View Full Version : Need a program for RPG Maps
03-11-2014, 06:57 AM
I'm a Gamemaster and I'm about to make a fantasy campaign (after a long time playing scifi and modern ;) )
As I'm not the best artist I do not want to draw maps by hand and decided to use a Map Tool to build my maps.
Now I searched the Interwebs for some tools and there are plenty of them. So I have no idea which one to use.
I've downloaded MapTool but I have no idea where to get images since this program does not contain them on itself.
Maybe you could recommend me some?
Here are my "requirements":
1. As I said I'm not good at drawing, so the tool should be simple to learn and use.
2. Ideally the tool consists of a large image library or there is a simple possibility to get the images for mapmaking. I do not want to search each image individually and add it to the program.
3. Something like "Fog of War" would be very nice, so that my players could explore the dungeon step by step. But this is not necessary.
4. I'm a Mac user. So ideally the program runs on my Mac. But I also have a Windows machine, so if there is a tool which is perfect besides the Mac compatibility thats no problem at all.
I hope you can help me :-)
03-14-2014, 03:28 AM
The best tool is really subjective, since everyone works in different ways. I don't know of any programs like that - I've never really looked into it since I just use Photoshop and Illustrator - so I can't really help, sorry :(
It might be worth having a look at the tutorials section to see some guides for various options that you think might suit you, so you can see which look like the right fit for you :)
03-15-2014, 08:24 AM
I'd suggest giving ProFantasy Software (http://www.profantasy.com/) a look and checking out their Campaign Cartographer 3 program and Dungeon Designer 3.
The learning curve might be a little steep (but that's expected with any decent mapping program and there's some excellent video tutorials available to make it much easier) and the huge amount of symbols and tools make map creation easier, especially for those of us without any real artistic talent. Dungeon Designer 3 also has some nice fog of war lighting effects you can add to dungeons and such as well.
03-15-2014, 09:05 AM
The only drawback to Campaign Cartographer is that it's PC only (no Mac version). But, as the OP says, he has a Win PC too.
03-17-2014, 05:39 PM
I've personally moved to GIMP for my mapping needs. Primary reason is due to a 100% switch to Mac. Now that being said, previously I used Campaign Cartographer and a variety of the products from Profantasy. There are some on here that have had success with moving over to Mac and using a program like Parallels or Bootcamp in order to load a version of Windows that would allow them to continue using CC3 or some of the other products available for the Windows environment.
The 'fog of war' requirement may be best dealt with in other ways. I take it from your post that you intend to present your maps electronically. There are products available that will allow you to create a map and then apply the 'fog of war' concept within those packages. I've seen them demo'd at some of the gaming conventions so I know they are out there. Their product names escape me at this time but someone else may be able to help in that area.
03-18-2014, 12:12 PM
I wrote an article for G*M*S Magazine called Helping You Choose the Best Mapping Software (http://www.gmsmagazine.com/authors-2/the-cartographers-table-which-mapping-software-is-best-for-you) that explores which type of traditional art best appeals to you to guide you on which software most follows your design preferences - this was written in August last year.
I prefer to use a vector drawing application, Xara Designer Pro (or Xara Photo & Graphic Designer), which is fast, easy to use, easy to learn, not memory intensive, infinite undo, and can not only create most maps but also fully capable of creating simple and complex map objects. And though its not free, its less than $200 and often on sale for much less than that.
While I've used both GIMP and Inkscape, both free to obtain image editor and vector software, and while both are very capable graphics applications, at least for me, neither can handle bevels well (or at all, in the case of GIMP) which I use extensively in my maps. GIMP, like Photoshop, has an excellent bump mapping tool, but not the same fast results as bevels.
I've also used and have ProFantasy Campaign Cartographer 3, City Designer, and Dungeon Designer, I find CAD somewhat limiting in some features, while excellent in others. CAD is very similar to vector operations which are my preferred avenue of design, still not the same as vector. I primarily use ProFantasy software as a software driver for printing map files in native CC3 format and little else.
03-20-2014, 03:35 PM
maptool is cross-platform Java (I run it on Linux) and handles fog of war. I use all of maptool, gimp, and inkscape depending on the problem. Typically for world/region maps I have them outlined in inkscape and can render those vector outlines (coasts/rivers/lakes/etc) at various resolutions in order to create different finished maps in Gimp. Battle maps/dungeons/cities I've done in maptool so far, but I'm probably going to shift cities to inkscape/gimp and only do the sections where fog of war and other tools are needed in maptool.
All 3 of those programs are open-source and run fine under Windows, Mac/OS X, and Linux.
10-20-2014, 12:55 AM
You might find the upcoming Worldspinner tool to be of some help, as it is designed specifically for making maps for RPG games. More info on the Kickstarter project at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/worldspinner/worldspinner-fantasy-rpg-worldbuilder-and-map-make
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