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Chgowiz
05-07-2008, 06:02 PM
Hi, I'm Neurowiz - the guy who apparently skipped right past the introductions and jumped straight into "WTHamIdoing" kinda questions. :)

I have always, always, wanted to draw. I'm terrible at it. Give me a pen and paper and I can whip out a story, but drawing, I end up looking like a 3rd grader in an earthquake. My stick figures pull themselves off the page and run away in shame.

But I love to try anyway, and as a young lad (heh, I sound so old saying 'lad') I found that some of the best parts of D&D were making maps of twisty passages... many alike.

I tried Dunjinni back in '04/'05, dropped it for awhile, and now that I'm getting back into gaming, and on Linux, I wanted to try my hand at mapping. So here I am, courtesy of Butch Curry who directed me here (his videos are to blame. Yes. All of them. My wife will be emailing him shortly...).

Thanks for the help so far and I look forward to getting good enough to participate in one of your contests. There is truly some magnificent work here and I hope to learn enough on my ancient GIMP installation to get half as good.

I currently use GIMP 2.2 on Ubuntu 6.10. I use a creaky mouse that I want to shoot, but justifying a tablet on top of the other stuff I'm collecting would be a task.

That's about it.. howdy!

Regards,
Neurowiz

ravells
05-08-2008, 06:26 AM
Hi there Neuro! Seems a bit late to welcome you to the Guild since you've made yourself at home here already, but thanks for the brief bio! Butch Curry's mapping video tutorials are excellent. I've been through them all twice!

NeonKnight
05-08-2008, 12:27 PM
Welcome to the group. Another old timer for D&D!

RobA
05-08-2008, 12:37 PM
Howdy Neurowiz-

Two suggestions - upgrade GIMP as 2.4 has a lot of great improvements - the biggest that would help is brush scaling.

And look for a used tablet on craigslist or kijiji. I picked up an older graphire 3 6"x8" for under $100 cdn.

-Rob A>

Chgowiz
05-08-2008, 12:52 PM
@ravells - Yea, babbling unfortunately. I looked at my tree pattern thing and said "Man, I am *such* a dork - everyone probably knows this and I posted the equivalent of how to breathe... " but I'm in awe of everyone's ability on here. Figured the best way to learn is jump in.

@neonknight - Your avatar. Have it, I must. I think I'll scan in something from the old blue book box set that I just bought from ebay...

@RobA
Oh, both good suggestions. I *think* I managed to update my Ubuntu with an older enough GTK so that it doesn't break old Ubuntu but it supports 2.4.5 - I have it now running. Man, the brush scaling is a killer and I love the jitter and the support of PS brushes. Now I have to relearn selections...

That's a good idea about the tablets. Thanks!

Midgardsormr
05-08-2008, 01:29 PM
There are people of all kinds of different skill levels here, and some who may be virtuosos with one package might be complete novices with another, so any and all advice is welcome, no matter how elementary or how advanced.

I am fairly inexperienced with every program, so I find pretty much every tip valuable. So don't ever hesitate to share a technique because you think it's too basic!

NeonKnight
05-08-2008, 02:09 PM
The avatar was made by the Folks at Wizards of the Coast the day of Gary's Passing, they have I think 9 different ones.

this is my Avatar on the WotC Boards

apotheon
05-08-2008, 03:10 PM
now that I'm getting back into gaming, and on Linux, I wanted to try my hand at mapping.

I just started trying in earnest to create maps for a new PathfinderRPG campaign (you might call Pathfinder "D&D 3.6", since it's an OGL game picking up where 3.5 left off rather than trying to emulate video games and collectible card games the way D&D 4.0 is doing). I'm in sort of the opposite circumstance from yours, though -- I've been using FreeBSD for some years, and Linux (mostly Debian) for some years before that, and have been playing D&D since a decade or so before there was a 2nd Edition, but only started playing with digital gameworld cartography, um, yesterday.


I currently use GIMP 2.2 on Ubuntu 6.10. I use a creaky mouse that I want to shoot, but justifying a tablet on top of the other stuff I'm collecting would be a task.

I'm using GIMP 2.4.5 myself. I should probably look into Inkscape as well, but I'm somewhat comfortable with GIMP, and not so much with Inkscape, so I guess I'm not likely to give that a go for a while. It shouldn't be difficult at all to move up to GIMP 2.4.x on your Ubuntu machine, as long as you have a broadband (cable or DSL) Internet connection. You might want to consider moving up.

I don't know that I'll ever get a tablet for cartography purposes. My ultimate aim is to come up with ways to create maps that look good without having to do any actual "drawing" to speak of.

Anyway . . . just figured I'd post something in your introductory thread here, since we seem to have some things in common with what we're doing (open source OS, open source image editing tools, no tablet, new to this stuff in some way).

Chgowiz
05-08-2008, 03:31 PM
@Midgardsormr - I 'grew up' in the hoary ages of Usenet - there was a method and manners to posting questions/techniques. I'm always leery of the audience and besides, I didn't want to see presumptuous. Making trees is hard for me, but maybe it's just me. LOL...

@Neonknight - Oh that's great! I've managed to score a box with the original chits. The box has crushed edges, but when I reopen the blue book, much squeeing will be had.

@apotheon - the issue with upgrading was that the Ubuntu 6.10 repos have been closed to updates for awhile. And while I can download/configure/make/install, my worry was updating the underlying gtk libraries and other libs. I don't fully grok ldconfig/so's so well, and trying to add the new libs so I could compile/install 2.4.5 was giving me the heebies - I couldn't just uninstall the old libs without uninstalling 3/4s of my other programs. Fortunately, no grue has eaten me or my install, so things seem to be going OK with the update- although I still wonder if the old libs are coexisting OK with the new. I'm happy with the stability of 6.10, so I've not upgraded the base OS in awhile.

I haven't looked at Pathfinder, I'm still trying to catch up to how complex 3.0/3.5 is. That's why I love microlite20 - you can use the SRD and the stuff in it, but you're not involved in the complexity. I'm curious to see what happens with 4.x.

Neurowiz

NeonKnight
05-08-2008, 03:39 PM
I remember I had the blue box with the chits (ahhh, chits) and I had to cut the chits all out cause I didn't have dice at the tender age of 12.

Then many years later I was walking past a second hand bookstore and I saw it in the window, so I bought it, and IT STILL HAD THE UNCUT CHITS! GLEEE!

Ah, such memories. Have some rep!

Redrobes
05-08-2008, 04:08 PM
Whilst we're reminiscing... is NeonKnight a reference to the Judge Dredd group and have you played the board game for that ? It's awesome...

RobA
05-08-2008, 04:33 PM
apotheon - The best use I get from inkscape is path and text drawing (the tools are MUCH better than GIMP). I pull a flattened rater file into inkscape, draw all the paths (for things like rivers, roads, country lines, and curved text along paths) and either:
1) save it as svg then import it back into GIMP using te import option from the path menu
or 2) save just the paths/text/whatever as a transparent png (export bitmap) and load it back into GIMP as a new layer.

-Rob A>

NeonKnight
05-08-2008, 04:49 PM
Whilst we're reminiscing... is NeonKnight a reference to the Judge Dredd group and have you played the board game for that ? It's awesome...

*grumble grumble, will I ever learn to stop hitting the edit button and just hit quote, grumble grumble*


No, its a play on Neon Night's, and a bit of an Hommage to the movie Knight Riders, and finally I had a Super Hero character in a game of GURPS Champions called the Neon Knight who rode a motorcycle and was dressed in Neon Green Techno Armor.

apotheon
05-08-2008, 05:17 PM
@apotheon - the issue with upgrading was that the Ubuntu 6.10 repos have been closed to updates for awhile. And while I can download/configure/make/install, my worry was updating the underlying gtk libraries and other libs. I don't fully grok ldconfig/so's so well, and trying to add the new libs so I could compile/install 2.4.5 was giving me the heebies - I couldn't just uninstall the old libs without uninstalling 3/4s of my other programs. Fortunately, no grue has eaten me or my install, so things seem to be going OK with the update- although I still wonder if the old libs are coexisting OK with the new. I'm happy with the stability of 6.10, so I've not upgraded the base OS in awhile.

Ah, I hadn't realized 6.10's software archives were already "frozen". Under the circumstances, it looks like what you're doing ("if it ain't broke, don't fix it") is the most reasonable course of action. I'm sure your version of the GIMP will serve you well, anyway -- the major tools are there.

For upgrading my own system to a new OS version, I think I'm going to start by using an unformatted section of the hard drive to install the new version, so that I can "dual-boot" between different versions of the same OS (FreeBSD), then gradually migrate stuff across. Because I have my home directory on a separate slice (what Linux people would call a partition, though "partition" has a slightly different meaning in the BSD Unix world), I can just mount it within the filesystem for the newer install and get most of my stuff into the new system without any issues. That's one of the benefits of using OSes (like various Linux distros and BSD Unix systems) that organize their filesystems like this.


I haven't looked at Pathfinder, I'm still trying to catch up to how complex 3.0/3.5 is. That's why I love microlite20 - you can use the SRD and the stuff in it, but you're not involved in the complexity. I'm curious to see what happens with 4.x.

I'm personally not much of a fan of what I've seen for 4.x so far, including the new licensing (they're ditching the OGL for some newfangled thing that is more restrictive, and requires a publisher to forever forsake the OGL if they want to publish 4th Edition materials). That's one of the reasons I like Pathfinder. Another is that Pathfinder is actually solving some of the issues I've had with 3.x in the past -- it really does seem to be an improvement, rather than a replacement with some new issues of its own (like 4.x looks to be).

Pathfinder is intended to be backward-compatible with D&D 3.x, so it can be used without any real difficulty. Some things are actually simplified (no more addition and division necessary to determine maximum ranks for skills, for instance) -- and it's being offered as a free download in Alpha and Beta testing stages until they decide to release the final product, so it doesn't cost anything to get involved.

Hm. I'll stop talking about that now, and let the discussion get back to cartography. Pathfinder just excites me about fantasy RPGs in a way that nothing else has since 2nd Edition AD&D came out.

So . . . where did this tree tutorial thing end up? I haven't seen it yet.

Chgowiz
05-08-2008, 07:57 PM
@NeonKnight - Oh yea... I remember using those darn things until I could afford to bike my young teen rear up to the game store and actually buy the dice. Man, those were the days of fear and almost like opening a book and reading arcane lore that just fired the imagination. Heck, I might wax poetic, get the tissues out...

And thanks. :)

@RobA - man, is there anything you know how to do that doesn't sound cool? I just learned Quick Masks and thought I was the coolest... talk about deflation LOL

@apothesis - they still do security updates, but Ubuntu is on a 6 month release cycle - so once the new version comes out, the older repos either get backports, community contributions or security, but the majority of stuff is locked.

I did update my GIMP to 2.4 - some really cool stuff in there. Except for that and maybe Firefox 3 or updates to the Thunderbird, I've not done too much mucking around with the guts and libraries. I like stable for my home system. I leave the bleeding edge for my VMs on my work machine. GIMP definitely has some cool new tools to play with. I'm starting to wonder about that cheap $40 tablet I saw on craigslist...

The tree thing.. it's here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showpost.php?p=19398&postcount=5). It's more of a 'if you struggle like I do with trees, here's how I'm making myself happy now.'.

(and it sounds like exactly how I feel about microlite20... something to get excited about ... erm... gaming related. Heh.)

Neurowiz

RobA
05-08-2008, 08:50 PM
@RobA - man, is there anything you know how to do that doesn't sound cool? I just learned Quick Masks and thought I was the coolest... talk about deflation LOL

Don't sweat it... I've been working the GIMP/Inkscape workflow a while now and have learned by trial and error, mainly.

And don't sell yourself short on quickmasks. Lots of people have no idea of the power in that innocuous little red box icon :)

Xeviat (if you see this): Quickmasks are a third way to easily create a variable blur... Way more control than just feathering a selection...

-Rob A>

Chgowiz
05-08-2008, 11:25 PM
Xeviat (if you see this): Quickmasks are a third way to easily create a variable blur... Way more control than just feathering a selection...

-Rob A>

Is that because you can 'paint' in the quickmask?

Man, if I had know about this, those dungeon maps would been a lot easier. *sigh* Live and learn.

Oh, and I found an old RS232/serial Intuos(?) 6x8 for $40. Craigslist. Dude, I owe you some serious beer now. Coming to Chicago anytime soon to collect? ;)

Neurowiz

RobA
05-08-2008, 11:52 PM
Is that because you can 'paint' in the quickmask?

Man, if I had know about this, those dungeon maps would been a lot easier. *sigh* Live and learn.

Oh, and I found an old RS232/serial Intuos(?) 6x8 for $40. Craigslist. Dude, I owe you some serious beer now. Coming to Chicago anytime soon to collect? ;)

Neurowiz

Yep. Quickmask turns the selection (effectively) into a 8 bit greyscale image. Pretty much anything you can to to a greyscale image (paint, smudge, erase, filters, etc.) you can do to the selection via quickmask.

Chicago, eh? I'll be in Albany next week. Guess that is the wrong direction from here :)

-Rob A>

apotheon
05-09-2008, 02:04 PM
By the way, RobA . . . I'll probably be revisiting your comments here as soon as I get around to playing with Inkscape for cartography purposes.

Gamerprinter
05-10-2008, 02:31 AM
Belated hello to your belated intro!

You're from Chicago, eh? I'm about 90 miles southwest of you, in Ottawa. You're about the closest member to where I'm at, yet. 8)

Welcome!

Chgowiz
05-11-2008, 05:36 PM
Yup, about 30 min north of Chicago, near the WI border. Good to see someone else from this crazy state! :)