View Full Version : Quick Dungeon Tutorial in Xara

07-31-2008, 11:26 PM
Especially created for Yu Gnomi, finally my tutorial on Quick Dungeon design using Xara Xtreme 4.0.

Attached is a 3.72 MB PDF file containing the complete 9 page tutorial

Tutorial teaches you one way to create a quick dungeon with a more realistic look but still created in a very short amount of time. So you can get as complex as you need and still look good!

Also some basic map object creation like - doors, artificial shadows, stairs, barrels, crates, tables and a pile of hay. 8)

Also the final map as created in this tutorial is displayed below...


yu gnomi
07-31-2008, 11:32 PM
Thank you very much for posting this.

I will get started on new dungeon tonight. I am going to try from the outset to make it VTT friendly.

Edit: the tutorial has already paid off. On pg.3 "press and click the "Alt" key to force straight lines to be drawn"

This solves one of my frustrations with using Xara. I had been using the pen tool to draw straight lines. The fact that Xara is ready to make 2-d and 3-d objects out of anything you draw with pen, only annoyed me.

07-31-2008, 11:57 PM
If you plan to make this for VTT. The beginning of the tutorial gets you to set up your map space for an 18" x 24" map, for tactical scale of 1" = 5'.

Once you complete your map choose File/Save As

For PNG, when menu opens, first select from drop down "True Color + Alpha", if you have an requirements for transparency, though the dungeon as per tutorial doesn't require transparency.

Then go to the next tab, Bitmap size - this is where you set the actual pixels per inch scale for VTT, choose whatever you think you need 20, 50, 100, 200, though the last two make for very large files. Ideally you don't want your final file to be over 1 MB for VTT. But I get VTT users that ask for 200 ppi all the time.

Go to the options tab and insure the "Transparency" is checked on, again if you have any needs for transparency in your PNG file.

Then select "Export" at bottom of menu.

For JPG, the color menu can only be true color (no transparency option available). In the Bitmap size - same as above to scale to your VTT app needs and allowances.

Options tab, JPG can be reduced in color gamut to minimize file size, but the more compressed the crappier the result. So try not to go below 50%, instead try around 70%. Doing so can significantly reduce the file size.


That's it!


yu gnomi
08-01-2008, 12:09 AM
I had planned on exporting as .png files, unless there is some reason to prefer .jpg

Quick question: in tutorial you advise using "add shapes" option to make entire dungeon one object. I had been using "join shapes." Is there any significant difference between two options?

08-01-2008, 12:20 AM
Xara allows you to combine objects in different ways.

By creating two or more objects that overlap each other (or not), you can make one object with joined outlines with: Arrange > Combine Shapes > Add. (Arrange > Break Objects is the undo)

In the dungeon tutorial the chamber objects are added into a single object, then the larger rectangle that encompasses, all but the entry/exit door ways on the left side (which extend past the rectangle borders), then the rectangle is placed beneath Arrange > Move to Back. Now the chambers object will be cut-away from the walls/earth rectangle object with: Arrange > Combine Shapes > Subtract.

You can also create a map with objects extending past the margin, by first combining all objects on map, as a single grouped object, then create a rectangle that fits your intended map size, now Arrange > Combine Shapes > Intersect - cuts away anything beyond the edge of the fitted rectangle.

Finally you can slice a freehand curved or straight line through any object or grouped set of objects drawing a freehand line then Arrange > Combine Shapes > Slice - which cuts the object in two. However, any effects like bevels, shadows, etc though still viewable is nolonger editable, because the slice destroyed its structure. Still very useful operation.

If you only "group" two or more objects, they are still individual objects, just contained in a defined group. However if you Combine Shapes, you creating entirely new individual objects with the objects used in the operation. That's a completely different concept, but a powerful and important one to learn.


yu gnomi
08-01-2008, 12:31 AM
Thank you very much for the responses. I am going to draw now for a little bit.

The techniques for making dungeon objects look fantastic, and I think I will start off by making some objects and then start on a dungeon when I get a good concept for one.

By using layers, it should be easy to make two versions of any dungeon map- one that is bare of furnishings (except for stairs, doors and immovable objects) for VTT players, and one that is fully furnished and reveals any secret aspects of the dungeon, for game masters.

08-01-2008, 12:34 AM
You may have noticed that once you close a shape you created with the Freehand drawing tool that the shape smooths out and probably lost some intended detail in your object.

Any tool you use from the leftside tool menu, activates a Tool InfoBar, located just beneath the Main Menu, there you have tools to adjust with options to that tool.

With the Freehand Drawing Tool selected, the InfoBar has a slider on the far left side. This is for smoothing. The default setting is 50% which in most cases is too much. Slide it to the left to 5 to 7% for best results - it follows your intended shape closely, yet lowers the level of jaggies.

Edit: you can raise or lower your smoothing level, only immediately after you drawn it with the tool and object still selected. If you do something else or use a different tool, the smoothing of that object is set, only Edit > Undo > Undo (until you get there) gets you out of that problem...


yu gnomi
08-01-2008, 03:31 AM
I have been experimenting with making transparent .png objects so far I have made a barrel -which I admit, wasn't high on my needs list. But I now understand the process and will make more objects for use in my maps.

Another question: does Xara do mirror? I have some wood grain and other textures I would like to mirror if possible.

08-01-2008, 03:45 AM
Yes, it mirrors.

See those little purple and white triangles facing each other on the menu bar, beneath the Main Menu, towards the right side. There are two, one on its side. One mirrors horizontally, the other vertically, even works with photos.

Also, when you click on the Fill Tool on a selected object, an "L" shaped vertice appears. You can grab the end of either vertice and rotate the fill any direction you want. If you pull the vertice outward, you enlarge the fill, inward to reduce.

Up in the InfoBar, with Fill Tool selected, you can choose Single Tile, Tile Repeat, or Tile Repeat Inverted - try the Tile Repeat or Repeat Inverted, with a seamless texture you have more control over fill resolution, scale and detail.