needle leaved plants like pines). And conifers survive well in colder climates. So even in south american jungles, as altitude increases the amount of broadleaf plants decreases, then conifers begin to dominate. As the altitude decreases, the broadleaved ones become dominant, and thick and heavy near lakes and streams.

Grasslands tend to show up
1)where water and temperature dont allow for broad leafed plants, but winds and weather dont allow for conifer seeds to take hold. (High Plateaus)
2)The overall weather is warm enough for plants, but the growing season is too short for trees to gain a measure of maturity before the snow flies. (Think Siberia. Yes there are forests there, adn big ones at that, but the tree types are all stunted pines and large shrubs)
3) Where there just isnt enough water for trees (African savannahs)

You said you wanted some realism :) Hope it helps.

jazzon
03-07-2012, 08:09 PM
Oh yeah....

Rivers on borders question. Rivers crossing borders is easy, but if you plan on making these as geomorphs, rivers flowing along the edge mean you need way more geopmorphs that are very specific, and not as easily switched out.

Sigmund
03-07-2012, 10:12 PM
Oh yeah....

Rivers on borders question. Rivers crossing borders is easy, but if you plan on making these as geomorphs, rivers flowing along the edge mean you need way more geopmorphs that are very specific, and not as easily switched out.

Great stuff, thanks very much. That gives me loads to think about.

Voll-ka the Deceiver
03-08-2012, 10:33 AM
Hey, Sigmund. I'm new here as well. In fact this is only my fourth post so far. Very long story made short, my wife just taught me how to go on line (bet you don't here that much these days) and this is the first sight I signed up for. You see, I've been gaming in general and been fascinated with mapping specifically for many years now (over 30 I think). With this wonderful new tool at my disposal, I see it is time to put down my hammer and chisel and step up my game. To the point then. Like yourself I have a taste for hex maps. I have hundreds of them drawn by hand over the years, and am currently compiling them with the final goal (much like yourself) to post it for the 'guild' to review and help me with. And so I reply to you not to give advise or suggest technical specifics (there are plenty of people here who are far more experienced and qualified at this than I am) but perhaps to trade some ideas on how to lay out the geography of you,re map and maximize its playable value based on some of my own successes and failures over the years (like being careful where you put a volcano - but that's another story). Anyway, I look forward to seeing some of your results and discussing them with you.

Sigmund
03-08-2012, 10:49 AM
Hey there, looking forward to seeing your work. I always welcome suggestions on laying out geography, and playable value is the number one priority for me. I definitely want to read the volcano story :)

jesuisbenjamin
04-02-2012, 06:27 AM
There are two basic kinds of hex maps:
1. hex-grid overlay
2. hex-grid tiling

The first's a simple map with a hex grid op top that you use as a measure of distance. The second has its elements contained within the hex-tiles.

You should also consider how you will use the map, most importantly whether it will be a digital, interactive map or a fixed image.