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Terokai
05-17-2012, 05:12 PM
Hey all,

So I am running a campaign and I love making maps but trying to find exact tokens or landscapes buildings or maps in general is a real pain. I would love to make most of my own stuff but I am rather new to the field. The current program I am using is maptool because hey, its free. Any suggestions for programs that work well with maptool / can replace it for generating maps?

Thanks

Jacktannery
05-17-2012, 05:51 PM
The Gimp will make better maps than maptool, and it is also free, however it is more complicated. If you love making maps then I recommend you download Gimp and slowly get used to it - a very good way (how I did it) is to work through the great gimp tutorials - notably this one: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?1142-Award-Winner-Using-GIMP-to-Create-an-Artistic-Regional-RPG-Map and JFrazier's layer mask tutorial http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?3143-Award-Winner-Explanation-of-Layer-Masks-in-GIMP(and-PS). The first tutorial is very complicated and long but will teach you loads of great techniques. The second tutorial is absolutely critical - make sure to read on to pages 2 and 3 and follow JFrazier's instructions on making a Creek map - that will totally change the way you make maps forever. After those two, you'll have become a map-making genius.

Terokai
05-17-2012, 05:53 PM
Thanks for the Links these will help a ton!

jfrazierjr
05-17-2012, 08:21 PM
Hey all,

So I am running a campaign and I love making maps but trying to find exact tokens or landscapes buildings or maps in general is a real pain. I would love to make most of my own stuff but I am rather new to the field. The current program I am using is maptool because hey, its free. Any suggestions for programs that work well with maptool / can replace it for generating maps?

Thanks

I have done some of the development in MapTool over the past few years, so I have a rather important question you need to answer before you continue. What is your intended use of the maps you make? If it's MapTool , then you should likely NOT use GIMP to make large maps since they will eat up your system RAM in MapTool and worse if your playing over the net would be huge and take a long time to download to clients. MapTool works best when using a fairly small number of tileable textures or png "objects" that are "tiles".

Now, if you want to make something for a website, general computer viewing, or printing then GIMP is free and really good piece of software.

jfrazierjr
05-17-2012, 08:22 PM
The Gimp will make better maps than maptool, and it is also free, however it is more complicated. If you love making maps then I recommend you download Gimp and slowly get used to it - a very good way (how I did it) is to work through the great gimp tutorials - notably this one: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?1142-Award-Winner-Using-GIMP-to-Create-an-Artistic-Regional-RPG-Map and JFrazier's layer mask tutorial http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?3143-Award-Winner-Explanation-of-Layer-Masks-in-GIMP(and-PS). The first tutorial is very complicated and long but will teach you loads of great techniques. The second tutorial is absolutely critical - make sure to read on to pages 2 and 3 and follow JFrazier's instructions on making a Creek map - that will totally change the way you make maps forever. After those two, you'll have become a map-making genius.

Wow... thanks for the endorsement Jack.... I appreciate it....

Terokai
05-17-2012, 08:31 PM
I am using it to run a DnD game right now with a couple of friends usually over lan

Jacktannery
05-18-2012, 04:12 AM
Although Jfrazier is correct, at the end of the day the maps you make in GIMP are always going to look better than the maps you make in Maptool, because you have so much more control. It's true that the GIMP map files will be much larger, but you can save copies of these as JPGs which will reduce them to easily manageable sizes for Maptool use.

If you don't like making maps and you think it is a bit of an ordeal and just want to get it over with, Maptool is perfect. On the other hand, if you want to be pushed, to learn new stuff, and if you love spending ages over maps and want each map to be better than the last one, than you need to move on to the GIMP (for map creation - the maps still end up in Maptool for your games).

Redrobes
05-18-2012, 07:02 AM
If your playing over LAN then there is no bandwidth issues so make any kind of map using any kind of image editor with a variety of image tokens for the bits which might move. If your playing over a wider area network like an internet connection then it might be prudent to either a) make it with tiles like jfraz said or make the map bases downloadable before the games start and trust your players not to look at them before hand. If you cant trust them then just encrypt the files with something dead simple like bcrypt and hand out the passwords at play time and decrypt some of the bigger files "just in time".

Jaxilon
05-18-2012, 10:00 AM
And if you notice them making a beeline for the treasure room just fry them hardcore and say "Well, the gods thought you were cheating and that just can't be tolerated." :D

Terokai
05-18-2012, 12:12 PM
Ha! sounds like a plan. I started working on jfrazierjr's tutorial last night an it was a ton of fun. Thanks for the input guys!

jfrazierjr
05-18-2012, 07:53 PM
make the map bases downloadable before the games start and trust your players not to look at them before hand. If you cant trust them then just encrypt the files with something dead simple like bcrypt and hand out the passwords at play time and decrypt some of the bigger files "just in time".


And if you notice them making a beeline for the treasure room just fry them hardcore and say "Well, the gods thought you were cheating and that just can't be tolerated." :D


Which is why I tend to prefer tiles for any VTT rather than big ole JPEG's. Not only will they (at least with MapTool) use up less memory if done well, they won't give anything away since you might see the walls and floor 'parts', but you still don't know how they fit together. Kind of like a 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle with no reference image(oh.. and all the sides are square, so you can't even start the outline with any sense of sureness....)

hmm.. did I say how much I like tiles???