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Thorf
06-02-2008, 09:21 PM
This is part of my project to map the world of Mystara. My first task has been producing high quality replicas of the original hex maps. Each area is often covered by a number of different maps, each of which is slightly different. The final goal is to produce a totally consistent set of maps at various scales incorporating all of the details and information from each source.

I find that the process of recreating each map makes me aware of the inconsistencies in a way that studying them just can't compete with. Plus remaking them is rather fun.

First, here are the replicas for the original 8 mile per hex map that came in GAZ1 The Grand Duchy of Karameikos. The first map uses my own colour scheme, which I will keep consistent in all my maps, while the second is designed to be as close to the colours of the original printed map as possible.

Thorf
06-02-2008, 09:35 PM
I made both maps in Adobe Illustrator CS2, using custom-designed symbols and brushes, and layers for each different element on the map.

I recreated the symbols from the original art, using mostly the pencil and shape tools. Having them as vector art means it's easy to resize, which is rather useful. Each symbol is made up of a coloured hexagon with various lines and shapes placed on top of it.

The actual map is made up of a grid of hexagon shapes (dark grey at 80% transparency) overlaid on top of a corresponding grid of blank symbols (made up of the same hex shape but with no fill or stroke).

Originally when I started mapping in Illustrator 8, I found that placing the hexes together was very time-consuming, and at that time there were no symbols - every hex was just a copy of the original art. So now I have the grid pre-made, and draw the map by choosing some hexes and changing their symbol in the symbol palette.

I can provide more details if anyone is interested.

Thorf
06-02-2008, 09:40 PM
Next, here is the latest version of my updated map.

You can see that I am only including the country in question. This is actually my biggest problem so far: how to include neighbouring countries without having to duplicate the same elements in every map featuring those parts. The reason I want to avoid duplication is that if I find any mistakes, they would then have to be corrected in all the files with the relevant part, as opposed to just one file.

Changing the updated map to show the countries around about is a big priority for me.

You can see the makeup of the map in the PDF file, which I believe also includes the layers.

I would love to have some advice on my techniques, and I'm always open to any ideas for how to improve my maps.

Edit: You can see that this image is an older version, with the brighter palette that I initially used. The current version of the palette is actually the very first image in this thread. It's more subdued and easier on the eyes.

Sigurd
06-02-2008, 11:22 PM
I don't usually like hex style maps but these are the nicest example I've seen.

Good luck with this. It looks really good!

Sigurd

I'm interested to see your symbols and CS2 magic :)

Thorf
06-03-2008, 12:02 AM
I should have mentioned: you can get my mapping kit here:

http://mystara.thorf.co.uk/mappingcs2.zip

Turgenev
06-03-2008, 02:33 AM
Very nice! とてもすきです。 I do have a small soft spot for Mystara but I'm not that knowledgeable about the world (just what I know from X1 Isle of Dread and a few of the Gazeteers). ;)

delgondahntelius
06-03-2008, 06:04 AM
X1!!! one of the first adventures I ever ran as a DM ... think it was the first one I ran... love that advenuture...

Thorf, great maps... they do justice to the the maps of old... though I'll probably never map with hexes I do try to pick up every hint I can of illustrator mapping ... I'm still getting the hang of it, but so far it rocks for mapping... So please feel free to throw up some tutorials in the tutorials section ... I forsee that I will be using it quite a bit for VTT mapping almost as much as PS

:D the maps are really

Redrobes
06-03-2008, 08:02 AM
You can see that I am only including the country in question. This is actually my biggest problem so far: how to include neighbouring countries without having to duplicate the same elements in every map featuring those parts. The reason I want to avoid duplication is that if I find any mistakes, they would then have to be corrected in all the files with the relevant part, as opposed to just one file.Another man desperately in need of looking at my ViewingDale I think... ;)

NeonKnight
06-03-2008, 11:22 AM
Ahh, yes X1 - Isle of Dread, or Basic D&D's answer to Let's do a King Kong Themed Adventure. I so loved that adventure.

Arkkeeper
06-03-2008, 12:13 PM
Thorf, those are awesome. just a little critque, I looked at my physical copies and on the old map the three tree forest is slightly darker, the sandy hills have just a touch of green, and to my eyes the swamp is a bit more purple than grey. but anyways that doesn't matter, there still awesome. keep it up, and y'know you need to do Republic of Darokin soon, one of my fav's. thanx man, here to help.

delgondahntelius
06-03-2008, 06:30 PM
Ahh, yes X1 - Isle of Dread, or Basic D&D's answer to Let's do a King Kong Themed Adventure. I so loved that adventure.

I thought the king kong themed adventure was WG6 Isle of the Ape ... :D

mathuwm
06-03-2008, 07:31 PM
Next, here is the latest version of my updated map.

You can see that I am only including the country in question. This is actually my biggest problem so far: how to include neighbouring countries without having to duplicate the same elements in every map featuring those parts. The reason I want to avoid duplication is that if I find any mistakes, they would then have to be corrected in all the files with the relevant part, as opposed to just one file.
.

Why not make a huge map in illustrator with everything on it and save individual areas when needed as pdf files. the pdf file will be cropped to the page size

Thorf
06-03-2008, 07:34 PM
Thorf, those are awesome. just a little critque, I looked at my physical copies and on the old map the three tree forest is slightly darker, the sandy hills have just a touch of green, and to my eyes the swamp is a bit more purple than grey. but anyways that doesn't matter, there still awesome. keep it up, and y'know you need to do Republic of Darokin soon, one of my fav's. thanx man, here to help.

Thanks for the advice. I think I got the colour scheme from a scan, but it wasn't one I made myself, and I don't think the colours were quite right. I should go back and revise it now that I have a scanner.

Of course, matching printed matter with colours on the screen exactly is hard if not impossible. I don't expect it to be perfect, just to evoke a feeling of nostalgia for the originals. :)

In any case I'll post the revised version when I get it done, and thank you kindly for commenting. It's so much easier to criticise your maps when you see them through other people's eyes. :D

Thorf
06-03-2008, 07:39 PM
Why not make a huge map in illustrator with everything on it and save individual areas when needed as pdf files. the pdf file will be cropped to the page size

This is exactly what I tried to do originally, but unfortunately my computer was not up to it. Illustrator (at least on my computer) really struggles and slows down to a crawl for the huge maps, meaning that any editing at all takes ages. I also tried making an Illustrator file with all of the maps placed as linked files, which worked okay until I saved it and tried to load it up again; it didn't load. It's frustrating when the technology isn't up to what you want to do with it, and that's the major reason why I took a break for the last two years from my mapping project.

That said, I've just ordered a new computer, and I'm going to upgrade to CS3 sometime soon, so I'll be interested to see how it deals with it then. It may yet end up being the solution I'm looking for.

Redrobes
06-03-2008, 08:14 PM
Well i'll say it one last time. ViewingDale would eat this for breakfast. You would have unlimited mapping area and scale. It has hex maps which could be matched to your maps. It would probably work with your old PC if it had a graphics card with > 32Mb of ram on it. Theres a free demo and some movies to look at to see it going on the link in sig. You could map in illustrator or photoshop and export smaller parts of your map to keep your speed up when editing them and then align them up on a hex grid just like I am doing in the co-op map world here (http://www.viewing.ltd.uk/Temp/CG/ThinkBig/Region/MappedTiles.png) on this site using the square grid. Post up/me some big maps which should join up and ill make a movie demo...

Arkkeeper
06-03-2008, 08:43 PM
Thorf I'll take some picture's of some of the maps you probably don't have, at least real images them at least. I just recently hung up my Hollow World world maps which show the outer world and the inner world. as well as precataclysmic outer world and post (the post has migration patters, yay!). and lets see... it's got a cross-section of the worlds mass showing how the pole holes work and it's got images of both poles, both inner and outer.

Thorf
06-03-2008, 09:02 PM
Well i'll say it one last time. ViewingDale would eat this for breakfast. You would have unlimited mapping area and scale. It has hex maps which could be matched to your maps. It would probably work with your old PC if it had a graphics card with > 32Mb of ram on it. Theres a free demo and some movies to look at to see it going on the link in sig. You could map in illustrator or photoshop and export smaller parts of your map to keep your speed up when editing them and then align them up on a hex grid just like I am doing in the co-op map world here (http://www.viewing.ltd.uk/Temp/CG/ThinkBig/Region/MappedTiles.png) on this site using the square grid. Post up/me some big maps which should join up and ill make a movie demo...

Actually I did check out your site last night, and it is definitely of interest to me. The only thing I'm not sure of is just how compatible it is with my maps. If it is PDF-compatible in some way, it might just be exactly what I'm looking for - which is to say not a replacement for Illustrator but rather something that works with it or with the maps I've created in it.

I'm going to be posting more maps soon, including PDFs, and I would love to see a demonstration. If it works well, I'll almost certainly get your program. :)


Thorf I'll take some picture's of some of the maps you probably don't have, at least real images them at least. I just recently hung up my Hollow World world maps which show the outer world and the inner world. as well as precataclysmic outer world and post (the post has migration patters, yay!). and lets see... it's got a cross-section of the worlds mass showing how the pole holes work and it's got images of both poles, both inner and outer.

Arkkeeper, my good man, you underestimate my collecting abilities. ;) I'm pretty sure I have every map made for this setting - certainly every poster map - and I've actually bought second copies of many books just to get a map to keep in pristine condition. (Some of my original maps are less than perfect after close to 20 years of folding and unfolding...)

So thank you very much for the offer, but I think I can manage. :D

Actually, I also got my father (http://www.charles-tait.co.uk/) to take pictures of all my maps with a colour setting card in the picture too, so in theory I have really good sources for the colours. But the lighting conditions weren't perfect, so I'm thinking scans are probably the best way to go.

mathuwm
06-03-2008, 10:29 PM
This is exactly what I tried to do originally, but unfortunately my computer was not up to it. Illustrator (at least on my computer) really struggles and slows down to a crawl for the huge maps, meaning that any editing at all takes ages. I also tried making an Illustrator file with all of the maps placed as linked files, which worked okay until I saved it and tried to load it up again; it didn't load. It's frustrating when the technology isn't up to what you want to do with it, and that's the major reason why I took a break for the last two years from my mapping project.

That said, I've just ordered a new computer, and I'm going to upgrade to CS3 sometime soon, so I'll be interested to see how it deals with it then. It may yet end up being the solution I'm looking for.

I upgraded to 2gb of ram from 1gb and it has made a huge difference

Arkkeeper
06-03-2008, 10:39 PM
Oh dang see I got the idea you were doing this all from the online images. that means you have more than me. Now I'm all can I haz cheezburger much?

Thorf
06-03-2008, 10:56 PM
I upgraded to 2gb of ram from 1gb and it has made a huge difference

I actually did the same in November, but at the same time I also got Vista, and although there is some difference, I think Vista killed most of it. But my new computer will have 4 GB of memory (even if it can only use 3 and a bit due to 32 bit Windows) as well as a fast Core 2 Duo processor, so I'm hoping that it'll allow me to do much more.

delgondahntelius
06-04-2008, 03:55 AM
I actually did the same in November, but at the same time I also got Vista, and although there is some difference, I think Vista killed most of it. But my new computer will have 4 GB of memory (even if it can only use 3 and a bit due to 32 bit Windows) as well as a fast Core 2 Duo processor, so I'm hoping that it'll allow me to do much more.

I'm running CS3 with 2GB ram and 256mb Radeon Video Card.... Illustrator runs great.... and I've had some fairly large files I've worked with ...

But .... it could always run faster :D

Redrobes
06-04-2008, 01:52 PM
Actually I did check out your site last night, and it is definitely of interest to me. The only thing I'm not sure of is just how compatible it is with my maps. If it is PDF-compatible in some way, it might just be exactly what I'm looking for - which is to say not a replacement for Illustrator but rather something that works with it or with the maps I've created in it.

I'm going to be posting more maps soon, including PDFs, and I would love to see a demonstration. If it works well, I'll almost certainly get your program. :)Its not PDF compatible. The problem with PDF's is that only Adobe and Ghost Script are available to decode them into a raster format so there is no freely available method of getting at the data in a PDF without paying a very large sum of money for the privilege. What I was thinking was whether it would be possible to hold the original maps in illustrator - possibly with smaller number of hexes to keep the file size down. You could export them as high res bitmaps like PNG's and ViewingDale can collect all of the high res bitmaps up and stitch the whole world together as a seamless expanse. It handles lots of high res images better than most other programs. You can then export a bitmap of any section of the world (covering several smaller illustrator regions) as a very high res image - certainly 600dpi or much more. If your going to send to printers then maybe you need it all in vector format but I have gone to commercial printers with high res bitmaps. The usual reason why they don't like bitmaps is because they are not high enough res. If thats the only reason then it wouldn't apply here. But I would understand if you needed to keep the finals in vector format for some other reason.

Voll-ka the Deceiver
03-05-2012, 01:26 PM
You're timing couldn't be better ! I've recently rekindled my interest in hex style mapping. After some comparison, I see what you mean about slight inconsistancies in the various older products. Still, it seems you have so far done a competent job of mediating - surely, no easy task. When it all comes together as a completed map, I may have some helpful feedback for you on those pesky boarder-zones and scale comparisons between regions derived from playing on these actual maps over the years. Some of my old players derived some pretty crafty solutions towards making the many small maps into one large workable one. Unfortunately, all I have are hard copies right now, but I'm hoping my admittance into the "guild" will eventually fix that. For now, keep up the good work.