View Full Version : Hail and well met!

03-27-2014, 11:33 PM
Hello everyone! :-)

My name is Mark and I have been a DM since D&D's first three books came out WAY back in the late 1970s. I then wrote my own set of rules, copyrighted them in 1982, made drastic changes to them in 1984 and re-copyrighted them, and have played games using them ever since. I am just now working to re-edit them, add in all of the things I have come up with over the years, and will then be re-copyrighting them again. I have always drawn my own maps and have a lot of pencil sketches which I am now converting over to actual drawings. I like to use CAD programs more than art programs although I do use some art programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and Painter. I use art programs mainly to help make somewhat realistic maps but I use CAD programs to keep track of what all has gone one in my dungeons/citys/ruins/etc....

I am a programmer by trade and I am also in the midst of creating a new way to do web pages that allows someone to load in their web pages on time into memory and then if they are needed again you do not return to the server to re-load them. I've also stumbled across a way to hide Javascript (mostly) and have incorporated that into my work. The end result is a way to display your web pages that makes it very hard to get to the source code. I'm also working on a way to do a website that will allow you to build your fantasy world and even run people through it. Unlike websites like Roll20, this site will use standard HTML that will work all the way back to IE5 and NN4 so that even if you have a very old system you will still be able to use the software. It will be a tile based system but, unlike other tile based systems out there, it will be a smart tile based system. What I mean is - there is no reason to have to go back and get the same images and to have to re-download them every time you want to apply the images to an area. Instead, a single set of images are downloaded from the site and then applied to each location with an appropriate identification number saved in the database. So images are downloaded once and then, before any download can occur - the list of images already downloaded is looked at and, if the image has already been downloaded, it is just used rather than re-downloaded. I am hoping that this will make it very fast. Especially if you lay out a large area.

I am also working on programs to take a map that someone uploads and make it so the map can be cut up into smaller sections. Like a world map. You upload it and apply the type of grid you want and the program will slice and dice the map up into those segments. The same holds true for cities, dungeons, ruins, and the like. In this way, if you already have maps and want to upload them as background images you can and the image will then be scaled according to the size of the grid. I've got other things I'm also working on like a cyclinder world mapping program (for those rectangular maps everyone has of their world) and a book of spells (starting with the v3.5 spell lists and working out from there).

This is not to mention I'm looking for a job (and may have one soon). Been out of work since the start of December. Money is a bit tight - but not horribly so yet. Still - a new job will be very nice. I was working contracts before and this job is a contract to hire thing. :-)

Let's see.....Up until 2012 I was very active in many different areas of the Internet and then I got gangrene in May of 2012. I'd cut myself at the gym, went to the nearest clinic, got antibiotics, turned out to be Strep instead of Staph. (By the way - if you ever do get a deep cut - BE SURE TO HAVE THEM RUN CULTURES ON THE CUT. I say this because the antibiotics you get normally are only good for STAPH infections and not Strep infections. If you have Strep the antibiotics will help your body to heal but that just means that the Strep is now locked inside of your body. Strep can cause gangrene - which is what I got. Lost part of my left foot because of it and it has taken two years to get back on my feet physically. Don't play around. Don't be Mr. Macho. Get a culture run on any cuts you get so you can get the right type of antibiotics and not wind up like me. Anyway - I'm doing better and decided to start doing things again. Thus the new programs I'm working on.

My favorite program to use is Visio 2003. Visio 2003 combined the best of art and CAD programs along with the worst memory management software. I made a map of an area with mountains in it and a middle eastern bazaar area along with two fortifications, a dock/storage area, piers, and ships. Nothing fancy - just generic images from Campaign Cartographer as well as vector images for the tents and some other things. Visio takes up 1.5GB of memory to just load and hold this! Yes! 1.5GB! When I tried to save it to a file format other than the standard Visio file format - Viso crashed. I finally managed to save it as an XML file. I loaded the file into Visio and tried to move it to PowerPoint just to see if it would - Visio crashed again. I tried loading the XML file into PowerPoint and PowerPoint did so and only took up 400KB of memory.

I have bought a lot of graphics software over the years. So I own AutoCAD 2000LT. AutoCAD will hold ANY size file because it pages it off to the hard drive. But AutoCAD is not the easiest piece of software to use - whereas Visio is extremely easy to use. I have problems with AutoCAD because it is so powerful and I am not as familiar with it as I should probably be but I am learning more about it now. I also have Illustrator and again - I am not as familiar with it as I would like to be but Illustrator, like AutoCAD, can handle any sized file but also like AutoCAD - the way in which it works is a lot different from Visio. Granted that I have used Visio since Visio 2000 came out and given that most businesses want to use Visio and not Illustrator and you see why I know a lot about Visio and not a lot about Illustrator.

If I were to list all of the software I have and have used - I'd have a dictionary of almost all of the software ever created. I used to work with Macintoshes a lot and then in the late 1990s switched over to using PCs. I continued to work with Macs until around 2005 and as people upgraded their systems and software - I would buy the older copies from them. Thus, I have Painter Classic, Painter 5, and Painter X. I have MacDraw, MacPaint, and lots of other Mac software from System 7.5 up to System 9.x and the early System Xs. On the PC side I go all the way back to DOS 5.0. I've also worked on the big boys (ie: Intergraph, Sun Micro, SGIs, and others). So I've been drawing for years and also just working on things like some of the original 3D graphics software developed on SGI computers. This almost compulsory buying of sofware extended to MS Office (Mac and PC versions), inventory software, accounting software, and many other areas. The fact is - even today I like to download, try out, comment on, and make suggestions about all sorts of software and on an almost weekly basis I get requests from various people around the world who ask me to give their software a try and to let them know what I think. My latest was EZDraw - a CAD program. One of the things I wrote back about was that there was no way to do fractal lines for natural looking landscapes and no way to, over a distance, increase the width of a line thus making it hard to draw rivers. EZDraw also will not import PNG files correctly. What I mean is - EZDraw does not honor the transparency of anything in PNG files. Instead, you get just a solid black area.

Anyway - that's me in a nutshell. :-)

I'm attaching an image I once posted in the Campaign Cartographer's area. It's a tavern. I decided to upload another image. On the Campaign Cartographer's website someone posted their work on signs for inns. I liked it a lot and created several signs for my inns using Visio to do the layouts. I've uploaded one of the signs. Hope everyone likes both items. :-)

03-28-2014, 01:29 AM
Welcome to the Guild Mark. I really like the shield sign, looks great!

03-28-2014, 01:58 AM
Welcome to the Guild Mark. I really like the shield sign, looks great!

I have several others I can upload if anyone wants them. I've also created a couple of templates in Visio that I can use to create them very quickly. So if a few people wanted me to make them a sign I can do so (but not if 50,000 people ask me to. That would be a bit much!) . :D

Maker of the Way
04-02-2014, 06:45 PM
Welcome to the group. I am new here also. I love maps.

04-03-2014, 06:25 PM
Welcome to the Guild Mark! That is quite the intro (sorry to here about your leg, yikes!). Please do feel free to display more of your work here. If you have any completed pieces you can display them in the "Finished Maps" section, otherwise they should go to one of the other sections (e.g. regional maps, city maps, etc). Look forward to seeing you around the forums.