View Full Version : Hello....newbie question

10-05-2009, 08:44 PM
Hello all

I'm a total newb to all this map making stuff, but I can't wait to dig into it. I'm going to be gaming with some of my buds via MapTools.

I do not think I can take on Campaign Cartographer, Fractal Mapper or Photoshop for that matter :((

So, my question is this....

Is there a site/program that can "create" a random generate town, city, forested area, dungeons, etc...?

If this is NOT an option, can someone recommend which mapping program is the easiest to learn?

Thanks to all!!

10-05-2009, 08:57 PM
There are many, many options for you. It really depends on how you like to work, what styles satisfy you, how much you can afford and what you're willing to learn.

If you don't like Profantasy, that's fine, I don't either, however, making cities with City Designer is "fairly" easy, or as easy as a CAD software will let you.

While their Free applications out there, they are fairly complex apps like GIMP for raster (like Photoshop) or Inkscape for vector style (Illustrator), never are easy to learn however. But there are lots GIMP users on this site, so plenty of opportunity to learn fast.

Dundjinni makes battlemaps fairly easy, that is the 1 inch = 5 feet type of maps, but then that's $40.

I use Xara Xtreme, which can be gotten for $49, its an easier to use vector app, but not a mapping app alone, so there's still some learning to do.

There are proggies like Autorealm, which no one here uses, but is a simple stamp placement dungeon builder map program.

You ought to look at our list of Mapping Applications. Then look at the Finished Maps forum, find a style of map you like, look to see which apps the map artist is using and go from there.

You've really asked the most basic question, but each application is different and have different pros and cons - it really depends on you, how you like to work, and which tool you're willing to learn. There is no "one answer" to this question. Its a decision on your part to move forward.


10-05-2009, 09:19 PM

Thanks for that response. You've given me direction, and that's all I can ask for.

What I'm looking to do, is just create maps on a world lvl, region lvl, then city lvl and dungeons and be able to import them into MapTool.

I'll look through the list you gave me and see what I can find for free (funds are a little low) or one's that do not have a huge learning curve.

Thanks again!

10-05-2009, 09:38 PM
The simplest thing that I know of is this: Gozzy's (http://www.gozzys.com/index.php)

Some easy, random, generate on the fly stuff.

10-06-2009, 12:01 AM
I used to use Autorealm. It is a CAD program, though not as powerful as Campaign Cartographer you may want to give it a spin. But there is virtually no community support for it anywhere anymore as far as I know.

10-06-2009, 02:38 AM
Maybe I'm looking at this all wrong.

I will be gaming using MapTool, but from what I gather MapTool isn't great for making larger maps and the maps that can be made by it are somewhat generic.

I guess what I need to look at is what software do I need for the maps I want and to make sure it's a map I can open up/use in MapTools.

10-06-2009, 02:59 AM
Almost all the possible Mapping applications can save as a JPG, in come cases as PNG and/or BMP. Some of those apps can save in any format.

While I'm not a GIMP user, this is a robust, script-ready raster application much like Photoshop and as a GNU product, its totally free. While it is complex, we have tons of tutorials to get you started right away, and actually creating high end maps right from the start. Look for Random Coastline tutorial, by RobA, its one of our best tutorials on GIMP on the site and worth taking a look. In step by step fashion, you'll learn discreet and primary tools to achieve professional results. But that's for photo realistic and painterly style maps, if you need something more "clean" perhaps a strictly vector tool like Inkscape (another GNU product = FREE) to make that kind of map.

Many of us mappers use more than one application for different parts of the map. Labels are sometimes easier using Inkscape on maps generated in GIMP, for example.

Some guys are making useful maps out Microsoft Word, it depends on what you have, what you want, etc, etc.

We each have our own favorites, and each use different workflows, so its a very individual thing - which software we find easiest to map in...


10-06-2009, 06:14 AM
For regional / world maps on the fly, I use Greenfish Map Generator. It's a great little program that throws out useable maps in a matter of seconds. I'd have to google it to get a link, and you can do that just as easily as me.

For quick random cities on the fly, I use the Random City Generator discussed here:


I don't know of a random dungeon generator, but there probably is one out there. However, for a quick tile dungeonmaker, I use Dungeonforge (again, simply google it). It's essentially a free (and less photorealistic) Dundjinni. Depends how much detail you want, and how much cash you have. ;)

In the last few months, a guy called Sowellblack made something called Hexographer (it's on the Software thread here somewhere) I haven't got around to testing it yet <slaps own wrist> but you might find that useful. I gather it's an online hexmap generator.
If it were downloadable I might have played with it by now...

If you have an idea of the style of maps you want to produce, show us some pics or links and it may help us to suggest the right software.

Hope that helps.

PS all the above are free. :)

Greason Wolfe
10-06-2009, 09:33 AM
Another free application you might look at for making dungeons is Dungeon Crafter. They're up to version 3 now, but I use the legacy version (Version 2) for most of my dungeon building. Support for the legacy version isn't as good as it used to be, but there are still several tile sets available for both dungeon and above ground mapping.


It's not super powerful, but you may find it useful.