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Gamerprinter
10-20-2008, 12:28 AM
Since I should have the gamer-printshop ecommerce site up this week, I thought that a way to celebrate its reopening, I'd sponsor a prize contest.

In the past map challenges have been focused on maps for Virtual Tabletop, which is great as more and more users are playing with VT apps. However, my area of expertise is digital printing.

How about a contest (venue up to CL's or other Challenge Ideas) where the final map is intended for print at 300 dpi at 24" x 36".

Whoever wins the challenge, I will print and ship at my expense the winning map to the winner. If that means Torq wins, I'll ship his entry at 24 x 36 to South Africa - at my cost.

Just an idea, thoughts?

GP

NeonKnight
10-20-2008, 03:30 AM
great idea

Steel General
10-20-2008, 08:21 AM
That's a great idea and very generous of you GP.

Ascension
10-20-2008, 08:46 AM
I would so love to see one of my maps printed in color at this size (I only have a B & W large format printer--HP DesignJet 130). That would be a great contest with a great prize as well. Thank you very much for the offer to do this GP, I'm sure whomever wins will truly appreciate it.

Torq
10-20-2008, 10:58 AM
I like the idea GP. And thanks for the vote of confidence;) Very kind of you to offer sponsorship in the form of your time, cost and services.

Torq

mmmmmpig
10-20-2008, 11:00 AM
A challenge with a prize... Sounds cool.

Very Generous GP, if I could rep you again at the moment, I would

torstan
10-20-2008, 05:16 PM
Great idea, but I have to admit that my laptop with its puny 2Gb of RAM will die if I try to generate a 7200 by 10800 pixel map! Maybe this is just the world's way of telling me to accept the inevitable and get a better computer...

Sigurd
10-21-2008, 08:31 AM
Great Idea! And very supportive Game Printer.

I'm in Guelph Ontario - near Toronto. I'm curious about postage to my place - not like I'm planning to win or anything :). More like I'd like to support your business.

Assuming something comes of this, anything we should do about size for the upload\download of these things? How bout a smaller view and a larger link (perhaps off site)? People could post WIP views but save site space for their final work?


Sigurd

jfrazierjr
10-21-2008, 09:49 AM
Great idea, but I have to admit that my laptop with its puny 2Gb of RAM will die if I try to generate a 7200 by 10800 pixel map! Maybe this is just the world's way of telling me to accept the inevitable and get a better computer...


That was my first thought as well. I know when I did my Sept Challenge at only 3000x3000 (150 ppi I think) towards the end, I was having 2 GB spikes and had to close out GIMP every hour or so or it would just stop responding. Even then, doing most filter actions took 30-60 seconds to completed, and this is a a Core 2Duo with 4 GB Ram(I really need to look into getting 2 8GB sticks). I can just imagine my compute going up in smoke trying to an image large enough to make for a nice printed battle map.

Not saying it's a bad idea.. but I expect the number of entries to be smallish due to the machine requirements.

Jkaen
10-21-2008, 09:54 AM
My thoughts depening on the map would be to do it in districts, then just combine the segments at the end with flattened layers to let the computer cope

Gamerprinter
10-21-2008, 10:26 AM
That was my first thought as well. I know when I did my Sept Challenge at only 3000x3000 (150 ppi I think) towards the end, I was having 2 GB spikes and had to close out GIMP every hour or so or it would just stop responding. Even then, doing most filter actions took 30-60 seconds to completed, and this is a a Core 2Duo with 4 GB Ram(I really need to look into getting 2 8GB sticks). I can just imagine my compute going up in smoke trying to an image large enough to make for a nice printed battle map.

Not saying it's a bad idea.. but I expect the number of entries to be smallish due to the machine requirements.

Strange, but I have pretty much the same hardware... 2 GB RAM, 600 GB harddrive... almost all of my maps are in the 18 x 24 if not 24 x 36 dimension. In Xara all the work quantified at 96 ppi at creation, it only becomes 300 dpi when I export the final.

I guess since Xara is a vector app, far less memory is chewed up in the making of the map. Final map then is exported to finally create a huge file.

Making a 36 x 48 map at 300 dpi is easy for me.

I knew that PS was a memory hog, I didn't realize GIMP was as well.

GP

Jkaen
10-21-2008, 10:43 AM
With you hand drawing most maps and touching up electronically I don't imagine you have the sheer number of layers some of us do on maps, I think its that that really eats through memory

RobA
10-21-2008, 11:26 AM
Making a 36 x 48 map at 300 dpi is easy for me.

I knew that PS was a memory hog, I didn't realize GIMP was as well.


It is not that they are memory hogs, that is just one heck of a lot of raster data!

That is 18.6 million pixels. In 8 bit RGBA, that is ~71MB per layer, so no matter what you will be into a lot of memory paging!

-Rob A>

RPMiller
10-21-2008, 11:55 AM
(I really need to look into getting 2 8GB sticks).

Just wanted to give you this link before you go and buy those.

http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/platform/server/PAE/PAEmem.mspx

Assuming you are running XP or 32 bit Vista and not Windows Server.

jfrazierjr
10-21-2008, 12:38 PM
Just wanted to give you this link before you go and buy those.

http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/platform/server/PAE/PAEmem.mspx

Assuming you are running XP or 32 bit Vista and not Windows Server.


Nope.. I just got this machine and it's Vista 64... Frankly, I made it a priority to get a 64 bit machine just for the reasons of RAM support. If this was not a laptop, I would slam another physical hard drive in and move my swap partition over there to give myself a bit of a performance boost, but alas, this is not an option.

I had also thought about using my second partition (which is clean) and putting some version of linux on it. While I have used linux in the past in playing, I am not sure I want to deal with the headache, especially getting wireless to work, along with tablet set up, etc. And frankly, I hate having to compile crap(and the pursuant configuration headaches to get it to compile) to get an application working...

RobA
10-21-2008, 01:23 PM
If this was not a laptop, I would slam another physical hard drive in and move my swap partition over there to give myself a bit of a performance boost, but alas, this is not an option.

Assuming the laptop has firewire, I have heard good reports on using an external firewire drive as a photoshop swap partition...

-Rob A>

Redrobes
10-21-2008, 01:27 PM
I think its a very generous offer and would create some excellent large maps. For those people who have older machines then they could map it in inkscape and post the inkscape file over or create a PDF from it and send that.

You could make up the map in bits and stitch them together too. Although the image parts in Gimp might be large the final single layer ought to be of the fraction of 70 odd Mb kind of size - small enough that a stitching program ought not to barf.

I agree that it would limit the field of entries tho but it would make for an interesting challenge.

Just to add to the Ram stick thing. If you have a 32 bit machine then your pretty much limited to about 3.5Gb of physical Ram. Go 64bit, you know it makes sense !!!

RPMiller
10-21-2008, 02:03 PM
Just be careful regarding 64 bit. I have been reading a lot of reports lately that a lot of software is failing compatibility testing with 64 bit Vista. Even Microsoft Office 2007 fails. Make sure to verify that your favorite software is compatible and will function correctly before making the leap. Also, do some research even if it seems to work. There have been a few reports that 32 bit apps running under 64 bit Windows are producing recursive registry entries and bloating the registry to gigabytes in size with well over millions of new entries of redundant data. I've verified only a couple of them so far, but it seems to behaving the way the reports say.

As a related side note to this derailment, Windows 7 is slated for release early next year or early 2010. LOL I love the M$ advertising machine.

Redrobes
10-21-2008, 02:23 PM
Given I am running 64 bit, do you have some links to the list or can show what I might have to look out for. I have been running 64 bit for about 2 years now and I have to say its been excellent though I don't stoop so low as to use MS Office. In the beginning it was sometimes difficult to get drivers for some stuff and that is still true for old/out of date hardware but all new stuff seems fine.

jfrazierjr
10-21-2008, 02:24 PM
Just be careful regarding 64 bit. I have been reading a lot of reports lately that a lot of software is failing compatibility testing with 64 bit Vista. Even Microsoft Office 2007 fails. Make sure to verify that your favorite software is compatible and will function correctly before making the leap. Also, do some research even if it seems to work. There have been a few reports that 32 bit apps running under 64 bit Windows are producing recursive registry entries and bloating the registry to gigabytes in size with well over millions of new entries of redundant data. I've verified only a couple of them so far, but it seems to behaving the way the reports say.

Well... I got 64 bit specifically to be able to deal with larger image sizes in GIMP. I use my laptop at the gaming table and in Maptool, so as long as it works for that, I will be fine. I also play a few games here and there.. but it something does not work, I can always play on my older desktop (just 2 years old physically, but with first generation Athlon x2 chip (perhaps 3 years old??)



As a related side note to this derailment, Windows 7 is slated for release early next year or early 2010. LOL I love the M$ advertising machine.

Unlike Apple? I would have gotten a Mac, but it still ****es me off that they are so damn far behind on java AND you have to upgrade OS's to get the latest java version to work. AND have to pay extra money on top of all that for near equal hardware...

Gamerprinter
10-21-2008, 02:25 PM
When I say, Xara isn't a memory hog, I have to clarify, that some effects placed in layers upon layers, does get memory intensive. Often I cheat, by taking the most memory hogging layers, and export that portion as a transparent PNG (multiple layers selected), delete the actual layers then import the converted layers to place on the map.

Its smart to keep the pieces as a separate file, in case you need to go back and make some changes. Cheating is often a part of the creation process to make things work more smoothly.

GP

RPMiller
10-21-2008, 03:02 PM
Given I am running 64 bit, do you have some links to the list or can show what I might have to look out for. I have been running 64 bit for about 2 years now and I have to say its been excellent though I don't stoop so low as to use MS Office. In the beginning it was sometimes difficult to get drivers for some stuff and that is still true for old/out of date hardware but all new stuff seems fine.

The best thing I can recommend is just Google it. There is honestly so much information I wouldn't know where to begin. I believe the latest reports came from WindowsSecrets.com. From there you should find some others reports and of course look at TechNet and the MS Knowledge Base as there are some articles in there about compatibility and such.


Unlike Apple? I would have gotten a Mac, but it still ****es me off that they are so damn far behind on java AND you have to upgrade OS's to get the latest java version to work. AND have to pay extra money on top of all that for near equal hardware...

Oh, don't get me wrong, they aren't much better in many areas, but at least their release dates tend to be more accurate than MS's.

On a related topic, I am enjoying the heck out of the warring ads from both companies especially having the intimate knowledge I do. Has anyone gone to the website referenced in the "Mohave" ads from MS? It just shows what a farce that whole marketing angle is especially if you have used the various versions of Vista at the technical level. Of course the Mac ads are just as entertaining considering all the problems the iPhone has been having and as jfrazierjr pointed out all the stuff they don't tell you regarding how much you are going to pay in the long run if you want to keep up.

Gamerprinter
10-21-2008, 07:29 PM
Great Idea! And very supportive Game Printer.

I'm in Guelph Ontario - near Toronto. I'm curious about postage to my place - not like I'm planning to win or anything :). More like I'd like to support your business.

Assuming something comes of this, anything we should do about size for the upload\download of these things? How bout a smaller view and a larger link (perhaps off site)? People could post WIP views but save site space for their final work?


Sigurd

I've shipped maps to Canada via US Mail and UPS, both relatively inexpensive, in the $10 USD range. I ship maps in a mailing tube. I've got regular clients in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Winnepeg.

Just so you know, I charge $2.99 per square foot for color printing, thus a 24 x 36 map is priced at $17.94 per map. ($4.50 more for lamination.)

Regarding uploading files, I can create a temporary FTP directory allowing you to FTP upload, give you a temp password. Or you can find any of several sites dedicated to temporary upload and storage of files for online access. Both ways work fine.

For the challenge, if there is one using this, I'd say upload a lower res version for posting and voting, or an extremely compact JPG version at 300 dpi. Be sure to have the ability to export at the preferred resolution and dimensions for the map, if you win.

GP

Gamerprinter
10-27-2008, 04:21 PM
Whichever challenge idea gets to be for this month - as in BryGuy's suggested Space Map - is it still possible to create a map for print, as in this suggestion?

GP

RPMiller
10-27-2008, 04:38 PM
Hehe, you'll be finding out more very shortly. ;) :D

CC_JAR
11-04-2008, 01:02 AM
I really dont think my comp could handle this, but it's a great idea!
I may try something like this once I get better at digital mapping, just to have you print something for me, though it'll be a year or more from now if I do.

Korrigan
11-07-2008, 11:47 AM
I'm completely fond of the idea, but I hope your FTP is quick, a 10800 x 7200 px file at 300 dpi with only a layer of clouds in it weights 258 Mo... Thought it would be large but not THAT large ;-)

Redrobes
11-07-2008, 12:11 PM
24x36 @ 300 dpi is 222Mb uncompressed. So it ought to be smaller than that as a file to send to print. Also, if it gets a silly size then draw one in vector format and send as a PDF which would be a lot smaller.

Even so, 200Mb is large but its still within FTP ability. At 32K byte per sec upload that's about 2hrs. Ok you can forget it with a dialup modem tho.

Gamerprinter
11-07-2008, 01:09 PM
Even though I suggested 300 dpi for the map resolution. It really depends on how small your smallest text and or lineart objects are, as you could get away with and quite successfully staying at 200 dpi or even 150 dpi. It really depends on your map and what's on it.

Another thing mentioned earlier in this thread. Once you've got your layers placed on the map - flatten the image or export portions of your map as individual PNG/JPG/TIF files then composite the whole thing.

A flattened, layered map should be significantly smaller than 200 MB.

I deal with lots of maps at 300 dpi/24 x 36 that is less than 100 MB - it depends on how you save it, flatten, etc. Seriously consider a compressed JPG file as your final map for lowest, but still high quality, resolution.

GP

Redstar
11-18-2008, 06:51 PM
The last big map I did was ~300 dpi, ~ 3000px x 3000px. My computer was not happy with it. While I love the idea, I feel like only people with the computer power to handle it would be able to really compete. :?

Gamerprinter
12-31-2008, 10:44 PM
Looks like this Challenge idea is coming to fruition, after some more approvals it may be going next month.

I've changed some of the parameters to make it easier on everyone. It is still for a 24" x 36" map, however the minimum resolution requirement now is 100 ppi (but will accept up to 300 ppi, for those who can do this...)

So a 2400 x 3600 pixel map is not as taxing to your PC to make your map entry. If your comp can handle a file this size at higher resolution, go for it, just don't feel you have to create 300 ppi and drop a couple more RAM chips just so you can do it.

GP

Hoel
01-01-2009, 08:40 AM
No other restrictions? Anything goes as long as it fits the format?
This could be sweet, with me unemployed having lots of free time.
Start prepping a box for sweden! :D

Gamerprinter
01-01-2009, 07:05 PM
I am sure there will be other restrictions - I haven't the authority to make them, as I am not a community leader or admin, the true decision makers here. In fact, last month's War map was supposed to be the Printed map contest, however, Arcana needed to make certain changes to uploading parts of the forum to enable this, yet was out of town on business, so we couldn't do it for last month.

I am sure there will be some kind of theme yet to be determined. So yeah, there will probably be a few more restrictions, so don't go hog-wild yet.

And Hoel, nice to know you're from Sweden, didn't know that. Anna, another member is a master cartographer with her Greyhawk map series. She's from Sweden as well.

GP