View Full Version : Introductions and previous work

11-16-2008, 09:31 PM
<Karl Haas>Hello Everyone</Karl Haas>

I'm brand new to this site so I thought I'd introduce myself by showing off a few maps I'm quite proud of. I usually do my gaming and artwork in the Battletech universe, though I love fine maps of any sort. I own two real maps: one a somewhat inaccurate Atlas map of Roman Britain from 1845 and a small billet map of Roman Germany (Gaul) from 1730. The former sits in a frame whose cost was more than the map itself. :)

This first map was developed based on Battletech's Battleforce 2 box set. The campaign rules are called "planetary assault" and are due to be revised in the next calendar year by Catalyst Game Labs. The planet is Outreach, a mercenary hub once owned by the former Wolves' Dragoons. In the year 3067, the leftmost continent was bombarded by tactical nuclear weapons in an attack launched by the pseudo-religious Word of Blake in retaliation for a retaliation. The dragoons survived in tatters for awhile and a small company was reformed a generation or so later.

The numbers you see on the left are orbital progression boxes and on the right are 2d6 target numbers for a successful in-system jump (jumpdrives in this universe are limited to no more than 30 light years, 60 in certain rumored cases). They indicate the presence of null gravity points first discovered by LaGrange in 1750 and in Battletech fiction are suitable for jumping.

Techniques used here and below stem from the Solar Voyager website (what an awesome place) and liberal use of the Photoshop clone tool and blue marble images from NASA. Mostly Photoshopped and then completed in CorelDraw (need to learn Illustrator). Oh and I lost interest before finally finishing the small iceshelves at the poles. I'll get back to it eventually.


I look to find a faster method of making good looking strategic maps. I'm toying with Fractal Mapper and Terraformer but am having a great deal of trouble with it. More to come in the Sci-Fi forum.

The second map hews to the Aerotech ruleset outlined in the Total Warfare rulebook. Though you can use blank or generic space hexmaps, I wanted a more immersive map that referenced the rules in effect. What you see is essentially a vertical slice of a planetary combat zone where ships may execute re-entry and continue the battle below. Gravity effects extend 10 hexrows beyond the space-atmosphere interface shown in light-blue. Re-entry procedures continue from the interface to the final hexrow where units transfer to low-altitude flight. This is one map I had made in vinyl banner material at FastSigns for a very tidy sum. I expect to make a larger, similar map for a larger space area.



As you can see, my first experience getting color matching right wasn't that successful, but it still looks acceptable.

11-16-2008, 09:59 PM
Cool stuff there. I never played BT but I always loved the cartoons when I was younger. Bring us more...we're sort of like zombies here but instead of brains we need maps :)

11-17-2008, 03:26 AM
Very cool stuff! Have some REP!

I've played BT, even created a custom mech, the Werewolf, but that's another story... welcome to the guild.

Its almost too late, since its the 17th, but we have a monthly mapping challenge that ends on the 25th of the month, however, its create a Space map, check it out! Maybe you could whip something out in time. ;)



Steel General
11-17-2008, 08:20 AM
Very nice! Looking forward to seeing more from you.

I played BattleTech pretty extensively in college, my favorite 'mech was a variant of the Thunderbolt with jump jets (60' tons of jumping goodness :D)

11-17-2008, 12:44 PM
Very Cool indeed! Have some more REP

11-25-2008, 03:28 AM

This is Bill R., I created the Terraformer package for FT PRO.

What is the nature of the problems that your having using them?

11-26-2008, 12:08 PM
Hi Bill. Thanks for the response.

Well, I redid the default settings according to the CG tutorial and life is a little easier, but some issues remain. The problems are, I suspect, of expectations, a lack of geological knowledge, and a resistance to reading the directions.* :)

The three main issues, though, are:
1) terrain editing is ineffective (at least until I changed to prescale offset)
2) climate painting has surprising results (painting desert results in a ring of chaparral on the outside and splotches of temperate forest on the inside... and I can't find a setting that says "paint desert, just desert, and only desert")
3) brush buttons don't seem to do anything. I have to manually type in width and height to get the size I want. Likewise climate. It took a little figuring out what "1" and "2" referred to.

*Usually I refer to directions after I've gotten stuck rather than beginning to end. "Learning by doing" usually works though. Hmm, if you wanted a user suggestion, I might suggest thinking about the directions from this end. Instead of a pure algorithmical tutorial or list of functions, I sure wouldn't mind a little talking-to about "this is why you're seeing what you're seeing"... a teaching opportunity if you will.

11-27-2008, 02:54 AM
Hi Bedwyr...
Ok - let me get one thing straight - I HATE READING DIRECTIONS TO! LOL:lol::D And if you think reading them stinks - try writing the darn things...AAARRRGGGGHHHH!!! Lol.

I can understand where your coming from (sorta, lol).
A lot of FT PRO users naturally assume that FT PRO will just drop the proper biome / climate regions onto the map by default, i did, but I discovered later that I was VERY WRONG!!!

FT PRO likes to fall back on a default "mild Earth" climate model when you don't design / paint out your own climates (or haven't yet done so).

To do the desert regions on my maps - I had to paint them in with FT PRO's climate brushes, and there are at least two different "stroke and weight" settings that you have to tweak around with a bit to get them to do what you want them to. I had to paint in both lower water levels AND incrementally higher temperatures to flesh my desert regions out properly.
To really get your deserts right - you can't just lower the water level - or likewise - just increase the regional temp. - you have to mess with BOTH values.

Remember that when using the image climate files (Alternate Climate Coloration Window) to shade land masses - your using a graph function that textures land masses according to two variables, TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION. When adjusting / tweaking / painting / creating / perfecting climate zones - you have to play around with both values.

Actually - although time consuming - this gives you more precise control over what your doing. FT PRO isn't just a "random generator", but it's also a "paint" program that allows you to paint up / create your own maps (terrains and climates) yourself.

If FT PRO were just a "random generator", then I would have little use for it at all (if any).

The brush buttons are a bit qwerky - true - you have to play around with them and adjust your brush settings. I personally have a problem with how basic the brush shapes are - and how they should be more organic.
Climate zone "blending" should be improved, but I'll have to give it more thought as to exactly how that might be accomplished.

I'm going to try to simplify the User's Manual in 0.50 a little more from what it was in 0.001. Like you said - often - we learn by doing:)

I also understand the chaparrel problem - it haunts me to.
I suppose that since chaparrel zones are transitional by nature - then they are bound to show up relentlessly. I'm still working on that one.

Fractal Terrains Pro is an invaluable tool - a wonderful application. But I do believe that it can be further refined just as Campaign Cartographer was. The image Climate function that allows users to design there own land / climate textures should not only be included in all future retail / production versions of FT, but actually should be expanded to allow users even more control over the distributions of global climate related texturing features.

If you'll recall from the Terraformer User's Manual - I gave graphic examples of how EXTREMELY close I came to near duplicating an actual NASA space imaged global map - using the Terraformer shaders on an FT PRO binary map of the Earth based upon the included ETOPO hieght data.

FT PRO can be "tweaked" using user customized elements - to create extremely believable, and somewhat "correct / near accurate" Earth like planetary texture maps. This will enable the user to more readily create
credible 3d models of how their model worlds would actually look in reality. That's the core purpose behind the Terraformer project. Making maps that look REAL...