View Full Version : Good program for modern day/future map making?

Timothy Callahan
09-09-2013, 07:01 PM
I am currently running a d20 modern/future campaign, and I am doing it with no maps. I play via skype because all my old DnD buddies live in NY while I had to move to GA for work. I have only held about 4 sessions in which only one large battle has taken place. I had to describe in painstaking detail for me so the players had an idea on how things were laid out and their positions in reference to key pieces/ enemies.

I have just purchased Fantasy grounds with the d20 modern modules and would like to try avoiding spending to much more on trying to set up for this campaign, so Id prefer a free program if there is one. Thanks in advance for all the help.

09-24-2013, 04:14 PM
Have you tried GIMP? If that's still too much work I'd recommend you check out djunjinni (might've spelt that wrong) not a free program but it should meet whatever need you got, map wise.

09-24-2013, 04:37 PM
If you want a textured battlemat style, then I concur with the Gimp recommendation.

If you want a more schematic-type or modern map look, try Inkscape. It's an open source vector program similar to Adobe Illustrator.

10-06-2013, 12:52 PM
For simple maps you might even consider TeX. It's a typesetting application, but it does allow you to produce procedural results, meaning you could construct maps from algorithms and/or random maps.

Rotten Deadite
12-04-2013, 04:10 PM
Ah, Inkscape. I've been looking for something like that for quite some time now. Thanks!

12-04-2013, 04:52 PM
I use Xara Designer Pro 9, though Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 9 is a much less expensive app ($89) that can everything for maps the flagship product does (and it does a lot more than maps, web design and more...) I use Xara to create all my maps, map objects, page layouts for RPG publications creating print ready PDF files for big printing houses to produce from. Of course I create hand-drawn/digital hybrids and completely photo-realistic maps (2 very different styles) with the same application, including futuristic maps, starship deck plans and more. Its not free like GIMP or Inkscape, but very powerful with features that neither of those Open Source applications can do or match. I prefer it to all other software, and as a graphic designer I am very familiar with Photoshop, Illustrator, GIMP, and many other applications I use on a daily basis in my studio/print shop. Xara is a vector program like Inkscape.

Here's a sci-fi map design I created not long ago with the finished product posted in the Finished Maps forum - Space Marine Planetary Dropship deck plan using Xara... link here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/finished-maps/25332-colonial-marine-platoon-dropship-deck-plan-near-future.html#post229778)


09-16-2015, 04:15 AM
I'm new to this sort of thing, only recently gained regular access to the web, but have been running my fam in rpg's for years. Presently I'm looking for a program or something to help me design starship deck plans. I've taken the liberty of reviewing a little of what's available in here, but what I'm really looking for is something that provides a lot more detail. For example, I took the schematics of a FASA Star Trek starship and redid them on graph paper to include things like damage control lockers, ventilation ducts, environmental suit lockers, and so on. It was laborious, tedious, time consuming, and then on to deck two ... grumble grumble ... I'm seeking a way to engineer better sci fi deck plans for my own stylized and slightly lower tech gaming campaigns. (Tech level more on par with StaCrgate Universe, Battlestar Galactica, Pandorum, etc.) Am I just dreaming, or am I just not finding what I've been looking for? Please advise...

09-16-2015, 12:54 PM
@GFMV You might want to look at the Campaign Cartographer suite of programs. They have a sifi addon I believe, or at least a symbol set that fits. The good thing is that you can just make symbols out of what you have already done and then use them later. Copying one deck and modding as needed also helps speed things up. Could have an intimidating Learning curve though.

09-16-2015, 01:55 PM
The sci-fi product is called Cosmographer, and it is an add-on to Campaign Cartographer.

CC is a CAD-type program, and as such it has a different sort of paradigm than other graphics software. Some people find it much more comfortable, but others have a hard time with it.

I'll renew my suggestion of Inkscape, though, since it's free and is capable of those razor-sharp lines that make sci-fi deck plans so appealing. And it has the similar advantage of Campaign Cartographer in that you can create an object once then simply clone it elsewhere. My deckplans are fairly low-detail, but I use this approach (in Illustrator, but it works the same in Inkscape) for them. The workflow could easily be used for a high-detail, full color plan.

Here's an example:

I usually start with a template document where I have all of the symbols and objects already present and organized. When I need one, I just copy it from the template layer into a working layer. I keep all of the objects as vector objects that I can manipulate individually so I can reshape them if they need to butt up against something irregular in shape.